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  #61  
Unread July 29th, 2006, 11:24 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Fred: But one can see how MM “feels compelled by her emotions,” to believe whatever it is that she happens to believe, since, as she has previously declared, she believes whatever it is she believes b/c that is what makes MM herself “feel good,” and, as she explains in her so-called “axiom,” MM “uses her brains to justify it”; and also, as MM now amplifies, “what makes us different are the things that make us feel good.”
OK - and your point is . . . ?

Margaret

On edit: I don't mean this post to be sarcastic. I really would like to know what it is about my premise - that we make behavior decisions according to our subconscious prediction of how we will feel (better or worse) as a result of that behavior - that angers you so much that you feel (emotionally) compelled to sarcastically criticize it (and me).

You seem to think that I have belittled the role of intellect in this process. If you think that we make behavior decisions solely as a result of our intellectual calculations - then perhaps I have. But, I allow intellect to participate in behavior decisions - according to the emotional weight we subconsciously feel from those calculations.

In some behavior decisions there may be no other sources of emotion bearing on that decision. By that I mean that we don't expect to be greatly affected emotionally by our decision. These would include most of the hundreds of utilitarian decisions we make each day like which off-ramp to take to Home Depot, for example, where we expect little emotional consequence from the result of that decision. In these decisions, the weak emotions from our intellectual conclusion will be the only emotions bearing on the decision (we would be mildly dissapointed if we chose the wrong ramp and had to spend an extra five minutes getting to the store) - so we will engage our intellect and take a particular off-ramp.

Other decisions, like what college to go to, might have several competing sources for the emotions we expect to experience as a result of our decision. Our complex estimate of our happiness and success in life as a graduate of Stanford rather than Cal Poly, how others including potential employers will value us, etc. - could be a large source of the emotions we hope to estimate and quantify, both intellectually and subconsciously - in order to make the best decision.

I just don't understand why this view of behavior decision choice is so unsavory for you - unless perhaps it violates your view of free-will - and that violation generates strong negative emotions in you when you consider it.

Care to comment?

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; July 29th, 2006 at 02:15 PM.
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  #62  
Unread July 29th, 2006, 01:52 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Replying to my own post, in that post I said,
Quote:
I just don't understand why this view of behavior decision choice is so unsavory for you - unless perhaps it violates your view of free-will - and that violation generates strong negative emotions in you when you consider it.
I would add that I suspect that what you describe as free-will (as best I can understand it) is some kind of intelligence or awareness that is exclusive to humans that allows us to "do the right thing" in circumstances where we might be sorely tempted to "do the wrong thng".

I'd suggest that in some people whose minds have developed under a particular religious or other ethical framework, that there would exist a set of beliefs that would likely be applied in these situations. To the extent that these identity beliefs are internalized they would be a source of potentially strong emotional forces to the behavior decision mechanism - that could possibly overcome the opposing emotions urging the wrong choice.

I suspect that the experience of this process, this very real struggle of strong emotions urging opposite behaviors - is what some recognize as free-will - at least in those cases where the right choice was made. I further suspect this view of free-will would be especially useful for those who prefer to believe in some essential human spiritual nature, such as religious believers.

In this sense, my view not only allows a framework for intellect, but for religious or other ethical beliefs to come to bear on the behavior decision process - by way of the emotions based on the expected consequences of that behavior they induce.

Again, I fail to see the reason for your strong negative views of this process.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; July 29th, 2006 at 07:16 PM.
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  #63  
Unread July 29th, 2006, 03:38 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

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[MM asks:] I don't mean this post to be sarcastic. I really would like to know what it is about my premise - that we make behavior decisions according to our subconscious prediction of how we will feel (better or worse) as a result of that behavior….
Undoubtedly folk often do make various behavior decisions based on their emotional predilections. Certainly, children, animals, machines, and/or the truly insane do all the time. But the rest of us sane adults, with our cognitive consciousness, will often take other factors into account; as the human ability to comprehend objective (mathematical) truth, and then use that truth/measure to comprehend the reality of our world, attests; and as moral responsibility attests; etc.

