• tom
    1.5k
    Compatibilists often define an instance of "free will" as one in which the agent had freedom to act according to their own motivation. That is, the agent was not coerced or restrained. Arthur Schopenhauer famously said "Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills."charleton

    We know this is false. The human brain is a universal computing device, which can be arbitrarily programmed.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Thanks for the non sequitur.
  • tom
    1.5k
    Thanks for the non sequitur.charleton

    According to science Schopenhauer was wrong.
  • bahman
    530
    You reject compatibilism, but you are actually rejecting the concept of non deterministic free will.charleton

    I don't think so. I am aiming compatibilism. Free will and determinism are compatible under Compatibilism. One need to show that is however possible. I am showing that it is impossible.

    A compatibilist is a determinist.charleton

    I agree.

    Compatibilists often define an instance of "free will" as one in which the agent had freedom to act according to their own motivation. That is, the agent was not coerced or restrained. Arthur Schopenhauer famously said "Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills." WIKIcharleton

    These are just wrong statements considering OP.

    Compatibilism is a moral stance which accepts that actions are determined, and accepts free will as an instance in which a person acted according to his own (determined) motivation, but was not forced by outside forces to act in that way.

    For example you have become determined by experience to be a thief, and you steal. Had you been coerced by another then you would not have been free to act.
    Compatibilism is a moral stance. Punishment is delivered to the person who is determined to transgress the law. Such a person can enter into consideration mitigating circumstances, and a judge my consider them. But the judge passes sentence upon a man caused to act contrary to law.
    It is not a metaphysical proposition. Compatibilism is a social proposition.
    charleton

    Well, lets put morality and society aside.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    You have proved nothing.
    Please define compatibilism and I can show you how you have misunderstood the idea.

    I'm afraid you cannot put morality aside as compatibilism is designed to answer the free will problem of moral responsibility
  • bahman
    530
    Compatibilism is a system of belief in which free will and determinism are compatible with each other.
  • Janus
    6.2k


    The problem with compatibilism is that on the assumption of universal determinism the distinction between human and natural agency is not rationally justifiable; it is a human prejudice, an expression of inevitable ignorance.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Therefore compatibilism is impossible.bahman

    No, if we assume everything before you said is true, then libertarian free will is impossible. Libertarian free will is an incompatibilist position.

    Free will in another hand is the ability to initiate or terminate a chain of causality.bahman

    This is the libertarian free will definition. Not compatibilism.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.8k
    You reject compatibilism, but you are actually rejecting the concept of non deterministic free will.

    A compatibilist is a determinist.
    charleton

    Right, the compatibilist redefines "free will" such that what "free will" signifies is something which is compatible with determinism. All that this indicates is that the compatibilist rejects the traditional understanding of "free will", in favour of a different understanding of "free will". This does not make the traditional understanding of "free will" compatible with determinism, it just makes the compatibilist a determinist.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.5k


    Yes, Compatibilism doesn't make sense.

    There isn't free-will. It has been famously said that we do what we will, but don't will what we will.

    Our actions depend on our preferences and inclinations, and our surroundings.

    That's a good thing. It unloads from us the burden of "our" choices.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Janus
    6.2k


    That's exactly right. But proponents of compatibilism will say the libertarian conception of free will is incoherent. I don't believe that, but I do think that no explanation of free will is possible in the usual causal terms of science, because if decisions were explained as being determined (as distinct from merely influenced, mediated or constrained) by anything beyond the will then the decisions being explained could not be thought of as freely willed decisions.

    The problem with compatibilism, as I already suggested above, is that under its assumption moral responsibility is not rationally justifiable, but is merely something we cannot help feeling, and thus imputing to ourselves and others.
  • tom
    1.5k
    There isn't free-will. It has been famously said that we do what we will, but don't will what we will.Michael Ossipoff

    According to science, we can change what we will. Also, it seems apparent that people do this all the time. It's not as if we can be genetically determined to be astrophysicists.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    4.8k
    The problem with compatibilism, as I already suggested above, is that under its assumption moral responsibility is not rationally justifiable, but is merely something we cannot help feeling, and thus imputing to ourselves and others.Janus

    Just as libertarian free will is incoherent, and therefore an illusion, to the compatibilist, so moral responsibility follows into the same category. As freedom of choice is something we "feel" that we have, but is not understood rationally by the compatibilist, so is moral responsibility.

