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Compatibilism: What's that About?

Marvin Edwards

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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.

Fortunately, causal necessity is neither an object nor a force. It is a short generalization of the fact that every event appears to have some prior event that made it happen. The notion of causation is how we explain why something happened. Knowing why an event happens often gives us control over the event. It gives us the ability to make good things happen more often and to make bad things happen less often. We care about outcomes, especially those that affect us, because we literally "have skin in the game".

And we lack hard shells to protect us, you know, like those turtles.
 

Jarhyn

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guess what else is causally necessary: You've got to make the damn choice!
This central crux is I think the most important recognition here to make: that the choosing operation is also a demand of causality.

At some point in time in the dance, there is a conditional event. The state machine operates in that moment with itself acting as part of the condition. An event that in general form could go one way or the other depending on a constrained set of input events determines on the basis of the input.

Again we are back to the fact that it is not the same to watch a live play and a movie of that play. One is a "skill shot", and the other is "just pixels". The fact that we can capture the pixels of the skill shot does not make it any less skilled.

I have played Super Metroid many times, usually while watching a world record TAS playthrough and reproducing the sequence without the tool.

No matter how one may kick and scream and demand that the universe is not a general machine with general behavior and general rules and thus general strategies... It appears to us to be nothing more than some general architecture running in a fixed way.

The application of a general rule to a specific circumstance of a generalizable system. This is choice.
 

Marvin Edwards

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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.....
Yes, I know.
Muscle memory is the act of committing a specific motor task into memory through repetition.
Yes. For example, learning to walk, or learning to play the piano. When you begin you are very conscious of your movements, but once you've acquired the skill you do so without thinking.
Psychological drives, urges, impulses, the desire to eat chocolate, the felt impulse to act, etc, is a matter of acting according to ones will.

No. There's a key distinction between simply doing whatever you feel like, versus doing what is appropriate. The inability to act appropriately is sometimes referred to as "a lack of impulse control". For example, you are at a friend's birthday party, you see the cake on the table, and you stick your hand into the cake and put a handful in your mouth. That's an example of a lack of impulse control.

Knowing what behavior is appropriate, or ethical, or legal gives us the ability to make moral choices, to do the right thing rather than the wrong thing. Such knowledge is not expected in a toddler, but it is expected at an appropriate stage of maturity.

So, the child who plays with a loaded gun is not held responsible if he accidentally kills his brother. Instead, his parents are held responsible for failing to secure the gun where the child cannot reach it. The child did not deliberately kill his brother, because he did not understand the consequences of his actions.

But a bank robber knows what he's doing and he knows that it's wrong, yet he deliberately chose to do it anyway, because he wanted the cash. So, the bank robber is held responsible for his deliberate actions.

Now, all of the events, in all of these examples, were all causally necessary from any prior point in time. There are no meaningful distinctions between any events with causal necessity. To say that it was causally necessary that the child would learn to walk, that someone would learn to play the piano, that another child would shoot his brother, or that the man would decide to rob a bank, tells us nothing useful. All of these events, without distinction, were equally causally necessary. So, if we want to distinguish these events in some useful way, we need to look at the details, at who caused what, and why they did what they did.

Free will is when someone decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence. It makes a significant empirical distinction between the causes of specific events.


Okay, so I was wrong to equate "impulse" with "reflex". But you are wrong to equate "impulse" with "deliberate will".

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.....

Acting according to our wants without reflection or thought is a lack of impulse control. That is why I use the problem of rape to bring this to your attention. There is a strong physical attraction, and a strong desire, to have intercourse with a woman. And if we give into that desire, without considering the consequences, then we get rape. So, our wants and our desires cannot be allowed to govern what we will do. Instead, we need to choose our desire to do what is appropriate.

Our will is our deliberate intent to do something specific. It is not a desire to do something, but an intention to actually do it.

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.

Correct.

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

Correct.
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.

No. It is never necessary for a person to be personally responsible for their own birth or for the way they were raised. They are held responsible for the consequences of their deliberate actions, regardless of their past. Our interventions (arresting them, trying them, imprisoning them, offering them an opportunity for rehabilitation) are justified by the harm they have done to someone else. That harm, the consequence of their deliberate act, is all the justification that is required for our intervention.

It is not our philosophy of determinism and free will, but rather our philosophy of justice that controls here. It is in thinking about justice and what it means that we find the answers regarding what we should do and should not do, and what is and is not justified.

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

Ah. Hello Zeno. You're creating a new paradox for us. A paradox is a self-induced hoax created by making one or more false, but believable suggestions. The false suggestion here that if you have prior causes, then they must be held responsible rather than you. But we can see through this little hoax by extending it. How can we hold those prior causes responsible if they too have prior causes? So, we have to keep shifting responsibility back through the prior causes of the prior causes all the way back to the Big Bang. And then someone needs to explain how we are going to rehabilitate the Big Bang so that it ceases robbing our banks. The notion that we are not responsible because we have prior causes creates an absurdity.

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

Nope. We're not following you down that rabbit hole Galen.

The problem is this: if causal necessity is used to excuse anything, then it excuses everything. If it excuses the pickpocket who stole your wallet, then it also excuses the judge who chops off the thief's hand. If it removes one person's responsibility, then it removes everyone's responsibility, including the sense of responsibility that motivates people to advocate for prison reform and other social progress.

Universal causal necessity/inevitability is a logical fact, but it is not a meaningful fact and it is not a relevant fact. It has absolutely no meaningful implications for any human scenario. The intelligent mind can simply acknowledge it, and then ignore it.

Unfortunately, those trapped in the paradox see it as a force that robs us of control and freedom. Ironically, it never seems to rob them of their control and their freedom, as they feel responsible for converting us to their way of thinking, by seducing us into the paradox.

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.

But what is going on inside my head is a model of reality that includes: me being a process going on inside my head (let me know if you're getting dizzy, yet, but that's the correct empirical description). What I am saying is that I do not need to control what is going on inside my head in order to simply be what is going on inside my head. Some guy once said, "I think, therefore I am (or, at least I think I am)".

You're creating unnecessary puzzles that require no solution. Yet, solved it is.

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.

Like I said, it is not necessary for me to consciously control the neural activity in order for me to BE the neural activity.

The conscious self is not running the process.

But it must explain the process, because if my unconscious brain decides to rob a bank, without letting my conscious self know about it, then both parts will be arrested and jailed. Our deliberate decisions will involve both conscious and unconscious processes.

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.'

Yes. The distinction lies in external factors, like the guy with the gun, or internal factors in the case of insanity. Determinism makes no distinctions.

However, determinism is not in any way a "constriction". No one experiences reliable cause and effect itself as a constriction. Only specific causes can prevent me from doing what I would normally do.

In fact, causal necessity is exactly identical to "me doing what I would normally do." So the notion that causal necessity is some kind of constraint is false.

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.

Okay. That's not a problem then. I have no issues with any of the facts of neuroscience. On the other hand, I may take issue with any philosophical or semantic problems that they introduce into their interpretation of the evidence.
 

fromderinside

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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.....
Yes, I know.
Muscle memory is the act of committing a specific motor task into memory through repetition.
Yes. For example, learning to walk, or learning to play the piano. When you begin you are very conscious of your movements, but once you've acquired the skill you do so without thinking.
Psychological drives, urges, impulses, the desire to eat chocolate, the felt impulse to act, etc, is a matter of acting according to ones will.

No. There's a key distinction between simply doing whatever you feel like, versus doing what is appropriate. The inability to act appropriately is sometimes referred to as "a lack of impulse control". For example, you are at a friend's birthday party, you see the cake on the table, and you stick your hand into the cake and put a handful in your mouth. That's an example of a lack of impulse control.

Knowing what behavior is appropriate, or ethical, or legal gives us the ability to make moral choices, to do the right thing rather than the wrong thing. Such knowledge is not expected in a toddler, but it is expected at an appropriate stage of maturity.

So, the child who plays with a loaded gun is not held responsible if he accidentally kills his brother. Instead, his parents are held responsible for failing to secure the gun where the child cannot reach it. The child did not deliberately kill his brother, because he did not understand the consequences of his actions.

But a bank robber knows what he's doing and he knows that it's wrong, yet he deliberately chose to do it anyway, because he wanted the cash. So, the bank robber is held responsible for his deliberate actions.

Now, all of the events, in all of these examples, were all causally necessary from any prior point in time. There are no meaningful distinctions between any events with causal necessity. To say that it was causally necessary that the child would learn to walk, that someone would learn to play the piano, that another child would shoot his brother, or that the man would decide to rob a bank, tells us nothing useful. All of these events, without distinction, were equally causally necessary. So, if we want to distinguish these events in some useful way, we need to look at the details, at who caused what, and why they did what they did.

Free will is when someone decides for themselves what they will do, while free of coercion and undue influence. It makes a significant empirical distinction between the causes of specific events.


Okay, so I was wrong to equate "impulse" with "reflex". But you are wrong to equate "impulse" with "deliberate will".

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.....

Acting according to our wants without reflection or thought is a lack of impulse control. That is why I use the problem of rape to bring this to your attention. There is a strong physical attraction, and a strong desire, to have intercourse with a woman. And if we give into that desire, without considering the consequences, then we get rape. So, our wants and our desires cannot be allowed to govern what we will do. Instead, we need to choose our desire to do what is appropriate.

