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  #51  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Additionally, it cannot be true that we both our "options open" and "must move in the direction of greatest satisfaction." There can only be one option that leads to "greatest satisfaction," and if we must always choose that option then we do not, in fact, have options.

Unless, of course, the option that leads to "greatest satisfaction" is only defined after the fact, as whatever option we did actually choose. Which, funnily enough, is exactly what Lessans does.
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  #52  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Originally Posted by specious_reasons View Post
I am entirely out of my depths when it comes to philosophical study.

I would have to disagree, 'Out of my depths' to me means the inability to grasp and understand, I believe you are confusing it with unfamilitary with the terminology, which is easily remedied. I am also unfamiliar with current terms used since it has been 40 years since I took even the most basic Philosophy and Logic courses. It would be easy to catch up on things but my previously mentioned grandchildren do not leave me much time for casual research. I'm lucky I have time to post on a forum, I can do that while they are playing in the same room, sometimes.
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  #53  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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We all move in the direction of GREATER satisfaction, which leaves us only one choice at each moment in time. What are you so in disagreement with to conclude that this is all bullshit?
You have not established that "we all move in the direction of greater satisfaction" is a fact. You haven't defined your terms nor explained how "greater satisfaction" is measured or determined.
You can't measure "greater satisfaction". You can only observe it.
How can one observer greater satisfaction?

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As I have stated, it is not possible to prove that. You can assert it, you can whole-heartedly believe that is what is happening, others may agree with you, but that is ultimately not a position that can be proven.
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Originally Posted by peacegirl
As I have stated, you're completely wrong.
Demonstrate that I am wrong and explain exactly how I am wrong, don't just assert it

It cannot be proven or disproven because there is no way to test or measure it. Just like "God exists" cannot be proven or disproven, only subjectively concluded one way or the other.
The only way you can know this is true is if you understand Lessans' observations. If you fail to see the proof, or if you don't want to see it, that does not mean it's not there... although you will continue to tell me that he didn't prove anything. I am waiting until everyone is finished giving their thoughts on free will, determinism, and compatibalism, so they can settle down and really focus on what Lessans is saying. If they are constantly ready to attack, they will not be able to absorb what he's saying and this thread will be another failure.
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  #54  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Originally Posted by Clutch Munny View Post
The short version is that it depends what you thought "free will" meant in the first place. If you think it means just that your actions are caused by your desires, then if it turns out that your desires just are brain states, neurology won't limit your free will -- it'll manifest your free will.

If you think free will means that your actions should depend on your will in a way that is not determined by the wider causal order of events in the world, then the fact that brains cause behaviour will certainly seem a puzzle.
I don't know what free will means, actually. I kinda think when people use it they mean that one can consciously choose a course of action from all available options, regardless of their own desires/feelings about the possible consequences or outcomes.

So my understanding of whatever it is is neither free will nor determinism as they are commonly used, but more: "Individuals do what they do because they do it for the reasons they do it". Which isn't much of a philosophy or a wordlview to make a stand about, really.
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  #55  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Pragmatically speaking, it might not matter to you, but it will matter to the world when it is recognized that this knowledge has the power to change the direction our world is going.
Argument from adverse consequences.

In a way this sounds like an argument an economics professor used to justify the pre WWII expansion of the steel industry in the US. He could only say the extra capacity was a 'God-send' during the war. A similar argument could be applied to the interstate highway system. There was some political subterfuge with both of these.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Additionally, it cannot be true that we both our "options open" and "must move in the direction of greatest satisfaction." There can only be one option that leads to "greatest satisfaction," and if we must always choose that option then we do not, in fact, have options.

Unless, of course, the option that leads to "greatest satisfaction" is only defined after the fact, as whatever option we did actually choose. Which, funnily enough, is exactly what Lessans does.
You're absolutely right. We don't really have an option because we must move in this direction (which is why our will is not free), but we have the capability to contemplate in order to decide which option is preferable. We are not robots in the sense of being pre-programmed, which everyone is understandably against. This is why the mere mention of determinism gets a negative reaction. Who wants to think of themselves as a computer program that acts out what it's been programmed to do? How can anyone take credit for their destiny if they play no part in determining whether their life is a success or a failure?