    But proponents of compatibilism will say the libertarian conception of free will is incoherent.Janus

    Free will is a complicated subject, requiring much study. It's a lot easier to say that it is incoherent than it is to understand it.
  • Janus
    6.2k
    Free will is a complicated subject, requiring much study. It's a lot easier to say that it is incoherent than it is to understand it.Metaphysician Undercover

    The problem is that our explanations of how things work, and how they are possible, are comprised by the kinds of causal explanations that science consists in, and no such explanation of free will is possible. In the 'human' sciences we also give explanations in terms of what people decide to do based on reasons; but this still leaves entirely open the question of whether the actors are truly free, in the strongest libertarian sense, to decide what to do.

    I take the view that freedom is inexplicable, just as experience, knowledge, truth and even being itself all are. All of these are simply presupposed by all our doings and discourses; and on that basis are axiomatic, and must be accepted without rational foundation; they are themselves the foundation of rational explanation. No explanation of any of these can be given that does not presuppose what it purports to explain. This is simply the human condition
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.5k
    There isn't free-will. It has been famously said that we do what we will, but don't will what we will. — Michael Ossipoff


    According to science, we can change what we will.
    tom

    What falsifiable, tested and long-unfalsified scientific theory says that?.

    A person can train himself/herself to not want so much high-calorie food. ...if s/he already wants to do so.

    When I said that what you do is determined by your preferences and inclinations, of course that includes hereditary ones, and acquired ones too, including ones that you'd set out to train yourself to (because you wanted to).

    Also, it seems apparent that people do this all the time.

    Sure. That's the goal of dieting.


    It's not as if we can be genetically determined to be astrophysicists.

    There's obviously a hereditary component, for the talent for such things, just as there is for Sumo wrestling, bodybuilding-competitioin, etc. No amount of wanting and effort would have qualified most people for Sumo wrestling or international championship bodybuilding. People are born with predispositions and ability, including, but not limited to, physical ones.

    It's common for long separated identical twins to both be in the same occupation.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • SonJnana
    243
    Assuming determinism...

    We don't have free will in the sense that in a deterministic world, what we choose is based off our brain state at that moment and we aren't ultimately free to choose our brain states. Even if you decide that you will decide to train your brain so that no longer like pizza and it works, the decision to train your brain was due to your brain states at the moment when you made your decision. And if you want to keep going through a chain of causality and say that your brain states at any moment in time were due to past decisions you made (saying "he ended up like his friends but he still originally could have chose other friends"), you would eventually end up theoretically going back to a "first decision" which lead to everything else. And that "first decision" was caused by your brain state at the point in time which you couldn't have had control over.

    Compatibilism isn't impossible because compatiblists change the definition of free will to acting on your motives without being "coerced" in some sense. There is obviously a difference between choosing pizza over carrots because you like pizza and choosing pizza over carrots because there is a gun pointing at your head. But when compatilists redefine free will in this way, I think it misses the point. Sure you may be free to express the decisions of your brain state at the moment without your brain state being altered by someone holding a gun to you, but you still don't ultimately control your brain state at that moment. We are a product of the complex interplay of nature and nurture. Genes, brain structure, other people, diets, etc. are constantly interacting and changing one's brain states.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    We don't have free will in the sense that in a deterministic world, what we choose is based off our brain state at that momentSonJnana

    It is a bit more complicated than this. In a deterministic world EVERYTHING is determined. Every single particle (including quantum particles, which is a different story entirely) is determined. The "brain" holds no privileged position. So, somehow in some totally unexplainable manner, all particles are coordinating in such a way as though it appears (to the particles) that they are making decisions. "Brain states" and the status of brains in human physiology are illusions that mysteriously arise out of the Big Bang. Permit me to be skeptical of this fabricated story.
  • SonJnana
    243
    You quoted half of my sentence and left off "and we aren't ultimately free to choose our brain states". In the context of my comment, I thought I made it pretty clear that the brain holds no privileged position. In fact I said that our brain states are part of determinism and our decisions are based off our brain states, that is why we don't have free will.

    Also, this was all assuming determinism as I stated in the beginning. However even if quantum mechanics somehow were to go against determinism because they actually were random (which we haven't proven yet, we just don't understand them at all), that still wouldn't leave room for free will. There is no combination of determinism and randomness that will give you free will in that sense.

