• Janis
    55
    Hi everyone, thank you for the warm welcome. I am sharing knowledge that is based on a discovery that was made in 1959, but the discoverer never had a chance to reveal his findings as he was not a member of a leading university, and held no distinguishing titles. He was forced to self-publish which, at that time, was frowned upon. Sadly, he passed away in 1991 at the age of 72. This knowledge lies locked behind the door of determinism. The fact that man's will is not free is not the discovery. It is the gateway that leads to the discovery. This is challenging to explain in my own words, but I will give it my best.
  • Janis
    55
    Just for starters, Lessans (the author) demonstrates that will is not free because we can only move in one direction each and every moment of time. In other words, we are constantly moving in the direction of greater satisfaction than what the present position offers, rendering any other choice at that moment an impossibility. This does not mean we are always satisfied with our choice, but it is the better choice of the ones available to us. Our choice may be the greater of two goods, the lesser of two evils, or a good over an evil but always in the direction of greater satisfaction.
  • Kippo
    128
    It seems that you are saying that because time has "one direction" then any measure of activity in time - "satisfaction" for example, must also have one direction - either increasing or decreasing.

    That is mere rhetoric! Besides, it would be pleasingly Bohemian to claim that the direction of satisfaction is negative and that therefore we are at our most satisfied at the instant of birth.
  • Athena
    294
    rendering any other choice at that moment an impossibilityJanis

    I am in a bit of shook considering at the moment there are many decisions I could make. I just chose to do something that I may seriously regret but like all those who put their lives on the line for what they believe, that for which I am fighting is far more important than my pleasure. I could have avoided the risk and for sure avoid the consequences, right?
  • Janis
    55
    It seems that you are saying that because time has "one direction" then any measure of activity in time - "satisfaction" for example, must also have one direction of measurement.

    That is mere rhetoric! Besides, it would be more Bohemian to claim that the direction of satisfaction is negative and that therefore we are at our most satisfied at tghe instant of birth.
    Kippo

    Just the fact that you said "it seems that you are saying" (without checking whether your assumption is correct) tells me you have jumped to a premature conclusion very quickly, I must say. This is not about measuring anything. Whether our choices are the lesser of two evils or the greater of two goods does not change the direction that desire (or preference) is compelled to move.
  • Athena
    294
    always in the direction of greater satisfactionJanis

    What is the satisfaction of giving one's life for a cause? There is a very small chance that after making the sacrifice there will be any benefit for anyone. I spent last night watching an explanation of the Knights Templar, men who gave their lives for a cause, and in the end did their efforts make a difference?

    For many years I was trapped by my past, and only a couple of years ago did I let go of that past and start living more fully the life I have now. I think our ego's can trap us in our past. It can be very frightening to let go of our ego's to be who we can be.

    I love you post because they stimulate my thinking. What is time and what is moving forward?
  • Athena
    294
    Whether our choices are the lesser of two evils or the greater of two goods does not change the direction that desire (or preference) is compelled to move.Janis

    Would not experience make a difference in our choice? We may want to eat the hot pizza or melting marshmallow immediately, but experience has taught us pain will come with acting on that desire too soon. We might have to get burned many times before our ability to control ourselves improves. Experiments with children show that children with a good degree of self-control, are more apt to succeed in life. Isn't there a personal quality, self-control that effectively demonstrates personal choice for some but perhaps not for others?
  • Janis
    55
    I am in a bit of shook considering at the moment there are many decisions I could make. I just chose to do something that I may seriously regret but like all those who put their lives on the line for what they believe, that for which I am fighting is far more important than my pleasure. I could have avoided the risk and for sure avoid the consequences, right?Athena

    If you believe in something, then it may give you greater satisfaction to fight for what you believe in (knowing all the while that you could regret it later on depending on the outcome) at the expense of sheer pleasure.
  • Janis
    55
    What is the satisfaction of giving one's life for a cause? There is a very small chance that after making the sacrifice there will be any benefit for anyone. I spent last night watching an explanation of the Knights Templar, men who gave their lives for a cause, and in the end did their efforts make a difference?

