Comments

  • Deficiencies of Atheism
    OK, tim so, without being patronising, you know that to reconcile yourself towards something - or, for that matter, someone - means to convert some previously existing difficulty or antipathy into justifiable acceptance. Reconciliation with mortality would mean perceiving it, in the context of understanding everything that it represents, as nonetheless representing a meaningful as opposed to merely an accidental or logically inevitable conclusion of life.

    - Got to go! :)
  • Deficiencies of Atheism
    Yeah - unlike you, Tim Wood, I've no access to a spell checker right now! Regarding your injunction that I "write better", well, I'd say, check your own lazy abysmal grammar! As to complacently congratulating yourself on your relative concision, well I think you need to recognise that, owing to your excessively abreviated expression, your meaning, though no doubt clear enough to you, is as far as others are concerned buried in ambiguity. For all I know, maybe a universe is somewhere contained in each of your cryptic aphorisms - but that last question of yours anyway seems to have all the explicitness of a crossword clue! :)
  • Deficiencies of Atheism
    Dunno - the atheisticly based outlook then, beyond the limited dictionary definition. - You must know what I'm getting at in my posts!
  • Deficiencies of Atheism
    Well, S - I think it's yourself who's a bit muddled. You do of course believe, even if only subliminally - in that quite naturally like most people you probably never consciously think about it - that you can validly reconcile yourself with the prospect of your mentality. Otherwise you would be unable to sustain your existance and would increasingly destabilise. The 'God' question by comparison is in practice little more really than a party game - answering according to whatever currently is most fashionable.
  • Irrelevance in principle of the scientific method to a description of Conscsiousness.
    Just the irreducable personal experience of consciousness of self-existance by which we all operate from the cradle to the grave - devoid of verbal qualification.
  • Framing the 'Free Will' question
    The point, I would say, is to distinguish what would properly be the nature of a philosophical enquiry regarding the problem of free will, i.e. that such an enquiry should concern the possibility of moral autonomy, from what would properly be the nature of a neuro scientific enquiry concerning same, i.e. that the latter type of enquirey should be confined to considering the question of amoral autonomy.

    Relatively little in principle is contingent on the answer to the latter question – apart maybe from some consequences relating to how, say, ad campaigns might more effectively be designed to manipulate behaviour and stuff like that. On the answer to the former question of course are contingent factors critically related to the meaningfulness or otherwise of our human condition.

    It could perhaps be asked what free will might ultimately consist in if not in a state of moral autonomy? Accordingly then - until an alternative answer is provided - the object of a philosophical enquiry concerning the free will problem should be to consider the feasibility of that concept.

    There is a school of thought which proposes that moral behaviour in any given individual derives fundamentally from the degree of their objective moral knowledge and that the latter, unlike intellectual knowledge, cannot be gained vicariously but is acquirable only via personal experience. The basic postulate of this theory is that it is logically impossible for a human being to wilfully assent to an act they objectively know to be morally wrong and that free will (i.e. moral autonomy) must ultimately consist in objective moral knowledge consequent on personal experience, the degree of free will characterising an individual being concomitant with their degree of moral knowledge.

