• Metaphysician Undercover
    6.1k
    Since when would a metaphysician think a thing as immaterial as theoretical moral philosophy have any kind of deterministic force incorporated in it, as a means of its justification?Mww

    That was your argument, that moral laws determine one's volition through the means of "moral constitution". I was merely pointing out the inconsistency in what you were saying, your self-contradiction.
    Moral law is the source of the form of determinism you said you don’t see. The laws conform to the agent’s innate qualifications, and determine one’s moral constitution, that which the will uses to formulate its volitions.Mww
    First you say people can behave in opposition to moral law, then you said that moral law determines ones volitions. How can moral law be said to determine one's volitions if people can behave in opposition to moral laws?
  • Bartricks
    1.1k
    Any case for the anything - including the Heisenberg uncertainty principle - will have to appeal to some rational intuitions and thus will presuppose the truth of the principle expressed in premise 1. Thus the Heisenberg uncertainty principle cannot be used to challenge the credibility of premise 1 - that'd be like using the fact you're on a second floor as evidence that there is no first floor.

    It is also important to distinguish two distinct questions - do we have free will? And 'what does free will involve?'
    The answer to the first question is "yes", for the evidence that we have free will is overwhelming - the rational intuitions of literally billions of people represent them to have free will. That is excellent evidence that we have free will.

    But it does not tell us what free will involves. That question is trickly. But the trickiness and debatable nature of mooted answers does not call into question that we have it.
  • Bartricks
    1.1k
    So, for instance, let's say we uncover overwhelming evidence that everything we do has been determined by prior causes. Well, it is more reasonable to conclude that we have therefore discovered that free will and antecedent determination are compatible, rather than conclude that we therefore do not have free will. Why? Because it is more intuitively clear that we have freee will than that free will is incompatible with antecedent determination.
  • PoeticUniverse
    733
    But it does not tell us what free will involves.Bartricks

    I take it to mean that the will is free of something, maybe of some restriction, beyond the usual no coercion meaning.
  • Bartricks
    1.1k
    no, not necessarily. For example, if I am free of information is my will freer as a result?
  • PoeticUniverse
    733
    no, not necessarily.Bartricks

    What would you say is the meaning of 'free' then?

    For example, if I am free of information is my will freer as a result?Bartricks

    No. The less information the narrower and less useful the will.
  • Bartricks
    1.1k
    I don't offer a definition - you haven't understood my point at all.

    Free will is free will and not another thing. Sometimes free will involves being free from things, sometimes it involves having things. Is there some pattern to it? Maybe, maybe not.

    The point, though, is that we can be sure we have it, even if we don't know exactly what it involves.
  • PoeticUniverse
    733
    I don't offer a definitionBartricks

    I knew that.

    The point, though, is that we can be sure we have it, even if we don't know exactly what it involves.Bartricks

    Compilation error… 'it': undefined reference.

    You're not alone; no one has been able to define what else is outside of fixed will and random will.

    'Free will', taken only as a stand alone, as something, independent of a definition, much like some do with 'Infinity' as being a completed amount or with 'Nothing' actually being, reduces to merely being something that sounds good to have, even over a fixed will that grants consistency and survival.

    Our next step, then, should be to define it, so then we can know what we have and then what it implies. Shall we try?

    ('Infinite' and 'Nothing' can't even be meant, much less be.)
  • Bartricks
    1.1k
    I don't know what you're on about. I don't have a definition of free will. But I know I have it.
  • PoeticUniverse
    733
    I don't know what you're on about. I don't have a definition of free will. But I know I have it.Bartricks

    Well, then, could you freely state its opposite so we might get a hint of what it could be by some kind of contrast?
  • Bartricks
    1.1k
    No, your approach is wrong. What deprives one of free will in one context may enhance it in another.

    Its akin to asking when a meal is delicious. Sometimes a meal will be delicious becusae of the presence of garlic in it. Sometimes it will be disgusting because of the presence of garlic in it. Nevertheless, although I can give you no formula for deliciousness, I know it when I encounter it.
  • PoeticUniverse
    733
    No, your approach is wrong.Bartricks

    Let us then leave free will to be undefined. Perhaps other responders might either clarify or note that it's neither known what it is or what it is not and so it has no basis for discussion.