Our will is our deliberate intent to do something specific. It is not a desire to do something, but an intention to actually do it.

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.

Correct.

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

Correct.
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.

No. It is never necessary for a person to be personally responsible for their own birth or for the way they were raised. They are held responsible for the consequences of their deliberate actions, regardless of their past. Our interventions (arresting them, trying them, imprisoning them, offering them an opportunity for rehabilitation) are justified by the harm they have done to someone else. That harm, the consequence of their deliberate act, is all the justification that is required for our intervention.

It is not our philosophy of determinism and free will, but rather our philosophy of justice that controls here. It is in thinking about justice and what it means that we find the answers regarding what we should do and should not do, and what is and is not justified.

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

Ah. Hello Zeno. You're creating a new paradox for us. A paradox is a self-induced hoax created by making one or more false, but believable suggestions. The false suggestion here that if you have prior causes, then they must be held responsible rather than you. But we can see through this little hoax by extending it. How can we hold those prior causes responsible if they too have prior causes? So, we have to keep shifting responsibility back through the prior causes of the prior causes all the way back to the Big Bang. And then someone needs to explain how we are going to rehabilitate the Big Bang so that it ceases robbing our banks. The notion that we are not responsible because we have prior causes creates an absurdity.

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

Nope. We're not following you down that rabbit hole Galen.

The problem is this: if causal necessity is used to excuse anything, then it excuses everything. If it excuses the pickpocket who stole your wallet, then it also excuses the judge who chops off the thief's hand. If it removes one person's responsibility, then it removes everyone's responsibility, including the sense of responsibility that motivates people to advocate for prison reform and other social progress.

Universal causal necessity/inevitability is a logical fact, but it is not a meaningful fact and it is not a relevant fact. It has absolutely no meaningful implications for any human scenario. The intelligent mind can simply acknowledge it, and then ignore it.

Unfortunately, those trapped in the paradox see it as a force that robs us of control and freedom. Ironically, it never seems to rob them of their control and their freedom, as they feel responsible for converting us to their way of thinking, by seducing us into the paradox.

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.

But what is going on inside my head is a model of reality that includes: me being a process going on inside my head (let me know if you're getting dizzy, yet, but that's the correct empirical description). What I am saying is that I do not need to control what is going on inside my head in order to simply be what is going on inside my head. Some guy once said, "I think, therefore I am (or, at least I think I am)".

You're creating unnecessary puzzles that require no solution. Yet, solved it is.

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.

Like I said, it is not necessary for me to consciously control the neural activity in order for me to BE the neural activity.

The conscious self is not running the process.

But it must explain the process, because if my unconscious brain decides to rob a bank, without letting my conscious self know about it, then both parts will be arrested and jailed. Our deliberate decisions will involve both conscious and unconscious processes.

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.'

Yes. The distinction lies in external factors, like the guy with the gun, or internal factors in the case of insanity. Determinism makes no distinctions.

However, determinism is not in any way a "constriction". No one experiences reliable cause and effect itself as a constriction. Only specific causes can prevent me from doing what I would normally do.

In fact, causal necessity is exactly identical to "me doing what I would normally do." So the notion that causal necessity is some kind of constraint is false.

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.

Okay. That's not a problem then. I have no issues with any of the facts of neuroscience. On the other hand, I may take issue with any philosophical or semantic problems that they introduce into their interpretation of the evidence.
... and memory is there because ... uh, genetic evidence comes down on eyup.

Hard to get to choice from there.
 

fromderinside

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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.

Fortunately, causal necessity is neither an object nor a force. It is a short generalization of the fact that every event appears to have some prior event that made it happen. The notion of causation is how we explain why something happened. Knowing why an event happens often gives us control over the event. It gives us the ability to make good things happen more often and to make bad things happen less often. We care about outcomes, especially those that affect us, because we literally "have skin in the game".

And we lack hard shells to protect us, you know, like those turtles.
Appearances can be are deceiving.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... and memory is there because ... uh, genetic evidence comes down on eyup.

Hard to get to choice from there.

Choice is a simple empirical event. Walk into a restaurant. Watch the people come in, sit down, browse the menu and place their order. That's the event we call "choosing". The waiter brings them the bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate action. And that's how free will works. Questions?
 

WAB

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I suppose many people have been "seduced by the paradox", to use Marvin's phrase. Even my dear Spinoza was.

But what has to be realized now is that this discussion has serious political ramifications. The age old epistemological and/or metaphysical argument is pointless, which is why precious few people even bother with it. Note that this thread largely consists of a repeating cycle. DBT, FDI, and Marvin, offering the same arguments, and the same rebuttals, and precious few people even care.

I do, because I understand that there are those (not naming names here) who do not oppose free will because they are "seduced by the paradox", but because it is their intention to wipe out the concept of freedom entirely. There are people who do not want people to be free, and who despise the very idea of freedom.

Now, naturally, the concept of free will and the broader concepts of free and freedom have serious and necessary distinctions. And Marvin et al have done a good job of pointing out those distinctions.

But unless the discussion is allowed to become political - as is necessary - this thread will continue and all the quaint and homely talk of eggs or pancakes will go for nothing.
 

Marvin Edwards

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I suppose many people have been "seduced by the paradox", to use Marvin's phrase. Even my dear Spinoza was.

But what has to be realized now is that this discussion has serious political ramifications. The age old epistemological and/or metaphysical argument is pointless, which is why precious few people even bother with it. Note that this thread largely consists of a repeating cycle. DBT, FDI, and Marvin, offering the same arguments, and the same rebuttals, and precious few people even care.

I do, because I understand that there are those (not naming names here) who do not oppose free will because they are "seduced by the paradox", but because it is their intention to wipe out the concept of freedom entirely. There are people who do not want people to be free, and who despise the very idea of freedom.

Now, naturally, the concept of free will and the broader concepts of free and freedom have serious and necessary distinctions. And Marvin et al have done a good job of pointing out those distinctions.

But unless the discussion is allowed to become political - as is necessary - this thread will continue and all the quaint and homely talk of eggs or pancakes will go for nothing.

What exactly did you have in mind?
 

WAB

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I suppose many people have been "seduced by the paradox", to use Marvin's phrase. Even my dear Spinoza was.

But what has to be realized now is that this discussion has serious political ramifications. The age old epistemological and/or metaphysical argument is pointless, which is why precious few people even bother with it. Note that this thread largely consists of a repeating cycle. DBT, FDI, and Marvin, offering the same arguments, and the same rebuttals, and precious few people even care.

I do, because I understand that there are those (not naming names here) who do not oppose free will because they are "seduced by the paradox", but because it is their intention to wipe out the concept of freedom entirely. There are people who do not want people to be free, and who despise the very idea of freedom.

Now, naturally, the concept of free will and the broader concepts of free and freedom have serious and necessary distinctions. And Marvin et al have done a good job of pointing out those distinctions.

But unless the discussion is allowed to become political - as is necessary - this thread will continue and all the quaint and homely talk of eggs or pancakes will go for nothing.

What exactly did you have in mind?
If you don't know then you're hopeless. Have fun with your eggs or pancakes.
 

fromderinside

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... and memory is there because ... uh, genetic evidence comes down on eyup.

Hard to get to choice from there.

Choice is a simple empirical event. Walk into a restaurant. Watch the people come in, sit down, browse the menu and place their order. That's the event we call "choosing". The waiter brings them the bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate action. And that's how free will works. Questions?
The choice is voluntary. That it is voluntary is an empirical observation. It's on you.
 

fromderinside

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I suppose many people have been "seduced by the paradox", to use Marvin's phrase. Even my dear Spinoza was.

But what has to be realized now is that this discussion has serious political ramifications. The age old epistemological and/or metaphysical argument is pointless, which is why precious few people even bother with it. Note that this thread largely consists of a repeating cycle. DBT, FDI, and Marvin, offering the same arguments, and the same rebuttals, and precious few people even care.

I do, because I understand that there are those (not naming names here) who do not oppose free will because they are "seduced by the paradox", but because it is their intention to wipe out the concept of freedom entirely. There are people who do not want people to be free, and who despise the very idea of freedom.

Now, naturally, the concept of free will and the broader concepts of free and freedom have serious and necessary distinctions. And Marvin et al have done a good job of pointing out those distinctions.

But unless the discussion is allowed to become political - as is necessary - this thread will continue and all the quaint and homely talk of eggs or pancakes will go for nothing.

What exactly did you have in mind?
A stronger whine than you make? WAB's not here for epistemology.
 

Marvin Edwards

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... and memory is there because ... uh, genetic evidence comes down on eyup.

Hard to get to choice from there.

Choice is a simple empirical event. Walk into a restaurant. Watch the people come in, sit down, browse the menu and place their order. That's the event we call "choosing". The waiter brings them the bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate action. And that's how free will works. Questions?
The choice is voluntary. That it is voluntary is an empirical observation. It's on you.

Yes, exactly. The choice is voluntary. And it's not just me and you. We could bring in physicists, biologists, and psychologists who would all confirm that the choice is voluntary.

According to the OED Voluntary means "A. adj. 1. Characterized by free will or choice; freely done or bestowed."
 
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DBT

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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.