    Accordingly this theory considers the free will problem, as it pertains to philosophy, to be a sub set of the problem of moral knowledge.
  • Nihilism necessarily characterising a logical reality.
    -How unconcious chance produces extremes of fortune thereby creating mutually exclusive worlds of experience, its random nature meaning the most vulnerable may be dealt the worst hands, etc - phone running out of juice!
  • Nihilism necessarily characterising a logical reality.
    Once saw a burly hard-drinking GI weeping 'cause his Terrapin had died - I was equally puzzled...
  • Paradox?
    Wrote while pissed...
  • The Shoutbox
    Burp! Seems disilusionment is our fate an' that just about everything is to be revealed as an illusion - ie pschycology disguised as rational - ex Patriosm (great to imagine reactionaries being stupified) b ut also lots more stuff - like even Wuthering Heights type intensities of love! I understand from the messages I have received that I am to continue to imbibe until further revelation is conferred....Let you know!
  • The Shoutbox
    Happiness, Happiness - Yes of course! - Like oxygen! - But happiness without illusion?...Is it possible?...Improvising amidst this chaos I'll drink about that!
  • Objective evidence for a non - material element to human consciousness?
    Well, yes what I've described is very sketchy. The theory involves the idea of ancient pedigree that, concomitant with the material brain, there exists also a distinct and irreducable non-material mind, this being proposed as the fundamental agent of our moral awareness capable of enabling a type of insight not explicable in terms of the neural processes by which intellectual reasoning occurs and hence forcing a recourse to the idea of extra neural processes in order to account for such putative insight.
  • Nothing new under the Sun
    Well, though of course there are other culturally imposed modifications on human behaviour, the objective biological evidence I referred to would seem to indicate that the premier underlying factor motivating partner selection historically has been physical appearance.(And of course a dominant gene has removed the possibility of discriminating on the basis of hair colour in that society you mention! But seriously - I bet most young unmarried Indian people dream above all about a beautiful partner being selected for them!)
  • What do we want?
    t0m: Personally, I think, regardless of the possible objective validity of any materialist theory of consciousness, that the flaw inherent to all atheistic descriptions of our human situation is their view that through advocating for our acceptance of the concept of a materialist origin of consciousness - by virtue of which insight we could then it is claimed attain a freedom unencumbered by illusion to concentrate on maximising our potential for fulfilment in this life, albeit transient – their view that through advocating for such an acceptance, they thereby justifiably purport to represent a tenable solution to our predicament. – The view that with a realistically attainable measure of stoicism we can make a good play from the only admittedly not ideal hand of cards fate has dealt us.
    My own view is that this is inescapably a platitude. Apart from the reality that, in terms of the tolerability of their personal situation, chance inevitably deals a terrible hand to some - presumably then obliging such unfortunates, from the view point of atheistic theory, simply to pragmatically inculcate in the face of the prospect of unqualified annihilation that level of stoicism happening to be proportionate to the malignity of their current situation - there is also the question of how you could know you possessed an adequate concept of absolute eternal annihilation in terms of how profoundly consequential a thing it might actually intrinsically be. - It is of course an axiom that you cannot informedly reconcile yourself towards that which you cannot fully envisage. But then the news that a materialist theory of consciousness presents us with a predicament inherently unsolvable would be impossible to sell, the similarity between those of a religious and atheistic persuasion being that the adheerants to both outlooks equally indespensably require a solution to our predicament. We are incapable it seems to comprehend the possibility that there could exist in principle no valid solution to our human predicament, necessitating at all costs then that one be manufactured, even if in practice we could find any such contrived 'solution' to be satisfactory only by default.

    Got to go now! – But would like to add more subsequently if I've got time.
  • What do we want?
    The idea I was trying to express - hopefully not ambiguously - is that people aren't primarily concerned with what may be the consequences for the free will debate of a materialist theory of consciousness but, in summary, that they are instead primarily concerned about how this theory effectively condemns them to absolute eternal annihilation. OK maybe I'm mistaken in thinking my op expressed my view reasonably clearly, but off hand I cant figure how to clarify it further!