    At some point here, I'll go on my own to at least narrow it down, if there's anything left.

    Our taste buds are roughly a 4-way matrix.
  • Mww
    1k
    Human rational agency naturally possesses both the capacity for morality, and its negation, equally, because of the intrinsically complementary nature of humanity in general. It follows that a human moral agent has the capacity to disregard his own moral constitution without contradicting the tenets and principles of any theory that merely describes and promulgates what his moral capacity ought to be. In other words, behavior is opposition to law reflects the immorality of the agent which in turn reflects on the agent’s disrespect for the law, but doesn’t contradict the theory that shows how he should have acted if he had acted morally. Moral theory cannot prevent immorality, so it cannot be said to be contradicted by it.

    Word salad to follow........

    That was your argument, that moral laws determine one's volition through the means of "moral constitution". I was merely pointing out the inconsistency in what you were saying, your self-contradiction.Metaphysician Undercover

    Perhaps you’re having issue with how it can be that the installation of law is so easily supervened by actions contrary to what the imperative of law implies. Not so difficult to understand, when considered that all moral theory up to volitions is under the auspices of pure practical reason. The pure practical determinations of the will are the “ought” or the “shall” of moral response to empirical circumstance. As soon as the mental volition transitions to a representation of a physical act, reason itself transitions from pure practical to common practical, which immediately calls into effect the faculty of judgement. As with the empirical domain of human mental activity wherein understanding unites conception with intuition, so too in the case of personal domain of mental activity wherein the will unites a law with a volition, judgement is the arbiter as the consciousness of that activity, empirically the representation of which is given as cognition and becomes knowledge, and subjectively the representation of which is given as motivation and becomes action.
    ———————

    How can moral law be said to determine one's volitions if people can behave in opposition to moral laws?Metaphysician Undercover

    Which is, I suppose, the seat of antagonism between the idea of law and the appearance of self-contradiction in the disregard for them in behavior. Such arises because behaviors are the ends of the faculty of judgement, while volitions are the ends of the faculty of will. Behavior is physical, the will is strictly a priori. One cannot possibly have complete and unconditional power over the other, the former being physically real, the latter being merely thought. It is not contradictory for the moral law to be disregarded in favor of a more pleasant behavioral inclination, but it is certainly immoral.

    For each individual moral agent, moral constitution represents the compendium of moral laws given from innate (genetic) personality or very early-on experience, the ground of which is partially knowledge, partially feelings, hence must be thought as unconditioned, in order to thwart the absurdity of infinite regress.

    The arrangement of the laws with respect to each other according to their respective value or power is the moral disposition.

    Will is the faculty which represents the moral disposition and determines volitions with respect to them.

    Volition is not the behavioral act, but merely the a priori object that represents the correlation between the law and the morally sufficient act. It is clear that the “guilty conscience”, “dishonor”, and the like, so recklessly dismissed at the same time perfectly exemplifies the case where judgement overrules volition, and the behavioral act does not conform to the law, which manifests in the agent’s unworthiness for deeming himself a moral agent, for he is thence simply immoral.

    One would do well to abstract pragmatic observable empirical determinism, in which this necessarily follows from that physically, hence a posteriori, from dogmatic transcendental subjective determinism, hence a priori, in which this yet every bit just as necessarily follows from that morally. The practical application of the former is the means by which we fashion an understanding of the world in order to get something from it, the practical application of the latter is the means by which we fashion an understanding of ourselves with respect to others like us, in order to give something to it.

    There is no such thing as a free will and never was. There is a will obligated by personality, and there is a certain freedom such that the will is enabled to choose which laws suit the best moral interests of that personality in the fulfillment of its obligations.

    And for dessert we have........

    ......a perfectly reasonable system for relieving religion from its imprisonment of self-determinant human moral agency. Figurative alms and post-modernist accolades to Prof. Kant.
  • removedmembershiprc
    113
    I consistently experience myself as having free will, and others do likewise.

