• god must be atheist
    1k
    The Grand Canyon's shape and our choices have this in common: they are inevitable. What is unique about ourselves is that we are complex decision-making machines, while the Colorado River is not. The output of a computer program is inevitable, but the computer is still needed to perform the computing that produces that output. Our choices are inevitable, but the workings of our brains are still necessary to reach that inevitable outcome.Relativist

    Things of different complexity still obey determinism. It makes no difference how complex one mechanism is and how simple another one is. They both obey the cause-effect chain to be not broken by some supernatural intervention.
  • Relativist
    862
    Things of different complexity still obey determinism. It makes no difference how complex one mechanism is and how simple another one is. They both obey the cause-effect chain to be not broken by some supernatural intervention.god must be atheist
    Agreed.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    It was predictable, but that doesn't change the fact that the choice was a product of my internal processing - and I ate what I wanted. If you eat what you want, why would you not consider that your own free choice?Relativist

    here you have to be extremely careful, with the processing of the ideas, Relativist. The choice is yours, but it's not free... it is restricted, and predictable. If it were not restricted, it would not be predictable. Restriction works two ways: it excludes other choices, and makes one choice prevail.

    On the other hand you say it's your choice. Your choice, and not of other's. Well, nobody and nothing influences your choice that you make, other than your inner desires and functions. But they are only free from OUTSIDE forces. Your inner world is completely dependent on causal chains, which have outside forces in their formation.

    So... there are outside causes that caused your inner choices and wants and desires; and there are outside forces that do not affect your choices.

    The trick is to see tha the outside forces have predicated your inner choices; therefore they occurred in the past. Your outside forces in the present have some restricting force (not on your will but on your choice).

    You MUST make this distinction between present and past outside forces that on one hand do not restrict your will, and on the other hand, do restrict your will, respectively.

    And the main issue that I am trying to drive in, is that your will is CAUSED by your inner world, but it is CAUSED and these causes are themselves caused in turn. Since a cause can have only one effect, or a conglomeration of causes can only have one effect, it follows that the effect is restricted.That is my point. The effect is not free. And the causes that cause that effect are not free, either, they are restricted, by the causes that caused them in turn.
  • Relativist
    862
    And the main issue that I am trying to drive in, is that your will is CAUSED by your inner world, but it is CAUSED and these causes are themselves caused in turn. Since a cause can have only one effect, or a conglomeration of causes can only have one effect, it follows that the effect is restricted.That is my point. The effect is not free. And the causes that cause that effect are not free, either, they are restricted, by the causes that caused them in turn.god must be atheist
    I agree with this, but it ignores moral accountability.

    Engaging in bad acts (murder, stealing...) is (and should be) discouraged by holding people accountable for their actions. They are responsible because they COULD have refrained from committing the act - and they WOULD have done so if they better understood the consequences (both the punishment, and the internal feelings of shame and guilt). I want to encourage good behavior, and if my desires are realized - then there will be more good behavior. It will have been inevitable, but my contribution (and that of others who are like minded) will have been important contributors to making this happen.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    If you only consider the fact that everything that occurs is inevitable, you have no basis for holding anyone accountable for their actions. I say they are accountable because they COULD have done something different. They WOULD have done different had they better understood the consequences, By holding people accountable in this way, it encourages more moral behavior. I want everyone to behave more morally, and this will only occur if morally is encouraged. If my program is successful, it doesn't matter much that it was inevitable - my role in it was still important.Relativist

    This is a totally different ball game. You can influence others' behaviour by moral upbringing or by enforcing the law.

    Let's focus on the law, and I ask you to do this, because there is no clear definition of morality, there is no absolutes in morality, therefore it is easier to deal with the law, since it is codified, and thus, defined in no ambiguous ways. (Haha. As if. But let's work with law "as if".)

    So you insist that people be accountable for their actions. This I support, and indeed, they are. Despite not having a free will.

    How can we nail them to their misdeeds if they don't have a free will?

    Presumably people are aware of the law. Even if in a rudimentary way. We all know that murder, theft, rape, brutality, abuse, and fraud are all illegal.

    They consider the law. If they break the law then simply their choice was to break the law, because they had been predicated to break the law. They had the sum total of the causes that influenced their will to break the law.

    If they get caught and convicted and sentenced, then it sends a message to many, many other people: do not break the law because you get into big trouble.

