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Compatibilism: What's that About?

The AntiChris

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Obviously, there is a contradiction between compatibilism and incompatibilism, both cannot be true.
If incompatibilism and compatibilism referenced the exact same notion of 'free will', then you'd be absolutely correct.

The fact that you do believe incompatibilism and compatibilism are mutally exclusive (i.e. you believe they do reference the same notion of free will), suggests one of two things. Either:

1) You haven't understood what Marvin's been saying on this thread

or

2) You don't believe what Marvin's said on this thread
 

Jarhyn

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
That's the issue though. "Sorting out what really happens" and then pointing at the deterministic function of the physics is exactly the same operation as saying that you want to know what really happens so you must understand the assembly and instruction set and ignore the python code because "that's just imaginary and gets compiled away".

Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

And with power to act and power over another comes freedom (to act)/(from power of another)/(from constraints of physical barrier). These are not colloquialisms and is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is to have terms which have useful application in questions.

The above conversation is muted if one says "freedom is not real because we are all coerced in all things by cold physics to be fated slaves of history." Of course we are fated slaves of history, but the fundamental shape of "slave to history", in this case, is "human", and "human" means fundamentally capable of learning and growth and change for the better through observation of one's mistakes.

When someone discusses freedom, oneust fundamentally ask "freedom from what?"

Freedom is contextual because freedom is a property that only exists in comparison between localities.

In other ways of putting it, you might as well claim that we shouldn't care about nuclear power because all the universe balances out to 0 net charge or whatever.


References to freedom are contextual within a determined system, but ultimately - within a determined system - nothing can do otherwise. ''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.
So, you have acknowledged "freedom" within physical space. This is the first step.

Now we just need you to get to seeing "freedom" in "goal space".

Because free will is a discussion, in compatibilism, of strategy of how as planets orbiting, a bird flying, an animal grazing, people interacting, we may attain our goals.

It is even perfectly imaginary! But that's OK since the vast majority of things humans deal with are imaginary. Money is imaginary, words are imaginary, gender is imaginary, even sex and concepts like "species" and "human DNA" are purely imaginary: in reality there are just objects, and those objects will only ever be exactly themselves and those objects will behave as they will.

But we use imaginary concepts because they are useful, and imagining things, untrue things, things not that are what will happen but what "may", a patent nonsense, enables efficiency because some things happen commonly or in common ways: some things are not on the basis of an image but are concrete. All of these alternatives one imagines are imaginary but are "around" the reality, and of those many imaginary outcomes one even has within them an imaginary model of "if I A then B" so there is even a nebulous "picking" operation of one of the "imaginary" possibilities leading to a concrete future something more like that imaginary one than the others. Note that it doesn't matter that you can only pick one nor does it matter that one will be picked, invariably, as a result of it's individual geometry and the geometry of the machine so picking. It doesn't even matter that the system is picking an image of a set of images that are not even realities, that the reality will necessarily be different from the imagination that was picked in hopeful ignorance.

These are realities of our existence as local entities. We MUST discuss free will, and be capable of doing so without being paralyzed by a concept of fatedness. We do not know our fates and cannot, and I am strictly of the opinion that we ought not try. Nobody likes a player who cheats at their dice rolls, after all, at least any more than anyone does.

Regardless of whether the results on the inside of the process are imaginary, the process itself is happening in concrete reality, and is part of what shapes concrete reality A choice is made on the basis of who you are, and some of that basis of who you are is within the purview of such choices.

In many ways I break from Copernicus here. I do not acknowledge the ideas here as more than "imaginary", but I do not claim they have to be more than "imaginary" to be important. Because even while I choose a lie to be the future with every thought, I am generally comfortable with how reality makes such a liar out of me.
 
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... However there is no evidence ever for free will in any specification of determinism, not permitted by definition. Every claim of free will has been falsified. Take a different tack.

Free will is when a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

Free will 100% deterministic. How is this possible? BECAUSE FREE WILL IS NOT "FREEDOM FROM CAUSAL NECESSITY". The notion of "freedom from causal necessity" is an oxymoron. Without reliable cause and effect, we could never reliably cause any effect, and would have no freedom to do anything at all. So, the notion of freedom ALWAYS implies a world of reliable causation.
 
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... The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.

What really happens is simple. In the inevitable chain of events, we find people confronting problems that require them to make a choice. They consider their options, and based upon that evaluation, they choose what they will do. That chosen "will" then motivates and directs their subsequent options.

What really happens is that these people have an evolved neurology that enables a variety of mental functions, including creating an internal model of reality that they can use to imagine possibilities, estimate the likely outcomes of different options, and output their choice in the form of an "I will" do something.

What really happens is that in some cases the person may be subject to coercion, where a guy points a gun at them and tells them what to do. The guy with the gun forces them to do something that they are normally "unwilling" to do, like handing over their wallet. But in order to live they must subjugate their will to his.

When the person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other undue influences, we call this "free will". Free will is literally a freely chosen "I will".

And that is what really happens.
 
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''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.

Why isn't free will "necessitated choosing freely performed"? Why isn't free will simply another case of "people going about their business unimpeded"? Why is free will singled out and treated as a special case in your theory?
 

Copernicus

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Common usage doesn't establish the reality of the thing in question.

No one is arguing that it does. It establishes what the words and expressions mean. Arguments consist of words, so usage conventions are important.

People talk about God - "we are blessed by God" - "God created the world" - or Satan, demons, angels, evil spirits, flying saucers, anal probes, Pixies, ghosts, goblins, each and every one defined by common usage, word use, semantics.....but this establish the reality of gods and goblins, demons and angels? No. Not even slightly.

You are preaching to the choir here.

Why would it be different for "free will?" Will itself is not the driver of decision making, behaviour, thought or action, it comes into play late in the process, prompting action that has already been decided/necessitated.

Nobody is saying that it is different for "free will". People either have it or they don't. They have it from their own subjective experience, because their future is indeterminate. They don't have it from the perspective of an omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate. I'm sure that you get this, so I think the problem may be a stubborn unwillingness to concede the point. Hence, you keep insisting on the validity of just one perspective--the omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate.

Pasting a label which is used in trivial reference to a selected behaviour does not establish freedom of will. The label is not the thing. The word "God" is not God.

Believe me when I tell you this. Linguists don't mix up sense and reference. They are fundamentally different aspects of a linguistic form.
 
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... Nobody is saying that it is different for "free will". People either have it or they don't. They have it from their own subjective experience, because their future is indeterminate. They don't have it from the perspective of an omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate. I'm sure that you get this, so I think the problem may be a stubborn unwillingness to concede the point. Hence, you keep insisting on the validity of just one perspective--the omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate.

I think we need to separate causation from prediction. Perfectly reliable causation implies the "theoretical" possibility of prediction, but not necessarily the "practical" possibility of prediction. So, it might simplify things to avoid the term "indeterminate" and simply use the term "unknown".

To "determine" sometimes means "to figure it out". Other times to "determine" means to "cause something to happen". The example I use is "We could not determine (figure out) whether it was the pressure or the heat that determined (caused) the reaction would take place".

It would seem necessary to conclude that there will be only one single actual future, simply because we have only one single past to put it in. But, within the domain of human influence, we will choose that single actual future from among the many possible futures we imagine.

Our future will be both reliably caused (deterministic), and it will be reliably caused by us (free will).
 

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... Nobody is saying that it is different for "free will". People either have it or they don't. They have it from their own subjective experience, because their future is indeterminate. They don't have it from the perspective of an omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate. I'm sure that you get this, so I think the problem may be a stubborn unwillingness to concede the point. Hence, you keep insisting on the validity of just one perspective--the omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate.

I think we need to separate causation from prediction. Perfectly reliable causation implies the "theoretical" possibility of prediction, but not necessarily the "practical" possibility of prediction. So, it might simplify things to avoid the term "indeterminate" and simply use the term "unknown".

To "determine" sometimes means "to figure it out". Other times to "determine" means to "cause something to happen". The example I use is "We could not determine (figure out) whether it was the pressure or the heat that determined (caused) the reaction would take place".

It would seem necessary to conclude that there will be only one single actual future, simply because we have only one single past to put it in. But, within the domain of human influence, we will choose that single actual future from among the many possible futures we imagine.