    For many years I was trapped by my past, and only a couple of years ago did I let go of that past and start living more fully the life I have now. I think our ego's can trap us in our past. It can be very frightening to let go of our ego's to be who we can be.

    I love you post because they stimulate my thinking. What is time and what is moving forward?
    Athena

    Everybody makes different choices that are influenced by their heredity and their environment. For some, sacrificing their life for a cause may be purposeful whether or not their efforts come to fruition. Other people, who have a different background, may not go in the direction of great sacrifice. The point that I'm trying to get across is that moving from a state of dissatisfaction with the present position to a state of greater satisfaction, is the only direction life can take us. Life cannot go from a state of satisfaction toward a state of less satisfaction than what the present position offers. It has to go toward a state of "greater" satisfaction. This is an immutable law.
  • Janis
    55
    Would not experience make a difference in our choice? We may want to eat the hot pizza or melting marshmallow immediately, but experience has taught us pain will come with acting on that desire too soon. We might have to get burned many times before our ability to control ourselves improves. Experiments with children show that children with a good degree of self-control, are more apt to succeed in life. Isn't there a personal quality, self-control that effectively demonstrates personal choice for some but perhaps not for others?Athena

    That is absolutely true. Experience often teaches us what works and what doesn't. If we didn't get the result we wanted, this will help our decision not to repeat the same thing the next time a similar situation presents itself. Helping children to have self-control by explaining to them that the rewards will come later may serve them well. I agree with you.
  • SophistiCat
    763
    Nothing you have said so far sounds remotely original, let alone revolutionary. It is psychological hedonism (aka the pleasure principle) mixed in with familiar arguments against free will and for incompatibilism.
  • Janis
    55
    Nothing you have said so far sounds remotely original, let alone revolutionary. It is psychological hedonism (aka the pleasure principle) mixed in with familiar arguments against free will and for incompatibilism.SophistiCat

    SophistiCat, you have no understasnding about this discovery so how can you tell me that it is psychological hedonism? IT IS NOT THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE. Is that what you got from the few posts I made? With all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about.
  • Gortar
    12
    SophistiCat, you have no understasnding about this discovery so how can you tell me that it is psychological hedonism? IT IS NOT THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE. Is that what you got from the few posts I made? With all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about.Janis

    If you disagree with their analysis of your argument, please make sure to provide reasons to believe that your argument is different from "psychological hedonism mixed in with familiar arguments against free will and for compatibilism." Accusing people of misunderstanding you without engaging with their criticism does not help to establish your credibility.
  • Janis
    55
    If you disagree with their analysis of your argument, please make sure to provide reasons to believe that your argument is different from "psychological hedonism mixed in with familiar arguments against free will and for compatibilism." Accusing people of misunderstanding you without engaging with their criticism does not help to establish your credibility.Gortar

    I'm doing the best I can, but when people immediately judge a few of my posts and conclude that what I am sharing is nothing other than "psychological hedonism", this doesn't say much for their credibility. I cannot help but be defensive.
  • SophistiCat
    763
    As I cannot read your mind, I am going by what you have posted here. You had already made six posts in this thread, more than enough to provide at least a gist of this great discovery (so far the only evidence of its greatness are your own assurances, which, you must understand, are worth nothing to people who don't know you). I suggest that instead of throwing a tantrum, you think about your failure and try to do better.
  • Wallows
    8.2k


    I think his idea is pretty original in that if you assume that humans have some special capacity for free will, then even if that is true, then that free will is constrained by everything else in the world, rendering said "free" will moot in a world that is deterministic.
  • Banno
    5.3k
    ...we are constantly moving in the direction of greater satisfaction than what the present position offers, rendering any other choice at that moment an impossibility.Janis

    Why? couldn't we have to make a choice between two greater satisfactions? Perhaps without knowing which is the greater?