    So this will be just one more influencing factor in their behaviour choices. They are going to toy with killing auntie or uncle in the hope of a big inheritance. and therefore they are going to want to kill them, but they will not to kill them, because they are aware of the consequences or with the possible consequences. This will affect their will, and cause their accountability to come into existence.
  • Relativist
    862
    How can we nail them to their misdeeds if they don't have a free will?god must be atheist
    That's my point: they DO have free will - no one is making them do the wrong thing. Sure, that they would choose to do wrong is a product of outside forces, but encouraging good behavior is also an outside force - so we should engage in it.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    Dear Relativist, I don't want to go into morality, or ethics, because I wrote a huge paper on it, which I wish to publish but it's not going well, because I have no academic training in philosophy. But I still have some hope of publishing it, and therefore I don't want to deal with morality until I revealed to the world what morality or ethics mean to me. So please I ask you to avoid that part of the topic. Plus whatever can be covered under morality can be covered under law, so please let's stick with law.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    How can we nail them to their misdeeds if they don't have a free will?god must be atheist

    This was a rhetorical question which I proceeded to answer. Please read my entire post that contained that. The post answers the rhetorical question, including the causation of encouraging good behaviour and creating accountability. With using the notion of no free will included in the argument.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    It's nearly three o'clock in the night at my location. I'm turning in. Good night.
  • Relativist
    862
    This was a rhetorical question which I proceeded to answer. Please read my entire post that contained that. The post answers the rhetorical question, including the causation of encouraging good behaviour and creating accountability.god must be atheist
    I would like you to understand that free will is actually consistent with determinism - you too hastily dismissed that. It's as free as it needs to be to hold people accountable (regardless of whether we're talking morality or the law).

    I'll add a comment on this:

    If they get caught and convicted and sentenced, then it sends a message to many, many other people: do not break the law because you get into big trouble.god must be atheist
    I agree - and therefore we should embrace this process EVEN THOUGH whatever occurs was inevitable. What we do, as a society (in terms of the laws it passes, the enforcement, etc) - are integral to what will occur. Despite the fact that the future is inevitable, we are ignorant of the future and we are part of the process that determines what that future will be.

    So my main two points are:
    1) the will is sufficiently free to hold people accountable;
    2) we are not powerless - we make the future. It's irrelevant that the future that we make is inevitable because what we do (or don't do) will still have contributed to that future.
  • Relativist
    862
    It's nearly three o'clock in the night at my location. I'm turning in. Good night.god must be atheist
    Yikes! It's only an hour earlier here. I guess we both got carried away. Fun conversation.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    If you're referring to Quantum Mechanics, it's still (at least) probabilistic determinism - when there is quantum uncertainty.Relativist

    The (ontological) probabilities of determinism are 0 and 1.
  • AngryBear
    19
    For now I dont think we have free will because if the science of particle physics is correct then it appears everything that happens is a direct result of a reaction much like a series of Dominoes pushing each other over. So our decisions could simply be the result of the conditions of the moment.

    We choose to walk instead of taking the bus because a condition was created from previous events that made us prefer walking instead of the bus.

    And the feeling that decisions give us is simply another condition in the chain, our emotions have been pushed into a particular state, so the feeling works the same way as the decision making.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    We choose to walk instead of taking the bus because a condition was created from previous events that made us prefer walking instead of the bus.AngryBear

    What if you choose daily and it works out to about 50-50 with no discernible pattern?
  • AngryBear
    19
    There doesn't have to be a pattern, because there are so many factors behind a decision its different each time, meaning that the reason why I decide to walk (of the 50%) is different each time and the times I pick the bus are also from different conditions.

    If you flick a coin 100 times, the reason why it landed heads so many times and tails so many, is because of the conditions: where it was held in the hand, the energy in the flick, the density of the air, the dirt that kept adding to the coin surface etc. And a lot of those conditions were created because of the conditions of the persons body, their mind, the changing environment, and on it goes.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    I would like you to understand that free will is actually consistent with determinism - you too hastily dismissed that. It's as free as it needs to be to hold people accountable (regardless of whether we're talking morality or the law).Relativist

    I think accountability rests on a completely different mechanism. It is not on freedom of will that it rests on; but it rests on the persona who is caused by his internal and external motivating factors to commit an accountable act.