Our future will be both reliably caused (deterministic), and it will be reliably caused by us (free will).
I think that the problem is somewhat paradoxical. We have faith in the determinate nature of reality, but we also know that even our best, most reliable predictions sometimes fail. So the future is always going to appear indeterminate from our perspective, because only the past and present can be reliably known. Our deterministic reality is somewhat chaotic or subject to unexpected change. Hence, we construct causal predictive models of reality in order to enhance our chances of success in achieving desirable outcomes. You can try to separate causation from prediction, but you can't break the bond between them. Note that I used the term "indeterminate" only in connection with the subjective experience of an agent. The future may be determinate from an objective perspective, but it is always going to appear indeterminate from the subjective perspective of a volitional actor. Hence, every choice is more or less a gamble.
 
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I think that the problem is somewhat paradoxical. We have faith in the determinate nature of reality, but we also know that even our best, most reliable predictions sometimes fail. So the future is always going to appear indeterminate from our perspective, because only the past and present can be reliably known. Our deterministic reality is somewhat chaotic or subject to unexpected change. Hence, we construct causal predictive models of reality in order to enhance our chances of success in achieving desirable outcomes. You can try to separate causation from prediction, but you can't break the bond between them. Note that I used the term "indeterminate" only in connection with the subjective experience of an agent. The future may be determinate from an objective perspective, but it is always going to appear indeterminate from the subjective perspective of a volitional actor. Hence, every choice is more or less a gamble.

Right. Without reliable cause and effect, any prediction would be like the broken clock that is right twice a day. So, in order to determine (know) what we need to do, so that we can determine (control) the future we want, we really need a world of reliable cause and effect. The better we understand the causes, the less our choice is a gamble. And, thankfully, our predictive capability is pretty reliable most of the time for ordinary daily life. Come to think of it, our predictive capability as a society has been reliable enough to do some pretty extraordinary things, like landing people on the Moon, and getting them back safely to Earth.
 

fromderinside

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It seems clear by now that DBT is never going to concede that ordinary usage of the expression "free will" is a valid basis for defining its meaning. Freedom from coercion or undue influence is a completely acceptable way to define the term, but hard determinists want to treat it as either meaning freedom from causal necessity or not having any meaningful significance at all. In the end, their argument means little, because people are still going to be judged guilty and punished for using their "imaginary" free will to commit crimes. Eliminativism strikes me as an intellectually bankrupt position, but no harm as long as it makes them happy. :)


Ahem, I don't deny ordinary usage. The argument here is not merely about semantics, how people use words. The argument relates to actual function, how decisions are made, determinism and how actions are performed. The argument against free will is about reality, not semantics, that common usage is inadequate in explaining cognition or motor action, how and why we think and behave as we do...that the compatibilist definition fails for the given reasons.....reasons that are typically ignored by its supporters.
What do you think it means to "deny ordinary usage"? It seems to me that you do just that in your very next sentence. If you don't care about how people use words, then why should people care about how you use your words? Arguments are composed entirely of words, and, if anyone is to understand your argument, then they have to take into account the semantics of those words. If you want to argue about semantics--to persuade someone that you have a point--then you need to use words to do that.

If you were paying attention to my words, you would be seeing that I am agreeing with you that "free will" doesn't make sense unless there is some sense of indeterminism. And that just isn't possible, if you are looking at a deterministic system in which you know the initial state of that system and all of the factors that produce outcomes in it. That is what you are talking about--a reality in which everything is predetermined. Marvin has also seen your point fully and clearly. It doesn't take a genius to understand it. The problem is that nobody, including yourself, in this deterministic reality has any awareness of future outcomes, just an ability to imagine alternative outcomes and choose actions to address what we all expect to happen. That's the actual reality we find ourselves in, not the reality of an omniscient observer of the deterministic system. From our perspective, reality is not deterministic because we do not have the ability to know future outcomes, only to guess at them. So the "free will" concept makes sense from our perspective, because we don't know for certain what effect our actions will have on this deterministic chaos that we struggle to survive. That's why Marvin is exactly right to define "free will" in the way he has, and you are exactly right to consider it nonexistent from the perspective of the omniscient observer. There is no contradiction there. Two different perspectives make them compatible. It's just that you only want to acknowledge the validity of one of those perspectives, and I get the sense that you are rigidly determined to do what you most want to do. ;)
There is no contradiction between determined and free will? One can't reasonably say: "Well since I don't know things are determined there 'can' be free will." Quit blowing smoke. If things are determined by natural law then you have to find natural law that unlocks determination or enables free will. None having been found you are sitting in a piss poor place with no willie. Relativity only works in a subjective rational - you know, a place where angels reside and man is of a different mother than life - frame.

As far as I can tell man is about to reject empirical methods in favor of nativist tendencies leading straight to our demise probably while taking down the rest of life here on good old planet earth along the way.
 
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DBT

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Obviously, there is a contradiction between compatibilism and incompatibilism, both cannot be true.
If incompatibilism and compatibilism referenced the exact same notion of 'free will', then you'd be absolutely correct.

The fact that you do believe incompatibilism and compatibilism are mutally exclusive (i.e. you believe they do reference the same notion of free will), suggests one of two things. Either:

1) You haven't understood what Marvin's been saying on this thread

or

2) You don't believe what Marvin's said on this thread


If ''free will'' can be anything that we want it to be, or define it to be, free will has no reality. It is - like god, devil, angel, goblin, pixies, etc - merely a poorly defined concept. A concept without substance, a word game.
 

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
That's the issue though. "Sorting out what really happens" and then pointing at the deterministic function of the physics is exactly the same operation as saying that you want to know what really happens so you must understand the assembly and instruction set and ignore the python code because "that's just imaginary and gets compiled away".

Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

And with power to act and power over another comes freedom (to act)/(from power of another)/(from constraints of physical barrier). These are not colloquialisms and is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is to have terms which have useful application in questions.

The above conversation is muted if one says "freedom is not real because we are all coerced in all things by cold physics to be fated slaves of history." Of course we are fated slaves of history, but the fundamental shape of "slave to history", in this case, is "human", and "human" means fundamentally capable of learning and growth and change for the better through observation of one's mistakes.

When someone discusses freedom, oneust fundamentally ask "freedom from what?"

Freedom is contextual because freedom is a property that only exists in comparison between localities.

In other ways of putting it, you might as well claim that we shouldn't care about nuclear power because all the universe balances out to 0 net charge or whatever.


References to freedom are contextual within a determined system, but ultimately - within a determined system - nothing can do otherwise. ''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.
So, you have acknowledged "freedom" within physical space. This is the first step.

Now we just need you to get to seeing "freedom" in "goal space".

What are you talking about? Necessitated actions are not restricted actions. Neither are they freely willed. I made that distinction from the beginning, quotes and all;

If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man's illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.

Albert Einstein
 

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Common usage doesn't establish the reality of the thing in question.

No one is arguing that it does. It establishes what the words and expressions mean. Arguments consist of words, so usage conventions are important.

People talk about God - "we are blessed by God" - "God created the world" - or Satan, demons, angels, evil spirits, flying saucers, anal probes, Pixies, ghosts, goblins, each and every one defined by common usage, word use, semantics.....but this establish the reality of gods and goblins, demons and angels? No. Not even slightly.

You are preaching to the choir here.

Why would it be different for "free will?" Will itself is not the driver of decision making, behaviour, thought or action, it comes into play late in the process, prompting action that has already been decided/necessitated.

Nobody is saying that it is different for "free will". People either have it or they don't. They have it from their own subjective experience, because their future is indeterminate. They don't have it from the perspective of an omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate. I'm sure that you get this, so I think the problem may be a stubborn unwillingness to concede the point. Hence, you keep insisting on the validity of just one perspective--the omniscient observer for whom the future is determinate.

Pasting a label which is used in trivial reference to a selected behaviour does not establish freedom of will. The label is not the thing. The word "God" is not God.

Believe me when I tell you this. Linguists don't mix up sense and reference. They are fundamentally different aspects of a linguistic form.


Compatibilists assert a difference by labelling willed actions as freely willed actions. The label itself makes a distinction between freely willed actions and non freely willed actions.....which, within a determined system where all actions are necessitated action and no action is freely willed is a clear case of applying the wrong label.