The word 'ultimate' need not be used - it makes no difference to the fact that we are not responsible for the way we are, genetics, environment, culture, life experiences, etc.

You can phrase it without including 'ultimate'....in 'order to be responsible for what you do, you have to be responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects,' and it's still valid.

So, on the contrary, to be fixated on the word 'ultimate' - as if that makes a difference - is the Red Herring.

Point as many times as you like, you are still wrong.
 

DBT

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Hard determinists believe that volunteers don't really exist. They are just deluded slaves to causal necessity who thought they were free to refuse service.

Who is a hard determinist? Are we not talking about compatibilism, which accepts determinism but claims that freedom of will is compatible with determinism?

Compatibilists don't claim that multiple options can be realized in any given instance.
 

DBT

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

No. There's a key distinction between simply doing whatever you feel like, versus doing what is appropriate. The inability to act appropriately is sometimes referred to as "a lack of impulse control". For example, you are at a friend's birthday party, you see the cake on the table, and you stick your hand into the cake and put a handful in your mouth. That's an example of a lack of impulse control.

Whether one acts appropriately or inappropriately is not a matter of will. The state of the system determines output. You say that it is ''the empirical event in which you made that choice for yourself, while free of coercion and undue influence'' - the problem being that there is no choice on the matter of brain condition in the moment of necessitated action realization. Therefore no absence of 'influence' (think necessitated), consequently it is not a free will choice.


Knowing what behavior is appropriate, or ethical, or legal gives us the ability to make moral choices, to do the right thing rather than the wrong thing. Such knowledge is not expected in a toddler, but it is expected at an appropriate stage of maturity.

Of course, a functional brain with the necessary information should generate appropriate behaviour, empathy, ethics, law, societal expectations, etc. Not always perfectly, sometimes not even ideal, which is a matter of condition, not free will.

Free Will as a Matter of Law
''This chapter confronts the issue of free will in neurolaw, rejecting one of the leading views of the relationship between free will and legal responsibility on the ground that the current system of legal responsibility likely emerged from outdated views about the mind, mental states, and free will. It challenges the compatibilist approach to law (in which free will and causal determinism can coexist). The chapter argues that those who initially developed the criminal law endorsed or presupposed views about mind and free will that modern neuroscience will aid in revealing as false. It then argues for the relevance of false presuppositions embedded in the original development of the criminal law in judging whether to revise or maintain the current system. In doing so, the chapter shares the view that neuroscientific developments will change the way we think about criminal responsibility.''

So, the child who plays with a loaded gun is not held responsible if he accidentally kills his brother. Instead, his parents are held responsible for failing to secure the gun where the child cannot reach it. The child did not deliberately kill his brother, because he did not understand the consequences of his actions.

Exactly, rather than 'free will,' brain condition is the key. The expectation being that the average citizen has brain capable of understanding consequences, a functional brain with the necessary information/experience to determine right from wrong and be aware of the consequences, be they legal, moral, social.

It is not free will that enables thought, consideration or understanding. Jus because the term 'free will' doesn't apply to the cognitive process doesn't mean that we are not able to think or understand the consequences of our actions.




But a bank robber knows what he's doing and he knows that it's wrong, yet he deliberately chose to do it anyway, because he wanted the cash. So, the bank robber is held responsible for his deliberate actions.

A robber of any sort is motivated by things other than consideration for the law, other people's livelihood or property

Motivation is formed through needs and wants developed through circumstances and life experience, not will. How many children decide to take up bank robbery as a career path? Or decide to become a murderer or sex offender when they grow up?

What brings a person to that state? Rational decision making? Will?

Life is far more complicated than that. The term 'free will' tells us nothing about human behaviour or its drivers.
 

The AntiChris

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Point as many times as you like, you are still wrong.

No, it's quite clear that despite repeatedly quoting him, Strawson disagrees with you and accepts that "you and I and millions of other people are thoroughly morally responsible people.".
 

Marvin Edwards

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The word 'ultimate' need not be used - it makes no difference to the fact that we are not responsible for the way we are, genetics, environment, culture, life experiences, etc.

I would agree with DBT on this. Responsibility is responsibility. When we experience a bad event, like a car hitting a pedestrian at an intersection, we want to know all the causes, so that each can be corrected. To say that the malfunctioning traffic signal was "responsible" for the accident would lead us to ask "who is responsible for assuring that our traffic signals work correctly?" So, responsibility ultimately involves a person, someone who can do something about the problem, someone who perhaps needs to do a better job.

But all responsible causes must each be corrected if we are to achieve our ultimate goal of reducing the risk of future harm. The traffic light, the procedure for detecting the malfunction, and those responsible for the design and maintenance, would all be responsible causes and subject to appropriate correction.

The same would be true for the criminal who robs the bank. A responsible society would seek to correct any problems within the community that might "breed" criminal behavior, like bad schools, racial discrimination, drug trafficking, poverty, lack of employment opportunities, lack of supervised afterschool recreation, etc. But they would also have to correct the responsible offender, the person who thought it was a good idea to commit the robbery and actually did it.

You can phrase it without including 'ultimate'....in 'order to be responsible for what you do, you have to be responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects,' and it's still valid.

Galen Strawson was confusing "ultimate" cause with "first" cause. But the "ultimate" cause would, I believe, be more like Aristotle's "final cause" which refers to the deliberate purpose that is responsible for, and which meaningfully explains why the event happened.

And Strawson's error, espoused by DBT, is the notion that the criminal offender's responsibility should be shifted to his prior causes, as if they, and not he, had planned and committed the robbery.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Hard determinists believe that volunteers don't really exist. They are just deluded slaves to causal necessity who thought they were free to refuse service.

Who is a hard determinist? Are we not talking about compatibilism, which accepts determinism but claims that freedom of will is compatible with determinism?

Compatibilists don't claim that multiple options can be realized in any given instance.
Well, your view of determinism is classified as "hard determinism" because you assert that free will is incompatible with determinism. That is what distinguishes "hard determinism" from other versions of determinism.

My version of determinism is that every event is reliably caused by prior events, and that we ourselves are the most meaningful and relevant prior causes of our choices (when we are free of coercion and undue influence). When we are not free of coercion and undue influence, then our choices are constricted by those extraordinary influences. But reliable cause and effect, in itself, is neither coercive nor extraordinary, so causal necessity (a string of individual instances of reliable causes and their effects) poses no threat to our ability to choose for ourselves what we will do.

Reliable cause and effect enable every freedom we have to do anything at all, including our ability to decide for ourselves what we will do. There is no freedom in an indeterministic universe, because our ability to control what happens requires that the consequences of our actions are reasonably predictable. Without reliable causation, nothing is predictable, and everything is out of our control.

Thus, free will and determinism are compatible. The ability to choose for ourselves what we will do, for example, requires a brain that operates reliably. A brain that operates reliably includes the function of imagining alternate possibilities, and choosing from among those possible futures the one future that will become actual.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Whether one acts appropriately or inappropriately is not a matter of will.

Whether one acts appropriately or inappropriately is a matter of choice. The choice sets the intent (will), the intent drives the action.

If a child lacks impulse control, due to a sense that he has no choice, then the child is taught the appropriate behavior, and is reinforced with praise, so that he learns to make the right choices in the future, and avoids the penalty of a stern look and perhaps a timeout.

Learning from our mistakes requires the notion of possibilities, actions that the child could have taken instead, like waiting until he was served his piece of the birthday cake. And he can try out these new possibilities at the next birthday party.


The state of the system determines output.

Now, if you can see it yet, "the state of the system determining output" is exactly what I just described. The state of the child's system before correction led to him taking a handful of the birthday cake. The interventions we provided have hopefully altered the state of the child's system, so that the child thinks twice before sticking his hand in the cake.

Now, after the child has acquired the habit of acting appropriately, he will no longer need to choose between what he feels like doing versus what he ought to do. He will behave appropriately without having to choose to do so.

A habit is behavior that is also governed by choice, however, the choosing took place a long time ago, and the habit makes repeated choosing unnecessary.

You say that it is ''the empirical event in which you made that choice for yourself, while free of coercion and undue influence'' - the problem being that there is no choice on the matter of brain condition in the moment of necessitated action realization. Therefore no absence of 'influence' (think necessitated), consequently it is not a free will choice.

As always, every event is always causally necessary from any prior point in time. That's just a background constant. We could describe any series of events by inserting "it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that X (the event) would happen". But that can simply be taken for granted, to avoid wasting a lot of time and space constantly repeating the obvious. In fact, we can forget about universal causal necessity altogether and get along just fine in the real world.

What we care about in the real world is the specific causes of specific effects. Knowing the causes of events gives us control over many events that affect our lives, like viral diseases.

The specific cause of a deliberate act is the act of deliberation that chose to do it. For a habitual offender, the choice was made long ago, and the behavior will be difficult to extinguish, because the robber has been rewarded repeatedly by the money he successfully acquired by placing the clerk under duress (pointing a gun at them).

So, ironically, the less control the offender had over his most recent choice, the bigger the challenge to those who would rehabilitate him, and the longer he will need to be in jail.

To sum up, causal necessity always applies so it is never required to bring it up, and only the details as to how the robber was thinking when he decided to hold up the 7Eleven, and how we might alter that "line of thinking" (causal chain) in the future (later causal chain), through counseling and rehabilitation are important.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that rehabilitation is impossible without the notion of alternatives to his past behavior, things he could have done instead, and having those alternatives perceived by the offender as real possibilities for his own future.

Of course, a functional brain with the necessary information should generate appropriate behaviour, empathy, ethics, law, societal expectations, etc. Not always perfectly, sometimes not even ideal, which is a matter of condition, not free will.

But the notion of free will, that one can choose, on his own, to behave differently in the future, is essential to his rehabilitation.

If we were to convince the offender that he was not responsible for his past behavior, because it was the result of causal necessity, and not anything over which he had control, then, to be consistent, we would also have to tell him that his future behavior will also be the result of causal necessity, and not anything over which he will have any control.

We must cease and desist from telling people that causal necessity removes their freedom and their control. First, because it is a lie. Second, because it is a harmful lie.

Free Will as a Matter of Law
''This chapter confronts the issue of free will in neurolaw, rejecting one of the leading views of the relationship between free will and legal responsibility on the ground that the current system of legal responsibility likely emerged from outdated views about the mind, mental states, and free will. It challenges the compatibilist approach to law (in which free will and causal determinism can coexist). The chapter argues that those who initially developed the criminal law endorsed or presupposed views about mind and free will that modern neuroscience will aid in revealing as false. It then argues for the relevance of false presuppositions embedded in the original development of the criminal law in judging whether to revise or maintain the current system. In doing so, the chapter shares the view that neuroscientific developments will change the way we think about criminal responsibility.''

So, now we're about to trap the legal system in the same stupid paradox? Geez, somebody needs to take some responsibility for what is about to happen, and put a stop to it.

... Life is far more complicated than that. The term 'free will' tells us nothing about human behaviour or its drivers.

That's right. Free will, like causal necessity, tells us only one thing. But unlike causal necessity, the one thing it tells us happens to be very useful information when assigning responsibility to the appropriate causes of an event. It tells us whether the behavior was deliberate.

Knowing whether the behavior was, or was not, deliberate is essential to choosing the appropriate means of correction.
Knowing that the behavior was causally necessary, tells us nothing useful, because all behavior is always causally necessary.
 

Copernicus

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Hard determinists believe that volunteers don't really exist. They are just deluded slaves to causal necessity who thought they were free to refuse service.

Who is a hard determinist? Are we not talking about compatibilism, which accepts determinism but claims that freedom of will is compatible with determinism?

Compatibilists don't claim that multiple options can be realized in any given instance.

Wikipedia has a good description of  hard determinism:

Hard determinism (or metaphysical determinism) is a view on free will which holds that determinism is true, that it is incompatible with free will, and therefore that free will does not exist. Although hard determinism generally refers to nomological determinism, it can also be a position taken with respect to other forms of determinism that necessitate the future in its entirety.

Hard determinism is contrasted with soft determinism, which is a compatibilist form of determinism, holding that free will may exist despite determinism. It is also contrasted with metaphysical libertarianism, the other major form of incompatibilism which holds that free will exists and determinism is false.
 

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Point as many times as you like, you are still wrong.

No, it's quite clear that despite repeatedly quoting him, Strawson disagrees with you and accepts that "you and I and millions of other people are thoroughly morally responsible people.".
Some reading material;

Introduction and Context
''There is something very important at stake in the free will vs determinism debate: is moral responsibility possible? Strawson's answer is "no" but this follows whether determinism is true or false! If Strawson is right, and we can't be morally responsible for our actions, why the heck do most people think that we can be morally responsible for our actions? Because free will is an illusion.''

Key Concepts
It's important to distinguish legal culpability or responsibility from moral responsibility. For example, many people don't think you do anything morally wrong by smoking pot but agree that you're legally responsible from breaking the law if you do so. Moral responsibility is closely tied to the idea of blameworthiness. That is, you are morally responsible it would it make sense to blame someone for their action or find you morally at fault. (This will be discussed in more detail in the 2nd section below).


Here is Strawson's article on the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.
 

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Hard determinists believe that volunteers don't really exist. They are just deluded slaves to causal necessity who thought they were free to refuse service.

Who is a hard determinist? Are we not talking about compatibilism, which accepts determinism but claims that freedom of will is compatible with determinism?

Compatibilists don't claim that multiple options can be realized in any given instance.

Wikipedia has a good description of  hard determinism:

Hard determinism (or metaphysical determinism) is a view on free will which holds that determinism is true, that it is incompatible with free will, and therefore that free will does not exist. Although hard determinism generally refers to nomological determinism, it can also be a position taken with respect to other forms of determinism that necessitate the future in its entirety.

Hard determinism is contrasted with soft determinism, which is a compatibilist form of determinism, holding that free will may exist despite determinism. It is also contrasted with metaphysical libertarianism, the other major form of incompatibilism which holds that free will exists and determinism is false.


Once again; I work with the standard definition of determinism (given). Compatibilists don't deny this definition of determinism, it is the same definition. Compatibilism asserts that free will is compatible with the same definition of determinism. Compatibilism defines free will as acting according to ones will, not being coerced, decisions are made by the agent, etc, and asserting that this is free will.

The incompatibilist - me in this instance - in turn points out why this definition fails to establish freedom of will.

Because the same definition of determinism is being used by both parties, to call one 'hard determinism' as opposed to 'soft determinism' is kind of misleading in the sense of giving the impression that different definitions of determinism are being used.

As I see it, the question is simply: is free will compatible with determinism.

The incompatibilist reply - me in this instance - is: no, for the given reasons, it is not.

Some do call compatibilism a theological term, and in this instance they may be right. ;)

''Compatibilism, sometimes called soft determinism, is a theological term that deals with the topics of free will and predestination. It seeks to show that God's exhaustive sovereignty is compatible with human freedom, or in other words, it claims that determinism and free will are compatible. Rather than limit the exercise of God's sovereignty in order to preserve man's freedom, compatibilists say that there must be a different way to define what freedom really means.''
 

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Whether one acts appropriately or inappropriately is not a matter of will.

Whether one acts appropriately or inappropriately is a matter of choice. The choice sets the intent (will), the intent drives the action.


'Choice' is not a matter of free will, but brain function and condition. Information condition equals output, thoughts generated actions taken. No alternate actions possible in any instance in time. Consequently, output does not equate to free will.



Quote;
''Because most behavior is driven by brain networks we do not consciously control, the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior. In the light of modern neuroscience, it no longer makes sense to ask "was it his fault, or his biology's fault, or the fault of his background?", because these issues can never be disentangled. Instead, the only sensible question can be "what do we do from here?" -- in terms of customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition, and refined incentive structuring.''


If a child lacks impulse control, due to a sense that he has no choice, then the child is taught the appropriate behavior, and is reinforced with praise, so that he learns to make the right choices in the future, and avoids the penalty of a stern look and perhaps a timeout.

Learning from our mistakes requires the notion of possibilities, actions that the child could have taken instead, like waiting until he was served his piece of the birthday cake. And he can try out these new possibilities at the next birthday party.

Impulse control, as described in articles on the neuroscience of decision making is a matter of brain function and condition;

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

A person may be self conscious, intelligent, have both the perception and the experience of making conscious choices, decisions that are based on his or her beliefs and desires, yet lack self control.''

Rather than free will enabling self control, it is the necessary hardware; the work of fully functional neural networks specific to that task.




The state of the system determines output.

Now, if you can see it yet, "the state of the system determining output" is exactly what I just described. The state of the child's system before correction led to him taking a handful of the birthday cake. The interventions we provided have hopefully altered the state of the child's system, so that the child thinks twice before sticking his hand in the cake.

Yes, you describe the state of the system, then simply slap on a 'free will' label where it doesn't apply. Acting in accord to determined output does not equate to free will. It is simply 'acting without explicit external force or coercion' - which ignores the constraints and limitations of the system and available information. A split second delay in memory function and a bad decision is made, saying or doing something that you regret a moment later.

Now, after the child has acquired the habit of acting appropriately, he will no longer need to choose between what he feels like doing versus what he ought to do. He will behave appropriately without having to choose to do so.

A habit is behavior that is also governed by choice, however, the choosing took place a long time ago, and the habit makes repeated choosing unnecessary.

Yes, learning cultural and social rules enabled by an intelligent functional brain. Just because 'free will' is a irrelevant term doesn't mean that we can't learn, think and act appropriately. Of course, there are some, who through no fault of their own, are unable to function normally.


You say that it is ''the empirical event in which you made that choice for yourself, while free of coercion and undue influence'' - the problem being that there is no choice on the matter of brain condition in the moment of necessitated action realization. Therefore no absence of 'influence' (think necessitated), consequently it is not a free will choice.

As always, every event is always causally necessary from any prior point in time. That's just a background constant. We could describe any series of events by inserting "it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that X (the event) would happen". But that can simply be taken for granted, to avoid wasting a lot of time and space constantly repeating the obvious. In fact, we can forget about universal causal necessity altogether and get along just fine in the real world.

What we care about in the real world is the specific causes of specific effects. Knowing the causes of events gives us control over many events that affect our lives, like viral diseases.

The specific cause of a deliberate act is the act of deliberation that chose to do it. For a habitual offender, the choice was made long ago, and the behavior will be difficult to extinguish, because the robber has been rewarded repeatedly by the money he successfully acquired by placing the clerk under duress (pointing a gun at them).

So, ironically, the less control the offender had over his most recent choice, the bigger the challenge to those who would rehabilitate him, and the longer he will need to be in jail.

To sum up, causal necessity always applies so it is never required to bring it up, and only the details as to how the robber was thinking when he decided to hold up the 7Eleven, and how we might alter that "line of thinking" (causal chain) in the future (later causal chain), through counseling and rehabilitation are important.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that rehabilitation is impossible without the notion of alternatives to his past behavior, things he could have done instead, and having those alternatives perceived by the offender as real possibilities for his own future.


Information enables a wider range of possibilities. Information enables options that are not otherwise available. The process by which an option is realized is the same. Only one option can be realized in any given instance in time, with no alternate action possible.

The difference being that with the necessary information acting upon your neural architecture you are enabled do what you could not have otherwise done.

Which is still not a 'free will' choice.



Free Will as a Matter of Law
''This chapter confronts the issue of free will in neurolaw, rejecting one of the leading views of the relationship between free will and legal responsibility on the ground that the current system of legal responsibility likely emerged from outdated views about the mind, mental states, and free will. It challenges the compatibilist approach to law (in which free will and causal determinism can coexist). The chapter argues that those who initially developed the criminal law endorsed or presupposed views about mind and free will that modern neuroscience will aid in revealing as false. It then argues for the relevance of false presuppositions embedded in the original development of the criminal law in judging whether to revise or maintain the current system. In doing so, the chapter shares the view that neuroscientific developments will change the way we think about criminal responsibility.''

So, now we're about to trap the legal system in the same stupid paradox? Geez, somebody needs to take some responsibility for what is about to happen, and put a stop to it.


Isn't it the case that to improve outcomes in rehabilitation, etc, the legal system needs to take the nature of decision making into account?
Isn't simply declaring; ''he acted of his own free will'' and imposing a prescribed sentence simplistic and outdated?

The idea of free will adds nothing to our understanding of human behaviour.
 

The AntiChris

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And here is an An Interview with Galen Strawson which took place 10 years after the paper you cite. In this interview he makes it clear that he accepts the everyday sense of moral responsibility (he's arguing against the kind of responsibility beloved by those who have been seduced by the "freedom from cause and effect" paradox.).

Strawson said:
but 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.
 

WAB

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Hard determinists believe that volunteers don't really exist. They are just deluded slaves to causal necessity who thought they were free to refuse service.

Who is a hard determinist? Are we not talking about compatibilism, which accepts determinism but claims that freedom of will is compatible with determinism?

Compatibilists don't claim that multiple options can be realized in any given instance.
There are always multiple options, in every second, across every moment in time. Marvin keeps playing with eggs or pancakes, and he simplifies things by creating posts where simple, often binary choices are available to people at most instances of most of the time. But the reality is that there are in fact a literally innumerable amount of choices, all the time.
 

pood

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WAB,

Marvin and I have been using “eggs of pancakes” just to simplify the discussion, a kind of toy model that strips the situation down to its bare essentials. We both obviously agree with you that all of us have multiple choices at any given moment. I was interested in your earlier claim that some people don’t want there to be freedom of choice, and would like to destroy freedom or at least the notion of free choice. I’m pretty sure DBT is not arguing for that — he’s not against free choice, he just doesn’t think we have it. The idea of some people wish to destroy free choice, or destroy belief in it, was one of the animating philosophical ideas in Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, interestingly enough. See: “The Gallant Gallstone,” from the novel. I’m not a Rand fan by any means but it’s a great novel.

DBT,

There is a clear difference between determinism, hard determinism, and soft determinism.

Determinism is the position that the world exhibits reliable cause-and-effect relations.

Hard determinism is the thesis that antecedent events, in conjunction with the “laws” of nature, entail all future events, including human acts.

Soft determinism is the thesis that human acts are part of the deterministic stream, and that some things are determined — made to be true — by human free choice, but also that the outcomes of these choices depend upon determinism being true.

The soft determinist does believe we have multiple realizable choices, only that, given identical circumstances, humans would always make the same choice — not that they MUST make the same choice, only. that they WILL make the same choice. You continually commit the modal fallacy, which I have described in some detail. The entire hard determinist position rests on a modal fallacy!


It’s true that the determinism/free will debate arises from theological concerns. I have addressed this on multiple occasions as well. It‘s called theological determinism. The issue is that an omnipotent God, knowing in advance what we will do, precludes our free will, because if God knows what we will do, then we MUST do that thing. This, again, is the classic modal fallacy.


WRONG ARGUMENT: If today God knows that tomorrow I will choose eggs for breakfast (Sorry, WAB), then tomorrow I MUST choose eggs for breakfast — no free will.

CORRECTED ARGUMENT: Necessarily (If today God knows that tomorrow I will choose eggs for breakfast, then tomorrow I will [NOT MUST!] choose eggs for breakfast — free will preserved.

If I were to choose pancakes instead, then God would foreknow THAT fact instead. But the choice is entirely my own.

As I have already shown, this modal solution to the problem generalizes to both epistemic determinism (Aristotle’s sea battle) and to causal determinism, which is what we are discussing in this thread.
 

Marvin Edwards

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'Choice' is not a matter of free will, but brain function and condition. Information condition equals output, thoughts generated actions taken.

You still don't get it. One does not preclude the other. Choosing is a brain function that is easily demonstrated by walking into a restaurant and observing people browsing the menu and placing their order.

No alternate actions possible in any instance in time.

You are staring at a literal menu of alternate possibilities, of which every one of them can be realized.

You certainly will choose only one, but you certainly can choose any one of them.

That's what these two words are all about. And that is all that the "ability to do otherwise" amounts to, having two or more "I can's" even though there is only one "I will".

The notion of "something that can happen" evolved so that the brain can deal with matters of uncertainty. And, lacking omniscience, the human brain must deal with a heck of a lot of uncertainty. When we do not know what will happen, we imagine what can happen, to prepare for what does happen.

Choosing is necessitated by our uncertainty as to "what we will do" in a given situation, such as when we are seated in a restaurant, and we must decide what we will order.

In order to perform this function, the brain converts the most likely candidates, the as yet unknown "I will's", into "I can's". And it begins evaluating the multiple "I can's" to decide which "I can" is the inevitable "I will" and which of the "I can's" are the inevitable "I could have's".

By logical necessity, choosing will always output a single inevitable "I will" and at least one inevitable "I could have (but didn't)".

That is what the brain does.

And, when the brain does this, while free of coercion and undue influence, it is called "free will", because it is a freely chosen "I will" from among the multiple "I can's" available to it.

Consequently, free will is a real event that happens in the real world.

Consequently, the definition of determinism must drop its claim that we "could not have done otherwise", because it will always be the case that we, in fact, could have done otherwise when choosing between two or more possibilities. Instead determinism must replace it with the claim that we "would not have done otherwise". Without this change, determinism is false.

Quote;
''Because most behavior is driven by brain networks we do not consciously control, the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior. In the light of modern neuroscience, it no longer makes sense to ask "was it his fault, or his biology's fault, or the fault of his background?", because these issues can never be disentangled. Instead, the only sensible question can be "what do we do from here?" -- in terms of customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition, and refined incentive structuring.''

I did not find your specific quote at Center for Science & Law. But I did find David Eagleman's description of how they were using neuroscience to inform and reform our approaches to dealing with criminal offenders. And I fully support this process. I have often pointed out in these discussions that it is not the determinism "versus" free will paradox that motivates progress in this area, but rather the social sciences, like psychology and sociology (and we can add neuroscience and medicine) that inform our judgment in these matters.

Science is concerned with the specific causes of specific events. That is where all of the useful knowledge is. Science should not be wringing its hands over theological or metaphysical abstractions, like universal causal necessity, and all of the paradoxes that philosophers introduce to distract us.

Most of us who took a general sociology class in college know that cultures shape the beliefs and practices of individuals. As they say, "It takes a village to raise a child", and we have a lot of villages in our country with major problems. Gangs are subcultures that spring up to establish control in a vacuum.

And those of us who took psychology courses are aware of mental illnesses that significantly affect behavior. And we know that facilities for caring for and rehabilitating the mentally ill have been disappearing over the years, leaving many of those in need of psychiatric therapy in the hands of prison guards.

Sociologists and psychologists have been advocating against retributive punishments for years. That is why we have correctional facilities and rehabilitation programs today. I'm happy to see neuroscience join the team.

Impulse control, as described in articles on the neuroscience of decision making is a matter of brain function and condition;

Yes, we get that. Everything that our brain does for us is "a matter of brain function and condition". No one is saying otherwise. Everything that I'm continually pointing out to you, including free will, is "a matter of brain function and condition".

Now, if you can see it yet, "the state of the system determining output" is exactly what I just described. The state of the child's system before correction led to him taking a handful of the birthday cake. The interventions we provided have hopefully altered the state of the child's system, so that the child thinks twice before sticking his hand in the cake.
Yes, you describe the state of the system, then simply slap on a 'free will' label where it doesn't apply.

The label of "free will" applies to only one thing: a choice we make for ourselves while free of coercion and undue influence. Free will does not mean a choice "free of our brain" or a choice "free of causation". It only requires freedom from coercion and undue influence. Neither our brain, nor causation, qualifies as coercive or undue.

Acting in accord to determined output does not equate to free will. It is simply 'acting without explicit external force or coercion' - which ignores the constraints and limitations of the system and available information.

Do you view a functioning brain as a constraint upon our freedom? I view a functioning brain as an enabler of imagination, evaluation, and choosing what we will do.

And our information is always incomplete. We often do not know what "will" happen. So, our brain evolved the notion of things that "might" happen, so that we can prepare for what eventually "does" happen.

A split second delay in memory function and a bad decision is made, saying or doing something that you regret a moment later.

Interesting. One of the things that William James pointed out in his essay, The Dilemma of Determinism, is that with determinism there are no such things as regrets, and that one of the costs he is willing to pay for believing in free will is to suffer regrets, because that is how moral progress proceeds.

Now, after the child has acquired the habit of acting appropriately, he will no longer need to choose between what he feels like doing versus what he ought to do. He will behave appropriately without having to choose to do so.

A habit is behavior that is also governed by choice, however, the choosing took place a long time ago, and the habit makes repeated choosing unnecessary.
Yes, learning cultural and social rules enabled by an intelligent functional brain. Just because 'free will' is a irrelevant term doesn't mean that we can't learn, think and act appropriately. Of course, there are some, who through no fault of their own, are unable to function normally.

Yes, normally people understand what it means to do something of their own free will. It means to do something deliberately or voluntarily. But some people get trapped in Spinoza's paradox, and come to believe that one must be free of causation in order to be "truly" free.

You say that it is ''the empirical event in which you made that choice for yourself, while free of coercion and undue influence'' - the problem being that there is no choice on the matter of brain condition in the moment of necessitated action realization. Therefore no absence of 'influence' (think necessitated), consequently it is not a free will choice.

As always, every event is always causally necessary from any prior point in time. That's just a background constant. We could describe any series of events by inserting "it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that X (the event) would happen". But that can simply be taken for granted, to avoid wasting a lot of time and space constantly repeating the obvious. In fact, we can forget about universal causal necessity altogether and get along just fine in the real world.

What we care about in the real world is the specific causes of specific effects. Knowing the causes of events gives us control over many events that affect our lives, like viral diseases.

The specific cause of a deliberate act is the act of deliberation that chose to do it. For a habitual offender, the choice was made long ago, and the behavior will be difficult to extinguish, because the robber has been rewarded repeatedly by the money he successfully acquired by placing the clerk under duress (pointing a gun at them).

So, ironically, the less control the offender had over his most recent choice, the bigger the challenge to those who would rehabilitate him, and the longer he will need to be in jail.

To sum up, causal necessity always applies so it is never required to bring it up, and only the details as to how the robber was thinking when he decided to hold up the 7Eleven, and how we might alter that "line of thinking" (causal chain) in the future (later causal chain), through counseling and rehabilitation are important.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that rehabilitation is impossible without the notion of alternatives to his past behavior, things he could have done instead, and having those alternatives perceived by the offender as real possibilities for his own future.

Information enables a wider range of possibilities. Information enables options that are not otherwise available. The process by which an option is realized is the same. Only one option can be realized in any given instance in time, with no alternate action possible. "

Actually, only one option "will" be realized, while many alternate actions remain real possibilities that simply were not chosen. But you are correct that "the process by which an option is realized is the same", and given the exact same circumstances, that same option "will" always be chosen again, even though the other options once again "could have" been chosen.

The difference being that with the necessary information acting upon your neural architecture you are enabled do what you could not have otherwise done.

The information would have to be different in order to have made a different choice. It is AS IF the information were controlling the choice, but, of course, it was actually the brain itself that was doing the choosing. The information had no skin in the game, but the brain did.

Which is still not a 'free will' choice.

Whether the choice was of the brain's own free will is empirically decided by whether the brain was being coerced or unduly influenced at the time of the choosing.

Isn't it the case that to improve outcomes in rehabilitation, etc, the legal system needs to take the nature of decision making into account?
Isn't simply declaring; ''he acted of his own free will'' and imposing a prescribed sentence simplistic and outdated?

"Basic desert" is an instinctive response to wrongdoing. For example, you grab my biscuit from my plate and I stick a fork in your hand. These instinctive reactions apparently evolved because they served a purpose, establishing social justice within a community. You will now think twice before you reach for my biscuit again. The social rule is established, communicated, and enforced by one simple act.

But we've evolved beyond that. Now we can explain what we are trying to accomplish to everyone, through our philosophy of justice. Justice seeks to protect the rights we have agreed to respect and protect for everyone. A just penalty, what the criminal offender justly deserves, would include the following: (a) repair the harm to the victim if possible, (b) correct the offender's future behavior if corrigible, (c) protect society from further harm by securing the offender until his behavior is corrected, and (d) do no more harm to the offender or his rights than is reasonably required to accomplish (a), (b), and (c).
 

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I should amend my above post. Aristotle’s sea battle is an example of logical determinism (the problem of future contingents). Epistemic and theological determinism are the same, incorrect idea that infallible foreknowledge of human actions precludes those acts from being free.
 

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I should amend my above post. Aristotle’s sea battle is an example of logical determinism (the problem of future contingents). Epistemic and theological determinism are the same, incorrect idea that infallible foreknowledge of human actions precludes those acts from being free.
Or, just ecause I can determine that "process A" will return "45" because I can simulate out the general behaviors and abstract away complications does not mean any less that the process was the source of it's own return value.
 

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Setting up neural mechanisms for choice. Think about it. A deterministic world provides stimuli 'directing survival of neural processes responding appropriately', in the statistical evolutionary processes of continuing the organism's existence in given circumstances. Those neural processes cannot become the basis for free will.
 

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So neural processes are interested in continuing an organism’s existence? Does that mean neural processes have a mind or will of their own?

I think that organisms are interested in continuing their own existence and that they evaluate options based on neural inputs to decide the best course of action for survival in any given circumstance.
 

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Because the same definition of determinism is being used by both parties, to call one 'hard determinism' as opposed to 'soft determinism' is kind of misleading in the sense of giving the impression that different definitions of determinism are being used.

Paying lip service to a definition is not the same as agreeing to the same concept, as you have amply demonstrated over many, many pages of disagreement with Marvin's detailed explanations of why free will is a fully determined process. The expression "free will" exists, because it makes sense to beings that expect the future to be causally determined but are unable to know it. You simply are unwilling to accept the ordinary usage of a common sense term that is associated with other everyday concepts such as moral responsibility, sin (even though a god can be omniscient, people aren't), praise, and guilt.
 

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Setting up neural mechanisms for choice. Think about it. A deterministic world provides stimuli 'directing survival of neural processes responding appropriately', in the statistical evolutionary processes of continuing the organism's existence in given circumstances. Those neural processes cannot become the basis for free will.
The survival advantage from evolved intelligence comes from adapting creatively to an environment, versus hard-coded instinctual responses. Creativity includes design choices for machines, bridges, procedures. Some approaches to a problem work better than others. The notion of "one thing better than another" is the root of moral judgment.
 

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Setting up neural mechanisms for choice. Think about it. A deterministic world provides stimuli 'directing survival of neural processes responding appropriately', in the statistical evolutionary processes of continuing the organism's existence in given circumstances. Those neural processes cannot become the basis for free will.
So, rather than neural processes, you would propose what, a soul? We know that people make choices, which car to buy, when and where to eat lunch, which tie goes best with a shirt, and so on. We don't know how neural mechanisms do it, but we presume they do it somehow. After all, what are the alternatives? DBT has suggested that the information is making the choices, as if the shirts and ties were doing our choosing for us. The only thing we know for sure is that whatever is making the choices can be coerced or unduly influenced to make choices they would rather not make. So, free will is a choice we make for ourselves without coercion or undue influence. And since choosing must inevitably happen, free will must also inevitably happen. Think about it.
 

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It's important to distinguish legal culpability or responsibility from moral responsibility. For example, many people don't think you do anything morally wrong by smoking pot but agree that you're legally responsible from breaking the law if you do so. Moral responsibility is closely tied to the idea of blameworthiness. That is, you are morally responsible it would it make sense to blame someone for their action or find you morally at fault.

Law and Conscience
We have law and we have conscience. A person's conscience usually agrees with most laws, or at least is willing to follow those laws for the sake of supporting law generally, because his conscience recognizes law as a moral good. But a person's conscience may find that following a specific law is immoral. In the 1970's young men were burning their draft cards to protest the war in Viet Nam. Law sometimes accommodates conscience. Those with a religious objection to killing people, even in war, are allowed to serve in the armed forces in non-combat roles. These are called "conscientious objectors".

Moral and Legal
There is no distinction between moral and legal responsibility, other than the means of enforcement. In one case it is the court of conscience, in the other a court of law. The penalties imposed by conscience are guilt and regret.

Blameworthiness
Ideally, to be fair and just, we must select the least harmful penalty that effectively corrects the behavior. If blame gets the job done, then it is most likely the least harmful penalty, and is fully justified. The offender, whether of law or conscience, who can be corrected simply by blaming him, does not justly deserve anything more than that. But also does not deserve anything less than that.

A policeman who lets you off with a warning, has deemed you blameworthy, and trusts that his reprimand and warning will be sufficient penalty to correct your behavior.

So, blame works both in the legal system and the moral system. It is not unique to moral offenses.
 

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So neural processes are interested in continuing an organism’s existence? Does that mean neural processes have a mind or will of their own?

I think that organisms are interested in continuing their own existence and that they evaluate options based on neural inputs to decide the best course of action for survival in any given circumstance.
It's the more fit surviving (providing reproducing offspring) which makes the process of evolution work. It matters v very little whether organisms evaluate anything. What matters is that those that survive and reproduce are generally more fit than those who don't survive or reproduce. So no. Neural processes don't have mind property whatever that that might be in your view.
 

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Setting up neural mechanisms for choice. Think about it. A deterministic world provides stimuli 'directing survival of neural processes responding appropriately', in the statistical evolutionary processes of continuing the organism's existence in given circumstances. Those neural processes cannot become the basis for free will.
So, rather than neural processes, you would propose what, a soul? We know that people make choices, which car to buy, when and where to eat lunch, which tie goes best with a shirt, and so on. We don't know how neural mechanisms do it, but we presume they do it somehow. After all, what are the alternatives? DBT has suggested that the information is making the choices, as if the shirts and ties were doing our choosing for us. The only thing we know for sure is that whatever is making the choices can be coerced or unduly influenced to make choices they would rather not make. So, free will is a choice we make for ourselves without coercion or undue influence. And since choosing must inevitably happen, free will must also inevitably happen. Think about it.
Fortunately, I'm not so confused as to think that choosing, whatever you mean by that, happens. I'm just of the opinion that humans, at least, attempt to retain fitness advantage by supporting various processes magnifying one's own status.
There are many ways one can envision why one chooses to justify such. I know that when I talk myself into being confident when confronted by the threat that I've tended to fare better than when I'm caught unaware of the threat or when I am not prepared to respond to a threat. I'm best when confident and prepared.

I'm a prepared for fight or flight type of gee.

Side thought. I've been confronted by bullies most of my life because I'm slight. I learned early to be as fit as possible because I'm a normally assertive person. I had a child like me. I prepared him some. I didn't assure that he had acquired the heavy training required for boxing and wrestling threats. He got sucker-punched in a parking lot and died.

I survived a similar attack when I was his age because I was prepared. Fitness is not generationally guaranteed. It all comes down to having the proper skill set at the proper time. Another nail in the silly old consciousness/choice notions.
 

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Setting up neural mechanisms for choice. Think about it. A deterministic world provides stimuli 'directing survival of neural processes responding appropriately', in the statistical evolutionary processes of continuing the organism's existence in given circumstances. Those neural processes cannot become the basis for free will.
The survival advantage from evolved intelligence comes from adapting creatively to an environment, versus hard-coded instinctual responses. Creativity includes design choices for machines, bridges, procedures. Some approaches to a problem work better than others. The notion of "one thing better than another" is the root of moral judgment.
Every time you answer you float a new banana boat. Your latest is adapting creatively to an environment. You don't do anything.

What you are and what you experience are what you have for tools. I don't care how creative you may be. Besides most of what we are finding that kills us is not interspecies. What kills us is within species. All of our species are pretty damn intelligent. If you don't meet force and/or knowledge with sufficient (think better) force and/or knowledge you will not likely survive.

Notice all the probable's I dropped there. Maybe statistics have something to do with it.
 
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And here is an An Interview with Galen Strawson which took place 10 years after the paper you cite. In this interview he makes it clear that he accepts the everyday sense of moral responsibility (he's arguing against the kind of responsibility beloved by those who have been seduced by the "freedom from cause and effect" paradox.).

Strawson said:
but 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.

Reading the interview, it seems that Strawson had become somewhat spiritual in his latter years. It changes nothing as far as the argument goes. The given definition of determinism still does not allow alternate actions, and as the action that is taken is necessitated by information exchange between the environment and brain, freedom of will remains incompatible with determinism.

Why the concept of free will is incoherent;
''The concept of free will is something that evades and ignores, and chooses not to consider, the very fundamental process in nature. When we say we have a free will, what we’re saying is that our will is free of causality. To say we have a free will is to say that what we decide is free of a cause. Since every cause has a cause, the cause of our decision would have a cause, and suddenly we find we have a causal chain stretching back to before we were born. That’s why the concept of free will is incoherent. You can’t have things that happen without a cause. For the sake of discussion and exploration, let’s say that something can actually happen without having been caused. If that something was not caused, there is only one other option. The decision must be random, or indeterministic in their strongest sense of being uncaused. It has no cause at all; it just happens.''

''The concept of free will, when you think about it, is internally inconsistent. It’s not logical. If you define the will as volition, or that part of our mind or self that makes decisions, and you say that volition is free of what it can’t control – free of causality, free of our memories, free of how we’re conditioned. The definition just doesn’t make sense. Essentially, the term free will means that we are doing what we’re doing, and saying what we’re saying, and thinking what we’re thinking, completely of our own accord. By logical extension, that belief leads to the conclusion that we do all of what we do for no reason. As soon as you say “I made this decision of my own free will because, for example, it was the right decision, or because I wanted to be a good person, you’ve introduced a cause. You’ve introduced the chain of cause and effect. Once you say you’ve made a decision because of something – because of anything – then you must acknowledge that that cause has a cause, and that cause has a cause, etc.''
 

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Hard determinists believe that volunteers don't really exist. They are just deluded slaves to causal necessity who thought they were free to refuse service.

Who is a hard determinist? Are we not talking about compatibilism, which accepts determinism but claims that freedom of will is compatible with determinism?

Compatibilists don't claim that multiple options can be realized in any given instance.
There are always multiple options, in every second, across every moment in time. Marvin keeps playing with eggs or pancakes, and he simplifies things by creating posts where simple, often binary choices are available to people at most instances of most of the time. But the reality is that there are in fact a literally innumerable amount of choices, all the time.

As pointed out, there are multiple options, but only one realizable for you in any given moment in time. And given the nature of determinism, that option is necessitated by antecedents. It is not freely willed. Information acting upon the brain necessitates that action in that moment in time.

You can call it decision making (computers are able to select options based on sets of criteria) but decision making does not equate to free will for reasons that have been given multiple times.
 

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The word 'ultimate' need not be used - it makes no difference to the fact that we are not responsible for the way we are, genetics, environment, culture, life experiences, etc.

I would agree with DBT on this. Responsibility is responsibility.

Well, thank goodness for that much.

When we experience a bad event, like a car hitting a pedestrian at an intersection, we want to know all the causes, so that each can be corrected. To say that the malfunctioning traffic signal was "responsible" for the accident would lead us to ask "who is responsible for assuring that our traffic signals work correctly?" So, responsibility ultimately involves a person, someone who can do something about the problem, someone who perhaps needs to do a better job.

The accident is unique combination of circumstances, the elements of the collision, the pedestrian, the driver, the state of the traffic lights, the driver being distracted, etc, coming together to cause an unavoidable event.

But all responsible causes must each be corrected if we are to achieve our ultimate goal of reducing the risk of future harm. The traffic light, the procedure for detecting the malfunction, and those responsible for the design and maintenance, would all be responsible causes and subject to appropriate correction.

The same would be true for the criminal who robs the bank. A responsible society would seek to correct any problems within the community that might "breed" criminal behavior, like bad schools, racial discrimination, drug trafficking, poverty, lack of employment opportunities, lack of supervised afterschool recreation, etc. But they would also have to correct the responsible offender, the person who thought it was a good idea to commit the robbery and actually did it.

The elements of the collision are analyzed after the fact and corrections can be implemented, thereby helping prevent another accident under those circumstances. Action and reaction. Event and response. Thought processes determined by the information made available to the brains of those involved in road safety. Still nothing to do with free will.

You can phrase it without including 'ultimate'....in 'order to be responsible for what you do, you have to be responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental aspects,' and it's still valid.

Galen Strawson was confusing "ultimate" cause with "first" cause. But the "ultimate" cause would, I believe, be more like Aristotle's "final cause" which refers to the deliberate purpose that is responsible for, and which meaningfully explains why the event happened.

And Strawson's error, espoused by DBT, is the notion that the criminal offender's responsibility should be shifted to his prior causes, as if they, and not he, had planned and committed the robbery.

Yes, I don't agree with everything Strawson said, but I'd say that his original argument was basically sound. I haven't had time to carefully read the interview cited by AntiChris, but it seems he may have shifted his position.
 

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So neural processes are interested in continuing an organism’s existence? Does that mean neural processes have a mind or will of their own?

I think that organisms are interested in continuing their own existence and that they evaluate options based on neural inputs to decide the best course of action for survival in any given circumstance.

Has the brain not evolved to process information and respond according to the organism's niche in the environment?
 

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'Choice' is not a matter of free will, but brain function and condition. Information condition equals output, thoughts generated actions taken.

You still don't get it. One does not preclude the other. Choosing is a brain function that is easily demonstrated by walking into a restaurant and observing people browsing the menu and placing their order.

Appearances do not explain the means. Which is not free will.

If you recall;
Volition
''To successfully interact with objects in the environment, sensory evidence must be continuously acquired, interpreted, and used to guide appropriate motor responses. For example, when driving, a red light should motivate a motor command to depress the brake pedal.

Single-unit recording studies have established that simple sensorimotor transformations are mediated by the same neurons that ultimately guide the behavioral response. However, it is also possible that these sensorimotor regions are the recipients of a modality-independent decision signal that is computed elsewhere.

Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and human observers to show that the time course of activation in a subregion of the right insula is consistent with a role in accumulating sensory evidence independently from the required motor response modality (saccade vs manual).

Furthermore, a combination of computational modeling and simulations of the blood oxygenation level-dependent response suggests that this region is not simply recruited by general arousal or by the tonic maintenance of attention during the decision process. Our data thus raise the possibility that a modality-independent representation of sensory evidence may guide activity in effector-specific cortical areas before the initiation of a behavioral response.''




No alternate actions possible in any instance in time.

You are staring at a literal menu of alternate possibilities, of which every one of them can be realized.

Not by everyone and never more than one 'option' at any given moment in time. Someone may have the option of mathematics or cosmology for a career, some may become the CEO of a multinational Corp, etc, the options are there for some, but they are not options available for everyone, not for most people.

The option you do take is determined by countless factors that brought you to the state where not only is that option open to you, but given the nature of determinism (which you cannot deny as a compatibilist), the option is necessitated rather than freely chosen.

It is not a free will choice.

So it is at this point that compatibilism fails.


''Self-organization is all over nature. Self-organization is nature. Plants have it, the weather has it, the whole planet has it (Lorenz, 1963). Anyone who wishes to offer a perspective on free will must beware of not explaining too much. If free will (without consciousness) comes cheap in our universe, human exceptionalism goes down the drain again, lost to those who wish to save it and who are anxious to hold humans responsible for their actions – and punish them. The arguments Brembs presents are more aligned with naturalism than he seems to realize.


The self-organization we see everywhere and which defies prediction can be modeled by chaos mathematics (Hofstadter, 1979). From small initial differences and simple recursive formulas, astonishing and unpredicted variation emerges; and it is all so lawful and deterministic. A mind that works like that can’t help but be puzzled when looking at itself. It cannot comprehend how its phenomenal complexity has risen up from the relentless grinding of simple algorithms. In desperation, this mind fancies itself to be free. It accepts the hypothesis of freedom because the alternative is just too darn difficult. The flies have one advantage over us: They don’t worry about it.''
 

Marvin Edwards

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Setting up neural mechanisms for choice. Think about it. A deterministic world provides stimuli 'directing survival of neural processes responding appropriately', in the statistical evolutionary processes of continuing the organism's existence in given circumstances. Those neural processes cannot become the basis for free will.
So, rather than neural processes, you would propose what, a soul? We know that people make choices, which car to buy, when and where to eat lunch, which tie goes best with a shirt, and so on. We don't know how neural mechanisms do it, but we presume they do it somehow. After all, what are the alternatives? DBT has suggested that the information is making the choices, as if the shirts and ties were doing our choosing for us. The only thing we know for sure is that whatever is making the choices can be coerced or unduly influenced to make choices they would rather not make. So, free will is a choice we make for ourselves without coercion or undue influence. And since choosing must inevitably happen, free will must also inevitably happen. Think about it.
Fortunately, I'm not so confused as to think that choosing, whatever you mean by that, happens. I'm just of the opinion that humans, at least, attempt to retain fitness advantage by supporting various processes magnifying one's own status.
There are many ways one can envision why one chooses to justify such. I know that when I talk myself into being confident when confronted by the threat that I've tended to fare better than when I'm caught unaware of the threat or when I am not prepared to respond to a threat. I'm best when confident and prepared.

I'm a prepared for fight or flight type of gee.

Side thought. I've been confronted by bullies most of my life because I'm slight. I learned early to be as fit as possible because I'm a normally assertive person. I had a child like me. I prepared him some. I didn't assure that he had acquired the heavy training required for boxing and wrestling threats. He got sucker-punched in a parking lot and died.

I survived a similar attack when I was his age because I was prepared. Fitness is not generationally guaranteed. It all comes down to having the proper skill set at the proper time. Another nail in the silly old consciousness/choice notions.
Sounds like you had a rough life and chose to become fit in order to deal with it. I don't buy this notion that choosing doesn't happen. When confronted with a bully it may be the case that there is no time for choosing. Fight or flight may kick in instinctively. My father was a preacher, and I wasn't allowed to fight, even though he wrestled with us frequently. There was a bully who was actually smaller than me, who tried to pick a fight with me twice. I refused to fight him, and just stood there. The first time I was rescued by a group of older kids who told him to go away. The second time it was just the two of us on the playground. I told him that if we fought he would likely beat me, and suggested instead that we compete in another way. We would take turns on the playground equipment, each trying to do something that the other could not do. I could do some pretty cool things. But he was able to do most of them. He left with the satisfaction of knowing that he could beat me in a fight. I left with the satisfaction of having avoided a fight. In any case, that was the only time I was ever confronted with a bully. He was looking for a fight. I was looking to avoid one.
 

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Every time you answer you float a new banana boat. Your latest is adapting creatively to an environment. You don't do anything.

What you are and what you experience are what you have for tools. I don't care how creative you may be. Besides most of what we are finding that kills us is not interspecies. What kills us is within species. All of our species are pretty damn intelligent. If you don't meet force and/or knowledge with sufficient (think better) force and/or knowledge you will not likely survive.

Notice all the probable's I dropped there. Maybe statistics have something to do with it.

Statistics is how we make unpredictable events somewhat predictable. By creativity, I mean like that of the Wright brothers as they created the first flying machine or Thomas Edison and his light bulb experimenting for weeks to find the right filament, or Jonas Salk finding a vaccine for polio. These are the benefits of intelligence.
 

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So, just because there is only one option that is the "best" option, does not necessitate that I take it. Or that I have to actually consider that dimension of "best".

Oftentimes when evaluating, I throw some chaos into the mix, or roll the dice and say "nope!" And do something off-model instead.

That's an important phrase: off-model.

I can choose to look at my model and the not apply it! Shift to other models for whatever reason I care about. Perhaps this is also through a model, but one that specifically shifts to random or chaotic paradigms.

I can DECIDE to make "a mistake" merely because some part of me wishes to in that moment.

The decision is entirely reliant on MY internal state, not the external one.
 

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Basic Beliefs
optimist
Every time you answer you float a new banana boat. Your latest is adapting creatively to an environment. You don't do anything.

What you are and what you experience are what you have for tools. I don't care how creative you may be. Besides most of what we are finding that kills us is not interspecies. What kills us is within species. All of our species are pretty damn intelligent. If you don't meet force and/or knowledge with sufficient (think better) force and/or knowledge you will not likely survive.

Notice all the probable's I dropped there. Maybe statistics have something to do with it.

Statistics is how we make unpredictable events somewhat predictable. By creativity, I mean like that of the Wright brothers as they created the first flying machine or Thomas Edison and his light bulb experimenting for weeks to find the right filament, or Jonas Salk finding a vaccine for polio. These are the benefits of intelligence.
So here is where I'll respond to your obvious attempts to co-opt both self-organization and chance into the volition camp.

 Self-organization

Self-organization relies on four basic ingredients:[6]
  1. strong dynamical non-linearity, often (though not necessarily) involving positive and negative feedback
  2. balance of exploitation and exploration
  3. multiple interactions
  4. availability of energy (to overcome the natural tendency toward entropy, or loss of free energy)
The cybernetician William Ross Ashby formulated the original principle of self-organization in 1947.[7][8] It states that any deterministic dynamic system automatically evolves towards a state of equilibrium that can be described in terms of an attractor in a basin of surrounding states. Once there, the further evolution of the system is constrained to remain in the attractor. This constraint implies a form of mutual dependency or coordination between its constituent components or subsystems. In Ashby's terms, each subsystem has adapted to the environment formed by all other subsystems.[7]

The cybernetician Heinz von Foerster formulated the principle of "order from noise" in 1960.[9] It notes that self-organization is facilitated by random perturbations ("noise") that let the system explore a variety of states in its state space. This increases the chance that the system will arrive into the basin of a "strong" or "deep" attractor, from which it then quickly enters the attractor itself. The biophysicist Henri Atlan developed this concept by proposing the principle of "complexity from noise"[10][11] (French: le principe de complexité par le bruit)[12] first in the 1972 book L'organisation biologique et la théorie de l'information and then in the 1979 book Entre le cristal et la fumée. The physicist and chemist Ilya Prigogine formulated a similar principle as "order through fluctuations"[13] or "order out of chaos".[14] It is applied in the method of simulated annealing for problem solving and machine learning.[15]
Please note that self-organization depends on local properties being thus and so, not on local conditions organizing themselves.

No magic here, nothing mystical or internally motivated. just ordinary physics, chemistry, and biology.

Oh, and Jarhyn you should bow down to the physical Gods as well.

There is no reason neural systems, being complex physical systems, don't also incorporate such as repeating and organizing functions into their normal designs.
 

The AntiChris

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
Messages
649
Location
UK
Basic Beliefs
Positive Atheist
Why the concept of free will is incoherent;
''.....When we say we have a free will, what we’re saying is that our will is free of causality. To say we have a free will is to say that what we decide is free of a cause.

This simply isn't true.

Of course some people may use the term 'free will' in this nonsensical way but you must be aware that many (most?) do not.
 
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