    If you name it something else but free, I will buy it. But freedom does not exist in a deterministic world. Freedom is a lack of restrcitions, and as such, everything that happens is restricted to the causes that have been determined already.

    It is not consistent to imagine a world where nothing is free (nothign is unrestricted) except the Will.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    There doesn't have to be a pattern, because there are so many factors behind a decision its different each time, meaning that the reason why I decide to walk (of the 50%) is different each time and the times I pick the bus are also from different conditions.

    If you flick a coin 100 times, the reason why it landed heads so many times and tails so many, is because of the conditions: where it was held in the hand, the energy in the flick, the density of the air, the dirt that kept adding to the coin surface etc. And a lot of those conditions were created because of the conditions of the persons body, their mind, the changing environment, and on it goes.
    AngryBear

    Sure, so assuming something other than preferences or conscious states in general as the reason then?
  • AngryBear
    19
    Again this is just a possibility i'm thinking about and am not 100% sold on it, but I think here that there are preferences and social states but they are simply one of the conditions I speak of. And that they are a result of previous conditions.
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    It's nearly three o'clock in the night at my location. I'm turning in. Good night.
    — god must be atheist
    Yikes! It's only an hour earlier here. I guess we both got carried away. Fun conversation.
    Relativist

    You bet. I enjoyed it every bit, too.
  • Relativist
    862
    I think accountability rests on a completely different mechanism. It is not on freedom of will that it rests on; but it rests on the persona who is caused by his internal and external motivating factors to commit an accountable act.god must be atheist
    We probably agree with this: If a person is forced into performing a crime he is not responsible or accountable. If he was not forced into performing that act, he is responsible and accountable.

    Where we differ is that I would label the latter case an act of free will, and you would not. I'm curious: what would free will look like if it existed? Let's say you make decision that is the product of your genetic and environmental dispositions, your beliefs, your impulses, the external conditions (temperature, humidity,...) how you felt, etc. The choice is consistent with determinism because all those factors have been caused. Now describe what must hypothetically be added or replaced to turn this decision into an act of free will -by your definition of free will.

    .
  • god must be atheist
    1k
    free will: unrestricted will.

    Example:

    I have no reason to eat spaghetti with red lime sprinkled with arsenic. I am not insane, or an idiot. I like life, and I like good, tasty food, they types most people would like. I would eat spaghetti with red lime sprinkled with arsenic, because my will would be free from restrictions.

    RE: your example. I don't agree with your analysis. But this has been going on for too long. i am tired of this subject, and I wish to abandon it.

    In closing, if free will is predetermined, why do some people call it free will? Like those people who call themselves free-thinkers. Whoever thought that name up?

    These are not questions I need an answer to. Please, let's leave this topic, which we already pounded to death. If we still have differences, so be it, I'm too pooped out to continue.
  • Relativist
    862

    OK, but then I'll also make a closing statement.

    It is logically impossible to make a decision that is an act of "unrestricted will". Every decision is a result of a set of factors (memories, beliefs, genetic dispositions, environmentally conditioned dispositions, learnings, desires, impulses, etc) that are in place at the time of the decision. Given those factors, there is zero chance an alternative decision could have been made in those exact circumstances. This isn't simply because determinism is true, it's because these factors are all inclusive - there are no other factors that could result in a different decision.

    To illustrate, let's assume libertarian free will exists and John has a decision to make at time t1. At t1, Johan has a specific set of memories, beliefs, etc, and he makes decision X. If it is indeed possible to for John to make a decision other than X, why is he making it? The stated set of factors includes everything within John that can influence the decision, so if he could actually make a different decision, it would not be because of any of those fixed, internal factors. In that case, what can an "unrestricted" decision entail? Is it a freedom to ignore one's prior beliefs (etc)? No, because that entails an internal urge to ignore those beliefs (etc) - still internal. At t1, that urge is either present or it isn't - and whichever it is, it's a fixed fact. So I contend that alternative decisions are never possible (irrespective of determinism). Therefore the concept of an unrestricted freely willed decision is incoherent, a logical impossibility.

    We can still apply the term "free will" to decisions with the understanding that "free will" entails accountability, and the fact that an alternative decision could have been made - if the person had only had some additional belief. If this doesn't seem free enough, bear in mind that it's as free as is logically possible to be.
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