We must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion), we cannot do otherwise.

Conscious mind
''Recognizing that consciousness is awareness does change the way we can look at the fundamental problem of free will. Free will is more correctly defined as “the perception that we choose to make movements.” Looking at it in this way produces at least two possibilities. The first is that there is a process of free will, an aspect of consciousness, that does choose to make a specific movement. The second is that the brain’s motor system produces a movement as a product of its different inputs, consciousness is informed of this movement, and it is perceived as being freely chosen.


''Wanting to do X (necessitated desires/drives) is fully determined by these prior causes, now that the desire to do X is being felt, there are no other constraints that keep the person from doing what he wants (necessitated actions)...''
 

Copernicus

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Compatibilists assert a difference by labelling willed actions as freely willed actions. The label itself makes a distinction between freely willed actions and non freely willed actions.....which, within a determined system where all actions are necessitated action and no action is freely willed is a clear case of applying the wrong label.

We must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion), we cannot do otherwise.

No, you are simply repeating a position that has already been refuted over and over by Marvin and others here. If you define free will solely in terms of causal necessity, then "freedom" really doesn't make much sense in a deterministic system wherein all events have causal antecedents. No actor within the system is free to deviate from the dictates of those causal antecedents. However, the actors themselves within a chaotically deterministic system (from their perspective) are unaware of all the causal factors determining events, let alone their own behavior. So they operate as if the past and present are determined, but the future is uncertain. Therefore, actors have the freedom to choose among alternatives, and that enters into their calculations. Freedom resides in the perception of not being coerced to do anything other than what they most want to do within the limitation of their abilities. What makes them able to even make a choice is the belief that the future is determined by forces that they can guess at but not be certain of. Freedom is not about stepping outside of causality, but by making educated guesses about what the causal factors are and how they will evolve. This is not a denial that we "must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion)" and have no other choice. It is an affirmation of that. You have continually misconstrued "freedom" as freedom from causal necessity, even after repeated denials and explanations of why that isn't what compatibilism is about.

As I've said before, you don't appear able to admit that free will can be defined from the perspective of an actor in the system that does not have foreknowledge of future outcomes. I'm not going to waste more of my few remaining heartbeats in the forlorn hope that you will finally agree that maybe common usage is a valid basis for defining the meaning of "free will". So thanks for the discussion, but I'll likely be moving on now.
 

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Compatibilists assert a difference by labelling willed actions as freely willed actions. The label itself makes a distinction between freely willed actions and non freely willed actions.....which, within a determined system where all actions are necessitated action and no action is freely willed is a clear case of applying the wrong label.

We must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion), we cannot do otherwise.

No, you are simply repeating a position that has already been refuted over and over by Marvin and others here. If you define free will solely in terms of causal necessity, then "freedom" really doesn't make much sense in a deterministic system wherein all events have causal antecedents. No actor within the system is free to deviate from the dictates of those causal antecedents. However, the actors themselves within a chaotically deterministic system (from their perspective) are unaware of all the causal factors determining events, let alone their own behavior. So they operate as if the past and present are determined, but the future is uncertain. Therefore, actors have the freedom to choose among alternatives, and that enters into their calculations. Freedom resides in the perception of not being coerced to do anything other than what they most want to do within the limitation of their abilities. What makes them able to even make a choice is the belief that the future is determined by forces that they can guess at but not be certain of. Freedom is not about stepping outside of causality, but by making educated guesses about what the causal factors are and how they will evolve. This is not a denial that we "must necessarily act according to our will (inner compulsion)" and have no other choice. It is an affirmation of that. You have continually misconstrued "freedom" as freedom from causal necessity, even after repeated denials and explanations of why that isn't what compatibilism is about.

As I've said before, you don't appear able to admit that free will can be defined from the perspective of an actor in the system that does not have foreknowledge of future outcomes. I'm not going to waste more of my few remaining heartbeats in the forlorn hope that you will finally agree that maybe common usage is a valid basis for defining the meaning of "free will". So thanks for the discussion, but I'll likely be moving on now.

It has absolutely nothing to do with what I admit, believe or assert.

The terms are fixed by the elements as they are presented: determinism, necessitated actions, freedom of Will.

Quite simply - logically - necessitated will, by definition, cannot be defined as being free.

Necessitated actions, by definition, are not freely will actions.

To claim that necessitated actions are freely willed actions is a contradiction.

To claim that necessitated will is free will is a contradiction.

Free will is not compatible with determinism.
 
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There is no contradiction between determined and free will?

That's right: There is no contradiction between determinism and free will. Determinism asserts that every event is the reliable result of prior events. Free will is a set of events in which the person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence.

Let's make this clear and obvious:
1. We have a perfectly reliable chain of events leading up to the person confronting an issue that requires a choice to be made.
2. We have a perfectly reliable chain of events within the choosing operation that determines what the person will do.
3. We have a perfectly reliable chain of events between the chosen action and whatever follows from that action.
So, the chain of causation is never broken.

Where is the free will? Well, first, it is not outside of the causal chain, because nothing ever is. Free will is not an "uncaused" event. There are no such things as uncaused events. Everything that ever happens is always reliably caused by prior events. So, let's dismiss the notion that "freedom from causal necessity" is actually a "thing". Without reliable causation we would have no freedom to do anything at all. Doing stuff requires a world of reliable cause and effect. If we cannot reliably cause some effect, we cannot reliably do anything.

"Freedom from causal necessity" is an irrational concept, containing its own self-contradiction, because freedom always implies reliable cause and effect. And "causal necessity" is nothing more than a series of reliable causes and their effects (effects that become the causes of subsequent events).

So, to find free will, we must choose a different definition than "freedom from causal necessity", since that is a bit of silly nonsense.

Is there some other meaning of the term "free will"? Yes! Free will, as commonly understood, is when a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence.

But wait, is this also a silly definition? No, it's not silly at all. If a guy with a gun tells you to give him your wallet, then you don't get to choose for yourself what you will do. In order to survive, you subjugate your will to his. Your will is no longer free to direct your actions. Your actions must follow the will of the guy with the gun. Your freedom to choose for yourself what you will do is gone.

Coercion is one form of undue influence. There are many other forms, such as a significant mental illness. Another extraordinary influence is in a relationship of unequal power where the person can compel you without a gun, such as that parent's control of their child, a doctor's influence upon their patient, a military commander's authority over their soldiers. An undue influence is any extraordinary influence that can be reasonably said to remove your control of your own choices.

So, our definition of free will is certainly meaningful and relevant. And it is this meaning of free will that is used when assessing a person's moral or legal responsibility for their actions.

Our definition of free will, as a choice we make while free of coercion and undue influence, is real.

And it is not outside of the causal chain. For example, in most chains of events we are free to decide for ourselves what we will do, but there may be one chain of events in which a man is holding a gun to our head.

We use the concept of free will to distinguish between those two chains of events, because the notion of causal necessity never makes any distinctions between any events.

Okay. So now we know what free will really is about, and, we've found it right there in the causally necessary chain of events stretching from the Big Bang and into the infinite future.


One can't reasonably say: "Well since I don't know things are determined there 'can' be free will."

My presumption is that all events are determined by prior events, and that this includes events of choosing what we will do while free of coercion and undue influence.

If things are determined by natural law then you have to find natural law that unlocks determination or enables free will. ...
There is no need to escape the metaphorical "laws of nature" in order to be free. You will find the laws of nature located within us in the same way they are located in every other object and force in the universe. We are constructed of natural causal mechanisms that keep our hearts beating and our thoughts flowing. The "laws of nature" do not imprison us. They enable us to walk about in the world causing stuff to happen, and doing so for our own purposes and our own reasons.
 

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You are asking me to argue for something I do not believe in: I do not believe in indeterminism. I believe in local indeterminabilities.

Really, the problem you are seeing is in fact that compatibilists do not argue for what you wish to argue against. Compatibilists never argue an escape from determinism.

Rather, they argue that if one wishes to make lexical sense of the concept that people discuss when the speak the utterance that is "free will" one best stands to step away entirely from assaulting determinism or challenging the rules or the function of the RNG model; one would be better served acknowledging those things and instead focus on understanding the rules understanding what is RNG, and then engaging the meta.

