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  #26  
Old 07-21-2016, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

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Why do you keep bringing God into this. God does not force anything. Natural laws are descriptive, remember? God is not forcing us in a certain direction; we choose it because we want to. You are making it seem that God is making you do something that you haven't chosen and don't want to do. You are not being forced by God or anything else to do what you don't want to do. God is in line with whatever you choose, but once you have chosen x based on the contingencies of that moment, you were never free to choose y.
What the fuck is actually wrong with you?

I just said the exact opposite of what you have ascribed to me -- I just got through saying that God's foreknowledge does NOT force our action -- idiot!

And yes, once you have chosen x, you were free to choose y, but did not -- that is the entire fucking point.

Go keep on shitting up your own stupid thread. This is the thread for adults. :wave:
Shut up David. I know what you said. That's why I said that God's foreknowledge is in agreement with whatever you choose. If you choose y, God knew it. If you chose x, God knew it, but God did not interfere with your choice. But this does not prove that you could have chosen y over x just because you weren't forced by God to make the choice you did. I have had to put up with your shit for a long time. I will post wherever I want, whenever I want. Got that? :kissass:
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  #27  
Old 07-21-2016, 08:19 PM
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That assumes a compatibilist meaning of free will, doesn't it?
It doesn’t actually assume compatibilism; it’s simply a logical demonstration that there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will. Swartz himself writes that while the solution can be seen as “compatibilist” in a certain sense, this sense seems kind of superfluous, like saying that “doubts and itches should co-exist.” Why shouldn’t doubts and itches co-exist? I think the Swartzian logical reconstruction of the age-old problem is best described as eliminativist, rather than compatibilist: There is no threat of incompatibilism in the first place, any more than one should worry about incompatibilism between doubts and itches.
It should very much depend on what we mean by "free will"; I don't see how it could be independent from that. The whole thing invoking an omniscient God is basically time travel and equivalent to assuming determinism. If the result isn't predetermined by an earlier state, there is nothing for any God to foreknow. The time travel is a constraint that ensures determinism, assuming a unique history.
I’m not quite sure I grasp your objection here, but look: Whether the future is pre-determined, or determined, or just open, I think is off the point. Regardless of how we regard the future — existent or just potential yet open — the point stands.

We don’t need to invoke God at all; God is just a special (epistemic) thought experiment that is a subset of Aristotle’s problem of future contingents, also known as logical determinism.

The question is: Can there be true statements today, about future contingent events? And if so, what, if anything, does that imply?

Suppose today I utter the following statement: “Tomorrow, there will be a sea battle.” And then tomorrow comes and a sea battle indeed takes place, so my statement today was true about an event tomorrow.

Does that mean the sea battle had to happen?
Whether the statement is true today depends on whether the world is deterministic or not. If it isn't, the truth value of that statement isn't defined the moment it's made. If you bring an omniscient God into the picture, you assume the statement has to be true ahead of time, thereby ensuring determinism.
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  #28  
Old 07-21-2016, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

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That assumes a compatibilist meaning of free will, doesn't it?
It doesn’t actually assume compatibilism; it’s simply a logical demonstration that there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will. Swartz himself writes that while the solution can be seen as “compatibilist” in a certain sense, this sense seems kind of superfluous, like saying that “doubts and itches should co-exist.” Why shouldn’t doubts and itches co-exist? I think the Swartzian logical reconstruction of the age-old problem is best described as eliminativist, rather than compatibilist: There is no threat of incompatibilism in the first place, any more than one should worry about incompatibilism between doubts and itches.
It should very much depend on what we mean by "free will"; I don't see how it could be independent from that. The whole thing invoking an omniscient God is basically time travel and equivalent to assuming determinism. If the result isn't predetermined by an earlier state, there is nothing for any God to foreknow. The time travel is a constraint that ensures determinism, assuming a unique history.
I’m not quite sure I grasp your objection here, but look: Whether the future is pre-determined, or determined, or just open, I think is off the point. Regardless of how we regard the future — existent or just potential yet open — the point stands.

We don’t need to invoke God at all; God is just a special (epistemic) thought experiment that is a subset of Aristotle’s problem of future contingents, also known as logical determinism.

The question is: Can there be true statements today, about future contingent events? And if so, what, if anything, does that imply?

Suppose today I utter the following statement: “Tomorrow, there will be a sea battle.” And then tomorrow comes and a sea battle indeed takes place, so my statement today was true about an event tomorrow.

