• Welcome to the new Internet Infidels Discussion Board, formerly Talk Freethought.

Demystifying Determinism

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person,
No they wouldn't. I explained this to you in post #876:

The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.
I would say morally significant influences are ones which we take into account when determining additional responsible parties.

The agent is ALWAYS responsible for doing the things they did and receiving any additional education that is recommended by that exact fuckup (which may not be very much depending on what, exactly they did).

The question is where the buck stops. They might not be the only one who fucked up -- someone may have behaved in a far worse way, in fact.
Not sure what you mean here.

All I'm saying is that coercion, for instance, is nearly always deemed to be a morally significant influence in that that it mitigates culpability whereas ambient temperature, for instance, is rarely an influence that factors into our deliberations over culpability.
My point is that traditional notions of culpability are not entirely accurate in compatibilism.

DBT argues in some respects that "because the child did not choose to be abused, they did not choose to become a child abuser therefore they do not deserve whatever it is we do to child abusers."

I argue that it does not matter why he is a child abuser. All that matters is that in this moment now, they are a child abuser. It does not in one iota change the fact that they must be made to no longer be a child abuser or not have access to abuse children.

The only thing that knowledge of why the abuser abused children does is informs how to remedy the situation of future abuse. It does not impact that the situation needs remedy.
 

The AntiChris

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
Messages
689
Location
UK
Basic Beliefs
Positive Atheist
The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person,
No they wouldn't. I explained this to you in post #876:

The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.
I would say morally significant influences are ones which we take into account when determining additional responsible parties.

The agent is ALWAYS responsible for doing the things they did and receiving any additional education that is recommended by that exact fuckup (which may not be very much depending on what, exactly they did).

The question is where the buck stops. They might not be the only one who fucked up -- someone may have behaved in a far worse way, in fact.
Not sure what you mean here.

All I'm saying is that coercion, for instance, is nearly always deemed to be a morally significant influence in that that it mitigates culpability whereas ambient temperature, for instance, is rarely an influence that factors into our deliberations over culpability.
My point is that traditional notions of culpability are not entirely accurate in compatibilism.

DBT argues in some respects that "because the child did not choose to be abused, they did not choose to become a child abuser therefore they do not deserve whatever it is we do to child abusers."

I argue that it does not matter why he is a child abuser. All that matters is that in this moment now, they are a child abuser. It does not in one iota change the fact that they must be made to no longer be a child abuser or not have access to abuse children.

The only thing that knowledge of why the abuser abused children does is informs how to remedy the situation of future abuse. It does not impact that the situation needs remedy.
I broadly agree with you. I don't think this conflicts with my original comment.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person,
No they wouldn't. I explained this to you in post #876:

The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.
I would say morally significant influences are ones which we take into account when determining additional responsible parties.

The agent is ALWAYS responsible for doing the things they did and receiving any additional education that is recommended by that exact fuckup (which may not be very much depending on what, exactly they did).

The question is where the buck stops. They might not be the only one who fucked up -- someone may have behaved in a far worse way, in fact.
Not sure what you mean here.

All I'm saying is that coercion, for instance, is nearly always deemed to be a morally significant influence in that that it mitigates culpability whereas ambient temperature, for instance, is rarely an influence that factors into our deliberations over culpability.
My point is that traditional notions of culpability are not entirely accurate in compatibilism.

DBT argues in some respects that "because the child did not choose to be abused, they did not choose to become a child abuser therefore they do not deserve whatever it is we do to child abusers."

I argue that it does not matter why he is a child abuser. All that matters is that in this moment now, they are a child abuser. It does not in one iota change the fact that they must be made to no longer be a child abuser or not have access to abuse children.

The only thing that knowledge of why the abuser abused children does is informs how to remedy the situation of future abuse. It does not impact that the situation needs remedy.
I broadly agree with you. I don't think this conflicts with my original comment.
I guess my point is more, and not at you, that all this DOES have an impact on the broad notion of desert responsibility. The nonsensical idea of responsibility was paired with a nonsensical idea of what responsibility implies to desert: punishment.

One of the things that initially informed my movement from incompatibilist libertarian desert responsibility was this notion that punishment was just masturbatory and thus is ineffective.

It was the ineffectiveness of treatment of punishment that really drove me towards understanding ethics more strongly and that led me in turn to compatibilist choice basis modification as desert.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person,
No they wouldn't. I explained this to you in post #876:
Crock.

You know that I meant the given definition of compatibilism, basically 'acting without being forced, coerced or unduly influenced.'

These are all external factors. Being forced by someone or something is external input. Being coerced or unduly influenced by someone or something is external input.

Acting without these elements is deemed to be free will, that it is 'us doing it.'

The point being, that defining free will as 'us doing it' is flawed.