The meta includes concepts of free will, not from causation or history or determinism, but from each other, and by varying extent; and when and whether this be so.

Common usage, casual references and people's utterances don't really matter. Who cares, I don't. People can say the ability to jump up and down is free will for all it matters in common utterances. The issue here is sorting out what really happens, the function and role of will, the nature of cognition, motor action, motivations, drives, determinism, indeterminism, etc, in relation to ''free will'' in terms of something more than pasting labels or common references.
That's the issue though. "Sorting out what really happens" and then pointing at the deterministic function of the physics is exactly the same operation as saying that you want to know what really happens so you must understand the assembly and instruction set and ignore the python code because "that's just imaginary and gets compiled away".

Even if the system has a determinism, individuals within the system must still have a game theory. That game theory must itself include a dynamic of "power": "power to act in service of goals"; "power over which goals another may reach".

And with power to act and power over another comes freedom (to act)/(from power of another)/(from constraints of physical barrier). These are not colloquialisms and is not the purpose of the exercise. The purpose is to have terms which have useful application in questions.

The above conversation is muted if one says "freedom is not real because we are all coerced in all things by cold physics to be fated slaves of history." Of course we are fated slaves of history, but the fundamental shape of "slave to history", in this case, is "human", and "human" means fundamentally capable of learning and growth and change for the better through observation of one's mistakes.

When someone discusses freedom, oneust fundamentally ask "freedom from what?"

Freedom is contextual because freedom is a property that only exists in comparison between localities.

In other ways of putting it, you might as well claim that we shouldn't care about nuclear power because all the universe balances out to 0 net charge or whatever.


References to freedom are contextual within a determined system, but ultimately - within a determined system - nothing can do otherwise. ''Freedom'' refers to unrestricted motion, the orbits of planets, birds flying, animals grazing, people interacting, vehicles travelling, people going about their business unimpeded, each according to the own needs and wants....but is that free will? No, it's not. Rather than a matter of will it is necessitated movement freely performed.
So, you have acknowledged "freedom" within physical space. This is the first step.

Now we just need you to get to seeing "freedom" in "goal space".

What are you talking about? Necessitated actions are not restricted actions. Neither are they freely willed. I made that distinction from the beginning, quotes and all;

If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man's illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.

Albert Einstein
Well, apparently even Einstein can have said stupid shit. Imagine that.

I'm a programmer. I sit in the seat your god sits in in your quote. Exactly in that seat. I create a "moon" that eternally orbits an "earth".

I watch the program execute and I do not say "ah, the illusion of free will of my processes!" I say "these processes are free with respect to each other". I can still see their free will, more clearly as their god, I can describe the very structure of the thing I call free will, map it out, even: "This is the shape of executive control through time of this process, this is where a process had agency and this is where it did not". Not only can I see that it is real, I can describe it with precision!

I can say "this process is preventing this other process from acting freely, how does the processes structure need to change to prevent that?"

The programmer does not wonder as Einstein does whether the moon will 'lie' to itself over that when it held free will and when it did not.
 

DBT

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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Nor is a matter of the 'moon lying; it's a matter of limited perspective. We simply don't have access to the information shapes and forms our being and behaviour.

What are you arguing anyway? Didn't you say that you don't believe in free will? The issue is free will in relation to determinism....that is the point, and what Einstein was referring to.

What has computer programming got to do with it?
 

fromderinside

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... However there is no evidence ever for free will in any specification of determinism, not permitted by definition. Every claim of free will has been falsified. Take a different tack.

Free will is when a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

Free will 100% deterministic. How is this possible? BECAUSE FREE WILL IS NOT "FREEDOM FROM CAUSAL NECESSITY". The notion of "freedom from causal necessity" is an oxymoron. Without reliable cause and effect, we could never reliably cause any effect, and would have no freedom to do anything at all. So, the notion of freedom ALWAYS implies a world of reliable causation.
You chatter. In a determined world no person decides freely. Not possible. Every avenue is covered. Saying one does anything freely, even believing so, is sheer fantasy. Causation is at the base of that which denies anything is done freely in any sense.
 
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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Speaking of Einstein, his position on free will is incoherent. Consider this quote from the Saturday Evening Post many years ago:

Albert Einstein said:
"In a sense, we can hold no one responsible. I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. ... Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community,I must act as if man is a responsible being."
Page 114 of "The Saturday Evening Post" article "What Life Means to Einstein" "An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" (Oct 26, 1929)

On the one hand, he says that being a determinist means that he does not believe in free will or responsibility, then he turns around and says he must act as if he does believe in them. Even Einstein was taken in by the paradox. So, you're certainly in good company.
 
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You chatter.

And you don't??

In a determined world no person decides freely.

Well, they cannot be "free of causal necessity". Nor can they be "free from themselves". But their choosing can most certainly be free from coercion and undue influence.

Causation is at the base of that which denies anything is done freely in any sense.

And yet I just gave you the sense in which choosing is done freely. Choosing can be done free of coercion and undue influence. And that's all that free will, as commonly understood and used, needs to be free of.

Causation, itself, does nothing to deny any meaningful freedom. To the contrary: Causation enables every freedom that we have to do anything at all. Freedom requires reliable cause and effect. Freedom requires a deterministic universe.

And that is why "freedom from causal necessity" is an irrational notion. One cannot logically be free from the very thing that freedom requires.

And another thing, universal causal necessity/inevitability is not even a meaningful constraint. Whatever we will inevitably do is exactly identical to us just being us, choosing what we choose, and doing what we do. Basically, it is what we would have done anyway. And that is not a meaningful constraint.
 

Copernicus

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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Speaking of Einstein, his position on free will is incoherent. Consider this quote from the Saturday Evening Post many years ago:

Albert Einstein said:
"In a sense, we can hold no one responsible. I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. ... Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community,I must act as if man is a responsible being."
Page 114 of "The Saturday Evening Post" article "What Life Means to Einstein" "An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" (Oct 26, 1929)

On the one hand, he says that being a determinist means that he does not believe in free will or responsibility, then he turns around and says he must act as if he does believe in them. Even Einstein was taken in by the paradox. So, you're certainly in good company.
Exactly. So the question for those who wish to eliminate "free will" on grounds of determinism: Why would you hold anyone responsible for the crimes they commit? Seriously. I would like to hear some rationale that does not involve you invoking free will or some equivalent concept as part of your argument. Einstein said that he wished to live in a civilized community, but how could he possibly freely choose to live in a civilized community?
 

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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Speaking of Einstein, his position on free will is incoherent. Consider this quote from the Saturday Evening Post many years ago:

Albert Einstein said:
"In a sense, we can hold no one responsible. I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. ... Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community,I must act as if man is a responsible being."
Page 114 of "The Saturday Evening Post" article "What Life Means to Einstein" "An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" (Oct 26, 1929)

On the one hand, he says that being a determinist means that he does not believe in free will or responsibility, then he turns around and says he must act as if he does believe in them. Even Einstein was taken in by the paradox. So, you're certainly in good company.


That's induction, he said - ''Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed'' - which may be taken mean that the perception of free will is an illusion.... supported by his comment; ''If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all.''

There is no contradiction, only perspective. The illusion of free will/agency where none exists within a determined system.
 

fromderinside

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You chatter.

And you don't??

In a determined world no person decides freely.

Well, they cannot be "free of causal necessity". Nor can they be "free from themselves". But their choosing can most certainly be free from coercion and undue influence.

I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing. One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective. Causation is objective. Subjective isn't up to the task.
 

Copernicus

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...

That's induction, he said - ''Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed'' - which may be taken mean that the perception of free will is an illusion.... supported by his comment; ''If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all.''

There is no contradiction, only perspective. The illusion of free will/agency where none exists within a determined system.

Are you sort of admitting that free will exists from the perspective of actors within the deterministic system? You, like Einstein, seem to be admitting that there is no practical consequence of defining free will as if it meant exactly what Marvin said. It is a fully determined process, and it makes perfect sense from the perspective of all of us sentient automatons interacting with each other. Sounds like that sense of free will is pretty compatible with determinism.
 