    So, somehow in some totally unexplainable manner, all particles are coordinating in such a way as though it appears (to the particles) that they are making decisions.Rich

    I gave this perspective in another thread

    All living things react. Even nonliving things react, like mercury to temperature in a thermometer. Living things are more sophisticated though obviously. Bacteria will react to things such as resources needed to survive. A lizard has the ability to move around and react to danger and food, things needed to survive. Mammals can take a step further when they form actual societies in which they have systems of operating. They can react to other members of their group and cooperate, play.

    What makes humans so special? Maybe it's just that we have the ability to react to our own reactions. A dog might be happy when getting attention. A human might be happy when getting attention, but also has to ability to react to his/her own reaction. If you're happy, you can reflect on it and think about why you're happy. A higher awareness that you are happy.

    Humans have evolved to have the ability to think about our own thoughts. Think about a dog. Now think about the fact that that you are thinking about the dog. Now think about the fact that you are thinking about the fact that you are thinking about the dog.

    I wonder if any other animals have this ability at all. Maybe other apes can to a much smaller degree than humans. Imagine you are being chased by a bear. The only thoughts in your head are about survival and you might get so into that that you might not be able to think about your thoughts in the moment. Your brain is too preoccupied with survival. Or like if you get into a movie so much you forget about reality. Maybe many animals have that style of thinking all the time about reality that they can't think about the fact that they are reacting to things. While humans on the other hand have the ability to react to our own reactions in the sense that we can think about our thoughts.

    This is just interesting thought, and I wonder if our increasing understanding of neuroscience and the brain will one day look at consciousness this way.

    Psychology is a more complex version of biology, which is a more complex version of chemistry, which is a more complex version of physics.
    SonJnana
  • Rich
    3.2k
    brain states are part of determinismSonJnana

    Your discussion of brain states is irrelevant as far as determinism is concerned. You might as well talk about toenail states. There is only a universal state that miraculously maintains illusionary forms for the amusement of itself.

    Determinism is a hard act to follow. If anyone believes religion stretches creduity then they should be totally blown away with determinism.

    Quantum mechanics is certainly not random. If it were it couldn't predict anything. It is probabilistic and is consistent with decision processes that could include choice, as Bohm demonstrated.
  • SonJnana
    243
    Your discussion of brain states is irrelevant as far as determinism is concerned. You might as well talk about toenail states. There is only a universal state that miraculously maintains illusionary forms for the amusement if itself.Rich

    When I am saying brain states I mean that the way the brain is at a certain point. So if you went through a traumatic experience, the physical state of your brain would be altered and now you would make decisions based off of the state of your brain now rather than before the traumatic experience. That's all causal and very relevant to determinism.

    Quantum mechanics is certainly not random. If it were it couldn't predict anything. It is probabilistic and is consistent with decision processes that could include choice, as Bohm demonstrated.Rich

    I was just saying that regardless if particles had determinism or hypothetically randomness to them, no combination of those two would give free will.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    When I am saying brain states I mean that the way the brain is at a certain point. So if you went through a traumatic experience, the physical state of your brain would be altered and now you would make decisions based off of the state of your brain now rather than before the traumatic experience.SonJnana

    You are mixed up. The brain doesn't make any decisions and I have no idea what "you" is. There is no trauma. It's all last illusion that determinists see through. I sometimes wonder why the Laws of Nature maintain the illusion that brain surgery has any meaning. The brain is not doing anything other than what is already determined.

    Determinism makes everything meaningless including this discussion. It is quite a philosophy.
  • SonJnana
    243
    The way you are looking at determinism... maybe decisions, you, trauma, etc. don't mean anything in some ultimate sense but they still mean something in some practical sense. In a practical sense you know what I mean by those words.

    Determinism makes everything meaningless including this discussion. It is quite a philosophy.Rich

    Just because I acknowledge that I care about my family because of the way my brain state is, which is just a part of a chain of cause and effects, doesn't mean I don't care about my family or that they are meaningless to me. That's kind of silly lol. Determinism may make things meaningless in an ultimate sense, but we can still value things. In fact it may even give more meaning. I can reflect on the fact that hormones and neurotransmitters go off when I see my family as a cause and effect so I can be more in tune with the fact that I care about them.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Just because I acknowledge that I care about my family because of the way my brain state is, which is just a part of a chain of cause and effects, doesn't mean I don't care about my family or that they are meaningless to me.SonJnana

    You have made the mistake (as if such such things actually exists), of thinking you are thinking. Determinism has already determined everything that was and will be. You may think that you care only as long as determinism determines you should care. It may halt this illusion whenever it sees fit. Having graciously been allowed to see through the illusion by the feministic laws, I can assure you that everything is quite meaningless having already been determined.
  • sime
    198
    Those who don't believe in Compatibilism mistake the principle of necessity for an empirical fact.