It is flawed for reasons that have been explained to you every day for several years... the consequence argument, inner necessitation, absence of regulatory control, no choice principle, etc, etc.




The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

''According to [/url=https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/]one strand[/url] within classical compatibilism, freedom is nothing more than an agent’s ability to do what she wishes in the absence of impediments that would otherwise stand in her way.''
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
The compatibilist might say because those are influences that are “outside” of the person,
No they wouldn't. I explained this to you in post #876:

The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.
I would say morally significant influences are ones which we take into account when determining additional responsible parties.

The agent is ALWAYS responsible for doing the things they did and receiving any additional education that is recommended by that exact fuckup (which may not be very much depending on what, exactly they did).

The question is where the buck stops. They might not be the only one who fucked up -- someone may have behaved in a far worse way, in fact.
Not sure what you mean here.

All I'm saying is that coercion, for instance, is nearly always deemed to be a morally significant influence in that that it mitigates culpability whereas ambient temperature, for instance, is rarely an influence that factors into our deliberations over culpability.
My point is that traditional notions of culpability are not entirely accurate in compatibilism.

DBT argues in some respects that "because the child did not choose to be abused, they did not choose to become a child abuser therefore they do not deserve whatever it is we do to child abusers."

I argue that it does not matter why he is a child abuser. All that matters is that in this moment now, they are a child abuser. It does not in one iota change the fact that they must be made to no longer be a child abuser or not have access to abuse children.

The only thing that knowledge of why the abuser abused children does is informs how to remedy the situation of future abuse. It does not impact that the situation needs remedy.
I broadly agree with you. I don't think this conflicts with my original comment.
I guess my point is more, and not at you, that all this DOES have an impact on the broad notion of desert responsibility. The nonsensical idea of responsibility was paired with a nonsensical idea of what responsibility implies to desert: punishment.

One of the things that initially informed my movement from incompatibilist libertarian desert responsibility was this notion that punishment was just masturbatory and thus is ineffective.

It was the ineffectiveness of treatment of punishment that really drove me towards understanding ethics more strongly and that led me in turn to compatibilist choice basis modification as desert.
It boils down to a question of justice rather than a question of free will. What does the criminal offender justly deserve? One of the things they deserve is an opportunity to reform, if they are willing to take it.

We create a system of justice to protect everyone's rights. So, a just penalty would include (a) repairing the harm done to the victim if possible, (b) correcting the offender's future behavior if corrigible, (c) protecting others from harm by securing the offender until his behavior is corrected, and (d) doing no more harm to the offender or his rights than is reasonably required to accomplish (a), (b), and (c).
 

The AntiChris

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
Messages
689
Location
UK
Basic Beliefs
Positive Atheist
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.
To be fair, though, the only relevant moral influences are the ones that can be accessed for adjustment after the event.

I can be adjusted. My historical upbringing cannot.

It's the accessibility for impacting future behavior that creates this relevance.

DBT wishes to avoid the responsibility by pointing at a large pile of things which hold no immediate relevance and then pretend like these account for all possible objects of relevance.

The problem is that all these past ethical relevancies are in fact dwarfed by the immediate relevance of the individual being as they are right now, and the power to regulate individuals as they are in the moment, irrespective of their histories.
 

The AntiChris

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
Messages
689
Location
UK
Basic Beliefs
Positive Atheist
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.
To be fair, though, the only relevant moral influences are the ones that can be accessed for adjustment after the event.

I can be adjusted. My historical upbringing cannot.

It's the accessibility for impacting future behavior that creates this relevance.

DBT wishes to avoid the responsibility by pointing at a large pile of things which hold no immediate relevance and then pretend like these account for all possible objects of relevance.

The problem is that all these past ethical relevancies are in fact dwarfed by the immediate relevance of the individual being as they are right now, and the power to regulate individuals as they are in the moment, irrespective of their histories.

Once again, I find myself puzzled by exactly what it is I said that you're taking issue with. :confused:
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.
To be fair, though, the only relevant moral influences are the ones that can be accessed for adjustment after the event.

I can be adjusted. My historical upbringing cannot.

It's the accessibility for impacting future behavior that creates this relevance.

DBT wishes to avoid the responsibility by pointing at a large pile of things which hold no immediate relevance and then pretend like these account for all possible objects of relevance.

The problem is that all these past ethical relevancies are in fact dwarfed by the immediate relevance of the individual being as they are right now, and the power to regulate individuals as they are in the moment, irrespective of their histories.

Once again, I find myself puzzled by exactly what it is I said that you're taking issue with. :confused:
You're so used to people disagreeing and arguing that apparently you failed to notice someone taking the conversation towards a detailed discussion of mostly-agreement in the direction of the actual point of all this: why it matters when someone is acting under their own will verses an externally forced/coerced/leveraged will.
 