Does that mean the sea battle had to happen?
Whether the statement is true today depends on whether the world is deterministic or not. If it isn't, the truth value of that statement isn't defined the moment it's made. If you bring an omniscient God into the picture, you assume the statement has to be true ahead of time, thereby ensuring determinism.
Right. Aristotle worried that if there are true statements today, about events that happen tomorrow, then fatalism ensues; though fatalism is not the same thing is determinism. That is, he thought the future cannot be changed and any effort to do so is idle.

So he decided that statements today about events tomorrow lack truth values. They are neither true nor false but open.

But determinism is not incompatible with free will. Only indeterminism is incompatible with (the opposite of) free will.

Let us imagine that the entire past, present and future is fixed -- there is one, and only one, uniquely determined history.

Is this incompatible with free will? We can define free will, for the purposes of discussion, in several ways. One is the ability to choose among genuinely available alternatives (principle of alternative possibilities). Or we can define it as having ultimate moral responsibility for our acts. Or we can define it as being free of coercion but not of determinism. Maybe there are other ways to define it. If the entire past, present and future is fixed, can this be consistent with any version of free will?
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  #29  
Old 07-21-2016, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

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It doesn’t actually assume compatibilism; it’s simply a logical demonstration that there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will.
That has to depend on "what we style free will". I don't see how this sort of argument changes anything.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

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It doesn’t actually assume compatibilism; it’s simply a logical demonstration that there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will.
That has to depend on "what we style free will". I don't see how this sort of argument changes anything.
Well, see my post just above.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:34 PM
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It doesn’t actually assume compatibilism; it’s simply a logical demonstration that there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will.
That has to depend on "what we style free will". I don't see how this sort of argument changes anything.
Well, see my post just above.
Yes, I've read it (before replying).

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But determinism is not incompatible with free will
That obviously depends on what you mean by free will. I thought the statement "there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will" doesn't make sense.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

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That assumes a compatibilist meaning of free will, doesn't it?
It doesn’t actually assume compatibilism; it’s simply a logical demonstration that there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will. Swartz himself writes that while the solution can be seen as “compatibilist” in a certain sense, this sense seems kind of superfluous, like saying that “doubts and itches should co-exist.” Why shouldn’t doubts and itches co-exist? I think the Swartzian logical reconstruction of the age-old problem is best described as eliminativist, rather than compatibilist: There is no threat of incompatibilism in the first place, any more than one should worry about incompatibilism between doubts and itches.
It should very much depend on what we mean by "free will"; I don't see how it could be independent from that. The whole thing invoking an omniscient God is basically time travel and equivalent to assuming determinism. If the result isn't predetermined by an earlier state, there is nothing for any God to foreknow. The time travel is a constraint that ensures determinism, assuming a unique history.
I’m not quite sure I grasp your objection here, but look: Whether the future is pre-determined, or determined, or just open, I think is off the point. Regardless of how we regard the future — existent or just potential yet open — the point stands.

We don’t need to invoke God at all; God is just a special (epistemic) thought experiment that is a subset of Aristotle’s problem of future contingents, also known as logical determinism.

The question is: Can there be true statements today, about future contingent events? And if so, what, if anything, does that imply?

Suppose today I utter the following statement: “Tomorrow, there will be a sea battle.” And then tomorrow comes and a sea battle indeed takes place, so my statement today was true about an event tomorrow.

Does that mean the sea battle had to happen?
Whether the statement is true today depends on whether the world is deterministic or not. If it isn't, the truth value of that statement isn't defined the moment it's made. If you bring an omniscient God into the picture, you assume the statement has to be true ahead of time, thereby ensuring determinism.
Right. Aristotle worried that if there are true statements today, about events that happen tomorrow, then fatalism ensues; though fatalism is not the same thing is determinism. That is, he thought the future cannot be changed and any effort to do so is idle.

So he decided that statements today about events tomorrow lack truth values. They are neither true nor false but open.

But determinism is not incompatible with free will. Only indeterminism is incompatible with (the opposite of) free will.

Let us imagine that the entire past, present and future is fixed -- there is one, and only one, uniquely determined history.

Is this incompatible with free will? We can define free will, for the purposes of discussion, in several ways. One is the ability to choose among genuinely available alternatives (principle of alternative possibilities). Or we can define it as having ultimate moral responsibility for our acts. Or we can define it as being free of coercion but not of determinism. Maybe there are other ways to define it. If the entire past, present and future is fixed, can this be consistent with any version of free will?
Determinism is the opposite of "could have done otherwise." As I explained, having the ability to choose among genuinely available alternatives (principle of alternative possibilities) does not grant free will. Being morally responsible is also out of the question if a person could not have done otherwise in spite of your judgment that he could have. There is a glaring contradiction here that you won't allow yourself to see. Free will also does not mean the absence of a gun to our head. And lastly, determinism has nothing to do with fatalism, as Trick Slattery demonstrated in his graphic.