    Doesn't look promising.
  • Janis
    55
    As I cannot read your mind, I am going by what you have posted here. You had already made six posts in this thread, more than enough to provide at least a gist of this great discovery (so far the only evidence of its greatness are your own assurances, which, you must understand, are worth nothing to people who don't know you). I suggest that instead of throwing a tantrum, you think about your failure and try to do better.SophistiCat

    SohpistCat, you can't be serious? Do you actually think that 6 posts is enough to give a fair and balanced commentary on a 600 page book that reveals a very important discovery? Would you judge any philosopher without reading his work CAREFULLY, digest it, read it again and again? I am not allowed to give the first three chapters, so I'm at a very big disadvantage. Maybe the moderator will change his mind if people show an interest.
  • Janis
    55
    Why? couldn't we have to make a choice between two greater satisfactions? Perhaps without knowing which is the greater?

    Doesn't look promising.
    Banno

    It is very promising. :grin: You just aren't analyzing it correctly. If two choices are tough to decide upon, it just means that your choice could be either/or. The difference between the two choices don't hold any compulsion for one preference over another. Imagine two items on a menu that you like and it's hard to pick between the two. You could close your eyes and pick one, you could say eenie meenie minee mo, or you could just pick one over the other because it would be like choosing between A and A (it really wouldn't matter). Finally, you could choose not to pick either item, which is also a choice in the direction of greater satisfaction. Just to be clear: As long as you are comparing MEANINGFUL differences, you cannot choose that which gives you less satisfaction when a more satisfying option is available. I hope that helped.
  • fdrake
    2.3k
    SohpistCat, you can't be serious? Do you actually think that 6 posts is enough to give a fair and balanced commentary on a 600 page book that reveals a very important discovery? Would you judge any philosopher without reading his work CAREFULLY, digest it, read it again and again? I am not allowed to give the first three chapters, so I'm at a very big disadvantage. Maybe the moderator will change his mind if people show an interest.Janis

    Well you are allowed to present the arguments. You're currently using the book and its absence as a cudgel. It's also extremely commonplace that people here take sections of long and involved books and discuss them, with relevant quotes from the book. Just because we don't like advertising and unsubstantiated references doesn't mean you have to keep playing peekaboo - a form of unsubstantiated reference.
  • Janis
    55
    I think his idea is pretty original in that if you assume that humans have some special capacity for free will, then even if that is true, then that free will is constrained by everything else in the world, rendering said "free" will moot in a world that is deterministic.Wallows

    Exactly Wallows. Humans do not have a special faculty that allows them to choose what is worse for themselves when something better, in their eyes, is available. It's impossible to do, hence the claim that this is a law of our nature. How can the will of man be free when we are under a compulsion to pick the most preferable alternative each and every moment of time? This contemplative process occurs when we are weighing the pros and cons of a particular choice. Our preference for one choice over another is the compulsion desire is forced to take, rendering any other choice an impossibility at that moment. Free will assumes A and B are perfectly equal in value; that one can choose one or the other without compulsion or necessity even when there is a tremendous amount of compulsion to pick the choice that gives one the greatest satisfaction when all the possibilities are considered. It does not mean that every single movement involves contemplation. For example, I just scratched an itch. I didn't think about it. It was as reflex action that did not involve decision making. Rather, I moved off of the present spot (which represents here) to a more comfortable position (which represents there). We are always moving off of the present position which has become uncomfortable (or dissatisfying) to a more comfortable position (which is more satisfying). If we were satisfied to remain in one position (which is death), we would have never have moved to there, which motion is life.
  • Janis
    55
    Is there a way to edit a post? It doesn't seem like any changes can be made once it's published. :sad:
  • Janis
    55
    Well you are allowed to present the arguments. You're currently using the book and its absence as a cudgel. It's also extremely commonplace that people here take sections of long and involved books and discuss them, with relevant quotes to the book. Just because we don't like advertising and unsubstantiated references doesn't mean you have to keep playing peekaboo - a form of unsubstantiated reference.fdrake