The AntiChris

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
Messages
689
Location
UK
Basic Beliefs
Positive Atheist
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.
To be fair, though, the only relevant moral influences are the ones that can be accessed for adjustment after the event.

I can be adjusted. My historical upbringing cannot.

It's the accessibility for impacting future behavior that creates this relevance.

DBT wishes to avoid the responsibility by pointing at a large pile of things which hold no immediate relevance and then pretend like these account for all possible objects of relevance.

The problem is that all these past ethical relevancies are in fact dwarfed by the immediate relevance of the individual being as they are right now, and the power to regulate individuals as they are in the moment, irrespective of their histories.

Once again, I find myself puzzled by exactly what it is I said that you're taking issue with. :confused:
You're so used to people disagreeing and arguing that apparently you failed to notice someone taking the conversation towards a detailed discussion of mostly-agreement in the direction of the actual point of all this: why it matters when someone is acting under their own will verses an externally forced/coerced/leveraged will.
Ok.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.
To be fair, though, the only relevant moral influences are the ones that can be accessed for adjustment after the event.

I can be adjusted. My historical upbringing cannot.

It's the accessibility for impacting future behavior that creates this relevance.

DBT wishes to avoid the responsibility by pointing at a large pile of things which hold no immediate relevance and then pretend like these account for all possible objects of relevance.

The problem is that all these past ethical relevancies are in fact dwarfed by the immediate relevance of the individual being as they are right now, and the power to regulate individuals as they are in the moment, irrespective of their histories.

Once again, I find myself puzzled by exactly what it is I said that you're taking issue with. :confused:
You're so used to people disagreeing and arguing that apparently you failed to notice someone taking the conversation towards a detailed discussion of mostly-agreement in the direction of the actual point of all this: why it matters when someone is acting under their own will verses an externally forced/coerced/leveraged will.
Ok.
I guess my thought was that if DBT won't deign to ask the question of why the foundation of compatibilism makes solid contact with responsibility, I would just discuss that without their credulity, as if such was ever necessary.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.

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

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.

Yet again;
''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. '
You have made in this post an unargued assertion.

There is a thread of discussion about the link between Compatibilist choices, free will and the immediate state, and where this ties into responsibility.

It is thus:




The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.
To be fair, though, the only relevant moral influences are the ones that can be accessed for adjustment after the event.

I can be adjusted. My historical upbringing cannot.

It's the accessibility for impacting future behavior that creates this relevance.

DBT wishes to avoid the responsibility by pointing at a large pile of things which hold no immediate relevance and then pretend like these account for all possible objects of relevance.

The problem is that all these past ethical relevancies are in fact dwarfed by the immediate relevance of the individual being as they are right now, and the power to regulate individuals as they are in the moment, irrespective of their histories.


If you wish to discuss the links between compatibilism and responsibility, that's where you will start rather than making unargued assertions.
 

The AntiChris

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
Messages
689
Location
UK
Basic Beliefs
Positive Atheist
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.

Yet again;
''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. '
This is a strawman argument. No one here is arguing for "basic-desert responsibility".

When we, compatibilists, talk of responsibility we're talking about ordinary, everyday moral responsibility. This is the kind of responsibility fully accepted by the hard determinist you're fond of quoting, Galen Strawson:

Galen Strawson 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.
This is from An Interview with Galen Strawson
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
The AntiChris said:
A compatibilist would not say "because those are influences that are 'outside' of the person". A compatibilist would point out that certain influences are morally significant and some aren't. Morally significant influences are ones that we take into account, for instance, when determining the degree to which an agent may be held responsible (morally or legally) for an action (or inaction).

But of course you ignored it.

For heaven's sake,....being forced, coerced or unduly influenced involves external elements, someone or something doing the forcing, coercing or applying excessive influence.

Yes, so?

I didn't say or imply otherwise.

The distinction isn't between external and internal influences, it's between morally relevant and morally neutral influences.

Yet again;
''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. '
This is a strawman argument. No one here is arguing for "basic-desert responsibility".

No, it's just the basics of inner necessity, its implications and consequences.

It's not hard to grasp;

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


Choice; an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.

1) Determinism, by definition, does not permit alternative actions.

2) No alternative actions negate freedom of choice.

3) Absence of choice (no possible alternate actions) negates freedom of will.

4) Will does not, and cannot, make a difference to what are determined outcomes.

5) Free will is incompatible with determinism.