Determinism also implies that people are not responsible for their actions which gets people up in arms. If they killed someone, all they would have to say is "I am not responsible because my will is not free," and they wouldn't have to pay for what they did. But this the opposite of what occurs, and I'll explain why if people give me the platform to speak. I am waiting to continue, but this time I'm not even going to even attempt this discussion if people are going to jump at me after every single post.

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  #57  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Originally Posted by Clutch Munny View Post
The short version is that it depends what you thought "free will" meant in the first place. If you think it means just that your actions are caused by your desires, then if it turns out that your desires just are brain states, neurology won't limit your free will -- it'll manifest your free will.

If you think free will means that your actions should depend on your will in a way that is not determined by the wider causal order of events in the world, then the fact that brains cause behaviour will certainly seem a puzzle.
Yup.

It would seem that libertarian free will makes the most sense in a context where you believe in a soul, and that it interacts with the body, and that the will is part of or controlled by the soul.

Because it seems in the physical world that there are things that are random, and things that are caused (predictably), and it seems weird to have a third category of things that are not determined causally nor random. As far as the physical side of it, however, proposing a soul that is not physical/is supernatural/whatever can get around that. The brain causing behavior? Oh when the brain is malfunctioning then what's really happening is there's interference in the soul/body interface :P

Of course, proposing the existence of a soul in order to save libertarian free will has a multitude of its own problems - problems that would not have occurred to many of the people who first put forth the idea of libertarian free will, since people used to just assume the existence of the soul was obvious, I suppose because the workings of the brain were less understood (not that people don't just assume its existence today without thought, those people just don't tend to be philosophers).

And of course, it's also a move that just pushes the question back, since it doesn't really avoid the problem of causation vs. randomness, it just says that those things don't happen in the physical realm. But that kind of move seems to be convincing to many people (as in the classic - the universe can't "just exist"... God must have made it. Where did God come from? Oh, God just exists).
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  #58  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Originally Posted by peacegirl View Post
The only way you can know this is true is if you understand Lessans' observations.

Then explain his observations, clear examples, and adiquate details. So far you have only stated that he made observations, without any proof that he actually did. His observations are not obvious from the conclusions he stated.
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  #59  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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We all move in the direction of GREATER satisfaction, which leaves us only one choice at each moment in time. What are you so in disagreement with to conclude that this is all bullshit?
You have not established that "we all move in the direction of greater satisfaction" is a fact. You haven't defined your terms nor explained how "greater satisfaction" is measured or determined.
You can't measure "greater satisfaction". You can only observe it.
How can one observer greater satisfaction?

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Originally Posted by LadyShea
As I have stated, it is not possible to prove that. You can assert it, you can whole-heartedly believe that is what is happening, others may agree with you, but that is ultimately not a position that can be proven.
Quote:
Originally Posted by peacegirl
As I have stated, you're completely wrong.
Demonstrate that I am wrong and explain exactly how I am wrong, don't just assert it

It cannot be proven or disproven because there is no way to test or measure it. Just like "God exists" cannot be proven or disproven, only subjectively concluded one way or the other.
The only way you can know this is true is if you understand Lessans' observations. If you fail to see the proof, or if you don't want to see it, that does not mean it's not there... although you will continue to tell me that he didn't prove anything. I am waiting until everyone is finished giving their thoughts on free will, determinism, and compatibalism, so they can settle down and really focus on what Lessans is saying. If they are constantly ready to attack, they will not be able to absorb what he's saying and this thread will be another failure.
Wow, I totally called your continued weasling.

I made pretty simple statements and asked a pretty simple question. Either respond to them, refute them, or ignore them, but please no more blather about understanding Lessans or butthurt about "wanting to see it" and astuteness and all that.