The problem is that MM’s circular “premise,” her strongly held belief, that “[she] makes behavior decisions according to [her] subconscious prediction of how [she] will feel (better or worse) as a result of that behavior,” utterly precludes MM from ever seeing or comprehending or acknowledging any reality or truth that contradicts that outcome. As they say, “Give a beggar a horse and she’ll ride it to Hell.”
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  #64  
Unread July 29th, 2006, 04:40 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

OK - we might be getting somewhere with this.

Quote:
Fred: Undoubtedly folk often do make various behavior decisions based on their emotional predilections. Certainly, children, animals, machines, and/or the truly insane do all the time. But the rest of us sane adults, with our cognitive consciousness, will often take other factors into account; as the human ability to comprehend objective (mathematical) truth, and then use that truth/measure to comprehend the reality of our world, attests; and as moral responsibility attests; etc.
Machines with emotional predilections?

You say: "But the rest of us sane adults . . . will often take other factors into account; . . "

You imply that we "sane adults" don't always do that. I assume in those cases where we don't that we would be relying on our emotional inputs, as I have described. Do you agree?

You also seem to imply that the emotional inputs are different in kind from the "cognitive conscious" inputs or the "moral responsibility" inputs you refer to - that when these are involved, that some different decision-making process is occuring in the mind than when emotional inputs are determining a behavior decision. If I'm wrong please clarify that.

If I'm on the right track I have some questions:

a) Do you believe these special sane adult inputs are experienced by us somehow other than through the chemicals and neurons in the brain or other parts of our CNS?

b) If not, then I think you must agree with Tom that human behavior decisions are effectively determined by those chemicals and neurons in the brain or other parts of our CNS. Do you agree?

c) If you do think they come from somewhere else, do you have any scientific evidence for this? Are you aware of any studies that have been done that allow the possibility that we make behavior decisions according to processes that occur outside the chemicals and neurons in the brain or other parts of our CNS.

d) Do you think those inputs are supernatural in origin? If so, can you describe (your understanding of) them better?


Quote:
You say: The problem is that MM’s circular “premise,” her strongly held belief, that “[she] makes behavior decisions according to [her] subconscious prediction of how [she] will feel (better or worse) as a result of that behavior,” utterly precludes MM from ever seeing or comprehending or acknowledging any reality or truth that contradicts that outcome. As they say, “Give a beggar a horse and she’ll ride it to Hell.”
Aside from your strange style of referring to me in the third person in that para, I don't think my hypothesis is a strongly held belief. My purpose in explaining it here is to encourage criticism - to see if I'm out totally in space on this or possibly on the track of something that could be at least partially true.

I have not reacted emotionally to any criticism of my hypothesis - which would indicate a strongly held belief. I have reacted emotionally to personal insults and attacks. In those cases I am usually reacting emotionally to a challenge to my strongly held belief that I am an honest, intelligent person. I agreed with Carey that my hypothesis needs testable predictions. I think it is far from proven in any respect.

I'm very willing to hear other views, even if they are not particularly rigorous - as this thread should verify. I certainly don't think I'm ready to ride this horse to hell.

When you say "The problem is this . . . utterly precludes MM from ever seeing or comprehending or acknowledging any reality or truth that contradicts that outcome" . . . what you say is a problem in this case is actually a red herring. The real problem (if there is one) is that no-one including you have offered any plausible . . . reality or truth that contradicts that outcome.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; July 29th, 2006 at 08:26 PM.
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  #65  
Unread July 30th, 2006, 08:53 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

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MM: I have not reacted emotionally to any criticism of my hypothesis…. The real problem (if there is one) is that no-one including you have offered any plausible . . . reality or truth that contradicts that outcome.
I find MM’s dissonance here noteworthy—MM “feels compelled by her emotions” to believe, incongruously, that she has “not reacted emotionally”—for as she has previously insisted and declared, she believes whatever it is she believes b/c that is what makes MM herself “feel good,” and, as she explains in her so-called “axiom,” MM “uses her brains to justify it”; and also, as MM has recently amplified, “what makes us different are the things that make us feel good,” thereby making it virtually impossible for MM herself to ever see any reality or truth that contradicts whatever she happens to believe, whatever happens to make her feel good.