When we, compatibilists, talk of responsibility we're talking about ordinary, everyday moral responsibility. This is the kind of responsibility fully accepted by the hard determinist you're fond of quoting, Galen Strawson:

Galen Strawson 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.
This is from An Interview with Galen Strawson

'Ultimate' is a moot point when whatever happens must necessarily happen without deviation, a system where will makes no difference, where will itself is fixed antecedents. A system whenever and whatever point that happens, it is a 'determined outcome.'



Determinism,
in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.'' - Britannica.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
Indeed, how could a machine build something if the machine didn't build itself :rolleyes:

It is a mystery! 👻
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
1) Determinism, by definition, does not permit alternative actions.

We have no alternative but to consider the alternatives on the restaurant menu to be real alternatives. You are confusing one kind of alternative with an entirely different kind of alternative.

If this is intentional, then you are using wordplay, the very thing you argue that compatibilists are doing.

2) No alternative actions negate freedom of choice.

As just pointed out, obviously there are alternative actions listed on the restaurant menu. We can order the Salad. We can order the Steak. And we can order each and every item on the menu if we've got the cash. We've got alternative actions coming out of our ears (figuratively speaking). But we only want one dinner, so we must necessarily choose whether we will order the Salad, or the Steak, or something else.

And, since no one is preventing us from making this choice, we obviously have freedom of choice in the restaurant.

3) Absence of choice (no possible alternate actions) negates freedom of will.

As described above, we have plenty of alternatives to choose from, so there is no "absence of choice", and we're free to make this choice for ourselves, so freedom of will is also confirmed.

4) Will does not, and cannot, make a difference to what are determined outcomes.

Will, our specific intention to have dinner tonight in this restaurant, is the driver of the entire process. We're hungry. We want dinner. We decided that we will have dinner at this restaurant. That set our intention. That intent (aka, "will") caused us to get in the car, drive to the restaurant, look through the menu, and place our orders. Will is right there in the driver's seat.

5) Free will is incompatible with determinism.

We have yet to see that. In fact, we have seen that determinism results in us being in that restaurant, each of us choosing a dinner from the menu, of our own free will. Free will is just another event, causally determined by a chain of prior events, stretching back to any prior point in time.

Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. - Britannica.

Correct.

Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.'' - Britannica.

Incorrect. You see:

The proper understanding of "actuality" and "possibility" is this: There is a single actuality, but there are multiple possibilities.

The proper understanding of "will" and "can" is this: There is a single thing that the person will do (and would have done), but there are multiple things that a person can do (and could have done).
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
28,276
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist
How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
I have no choice about what is on the menu; It was decided before I ever even heard of the restaurant, and nobody ever consulted me in any way.

Yet, when I arrive at the restaurant, the waiter bizarrely seems to hold the delusion that it's possible for me to choose from this menu, whose contents (and indeed, existence) are an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about.

What's wrong with that guy? No wonder he got a job as a waiter; He's obviously not cut out for philosophy.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
Indeed, how could a machine build something if the machine didn't build itself :rolleyes:

It is a mystery! 👻

Well, being the expert in machine consciousness, you should know. ;)

''I think you are entirely unfounded in the assumption that some form of consciousness does not automatically arise, after some form or another, from any confluence of switching objects.'' - Jarhyn.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
I have no choice about what is on the menu; It was decided before I ever even heard of the restaurant, and nobody ever consulted me in any way.

Yet, when I arrive at the restaurant, the waiter bizarrely seems to hold the delusion that it's possible for me to choose from this menu, whose contents (and indeed, existence) are an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about.

What's wrong with that guy? No wonder he got a job as a waiter; He's obviously not cut out for philosophy.

Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
Indeed, how could a machine build something if the machine didn't build itself :rolleyes:

It is a mystery! 👻

Well, being the expert in machine consciousness, you should know. ;)

''I think you are entirely unfounded in the assumption that some form of consciousness does not automatically arise, after some form or another, from any confluence of switching objects.'' - Jarhyn.
So, you fail to argue against two things, holding up your ignorance of one thing as if it gets you out of having to face your ignorance about the other.

Riddle me this:
Does a CNC lathe with a hopper full of steel bars turn out a hopper full of parts?

Would the hopper full of steel bars transform itself, in the absence of a CNC lathe (or analog equivalent), into a hopper full of "parts"?

Did the CNC machine have to make itself to turn out a bin full of parts?

Answers:yes*; no; no.
*Assuming "CNC lathe" implies a rather specific configuration of said lathe.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Yet again;......
Once again, an off-the-shelf response complete with multiple random quotes and no attempt whatsoever to engage with what I actually posted.

That's the easy way out, just dismiss whatever does not suit your needs. Like a true fundamentalist, you never actually consider what is said, quoted or cited. Just dismiss, misrepresent or misunderstand. The result is the same each and every time.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
Yet again;......
Once again, an off-the-shelf response complete with multiple random quotes and no attempt whatsoever to engage with what I actually posted.