YOU make yourself understood. YOU make a case for Lessans brand of determinism

We are talking about our own thoughts on the topic, and they are very interesting to me. How about you listen for a change? How about you discuss these other ideas and compare and contrast to Lessans and show where he got it right and others have it wrong?

Quit being so arrogant

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  #60  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Quit being so arrogant

L.O.L. Wishful thinking.
You are quite the optimist.
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  #61  
Old 11-03-2011, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

From the first thread (where it was ignored):

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Originally Posted by Spacemonkey View Post
If you can present and explain his first discovery in your own words, then I'll discuss it with you. But but there's really no point. His first 'discovery' depends upon unsupported empirical assumptions about conscience which you cannot evidentially support any more than his ridiculous ideas about vision. You'll just find yourself in exactly the same position, insisting that his assumptions were based on very accurate 'observations' which you are nevertheless unable to present or describe, and believe to have existed based on nothing more than your own unshakeable faith in Lessans' abilities.
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  #62  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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As I have stated, you're completely wrong.

:loud:
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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I think that we functionally have free will, even though we don't. You could probably predict the actions of any individual at any point in time provided you knew enough about that person's past and current experience.

The trouble as I see it, is knowing enough. The more universal the behavior, the easier it will be to predict. A simple example: If I'm taking with a person, and I point at something, I can predict with a reasonable confidence that a person will look at where I'm pointing.

Yet, there's a small chance that the person won't. Maybe that person knows that I have a habit of pointing to people's plumber cracks, dead things, or other unhappy occurrences. Maybe they just didn't happen to be looking at me when I was pointing, or maybe they have some form of social disfunction.

Unless I know all of this, I can't predict with 100% certainty. I generally treat free will as an information problem.

This is a reason why I have a problem with Lessans. Understanding that I don't really have free will generally doesn't affect how I behave, because I can't always predict how my actions will affect others. I have some idea, because I can predict based on reasonable assumptions, but I can't possibly eliminate all risks.

...and sometimes, I'm just resigned to the fact that I'm not always a nice person.
Specious_reasons, with all due respect you have no idea what this discovery is about. Please go back and reread the last few posts I gave. I explained very clearly that this has nothing to do with the conventional definition, so why are you harping on this? I have no clue. :sadcheer:

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  #64  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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The only way you can know this is true is if you understand Lessans' observations.
Fair enough, peacegirl. Would you please list any and all observations that led Lessans to conclude that the human will is not free? Seems like as good a place to start as any, yes?
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  #65  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

He observed greater satisfaction, apparently, Maturin.

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You can't measure "greater satisfaction". You can only observe it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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He observed greater satisfaction, apparently, Maturin.
Translucent sex robes and rumpy-pumpy on the dinner table (though only if little ones aren't present) just to name two.
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  #67  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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I propose, in this thread, that we have a discussion of free will and determinism, always a fascinating topic.
I've been wanting to hear more about determinism and the possibilities of free will from a naturalist perspective, since a lot of the material on the topic involves the theological side, especially the reconciliation of free will with a perfectly omniscient deity.

Anyone know any good sources or books, or have any thoughts on the matter?
Here is one possible definition of free will: That I have the genuine ability to choose among genuinely available alternatives, in any given situation.

Here are some possible objections, running the gamut from theistic to naturalistic:

1. Today it is true that tomorrow there will be a sea battle. If its true today that tomorrow there will be a sea battle, nobody can do anything to prevent the sea battle from happening. So the participants in the battle have no option to refrain from doing battle.

2. Today God knows that tomorrow I will kill x. In fact, God knew this fact before I was ever born, indeed an eternity ago. Therefore I must kill x because I cannot do other than what the omniscient God infallibly foreknows, and have no genuine ability to refrain from killing x.

3. When he made the world, God knew all counterfactual worlds. There were worlds in which I kill x and worlds in which I dont. God chose to make the world in which I kill x, and not the world in which I refrain from killing x. Therefore I have no choice but to kill x.

