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  #41  
Unread July 18th, 2006, 09:51 PM
alexandra_k alexandra_k is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

maybe... we are both wrong:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/dfwNichols.html

:-)

(you can get back to the main pages from there too. the paper is long, but well worth a read.)
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  #42  
Unread July 19th, 2006, 10:09 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
MM: Tom is just saying, and I would agree, that people may do bad things, but ultimately they can only do what their minds dictate. Every behavior decision is the result of some negotiations that occur between the neurons and chemicals in the brain - and those are there because of genetics and that person's experiences in life - just like that dog's are.
Yeah MM, I get it—it’s your and Tom’s view that we humans, “ultimately,” are no more “morally responsible” than dogs, or any other animal for that matter; and guys like Hitler, Stalin, etc., were, ultimately, doing only what their “minds dictate.” And from what I’ve observed, I don’t doubt that you both embrace that core belief; although, thru some bizarre twist of logic, you both, generally, will not hesitate to somehow hold me (and others) responsible for whatever view/behavior that I/others may have that is contrary to whatever you happen to deem appropriate/reasonable. Go figure.

Nevertheless, I suspect that most of the civilized world will never truly buy into the half-ass notion that we humans are “ultimately” no more morally responsible than dogs; and —except in the case of children, animals, machines, and/or the truly insane—I suspect that most of the civilized world will continue to hold humans morally responsible for their behavior.
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  #43  
Unread July 19th, 2006, 11:26 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Thumbs up Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandra_k
but well worth a read
Two thumbs up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the link
If the broad contours of the descriptive account are right, then one thing is clear – the folk intuitions do not present a coherent theory of agency or responsibility.
Definitely incoherent: Determinist when emotion is not involved, indeterminist when emotion is involved. MM might have something to say on that subject.

My view is at least coherent: no ultimate fault regardless of emotion. More evidence to me that I'm still right. People could understand the determinism of the situation but, when the loaded term 'morally responsible' is used (it's not clear if the questions themselves used this term literally, though) and/or innocent lives are ended, people still want to punish miscreants. As I've said all along: there is no free will but we must still deal with miscreants.
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  #44  
Unread July 19th, 2006, 12:05 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
you both, generally, will not hesitate to somehow hold me (and others) responsible for whatever view/behavior that I/others may have that is contrary to whatever you happen to deem appropriate/reasonable
Yes, I reply for a mixture of 3 reasons:
  1. In the remote chance that I can affect the chemicals in your brain in such a way as to have you change your POV, ever so slightly.
  2. In the chance that others with your POV read this and realize that yours is not the only POV.
  3. To fight back against your rudeness. As I've said, though, I don't blame/hate you for being you; I know that you actually have no choice as long as you maintain your POV (which I doubt will ever budge).
All of these reasons are valid no matter how deterministic I believe the universe is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
I suspect that most of the civilized world will never truly buy into the half-ass notion that we humans are “ultimately” no more morally responsible than dogs
I believe that is why most of the 'civilized' world acts in such an uncivilized manner. My way is better, since, despite your attempts to mischaracterize my POV, not blaming does not imply not punishing.
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  #45  
Unread July 19th, 2006, 08:20 PM
alexandra_k alexandra_k is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Er...

What I found to be most interesting was their saying that there seems to be psychological evidence for the folk having two quite different conceptions of free will.

Both of us were arguing on the assumption that free will is one kind of thing (that the folk have one conception of free will and that that conception is incoherant / contradictory).
Seems that you were talking about one conception that people display in some settings...
And I was talking about another conception that people display in some other settings...
We were trying to argue that there is only one conception and so we were disagreeing about which aspects of the conception one should give up in order to make the conception coherent.

But the article was focused on offering evidence for there being two quite different conceptions of free will. That the different conceptions arise from distinct psychological mechanisms.

I'd still like to prescribe my usage...
And you would still like to prescribe yours...
But seems that the folk will continue on in their two different conceptions of freedom usage of the terms...

So maybe we are both wrong that there is one conception.
And maybe we are both right in that you are talking about one of the conceptions while I am talking about the other.

Of course they are focused on DESCRIBING our conception of free will.
They aren't focused on PRESCRIBING how we SHOULD apply / withold judgements of 'free vs not free'. We were worrying about the prescriptive side of things... But sometimes it is nice to observe before prescribing changes...
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  #46  
Unread July 20th, 2006, 09:06 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Alex:
Quote:
So maybe we are both wrong that there is one conception.
I’d say that Tom is more wrong, and obviously ignorant of, among other things, history, for history is replete with examples of phenomena that couldn’t be explained by then known laws/forces, that eventfully were explained by subsequently discovered laws/forces. One such example is “blackbody radiation”—the so-called “ultraviolet catastrophe,” that couldn’t be explained by then “known” laws/forces (ca 1890s), but today, of course, it can be explained by currently known laws/forces (QM stuff discovered by Planck, ca 1900).