That's the easy way out, just dismiss whatever does not suit your needs. Like a true fundamentalist, you never actually consider what is said, quoted or cited. Just dismiss, misrepresent or misunderstand. The result is the same each and every time.
''How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
Indeed, how could a machine build something if the machine didn't build itself :rolleyes:

It is a mystery! 👻
<An ignorant dismissal>
100%, DBT.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Determinism:
determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.

MBE said:
Compatibilism, Thesis that free will, in the sense required for moral responsibility, is consistent with universal causal determinism.

Okay, so now we've established that both Determinism and Compatibilism have entries in the Britannica website. However, a more detailed exploration of the relevance of both is found here:

free will and moral responsibility
free will and moral responsibility, also called problem of moral responsibility, the problem of reconciling the belief that people are morally responsible for what they do with the apparent fact that humans do not have free will because their actions are causally determined. It is an ancient and enduring philosophical puzzle. ...

It explores the topic of Compatibilism from the standpoint of many philosophers, from Aristotle to Frankfort and Strawson. In their conclusion, the article's authors Maya Eddon and Peter Singer say this: "In the end, the important question may be not whether the universe is deterministic or indeterministic but whether one is willing to accept a definition of free will that is much weaker than intuition demands."

My position is that intuition does not demand freedom from cause and effect, but simply freedom from coercion and undue influence.

The notion that causal necessity is something that we need to be free of, is the initial delusion at the heart of the longstanding debate. But it is a self-induced hoax, a paradox created by false but believable suggestions, that trap us into trying to be free of that which freedom itself requires, reliable cause and effect.

The escape is simple. Just recognize the fact that, what we will inevitably do by causal necessity, is exactly identical to us just being us, doing what we choose to do.
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
28,276
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist
How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
I have no choice about what is on the menu; It was decided before I ever even heard of the restaurant, and nobody ever consulted me in any way.

Yet, when I arrive at the restaurant, the waiter bizarrely seems to hold the delusion that it's possible for me to choose from this menu, whose contents (and indeed, existence) are an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about.

What's wrong with that guy? No wonder he got a job as a waiter; He's obviously not cut out for philosophy.

Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''
Repeating someone else's iteration of an error doesn't make it less an error on either of your parts.

The determinists in this thread have repeatedly rejected, with reasons, the second part of this definition, which is the common error of conflating the mistaken 'could have made' with the accurate 'would have made'.

If your definition of determinism is wrong (and it is), then it's unsurprising that your reasons for rejecting it as compatible with free will are nonsensical.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,826
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
I have no choice about what is on the menu; It was decided before I ever even heard of the restaurant, and nobody ever consulted me in any way.

Yet, when I arrive at the restaurant, the waiter bizarrely seems to hold the delusion that it's possible for me to choose from this menu, whose contents (and indeed, existence) are an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about.

What's wrong with that guy? No wonder he got a job as a waiter; He's obviously not cut out for philosophy.

Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''
Repeating someone else's iteration of an error doesn't make it less an error on either of your parts.

The determinists in this thread have repeatedly rejected, with reasons, the second part of this definition, which is the common error of conflating the mistaken 'could have made' with the accurate 'would have made'.

If your definition of determinism is wrong (and it is), then it's unsurprising that your reasons for rejecting it as compatible with free will are nonsensical.
Putting one in a position where one appears to have choice is not the same as being one who can make choices in that situation.

In determinism what one will do is determined by what one did, not the apparent situation in which one finds oneself. Did she chose the restaurant? Not specified. If she arrived at the restaurant a determinist would say it was determined by previous actions. Ergo one might conclude one had been, by previous behavior, directed to do so et cetera.

I really feel for that poor non-deterministically driven waiter though. I guess that's why one felt the need to invent choice. Great thing for fiction though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DBT

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Putting one in a position where one appears to have choice is not the same as being one who can make choices in that situation.

On the other hand, if it looks like a choice and quacks like a choice, it might actually be a choice.

In determinism what one will do is determined by what one did, not the apparent situation in which one finds oneself. Did she chose the restaurant? Not specified. If she arrived at the restaurant a determinist would say it was determined by previous actions. Ergo one might conclude one had been, by previous behavior, directed to do so et cetera.

Well, yes. Having decided with the girls that they would have dinner at a restaurant after work, they tossed around several options, and they all agreed to go to Ruby Tuesdays. It had enough selections that everyone could find something that they liked. And, as you say, this was both "the apparent situation in which one finds oneself" and simultaneously "it was determined by previous actions", their own choice.

The prior behavior was the group's decisions to eat dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. Once there, each of them made private decisions as to what they would order for their dinner. Choosing is a reliable causal mechanism in a deterministic universe, just like physical actions like walking or logical actions like mathematical calculations.