    NB: I have now edited my op slightly by adding (maybe more in hope than expectation) what might be a slightly clarifying clause to the end of the second para!) - Btw, despite any unconscious flaws in my means of expression, thanks for your interest anyway :)
  • What do we want?
    No, I didn't intend to comment on the free will aspect of Bennet's argument. I'm suggesting only that Bennet's contention - that it is in the popularly perceived notion that a material theory of consciousness is inimical to free will that the main reason for the disenchantment with the theory consists - is misguided. I'm trying to suggest alternative explanations for the popular antipathy towards a materialist theory of consciousness.
  • The Shoutbox
    “The good is not the source of being but is its’ goal.” Speusippus, disciple of Plato, c. 349BC. - They say some statements contain a Universe. I’d say that’s one. (No rambling there.)
  • The Shoutbox
    Hell is hell. - A tautology, I suppose. But then the gratification of inordinate desire might perversely lead to a sort of heavenly hell, entailing then the singular paradox whereby damnation could be characterised plausibly both as a tautology and an oxymoron....Hmmm
  • The Shoutbox
    Some time ago, happening to find myself sitting alone one day in a busy bar and I dare say looking a bit like ‘Johnny-no mates’, I decided, as a means of distracting myself and also to solve my embarrassing social predicament, to try an Internet chess app on my phone. Anyway, whether because of maybe an insufficiently strong signal or perhaps ‘cause the chess app itself was poor, I couldn’t manage to establish a connection to a game and had to give up. The nearest I got in my endeavours was to receive what struck me at the time as a plaintive sounding little voice, issuing forth over the ether and inviting me to, ‘Play’. Maybe naff, but I still today remember this, my only experience of attempting internet gaming, as feeling at that moment slightly haunting - how nowadays we can for an instant make contact with an anonymous individual (the owner of that little gaming voice could after all have been anyone anywhere in the world) and then after that never encounter them again... Wonder who that tentative seeker of a chess game ever was, even though I’d probably have got beaten anyway? It might have been Gary Kasparov for all I know! – There are indeed mysteries we will never devine!
  • 'Beautiful Illusions'
    BC. Yeah, methinks I have overdone the 'Curtain Call' routine a bit lately on this site. Of course it's all harmless really, so I s'pose I'll likely just hang around for a while yet - if more discreetly!
  • 'Beautiful Illusions'
    Cuthbert. Re your previous response; As another example of the idea suggested in my op: ‘Youth’ is sometimes described as being effectively the archetypal beautiful illusion – An idyllic situation accompanied by a feeling of immortality which thus tends to inform the young with a naive and illusory concept of how benign life is. Subsequently, through what, it is said, can sometimes be the painful and disillusioning process of aging, this situation gradually of course changes into one altogether less benign but which, by virtue of its’ being less cosseting, also into one which it is said can perhaps then act to promote within an individual a set of more robust values, less susceptible to being qualified by environmental variation and more accurately reflecting reality. - The process commonly called, 'growing up', I suppose! :) ('The Stoics' of old of course loved banging on uprightously about this idea!)
  • 'Beautiful Illusions'
    Sarpentia - Before you get any more of your own finely preened feathers ruffled, my op was titled the way it was so as to be a reference to the central idea contained within it – i.e. that the more idyllic an individual’s chance personal situation, then the more likely it might be to inform them with a concept of reality which was naive and illusory in terms of their awareness of what potentially life could be like otherwise, and also in terms of the values they construed.

    Of course you could dispute that premise, but maybe if you had paid even cursory attention to the post’s subject matter instead of sounding off so pedantically about ‘Site Guidelines’ and practically baying for it to be deleted then I wouldn’t now be requiring to accentuate the bloody obvious to you regarding why the post title! - Also, if as you say, you do genuinely require English of the level of my op to be translated for you then I can only assume either that, a) you’re a student of ‘English as a foreign language’, or, b) your dyslexic. - I.E. In future when you wish to vent your prejudices you would do better to select a target less dependent on such blatant hyperbolae for the rhetorical effect you seek!

    Finally - what is it with guys like you that a sentence containing a couple of extra clauses or a post perhaps exhibiting a mildly imaginative variation on conventional phrasing, such as my own innocuous effort, is enough to get you so up tight? Such a reaction is ott and naive. - If every post on this site not up to your own scrupulous standards regarding the observance of Site Guidelines - Section 3. paragraph c) I think you quoted in my case, and I sure wouldn't want to get that one wrong! - were to have been deleted, then my guess is we'd now be looking at blank screens! (Maybe an improvement though.) :)