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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Speaking of Einstein, his position on free will is incoherent. Consider this quote from the Saturday Evening Post many years ago:

Albert Einstein said:
"In a sense, we can hold no one responsible. I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. ... Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community,I must act as if man is a responsible being."
Page 114 of "The Saturday Evening Post" article "What Life Means to Einstein" "An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" (Oct 26, 1929)

On the one hand, he says that being a determinist means that he does not believe in free will or responsibility, then he turns around and says he must act as if he does believe in them. Even Einstein was taken in by the paradox. So, you're certainly in good company.


That's induction, he said - ''Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed'' - which may be taken mean that the perception of free will is an illusion.... supported by his comment; ''If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all.''

There is no contradiction, only perspective. The illusion of free will/agency where none exists within a determined system.

Einstein is making up a story with no evidence. If the moon had self-consciousness, it would just as likely perceive itself as a passive entity enjoying the trip. It would not observe itself making choices, because the moon never makes any choices. So it would never have the notion of choosing what it will do next. Without choosing, it would never have the notion that it controls anything. But we can watch ourselves choosing what we will have for breakfast, or choosing which route we will take to work, or choosing all the other things we choose throughout the day. So, Einstein's analogy, like all analogies, is false.
 
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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
 

Jarhyn

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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...
 

Copernicus

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Intelligence entails the ability to learn from experience. People use that ability to make better choices in the future under similar circumstances. So they can imagine how they might have made different choices in the past. Although we can program computers to behave in a nondeterministic way when confronted with a novel situation or new obstacle, it is really hard to figure out how to get them to learn from experience. In any case, it is useless to try to understand how free will works without taking into account all of the factors that go into making it work the way it does. The field of Artificial Intelligence is not just about mimicking intelligent behavior. It is also about coming to understand how human brains work by discovering how to mimic that behavior. Programming a robot that has legs for walking tells us a lot about how humans manage to achieve that feat. We learn to watch where we step, but AI programmers have to actually figure out the real choices we make when we watch our steps. Our walking robots don't necessarily do that on their own, but our toddlers do. Maybe someday robots will, too.
 
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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...

Geez, you're making me look up words like "thaumaturgy", which means working miracles. As a Humanist, I don't believe in miracles.
 

Elixir

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Who else thought this thread was going to be about cannibalism?
 
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Intelligence entails the ability to learn from experience. People use that ability to make better choices in the future under similar circumstances. So they can imagine how they might have made different choices in the past. Although we can program computers to behave in a nondeterministic way when confronted with a novel situation or new obstacle, it is really hard to figure out how to get them to learn from experience. In any case, it is useless to try to understand how free will works without taking into account all of the factors that go into making it work the way it does. The field of Artificial Intelligence is not just about mimicking intelligent behavior. It is also about coming to understand how human brains work by discovering how to mimic that behavior. Programming a robot that has legs for walking tells us a lot about how humans manage to achieve that feat. We learn to watch where we step, but AI programmers have to actually figure out the real choices we make when we watch our steps. Our walking robots don't necessarily do that on their own, but our toddlers do. Maybe someday robots will, too.

I don't know. It seems like these robots are watching their steps:
 

Copernicus

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To be clear, I mean that current versions of walking robots do watch their steps, but they don't necessarily teach themselves how to do that. They simply lack episodic memories and an ability to use those memories the modify future behavior. However, they can be programmed to dance and to navigate obstacle courses via nondeterministic programming methods.
 

Jarhyn

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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...

Geez, you're making me look up words like "thaumaturgy", which means working miracles. As a Humanist, I don't believe in miracles.
Not particularly? More, "as above, so below". It is a concept of magic, not miracles. In any deeper discussion than the ignorant It's "an act of doing something on a symbolic scale to effect a change on a different scale; to manipulate one image so as to effect change on another."

Modeled action exactly that, doing something at small scale, observing the results, translating that to a course of action, and executing it to get those results on different scale.

I was being arcane and obtuse for silliness purposes.
 
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To be clear, I mean that current versions of walking robots do watch their steps, but they don't necessarily teach themselves how to do that. They simply lack episodic memories and an ability to use those memories the modify future behavior. However, they can be programmed to dance and to navigate obstacle courses via nondeterministic programming methods.
I don't think there are nondeterministic programming methods. There may be choices that are unpredictable, but not causally indeterministic.
 
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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...

Geez, you're making me look up words like "thaumaturgy", which means working miracles. As a Humanist, I don't believe in miracles.
Not particularly? More, "as above, so below". It is a concept of magic, not miracles. In any deeper discussion than the ignorant It's "an act of doing something on a symbolic scale to effect a change on a different scale; to manipulate one image so as to effect change on another."

Modeled action exactly that, doing something at small scale, observing the results, translating that to a course of action, and executing it to get those results on different scale.

I was being arcane and obtuse for silliness purposes.
And, you were successful.
 

Copernicus

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To be clear, I mean that current versions of walking robots do watch their steps, but they don't necessarily teach themselves how to do that. They simply lack episodic memories and an ability to use those memories the modify future behavior. However, they can be programmed to dance and to navigate obstacle courses via nondeterministic programming methods.
I don't think there are nondeterministic programming methods. There may be choices that are unpredictable, but not causally indeterministic.

 Nondeterministic programming is a real, well-established method of programming, but the term "nondeterministic" here has a technical meaning that relates to programming flow in a running program. It is not really about determinism in free will debates. :) What it means is that a program only calculates decisions at choice points during runtime. It makes different decisions that depend on circumstances at choice points that are external to the program flow. That is what allows a robot to figure out how to navigate an obstacle course that it has never seen before. It might decide whether it needs to climb over, crawl under, or walk around an obstacle in its path.
 
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To be clear, I mean that current versions of walking robots do watch their steps, but they don't necessarily teach themselves how to do that. They simply lack episodic memories and an ability to use those memories the modify future behavior. However, they can be programmed to dance and to navigate obstacle courses via nondeterministic programming methods.
I don't think there are nondeterministic programming methods. There may be choices that are unpredictable, but not causally indeterministic.

 Nondeterministic programming is a real, well-established method of programming, but the term "nondeterministic" here has a technical meaning that relates to programming flow in a running program. It is not really about determinism in free will debates. :) What it means is that a program only calculates decisions at choice points during runtime. It makes different decisions that depend on circumstances at choice points that are external to the program flow. That is what allows a robot to figure out how to navigate an obstacle course that it has never seen before. It might decide whether it needs to climb over, crawl under, or walk around an obstacle in its path.
Back-tracking sounds like simply unwinding the stack, which would still seem deterministic to me.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
...

That's induction, he said - ''Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed'' - which may be taken mean that the perception of free will is an illusion.... supported by his comment; ''If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all.''

There is no contradiction, only perspective. The illusion of free will/agency where none exists within a determined system.

Are you sort of admitting that free will exists from the perspective of actors within the deterministic system? You, like Einstein, seem to be admitting that there is no practical consequence of defining free will as if it meant exactly what Marvin said. It is a fully determined process, and it makes perfect sense from the perspective of all of us sentient automatons interacting with each other. Sounds like that sense of free will is pretty compatible with determinism.

I thought I had made it clear, I'm saying that limited perspective may give the actor the impression of free will - if the actor believes free will to mean that they have regulative control, that they are freely selecting an option from a set of alternatives, that they could have chosen otherwise....which determinism, of course, does not allow. Which means, not free will, but the illusion of free will.
 

DBT

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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Speaking of Einstein, his position on free will is incoherent. Consider this quote from the Saturday Evening Post many years ago:

Albert Einstein said:
"In a sense, we can hold no one responsible. I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. ... Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community,I must act as if man is a responsible being."
Page 114 of "The Saturday Evening Post" article "What Life Means to Einstein" "An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" (Oct 26, 1929)

On the one hand, he says that being a determinist means that he does not believe in free will or responsibility, then he turns around and says he must act as if he does believe in them. Even Einstein was taken in by the paradox. So, you're certainly in good company.


That's induction, he said - ''Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed'' - which may be taken mean that the perception of free will is an illusion.... supported by his comment; ''If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all.''

There is no contradiction, only perspective. The illusion of free will/agency where none exists within a determined system.