Determinism vs. Fatalism - InfoGraphic (a comparison)

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  #33  
Old 07-21-2016, 10:20 PM
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That obviously depends on what you mean by free will. I thought the statement "there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will" doesn't make sense.
So, like peacegirl, you believe that free will and determinism are necessarily incompatible? If not, please clarify; I'm having hard time drawing any other conclusion from your statement here.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:27 PM
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That obviously depends on what you mean by free will. I thought the statement "there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will" doesn't make sense.
So, like peacegirl, you believe that free will and determinism are necessarily incompatible? If not, please clarify; I'm having hard time drawing any other conclusion from your statement here.
Don't let his flawed logic confuse you But.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:49 PM
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That obviously depends on what you mean by free will. I thought the statement "there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will" doesn't make sense.
So, like peacegirl, you believe that free will and determinism are necessarily incompatible? If not, please clarify; I'm having hard time drawing any other conclusion from your statement here.
Your statement seemed to imply that Swartz made an argument that proves there is no conflict between determinism and free will, no matter what we define free will to mean. That's trivially nonsense, so I was trying to find out what you really meant.
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:13 PM
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That obviously depends on what you mean by free will. I thought the statement "there can be no conflict between what we call determinism and what we style free will" doesn't make sense.
So, like peacegirl, you believe that free will and determinism are necessarily incompatible? If not, please clarify; I'm having hard time drawing any other conclusion from your statement here.
Your statement seemed to imply that Swartz made an argument that proves there is no conflict between determinism and free will, no matter what we define free will to mean. That's trivially nonsense, so I was trying to find out what you really meant.
As I've explained, Swartz denies that there is a necessary conflict between free will and determinism. That is why I characterized his stance as eliminativist as opposed to compatibilist, though I don't think he himself ever uses that term. But I think it's what he means when he says that trying to reconcile free will and determinism is as unnecessary as trying to reconcile doubts and itches. Obviously I am summarizing his views here; but he has many articles on the Internet and an entire book, here, on the subject, which you can read for free. Unlike peacegirl I would never insist that you read the entire book before discussing the topic; but if you don't want to read it, you'll just have to follow my summations and whether I do them well or badly, or persuasively or unpersuasively, is up to you.

I would ask him to participate in this thread, but he did that several years ago at my request at another message board and quickly backed out, deciding (quite correctly and unfortunately I think) that philosophy cannot be done on the Internet.
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  #37  
Old 07-22-2016, 07:01 AM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

Honestly, peacegirl, nobody here cares what you say about anything, except for the lulz. You're of course free to shit up this thread, but I'll be ignoring you here, and only as always paying a limited amount of attention to you in the other thread for the lulz.
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  #38  
Old 07-22-2016, 09:18 AM
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As I have stated, I have heard most of the arguments before, and I understand them intellectually, but the idea just doesn't feel right and I can't quite yet define what is bothering me. I'll read your examples again, and if you could expound a bit more, perhaps something will click and I'll be able to state just what I find to be the problem.
There are a few intuitions that stand in our way to fully grasp the idea that we are determined and can be free at the same time. The most important in my opinion is the fact that most people are intuitively dualists. We think that there is something, a soul, that observes via our senses, and steers the body. People who really believe this, believe in libertarian free will. But now, since we know from science that practically we are determined, we see that a soul can have no influence on nature. And then, when we give up the believe that we have a soul, i.e. that the mind is a function of the brain, it becomes 'clear' that there is only one-way traffic: 'we' are caused by our brain states, but 'we' cause nothing. And because 'we' have no influence, 'we' are not free to act.

But when we think like this, we have not fully transformed our understanding of giving up the idea that we are no souls. A rest of it is still in the 'we' as used above. As there is no soul, there is also not a 'we' as separate entities, that is caused by our brain states. So who, or better what, is not free? What we must see is that the 'soul' is the functioning brain. At the moment you see this, it becomes clear that metaphysical aspects we assign to free will have no meaning at all. 'Free will' does not mean some magical influence of the soul on the brain; 'free will' does not mean 'could have done otherwise in exactly the same circumstances, including my brain state'. Somebody who is looking for free will in some magical aspect of reality, or in some indeterminist events in reality, is simply looking at the wrong place. But from the other side: somebody who denies these aspects, denies also based on a wrong conception for where to look for free will.