    This is the whole problem isn't it? You can simply redefine repeatability to make your claim appear to be coherent in a scientific sense, but that does not work, which is the argument I have been making this whole time. The problem is the subjective perspective. I can perceive myself as a continuously solid being, that does not negate the fact that 99% of the atoms comprising me are empty space. Do you see the problem with referring to your experience? If your experience is constructed as a byproduct of brain activity, why would you refer to it as trustworthy. This is why I refer to it as an illusion. Again, we are back to the same thing as before, is free will something you experience or something that actually exists. I would argue it cannot exist given what we know about cause and effect.

    Ok, so basically physical evidence? It doesn't make sense to ask for physical evidence of free will since, as was noted before, there is no reason to expect such evidence.

    It is not easy to have these conversations through these comment sections. When you say, "as noted before," I can't dig through a pile of comments to find what the argument was. To put this in context, I was describing what separates the scientific method from personal experience. The separation is in having physical references for the hypothesis being tested. If the hypothesis is both the product of subjective experience, and also being subjected to testing by that subjective experience, all you have is a circular argument, a self-referential, non-scientific grounds. Again, the whole point of me invoking the scientific method, and by extension, this appeal to physical analogues, was to show that when you can interact with things outside of yourself and compare them to other subjective being's experiences in interacting with those objects via the same method (repeatability), you have grounds on which to arrive at a non-circular theory to explain a phenomena. Your argument is basically, "I experience it, therefore it is real. It is real because I experience it." You are only providing a circular argument.

    Only by asking the counter question: How could we possibly know? There is not a time any human can remember when they "discovered" causality. It seems to develop in some children somewhat graudally, but whether that is from the brain developing or the brain receiving external input is impossible to say.

    I honestly do not follow your line of thought here. Perhaps you could phrase this in a different manner.

    I am not really sceptical that we are "correctly" perceiving reality, in the sense that you might be sceptial about correctly identifying a fata morgana. It's more that physical reality is only part of the universe hat I inhabit, and I see no reason to elevate it above all else. In that sense, I am equally sceptical of free will. I am not claiming free will is "more real" than physical reality either, just that we don't know either way.

    First of all, I do not think acknowledging cause and effect is "elevating it above all else." I am glad you said this because this is the whole rub of our disagreement. You seem to not really care what is "really real," only what you experience. This is exactly how every human lives their daily lives. Everyone operates on a pragmatic level. If you want to the analysis to end there, fair enough. I want to take it one step further and ask, what is producing these experiences, and is it possible that these experiences in themselves have some sort of dissimilarity to the "really real reality." In my opinion it is more interesting to posit this latter question, but if you only really care about pragmatic subjective experiences, I do not see that a inherently problematic, it would just appear that we have run out of things to discuss since we just have fundamentally different views.

  • Echarmion
    865
    This is the whole problem isn't it? You can simply redefine repeatability to make your claim appear to be coherent in a scientific sense, but that does not work, which is the argument I have been making this whole time. The problem is the subjective perspective.rlclauer

    But if you repeat an experiment, and get the same results, those results are only the same in the subjective perspective of each experimenter, right? Repeatability means that different people, doing the same thing, experience the same outcome. That is true for experiencing free will.

    I can perceive myself as a continuously solid being, that does not negate the fact that 99% of the atoms comprising me are empty space. Do you see the problem with referring to your experience? If your experience is constructed as a byproduct of brain activity, why would you refer to it as trustworthy. This is why I refer to it as an illusion.rlclauer

    All experience is constructed as a product of brain activity. That includes "scientific facts".

    Again, we are back to the same thing as before, is free will something you experience or something that actually exists. I would argue it cannot exist given what we know about cause and effect.rlclauer

    I can only know about what "actually exists" by experiencing it (that includes indirect experience such as reading a book about physics). So the question is why the experience of free will is supposedly less convincing than the experience of causality.

    It is not easy to have these conversations through these comment sections. When you say, "as noted before," I can't dig through a pile of comments to find what the argument was.rlclauer

    Well, the argument was that, assuming free will is "actually real", it's invisible from the outside.