Einstein is making up a story with no evidence. If the moon had self-consciousness, it would just as likely perceive itself as a passive entity enjoying the trip. It would not observe itself making choices, because the moon never makes any choices. So it would never have the notion of choosing what it will do next. Without choosing, it would never have the notion that it controls anything. But we can watch ourselves choosing what we will have for breakfast, or choosing which route we will take to work, or choosing all the other things we choose throughout the day. So, Einstein's analogy, like all analogies, is false.


Einstein was describing the inevitable, inescapable consequences of determinism. The moon does not make decisions. But, as with everything else within the system its actions are determined/fixed as a matter of natural law.

Complexity cannot alter, bypass or circumvent determinism. Yes, the activity of a brain is infinitely more complex than the orbit of the moon, but no less determined.

Complexity should not be confused with freedom of the will.

Again, the stumbling point of compatibilism:

''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. ''
 

Copernicus

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...

That's induction, he said - ''Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed'' - which may be taken mean that the perception of free will is an illusion.... supported by his comment; ''If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all.''

There is no contradiction, only perspective. The illusion of free will/agency where none exists within a determined system.

Are you sort of admitting that free will exists from the perspective of actors within the deterministic system? You, like Einstein, seem to be admitting that there is no practical consequence of defining free will as if it meant exactly what Marvin said. It is a fully determined process, and it makes perfect sense from the perspective of all of us sentient automatons interacting with each other. Sounds like that sense of free will is pretty compatible with determinism.

I thought I had made it clear, I'm saying that limited perspective may give the actor the impression of free will - if the actor believes free will to mean that they have regulative control, that they are freely selecting an option from a set of alternatives, that they could have chosen otherwise....which determinism, of course, does not allow. Which means, not free will, but the illusion of free will.
Yes, you made it clear that perspective my give the actor the impression of free will, but you just don't want to admit that the subjective impression of free will is what us actors are talking about when we use the expression "free will". We aren't talking about freedom from causal necessity in a deterministic reality. So your attempt to dismiss free will as an illusion is ultimately a self-refuting argument. You end up admitting that we are compelled to accept the reality of being responsible for our actions, even if we cannot step outside of the deterministic chaos that compels us to make the choices that we do. You aren't arguing that we should open up the jails and let everyone out on the grounds that none of the inmates could help themselves when they committed their crimes. Supposedly, we are compelled to keep them locked up. What does any of your argument buy us except intellectual bankruptcy?
 

fromderinside

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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...

Geez, you're making me look up words like "thaumaturgy", which means working miracles. As a Humanist, I don't believe in miracles.
However it seems you do believe in ethics can be materially defined. Care to try?

See: https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/definition-of-humanism/

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good. Whether you’re doing research, exploring a personal philosophy, or are simply curious about humanism, the resources here are a great place to start: […]*

* I've highlighted a few terms beyond humanism for which I'd like to see objective constructions.
 
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Just because you don't agree with Einstein doesn't mean that what he said is stupid. He was pointing out the undeniable consequences of determinism. It is compatibilism that fails to relate to the consequences of determinism, therefore fails as an argument.

Speaking of Einstein, his position on free will is incoherent. Consider this quote from the Saturday Evening Post many years ago:

Albert Einstein said:
"In a sense, we can hold no one responsible. I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. ... Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community,I must act as if man is a responsible being."
Page 114 of "The Saturday Evening Post" article "What Life Means to Einstein" "An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" (Oct 26, 1929)

On the one hand, he says that being a determinist means that he does not believe in free will or responsibility, then he turns around and says he must act as if he does believe in them. Even Einstein was taken in by the paradox. So, you're certainly in good company.


That's induction, he said - ''Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed'' - which may be taken mean that the perception of free will is an illusion.... supported by his comment; ''If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all.''

There is no contradiction, only perspective. The illusion of free will/agency where none exists within a determined system.

Einstein is making up a story with no evidence. If the moon had self-consciousness, it would just as likely perceive itself as a passive entity enjoying the trip. It would not observe itself making choices, because the moon never makes any choices. So it would never have the notion of choosing what it will do next. Without choosing, it would never have the notion that it controls anything. But we can watch ourselves choosing what we will have for breakfast, or choosing which route we will take to work, or choosing all the other things we choose throughout the day. So, Einstein's analogy, like all analogies, is false.


Einstein was describing the inevitable, inescapable consequences of determinism. The moon does not make decisions. But, as with everything else within the system its actions are determined/fixed as a matter of natural law.

Einstein was drowning in his own metaphors. The moon does not make decisions because it has no brain nor any mechanism for carrying out its intentions.

Complexity cannot alter, bypass or circumvent determinism. Yes, the activity of a brain is infinitely more complex than the orbit of the moon, but no less determined.

Correct. Every event, including each thought and feeling we experience, is causally necessary from any prior point in time. But the most meaningful and relevant prior causes of our thoughts and feelings are located right here inside us. They are already a part who and what we are. And the choices that they cause are in fact our own choices.

Complexity should not be confused with freedom of the will.

Correct. Free will is not complex. It is the simple empirical case where a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

Reliable cause and effect, in itself, is not coercive and certainly not undue. It's an ordinary fact of life. And causal necessity is nothing more than a chain of prior events causing subsequent events. Nothing coercive or undue there either.

Only specific causes, like a guy holding a gun demanding our wallet, are coercive and extraordinary enough to force us to act against our own will.

Again, the stumbling point of compatibilism:
''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. ''

Since the compatibilist believes that all actions are equally a product of deterministic processes, nothing changes in regard to responsibility. If one uses the fact of causal necessity to excuse one thing, then it must excuse everything. If it excuses the pickpocket who stole your wallet, then it also excuses the judge who cuts off his hand.

"Responsibility" for a moral or criminal harm is assigned to the most meaningful and relevant cause of the harm. The pickpocket will be arrested for stealing your wallet. The judge will be arrested for inflicting "cruel and unusual punishment".

Causal necessity is never arrested for anything. The waiter in the restaurant gives the bill to the customer, not to causal necessity.

The hard determinist is confused about these matters, and leaves us with no one being held responsible for anything, and no cause that can actually be corrected.
 
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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...

Geez, you're making me look up words like "thaumaturgy", which means working miracles. As a Humanist, I don't believe in miracles.
However it seems you do believe in ethics can be materially defined. Care to try?

See: https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/definition-of-humanism/

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good. Whether you’re doing research, exploring a personal philosophy, or are simply curious about humanism, the resources here are a great place to start: […]*

* I've highlighted a few terms beyond humanism for which I'd like to see objective constructions.

Hey! Thanks for sharing with everyone the link to the AHA.

You also ask whether ethics can be "materially" defined. Yes:

Ethics are a system of rules that guide behavior. The goal of ethics is to achieve a set of rules that provides the best good and the least harm for everyone. Which rules will best accomplish this are often a matter of debate, because the long term consequences of a given rule are often uncertain. So, groups, such as legislatures, research data and hear expert witnesses to inform their decisions. And they often argue over which rule will have the best results. After gathering information and discussion, they vote to establish a working rule that they implement. After it is implemented, we become better informed as to its actual consequences, and may modify, replace, or delete it.

But note that we have just stepped out of this thread and into this one: https://iidb.org/index.php?threads/morality-and-ethics.24777/
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
...

That's induction, he said - ''Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed'' - which may be taken mean that the perception of free will is an illusion.... supported by his comment; ''If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all.''

There is no contradiction, only perspective. The illusion of free will/agency where none exists within a determined system.

Are you sort of admitting that free will exists from the perspective of actors within the deterministic system? You, like Einstein, seem to be admitting that there is no practical consequence of defining free will as if it meant exactly what Marvin said. It is a fully determined process, and it makes perfect sense from the perspective of all of us sentient automatons interacting with each other. Sounds like that sense of free will is pretty compatible with determinism.

I thought I had made it clear, I'm saying that limited perspective may give the actor the impression of free will - if the actor believes free will to mean that they have regulative control, that they are freely selecting an option from a set of alternatives, that they could have chosen otherwise....which determinism, of course, does not allow. Which means, not free will, but the illusion of free will.
Yes, you made it clear that perspective my give the actor the impression of free will, but you just don't want to admit that the subjective impression of free will is what us actors are talking about when we use the expression "free will". We aren't talking about freedom from causal necessity in a deterministic reality. So your attempt to dismiss free will as an illusion is ultimately a self-refuting argument. You end up admitting that we are compelled to accept the reality of being responsible for our actions, even if we cannot step outside of the deterministic chaos that compels us to make the choices that we do. You aren't arguing that we should open up the jails and let everyone out on the grounds that none of the inmates could help themselves when they committed their crimes. Supposedly, we are compelled to keep them locked up. What does any of your argument buy us except intellectual bankruptcy?


Are you saying that those who believe in free will, compatibilists, etc, accept that their concept of free will is an illusion? That free will as an illusion is not real? That free will is a false impression, an illusion of the mind? That the term is merely a verbal construct?
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.


Einstein was describing the inevitable, inescapable consequences of determinism. The moon does not make decisions. But, as with everything else within the system its actions are determined/fixed as a matter of natural law.

Einstein was drowning in his own metaphors. The moon does not make decisions because it has no brain nor any mechanism for carrying out its intentions.

Determined behaviour has nothing to do with that. Everything being determined, it matters not whether something is conscious or not. Consciousness doesn't alter anything. Brain information processing is largely unconscious. Consciousness itself is determined.
Complexity cannot alter, bypass or circumvent determinism. Yes, the activity of a brain is infinitely more complex than the orbit of the moon, but no less determined.

Correct. Every event, including each thought and feeling we experience, is causally necessary from any prior point in time. But the most meaningful and relevant prior causes of our thoughts and feelings are located right here inside us. They are already a part who and what we are. And the choices that they cause are in fact our own choices.

That is true of all organisms. True of species that have no concept of morality or capacity for higher reasoning. It has nothing to do with freedom or will, just enablement through complex neural mechanisms.

Complexity should not be confused with freedom of the will.

Correct. Free will is not complex. It is the simple empirical case where a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence.

Reliable cause and effect, in itself, is not coercive and certainly not undue. It's an ordinary fact of life. And causal necessity is nothing more than a chain of prior events causing subsequent events. Nothing coercive or undue there either.

Only specific causes, like a guy holding a gun demanding our wallet, are coercive and extraordinary enough to force us to act against our own will.

Again, the stumbling point of compatibilism:
''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. ''

Since the compatibilist believes that all actions are equally a product of deterministic processes, nothing changes in regard to responsibility. If one uses the fact of causal necessity to excuse one thing, then it must excuse everything. If it excuses the pickpocket who stole your wallet, then it also excuses the judge who cuts off his hand.

"Responsibility" for a moral or criminal harm is assigned to the most meaningful and relevant cause of the harm. The pickpocket will be arrested for stealing your wallet. The judge will be arrested for inflicting "cruel and unusual punishment".

Causal necessity is never arrested for anything. The waiter in the restaurant gives the bill to the customer, not to causal necessity.

The hard determinist is confused about these matters, and leaves us with no one being held responsible for anything, and no cause that can actually be corrected.

The justice system works through sending the message, if you break this law there are consequences, jail time, fines, etc, consequences that modify behaviour and act as a deterrent. Mostly effective, but there are exceptions:

On the neurology of morals
''Patients with medial prefrontal lesions often display irresponsible behavior, despite being intellectually unimpaired. But similar lesions occurring in early childhood can also prevent the acquisition of factual knowledge about accepted standards of moral behavior.''


Prefrontal Cortex damage:
1 - 'The 20-year-old female subject studied by Damasio et al. was intelligent and academically competent, but she stole from her family and other children, abused other people both verbally and physically, lied frequently, and was sexually promiscuous and completely lacking in empathy toward her illegitimate child. In addition, the researchers say, "She never expressed guilt or remorse for her misbehavior'' ''Both of the subjects performed well on measures of intellectual ability, but, like people with adult-onset prefrontal cortex damage, they were socially impaired, failed to consider future consequences when making decisions, and failed to respond normally to punishment or behavioral interventions. "Unlike adult-onset patients, however," the researchers say, "the two patients had defective social and moral reasoning, suggesting that the acquisition of complex social conventions and moral rules had been impaired." While adult-onset patients possess factual knowledge about social and moral rules (even though they often cannot follow these rules in real life), Damasio et al.'s childhood-onset subjects appeared unable to learn these rules at all. This may explain, the researchers say, why their childhood-onset subjects were much more antisocial, and showed less guilt and remorse, than subjects who suffered similar damage in adulthood.''
 

fromderinside

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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...

Geez, you're making me look up words like "thaumaturgy", which means working miracles. As a Humanist, I don't believe in miracles.
However it seems you do believe in ethics can be materially defined. Care to try?

See: https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/definition-of-humanism/

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good. Whether you’re doing research, exploring a personal philosophy, or are simply curious about humanism, the resources here are a great place to start: […]*

* I've highlighted a few terms beyond humanism for which I'd like to see objective constructions.

Hey! Thanks for sharing with everyone the link to the AHA.

You also ask whether ethics can be "materially" defined. Yes:

Ethics are a system of rules that guide behavior. The goal of ethics is to achieve a set of rules that provides the best good and the least harm for everyone. Which rules will best accomplish this are often a matter of debate, because the long term consequences of a given rule are often uncertain. So, groups, such as legislatures, research data and hear expert witnesses to inform their decisions. And they often argue over which rule will have the best results. After gathering information and discussion, they vote to establish a working rule that they implement. After it is implemented, we become better informed as to its actual consequences, and may modify, replace, or delete it.

But note that we have just stepped out of this thread and into this one: https://iidb.org/index.php?threads/morality-and-ethics.24777/
Yes is not a very satisfying answer to request for materiality of "ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good."

So I'm repeating the request as deterministic question about empirical rather than the washy washy material evidence. Here's a definition of material evidence: indicating the difference between the two.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309922961_Empirical_and_Non-Empirical_Methods

Abstract:
he dividing line between empirical and non-empirical methods is marked by scholars’ approach to knowledge
gain (i.e., epistemology). Empirical methods typically involve systematic collection and analysis of data (i.e.,
observation and evidence). They are used primarily in quantitative research involving original collection of data,
but also in secondary analyses and increasingly in qualitative research. Scholars using non-empirical methods
consider that reflection, personal observation and authority/experience are just as valuable for knowledge
acquisition as empirical data. In communication studies, scholars are likely to have a clear preference for either
empirical or non-empirical methods. Yet, their scholarship may well include both.

Why the two aren't equally valuable is obvious to even the uncurious. Before advent of scientific method the morality and governance advanced from understanding or material progress from debtor warehouse hovels to racial warehouse hovels. In the about 600 years since Galileo governments are still using rationalism to grapple with truth, justice, and whatever way since Plato.

In that same interval because of of Galileo used making his discoveries by observation and manipulating material things by empirical methods we have placed the earth as orbiting around the sun, space travel, the bomb, and broad band communication from a world of firmament and heavens, ox carts, spears, and town criers.

It's not too much to ask. Use empirical methods to refine definitions of the three terms I highlighted. You might even learn something about why  Operationalism can be such a powerful tool. Caveat, as a psychologist I warn against using Skinner's approach to Bridgman's philosophy. Simply put Skinner was a fool.
 
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I'll be more specific. In a determined world there is no choosing.

Choosing is a deterministic operation that inputs two or more options, applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, usually in the form of an "I will X", where X is that which we have decided we will do.

And you're saying this never happens? Come with me to the restaurant. Watch the people walk in, sit at a table, browse the menu, and place their orders. How was the literal menu of options reduced to a single choice, if not by choosing?

If we stick around, we will notice the waiter bringing each person their bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate act.

Like all events, these events were causally necessary from any prior point in the past. Causal necessity does eliminate choosing, it assures it will inevitably happen.

One's own impression of what one is doing, or of what others are doing, is subjective.

Watching people in the restaurant reducing a menu of options into a single "I will have the chef salad, please", is an objective observation, not a subjective impression. That's why I use it. Everyone has seen people actually making choices in the real world.

Causation is objective.

And we just objectively observed choosing actually happening. Cool, huh?

Subjective isn't up to the task.

So, are you suggesting that we, as objective observers, were just imagining that people in the restaurant were making choices? We cannot see inside their heads. But we did see a menu of options going into it, and a single choice coming out of it. Choosing happens. It is a real deterministic event that occurs in the real world.
And why I choose software as an example. "Choice" as a concept, in fact the more general term "decision", requires no/very little "intelligence" at all, the intelligence of a single gate.

I think where people get lost is that logical structures can be imposed in the physical, and those logical structures may be then modeled, completely ignoring the physical substrate, to perform an act of literal thaumaturgy: to make happen so below, and then follow that determined path above in the other system that performs "the same".

I can see how such ideas got off the rails though... It's a short but fatal leap to where people in ancient times took it, in our modern understanding.

But, Body Rituals of the Nacirema and all that...

Geez, you're making me look up words like "thaumaturgy", which means working miracles. As a Humanist, I don't believe in miracles.
However it seems you do believe in ethics can be materially defined. Care to try?

See: https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/definition-of-humanism/

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good. Whether you’re doing research, exploring a personal philosophy, or are simply curious about humanism, the resources here are a great place to start: […]*

* I've highlighted a few terms beyond humanism for which I'd like to see objective constructions.

Hey! Thanks for sharing with everyone the link to the AHA.

You also ask whether ethics can be "materially" defined. Yes:

Ethics are a system of rules that guide behavior. The goal of ethics is to achieve a set of rules that provides the best good and the least harm for everyone. Which rules will best accomplish this are often a matter of debate, because the long term consequences of a given rule are often uncertain. So, groups, such as legislatures, research data and hear expert witnesses to inform their decisions. And they often argue over which rule will have the best results. After gathering information and discussion, they vote to establish a working rule that they implement. After it is implemented, we become better informed as to its actual consequences, and may modify, replace, or delete it.

But note that we have just stepped out of this thread and into this one: https://iidb.org/index.php?threads/morality-and-ethics.24777/
Yes is not a very satisfying answer to request for materiality of "ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good."

So I'm repeating the request as deterministic question about empirical rather than the washy washy material evidence. Here's a definition of material evidence: indicating the difference between the two.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309922961_Empirical_and_Non-Empirical_Methods

Abstract:
he dividing line between empirical and non-empirical methods is marked by scholars’ approach to knowledge
gain (i.e., epistemology). Empirical methods typically involve systematic collection and analysis of data (i.e.,
observation and evidence). They are used primarily in quantitative research involving original collection of data,
but also in secondary analyses and increasingly in qualitative research. Scholars using non-empirical methods
consider that reflection, personal observation and authority/experience are just as valuable for knowledge
acquisition as empirical data. In communication studies, scholars are likely to have a clear preference for either
empirical or non-empirical methods. Yet, their scholarship may well include both.

Why the two aren't equally valuable is obvious to even the uncurious. Before advent of scientific method the morality and governance advanced from understanding or material progress from debtor warehouse hovels to racial warehouse hovels. In the about 600 years since Galileo governments are still using rationalism to grapple with truth, justice, and whatever way since Plato.

In that same interval because of of Galileo used making his discoveries by observation and manipulating material things by empirical methods we have placed the earth as orbiting around the sun, space travel, the bomb, and broad band communication from a world of firmament and heavens, ox carts, spears, and town criers.

It's not too much to ask. Use empirical methods to refine definitions of the three terms I highlighted. You might even learn something about why  Operationalism can be such a powerful tool. Caveat, as a psychologist I warn against using Skinner's approach to Bridgman's philosophy. Simply put Skinner was a fool.
Cool. I always like to think that I can provide an operational definition for any term I use. So, you've chosen three specific terms from the Humanist web site, and would like to see how they are operationally defined. Here goes:

Ethical Lives are simply lives that are consistent with a specific set of rules. You empirically compare specific acts within that life against the set of ethical rules that are assumed to apply to that individual. Acts consistent with the rules are ethical. Acts inconsistent with the rule are unethical. You make a list, check it twice, to see who has been naughty or nice. (Or so Santa says).

Personal Fulfillment refers to a person's goals for their lives and whether or not they have been achieved or at least behavior exhibited which is consistent with achieving them.

Aspire to the Greater Good refers to their motivation to achieve the best good and the least harm for everyone. You can empirically measure the strength of that motivation by observing behaviors that either contribute to or impede achieving that goal.

Questions? Comments?

But again, this seems to be more in line with the Morals & Principles category rather than in this thread on Compatibilism.
 
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... Everything being determined, it matters not whether something is conscious or not. Consciousness doesn't alter anything. Brain information processing is largely unconscious. Consciousness itself is determined.

The problem is that "every event is always determined by prior events" has no practical implications. But what the brain does and does not do has huge practical implications. The brain makes choices. And it involves consciousness in the process of deliberation. The involvement of consciousness is how we are able to explain our deliberate behavior to ourselves and others.

The justice system works through sending the message, if you break this law there are consequences, jail time, fines, etc, consequences that modify behaviour and act as a deterrent.

But that message about consequences comes into the brain via words that we become consciously aware of as we see or hear them.

Mostly effective, but there are exceptions:

On the neurology of morals
''Patients with medial prefrontal lesions often display irresponsible behavior, despite being intellectually unimpaired. But similar lesions occurring in early childhood can also prevent the acquisition of factual knowledge about accepted standards of moral behavior.''


Prefrontal Cortex damage:
1 - 'The 20-year-old female subject studied by Damasio et al. was intelligent and academically competent, but she stole from her family and other children, abused other people both verbally and physically, lied frequently, and was sexually promiscuous and completely lacking in empathy toward her illegitimate child. In addition, the researchers say, "She never expressed guilt or remorse for her misbehavior'' ''Both of the subjects performed well on measures of intellectual ability, but, like people with adult-onset prefrontal cortex damage, they were socially impaired, failed to consider future consequences when making decisions, and failed to respond normally to punishment or behavioral interventions. "Unlike adult-onset patients, however," the researchers say, "the two patients had defective social and moral reasoning, suggesting that the acquisition of complex social conventions and moral rules had been impaired." While adult-onset patients possess factual knowledge about social and moral rules (even though they often cannot follow these rules in real life), Damasio et al.'s childhood-onset subjects appeared unable to learn these rules at all. This may explain, the researchers say, why their childhood-onset subjects were much more antisocial, and showed less guilt and remorse, than subjects who suffered similar damage in adulthood.''

Free will is presumed to be compromised by significant mental illness that is severe enough to remove a person's control over their own behavior. This falls under the category of an "undue influence".
 

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Yes, you made it clear that perspective my give the actor the impression of free will, but you just don't want to admit that the subjective impression of free will is what us actors are talking about when we use the expression "free will". We aren't talking about freedom from causal necessity in a deterministic reality. So your attempt to dismiss free will as an illusion is ultimately a self-refuting argument. You end up admitting that we are compelled to accept the reality of being responsible for our actions, even if we cannot step outside of the deterministic chaos that compels us to make the choices that we do. You aren't arguing that we should open up the jails and let everyone out on the grounds that none of the inmates could help themselves when they committed their crimes. Supposedly, we are compelled to keep them locked up. What does any of your argument buy us except intellectual bankruptcy?

Are you saying that those who believe in free will, compatibilists, etc, accept that their concept of free will is an illusion? That free will as an illusion is not real? That free will is a false impression, an illusion of the mind? That the term is merely a verbal construct?

Just FYI, all terms are verbal constructs. All have significance in their own right, or they wouldn't have been used in the first place.

What I am saying is that "free will" is only an illusion if you frame it as the result of a causal necessity, where the entire antecedent chain is known. That is, it is an illusion from the perspective of an all-knowing outside observer, not the actor making the choice. People who use the term almost never use it with that sort of perspective in mind. You can ask people to tell you what made them make a choice that they did, but they never try to answer by exhaustively detailing every possible past event that led up to the choice. That is just background noise from the perspective of the chooser. They simply name the factor that they recollect as the most salient one when they made their choice. If you want to treat free will as just an illusion because of your obsession with causal chaining, you are free to do so. The rest of us will carry on as we have in the past, using the term to apply to choices that we feel are not coerced or unduly influenced by the circumstances that led to them. Causal necessity remains intact and can do what it must do.
 
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