Today, the “known” laws/forces of the universe seem to be deterministic (except for the seeming randomness of the so-called “measurement problem” in QM), and so the currently known laws/forces don’t seem to provide us with a mathematical/scientific explanation or account of how free will could ever exist or ever have evolved.

Ergo, the, unthinking, and narrow-minded materialists among us, Tom and MM for example, impulsively declare that free will and moral responsibility simply must be illusions, apparently b/c their own woefully limited understanding of the universe precludes such phenomena, in spite of overwhelming evidence that we humans do in fact experience such phenomena, at least to some extent.

Perhaps it’s because Tom and MM themselves seem unable to learn from history that they somehow manage to project that as being a trait in all humans, and conclude that all humans must lack free will and moral, or any other kind of, responsibility.
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  #47  
Unread July 21st, 2006, 08:44 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
Today, the “known” laws/forces of the universe seem to be deterministic (except for the seeming randomness of the so-called “measurement problem” in QM), and so the currently known laws/forces don’t seem to provide us with a mathematical/scientific explanation or account of how free will could ever exist or ever have evolved.

Ergo, the, unthinking, and narrow-minded materialists among us, Tom and MM for example, impulsively declare that free will and moral responsibility simply must be illusions, apparently b/c their own woefully limited understanding of the universe precludes such phenomena, in spite of overwhelming evidence that we humans do in fact experience such phenomena, at least to some extent.
I have always said that I would accept evidence, and here you admit that there is none. I don't take absence of evidence as evidence for absence; I take contrary evidence (repressor and regret brain modules) as evidence for absence.

You admit there is no evidence for your POV, I show mine. I'm right, you're wrong.

And usually your insults are much more backhanded than "unthinking, and narrow-minded". You're slipping.

Last edited by TomJrzk; July 21st, 2006 at 09:20 AM.
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  #48  
Unread July 21st, 2006, 08:52 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandra_k
Both of us were arguing on the assumption that free will is one kind of thing (that the folk have one conception of free will and that that conception is incoherant / contradictory).
Seems that you were talking about one conception that people display in some settings...
And I was talking about another conception that people display in some other settings...
We were trying to argue that there is only one conception and so we were disagreeing about which aspects of the conception one should give up in order to make the conception coherent.
I'm not so interested in what people display or how they describe the illusions they have. That is definitely an excellent exercise in philosophy. And I know how this study brilliantly illustrates the opposing philosophical arguments that our points of view lead to. And for that it was a great read. And I see why you might have felt that this would have united our points of view as opposite sides of the same (real) coin.

I'm more interested in the science behind these concepts, not the concepts themselves. And people misunderstanding free will because they are under the illusion might add clues but it does not prove that free will exists.

It's still all an illusion. Though a very useful one.
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  #49  
Unread July 21st, 2006, 11:19 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Alex, another observation—Tom says, “I have always said that I would accept evidence, and here you admit that there is none.”

Interestingly, what Tom has unwittingly acknowledged is that, using his backwards “reasoning,” he would not have believed in the blackbody radiation ultraviolet catastrophe prior to 1900, although the evidence was overwhelming that the ultraviolet catastrophe was real and existed . . . so apparently Tom wouldn’t have believed it b/c the then known laws couldn’t explain it. Hello? Earth to Tom? You have things backwards.

What Tom seems unable to grasp is that as the evidence is overwhelming that the universe and we humans do in fact exist, so too is the evidence overwhelming that we humans experience the phenomena of consciousness, free will, moral responsibility, at least to some extent, that such things do indeed exist; as so too was the evidence that the blackbody radiation ultraviolet catastrophe existed.

For example, I can’t explain Tom’s unthinking knee-jerk responses to many things discussed in this forum, but that his unthinking knee-jerk responses do exist is, unfortunately, real and undeniable.
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  #50  
Unread July 21st, 2006, 11:56 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
Interestingly, what Tom has unwittingly acknowledged is that, using his backwards “reasoning,” he would not have believed in the blackbody radiation ultraviolet catastrophe prior to 1900,
If there were evidence that the BB problem did not exist, as the modules of the brain, testosterone and meds show that the will is not free, then, yes, I would not believe in Fred's catastrophe. But, then, too, the catastrophe would not exist. Free will does not exist.

Fear not, Fred, that your house of cards falls in the slightest breeze, for already it lies flat on the ground. No matter how much you're unwilling to understand.

Last edited by TomJrzk; July 21st, 2006 at 12:29 PM.
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