Here comes my favourite example (maybe you have already seen it elsewhere): you are sitting in a restaurant, and have the choice of several dishes from the menu card. Now you know you are determined. Does that mean you do not have to choose? That the decision just makes itself, without you? Of course not. There is no difference between the determinist and a free will believer when choosing the dish they want. Now look at the menu card: assume you have the choice between a hamburger menu, or the chicken nuggets menu. You can choose between the two. You choose the hamburger. After you've eaten, when you think back about your choice, it is fully justified to say that you could have chosen the chicken nuggets. Not because you were not determined, but because both were on the card, and nobody forced you to take the hamburger. So you could have chosen otherwise. It would be absurd to think that 'could have done otherwise' would mean that 'given who you are, in the same circumstances, you could have chosen otherwise'. That would mean the choice has nothing to do with who you are. When you choose, and there is no force, not from somebody, not from laws of nature (remember, laws of nature cause nothing) to choose anything differently than what you want, there is free will.

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  #39  
Old 07-22-2016, 09:36 AM
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That has to depend on "what we style free will". I don't see how this sort of argument changes anything.
I think what Swartz is showing (in my opinion convincing) that the idea that laws of nature force us to do things is just wrong. So how can you argue then, that the laws of nature constrain our free will? The problem for hard determinists is that their 'attack' on free will is invalid, because it uses a wrong concept of laws of nature.

The idea of 'could have done otherwise under exactly the same circumstances, including my brain state', is an methodological unjustified extension of what we mean with free will in daily life.

If we honestly explore how free will is a given fact to us, it is obviously clear that above definition is just not part of it.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

I just remembered why I don't usually get into these discussions. All I see is endless meandering semantic games that people have been playing for centuries.
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:09 PM
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I just remembered why I don't usually get into these discussions. All I see is endless meandering semantic games that people have been playing for centuries.
Compatibilism is a semantic game. It says we are not free because we could not do otherwise, and in the same breath it says we are free because we have choices. What they are saying is that we can squeeze free will in if the choice made is not a responsible one, because they could have chosen otherwise given their ability for rational thought. This completely negates determinism. It cancels it out yet they try to say this kind of free will is not the libertarian kind, so it doesn't cancel anything out. No wonder it makes your head spin. :yup:
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:21 PM
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I just remembered why I don't usually get into these discussions. All I see is endless meandering semantic games that people have been playing for centuries.
And yet you still visited this thread. What does that tell you about free will?
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:13 PM
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I just remembered why I don't usually get into these discussions. All I see is endless meandering semantic games that people have been playing for centuries.
Wittgenstein, Tractatus:
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6.53 The right method of philosophy would be this. To say nothing except what can be said, i.e. the propositions of natural science, i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy: and then always, when someone else wished to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had given no meaning to certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying to the other—he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy—but it would be the only strictly correct method.
If one wants to talk about philosophical topics, one must be clear about the concepts one is using. Sometimes dis-covering the correct meanings of certain concepts solve a philosophical problem completely. So the case with the seemingly contradictory concepts of free will and determinism. Under the correct definitions of laws of nature and what free will really is, the 'problem' is not solved: it just simply does not exist.

But it is OK if you are not interested in philosophy.
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:43 PM
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Well, these are not mere "semantic games," suggesting a fast-moving shell game, but rigorously reasoned analytic philosophy. But as GdB says, it's fine if you dislike philosophy. :shrug:
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:49 PM
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Under the correct definitions of laws of nature and what free will really is, the 'problem' is not solved: it just simply does not exist.
As if there was such a thing as a "correct definition".
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:55 PM
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Under the correct definitions of laws of nature and what free will really is, the 'problem' is not solved: it just simply does not exist.
As if there was such a thing as a "correct definition".
So, there are no "correct definitions"? Are there "correct definitions" in science? Do definitions "mean nothing when it comes to reality," as per peacegirl?
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

If there are no correct definitions, then by definition (!) nothing we ever say is correct!
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Angakuk (07-22-2016)
  #48  
Old 07-22-2016, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

Every definition is correct by definition.
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  #49  
Old 07-22-2016, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

So no definition is ever incorrect then! So we always say correct stuff.

Anyway, this digression is silly. I'll continue discussing the topic at hand, and see if anyone is interested besides saying "nu-huh!"
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Free will in philosphy and science

I don't think it's any more silly than the whole discussion already is. Pretending to have solved a problem by defining it away, then claiming that definition is "the" correct one, implying that one has discovered the true definition that was out there somewhere to be discovered, that is pretty silly.
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