    NB: Am finally rapping this place in btw. Been thinking of getting back into the healthier distraction of combat sport instead for a while now. - More beneficial than spending your time hanging over computers! Also the punches directed to you tend to be less mean spirited! Plus the fact - when you get to land a punch yourself that is - it's a lot more satisfying fun! :)
  • 'Beautiful Illusions'
    Having at present too much time on my hands, I edited my post further - adding on some more nuggets - prior to your reply, Baden! So much for trying to seem spontaneous! - Aufwiedersehen! :)
  • 'Beautiful Illusions'
    ' - Goodby cruel world ('specially PF) - For here do I now end it all! - - - Ahem! 'tis yourself, good Baden! - The timely intervention of your post has stayed my hand!
    So now - laying aside my razor as it were - I'm instead retrospectively contemplating how, in reality, many of us perhaps subliminally view PF more as a means of indulging in an ego trip, with all of the philosophy stuff ultimately being merely a vehicle for that process (myself excluded of course!) - and thus how this somewhat deprecating idea now perhaps lends an ironic twist to my op's title!

    Btw - We're both agreed on the idea that things should be 'Stated as simply as possible' - though perhaps not quite so well agreed regarding the subsequent caveat, '- but no simpler'. Although lots of posts submitted to PF are indeed, 'Dolly-Dimple', they are also, I find, characterised by routine grammatical error and ambiguity. Coherent sentence structure - when you're trying to incorporate a number of separate ideas into a sentence that is - unavoidably requires slightly more complex grammatical construction. However some people simply despise this and prefer instead the unconscious ambiguity of more basic sentence construction - even though ironically such ambiguity can sometimes lead to what is in effect an underlying complexity masquerading as simplicity. - Routinely you see what are in effect quite simpleton and unimformative posts being accepted in PF on the basis that the format of expression is basic and therefore that they're easily accessible.

    So then the point of all this wind is that, er, well it's that... do I really need to have a point? - oh yes well, so my point is definitely then that I think, I think compared to the average standard that is - well, that my efforts attract a disproportionate amount of detraction, and that, - and that really they're all truly, truly, splendid! - Yes, that's definitely what I think (along with legions of my secret admirers no doubt!) - So there! Done! :)
  • 'Beautiful Illusions'
    BC. I wasn’t going to bother replying but, on second thoughts, I’ve decided to try clear up a few points:

    As far as meeting with the requirements of this site regarding how to write a post, I'd say your advice is practical (I deliberately avoided saying ‘pragmatic’!). However that's why I'm packing in PF – Such advice as this, even when as in your case it's well intended, is a recipe inevitably for a type of English which is both soporifically bland and, as a vehicle for communicating nuances in philosophical debate, hopelessly imprecise. – Like for ex you actually told me that for fear of arousing offence at its’ alien nature I should have avoided using a word as routine as ‘conducive’ - and instead should have substituted something less precise like, ‘leads to’. Oh come on now – We’d have to declare half the words in the dictionary unacceptable at that rate!

    The only point you make that I do concede is that I am a bit undisciplined regarding the length of my sentences (owing maybe to my habit of typing posts on a phone during work commutes, which makes editing a little difficult). Anyway, it would certainly be a bit more considerate of me to shorten them – though in practice I still think the difficulty this kind of thing purportedly presents to people is more to do with fashionable preconceptions in favour of a simplistic type of expression together with a cultural resistance towards making a slight effort at interpretation, rather than that a sentence containing a couple of extra clauses genuinely creates some insuperable barrier to understanding. (-Oops! Sorry!)

    Personally, I find the funniest aspect of the numerous attempts made to date at ridiculing my posts by the likes of Hannover, etc - in that ironically I'm of course streets ahead of these critics in the articulacy department - to be ultimately their innocence. There's genuine comedy in seeing, as in the example of Hanover's remarks by which presumably he expected to publicly ridicule me, derision being confidently dispensed by an individual in the context of a gloriously unconscious naivety! In fact I've often wondered why it is that guys like Hanover are even interested in sites like this one at all? - Seriously, wouldn't they get all they want from, say, checking baseball scores? Anyway, without intending to implicate your good self, there's a common type of inverted snobbery among people such that if they happen to encounter a term which is even slightly different from what they're used to hearing at the level, say, of a typical bar-room conversation, then, for some unfathomable reason (prejudice is a strange thing but that's a post I’ll never submit) that’s sufficient to set their teeth a-gnashing.