I really feel for that poor non-deterministically driven waiter though. I guess that's why one felt the need to invent choice. Great thing for fiction though.

It is neither fiction nor non-deterministic. Choosing happens to be a reliable causal mechanism that governs behavior. Choosing also happens to be a deterministic operation. So, each dinner was causally necessary from any prior point in time, which qualifies as determinism, and simultaneously caused by each person's own choosing, which qualifies as free will.

It's not really complicated. Both determinism and free will are right there in front of us.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
I have no choice about what is on the menu; It was decided before I ever even heard of the restaurant, and nobody ever consulted me in any way.

Yet, when I arrive at the restaurant, the waiter bizarrely seems to hold the delusion that it's possible for me to choose from this menu, whose contents (and indeed, existence) are an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about.

What's wrong with that guy? No wonder he got a job as a waiter; He's obviously not cut out for philosophy.

Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''
Repeating someone else's iteration of an error doesn't make it less an error on either of your parts.

There is no error. It's quite straightforward.

Given that 'determinism ''entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. that ''it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did'' - means that the process of decision making has no alternatives, that what is thought and deliberated and done is entailed by the state of the system in any given instance, the circumstances. That whatever is chosen must be chosen, that there are no alternatives in the instance of selection, that choice is set, fixed, unchangeable, therefore not a matter of free choice or free will.


That it is not only external force, coercion or undue influence but also inner necessity that negates free will, that ''it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did''
it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision

The determinists in this thread have repeatedly rejected, with reasons, the second part of this definition, which is the common error of conflating the mistaken 'could have made' with the accurate 'would have made'.

It's entailed in their given definition of determinism. It can't be denied.

No randomness or deviation in the development of the system negates the ability to do otherwise equates to ''it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision''

Again;

Jarhyn - A deterministic system is a system in which no randomness is involved in the development of future states of the system.

Marvin Edwards - ''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.


If your definition of determinism is wrong (and it is), then it's unsurprising that your reasons for rejecting it as compatible with free will are nonsensical.

It's not my definition, nor is it wrong. And it is essentially the same as the definitions quoted above, jus the wording is different.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''

There is no error. It's quite straightforward.

Given that 'determinism ''entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. that ''it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did'' - means that the process of decision making has no alternatives, that what is thought and deliberated and done is entailed by the state of the system in any given instance, the circumstances. That whatever is chosen must be chosen, that there are no alternatives in the instance of selection, that choice is set, fixed, unchangeable, therefore not a matter of free choice or free will.

Again, both you and Britannica are trying to limit what "can happen" to what "will happen". It is a standard error in the formulation of determinism to suggest that it is AS IF "we could not have done otherwise" whenever it is the case that "we would not have done otherwise".

But whenever choosing between X and Y begins, it is logically necessary that "I can choose X" is true and "I can choose Y" is also true. If either of them is false, then we only have one option and we do not initiate a choosing operation. For example:
If "I can choose X" is false, then we never consider X to be a real option, and we simply do Y without further consideration.
If "I can choose Y" is false, then we never consider Y to be a real option, and we simply do X without further consideration.
In either case, we never begin choosing.
It is only after we know for certain that "I can choose X" and "I can choose Y" are both true that we begin evaluating our options, to decide which one we will choose.

At the end of the choosing operation, we will have one thing that we will choose, and one thing that we could have chosen but decided not to.

Thus, whenever a choosing operation shows up in the causal chain, "I could have done otherwise" will always be true, and it is only "I would have done otherwise" that will always be false.

If you stick to insisting that what can happen is limited to what will happen, then you create logical paradoxes, like having to know what you will choose before you can know what you can choose.

So, it is always logically true that we could have done otherwise even though we would not do otherwise. And what we will do never constrains what we can do.

Thus, the statement "it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action" is clearly false.
And, the statement " it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did" is clearly false.

It is unfortunate that academic philosophy has apparently overlooked this logical error in the description of determinism. And, we can sympathize with DBT and others who have fallen victim to the traditional errors of other philosophers.
 
Last edited:

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''

There is no error. It's quite straightforward.

Given that 'determinism ''entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. that ''it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did'' - means that the process of decision making has no alternatives, that what is thought and deliberated and done is entailed by the state of the system in any given instance, the circumstances. That whatever is chosen must be chosen, that there are no alternatives in the instance of selection, that choice is set, fixed, unchangeable, therefore not a matter of free choice or free will.

Again, both you and Britannica are trying to limit what "can happen" to what "will happen". It is a standard error in the formulation of determinism to suggest that it is AS IF "we could not have done otherwise" whenever it is the case that "we would not have done otherwise".