    You just said that I'm using the book and its absence as a cudgel and yet it's commonplace that people here take sections of long and involved books and discuss them, with relevant quotes to the book. Well, which is it? I would be happy if I could do that, but my link was deleted. This is not advertising with unsubstantiated references, but when a discovery is made, it obviously can't reference old material, because it's A DISCOVERY which implies it is original.
  • fdrake
    2.3k


    There's a big difference between just linking to a book and quoting it and providing exegesis. If you're unclear on the distinction look here or here or here for good examples of how to relate to a text.
  • Valentinus
    419
    Lessans (the author)Janis

    What is the name of the writing? What is the author's full name?
  • SophistiCat
    763
    I think his idea is pretty original in that if you assume that humans have some special capacity for free will, then even if that is true, then that free will is constrained by everything else in the world, rendering said "free" will moot in a world that is deterministic.Wallows

    She is not saying that, but if she did, that would be a bog-standard incompatibilist argument - just follow the links that I provided, or read any background on free will, or for that matter look through just about any online discussion of free will - chances are, you will read something similar there.

    What she has said so far amounts to giving a very simple psychological account of volition - and concluding from that that we cannot will. The argument follows a familiar scheme, famously skewered by Stove/Franklin as The Worst Argument in the World: "We have eyes, therefore we cannot see." We have volition, therefore we cannot will.
  • TheMadFool
    3.3k
    Yes. In very general terms, we do what pleases us. Indeed, the choices you provide (greater of two goods, lesser of two evils, good over evil) are sufficiently exhaustive and meaningful.

    Perhaps you wish to extend this model over all decisions and not only in the moral context you present in the OP.

    If so, you're correct but this may need to be analyzed a bit deeper.

    If I have anything to say then it is this that we are motivated in our choices by our innate, uncontrollable inclinations. Every thought, word and action leads back to them. In that there's no choice and therefore, no freewill.

    As I was writing this I just remembered a paradox that may be pertinent to the claim made by Mr. Lassens and you.

    Have you heard of Buridan's ass?

    In it an ass is placed exactly in the middle between two identical stacks of hay. As the paradox goes the ass will die of hunger having no logical or ''other'' reason to choose one stack over the other.

    So, Mr. Lassens argument works if choices are unequal. We always choose ''greater'' satisfaction as Lassen claims but what of Buridan's ass? There is no ''greater'' in this case and hence the paradox. Yet, I'm quite sure that any ''real'' ass put in such a situation won't starve to death.

    We also make choices even when alternatives are identical. Free will?

    May be not. The ass makes the choice between the ''lesser'' death by starvation and ''greater'' life.

    However, the point is that sometimes situations may arise where a choice has to be made between two identical alternatives. What then?

    For instance imagine you're to be shot to death and your choice is by twin A or twin B. There is no ''greater'' here and yet you can and do make a choice. Free will?

    Don't know for sure.
  • Janis
    55
    She is not saying that, but if she did, that would be a bog-standard incompatibilist argument - just follow the links that I provided, or read any background on free will, or for that matter look through just about any online discussion of free will - chances are, you will read something similar there.

    What she has said so far amounts to giving a very simple psychological account of volition - and concluding from that that we cannot will. The argument follows a familiar scheme, famously skewered by Stove/Franklin as The Worst Argument in the World: "We have eyes, therefore we cannot see." We have volition, therefore we cannot will.
    SophistiCat

    This is not what I'm saying. We have volition, therefore we CAN will.
  • Janis
    55
    es. In very general terms, we do what pleases us. Indeed, the choices you provide (greater of two goods, lesser of two evils, good over evil) are sufficiently exhaustive and meaningful.