MM is stuck in the circularity of her beliefs, and there appears to be no way out for her—it seems that MM is incapable of comprehending, accepting, or acknowledging the simple reality that in fact many humans can and do, indeed, use their cognitive consciousness to discern objective mathematical truth, and then use that objective truth to understand, explain, and, to some extent manage, their physical world and themselves. I suspect that, among other things, the emotional turmoil resulting from gender identity issues has probably contributed considerably to MM’s dissonance . . . and I suppose MM will likely overreact to my even mentioning that factor.

Last edited by Fred H.; July 30th, 2006 at 09:04 AM.
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  #66  
Unread July 30th, 2006, 10:09 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Darn Fred, I was staring to think you had turned a corner and had decided to actually engage in a purposeful discussion on a topic. I can see now that you only go along as long as your beliefs are not challenged too effectively - as happened in my last post. Then it's back to inane insults and personal attacks - your usual fare. That's too bad because I'd much rather hear some decent arguments from you than have your posts only be useful as examples of my hypothesis.


Quote:
You say, . . it seems that MM is incapable of comprehending, accepting, or acknowledging the simple reality that in fact many humans can and do, indeed, use their cognitive consciousness to discern objective mathematical truth, and then use that objective truth to understand, explain, and, to some extent manage, their physical world and themselves.
I have never disagreed with that. In fact, my hypothesis offers a plausible mechanism for how and why that happens in our minds - and it shows why we can be both very good at it at times as when we use our intellect to courageously edit our beliefs - and sometimes terribly inept as when the emotions of our strong identity beliefs dominate our behavior decision process, leaving us helpless to the irrationality of those beliefs.

I'll leave it to you to figure out which one of those your last post illustrates.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; July 30th, 2006 at 10:36 AM.
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  #67  
Unread July 30th, 2006, 12:57 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret McGhee
Darn Fred, I was staring to think you had turned a corner and had decided to actually engage in a purposeful discussion on a topic.
That was a noble attempt, Margaret, but I see your points and also see how Fred has twisted them beyond recognition. I also warned you of Fred's history and fully expected all of this.

But Fred does try to defend a POV that is rather common and in that way he is very important to this forum. He does it so terribly only because he has no real ammunition since his philosophy is not grounded in facts. He instead is relegated to lobbing total confusion, but maybe that is really the state of his mind. Of course, he's locked in the brain of Fred and it's not really his fault.

I believe that some of your points do give him pause, though, otherwise he wouldn't stoop to the insults.

Keep up the great work!
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  #68  
Unread July 30th, 2006, 09:54 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Quote:
[Fred stated:] . . . it seems that MM is incapable of comprehending, accepting, or acknowledging the simple reality that in fact many humans can and do, indeed, use their cognitive consciousness to discern objective mathematical truth, and then use that objective truth to understand, explain, and, to some extent manage, their physical world and themselves.

[And MM responded:] I have never disagreed with that. In fact, my hypothesis offers a plausible mechanism for how and why that happens in our minds….
Then that settles it, we agree on the essential point here!

Except that there’s no reason to seriously consider that MM’s “hypothesis” might be “plausible” since she readily acknowledges here that she’s incapable of comprehending, accepting, or acknowledging reality or truth—at best her so-called hypothesis is nothing more than a result of whatever happens to make MM herself “feel good,” and, as she explains in her so-called “axiom,” that she “used her brains to justify.”

And all the while MM remains stuck in the circularity of her beliefs.
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