    So in conclusion, though I haven’t really learned much about philosophy during my time in PF (Did anyone?) nonetheless it’s not been a complete waste, in that I have gained an awareness of how in practice human mentality is typically a greater barrier to understanding in people than any intellectual limitation! - All the best!

    (In retrospect though, maybe in reality many of us subliminally view PF more as a means of indulging in an ego trip with philosophy being the almost incidental vehicle - this perhaps giving an ironic twist to the title of the op!)
  • The Shoutbox
    Cheers, Baden! Glad to have had the effect of leaving the Wise One - May Allah make him fecund and his tribe increase - in such joyous spirits! I will send him my handsomest dromedary with the advice that through communing with it he may thus guarantee the enhancment of his venerable line! :)
  • The Shoutbox
    Could it make any sense to say that the greatest moment of your life is on the point of your death?...Just a thought!
  • 'Beautiful Illusions'
    Hmm! - You got me there, Hanover! :) (OK, I do of course get it that you're attemting to knock (a bit clumsily and niavely) what you see as the unnecessarily elaborate language in my OP, but, unlike your kinda dumb attempt at parody - my post aint comic-book gibberish! Either way, guess I should give some of those forum members who find english interpretation overly challenging a rest f'ra while! - And they do say anyway that the greatest moment of your life occurs at the very end! :) )
  • 'Beautiful Illusions'
    Maybe, but I''d still guess that in principle someone being forced to go through the journey of dealing, say, with the unexpected intrusion into their previously perfect life of a shattering cancer diagnosis might yet, amidst the incomprehension and disillusionment that could possibly be associated with the experience, earn a maturity that could not otherwise be 'bought' in terms of coming ultimately to be able to distinguish between illusory values and those genuinely more important in life. Like everyone else though, if my personal suffering was the price of gaining such less illusory and more stablising values - then I'd much prefer to hold onto my happy complacencies than make so exhorbitant a purchase thank you!
  • Subliminally sensing the nihilism of our Condition.
    Nils Loc: Well, I’m sure we could all agree that the inequity of the distribution of talents and advantages among human beings hardly corresponds with what we might expect to find in a situation resulting from ethical design. In fact, the more you witness in reality the degree of such inequity the more bizarre I think, regardless of whatever may be its’ ultimate cause, our situation strikes you as being, and therefore I’d say there is in fact some scope for the extraordinary speculation that sometimes in certain contexts our linguistic usage, allowing for its undoubted ambiguity, nonetheless may actually be representative of our subliminal sensing of the nihilism in fact characterising our condition!
  • Framing the 'Free Will question' in a less reducible form.
    szardosszemagad: My OP was an attempt to define more precisely what the aim from the perspective of philosophy of an enquiry concerning the possibility of free will should properly be.

    It could of course be stated that the obvious aim of such an enquiry would be to enable it to be decided whether any individual could be capable of irreducible self determination regarding the election of personal behaviour in cases where circumstance made available to them alternative choices regarding such. However such general types of dilemma could be distinguished into those categories of behavioural choice involving connotations which are moral in nature – ex whether to steal - and those involving connotations being solely amoral – like what colour to paint my apartment. My OP commenced with the assumption that the aim in principle of any enquiry from the perspective of philosophy concerning the possibility of behavioural self determination should exclusively be to determine the possibility of such self determination with regard to the former category of choice, together with the view that the question of self determination regarding the latter category should in principle be considered a problem relevant only to the discipline of neural science. Accordingly, I suggested that the ‘free will question’ from the perspective of philosophy might more accurately be posed along the lines of, ‘Is a concept of moral autonomy meaningful?’.

    Of course it could be advanced that a capacity of self determination regarding amoral choice, were it to be demonstrated, might then imply such a capacity regarding moral choice. However in the absence of a description of any specific mechanism which might in practice permit amoral autonomy, together with a rigorous argument to demonstrate the necessity of such a contingent relationship with moral autonomy - which capacity additionaly would presumably involve the separate element of moral knowledge - the question, ‘Is a concept of Free Will meaningful?’, would in itself by virtue of its’ generic nature seem in my opinion to be insufficiently accurate and to be unjustifiably assuming this contingent relationship referred to.