    Perhaps you wish to extend this model over all decisions and not only in the moral context you present in the OP.
    TheMadFool

    Actually, the moral question is what matters the most. Are we morally responsible or are we not, and if will is not free, what are the implications in terms of the legal system? Whether I had to eat eggs over cereal this morning makes no difference to me.

    If so, you're correct but this may need to be analyzed a bit deeper.

    If I have anything to say then it is this that we are motivated in our choices by our innate, uncontrollable inclinations. Every thought, word and action leads back to them. In that there's no choice and therefore, no freewill.
    — "TheMadFool'

    We are motivated by environmental factors and by our heredity which compels us to make choices that are unique to us. Lessans explains why man's will is not free based on the satisfaction principle. Once understood, he shows where there has been a great misunderstanding in the present definition of determinism due to how the word "cause" is used. From there he goes on to demonstrate his two-sided equation. This is not math per se but does involve two sides.

    As I was writing this I just remembered a paradox that may be pertinent to the claim made by Mr. Lessans and you.

    Have you heard of Buridan's ass?
    — TheMadFool

    I have.

    In it an ass is placed exactly in the middle between two identical stacks of hay. As the paradox goes the ass will die of hunger having no logical or ''other'' reason to choose one stack over the other. May be not. The ass makes the choice between the ''lesser'' death by starvation and ''greater'' life.

    So, Mr. Lassans argument works if choices are unequal. We always choose ''greater'' satisfaction as Lassen claims but what of Buridan's ass? There is no ''greater'' in this case and hence the paradox. Yet, I'm quite sure that any ''real'' ass put in such a situation won't starve to death.

    We also make choices even when alternatives are identical. Free will?
    — TheMadFool

    Absolutely not. The ass doesn't actually contemplate like humans do. He certainly would not starve. He would move toward one stack or the other. Just because choices are equal in value does not make our choices free. It just means that we are comparing options that don't appear to be meaningfully different. It would be like comparing A and A. This happens quite a bit in everyday life. What should I choose at a restaurant. All the dishes look equally tasty. The next choice I make (whether it's to decide against any of the entrees, choosing one of the items based on asking someone to choose for me, or saying eenie meanie miney mo) would still be in the direction of greater satisfaction. Moving in this direction does not always involve conscious thought. As I explained earlier, just moving off of the spot called here (due to a feeling of discomfort or dissatisfaction with the present position) is a movement toward a more satisfying position. Remember, if you were satisfied with the present position or here, you would have never moved to there.

    However, the point is that sometimes situations may arise where a choice has to be made between two identical alternatives. What then?

    For instance imagine you're to be shot to death and your choice is by twin A or twin B. There is no ''greater'' here and yet you can and do make a choice. Free will?

    Don't know for sure.
    — TheMadFool

    This does not prove free will. We all have choices that seem to be difficult to make, and sometimes the choice, in the direction of satisfaction, is to choose randomly or without any forethought. This does not negate this natural law. Excerpt from the book.

    How many times in your life have you remarked, ‘You give me no choice’ or ‘it makes no difference?’”Just because some differences are so obviously superior in value where you are concerned that no hesitation is required to decide which is preferable, while other differences need a more careful consideration, does not change the direction of life which moves always towards greater satisfaction than what the present position offers.
  • Janis
    55
    What is the name of the writing? What is the author's full name?Valentinus

    Seymour Lessans, Decline and Fall of All Evil. I compiled 7 of the author's books 12 years after his death. This book has not been widely distributed, nor has it been carefully investigated (and it's been over 50 years; don't you think it's high time he should be given a fair chance). One review on Amazon was a complete misrepresentation. This guy didn't like one of Lessans' claims on a philosophy forum, so he went ahead and gave a horrible review. He was not even a real purchaser. I hope the people here are more objective than that and will come to their own conclusions.
  • fdrake
    2.3k


    You can edit a post by hovering your mouse pointer over the bottom bit of it and clicking the "...", you can only edit your own posts.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment