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Compatibilism: What's that About?

DBT

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The function of a working brain is to acquire and process information in order to respond to the events of the world in manner that aids survival.

Correct.

A functional brain processes information and produces results according to its own architecture and information exchange, not will.

I do not understand your tacking on the "not will" at the end. The whole point of an intelligent brain is to provide a living organism with options. Prior to intelligence, there were no options, because every behavior was instinctual, hardwired. With intelligence we gain the ability to respond creatively "to the events of the world in a manner that aids survival".

I say 'not will' because the brain does not function according to 'will' - intelligence is not willed, neural architecture is not willed, the environment that forms our physical makeup is not willed, yet it is these elements that determine who we are, how we think and act....in accordance with inner necessity, not freedom of will. Will changes nothing. Will is a part of action, action is determined by processing,

The output of a functional, deterministic brain, the actions taken, do not allow alternate actions.

That's only true of a non-intelligent organism. With intelligence, the brain continues to operate deterministically, but with an additional causal mechanism: rationality (you may recall that from Dr. Martha Farah's quote that you included earlier).

Rationality is not equivalent to free will, which is why Martha Farah said what she said. She was not supporting the notion of free will, just the opposite. It is neural architecture that enables intelligence, not free will. Artificial intelligence, for instance, is a matter processing power and function, not will.


We assume that the rational causal mechanism also operates deterministically (otherwise it would be ineffectual). So, when stepping into a new causal mechanism we are not stepping outside of determinism.

For example, addition is a deterministic rational operation: 2 plus 2 equals 4. There is no alternative within that operation.

However, choosing is also a deterministic rational operation: A or B? If A is better than B, then I will choose A, but if B is better than A, then I will choose B. With the choosing operation we always get at least two alternatives. Then we evaluate each alternative and choose the one that seems best to us. That's how it works.

Given the same identical us, facing the same issue, under the same circumstances, our choice will always be the same. That's what being a deterministic operation naturally implies. And that does not change with the rational causal mechanism. Just like 2 + 2 = 4, one choice will always be judged better than the other after evaluation.

Options are realized on the basis of criteria. Criteria is determined by needs and wants. The option taken is the one that best meets the criteria. The other options were not in the running. It may prove that option A was wrong, which changes the dynamic.


Nothing is willed.

That would be an absurdity. Every deliberate action is willed, because the output of deliberation is an intention to do something, as in, "I will fix eggs for breakfast".

As I've pointed out a number of times, timing is the key; inputs are acquired (the senses, not will), information is transmitted, propagated and processed (by neural networks, not will), then represented in conscious form, thought, will, action (a sequence of milliseconds). Will emerges as a result of input, architecture, processing, will is not the master or director of the brain.....which, having said it a number of times, is clearly what I meant.

You continue to insist that freedom must include the absence from reliable cause and effect. This notion that determinist's carry around with them is called "freedom from causal necessity". It is an irrational notion, due to the fact that reliable causation is always required by every freedom that we have to do anything at all (including the freedom to decide for ourselves what we will do). FREEDOM REQUIRES RELIABLE CAUSE AND EFFECT.

What I have said is freedom requires regulative control, realizable, possible, alternate actions.

Determinism, by definition (forget about soft determinism) does not allow regulative control or realizable, possible, alternate actions.

Assuming responsibility requires control, and determinism does not allow regulative control or realizable, possible, alternate actions, ultimately, we are not responsible for what we do or think.

Consequently:
Quote:
If you accept regulative control as a necessary part of free will, it seems impossible either way:
1. Free will requires that given an act A, the agent could have acted otherwise
2. Indeterminate actions happens randomly and without intent or control
3. Therefore indeterminism and free will are incompatible
4. Determinate actions are fixed and unchangeable
5. Therefore determinism is incompatible with free will
 

Marvin Edwards

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... The very ideas of consciousness, experience, feeling, beliefs, and desires are not objective beyond control experimenters apply to individual experiments. ...

Since those are the words and concepts that are relevant to this discussion this conversation appears to be done.
 

fromderinside

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... The very ideas of consciousness, experience, feeling, beliefs, and desires are not objective beyond control experimenters apply to individual experiments. ...

Since those are the words and concepts that are relevant to this discussion this conversation appears to be done.
My very best friend was a classical Philosopher still studying at the time of Angela Davis at UCLA. He never quit even though he knew philosophy needed to change to remain relevant.

Given we've learned more than the totality of what we knew before the seventies it seems philosophers could at least delve into the realms where there is uncertainty about the value of rationalism. Perhaps philosophers can contribute, as statistics have contributed, to bridging the barrier between number and measure.

But, No. Marvin Edwards has declared Philosophy dead. I'm still confident methods and chains of an argument are available to pierce the boundary between what we think the mind is now and means whereby we can determine means to actually construct a sound deterministic basis for such a concept. perhaps a little statistical thought needs to be applied.

I do favor formality.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... The very ideas of consciousness, experience, feeling, beliefs, and desires are not objective beyond control experimenters apply to individual experiments. ...

Since those are the words and concepts that are relevant to this discussion this conversation appears to be done.
My very best friend was a classical Philosopher still studying at the time of Angela Davis at UCLA. He never quit even though he knew philosophy needed to change to remain relevant.

Given we've learned more than the totality of what we knew before the seventies it seems philosophers could at least delve into the realms where there is uncertainty about the value of rationalism. Perhaps philosophers can contribute, as statistics have contributed, to bridging the barrier between number and measure.

But, No. Marvin Edwards has declared Philosophy dead. I'm still confident methods and chains of an argument are available to pierce the boundary between what we think the mind is now and means whereby we can determine means to actually construct a sound deterministic basis for such a concept. perhaps a little statistical thought needs to be applied.

I do favor formality.

What is a belief?
 

Marvin Edwards

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The function of a working brain is to acquire and process information in order to respond to the events of the world in manner that aids survival.

Correct.

A functional brain processes information and produces results according to its own architecture and information exchange, not will.

I do not understand your tacking on the "not will" at the end. The whole point of an intelligent brain is to provide a living organism with options. Prior to intelligence, there were no options, because every behavior was instinctual, hardwired. With intelligence we gain the ability to respond creatively "to the events of the world in a manner that aids survival".

I say 'not will' because the brain does not function according to 'will' - intelligence is not willed, neural architecture is not willed, the environment that forms our physical makeup is not willed, yet it is these elements that determine who we are, how we think and act....in accordance with inner necessity, not freedom of will. Will changes nothing. Will is a part of action, action is determined by processing,

The brain attends to different things according to a competition of stimuli from different sources. Right now I have CNN on the TV in the living room, which I can still hear through the door. But while I'm concentrating on what I'm trying to explain here, I'm unaware of the sounds from the TV.

Driving down a familiar road, thinking to ourselves or listening to music, we don't think about driving, unless something unexpected appears in the road ahead. If that happens then we're alert once more to the road and our other thoughts take a back seat.

The concept I'm trying to explain here is "intention". Our intention, whether to write a comment or drive safely to our destination, is what motivates and directs our internal thinking, as well as our external behavior.

Hmm. Why don't I just look up "intent" in the dictionary? Here it is in the Oxford English Dictionary (highlights mine):

intent, n. 1.a. The act or fact of intending or purposing; intention, purpose (formed in the mind). Formerly also, in more general sense, Will, inclination; that which is willed, pleasure, desire (cf. 4). Now chiefly in legal phraseology, and in the expressions with intent to (hurt, etc.), with good or malicious intent, etc.

You may remember the example of the coed who declined the party to study for tomorrow's chemistry exam. Her chosen intent caused her brain to attend to her textbook and lecture notes, to rehearse remembering things, so she would be prepared for the test.

So, I would strongly disagree with the notion that the brain operates in the absence of will. Will is both a product of the brain and a driver of the brain's activity. The brain is providing both input to itself and output from itself while engaged in the process of thinking. And what the brain is will be thinking about next, is often deliberately chosen.

That's all part of the information processing naturally performed by our brains.

The output of a functional, deterministic brain, the actions taken, do not allow alternate actions.

That's only true of a non-intelligent organism. With intelligence, the brain continues to operate deterministically, but with an additional causal mechanism: rationality (you may recall that from Dr. Martha Farah's quote that you included earlier).

Rationality is not equivalent to free will, which is why Martha Farah said what she said. She was not supporting the notion of free will, just the opposite. It is neural architecture that enables intelligence, not free will. Artificial intelligence, for instance, is a matter processing power and function, not will.
Oh yeah, Martha Farah also suffers from the delusion that causal necessity prevents free will. Anyone using the paradoxical definition, "freedom from causal necessity", rather than the operational definition, "freedom from coercion and undue influence", of free will finds free will not to exist, because they view causal necessity as a meaningful and relevant constraint. Odd, though, that they do not require freedom from causal necessity for any other freedom.

We assume that the rational causal mechanism also operates deterministically (otherwise it would be ineffectual). So, when stepping into a new causal mechanism we are not stepping outside of determinism.

For example, addition is a deterministic rational operation: 2 plus 2 equals 4. There is no alternative within that operation.

However, choosing is also a deterministic rational operation: A or B? If A is better than B, then I will choose A, but if B is better than A, then I will choose B. With the choosing operation we always get at least two alternatives. Then we evaluate each alternative and choose the one that seems best to us. That's how it works.

Given the same identical us, facing the same issue, under the same circumstances, our choice will always be the same. That's what being a deterministic operation naturally implies. And that does not change with the rational causal mechanism. Just like 2 + 2 = 4, one choice will always be judged better than the other after evaluation.

Options are realized on the basis of criteria. Criteria is determined by needs and wants. The option taken is the one that best meets the criteria. The other options were not in the running. It may prove that option A was wrong, which changes the dynamic.

Yes. The rational causal mechanism is deterministic. But then again, every event is always deterministically caused by prior events. So, why bring it up?

Because causal necessity is always true, all the time, it makes itself irrelevant by its own ubiquity.

The only causes worth caring about, are the specific causes of specific effects. Knowing these causes give us control over most of the significant events that affect our lives. Even though we cannot control a hurricane, we can predict their path, and take steps to protect ourselves from harm.


As I've pointed out a number of times, timing is the key; inputs are acquired (the senses, not will), information is transmitted, propagated and processed (by neural networks, not will), then represented in conscious form, thought, will, action (a sequence of milliseconds). Will emerges as a result of input, architecture, processing, will is not the master or director of the brain.....which, having said it a number of times, is clearly what I meant.

I don't think that one can say "timing is the key" and then say the timing is "a sequence of milliseconds". As neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga said of Libet's experiments:

"What difference does it make if brain activity goes on before we are consciously aware of something? Consciousness is its own abstraction on its own time scale and that time scale is current with respect to it. Thus, Libet’s thinking is not correct. That is not where the action is, any more than a transistor is where the software action is."

Gazzaniga, Michael S.. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (p. 141). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The "decisions" in the Libet experiments were along the lines of pressing a button or squeezing your fist 40 times at random intervals for 2 minutes. The more significant decision would be the subject's choice to volunteer.

And the suggestion that we are unconscious of our actions until after we have performed them leads to absurdities.



You continue to insist that freedom must include the absence from reliable cause and effect. This notion that determinist's carry around with them is called "freedom from causal necessity". It is an irrational notion, due to the fact that reliable causation is always required by every freedom that we have to do anything at all (including the freedom to decide for ourselves what we will do). FREEDOM REQUIRES RELIABLE CAUSE AND EFFECT.

What I have said is freedom requires regulative control, realizable, possible, alternate actions.

Determinism, by definition (forget about soft determinism) does not allow regulative control or realizable, possible, alternate actions.

Assuming responsibility requires control, and determinism does not allow regulative control or realizable, possible, alternate actions, ultimately, we are not responsible for what we do or think.

Yes. Regulative control. Whoever or whatever "gets to choose what happens next" has regulative control. My thermostat regulates the heat in the room. However, I regulate the thermostat. So, I have regulative control.

Yes. Alternate, realizable, possibilities. A realizable possibility is something that we could make happen if we chose to. The fact that we didn't choose to make it happen did not make it unrealizable, but only unrealized. And, whenever we are faced with a choice, there will be at least two alternate, realizable possibilities to choose from and we will be able to choose either one.

No. Determinism does mean we are not responsible for what we do. It simply means that when we are held responsible, it will have been inevitable that we would be held responsible! Causal necessity, something that is always true of every event, cannot be used to excuse one thing without excusing everything. If it excuses the thief who stole your wallet, then it also excuses the judge who cuts off the thief's hand.

Consequently:
Quote:
If you accept regulative control as a necessary part of free will, it seems impossible either way:
1. Free will requires that given an act A, the agent could have acted otherwise
2. Indeterminate actions happens randomly and without intent or control
3. Therefore indeterminism and free will are incompatible
4. Determinate actions are fixed and unchangeable
5. Therefore determinism is incompatible with free will
(DBT, I'm getting an "Not secure" alert on that link to http://www.princetonphilosophy.com/background/freewillprimer.pdf And when I tried to paste the address I got a page with Chinese or Japanese characters. Not sure what is going on, but thought you'd want to know).

"1. Free will requires that given an act A, the agent could have acted otherwise" - Check, we have the ability to do otherwise, even in a deterministic system.

"2. Indeterminate actions happens randomly and without intent or control" - Irrelevant to this discussion. We are assuming perfectly reliable cause and effect, where "random" is a problem of prediction, not of causation.

"3. Therefore indeterminism and free will are incompatible" - Nope. There is no incompatibility between the correct definitions of determinism and free will.

"4. Determinate actions are fixed and unchangeable" - And there is no reason to "unfix" or change the fact that my choice was inevitable result of it being I, myself, that inevitably chose it! Why would I want that?

"5. Therefore determinism is incompatible with free will" - Nope. Determinism means that either I will inevitably make the choice for myself (free will) or that I will inevitably be coerced or unduly influenced (unfree will).
 

pood

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Well, DBT, you’ve got a dogma, every bit as impenetrable as the dogma of Christian theism.

The problem is that now you are just repeating your claims like a mantra, without addressing salient points raised. I asked: why do you not see a distinction between would not have done otherwise, and could not have done otherwise? No answer. I asked: how is it that the brain evolved to give us the illusion of choice, as you would have it, rather than no choice at all? Of what use would such a brain be, and why would evolution favor something useless? No answer. I asked if you had read and would wish to comment on the Swartz paper. No answer. I asked why you see no distinction between a rock rolling down a hill and someone deciding what to have for breakfast. No answer.

You did address the distinction I made between determinism and hard determinism but your answer is inapposite. You simply deny that there is a distinction without giving any reason why this should be so. You don’t get to redefine terms to suit your argument.

So, unless you decide to address these larger points, the conversation, such as it is, does seem to be at a dead end. You are simply repeating over and over again claims that have been rebutted, without addressing the rebuttals. It’s exactly like talking with a theist, at this point. So be it. *shrug*
 

Jarhyn

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Causation is a bit tricky to define. It refers to a temporal (antecedent-consequent) relationship between two events in which the consequent would not occur if the antecedent did not occur, other things being equal. Other than that, there seems always to be some kind of force implicit the relationship. So "X forced Y" implies that a force favoring "Y" overcame a force favoring "not Y". "X permitted Y" implies a force favoring Y added to another force that caused Y to come about. Causal verbs may or may not express force relationships, so one very good way to learn about the nature of causation is to study and analyze causative and causal verbs in natural languages. Having once written a PhD dissertation on the expression of causation in English, I came across a number of such very detailed and interesting studies. Needless to say, causation is important to human beings, so we have a lot of different ways to express causal relationships. Its expression is hardwired into the phrase structure of simple clauses in all natural languages.
This is why, as a systems engineer who has created not just a language but a whole object of magic, a whole and living decision engine complete with instructions and data for it to decide upon, I think it's important to realize that there are two abstract elements to every event:

The function.

The input.

X permits Y is a description of "X acting as input to function Y's operation"

"X causes Y" is when one has supplied a "whole instruction", the full causality. But that can be dissected.

But moreover one may make reference to an operation.

It is kind of like a spreadsheet I was forced to write this week.

I think the more important thing is that the hard determinists sees a movie played on the surface of causality, one frame inevitably ticking on to the next.

The issue is that there is so much beneath that: It is not a play on a screen of just so frames, but rather the output process of a functional engine with a set and fixed architecture but arbitrary input from the get-go. It is being rendered according to rules that are visible as rules from within the system by the beings that abstract out of the chemical layer of it's available abstractions.

We know that there is LOCALITY in our universe, or at least strongly assume so for our models to work out: internal states can be the basis for decision, or the decision engine can be built of internal states acting as a virtualized machine.

All of the above can be true and many or all likely are.

Events are decided on the basis of the local state. The local state "decides" the outcome. Decisions happen. I am an abstraction of a local state. As that local state, I decide.

I can recognize when my decisions do not get fulfilled as envisioned and modeled. I can recognize when that is because of an opposed will, and when it is oppressing my will, and thus when my will is not free in the event to determine and decide.
 

WAB

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)
 

Marvin Edwards

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)
DBT is just presenting the standard historical argument with its neuroscience upgrades. It is very popular these days. The incompatibilists, both the hard determinists and the libertarians, imagine causal necessity to be a constraint, something that we must somehow be "free of" if we are to be truly free.

But causal necessity is just good ol' reliable cause and effect, something that we're all familiar with, something we all take for granted, and something we all put to good use every day in everything we do. Walking, talking, thinking, chewing gum, fixing breakfast, deciding what to wear, what car to buy, etc., all require reliable cause and effect.

Every freedom that we have, to do anything at all, requires a world where the effects of our actions, whether hitting a baseball or tossing a salad, are predictable and reliable.

Nobody ever experiences reliable causation itself as a constraint. Only specific causes can constrain us, like a pair of handcuffs, or a guy pointing a gun at our head, or our own physical limits if we work or play too hard. And it is only in regard to specific constraints, that we experience freedom when the constraint is lifted.

But reliable causation itself is never lifted. It is not something that we could be free of, event if we wanted. As to whether the opposite of determinism, indeterminism is somehow better than determinism, see the original post in this thread.

No, we really want a deterministic universe. One where things work as reliably as possible. Because, after all, we happen to be one of those things that work reliably. We are each a collaborative collection of reliable causal mechanisms that keep our hearts beating and our thoughts and feeling flowing. Every freedom we have, to do anything at all, requires reliable cause and effect.

The "necessity" in causal necessity, suggests a constraint. After all, if it is "necessary", then we must do it whether we want to or not. But that's not how universal or deterministic causal necessity works. Universal causal necessity includes both us and our own wants, so, we end up doing what we wanted to do, of our own free will.

The irony is that causal necessity necessitates nothing. Everything simply proceeds from event to event, just as it looks to us. Nothing changes. We observe ourselves choosing what we will do, and that is what is really happening in the real world.

Causation causes nothing. Determinism determines nothing. Causal necessity necessitates nothing. These are concepts used to describe what we, and all of the other objects in the universe, are causing to happen from moment to moment. They are not about some boogeyman robbing us of our control and our freedom. They are about us, and what we are doing.

The incompatibilists would have us see causal necessity as a boogeyman. And that would qualify as a "delusion".
 

fromderinside

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)
WAB is back from voluntary exclusion. Whoop Whoop Who.

What is a judgment based on nothing burgers? See WAB comments above.

Theists cannot do anything beyond naming Commandments Laws. Determinists do pretty well specifying and testing scientific laws. By the way, what are the Laws of Nature?
Well, DBT, you’ve got a dogma, every bit as impenetrable as the dogma of Christian theism.

The problem is that now you are just repeating your claims like a mantra, without addressing salient points raised. I asked: why do you not see a distinction between would not have done otherwise, and could not have done otherwise? No answer. I asked: how is it that the brain evolved to give us the illusion of choice, as you would have it, rather than no choice at all? Of what use would such a brain be, and why would evolution favor something useless? No answer. I asked if you had read and would wish to comment on the Swartz paper. No answer. I asked why you see no distinction between a rock rolling down a hill and someone deciding what to have for breakfast. No answer.

You did address the distinction I made between determinism and hard determinism but your answer is inapposite. You simply deny that there is a distinction without giving any reason why this should be so. You don’t get to redefine terms to suit your argument.

So, unless you decide to address these larger points, the conversation, such as it is, does seem to be at a dead end. You are simply repeating over and over again claims that have been rebutted, without addressing the rebuttals. It’s exactly like talking with a theist, at this point. So be it. *shrug*
From the peanut gallery.

What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)
WAB is back from voluntary exclusion. Whoop Whoop Who.

What is a judgment based on nothing burgers? See WAB comments above.

Theists cannot do anything beyond naming Commandments Laws. Determinists do pretty well specifying and testing scientific laws. By the way, what are the Laws of Nature?
Well, DBT, you’ve got a dogma, every bit as impenetrable as the dogma of Christian theism.

The problem is that now you are just repeating your claims like a mantra, without addressing salient points raised. I asked: why do you not see a distinction between would not have done otherwise, and could not have done otherwise? No answer. I asked: how is it that the brain evolved to give us the illusion of choice, as you would have it, rather than no choice at all? Of what use would such a brain be, and why would evolution favor something useless? No answer. I asked if you had read and would wish to comment on the Swartz paper. No answer. I asked why you see no distinction between a rock rolling down a hill and someone deciding what to have for breakfast. No answer.

You did address the distinction I made between determinism and hard determinism but your answer is inapposite. You simply deny that there is a distinction without giving any reason why this should be so. You don’t get to redefine terms to suit your argument.

So, unless you decide to address these larger points, the conversation, such as it is, does seem to be at a dead end. You are simply repeating over and over again claims that have been rebutted, without addressing the rebuttals. It’s exactly like talking with a theist, at this point. So be it. *shrug*
From the peanut gallery.

What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.
Posturing.
 

Jarhyn

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)
WAB is back from voluntary exclusion. Whoop Whoop Who.

What is a judgment based on nothing burgers? See WAB comments above.

Theists cannot do anything beyond naming Commandments Laws. Determinists do pretty well specifying and testing scientific laws. By the way, what are the Laws of Nature?
Well, DBT, you’ve got a dogma, every bit as impenetrable as the dogma of Christian theism.

The problem is that now you are just repeating your claims like a mantra, without addressing salient points raised. I asked: why do you not see a distinction between would not have done otherwise, and could not have done otherwise? No answer. I asked: how is it that the brain evolved to give us the illusion of choice, as you would have it, rather than no choice at all? Of what use would such a brain be, and why would evolution favor something useless? No answer. I asked if you had read and would wish to comment on the Swartz paper. No answer. I asked why you see no distinction between a rock rolling down a hill and someone deciding what to have for breakfast. No answer.

You did address the distinction I made between determinism and hard determinism but your answer is inapposite. You simply deny that there is a distinction without giving any reason why this should be so. You don’t get to redefine terms to suit your argument.

So, unless you decide to address these larger points, the conversation, such as it is, does seem to be at a dead end. You are simply repeating over and over again claims that have been rebutted, without addressing the rebuttals. It’s exactly like talking with a theist, at this point. So be it. *shrug*
From the peanut gallery.

What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.
Spoken like someone who does not have the first clue about what decision is. I've discussed it and if you don't want to look at the metaphysics of decision in the face, that's your problem.

As long as local systems determine events based on local states, decision exists because this is the nature of decision. No matter how low you go, local state factors into determination in ways that exclude the meaningfulness of outside factors to the event.

Decision exists, with the cause being a function of the local state plus input.
 

fromderinside

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... The very ideas of consciousness, experience, feeling, beliefs, and desires are not objective beyond control experimenters apply to individual experiments. ...

Since those are the words and concepts that are relevant to this discussion this conversation appears to be done.
My very best friend was a classical Philosopher still studying at the time of Angela Davis at UCLA. He never quit even though he knew philosophy needed to change to remain relevant.

Given we've learned more than the totality of what we knew before the seventies it seems philosophers could at least delve into the realms where there is uncertainty about the value of rationalism. Perhaps philosophers can contribute, as statistics have contributed, to bridging the barrier between number and measure.

But, No. Marvin Edwards has declared Philosophy dead. I'm still confident methods and chains of an argument are available to pierce the boundary between what we think the mind is now and means whereby we can determine means to actually construct a sound deterministic basis for such a concept. perhaps a little statistical thought needs to be applied.

I do favor formality.

What is a belief?

Belief: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/belief/
Most contemporary philosophers characterize belief as a “propositional attitude”. Propositions are generally taken to be whatever it is that sentences express (see the entry on propositions). For example, if two sentences mean the same thing (e.g., “snow is white” in English, “Schnee ist weiss” in German), they express the same proposition, and if two sentences differ in meaning, they express different propositions. (Here we are setting aside some complications about that might arise in connection with indexicals; see the entry on indexicals.) A propositional attitude, then, is the mental state of having some attitude, stance, take, or opinion about a proposition or about the potential state of affairs in which that proposition is true—a mental state of the sort canonically expressible in the form “S A that P”, where S picks out the individual possessing the mental state, A picks out the attitude, and P is a sentence expressing a proposition. For example: Ahmed [the subject] hopes [the attitude] that Alpha Centauri hosts intelligent life [the proposition], or Yifeng [the subject] doubts [the attitude] that New York City will exist in four hundred years. What one person doubts or hopes, another might fear, or believe, or desire, or intend—different attitudes, all toward the same proposition. Contemporary discussions of belief are often embedded in more general discussions of the propositional attitudes; and treatments of the propositional attitudes often take belief as the first and foremost example.
Belief:
NOUN
  1. an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
    "his belief in the value of hard work" ·
    [more]
    synonyms:
    guess · speculation · surmise · fancy · notion · suspicion · presumption ·
    [more]
  2. (belief in)
    trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
    "a belief in democratic politics" ·
    [more]
    synonyms:
    faith · trust · reliance · confidence · credence · freedom from doubt · optimism · hopefulness · hope
Expression of one's thoughts. Our problem with determinism is that one side believes Laws of Nature refers to all things within a capsule of determinism, while the other side believes Scientific Law refers to all material things within a capsule determinism.

The test by those who believe it to be Scientific Law refers to the completeness in which determinism is reflected in the consistency of scientific law.

On the other hand, those who are stuck with laws of nature require self-referenced things into a determinism meant only for objective things.

Seems to me that if one can't get from here to there one should reconsider one's belief of what is here to there.

My goal is to provide a path to those who have no model uniting all things to what is determined is to reduce qualitative to quantitative. One way is to reduce what is qualitative to those combinations of quantitative elements that produce them.

IMHO we are getting ahead of ourselves. It's been only about 20 years now that we've been able to measure work being done locally in the brain. We also have huge clues about the materiality of our qualitative products arising from genetics and evolutionary genetics.

Take a breath.
 
Last edited:

DBT

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Well, DBT, you’ve got a dogma, every bit as impenetrable as the dogma of Christian theism.

The problem is that now you are just repeating your claims like a mantra, without addressing salient points raised. I asked: why do you not see a distinction between would not have done otherwise, and could not have done otherwise? No answer. I asked: how is it that the brain evolved to give us the illusion of choice, as you would have it, rather than no choice at all? Of what use would such a brain be, and why would evolution favor something useless? No answer. I asked if you had read and would wish to comment on the Swartz paper. No answer. I asked why you see no distinction between a rock rolling down a hill and someone deciding what to have for breakfast. No answer.

You did address the distinction I made between determinism and hard determinism but your answer is inapposite. You simply deny that there is a distinction without giving any reason why this should be so. You don’t get to redefine terms to suit your argument.

So, unless you decide to address these larger points, the conversation, such as it is, does seem to be at a dead end. You are simply repeating over and over again claims that have been rebutted, without addressing the rebuttals. It’s exactly like talking with a theist, at this point. So be it. *shrug*


It's a question of definitions in relation to physical states and conditions, not dogma.

If you haven't noticed, I not the only one arguing. If I am being labelled dogmatic, so are the members of the opposition.

You are asserting dogma in the assumption that your position is right and the opposition, me in this instance, are wrong.

It's not a matter of ''would have'' - determinism, by definition, doesn't allow alternate actions. The action taken, being determined, is the only possible action possible. There is no ''could have'' - ''could have'' within a determined system is an illusion.

Soft determinism is a Red Herring:
''Soft determinism is, in the words of William James, a ‘quagmire of evasion’. James claims that there is a fundamental contradiction in claiming that we are morally free and responsible and also claiming that it is ultimately our nature that will define our morality. Sure then, we can only be fully morally responsible if we had been the designer of our own being. As this is not the case, we are therefore not morally responsible.''
 

DBT

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)

Thank you for chiming in by offering your opinion.
 

DBT

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)
DBT is just presenting the standard historical argument with its neuroscience upgrades. It is very popular these days. The incompatibilists, both the hard determinists and the libertarians, imagine causal necessity to be a constraint, something that we must somehow be "free of" if we are to be truly free.

Rather than a matter of popularity, the issue is validity. Neuroscience provides the evidence that we as conscious entities do not control brain functionality, that on the contrary, it is brain functionality that shapes and forms our conscious experience, thoughts and actions.

That the state of the brain equals the state of us, how we think, what we think and what we do.

That is adaptive intelligence, but not free will. The compatibilist relies on mislabeling and misdirection in an attempt to establish what is not there.
What do we have?

Information processing is present with intelligence as a feature of processing power, response is thus enabled - not by 'free will' - but action enabled by intelligent information processing.


Once again:

''The liberty of spontaneity, a key idea in the soft determinist line of argument, can be criticized because it is arguably not enough to make us morally responsible.

This is shown here: if the absence of constraints is all that is needed for us to make free choices then surely this should apply to inanimate objects such as rocks, boulders or clouds. If there was a rock fall which killed a person camping underneath, it seems ridiculous to attribute blame to those rocks. In addition, if acting voluntarily is to be considered central to the theory then animals could be seen to be morally responsible. Either way it can be argued that the theory rests on a flawed principle; thus undermining the whole compatibilist theory.

Soft determinism is, in the words of William James, a ‘quagmire of evasion’. James claims that there is a fundamental contradiction in claiming that we are morally free and responsible and also claiming that it is ultimately our nature that will define our morality. Sure then, we can only be fully morally responsible if we had been the designer of our own being. As this is not the case, we are therefore not morally responsible.''

That essentially sums up the failure of compatibilism.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... The very ideas of consciousness, experience, feeling, beliefs, and desires are not objective beyond control experimenters apply to individual experiments. ...

Since those are the words and concepts that are relevant to this discussion this conversation appears to be done.
My very best friend was a classical Philosopher still studying at the time of Angela Davis at UCLA. He never quit even though he knew philosophy needed to change to remain relevant.

Given we've learned more than the totality of what we knew before the seventies it seems philosophers could at least delve into the realms where there is uncertainty about the value of rationalism. Perhaps philosophers can contribute, as statistics have contributed, to bridging the barrier between number and measure.

But, No. Marvin Edwards has declared Philosophy dead. I'm still confident methods and chains of an argument are available to pierce the boundary between what we think the mind is now and means whereby we can determine means to actually construct a sound deterministic basis for such a concept. perhaps a little statistical thought needs to be applied.

I do favor formality.

What is a belief?

Belief: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/belief/
Most contemporary philosophers characterize belief as a “propositional attitude”. Propositions are generally taken to be whatever it is that sentences express (see the entry on propositions). For example, if two sentences mean the same thing (e.g., “snow is white” in English, “Schnee ist weiss” in German), they express the same proposition, and if two sentences differ in meaning, they express different propositions. (Here we are setting aside some complications about that might arise in connection with indexicals; see the entry on indexicals.) A propositional attitude, then, is the mental state of having some attitude, stance, take, or opinion about a proposition or about the potential state of affairs in which that proposition is true—a mental state of the sort canonically expressible in the form “S A that P”, where S picks out the individual possessing the mental state, A picks out the attitude, and P is a sentence expressing a proposition. For example: Ahmed [the subject] hopes [the attitude] that Alpha Centauri hosts intelligent life [the proposition], or Yifeng [the subject] doubts [the attitude] that New York City will exist in four hundred years. What one person doubts or hopes, another might fear, or believe, or desire, or intend—different attitudes, all toward the same proposition. Contemporary discussions of belief are often embedded in more general discussions of the propositional attitudes; and treatments of the propositional attitudes often take belief as the first and foremost example.
Belief:
NOUN
  1. an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
    "his belief in the value of hard work" ·
    [more]
    synonyms:
    guess · speculation · surmise · fancy · notion · suspicion · presumption ·
    [more]
  2. (belief in)
    trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
    "a belief in democratic politics" ·
    [more]
    synonyms:
    faith · trust · reliance · confidence · credence · freedom from doubt · optimism · hopefulness · hope
Expression of one's thoughts. Our problem with determinism is that one side believes Laws of Nature refers to all things within a capsule of determinism, while the other side believes Scientific Law refers to all material things within a capsule determinism.

The test by those who believe it to be Scientific Law refers to the completeness in which determinism is reflected in the consistency of scientific law.

On the other hand, those who are stuck with laws of nature require self-referenced things into a determinism meant only for objective things.

Seems to me that if one can't get from here to there one should reconsider one's belief of what is here to there.

My goal is to provide a path to those who have no model uniting all things to what is determined is to reduce qualitative to quantitative. One way is to reduce what is qualitative to those combinations of quantitative elements that produce them.

IMHO we are getting ahead of ourselves. It's been only about 20 years now that we've been able to measure work being done locally in the brain. We also have huge clues about the materiality of our qualitative products arising from genetics and evolutionary genetics.

Take a breath.

A belief is one's confidence that a proposition is true. Your example is that people who believe in "Laws of Nature" will reach different conclusions than people who believe in "Scientific Law". So, you understand the causative nature of a belief. At the very least, different beliefs can cause different conclusions.

But perhaps the more significant causation of a belief is its effect upon behavior. For example, the mob that broke into the U. S. Capitol building on January 6th, 2021 believed the lie that Trump had won the November 2nd, 2020 election, and that the election had been stolen from them.

The "self-referenced" things you speak of cannot be swept under the rug by suggesting one is qualitative and the other is quantitative. In the reality that our brain is supposed to help us cope with, all things are both qualitative and quantitative. The quality of the mob's belief was low, because it was false. The quantity of the Capitol Police who were injured or killed was a measure of the damage done.

I would suggest that the only reason that anyone cares about the quantity of anything is because it usually relates to the quality of our lives. I don't think you get one without the other. I don't think you can validly reduce the notion of quality to the notion of quantity without losing quality.

But, maybe that's just my belief.

As to determinism and free will, there is no reason for our belief, (a) that all events are reliably caused by prior events (determinism), conflicts with our other belief, (b) that the most significant prior causes of our deliberate acts is the act of deliberation that precedes them (free will). The notion that they conflict is a false belief, a delusion induced by an imaginary need to be "free of causal necessity", which poses no real constraint in the real world.

This is not changed by neuroscience. Neuroscience will help us understand how the brain operates as it provides itself with a model of the real world that it uses to imagine new possibilities, estimate the likely outcomes of different actions, and choose what the whole person will do. This is the brain's own explanation of what it is doing in real world.
 

fromderinside

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... The very ideas of consciousness, experience, feeling, beliefs, and desires are not objective beyond control experimenters apply to individual experiments. ...

Since those are the words and concepts that are relevant to this discussion this conversation appears to be done.
My very best friend was a classical Philosopher still studying at the time of Angela Davis at UCLA. He never quit even though he knew philosophy needed to change to remain relevant.

Given we've learned more than the totality of what we knew before the seventies it seems philosophers could at least delve into the realms where there is uncertainty about the value of rationalism. Perhaps philosophers can contribute, as statistics have contributed, to bridging the barrier between number and measure.

But, No. Marvin Edwards has declared Philosophy dead. I'm still confident methods and chains of an argument are available to pierce the boundary between what we think the mind is now and means whereby we can determine means to actually construct a sound deterministic basis for such a concept. perhaps a little statistical thought needs to be applied.

I do favor formality.

What is a belief?

Belief: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/belief/
Most contemporary philosophers characterize belief as a “propositional attitude”. Propositions are generally taken to be whatever it is that sentences express (see the entry on propositions). For example, if two sentences mean the same thing (e.g., “snow is white” in English, “Schnee ist weiss” in German), they express the same proposition, and if two sentences differ in meaning, they express different propositions. (Here we are setting aside some complications about that might arise in connection with indexicals; see the entry on indexicals.) A propositional attitude, then, is the mental state of having some attitude, stance, take, or opinion about a proposition or about the potential state of affairs in which that proposition is true—a mental state of the sort canonically expressible in the form “S A that P”, where S picks out the individual possessing the mental state, A picks out the attitude, and P is a sentence expressing a proposition. For example: Ahmed [the subject] hopes [the attitude] that Alpha Centauri hosts intelligent life [the proposition], or Yifeng [the subject] doubts [the attitude] that New York City will exist in four hundred years. What one person doubts or hopes, another might fear, or believe, or desire, or intend—different attitudes, all toward the same proposition. Contemporary discussions of belief are often embedded in more general discussions of the propositional attitudes; and treatments of the propositional attitudes often take belief as the first and foremost example.
Belief:
NOUN
  1. an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
    "his belief in the value of hard work" ·
    [more]
    synonyms:
    guess · speculation · surmise · fancy · notion · suspicion · presumption ·
    [more]
  2. (belief in)
    trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
    "a belief in democratic politics" ·
    [more]
    synonyms:
    faith · trust · reliance · confidence · credence · freedom from doubt · optimism · hopefulness · hope
Expression of one's thoughts. Our problem with determinism is that one side believes Laws of Nature refers to all things within a capsule of determinism, while the other side believes Scientific Law refers to all material things within a capsule determinism.

The test by those who believe it to be Scientific Law refers to the completeness in which determinism is reflected in the consistency of scientific law.

On the other hand, those who are stuck with laws of nature require self-referenced things into a determinism meant only for objective things.

Seems to me that if one can't get from here to there one should reconsider one's belief of what is here to there.

My goal is to provide a path to those who have no model uniting all things to what is determined is to reduce qualitative to quantitative. One way is to reduce what is qualitative to those combinations of quantitative elements that produce them.

IMHO we are getting ahead of ourselves. It's been only about 20 years now that we've been able to measure work being done locally in the brain. We also have huge clues about the materiality of our qualitative products arising from genetics and evolutionary genetics.

Take a breath.

A belief is one's confidence that a proposition is true. Your example is that people who believe in "Laws of Nature" will reach different conclusions than people who believe in "Scientific Law". So, you understand the causative nature of a belief. At the very least, different beliefs can cause different conclusions.

But perhaps the more significant causation of a belief is its effect upon behavior. For example, the mob that broke into the U. S. Capitol building on January 6th, 2021 believed the lie that Trump had won the November 2nd, 2020 election, and that the election had been stolen from them.

The "self-referenced" things you speak of cannot be swept under the rug by suggesting one is qualitative and the other is quantitative. In the reality that our brain is supposed to help us cope with, all things are both qualitative and quantitative. The quality of the mob's belief was low, because it was false. The quantity of the Capitol Police who were injured or killed was a measure of the damage done.

I would suggest that the only reason that anyone cares about the quantity of anything is because it usually relates to the quality of our lives. I don't think you get one without the other. I don't think you can validly reduce the notion of quality to the notion of quantity without losing quality.

But, maybe that's just my belief.

As to determinism and free will, there is no reason for our belief, (a) that all events are reliably caused by prior events (determinism), conflicts with our other belief, (b) that the most significant prior causes of our deliberate acts is the act of deliberation that precedes them (free will). The notion that they conflict is a false belief, a delusion induced by an imaginary need to be "free of causal necessity", which poses no real constraint in the real world.

This is not changed by neuroscience. Neuroscience will help us understand how the brain operates as it provides itself with a model of the real world that it uses to imagine new possibilities, estimate the likely outcomes of different actions, and choose what the whole person will do. This is the brain's own explanation of what it is doing in real world.
Fair. Up to Neuroscience which isn't something, can't provide us with something, etc. You are still offsetting so you can preserve decisions that aren't worth the time to make the statement. Neuroscience is a discipline that falls under life science which is guided by the material scientific laws of genetics, driven by normal deterministic scientific  Laws of Thermodynamics.
The laws of thermodynamics define a group of physical quantities, such as temperature, energy, and entropy, that characterize thermodynamic systems in thermodynamic equilibrium. The laws also use various parameters for thermodynamic processes, such as thermodynamic work and heat, and establish relationships between them. They state empirical facts that form a basis of precluding the possibility of certain phenomena, such as perpetual motion. In addition to their use in thermodynamics, they are important fundamental laws of physics in general, and are applicable in other natural sciences.
Just saying isn't a material scientific construct. One cannot enable by naming the brain as a decider.

If one follows the use of scientific material processes such as using energy to do work, one can, by observing cellular uptake of oxygen in the brain begin to measure brain functions.

"One's Confidence in" is a lay practice, it is not part of any form of lawfulness. Talk about building upon the sands .... . You've reverted, again.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Just saying isn't a material scientific construct. One cannot enable by naming the brain as a decider.

If one follows scientific material processes such as using energy to do work, observing cellular uptake of oxygen in the brain one can begin to measure brain functions.

"One's Confidence in" is a lay practice, it is not part of any form of lawfulness. Talk about building upon the sands .... . You've reverted, again.

Oh, sorry. Then please explain a belief using the laws of thermodynamics.
 

pood

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)
WAB is back from voluntary exclusion. Whoop Whoop Who.

What is a judgment based on nothing burgers? See WAB comments above.

Theists cannot do anything beyond naming Commandments Laws. Determinists do pretty well specifying and testing scientific laws. By the way, what are the Laws of Nature?
Well, DBT, you’ve got a dogma, every bit as impenetrable as the dogma of Christian theism.

The problem is that now you are just repeating your claims like a mantra, without addressing salient points raised. I asked: why do you not see a distinction between would not have done otherwise, and could not have done otherwise? No answer. I asked: how is it that the brain evolved to give us the illusion of choice, as you would have it, rather than no choice at all? Of what use would such a brain be, and why would evolution favor something useless? No answer. I asked if you had read and would wish to comment on the Swartz paper. No answer. I asked why you see no distinction between a rock rolling down a hill and someone deciding what to have for breakfast. No answer.

You did address the distinction I made between determinism and hard determinism but your answer is inapposite. You simply deny that there is a distinction without giving any reason why this should be so. You don’t get to redefine terms to suit your argument.

So, unless you decide to address these larger points, the conversation, such as it is, does seem to be at a dead end. You are simply repeating over and over again claims that have been rebutted, without addressing the rebuttals. It’s exactly like talking with a theist, at this point. So be it. *shrug*
From the peanut gallery.

What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.

“From the peanut gallery” is a gratuitous comment — itself a “peanut-gallery” type comment — and a form of well-poisoning. I have made a number of long, thoughtful posts in this and the other thread covering the topic. Whether one agrees or disagrees with my posts, they exemplify the opposite of “peanut-gallery” behavior.

Of course the so-called decision-maker is deciding. Marvin and I have shown this repeatedly.

”A” neural construction does not decide. A vast network of neural constructions decides. The day you understand that the neural connections are both beneficiaries of, and producers of, deterministic behavior, will be the day you understand soft determinism. I won’t hold my breath.
 

fromderinside

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What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.

Of course the so-called decision-maker is deciding. Marvin and I have shown this repeatedly.

”A” neural construction does not decide. A vast network of neural constructions decides. The day you understand that the neural connections are both beneficiaries of, and producers of, deterministic behavior, will be the day you understand soft determinism. I won’t hold my breath.
Nope. Deciding is not much more than agreeing with the sub-vocalizations you are calling consciousness which you have already produced. You are performing determined actions as you 'think' you are 'deciding'. Deciding is co-action or post-action justification, no more.
 

fromderinside

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What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.

Of course the so-called decision-maker is deciding. Marvin and I have shown this repeatedly.

”A” neural construction does not decide. A vast network of neural constructions decides. The day you understand that the neural connections are both beneficiaries of, and producers of, deterministic behavior, will be the day you understand soft determinism. I won’t hold my breath.
Nope. Deciding is not much more than agreeing with the sub-vocalizations you are calling consciousness which you have already produced. You are performing determined actions as you 'think' you are 'deciding'. Deciding is co-action or post-action justification, no more.

Things that don't exist such as 'self' and 'mind' are intervening variables created to 'humansplane' what is already being done.
 

pood

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What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.

Of course the so-called decision-maker is deciding. Marvin and I have shown this repeatedly.

”A” neural construction does not decide. A vast network of neural constructions decides. The day you understand that the neural connections are both beneficiaries of, and producers of, deterministic behavior, will be the day you understand soft determinism. I won’t hold my breath.
Nope. Deciding is not much more than agreeing with the sub-vocalizations you are calling consciousness which you have already produced. You are performing determined actions as you 'think' you are 'deciding'. Deciding is co-action or post-action justification, no more.
Do you have any evidence to support these claims?
 

Marvin Edwards

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... Neuroscience provides the evidence that we as conscious entities do not control brain functionality, that on the contrary, it is brain functionality that shapes and forms our conscious experience, thoughts and actions.

That's okay. As long as it is our own "brain functionality" that is actually making the decision then that logically implies that "we" are making the decision. The alternative is dualism, separating "us" from "our brain". Neuroscience does not support the notion of a separate soul being controlled by the brain.

That the state of the brain equals the state of us, how we think, what we think and what we do.

Exactly.

That is adaptive intelligence, but not free will.

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

Note that free will does not claim to be free from our brain. Nor does it claim to be free from causation.

It only claims to be free from coercion and other forms of undue influence. Our own brain cannot coerce us, because it is us. And there's certainly nothing undue about having a brain (nearly all of us have one). So, it's a very ordinary influence. The only exception are cases where the brain is damaged in some way, by injury or illness. Such damage can be an extraordinary influence upon our ability to decide for ourselves what we will do.

So, the definition of free will, as a choice we made while "free of our brain", is just as silly as trying to define free will as a choice "free of causation".

To avoid these absurdities, we must use the operational definition of free will, a choice "free of coercion and undue influence".

The compatibilist relies on mislabeling and misdirection in an attempt to establish what is not there.

The incompatibilist relies on mislabeling and misdirection in an attempt to establish what is not there. They use absurd definitions of free will. They characterize causal necessity and determinism as having the power of causal agents, able to control us against our will, to make our decisions for us, to plan what we will do even before we are born.

What do we have? Information processing is present with intelligence as a feature of processing power, response is thus enabled - not by 'free will' - but action enabled by intelligent information processing.

Intelligent information processing includes choosing what we will do. Choosing for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and undue influence, is the operational definition of free will.

So, free will is what is going on within intelligent information processing. You cannot make the specific operation go away by pretending it is not part of the more general notion of intelligent information processing.

Once again:
The Student Room said:
''The liberty of spontaneity, a key idea in the soft determinist line of argument, can be criticized because it is arguably not enough to make us morally responsible.

This is shown here: if the absence of constraints is all that is needed for us to make free choices then surely this should apply to inanimate objects such as rocks, boulders or clouds. If there was a rock fall which killed a person camping underneath, it seems ridiculous to attribute blame to those rocks. In addition, if acting voluntarily is to be considered central to the theory then animals could be seen to be morally responsible. Either way it can be argued that the theory rests on a flawed principle; thus undermining the whole compatibilist theory."

I hope you are not waiting for me to explain why rocks do not have free will, while all intelligent species do. Please do not waste your time and mind with such silly nonsense.

The Student Room said:
"Soft determinism is, in the words of William James, a ‘quagmire of evasion’. James claims that there is a fundamental contradiction in claiming that we are morally free and responsible and also claiming that it is ultimately our nature that will define our morality. Sure then, we can only be fully morally responsible if we had been the designer of our own being. As this is not the case, we are therefore not morally responsible.''

That prompted me to read William James essay, "The Dilemma of Determinism", from his book, "The Will to Believe and Other Essays". James defended the notion of "chance", his short, blunt word for "indeterminism". He argued for the moral necessity of real possibilities. Determinism left us with everything inevitable, with no distinction between good results and bad results, and with no regrets for bad actions, and no motivation to make the world a better place. He made some valid points.

"The indeterminism I defend, the free-will theory of popular sense based on the judgment of regret, represents that world as vulnerable, and liable to be injured by certain of its parts if they act wrong." (WJ)

He concludes his essay with these words:

This reality, this excitement, are what the determinisms, hard and soft alike, suppress by their denial that anything is decided here and now, and their dogma that all things were foredoomed and settled long ago. If it be so, may you and I then have been foredoomed to the error of continuing to believe in liberty.

James, William . The Collected Works of William James (8 collections of William James containing dozens of lectures all with active table of contents). . Kindle Edition.

But my approach is very different. I have no evasions and no quagmires. I incorporate the notions of possibility and alternatives into the rational causal mechanism, thus preserving both determinism and free will, without the need for any causal indeterminism.

If I had to label my own determinism it would be "perfect determinism". I presume that all events, including quantum level events, are reliably caused through perfectly reliable causation. Not "by" perfectly reliable causation, because causation itself is merely a concept. The notions of "cause" and "effect" are used to describe the natural interactions of objects and forces as they bring about events. Only actual objects and the actual forces between them can be said to cause events.

We happen to be one of those objects that go about in the world causing things to happen, and doing so for our own reasons and our own interests. The empirical event in which we decide for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and undue influence, is commonly referred to as "free will" (literally a freely chosen "I will").

We call it "free will" for the same reason we call a cat a "cat", to distinguish the cat from other things, like dogs. We use the label "free will" to distinguish our freely chosen will from a "coerced" will or an "insane" will or an "involuntary accident".

The fact that an event is causally necessary from any prior point in eternity only means that each event is reliably caused by prior events. For example, our birth was causally necessitated by our parents sexual intercourse. The prior cause of our birth was not causally necessitated by causal necessity, it was causally necessitated by the intercourse. There was no threesome (that would be a reification fallacy).

That essentially sums up the failure of compatibilism.

In your dreams.
 

pood

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On the standard interpretation of QM, quantum events are decidedly not deterministic. That quibble aside, Marvin has nailed it again. He keeps making my posts superfluous. :)
 

Marvin Edwards

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On the standard interpretation of QM, quantum events are decidedly not deterministic. That quibble aside, Marvin has nailed it again. He keeps making my posts superfluous. :)

Well, the thing about perfect determinism is that it makes a tidy little package to carry out to the trash.
Universal causal necessity/inevitability is a logical fact, but not a meaningful or relevant fact. It changes nothing. Everything remains exactly as it was before the first dude put his fingers into the Chinese Finger Trap that is the determinism "versus" free will paradox.
 

fromderinside

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What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.

Of course the so-called decision-maker is deciding. Marvin and I have shown this repeatedly.

”A” neural construction does not decide. A vast network of neural constructions decides. The day you understand that the neural connections are both beneficiaries of, and producers of, deterministic behavior, will be the day you understand soft determinism. I won’t hold my breath.
Nope. Deciding is not much more than agreeing with the sub-vocalizations you are calling consciousness which you have already produced. You are performing determined actions as you 'think' you are 'deciding'. Deciding is co-action or post-action justification, no more.
Do you have any evidence to support these claims?
First let me assure you that both auditory consciousness and visual consciousness exist without speech. These obvious capabilities, however, have little access to the structure of language.

That which passes through the language cortex seems to be concurrently heard. But does it take place before or after processing has taken place and signals are running to muscles engaging in vocal expression often heard as a voice in the head which is actually sub-vocalization in adults or even children above the age of five?

Generalizing, as we behave we are conscious of what we sense including chemically induced feelings, AND we are conscious of what we are thinking. I presume other integrative channels communicate via pons and reticulum through to the language cortex to provide a thought-scape for thinking. This latter statement is presumed because there is strong and long verified evidence these lower brain structures integrate from all senses. There is even an article I recently scanned that puts consciousness in the pons. When I recover it I'll provide it.

Articles such as the one below give evidence that sub-vocalization is driven even when other interfering tasks are instructed.

Internally generated conscious contents: interactions between sustained mental imagery and involuntary subvocalizations:​

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01445/full
Regarding instances of successful suppression, until more data are obtained, we remain agnostic regarding whether participants' performance (e.g., as reflected in their latencies) is consistent with “inhibition” accounts of cognitive control (cf., Aron, 2007; Levy and Wagner, 2011) or with other accounts, such as Jamesian ideomotor approaches in which successful suppression is interpreted as resulting, not from direct inhibition of the undesired action plan, but from the sustained activation of an incompatible action plan (see Hommel, 2009).

Our finding that the stimulus-triggered subvocalization arose despite participants' intentions, and despite the fact that the conscious field was occupied by other contents (e.g., the sustained imagery), is consistent with theorizing about the encapsulated nature of the generation of conscious contents (Fodor, 1983; Krisst et al., in press). From the standpoint of Krisst et al. (in press), this encapsulation is built into the system because it would be maladaptive for the generation of conscious contents to be controlled completely by one's beliefs or desires (see also Pylyshyn, 1984; Firestone and Scholl, 2014). From this standpoint, and consistent with the notion of the unconscious inference (Helmholtz, 1856/1925), the RIT effect reflects the nature in which most conscious contents are (and should be) generated—automatically and independently of one's volition. Contents reflecting intentional, top-down processing are a small subset of all conscious contents. Our finding is also consistent with approaches that regard conscious contents as “action options” that, though activated in the conscious field, need not influence action directly (Allen et al., 2013). (Investigators have begun to examine the behavioral consequences of such unselected action options, Filevich and Haggard, 2013.) Together, these views concerning “action options” and about the encapsulated nature of content generation may have implications for our understanding of the basic mechanisms in psychopathological phenomena (e.g., in obsessions, ruminations, intrusive cognitions, compulsions, Nolen-Hoeksema et al., 2008; Magee et al., 2012).

Building on Filevich and Haggard (2013), future investigations could focus on the behavioral consequences of the unintentional subvocalizations triggered by the RIT. In addition, research could examine whether participants perceive the sustained imagery as associated with “the self” and perceive the unintentional imagery as “foreign to the self” (cf., Riddle and Morsella, 2009; Montemayor et al., 2013). It is our hope that future studies will build on this paradigm and on our findings, thereby yielding more insights about these elusive, self-generated states.
 
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DBT

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Marvin has things well in hand. And Copernicus is here as well.

FDI and DBT have futile arguments, and as Pood has aptly pointed out, discussing things with a hard determinist is essentially like discussing things with a theist. ;)
WAB is back from voluntary exclusion. Whoop Whoop Who.

What is a judgment based on nothing burgers? See WAB comments above.

Theists cannot do anything beyond naming Commandments Laws. Determinists do pretty well specifying and testing scientific laws. By the way, what are the Laws of Nature?
Well, DBT, you’ve got a dogma, every bit as impenetrable as the dogma of Christian theism.

The problem is that now you are just repeating your claims like a mantra, without addressing salient points raised. I asked: why do you not see a distinction between would not have done otherwise, and could not have done otherwise? No answer. I asked: how is it that the brain evolved to give us the illusion of choice, as you would have it, rather than no choice at all? Of what use would such a brain be, and why would evolution favor something useless? No answer. I asked if you had read and would wish to comment on the Swartz paper. No answer. I asked why you see no distinction between a rock rolling down a hill and someone deciding what to have for breakfast. No answer.

You did address the distinction I made between determinism and hard determinism but your answer is inapposite. You simply deny that there is a distinction without giving any reason why this should be so. You don’t get to redefine terms to suit your argument.

So, unless you decide to address these larger points, the conversation, such as it is, does seem to be at a dead end. You are simply repeating over and over again claims that have been rebutted, without addressing the rebuttals. It’s exactly like talking with a theist, at this point. So be it. *shrug*
From the peanut gallery.

What you hold out as larger questions are irrelevant. Would and could refer from self. The so-called 'decision'-maker is deciding nothing. What one does is determined. The day you specify a neural construction that decides will be the day you understand determinism.

“From the peanut gallery” is a gratuitous comment — itself a “peanut-gallery” type comment — and a form of well-poisoning. I have made a number of long, thoughtful posts in this and the other thread covering the topic. Whether one agrees or disagrees with my posts, they exemplify the opposite of “peanut-gallery” behavior.

Of course the so-called decision-maker is deciding. Marvin and I have shown this repeatedly.

”A” neural construction does not decide. A vast network of neural constructions decides. The day you understand that the neural connections are both beneficiaries of, and producers of, deterministic behavior, will be the day you understand soft determinism. I won’t hold my breath.

Nobody is denying that neural networks process information and respond. An information processor, be it a computer or a brain, is able select options. This is a deterministic process (forget the poor rationale of 'soft determinism') that produces actions according to architecture and inputs, memory and sets of criteria. Actions inevitably follow unimpeded. Rather than freely willed activity, it is biological or mechanical functionality. If we are said to have free will, so has anything that acts unimpeded. The notion is absurd.
 

DBT

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... Neuroscience provides the evidence that we as conscious entities do not control brain functionality, that on the contrary, it is brain functionality that shapes and forms our conscious experience, thoughts and actions.

That's okay. As long as it is our own "brain functionality" that is actually making the decision then that logically implies that "we" are making the decision. The alternative is dualism, separating "us" from "our brain". Neuroscience does not support the notion of a separate soul being controlled by the brain.

It's not okay for the idea of free will because brain functionality is not a matter of will, nor is it under the control or guidance of free will.

A computer loaded with algorithms is able to make decisions based on sets of criteria, basically the same principle as a brain, which is a matter of functionality not will.

That the state of the brain equals the state of us, how we think, what we think and what we do.

Exactly.

Yes, indeed, no free will required as an explanation for response and unrestricted action.


“You are free to do what you want, but you are not free to want what you want.” - Schopenhauer:
That is adaptive intelligence, but not free will.

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

A brain 'decides' on the basis of architecture, inputs and criteria formed through experience: memory. This has nothing to do with free will.


''There is no such thing as free will. The mind is induced to wish this or that by some cause and that cause is determined by another cause, and so on back to infinity.'' - Spinoza


Note that free will does not claim to be free from our brain. Nor does it claim to be free from causation.

It only claims to be free from coercion and other forms of undue influence. Our own brain cannot coerce us, because it is us. And there's certainly nothing undue about having a brain (nearly all of us have one). So, it's a very ordinary influence. The only exception are cases where the brain is damaged in some way, by injury or illness. Such damage can be an extraordinary influence upon our ability to decide for ourselves what we will do.

So, the definition of free will, as a choice we made while "free of our brain", is just as silly as trying to define free will as a choice "free of causation".

To avoid these absurdities, we must use the operational definition of free will, a choice "free of coercion and undue influence".

All things determined proceed or act without coercion or impediment. In fact, determinism necessitates the action. A robbery under threat of life proceeds unimpeded because the event is necessitated. It must happen. It cannot be otherwise.


Intelligent information processing includes choosing what we will do. Choosing for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and undue influence, is the operational definition of free will.

Nothing required special in the form or 'free will.' Any mechanism capable of processing information and initiating action can do that.

So, free will is what is going on within intelligent information processing. You cannot make the specific operation go away by pretending it is not part of the more general notion of intelligent information processing.

So my computer is exercising its free will when spell check alters my spelling or provides options based on sets of criteria/

In your dreams.

The reasons are undeniable;


Compatibilism selects conditions that happen to affirm the consequent in order to support its conclusion, giving a definition of free will that disregards the nature of decision making, brain function and motor action, thereby reducing its argument to mere word play.

''Wanting to do X 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, namely X. At this point, we should ascribe free will to all animals capable of experiencing desires (e.g., to eat, sleep, or mate). Yet, we don’t; and we tend not to judge non-human animals in moral terms.'' - cold comfort in compatibilism.


1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.
2. No one has power over the fact that the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true).
3. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.


1-You do what you do, in any given situation, because of the way you are.

2-In order to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects.

3-But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.

4-So you can’t be ultimately responsible for what you do. - Galen Strawson.


''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. '
 

Jarhyn

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Two people sit watching two screens.

One sits furiously clicking on a keyboard. Another sits also furiously clicking on a keyboard.

As one pushes in controls to a game, the other meaninglessly bangs on the keyboard while they watch a movie.

The same pixels play on one screen as on the other. The person watching these two events would not be able to tell which one is playing a movie and which one is playing a game.

The thing here is that these are not equal events. They do not have the same identity.

DBT and others would have us believe because we see one thing "on the screen" there are not meaningful distinctions that can be made because of the generalizable nature of our universe, that because there is only one play-through, it is a movie and not a game with meaningful decisions and choices.

Just because there is only one run of this crazy shit does not make it a movie.

In fact it means the stakes are higher to recognize that choices have enduring consequences.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... Neuroscience provides the evidence that we as conscious entities do not control brain functionality, that on the contrary, it is brain functionality that shapes and forms our conscious experience, thoughts and actions.

That's okay. As long as it is our own "brain functionality" that is actually making the decision then that logically implies that "we" are making the decision. The alternative is dualism, separating "us" from "our brain". Neuroscience does not support the notion of a separate soul being controlled by the brain.

It's not okay for the idea of free will because brain functionality is not a matter of will, nor is it under the control or guidance of free will.

Brain functionality includes the function of deciding what we will do when faced with two real possibilities, like whether to have eggs or pancakes for breakfast. You keep pretending that this is not happening.

Are you actually claiming that the brain never makes decisions? If that is your claim, then prove it. Otherwise, we need to stop recycling these claims and denials. It's getting a bit old, don't you think?

A computer loaded with algorithms is able to make decisions based on sets of criteria, basically the same principle as a brain, which is a matter of functionality not will.

Obviously you know what decisions are, because you freely admit that computers make decisions. Are you suggesting then that computers make decisions but brains do not?

In this discussion of free will, the most relevant distinction between a computer and a person is that a person comes with a will of its own, but computers do not. Computers have no will of their own. And when computers act as if they do, most programmers and end users find this upsetting. (For example, I was using a software package that kept logging me off every 45 seconds. Very frustrating!)

I've defined "will" for you. If you have a better definition then bring it to the table.

"Will" is a person's specific intention for the future. This may be the immediate future, as in "I will have pancakes", or the distant future, as in "last will and testament". Our specific intention motivates and directs our subsequent actions. For example, if "I will have pancakes", then that intention motivates me to get the pancake mix from the cupboard, prepare the mix, heat the griddle, cook the pancakes, and eat them.

In unintelligent living organisms, the motivating forces are purely instinctual. In a single cell organism like the amoeba, the instinct is to extend its pseudopod and pull itself along to find the food it needs to survive. This biological drive results in purposeful action, but not deliberate behavior. We might call this instinctual motivation a "biological will".

With intelligent species we get brain functions that include imagination, evaluation, and choosing. It is with this new functionality that deliberate behavior emerges. Our behavior is still affected by our biological drives, but is no longer governed by those drives. Instead we get to choose things, like when, where, and how we will eat. This is a "deliberate will", and when it is unconstrained by coercion and undue influence, it is called a "free will", meaning "a freely chosen will".

Yes, indeed, no free will required as an explanation for response and unrestricted action.

But free will is still necessary to distinguish a deliberate act, versus a coerced act, versus an insane act. These different actions are due to different causes. And if the act is criminal, then knowing the specific cause will help determine where responsibility lies, and how to go about correcting the cause to prevent future criminal harm.

The notion of free will is required to explain the causes that necessitate specific events. The event of free will is a prior cause of the event of deliberate actions. You know, "causal necessity".

Then again, perhaps you do not know what causal necessity is actually about.


“You are free to do what you want, but you are not free to want what you want.” - Schopenhauer:

We've been through that one a few times as well. We may not choose what we want. But we do choose what we will do about those wants.

(As my father used to say whenever I said I wanted something, "You're old enough for your wants not to hurt you".)

A brain 'decides' on the basis of architecture, inputs and criteria formed through experience: memory. This has nothing to do with free will.

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

Assuming you agree at this point that, in the real world, the brain makes actual decisions, and that the decisions it makes while under duress (the guy with a gun) are different than the decision it would make if not under duress, then it should be clear to you by now that free will is what makes that significant distinction.

Losing significant and meaningful distinctions deprives the brain of essential facts needed to correctly process information. So, you're not doing the brain any favors by destroying these distinctions.

''There is no such thing as free will. The mind is induced to wish this or that by some cause and that cause is determined by another cause, and so on back to infinity.'' - Spinoza

Obviously, Baruch screwed this up. He tricked himself (and now you) into believing that free will must somehow be free from causal necessity. That's really dumb. Causal necessity doesn't actually make any difference at all. If my choice was inevitable, then obviously it was also inevitable that it would be me, and no other object or force in the universe, that would be making that choice.

And we still need free will to distinguish between the case where it was I that made the choice for myself, rather than the guy holding a gun to my head.

Spinoza's self-induced hoax begins with changing the definition of free will from a choice free of coercion and undue influence to a choice free of causal necessity (plain old reliable cause and effect). The hoax constructs an imaginary force acting upon us against our will, robbing us of our control and our freedom. This is delusional.


Note that free will does not claim to be free from our brain. Nor does it claim to be free from causation.

It only claims to be free from coercion and other forms of undue influence. Our own brain cannot coerce us, because it is us. And there's certainly nothing undue about having a brain (nearly all of us have one). So, it's a very ordinary influence. The only exception are cases where the brain is damaged in some way, by injury or illness. Such damage can be an extraordinary influence upon our ability to decide for ourselves what we will do.

So, the definition of free will, as a choice we made while "free of our brain", is just as silly as trying to define free will as a choice "free of causation".

To avoid these absurdities, we must use the operational definition of free will, a choice "free of coercion and undue influence".

All things determined proceed or act without coercion or impediment.

And yet there is Jesse James, coercing the bank teller to hand over the bank's money. So, if we assume all events are causally necessary, it cannot carry the implication that coercion and impediments do not exist within a deterministic system (a system operating with perfectly reliable cause and effect, with no uncaused events).

In fact, determinism necessitates the action.

And there is the delusion of determinism as a causal agent, plain as the nose on your face.

A robbery under threat of life proceeds unimpeded because the event is necessitated. It must happen. It cannot be otherwise.

And yet Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed by the Bolivian army, because someone said to themselves, "These bank robberies, are they really necessary? Could we do something differently, like, bring in law enforcement to stop them?"

As it turns out, everything that ever happened could have happened differently, if people had chosen to do something differently. And that is a fact. Oh, and it is also consistent with the fact of universal causal necessity/inevitability.

How can that be? Easy. The brain employs the notion of alternate possibilities while making its decisions. Each possibility that shows up in the brain will show up precisely when causally necessary. How else would it be in a perfectly deterministic universe?

The reasons are undeniable;
And yet they have been successfully denied, repeatedly. Got any real reasons?

Compatibilism selects conditions that happen to affirm the consequent in order to support its conclusion, giving a definition of free will that disregards the nature of decision making, brain function and motor action, thereby reducing its argument to mere word play.

No, it is incompatibilism that selects conditions that happen to affirm the consequent in order to support its conclusion, giving a definition of free will that disregards the nature of decision making, brain function and motor action, thereby reducing its argument to mere word play.

''Wanting to do X 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, namely X.

I cannot believe you would post that quote again. It justifies rape, murder, and anything else a person might "want" to do. A person may not be able to choose what they want, but they most certainly can choose what they will do about those wants.

" At this point, we should ascribe free will to all animals capable of experiencing desires (e.g., to eat, sleep, or mate). Yet, we don’t; and we tend not to judge non-human animals in moral terms.'' - cold comfort in compatibilism.

Again, we ascribe free will only to intelligent species that are capable of choosing what they will do. And we use corrective measures that are effective in helping them choose appropriate behaviors. For example, "Good doggie!" and "Baaad doggie".

1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.

We've also been here before. The laws of nature include the Physical Sciences (like physics and chemistry), the Life Sciences (like biology), and the Social Sciences (like psychology and sociology). We do not need to escape the laws of nature because we already embody them. In freely choosing what we will do, we are already following them.

Or, rather, they are following us. Because the laws of nature are descriptive, not causative.

2. No one has power over the fact that the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true).

Actually, the past is created by the present. What I am doing right now, in this moment, is now the past.

3. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.

The future is also created by the present. What I choose to do right now causally necessitates what I will do next.

The past is a history of the present. The future is what we choose to do in the present. All of the relevant causation is happening right here and right now.

Galen Strawson said:
1-You do what you do, in any given situation, because of the way you are.
True.
Galen Strawson said:
2-In order to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects.

False. In order to be ultimately responsible for what a person does, it is only required that they have acted deliberately, of their own free will (free from coercion and undue influence).

Using Strawson's "logic", a person would have to be responsible for the Big Bang in order to be responsible for his own actions. That's an absurdity.

Galen Strawson said:
3-But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.

No one is held responsible for who and what they are. People are held responsible only for their deliberate acts. Holding them responsible entails correcting their future behavior by enabling them to make better choices.
Galen Strawson said:
4-So you can’t be ultimately responsible for what you do. - Galen Strawson.

So, let's not hear any more nonsense from Galen Strawson. You're only forcing me to repeat myself when you repeat yourself.

Try to deal with something I've said rather than pretending I'm not here.

''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. '

And I've repeatedly explained the function of the notion of responsibility. Yet you post that quote again as if you thought it was saying something meaningful. Is it just meaningless filler to you? If not, then explain what you think it means.
 

pood

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1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.

2. No one has power over the fact that the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true).

3. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.

The argument, as stated, is valid: the conclusion follows from the premises.

However, as I would contend, the argument is unsound, because both premise one and premise two are false.

Specifically, P1 starts out with a confusion. For example, what would it mean to have “power over the facts of the past”? Does that mean that somehow, we ought to be able to change the past? Clearly, we can’t do that. But we don’t need to be able to do that. All we need to know is that many of the facts of the past were decided (determined) by our own acts.

As to the idea that “no one has power over the laws of nature,” this again presupposes a prescriptive view of “laws,” rather than a properly formulated descriptive view of “laws.”

As Norman Swartz pointed out in the paper I linked, it’s true no gets to decide the “law” describing the charge on the electron or the “law” describing the behavior of gravity. Nor do we get to violate these “laws.” But Swartz argues (I agree) that the so-called laws of nature are actually a subclass of the universal true descriptions of the world. Thus it is within my power to make many “laws” (i.e., descriptions of reality), simply true by doing, whatever I choose to do. I recommend reading the paper for a full elaboration on this. Swartz’s theory isn’t quite standard compatibilism — it is sometimes called Neo-Humean compatibilism, or, as he calls it, regularity theory.

Premise 2 is false if we accept the idea that the “laws” of nature are descriptive and not prescriptive. Descriptive “laws” entail precisely nothing.

There is something deeper here, too, IMO, in looking again at P1. It can be argued there is a certain sense in which I do have power over the facts of the past, even over and above the fact that I myself created many of those facts by my freely willed decisions.


Argument: Today it is true that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast. If it is true today that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast, then tomorrow I MUST have eggs for breakfast.

Rebuttal: Modal fallacy. Corrected argument: if today it is true that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast, then tomorrow I WILL (not MUST) have eggs for breakfast. If I DO NOT have eggs tomorrow, then a DIFFERENT prior proposition is true; viz., today it is true that tomorrow I will NOT have eggs for breakfast.

Argument: Today God knows that tomorrow I will eat eggs for breakfast. God, in his omniscience, can’t be wrong. Therefore tomorrow I MUST have eggs for breakfast.

Rebuttal: Modal fallacy. Corrected argument: if today is is true that God knows I will eat eggs tomorrow for breakfast, then tomorrow I WILL (not MUST) eat eggs for breakfast. If tomorrow I eat pancakes for breakfast, then God knows a DIFFERENT prior proposition; viz., today he knows that tomorrow I will eat pancakes for breakfast.

Argument: Today it is true that antecedent facts and the “laws” of nature show that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast. The laws and facts can’t be wrong. Therefore tomorrow I MUST have eggs for breakfast.

Rebuttal: Modal fallacy. Corrected argument: If today it is true that antecedent facts and the “laws” of nature show that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast, then tomorrow I WILL (not MUST) have eggs. If I DO NOT have eggs tomorrow, then a DIFFERENT set of antecedent facts and “laws” are true today.

In all three cases, my free acts today provide the TRUTH GROUNDS of prior propositional truths about the future world. Nor is this a retro-causal relation between today’s facts and yesterday’s propositions; the relation, as Swartz explains at some lengths in a different paper, is SEMANTIC and not CAUSAL. This can easily be shown when we invert the temporal order:

Today it’s true that YESTERDAY I had eggs for breakfast. But this is true only BECAUSE I had eggs yesterday; if I had had pancakes instead, then today it would be true that yesterday I had pancakes. This seems utterly uncontroversial to me, but logic tells us statements about the future should be treated no differently from statements about the past.
 

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1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.

2. No one has power over the fact that the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true).

3. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.

The argument, as stated, is valid: the conclusion follows from the premises.

However, as I would contend, the argument is unsound, because both premise one and premise two are false.

Specifically, P1 starts out with a confusion. For example, what would it mean to have “power over the facts of the past”? Does that mean that somehow, we ought to be able to change the past? Clearly, we can’t do that. But we don’t need to be able to do that. All we need to know is that many of the facts of the past were decided (determined) by our own acts.

As to the idea that “no one has power over the laws of nature,” this again presupposes a prescriptive view of “laws,” rather than a properly formulated descriptive view of “laws.”

As Norman Swartz pointed out in the paper I linked, it’s true no gets to decide the “law” describing the charge on the electron or the “law” describing the behavior of gravity. Nor do we get to violate these “laws.” But Swartz argues (I agree) that the so-called laws of nature are actually a subclass of the universal true descriptions of the world. Thus it is within my power to make many “laws” (i.e., descriptions of reality), simply true by doing, whatever I choose to do. I recommend reading the paper for a full elaboration on this. Swartz’s theory isn’t quite standard compatibilism — it is sometimes called Neo-Humean compatibilism, or, as he calls it, regularity theory.

Premise 2 is false if we accept the idea that the “laws” of nature are descriptive and not prescriptive. Descriptive “laws” entail precisely nothing.

There is something deeper here, too, IMO, in looking again at P1. It can be argued there is a certain sense in which I do have power over the facts of the past, even over and above the fact that I myself created many of those facts by my freely willed decisions.


Argument: Today it is true that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast. If it is true today that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast, then tomorrow I MUST have eggs for breakfast.

Rebuttal: Modal fallacy. Corrected argument: if today it is true that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast, then tomorrow I WILL (not MUST) have eggs for breakfast. If I DO NOT have eggs tomorrow, then a DIFFERENT prior proposition is true; viz., today it is true that tomorrow I will NOT have eggs for breakfast.

Argument: Today God knows that tomorrow I will eat eggs for breakfast. God, in his omniscience, can’t be wrong. Therefore tomorrow I MUST have eggs for breakfast.

Rebuttal: Modal fallacy. Corrected argument: if today is is true that God knows I will eat eggs tomorrow for breakfast, then tomorrow I WILL (not MUST) eat eggs for breakfast. If tomorrow I eat pancakes for breakfast, then God knows a DIFFERENT prior proposition; viz., today he knows that tomorrow I will eat pancakes for breakfast.

Argument: Today it is true that antecedent facts and the “laws” of nature show that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast. The laws and facts can’t be wrong. Therefore tomorrow I MUST have eggs for breakfast.

Rebuttal: Modal fallacy. Corrected argument: If today it is true that antecedent facts and the “laws” of nature show that tomorrow I will have eggs for breakfast, then tomorrow I WILL (not MUST) have eggs. If I DO NOT have eggs tomorrow, then a DIFFERENT set of antecedent facts and “laws” are true today.

In all three cases, my free acts today provide the TRUTH GROUNDS of prior propositional truths about the future world. Nor is this a retro-causal relation between today’s facts and yesterday’s propositions; the relation, as Swartz explains at some lengths in a different paper, is SEMANTIC and not CAUSAL. This can easily be shown when we invert the temporal order:

Today it’s true that YESTERDAY I had eggs for breakfast. But this is true only BECAUSE I had eggs yesterday; if I had had pancakes instead, then today it would be true that yesterday I had pancakes. This seems utterly uncontroversial to me, but logic tells us statements about the future should be treated no differently from statements about the past.
That's cool. It seems to follow from the more general principle that the meaning of words is dependent upon their context. Some words suggest a specific context. To say that one "must" do something carries the context of being forced to do something that you might prefer to not do, something that you would not do of your own free will. However, to say that one "will" do something is neutral, with no built-in implications other than the simple fact that it will happen.
 

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1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.

2. No one has power over the fact that the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true).

3. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.

The argument, as stated, is valid: the conclusion follows from the premises.

However, as I would contend, the argument is unsound, because both premise one and premise two are false.

Specifically, P1 starts out with a confusion. For example, what would it mean to have “power over the facts of the past”? Does that mean that somehow, we ought to be able to change the past? Clearly, we can’t do that. But we don’t need to be able to do that. All we need to know is that many of the facts of the past were decided (determined) by our own acts.

''No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature'' means that events of the world have brought you to your current condition. You cannot alter the events of the world, yet they act upon you.

This is not false. It is how the world works. You don't choose where you are born, the culture you are born into, language, values, etc, etc. This is what makes you what you are, genetics, mental capacity, abilities are neither chosen or willed.

As to the idea that “no one has power over the laws of nature,” this again presupposes a prescriptive view of “laws,” rather than a properly formulated descriptive view of “laws.”

As Norman Swartz pointed out in the paper I linked, it’s true no gets to decide the “law” describing the charge on the electron or the “law” describing the behavior of gravity. Nor do we get to violate these “laws.” But Swartz argues (I agree) that the so-called laws of nature are actually a subclass of the universal true descriptions of the world. Thus it is within my power to make many “laws” (i.e., descriptions of reality), simply true by doing, whatever I choose to do. I recommend reading the paper for a full elaboration on this. Swartz’s theory isn’t quite standard compatibilism — it is sometimes called Neo-Humean compatibilism, or, as he calls it, regularity theory.

Again, the 'laws of nature' just refers to how the world works, the features and attributes of matter/energy: time, change, EMR spectrum, airborne molecules, pressure waves, etc, conveying information to the brain, which as a physical system interprets its inputs in mental or conscious form, the objects and events of the world, including self.

Conditions of the past determine conditions now which determines what happens next.

Keep in mind that compatibilism does not deny this.

Compatibilism asserts that simply acting according to ones will is an instance of free will, which ignores that very desires of the agent are equally part of the environment, that will or desire and action are equally constrained.

''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.''
 

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Marvin Edwards;
But free will is still necessary to distinguish a deliberate act, versus a coerced act, versus an insane act.


It's not free will that makes distinctions or generates thought and actions. It's not even the role of will.

Neural networks produce 'deliberate actions' in response to information acquired.

Criteria encoded as memory informs the response, which results in a conscious action being taken.

Again, this has nothing to do with free will.


Marvin Edwards:

Obviously you know what decisions are, because you freely admit that computers make decisions. Are you suggesting then that computers make decisions but brains do not?

Information processing is not free will. The ability to process information according to sets of criteria does not equate to 'free will'

Be it a linear processor - a computer - or a parallel processor - a brain - it is information processing that determines the action taken, not will.

Being determined by the state of the system, not will, the action taken does not allow an alternate action....at that level any line between environment and agent becomes lost, and the human agent can't seen as owning their decisions in the sense of having regulative control.....so merely asserting that action if not coerced is an example of 'free will, is not sufficient.
These different actions are due to different causes. And if the act is criminal, then knowing the specific cause will help determine where responsibility lies, and how to go about correcting the cause to prevent future criminal harm.

The notion of free will is required to explain the causes that necessitate specific events. The event of free will is a prior cause of the event of deliberate actions. You know, "causal necessity".

Then again, perhaps you do not know what causal necessity is actually about.

Causal necessity is neither willed nor subject to regulative control. Without regulative control through the action of will, there is no free will. There is only drive and plain old will an impulse or drive.

Therefore, the compatibilist framework is insufficient to prove the proposition of 'free will.'
 

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Marvin Edwards;
But free will is still necessary to distinguish a deliberate act, versus a coerced act, versus an insane act.

It's not free will that makes distinctions or generates thought and actions. It's not even the role of will.

That's two different things. One is how we make a distinction between two events. The other is the functional role of will in mental processing.

First, an example of "making a distinction" is calling the blue ball "blue" and calling the red ball "red". In the same fashion, a freely chosen will is distinguished from a coerced will, by calling one "freely chosen" (free will) and the other "coerced" (unfree will). My complaint is that you continue to wipe out all such meaningful distinctions between events.

Intelligence has two major functions: making generalizations and making distinctions. Causal necessity is a generalization of the notion of reliable cause and effect. It is always equally true of every event, without distinction. But a choice we make for ourselves is very different from a choice forced upon us by someone else. This is a meaningful distinction, because a person will be held responsible for his deliberate acts, but will not be held responsible for actions he was forced to commit while someone held a gun to his head.

Both events would be causally necessary, so that offers us nothing that we can use to make a distinction between the two events. But we must distinguish these two events in order to determine what we should do about them. Thus, the notions of "free will", "coercion", and "insanity" are all required in order for us to deal effectively with the real world.

But your constant erasure of meaningful distinctions on the basis that they all share causal necessity is effectively making us all "half-wits" (generalizing without distinguishing). If it is the role of the brain to help us deal intelligently with a variety of environments, then we must make meaningful distinctions. (Interesting fact from Gazzaniga: inferences (generalizations) is primarily a left-brain function and discrimination (as in facial recognition) is mostly right-brain).

Second, we need to understand the functional role of "will" in the brain. Our "will" is the brain concentrating its attention upon a given task and pushing us to finish what we start. The starting point is in the past and the finishing point is in the future. Thus, the term "will" is how we flag the future tense of our verbs. And it is how we pose questions to ourselves about the future: "Will it rain today?", "What will I fix for breakfast?", "What will I choose, eggs or pancakes?".

Now, I'm not a neuroscientist. And I will leave it up to neuroscience to explain how the brain concentrates its attention upon completing a specific task. All I really need to know is that the brain is managing to do this somehow, and that it's a good thing.

Neural networks produce 'deliberate actions' in response to information acquired.
Criteria encoded as memory informs the response, which results in a conscious action being taken.

Correct.
Again, this has nothing to do with free will.

Pardon my cognitive dissonance, but you just described how free will (a freely chosen "I will") works, when unconstrained by coercion and undue influence. It is our own neural networks producing deliberate actions in response to information we've acquired. It is our own application of our own criteria from memory to evaluate our options and choose a conscious action to be taken. So, it's disconcerting to hear you say that it has nothing to do with free will, when it is exactly what free will is.

Marvin Edwards:

Obviously you know what decisions are, because you freely admit that computers make decisions. Are you suggesting then that computers make decisions but brains do not?

Information processing is not free will. The ability to process information according to sets of criteria does not equate to 'free will'

I think what you mean to say is that "not all information processing is free will". But some information processing is in fact free will, specifically when we choose for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and undue influence.

Other information processing may simply be watching television, or balancing our checkbook, or doing other things.

Be it a linear processor - a computer - or a parallel processor - a brain - it is information processing that determines the action taken, not will.

Information processing, specifically choosing what we will do (also known as "deliberation") causally determines will. It is that chosen will that then causally determines our deliberate action.

Being determined by the state of the system, not will,

Deliberate actions, those where we have more than one realizable possibility (like eggs versus pancakes) pass the system through a series of causally necessary states. We start with its current state of uncertainty "Will I choose pancakes or eggs?". That uncertainty causally necessitates the information processing (choosing) that causally necessitates our choice ("I will fix pancakes"). The will then causally necessitates the actions we take as with prepare the pancakes and eat them.


the action taken does not allow an alternate action

Right. After the will is chosen we no longer care about the things we could have chosen (eggs) but we are now focused upon carrying out the specific actions we have causally necessitated by our choice.

....at that level any line between environment and agent becomes lost,

Sorry, but the suggestion that we somehow become one with our environment is a bit too mystical for me.
The distinction between the agent and the environment is never lost. We always have two things: that which is the agent and that which is not the agent.

and the human agent can't seen as owning their decisions in the sense of having regulative control...

"That which decides what will happen next" is exercising regulative control. It is the human that, for its own reasons and interests, has chosen what happens next. And it is the human that actually brings about that happening by their own efforts.

..so merely asserting that action if not coerced is an example of 'free will, is not sufficient.

I believe you are referring to all of the many other influences from the environment that were involved in some way in making the human who and what they were at the time of the decision. For example, the fact that they were a human. Or the fact that they had a brain. Or the fact that they had access to two realizable alternatives: the eggs and the pancake mix.

Those ordinary influences that everyone experiences in the due course of their lives, do not pose a reasonable threat to the person's ability to decide for themselves what they would do. Only extraordinary influences like the man with a gun, or a significant mental illness, or manipulation by hypnosis, or orders from someone having authority over them, etc., are influences that can reasonably be said to remove their control over their own choices. That's what is captured in the notion of an "undue influence".

These different actions are due to different causes. And if the act is criminal, then knowing the specific cause will help determine where responsibility lies, and how to go about correcting the cause to prevent future criminal harm.

The notion of free will is required to explain the causes that necessitate specific events. The event of free will is a prior cause of the event of deliberate actions. You know, "causal necessity".

Then again, perhaps you do not know what causal necessity is actually about.

Causal necessity is neither willed nor subject to regulative control.

Correct. But causal necessity includes all causal mechanisms, whether physical, biological, or rational. The person choosing for themselves what they will do is exercising regulative control that causally necessitates what happens next.

Free will is an example of causal necessity. Free will does not change causal necessity in any way. And causal necessity does not change free will in any way. And that's what you have yet to see about the nature of causal necessity.

Without regulative control through the action of will, there is no free will.

Right. Which is why it is important that you recognize regulative control when you see it. Choosing what we will do causally necessitates what we do next. And we are "that which chose" what we would do.

There is only drive and plain old will an impulse or drive.

No, that's not all there is. There's plenty of other stuff going on. There's the drive up to the point where we find a fork in the road, and we cannot proceed until we choose to go left or go right. Then we have to consult our map to see where each of those roads is likely to take us (information processing), and based upon the expected outcomes, choose which way we will go.

There is a general drive to survive, thrive and reproduce, but that general drive will inevitably lead us to forks in the road, where we must then invoke intelligence to choose where to drive next.

Therefore, the compatibilist framework is insufficient to prove the proposition of 'free will.'

Free will is not a proposition to be proved. It is a simple term used to make the empirical distinction between two different kinds of events. One event is where we decide for ourselves what we will do while free of coercion and undue influence The other event is one in which a choice is imposed upon us by someone or something else.

Whether a person was free to choose for themselves what they would do or not is a matter of objective evidence. That's the only time when free will or its lack requires proof.

Free will exists as a definition. Its definition is derived from its functionality. It's function is to distinguish where the responsibility lies for a deliberate action. Was coercion responsible? Was mental illness responsible? Or was the person's own goals and interests the responsible cause of the action.

It's just like the terms "red" and "blue", which are used to distinguish the red ball from the blue one.
 

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My sense of the discussion in this thread is not so much is it about  Determinism as it is about  Relativism.

Relativism, roughly put, is the view that truth and falsity, right and wrong, standards of reasoning, and procedures of justification are products of differing conventions and frameworks of assessment and that their authority is confined to the context giving rise to them. More precisely, “relativism” covers views which maintain that—at a high level of abstraction—at least some class of things have the properties they have (e.g., beautiful, morally good, epistemically justified) not simpliciter, but only relative to a given framework of assessment (e.g., local cultural norms, individual standards), and correspondingly, that the truth of claims attributing these properties holds only once the relevant framework of assessment is specified or supplied. Relativists characteristically insist, furthermore, that if something is only relatively so, then there can be no framework-independent vantage point from which the matter of whether the thing in question is so can be established.

Our discussions break down the scope of determinism to determinism references which more suitably is a discussion of relativism around the substance of determinism.

I've broken that down to a definition discussion about the scope of determinism related to verifiable references, the utility of  Scientific Law versus  Natural Law in reference to t = 0.

My view is it will take some pretty heavy lifting to justify the significance of t = 0 relevant to natural law whereas it is central to scientific law.
 
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Marvin Edwards

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I've broken that down to a definition discussion about the scope of determinism related to verifiable references, the utility of  Scientific Law versus  Natural Law in reference to t = 0.

My view is it will take some pretty heavy lifting to justify the significance of t = 0 relevant to natural law whereas it is central to scientific law.

Natural Law is a political opinion as to the nature of a person's rights, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

When we use the term "laws of nature" we are usually referring to scientific law. Psychology, believe it or not, is a science. My college (Virginia Commonwealth University, previously Richmond Professional Institute) offered a B.S. rather than a B.A. in psychology and offered courses in Experimental Psychology. Unfortunately, I got involved in student government and never completed my degree, and never got around to taking Experimental. But I did make a major change in the college's Honor Court.
 

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...Second, we need to understand the functional role of "will" in the brain. Our "will" is the brain concentrating its attention upon a given task and pushing us to finish what we start. The starting point is in the past and the finishing point is in the future. Thus, the term "will" is how we flag the future tense of our verbs. And it is how we pose questions to ourselves about the future: "Will it rain today?", "What will I fix for breakfast?", "What will I choose, eggs or pancakes?".

Now, I'm not a neuroscientist. And I will leave it up to neuroscience to explain how the brain concentrates its attention upon completing a specific task. All I really need to know is that the brain is managing to do this somehow, and that it's a good thing...

If we are going to talk about something called "tense", then I would suggest that we also consult linguists. Neuroscientists tend not to know much about how languages work, and they don't always make good philosophers either. I bring this up, because future tense is often expressed in ways that are different from past tense. We linguists call past and present tenses "realis". They represent what is considered factual information about reality. Future tense sometimes get expressed so differently that one often sees linguists claiming that one or another language actually lacks a future tense. For example, some have claimed that English lacks a future tense, because it only has past and present tense inflections (i.e. suffixes) on verbs. The future is expressed with the separate modal auxiliary ("will"/"shall") or other linguistic constructions. There are other modal auxiliary verbs that fit into the same syntactic position as "will/shall"--"may/might", "must", "can/could", "would", "should". All of these modal auxiliaries are termed "irrealis", because they are only imagined aspects of reality. IOW, future "tense" is necessarily a product of an imaginary event in the mind of a person. Past and present are always true. The future is only imagined to be true.

I bring this up here, because we need to distinguish between the choices that a modern sophisticated machine, i.e. a robot, makes and those that a human makes. The robot can make a lot of choices that appear to be intelligent. It can even solve problems it hasn't encountered before and deal with future events that are unanticipated or imaginary (i.e. irrealis). Robots necessarily have to build models of their surroundings and then calculate behavior on the basis of those models, but they really aren't yet able to learn very much from their mistakes. The fundamental property of human cognition that they lack is what we refer to as imagination. And imagination is a foundational component of free will. Free will depends on a set of likely imaginary scenarios and a set of options for fulfilling priorities in those scenarios. Our bodies may operate just as much under autopilot control as that of a robot does, but we are able to adjust our set of imagined future realities to meet the ever-changing "present tense". And that allows us to tweak the autopilot, depending on how well our imagined future is unfolding. IOW, free will is not necessarily the same thing as volition. It may be what happens in our imagination just prior to when our brains actually make what we think of as a voluntary action. Don't forget that we never actually experience reality in real time. It takes a small amount of time for the peripheral nervous system to deliver information to the brain, so our realtime decisions must always be made slightly before volition actually executes a bodily movement. If I were to give the difference between free will and volition in robotics terms, I would say that robots have volition but lack free will.
 

Marvin Edwards

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...Second, we need to understand the functional role of "will" in the brain. Our "will" is the brain concentrating its attention upon a given task and pushing us to finish what we start. The starting point is in the past and the finishing point is in the future. Thus, the term "will" is how we flag the future tense of our verbs. And it is how we pose questions to ourselves about the future: "Will it rain today?", "What will I fix for breakfast?", "What will I choose, eggs or pancakes?".

Now, I'm not a neuroscientist. And I will leave it up to neuroscience to explain how the brain concentrates its attention upon completing a specific task. All I really need to know is that the brain is managing to do this somehow, and that it's a good thing...

If we are going to talk about something called "tense", then I would suggest that we also consult linguists. Neuroscientists tend not to know much about how languages work, and they don't always make good philosophers either. I bring this up, because future tense is often expressed in ways that are different from past tense. We linguists call past and present tenses "realis". They represent what is considered factual information about reality. Future tense sometimes get expressed so differently that one often sees linguists claiming that one or another language actually lacks a future tense. For example, some have claimed that English lacks a future tense, because it only has past and present tense inflections (i.e. suffixes) on verbs. The future is expressed with the separate modal auxiliary ("will"/"shall") or other linguistic constructions. There are other modal auxiliary verbs that fit into the same syntactic position as "will/shall"--"may/might", "must", "can/could", "would", "should". All of these modal auxiliaries are termed "irrealis", because they are only imagined aspects of reality. IOW, future "tense" is necessarily a product of an imaginary event in the mind of a person. Past and present are always true. The future is only imagined to be true.

I bring this up here, because we need to distinguish between the choices that a modern sophisticated machine, i.e. a robot, makes and those that a human makes. The robot can make a lot of choices that appear to be intelligent. It can even solve problems it hasn't encountered before and deal with future events that are unanticipated or imaginary (i.e. irrealis). Robots necessarily have to build models of their surroundings and then calculate behavior on the basis of those models, but they really aren't yet able to learn very much from their mistakes. The fundamental property of human cognition that they lack is what we refer to as imagination. And imagination is a foundational component of free will. Free will depends on a set of likely imaginary scenarios and a set of options for fulfilling priorities in those scenarios. Our bodies may operate just as much under autopilot control as that of a robot does, but we are able to adjust our set of imagined future realities to meet the ever-changing "present tense". And that allows us to tweak the autopilot, depending on how well our imagined future is unfolding. IOW, free will is not necessarily the same thing as volition. It may be what happens in our imagination just prior to when our brains actually make what we think of as a voluntary action. Don't forget that we never actually experience reality in real time. It takes a small amount of time for the peripheral nervous system to deliver information to the brain, so our realtime decisions must always be made slightly before volition actually executes a bodily movement. If I were to give the difference between free will and volition in robotics terms, I would say that robots have volition but lack free will.

The linguistic pattern I often bring up is the distinction between "will" and "can". "Will" is used in a context of certainty, and to say something "will" happen implies it certainly will happen. "Can" is used in a context of uncertainty, where we don't know yet what will happen. When we don't know what will happen, we imagine what can happen, to prepare for what does happen.

Determinists traditionally confuse and conflate "will" and "can". They assert that causal necessity assures that only one thing "can" happen, so that a person "could not have done otherwise". But that is technically incorrect, because if "I can choose A" was ever true at any point in the past, then "I could have chosen A" will always be true forever in the future.

So, to say that "I chose B, but I could have chosen A" is true in both parts. Choosing inputs two or more "I can's" and outputs a single "I will" plus at least one "I could have".

Determinism can only validly assert that, in the same situation, "I would not choose otherwise", but it would be false to claim that "I could not choose otherwise".

The "ability to do otherwise" is indelibly written into the language of the choosing operation. It is true by logical necessity, in that it is a requirement of the operation.
 

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I've broken that down to a definition discussion about the scope of determinism related to verifiable references, the utility of  Scientific Law versus  Natural Law in reference to t = 0.

My view is it will take some pretty heavy lifting to justify the significance of t = 0 relevant to natural law whereas it is central to scientific law.

Natural Law is a political opinion as to the nature of a person's rights, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

When we use the term "laws of nature" we are usually referring to scientific law. Psychology, believe it or not, is a science. My college (Virginia Commonwealth University, previously Richmond Professional Institute) offered a B.S. rather than a B.A. in psychology and offered courses in Experimental Psychology. Unfortunately, I got involved in student government and never completed my degree, and never got around to taking Experimental. But I did make a major change in the college's Honor Court.
Labeling a department science is a term of art, not substance. Most Universities have Schools of Arts & Science that offer both BS and BA options in some disciplines. Sticking with the subject area the article on Determinism In SEP
Traditionally determinism has been given various, usually imprecise definitions. This is only problematic if one is investigating determinism in a specific, well-defined theoretical context; but it is important to avoid certain major errors of definition. In order to get started we can begin with a loose and (nearly) all-encompassing definition as follows:

Traditionally determinism has been given various, usually imprecise definitions. This is only problematic if one is investigating determinism in a specific, well-defined theoretical context; but it is important to avoid certain major errors of definition. In order to get started we can begin with a loose and (nearly) all-encompassing definition as follows
Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
  1. a body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct.
    "an adjudication based on natural law"
  2. an observable law relating to natural phenomena.
    "the natural laws of perspective"
Not exactly scientific law is it? In fact, the SEP article is written giving great detail about the how and why of natural law which covers both definitions, most exhaustively that relating to man, law, and governing.
But since precise physical theories began to be formulated with apparently deterministic character, the notion has become separable from these roots. Philosophers of science are frequently interested in the determinism or indeterminism of various theories, without necessarily starting from a view about Leibniz' Principle.

Since the first clear articulations of the concept, there has been a tendency among philosophers to believe in the truth of some sort of determinist doctrine. There has also been a tendency, however, to confuse determinism proper with two related notions: predictability and fate.
I contend Determinism loses meaning when it is divorced from material laws of science which are deterministic. Conseqently I point out the importance of treating t = 0.

I'm convinced you are floundering around in relativist sludge. You are not discussing determinism at all.
 

Copernicus

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My only comment would be to caution you that modals come in at least two different semantic flavors: deontic and epistemic:

deontic: "You can jump higher than anyone else is able to jump"
epistemic: "You can make people angry, if you aren't careful"

Each category can be further subdivided into subcategories, so the semantics are complicated. However, all have to do with imaginary (irrealis) scenarios.
 

DBT

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Marvin Edwards;
But free will is still necessary to distinguish a deliberate act, versus a coerced act, versus an insane act.

It's not free will that makes distinctions or generates thought and actions. It's not even the role of will.

That's two different things. One is how we make a distinction between two events. The other is the functional role of will in mental processing.

The functional role of will does not involve directing neural information processing as the generator of will in the form of the desire or impulse to act: which may mean the will, desire or prompt to eat more because it tastes good being in conflict with the will, desire or prompt to abstain for the sake of health. A conflict of interest, so given the nature of production and will being attached to an article, the desire for this, that or the other, will is certainly not free.

So, we get the compatibilist revision of free will as an unrestrained or uncoerced action.

First, an example of "making a distinction" is calling the blue ball "blue" and calling the red ball "red". In the same fashion, a freely chosen will is distinguished from a coerced will, by calling one "freely chosen" (free will) and the other "coerced" (unfree will). My complaint is that you continue to wipe out all such meaningful distinctions between events.

There is a meaningful distinction to be made between being forced to act against one's 'will' and acting according to one's will, but the latter, given the nature of action production is still not an instance of free will.

It is simply a matter of acting according to one's will, which is undertaken by neural processing, as opposed to being forced by an external agent.

Again:

''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. '



Intelligence has two major functions: making generalizations and making distinctions. Causal necessity is a generalization of the notion of reliable cause and effect. It is always equally true of every event, without distinction. But a choice we make for ourselves is very different from a choice forced upon us by someone else. This is a meaningful distinction, because a person will be held responsible for his deliberate acts, but will not be held responsible for actions he was forced to commit while someone held a gun to his head.

Intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns and make connections, an ability that is enabled by neural networks of sufficient complexity and processing power, not will or choice;

Quote;
''Neuroscientists have repeatedly pointed out that pattern recognition represents the key to understanding cognition in humans. Pattern recognition also forms the very basis by which we predict future events, i e. we are literally forced to make assumptions concerning outcomes, and we do so by relying on sequences of events experienced in the past.''



Both events would be causally necessary, so that offers us nothing that we can use to make a distinction between the two events. But we must distinguish these two events in order to determine what we should do about them. Thus, the notions of "free will", "coercion", and "insanity" are all required in order for us to deal effectively with the real world.

But your constant erasure of meaningful distinctions on the basis that they all share causal necessity is effectively making us all "half-wits" (generalizing without distinguishing). If it is the role of the brain to help us deal intelligently with a variety of environments, then we must make meaningful distinctions. (Interesting fact from Gazzaniga: inferences (generalizations) is primarily a left-brain function and discrimination (as in facial recognition) is mostly right-brain).

I've never denied that there are distinctions to be made. The issue is that the distinctions that are made do not support the compatibilist definition of free will. Unimpeded or uncoerced actions do not equate to free will. The problem lies not in the distinctions, but labelling. Will is not free will. We have will, we act according to our will through the necessity of information processing.



Second, we need to understand the functional role of "will" in the brain. Our "will" is the brain concentrating its attention upon a given task and pushing us to finish what we start. The starting point is in the past and the finishing point is in the future. Thus, the term "will" is how we flag the future tense of our verbs. And it is how we pose questions to ourselves about the future: "Will it rain today?", "What will I fix for breakfast?", "What will I choose, eggs or pancakes?".

Now, I'm not a neuroscientist. And I will leave it up to neuroscience to explain how the brain concentrates its attention upon completing a specific task. All I really need to know is that the brain is managing to do this somehow, and that it's a good thing.

Whatever we see, think, feel or do has unconscious antecedents that are shaping and generating our experience while we go about our daily lives oblivious of the underlying production that is making it possible, the action production of the deterministic mechanisms and activity of the brain.

And of course, actions follow unimpeded out of necessity. Unimpeded but determined.


''It is unimportant whether one's resolutions and preferences occur because an ''ingenious physiologist'' has tampered with one's brain, whether they result from narcotics addiction, from ''hereditary factor, or indeed from nothing at all.'' Ultimately the agent has no control over his cognitive states. So even if the agent has strength, skill, endurance, opportunity, implements, and knowledge enough to engage in a variety of enterprises, still he lacks mastery over his basic attitudes and the decisions they produce. After all, we do not have occasion to choose our dominant proclivities.'' - Prof. Richard Taylor -Metaphysics.


That's all I have time for.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I've broken that down to a definition discussion about the scope of determinism related to verifiable references, the utility of  Scientific Law versus  Natural Law in reference to t = 0.

My view is it will take some pretty heavy lifting to justify the significance of t = 0 relevant to natural law whereas it is central to scientific law.

Natural Law is a political opinion as to the nature of a person's rights, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

When we use the term "laws of nature" we are usually referring to scientific law. Psychology, believe it or not, is a science. My college (Virginia Commonwealth University, previously Richmond Professional Institute) offered a B.S. rather than a B.A. in psychology and offered courses in Experimental Psychology. Unfortunately, I got involved in student government and never completed my degree, and never got around to taking Experimental. But I did make a major change in the college's Honor Court.
Labeling a department science is a term of art, not substance. Most Universities have Schools of Arts & Science that offer both BS and BA options in some disciplines. Sticking with the subject area the article on Determinism In SEP
Traditionally determinism has been given various, usually imprecise definitions. This is only problematic if one is investigating determinism in a specific, well-defined theoretical context; but it is important to avoid certain major errors of definition. In order to get started we can begin with a loose and (nearly) all-encompassing definition as follows:

Traditionally determinism has been given various, usually imprecise definitions. This is only problematic if one is investigating determinism in a specific, well-defined theoretical context; but it is important to avoid certain major errors of definition. In order to get started we can begin with a loose and (nearly) all-encompassing definition as follows
Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
  1. a body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct.
    "an adjudication based on natural law"
  2. an observable law relating to natural phenomena.
    "the natural laws of perspective"
Not exactly scientific law is it? In fact, the SEP article is written giving great detail about the how and why of natural law which covers both definitions, most exhaustively that relating to man, law, and governing.
But since precise physical theories began to be formulated with apparently deterministic character, the notion has become separable from these roots. Philosophers of science are frequently interested in the determinism or indeterminism of various theories, without necessarily starting from a view about Leibniz' Principle.

Since the first clear articulations of the concept, there has been a tendency among philosophers to believe in the truth of some sort of determinist doctrine. There has also been a tendency, however, to confuse determinism proper with two related notions: predictability and fate.
I contend Determinism loses meaning when it is divorced from material laws of science which are deterministic. Conseqently I point out the importance of treating t = 0.

I'm convinced you are floundering around in relativist sludge. You are not discussing determinism at all.

I define determinism as the belief (-ism) that all events are reliably caused by prior events, such that each event is causally necessary from any prior point in time. And I stop there.

All of the arguments surrounding determinism arise from discussing what the logical fact of causal necessity means in practical terms. For example, what does it mean for the notions of "free will", "responsibility", "self", etc.

As a compatibilist, I argue that determinism (universal causal necessity/inevitability) has no practical implications whatsoever. Causal necessity is a logical fact, but it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact.
 

Marvin Edwards

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The functional role of will does not involve directing neural information processing as the generator of will in the form of the desire or impulse to act: which may mean the will, desire or prompt to eat more because it tastes good being in conflict with the will, desire or prompt to abstain for the sake of health. A conflict of interest, so given the nature of production and will being attached to an article, the desire for this, that or the other, will is certainly not free.

The impulse to act is called a reflex. The desire to act is a "want", not a "will".

The "conflict of interest" you describe is about two conflicting "wants", (a) to continue eat because it feels good versus (b) to abstain from that second helping for the sake of our health. So, what will you do? Will you have another slice of pie or will you cut yourself off.

It is entirely up to you. Your choice, as always, will be causally necessary from any prior point in time, but guess what else is causally necessary: You've got to make the damn choice! So, what are you going to do?

Which of your two wants will become what you will do, and which will become what you could have done, but didn't?

As to your internal neural processing, neither you nor I can describe what is going on inside your head. Nor can neuroscience. All neuroscience can tell us so far is that your decision making process will involve multiple functional areas within your brain.

So, we get the compatibilist revision of free will as an unrestrained or uncoerced action.

No. We get the brain's own report of its dilemma and we objectively observe your behavior to see what solution your brain came up with. Later your brain can sit down with a dietary counselor if you're not happy with your choice.

Free will is the empirical event in which you made that choice for yourself, while free of coercion and undue influence.

It has nothing at all to do with any imaginary "freedom from cause and effect". The reason you believe you must be free from causal necessity is because you were seduced by the paradox. And now you have the delusion that causal necessity is some kind of force that controls you. Shake it off.

There is a meaningful distinction to be made between being forced to act against one's 'will' and acting according to one's will, but the latter, given the nature of action production is still not an instance of free will. It is simply a matter of acting according to one's will, which is undertaken by neural processing, as opposed to being forced by an external agent. "

The fact of neural processing is a constant. There will be neural processing whether you are acting according to your own will and there will be neural processing if you are forced to act against your will by someone else (your wife is pointing a gun at you and says she'll blow your brains out if you pick up another slice of apple pie).

So, the fact of neural processing does not make a distinction between these two cases. Again, you're wiping out a meaningful distinction with a generality.
Again:
''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. '
Again:
Well, Pereboom, whom you're quoting, seems to lack a basic understanding of the nature of responsibility. I'll explain it to you again (Hey, any chance we could get Derk to chime in? Does he have a blog or a YouTube speech on responsibility?).

Responsibility is assigned to the most meaningful and relevant causes of the action.
To be meaningful, a cause must efficiently explain why the action happened.
To be relevant, a cause must be something we can actually do something about.

(A) If the cause of the action was someone pointing a gun at the victim and saying, "Fill this bag with all the money in the cash drawer", then correcting our victim's behavior (handing over someone else's money to the robber) is a simple matter of removing the threat, because the threat was the meaningful and relevant cause of her action.
(B) But fixing the robber's deliberate choice to commit armed robbery will require changing the way he thinks about such actions in the future, because his deliberate choosing was the meaningful and relevant cause.
(C) If the cause of the action was mental illness (the cashier decides to hand out money to everyone who comes in the store) then we treat the mental illness, because it was the meaningful and relevant cause.

Obviously, there is nothing we can do about the Big Bang, so it is irrelevant.
Obviously, there is nothing we can do about Causal Necessity, so it is irrelevant.
And it is only the delusion that causal necessity has its own agenda and predetermined that the robber would hold up the bank that would make anyone dream up the notion that the robber's deliberate choice is not the responsible cause of the robbery.

Intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns and make connections, an ability that is enabled by neural networks of sufficient complexity and processing power, not will or choice;

Nope. That's only half right. The ability to recognize patterns is generalization. The other half of intelligence is the ability to make distinctions. You know, "one of these things is not like the others".

Quote;
''Neuroscientists have repeatedly pointed out that pattern recognition represents the key to understanding cognition in humans. Pattern recognition also forms the very basis by which we predict future events, i e. we are literally forced to make assumptions concerning outcomes, and we do so by relying on sequences of events experienced in the past.''

Yes. The left-brain is able to infer that a wooden spoon, a silver spoon, and a plastic spoon are all spoons. But if you want to tell them apart, you'll need the right-brain ability to discriminate.

Predicting a future event will require both aspects of intelligence. How are our current circumstance like prior circumstances? And, how are they different? Both are required to make intelligent decisions.

I've never denied that there are distinctions to be made. The issue is that the distinctions that are made do not support the compatibilist definition of free will. Unimpeded or uncoerced actions do not equate to free will. The problem lies not in the distinctions, but labelling. Will is not free will. We have will, we act according to our will through the necessity of information processing.

Again, free will is an empirical event in which a person decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and other forms of undue influence. It makes the meaningful and relevant distinctions between the significant causes of our actions.

Information processing is a generalization. Choosing is a distinct type of information processing, which you continually attempt to obscure.

Second, we need to understand the functional role of "will" in the brain. Our "will" is the brain concentrating its attention upon a given task and pushing us to finish what we start. The starting point is in the past and the finishing point is in the future. Thus, the term "will" is how we flag the future tense of our verbs. And it is how we pose questions to ourselves about the future: "Will it rain today?", "What will I fix for breakfast?", "What will I choose, eggs or pancakes?".

Now, I'm not a neuroscientist. And I will leave it up to neuroscience to explain how the brain concentrates its attention upon completing a specific task. All I really need to know is that the brain is managing to do this somehow, and that it's a good thing.

Whatever we see, think, feel or do has unconscious antecedents that are shaping and generating our experience while we go about our daily lives oblivious of the underlying production that is making it possible, the action production of the deterministic mechanisms and activity of the brain.

Right. And, since we have no way to observe the neural activity in a meaningful way, we are left with the brain's own report of what it is thinking and doing.

And of course, actions follow unimpeded out of necessity. Unimpeded but determined.

And that should not bother us. After all, within the domain of human influence, we are deliberately deciding what we will do next, and that will contribute to the total causal determination of what will happen next in the real world.

Determinism is not an external force. It is as much us as it is anything else. What we think and do causally necessitates real world events.

''It is unimportant whether one's resolutions and preferences occur because an ''ingenious physiologist'' has tampered with one's brain, whether they result from narcotics addiction, from ''hereditary factor, or indeed from nothing at all.'' Ultimately the agent has no control over his cognitive states. So even if the agent has strength, skill, endurance, opportunity, implements, and knowledge enough to engage in a variety of enterprises, still he lacks mastery over his basic attitudes and the decisions they produce. After all, we do not have occasion to choose our dominant proclivities.'' - Prof. Richard Taylor -Metaphysics.

Please note how Professor Taylor has managed to remove the meaningful distinctions. His is the comment of a "half-wit".
 

fromderinside

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I've broken that down to a definition discussion about the scope of determinism related to verifiable references, the utility of  Scientific Law versus  Natural Law in reference to t = 0.

My view is it will take some pretty heavy lifting to justify the significance of t = 0 relevant to natural law whereas it is central to scientific law.

Natural Law is a political opinion as to the nature of a person's rights, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

When we use the term "laws of nature" we are usually referring to scientific law. Psychology, believe it or not, is a science. My college (Virginia Commonwealth University, previously Richmond Professional Institute) offered a B.S. rather than a B.A. in psychology and offered courses in Experimental Psychology. Unfortunately, I got involved in student government and never completed my degree, and never got around to taking Experimental. But I did make a major change in the college's Honor Court.
Labeling a department science is a term of art, not substance. Most Universities have Schools of Arts & Science that offer both BS and BA options in some disciplines. Sticking with the subject area the article on Determinism In SEP
Traditionally determinism has been given various, usually imprecise definitions. This is only problematic if one is investigating determinism in a specific, well-defined theoretical context; but it is important to avoid certain major errors of definition. In order to get started we can begin with a loose and (nearly) all-encompassing definition as follows:

Traditionally determinism has been given various, usually imprecise definitions. This is only problematic if one is investigating determinism in a specific, well-defined theoretical context; but it is important to avoid certain major errors of definition. In order to get started we can begin with a loose and (nearly) all-encompassing definition as follows
Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.
  1. a body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct.
    "an adjudication based on natural law"
  2. an observable law relating to natural phenomena.
    "the natural laws of perspective"
Not exactly scientific law is it? In fact, the SEP article is written giving great detail about the how and why of natural law which covers both definitions, most exhaustively that relating to man, law, and governing.
But since precise physical theories began to be formulated with apparently deterministic character, the notion has become separable from these roots. Philosophers of science are frequently interested in the determinism or indeterminism of various theories, without necessarily starting from a view about Leibniz' Principle.

Since the first clear articulations of the concept, there has been a tendency among philosophers to believe in the truth of some sort of determinist doctrine. There has also been a tendency, however, to confuse determinism proper with two related notions: predictability and fate.
I contend Determinism loses meaning when it is divorced from material laws of science which are deterministic. Conseqently I point out the importance of treating t = 0.

I'm convinced you are floundering around in relativist sludge. You are not discussing determinism at all.

I define determinism as the belief (-ism) that all events are reliably caused by prior events, such that each event is causally necessary from any prior point in time. And I stop there.

All of the arguments surrounding determinism arise from discussing what the logical fact of causal necessity means in practical terms. For example, what does it mean for the notions of "free will", "responsibility", "self", etc.

As a compatibilist, I argue that determinism (universal causal necessity/inevitability) has no practical implications whatsoever. Causal necessity is a logical fact, but it is neither a meaningful nor a relevant fact.
Nope. It's Turtles all the way down.

Getting into the iff and only if only comes up if there is a prior event. If what is is stuff where is the event? No event, just stuff.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Nope. It's Turtles all the way down.

Getting into the iff and only if only comes up if there is a prior event. If what is is stuff where is the event? No event, just stuff.

An event is a change in stuff. We can speed it up, slow it down. We can stretch it or squash it. Each change is an event. The Big Bang was an event. A black hole swallowing a star is an event. Hmm, a black hole has an "event horizon", I wonder what that's about?
 

fromderinside

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Nope. It's Turtles all the way down.

Getting into the iff and only if only comes up if there is a prior event. If what is is stuff where is the event? No event, just stuff.

An event is a change in stuff. We can speed it up, slow it down. We can stretch it or squash it. Each change is an event. The Big Bang was an event. A black hole swallowing a star is an event. Hmm, a black hole has an "event horizon", I wonder what that's about?
We can't do anything with it unless there are forces accompanying the stuff. That's two things needed beyond just there being. In fact there are possible existences of many kinds of stuff with there being no causal necessity there for the ride.

Try again.
 

DBT

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The functional role of will does not involve directing neural information processing as the generator of will in the form of the desire or impulse to act: which may mean the will, desire or prompt to eat more because it tastes good being in conflict with the will, desire or prompt to abstain for the sake of health. A conflict of interest, so given the nature of production and will being attached to an article, the desire for this, that or the other, will is certainly not free.

The impulse to act is called a reflex. The desire to act is a "want", not a "will".

Not quite.

Reflex action come in several forms, nerve loop response that does not involve the brain, ie, tapping the knee.....

''Reflex responses are extremely fast because the impulses travel through a simple arrangement of nerve fibres called a reflex arc. This does not involve the brain. However, since we are usually aware that the response is occurring, nervous fibres must transmit the information up the spinal cord to the brain.''


....while 'muscle memory' - sports, boxing, tennis, etc, does involve brain activity


Muscle memory is the act of committing a specific motor task into memory through repetition.


While your muscles themselves can’t actually remember anything, they are full of neurons attached to your nervous system that play a role in motor learning. Any movement requires brain activity, and repeating a movement, even complicated ones, enough times triggers recognizable patterns in your brain regions responsible for motor skills. Thus leading to a learned motion that will require less brainpower in the future.

Psychological drives, urges, impulses, the desire to eat chocolate, the felt impulse to act, etc, is a matter of acting according to ones will.

Impulse
Noun

MOTIVE, IMPULSE, INCENTIVE, INDUCEMENT, SPUR, GOAD mean a stimulus to action. MOTIVE implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act.


The "conflict of interest" you describe is about two conflicting "wants", (a) to continue eat because it feels good versus (b) to abstain from that second helping for the sake of our health. So, what will you do? Will you have another slice of pie or will you cut yourself off.

Wants drive our will. Wants are formed through experience and memory, a sense of pleasure or desire driving our will to acquire or ppsses the object of our desire.....


It is entirely up to you. Your choice, as always, will be causally necessary from any prior point in time, but guess what else is causally necessary: You've got to make the damn choice! So, what are you going to do?

What we think, feel and do is up to what the brain does with sensory information, which is determined by past experience/memory function, things that have brought us reward in the past, things to avoid, whether it is better to postpone pleasure now for greater reward in the future.

1-You do what you do, in any given situation, because of the way you are.

2-In order to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects.

3-But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.

4-So you can’t be ultimately responsible for what you do. - Galen Strawson.


Which of your two wants will become what you will do, and which will become what you could have done, but didn't?

As to your internal neural processing, neither you nor I can describe what is going on inside your head. Nor can neuroscience. All neuroscience can tell us so far is that your decision making process will involve multiple functional areas within your brain.

Not knowing what is going on in your head means that you have no control or say on what happens in your head, yet what you think, feel and do - what you are - is the result of what is going on in your head.


''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about? And yet ...the compatibilist must deny the No Choice Principle.” - Van Inwagen



So, we get the compatibilist revision of free will as an unrestrained or uncoerced action.

No. We get the brain's own report of its dilemma and we objectively observe your behavior to see what solution your brain came up with. Later your brain can sit down with a dietary counselor if you're not happy with your choice.

Free will is the empirical event in which you made that choice for yourself, while free of coercion and undue influence.

It has nothing at all to do with any imaginary "freedom from cause and effect". The reason you believe you must be free from causal necessity is because you were seduced by the paradox. And now you have the delusion that causal necessity is some kind of force that controls you. Shake it off.

Saying 'you made the choice for yourself' is deceptive because it gives the impression of self-control in the form of conscious or willed regulation of the decision making process, which is actually an unconscious interaction of information, inputs being integrated with memory through the agency of neural networks.

The conscious self is not running the process.


There is a meaningful distinction to be made between being forced to act against one's 'will' and acting according to one's will, but the latter, given the nature of action production is still not an instance of free will. It is simply a matter of acting according to one's will, which is undertaken by neural processing, as opposed to being forced by an external agent. "

The fact of neural processing is a constant. There will be neural processing whether you are acting according to your own will and there will be neural processing if you are forced to act against your will by someone else (your wife is pointing a gun at you and says she'll blow your brains out if you pick up another slice of apple pie).

So, the fact of neural processing does not make a distinction between these two cases. Again, you're wiping out a meaningful distinction with a generality.

That's the point, one is no more an instance of free will than the other. The distinction lies in external factors Being free from externally applied force, a gun at your head, doesn't free you from the constriction of 'an action’s production by a deterministic process.'


Again:
''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. '
Again:
Well, Pereboom, whom you're quoting, seems to lack a basic understanding of the nature of responsibility. I'll explain it to you again (Hey, any chance we could get Derk to chime in? Does he have a blog or a YouTube speech on responsibility?).

Responsibility is assigned to the most meaningful and relevant causes of the action.
To be meaningful, a cause must efficiently explain why the action happened.
To be relevant, a cause must be something we can actually do something about.

(A) If the cause of the action was someone pointing a gun at the victim and saying, "Fill this bag with all the money in the cash drawer", then correcting our victim's behavior (handing over someone else's money to the robber) is a simple matter of removing the threat, because the threat was the meaningful and relevant cause of her action.
(B) But fixing the robber's deliberate choice to commit armed robbery will require changing the way he thinks about such actions in the future, because his deliberate choosing was the meaningful and relevant cause.
(C) If the cause of the action was mental illness (the cashier decides to hand out money to everyone who comes in the store) then we treat the mental illness, because it was the meaningful and relevant cause.

Obviously, there is nothing we can do about the Big Bang, so it is irrelevant.
Obviously, there is nothing we can do about Causal Necessity, so it is irrelevant.
And it is only the delusion that causal necessity has its own agenda and predetermined that the robber would hold up the bank that would make anyone dream up the notion that the robber's deliberate choice is not the responsible cause of the robbery.

Pereboom is pretty much on the ball. It's just the basics, If the world is determined, we cannot be responsible for the events that make us what we are mentally and physically - yet in 'order to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects.' (Strawson)

A no win for compatibilism any way you look at it.


Intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns and make connections, an ability that is enabled by neural networks of sufficient complexity and processing power, not will or choice;

Nope. That's only half right. The ability to recognize patterns is generalization. The other half of intelligence is the ability to make distinctions. You know, "one of these things is not like the others".

If patterns cannot be recognized, distinctions cannot be made. Pattern recognition enables distinctions to be made, intelligence and memory function. Without memory function, patterns cannot be recognized and distinctions cannot be made.


Pattern recognition
''Pattern recognition is one of the fundamental core problems in the field of cognitive psychology. Pattern recognition is the fundamental human cognition or intelligence, which stands heavily in various human activities.

Tightly linking with such psychological processes as sense, memory, study, and thinking, pattern recognition is one of important windows through which we can get a perspective view on human psychological activities. Human pattern recognition can be considered as a typical perception process which depends on knowledge and experience people already have. Generally, pattern recognition refers to a process of inputting stimulating (pattern) information and matching with the information in long-term memory, then recognizing the category which the stimulation belongs to.

Therefore, pattern recognition depends on people’s knowledge and experience. Without involving individual’s knowledge and experience, people cannot understand the meanings of the stimulating information pattern inputted, then neither possible to recognize the patterns, which means to recognize the objects. The process which a person distinguishes a pattern he percepts with others and identifies what it is means pattern recognition.''
 

The AntiChris

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Pereboom is pretty much on the ball. It's just the basics, If the world is determined, we cannot be responsible for the events that make us what we are mentally and physically - yet in 'order to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects.' (Strawson)

"Ultimate" responsibility is a red herring.

I've pointed this out before, but it bears repeating:

Strawson is talking about something he calls "ultimate" responsibility. Nobody on this thread has been arguing for ultimate responsibility - it's a nonsensical concept.

Strawson acknowledges that although ultimate responsibility cannot exist he has no problem with normal, everyday moral responsibility:

Strawson (in an interview in March 2003) said:
I just want to stress the word “ultimate” before “moral responsibility.” Because there’s a clear, weaker, everyday sense of “morally responsible” in which you and I and millions of other people are thoroughly morally responsible people.
 
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