The distinction is meaningless. As there are no alternate actions within a deterministic system 'would not have' is equivalent to 'could not have' done otherwise.

The relevant point here being: there are no alternate actions within a deterministic system. Which is not according to me or Brittanica, but how determinism is defined.

Not as defined by me, or Brittanica, but just how determinism works by definition, which includes your own.....




But whenever choosing between X and Y begins, it is logically necessary that "I can choose X" is true and "I can choose Y" is also true. If either of them is false, then we only have one option and we do not initiate a choosing operation. For example:
If "I can choose X" is false, then we never consider X to be a real option, and we simply do Y without further consideration.
If "I can choose Y" is false, then we never consider Y to be a real option, and we simply do X without further consideration.
In either case, we never begin choosing.
It is only after we know for certain that "I can choose X" and "I can choose Y" are both true that we begin evaluating our options, to decide which one we will choose.

At the end of the choosing operation, we will have one thing that we will choose, and one thing that we could have chosen but decided not to.

But there is never a point where anything other than what has been determined can happen. Nothing else can happen.

As it stands that nothing else can happen in each and every moment of action, each and every action is entailed, not freely chosen or freely willed.

That is the point of incompatibilism. That if all actions are entailed, as defined/no deviations, there are no alternatives, and no choice.

Entailment is not a matter of choice or free will.

Which makes the term free will redundant.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Again, both you and Britannica are trying to limit what "can happen" to what "will happen". It is a standard error in the formulation of determinism to suggest that "we could not have done otherwise" when it is only the case that "we would not have done otherwise".

The distinction is meaningless. As there are no alternate actions within a deterministic system 'would not have' is equivalent to 'could not have' done otherwise. The relevant point here being: there are no alternate actions within a deterministic system. Which is not according to me or Brittanica, but how determinism is defined. Not as defined by me, or Brittanica, but just how determinism works by definition, which includes your own.....

Claiming that the distinction between "can" and "will", and between "actuality" and "possibility", are meaningless is nonsense. There are multiple things that we "can" do, but only one thing that we "will" do. We consider multiple possibilities before settling upon our actual vacation, or car, or home, or mode of transportation, or college, or career, or dinner, etc.

The notion of multiple possibilities is essential to human creativity and invention as well as to choosing. And it continues to do its work in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect, by shifting to a different language and logic specifically evolved to deal with such matters.

And that is why the claim that "we could not have done otherwise" creates a sense of cognitive dissonance ("a perception of contradictory information"). If, a moment ago, you tell me that I can choose chocolate or vanilla, and then I choose vanilla, and then you tell me that "you could not have chosen chocolate", I would ask whether you are lying now or lying then. If it was true a moment ago that "I CAN choose chocolate", then how can it be true now that "I COULD NOT have chosen chocolate"? COULD is simply the past tense of CAN. So, if "I can" was ever true at some prior point in the past, then "I could have" will forever be true in the future when speaking of that same point in the past.

On the other hand, if you claim that "I WOULD NOT have chosen chocolate", then I would readily agree. I had my reasons for choosing the vanilla. And until those reasons change I will not choose chocolate. So, we do not get any cognitive dissonance with "would not".

Hard determinists embrace a myth about ordinary people. They suggest that people who complain about "could not have done otherwise" are holding some metaphysical view of a supernatural ability to step outside of cause and effect. Hogwash. They are simply objecting to the cognitive dissonance created by an implicit contradiction between claiming "I can" a moment ago and now claiming "I could not have".

When someone decides whether to order the Salad or the Steak for dinner, and they choose the Salad, they can truthfully say "I chose the Salad, even though I could have chosen the Steak". Both "I chose the Salad" and "I could have chosen the Steak" are matters of fact, and there is no contradiction between them.

It is truly unfortunate that many determinists still conflate what "can happen" with what "will happen", when simply using a bit more care with our words would eliminate the contradictions that create the cognitive dissonance.

It may help to clarify why "can" is a logical necessity within the choosing operation:

Whenever choosing between X and Y begins, it is logically necessary that "I can choose X" is true and "I can choose Y" is also true. If either of them is false, then we only have one option and we do not initiate a choosing operation. For example:
If "I can choose X" is false, then we never consider X to be a real option, and we simply do Y without further consideration.
If "I can choose Y" is false, then we never consider Y to be a real option, and we simply do X without further consideration.
In either case, we never begin choosing without first having two real possibilities.
It is only after we know for certain that "I can choose X" and "I can choose Y" are both true that we begin evaluating our options, to decide which one we will choose.

At the end of the choosing operation, we will have one thing that we will choose, and one thing that we could have chosen but decided not to.

But there is never a point where anything other than what has been determined can happen. Nothing else can happen.