    The separation is in having physical references for the hypothesis being tested. If the hypothesis is both the product of subjective experience, and also being subjected to testing by that subjective experience, all you have is a circular argument, a self-referential, non-scientific grounds.rlclauer

    But not everything can be established via the scientific method. For example: the scientific method itself. Do you agree?

    Again, the whole point of me invoking the scientific method, and by extension, this appeal to physical analogues, was to show that when you can interact with things outside of yourself and compare them to other subjective being's experiences in interacting with those objects via the same method (repeatability), you have grounds on which to arrive at a non-circular theory to explain a phenomena.rlclauer

    Right, but what about things other than phenomena? Free will is not a phenomenon, I don't experience it via the senses.

    I honestly do not follow your line of thought here. Perhaps you could phrase this in a different manner.rlclauer

    Let me put it this way: Do you think you "learned" what causality is by watching events happen? Or could it be that causality is a prerequisite for you to watch events happen in the first place?

    First of all, I do not think acknowledging cause and effect is "elevating it above all else." I am glad you said this because this is the whole rub of our disagreement. You seem to not really care what is "really real," only what you experience. This is exactly how every human lives their daily lives. Everyone operates on a pragmatic level. If you want to the analysis to end there, fair enough. I want to take it one step further and ask, what is producing these experiences, and is it possible that these experiences in themselves have some sort of dissimilarity to the "really real reality." In my opinion it is more interesting to posit this latter question,rlclauer

    Do you think the scientific method can tell us what is "really real"?
  • removedmembershiprc
    113
    But if you repeat an experiment, and get the same results, those results are only the same in the subjective perspective of each experimenter, right? Repeatability means that different people, doing the same thing, experience the same outcome. That is true for experiencing free will.

    The problem with the free will is that the experiencer and the experimenter are the exact same person, and as you acknowledged, with no reference point but their experience. This is why I brought up physical analogues.

    As far as the rest of your comments, the scientific method accounts for subjectivity. Is science done by subjective beings, yes. I honestly do not even understand why you are arguing that our subjective experience (like experiencing the earth as flat, from our limited subjective experience) is the same as the scientific method. The only reason I can imagine you are making this argument, is to elevate the reliability of your experience.

    I do believe the scientific method gives us more reliable information about "reality."

  • PoeticUniverse
    733
    I do believe the scientific method gives us more reliable information about "reality."rlclauer

    By Rovelli:

    “Science is not reliable because it provides certainty. It is reliable because it provides us with the best answers we have at present. Science is the most we know so far about the problems confronting us. It is precisely its openness, its constant putting of current knowledge in question, that guarantees that the answers it offers are the best so far available: if you find better answers, these new answers become science. When Einstein found better answers than Newton, he didn’t question the capacity of science to give the best possible answers—on the contrary, he confirmed it.

    The answers given by science, then, are not reliable because they are definitive. They are reliable because they are not definitive. They are reliable because they are the best available today. And they are the best we have because we don’t consider them to be definitive, but see them as open to improvement. It’s the awareness of our ignorance that gives science its reliability.

    And it is reliability that we need, not certainty. We don’t have absolute certainty, and never will have it unless we accept blind belief. The most credible answers are the ones given by science, because science is the search for the most credible answers available, not for answers pretending to certainty.

    Though rooted in previous knowledge, science is an adventure based on continuous change. The story I have told reaches back over millennia, tracing a narrative of science that has treasured good ideas, but hasn’t hesitated to throw ideas away when something was found that worked better. The nature of scientific thinking is critical, rebellious, and dissatisfied with a priori conceptions, reverence, and sacred or untouchable truth. The search for knowledge is not nourished by certainty: it is nourished by a radical distrust in certainty.”

    “This means not giving credence to those who say they are in possession of the truth. For this reason, science and religion frequently find themselves on a collision course. Not because science pretends to know ultimate answers, but precisely for the opposite reason: because the scientific spirit distrusts whoever claims to be the one having ultimate answers or privileged access to Truth. This distrust is found to be disturbing in some religious quarters. It is not science that is disturbed by religion: there are certain religions that are disturbed by scientific thinking.”