    Remember, Hume was a compatibilist - and this wasn't coincidental to his understanding of the problem of induction and his solution of it. It pays to look closer at what we mean by something "being determined", and when we closely inspect this concept in light of the fact that none of our universally quantified inductions are rationally or empirically determined, we discover that determinism, whether physical or social, is implicitly defined in terms of our normatively driven decision-making.

    Hence the free-will vs determinism debate is nonsensical; for the ability to consider something as "being determined" already involves active choice on behalf of the cognizer.
  • SonJnana
    243
    You may think that you care only as long as determinism determines you should care. It may halt this illusion whenever it sees fit.Rich

    So what? In a non deterministic world, there's always a chance that I develop a brain trauma and stop caring about people anymore. Or die. Just because it could end eventually doesn't mean that I don't care right now.

    I can assure you that everything is quite meaningless having already been determined.Rich

    Haven't you ever gotten into a movie and enjoyed it even though you know it's determined? In a deterministic world, I can still eat ice cream and enjoy the experience. The ice cream has meaning to me, I value it. It is important to me because I like eating it.
  • SonJnana
    243
    for the ability to consider something as "being determined" involves active choice on behalf of the cognizer.sime

    It involves the person thinking that the universe is determined. But it could also have already been determined that the person would be thinking that the universe is determined. So I don't really see why that wouldn't work.
  • sime
    198
    It involves the person thinking that the universe is determined. But it could also have already been determined that the person would be thinking that the universe is determined. So I don't really see why that wouldn't work.SonJnana

    Can you explain this transcendental notion of "determination" that is over and above our practical judgements that something is determined?

    What does judging that some event is determined consist of? Does it involve a raw appraisal of information that tells us the event is in fact determined? Or is it more pragmatic, that we take the event as being determined, perhaps unconsciously and as a matter of course, for some intended purpose?

    When we judge something to be determined, first we look at a finite amount of evidence, then we jump to a conclusion and then we produce some sort of behavioural response. But if no amount of finite evidence can justify our conclusion on logical or empirical grounds, then our conclusions are merely part of our behavioural response which is arbitrary in relation to our understanding of the evidence.
  • tom
    1.5k
    What falsifiable, tested and long-unfalsified scientific theory says that?.Michael Ossipoff

    The theory is quantum mechanics, which is falsifiable, tested, and long-unfalsified. The principle the theory adheres to is the Church-Turing-Deutsch Principle, not to be confused with the Church-Turing thesis.

    The deduction is that the human brain can be arbitrarily programmed; the Mind instantiated on the brain can be changed. This is a basic physical fact.

    We already have several techniques for altering Minds, some rudimentary, some relatively sophisticated.

    In order to erect a barrier to us being able to alter our minds as we choose, you will need to come up with a falsifiable, tested and long-unfalsified scientific theory that says we can't. Over to you!
  • Cuthbert
    216
    There is an interesting anti-compatibilist argument based on moral responsibility. Assume someone is morally responsible for something. Assert that if I am morally responsible for y and x causes y then I am morally responsible for x. (Note which way round this statement goes: it's not saying we are responsible for consequences; but we are responsible for antecedents of anything that we are already granted to be responsible for. If I crash the car and kill someone I'm not necessarily responsible, e.g it might have been an unavoidable accident or a pedestrian suicide. But if it's granted that I'm responsible for the death and the car crash caused the death then I responsible for the car crash - that's the premiss we need for the argument). Assume causal determinism. Then the causal chain recedes back in time beyond my birth and I am morally responsible for causal antecedents that occurred before I existed. Which is absurd. So either causal determinism is false or there is no moral responsibility as we understand it.
  • tom
    1.5k
    It is a bit more complicated than this. In a deterministic world EVERYTHING is determined. Every single particle (including quantum particles, which is a different story entirely) is determined. The "brain" holds no privileged position. So, somehow in some totally unexplainable manner, all particles are coordinating in such a way as though it appears (to the particles) that they are making decisions. "Brain states" and the status of brains in human physiology are illusions that mysteriously arise out of the Big Bang. Permit me to be skeptical of this fabricated story.Rich

    You could even use the term SUPERDETERMINISM to emphasize that even quantum mechanics provides no loophole to escape the conspiracy theory that is Reality.

    Anyway, an amusing corollary is that the theory of Evolution is false, and that we were indeed created.
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