    Indeed, given the absence of a justification for presuming that there must exist some form of contingent relationship between the putative capacities of moral and amoral autonomy, the possibility in principle must then be accepted that a demonstration in practice of the impossibility of the commonly discredited notion of amoral autonomy could nonetheless be reconciled with the idea that human beings might yet be capable of possessing a capacity of autonomy regarding behaviour involving morally relevant factors.
  • Framing the 'Free Will question' in a less reducible form.
    Rich. Well, having engaged in a constructive discussion at the end of which our ideas remain stubbornly incompatible, our only remaining option would seem to be to avail ourselves of the platitude of ‘agreeing to disagree’! - All I would add finally regarding the theory of morality I have been alluding to is that its’ most fundamental proposition is that it is impossible for an individual to wilfully assent to an act he ‘morally knows’ to be wrong and further, that it considers that the possibility of any putative state of ‘Free Will’ which could be regarded as meaningful in philosophical terms must be contingent on the validity of the concept of such a type of objective knowledge.
  • Framing the 'Free Will question' in a less reducible form.
    Rich: The philisophical problem of whether moral values are subjective/culturaly relative in nature or whether such types of values are ultimately ojective is of course a subject of perennial debate. The theory I am alluding to maintains that the latter situation is the case together with the principle that not only does moral autonomy itself comprise the state of free will but that free will comprises the state of moral autonomy - i.e that the two concepts map on to one another.
  • Framing the 'Free Will question' in a less reducible form.
    “That's the part I dispute. A moral nihilist would reject moral autonomy, given that they reject moral facts, but can accept that we have free will. As @Janus said, moral autonomy may depend on free will, but it isn't entailed by free will. They are distinct things.” Michael.

    The theory I am basing my views on considers the free will question as it is posed from the perspective of philosophy to be a sub set of the problem of moral knowledge:

    The principle advanced is that moral autonomy should properly be regarded as being neither dependent on or entailed by a state of free will but as in itself consisting in a de facto state of free will. This theory for example considers the idea of ‘choosing’ to assent to either a moral or immoral act to amount to a logical contradiction in terms in that it regards immoral behaviour to be determined and moral behaviour to be inevitable in any individual, both types of behaviour following irresistibly from the level of the given individuals moral knowledge. The concept of irreducible personal moral autonomy is reconciled with determinism through attributing a causal roll to personal experience, from which the state of moral knowledge and therefore autonomy is regarded as being ultimately descendent. However as moral knowledge is regarded by this theory as being a conscious faculty on the part of any individual, and in this respect fundamentally distinct from the unconscious nature of determinism, so the moral nature of the behaviour thus descended, though such descent is considered by the theory as being inevitable, nonetheless is regarded on the basis that it be ‘knowingly’ elected as being simultaneously autonomous. In this way then the theory suggests a means of reconciling the concepts of determinism and free will.