    Excerpt From: Carlo Rovelli, Simon Carnell & Erica Segre. “Reality Is Not What It Seems.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/reality-is-not-what-it-seems/id1112589038”
  • Echarmion
    865
    The problem with the free will is that the experiencer and the experimenter are the exact same person, and as you acknowledged, with no reference point but their experience. This is why I brought up physical analogues.rlclauer

    But physical analogues are also just experienced. Noone has access to anything outside their experience.

    As far as the rest of your comments, the scientific method accounts for subjectivity.rlclauer

    I know what you mean to say. It accounts for the mistakes individuals make. But there is another layer of subjectivity: The structure of every human brain. The scientific method does not allow us to escape the limitations of the human brain.

    I honestly do not even understand why you are arguing that our subjective experience (like experiencing the earth as flat, from our limited subjective experience) is the same as the scientific method. The only reason I can imagine you are making this argument, is to elevate the reliability of your experience.rlclauer

    I never said anything of the sort. I am a bit confused as to where you take this from.

    I do believe the scientific method gives us more reliable information about "reality."rlclauer

    That's not exactly what I asked though. Are you familiar with the idea of a reality behind reality? LIke the Simulation hypothesis?
  • PoeticUniverse
    733
    It appears that the problem comes about from the notion that the will is "freed" from the rules of a physical world and therefore exists as a personal supernatural means of determining one's course.Pathogen

    I could posit that the will has more inputs than we know, such as indications from the 5th dimension of the block universe about all of our possible futures via a survey of all our possible world-lines, but though would just be more inputs, although making the will work better; however, this wouldn't free the will from cause and effect, plus, who knows what 'free' really entails.

    The problem at the end of my last sentence above begs for a definition of a deeper 'free' beyond no coercion and random. None have been forthcoming, so we can only suggest what free will wouldn't be, and then see if anything is left.
  • removedmembershiprc
    113


    Yes I am familiar with the idea of reality behind reality, ie brain in a vat, simulation theory etc. So I do not really want to keep quibbling on minutiae. Can you just lay out your fully formed argument for why you think free will exists and why you think your subjective experience is an equally viable methodology for arriving at correct conclusions about the world we inhabit? all the quoting every other sentence and picking them apart ... I just don't have the energy to keep doing that
  • removedmembershiprc
    113
    Yes that is a very good passage. I do not think I made the argument that science gives us "the truth." I was arguing basically what the passage suggests, that science gives us a more reliable picture of the world than our own subjective experience might, and the inherent human bias in everyone, is mitigated through the scientific method.
  • PoeticUniverse
    733
    so we can only suggest what free will wouldn't be, and then see if anything is left.PoeticUniverse

    Free will is not a fixed will voting as it must, nor is it 'random', which is the worst unfree, nor is it even having all known block universe futures to pick from, nor is it consciousness having the same information as the brain and using its own mechanism, without the brain, nor is it to be free of the will, nor …?

    So, there's not anything left, which means that 'free will' as a stand-alone something cannot be, much like an oxymoron, and also that it cannot even be meant, such as the case we have with other words with no context, almost like 'Nothing' or 'Infinite', and although the latter have definitions, the definitions serve to undo the ability of the stand-alone words in themselves to be something extant.

    So, we have will, its constancy reflecting us and also benefiting us—toward having a future via its predictions.
  • Bartricks
    1.1k
    I am not clear on your last point - if we have overwhelming evidence that we have free will (our reason, which is our ultimate guide to what's what, represents us to have it), then it is an objective possibility (for anything actual is possible).

    If our decision-making processes are indeterministic to some degree, then I agree that this would seem to pose as much of a problem as antecedent determination by external causes. Both seem incompatible with free will. That is, our reason does not just represent us to have free will, it also tells us something about what it involves, albeit negative things. It tells us that having free will involves one's decision-making process not being wholly determined by external antecedent causes, and it tells us that it also involves an absence of indeterminacy. That our reason makes such representations cannot seriously be in doubt, for both compatibilists and incompatibilists in the traditional debate make appeal to these intuitions.

    It is possible to satisfy those conditions if one exists of necessity rather than contingently.
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