4. The world is causally deterministic. It is governed by physical law. If one could trace all the workings of cause and effect, one could predict in advance what I would do. Therefore I must do as the laws of physics dictate and have no genuine option to do otherwise.

5. The future exists, along with the past and present (indicated by relativity theory.) This means the future, just as much as the past, is fixed and unchangeable. I can no more change or affect the future than I can the past. So I have no free will.

6. The I does not exist. The Cartesian I is a convenient illusion cobbled up by brain states. What I choose to do, is decided by my subconscious even before I am aware of my choice. Free will presupposes a free agent, an I. If the I does not exist, then neither does free will.

And from here, one could start by wondering whether the definition of free will is a good one, and whether any of the arguments presented above against that definition, or perhaps against some modified definition, are successful arguments against free will.
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  #68  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Don't forget the classic:

Your brain is made of atoms! Atoms obey the laws of physics!

I guess this is your #4, but the classic shorthand is better for LOLs.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Here is another one: Causal (classical) determinism is false, because the world is actually quantum indeterministic. But indeterminism is no better for free will than determinism. If I do stuff for some stochastic, statistical reason that is outside me and strictly not predictable, then I have no free will.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:04 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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It's like if you are on a specific diet, you might not want to go to the all-you-can-eat buffet full of disallowed items and say to yourself that you'll only eat the items that fit into your diet... that's a risky proposition, because it might be that you don't have the willpower to resist those items when they're right in front of you.
Hey, erimir! I'm right here!
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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...I'll explain why if people give me the platform to speak. I am waiting to continue, but this time I'm not even going to even attempt this discussion if people are going to jump at me after every single post.
Would everyone please shut-up and quit posting! Peacegirl is trying to have a discussion and she can't do that if you all keep insisting on participating.
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  #72  
Old 11-03-2011, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

And when she does continue it will be a copypaste we are told to read again and again until we agree with it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Peacegirl learned from Elrond Hubbard's teaching methods. I don't have time to find it now, but I once saw one of their books about learning "technology" in which the basic idea was as you're reading Dianetics, if something doesn't make sense, you should go back and look up the definitions to all the words in the sentence that are causing the problems, and basically keep doing that until it DOES make sense to you. And if it doesn't, well you just haven't understood the words yet.

You're also supposed to follow the gradient so you don't read anything too advanced and get confused - or to simplify, they don't want you to read the crazy stuff until you've already committed to the less crazy stuff they promote and thus will be more open to their craziness.

It's not a bad way of going about promoting nonsense.
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  #74  
Old 11-03-2011, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

That's true. Even a bed-wetting idiot like Tom Cruise might have called bullshit had they trotted out Xenu during his first "auditing" session.
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  #75  
Old 11-03-2011, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Speciouis_reasons, with all due respect you have no idea what this discovery is about. Please go back and reread the last few posts I gave. I explained very clearly that this has nothing to do with the conventional definition, so why are you harping on this? I have no clue. :sadcheer:
No?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lessans, page 121
As a consequence of knowing what it means that man’s will is not free, all carelessness is automatically removed because to hurt someone who will not blame you for doing what you know could have been prevented had you not been careless, gives you no choice.
I'm saying there's an information problem which Lessans can't contend with. I can't reasonably foresee all the consequences of my actions, so I focus on the outcomes I can surmise. Otherwise, I'd be paralyzed into inaction. I take reasonable precautions, but I understand that I may cause harm to others through some fault of my own, sometimes unknowingly.
The serious risks to others are pretty clear cut. I know that if I run a red light, I could get someone seriously injured due to my actions. Those are the risks I am referring to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Specious_reasons
Beyond that, I was really more interested in presenting my own views on free will and determinism. I'm afraid I generally fall into the pragmatic camp.
Actually, the purpose of this thread is to share a discovery, not to hear everybody's ideas on free will versus determinism. There are already a lot of threads that discuss this issue, so you may want to go to one of them.
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