    Of course, such a theory is predicated on the idea that there exists an objective morality and so any solution to the Free Will problem accordingly is considered to be contingent on first successfully arguing for a concept of objective moral values and then describing the putative state of moral autonomy which could in principle be attained to.
  • Framing the 'Free Will question' in a less reducible form.
    Rich: Not yet having read ‘Bergson’, could you indicate for me what he considers should properly be the purpose, from the perspective of philosophy, of an enquiry regarding the possibility of free will given that, from what you say of his position, he apparently dismisses the relevance of a concept of moral autonomy towards the problem even in the context of there existing moral values which are relative in nature? Assuming he would accept that the question of autonomy regarding amoral choice would, in itself, have relevance essentially for the discipline of neural science only, as opposed to philosophy, I’m wondering then what type of capacity of choice relevant to philosophy he considers to be at issue in the free will debate? - If a capacity of free will is not envisaged to consist in a state of moral autonomy then in what state, other than in a capacity of amoral autonomy, which presumably we can agree has in itself no ramifications relevant to the discipline of philosophy, could it be envisaged to consist?
  • Framing the 'Free Will question' in a less reducible form.
    The assumption made in my op – which I had assumed was inimical to dispute – is that any enquiry from the perspective of philosophy regarding the possibility of free will would in principle be concerned exclusively with considering the validity of a concept of moral autonomy, any consideration of a concept of amoral autonomy being at most tangential to the problem of moral autonomy and then only if the speculative assumption were to be made that a capacity of moral autonomy would necessarily be derivative of a capacity of amoral autonomy – i.e. that if it were to be proven that I possessed a capacity of irreducible autonomy regarding, for ex, my decision to bake pasta tonight then that such a capacity of amoral autonomy would necessarily imply on my part a capacity of moral autonomy. However since in the absence of a rigorous argument to demonstrate such a contingent relationship it would be illogical to presume it and, given then that it can indeed be accepted that the sole object of a philosophical enquiry concerning free will would be to consider the question of moral autonomy then, on that basis, I submitted that a less reducible form of the ‘Free Will’ question from the perspective of philosophy along the lines of, ‘Is a concept of moral autonomy valid?’ would be more appropriate.
  • Framing the 'Free Will question' in a less reducible form.
    Can't see how - from the perspective of philosophy as distinct from neural science that is - an enquiry into the possibility of free will unrelated to to the question of moral autonomy (albeit the possibility of such moral autonomy were to be considered within a context of moraly relative values) could have any meaning. Amoral autonomy, in itself, would have no consequences relevant to the discipline of philosophy. So, other than as it relates to the possibility of moral autonomy, what could be the purpose from the perspective of philosophy of any enquiry into the possibility of free will?
  • Libertarian free will is impossible
    -Thought I’d point out another example of how in practice personal experience can perform the ostensibly paradoxical trick of ‘causing’ a capacity for individual moral autonomy. – For this example I’m thinking of the rules governing the conduct of religious worship in a mosque:

    As a prelude to commencing the Islamic act of worship every individual is of course first required to kneel and then to bow their head until they are physically touching the floor, this requirement on the part of the individual also requiring, as it does, to be practised in the company of serried anonymous ranks of others similarly prostrating themselves. The act unavoidably entails – backside inescapably stuck up in the air and all that - the adoption of what is to each individual a personally and explicitly undignified and rather ignominious posture. But of course, that is part of the very point of the exercise – through the acceptance of such a requiral assenting thereby to the personal disavowal, without such acceptance having a bearing on personal self-respect, of the visceral instinct we all possess towards achieving superiority over others and so via such personal education towards acquiring a moral attitude transcending our neural ‘programming’. The idea is that experience of such type does not act to 're-program' instincts within the individual but that instead it acts to provide knowledge capable to release the mind from its previously programmed state and substitute instead a conscious awarness of values enabling a moral autonomy. – A monks tonsure is an obviously analogous act.

    The crucial point about all this is that it is personal experience itself which is conferring moral awarness, such knowledge being in principle inimical to being perceived by intellectual reasoning.

    NB. Of course motive in an act determines it’s ultimate validity. – The acts referred to could for example be practised as no more than a badge of ‘gang identity’.
  • Libertarian free will is impossible
    litewave. Your first question is the most pertinent :

    While a capacity for moral behaviour is in principle contingent on possessing experientially gained moral knowledge, so that the latter is effectively the ‘cause’ of the former, nonetheless such knowledge, even though it renders moral transgression on the part of the individual impossible and moral observance inevitable, does not in practice ‘causally determine’ morally observant behaviour, but in reality enables the individual to autonomously elect such. (The distinction is a little beyond the scope of this post.) Thus a description of the type of non-causal relation existing between moral knowledge and behaviour would not be susceptible to the methodology of causal analysis, appropriate as the latter type of reasoning is to an investigation of the question of amoral autonomy – Like whether I might be able to autonomously choose to bake pasta tonight.
  • The Shoutbox
    ‘What I most want to get is whatever everyone else most happens to covet – stuff whatever that might actually happen to be and then - glory of glories - to pile it so high everyone else is then reduced to awed deferential envy!’ – ‘Everyman’ ?