Wrong! There is never a point where anything other than what has been determined will happen. Nothing else will happen.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
I have no choice about what is on the menu; It was decided before I ever even heard of the restaurant, and nobody ever consulted me in any way.

Yet, when I arrive at the restaurant, the waiter bizarrely seems to hold the delusion that it's possible for me to choose from this menu, whose contents (and indeed, existence) are an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about.

What's wrong with that guy? No wonder he got a job as a waiter; He's obviously not cut out for philosophy.

Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''
Repeating someone else's iteration of an error doesn't make it less an error on either of your parts.

The determinists in this thread have repeatedly rejected, with reasons, the second part of this definition, which is the common error of conflating the mistaken 'could have made' with the accurate 'would have made'.

If your definition of determinism is wrong (and it is), then it's unsurprising that your reasons for rejecting it as compatible with free will are nonsensical.
Even the "indeterminists" in this thread, except Kylie, recognize that free will does not found itself on randomness or deviation but rather upon the fact that a very specific will is in some moment "free".

I expect that it has a lot to do with discussions that happened in the Math forum about the accessibility of a number.

We find ourselves in some respects looking at this concept that there are some things which are "logically true" but have nothing to do with what is real, they are just "logically true", whereas some other things are not merely logically true but are "immediately true".

The difference here is something along the lines of "what is logically true of taking half of 53 quintillion tennis balls and dividing their number by 2?" Which is to say you get 26.5 quintillion tennis balls.

This is not immediately true on account of me not having and then halving 53 quintillion tennis balls. There's no way even to produce that many but logically if I had them and halved them, that's what I would have.

CAN is discussion in the mode of logical truths. Immediate unavailability of a scenario does not prevent these from being logically true.

Much like the fact that X does not cross zero in Y=x^2+1, this function will never cross zero.

This says nothing about other functions. What the function "will" do says nothing about what functions "can" do.

The function y=x^2 for example will cross 0 momentarily. If the only function directly available in a whole universe of activity is y=x^2+1, it doesn't change the availability of zero in y=x^2.
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
28,276
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,826
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
28,276
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
I have no choice about what is on the menu; It was decided before I ever even heard of the restaurant, and nobody ever consulted me in any way.

Yet, when I arrive at the restaurant, the waiter bizarrely seems to hold the delusion that it's possible for me to choose from this menu, whose contents (and indeed, existence) are an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about.

What's wrong with that guy? No wonder he got a job as a waiter; He's obviously not cut out for philosophy.

Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''
Repeating someone else's iteration of an error doesn't make it less an error on either of your parts.

The determinists in this thread have repeatedly rejected, with reasons, the second part of this definition, which is the common error of conflating the mistaken 'could have made' with the accurate 'would have made'.

If your definition of determinism is wrong (and it is), then it's unsurprising that your reasons for rejecting it as compatible with free will are nonsensical.
Even the "indeterminists" in this thread, except Kylie, recognize that free will does not found itself on randomness or deviation but rather upon the fact that a very specific will is in some moment "free".


That's odd, at no point have I said or suggested that free will is, or is supposed to be founded on randomness. Apparently it's something you pulled out of your arse.....which, regardless of it being BS, you repeat because you think it makes a point. It doesn't. It's just a stupid thing to say.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about?
I have no choice about what is on the menu; It was decided before I ever even heard of the restaurant, and nobody ever consulted me in any way.

Yet, when I arrive at the restaurant, the waiter bizarrely seems to hold the delusion that it's possible for me to choose from this menu, whose contents (and indeed, existence) are an inevitable consequence of something I have no choice about.

What's wrong with that guy? No wonder he got a job as a waiter; He's obviously not cut out for philosophy.

Determinism:
''Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''
Repeating someone else's iteration of an error doesn't make it less an error on either of your parts.

The determinists in this thread have repeatedly rejected, with reasons, the second part of this definition, which is the common error of conflating the mistaken 'could have made' with the accurate 'would have made'.

If your definition of determinism is wrong (and it is), then it's unsurprising that your reasons for rejecting it as compatible with free will are nonsensical.
Even the "indeterminists" in this thread, except Kylie, recognize that free will does not found itself on randomness or deviation but rather upon the fact that a very specific will is in some moment "free".


That's odd, at no point have I said or suggested that free will is, or is supposed to be founded on randomness. Apparently it's something you pulled out of your arse.....which, regardless of it being BS, you repeat because you think it makes a point. It doesn't. It's just a stupid thing to say.
Yes you did.
No randomness or deviation in the development of the system negates
There is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''

You have no way around this.

I could keep digging them up. In this thread alone you reference randomness hundreds of times, bringing it up as if it matters time and again.

But you are right. It IS a stupid thing to say that you don't bring it up or imply that it matters when clearly your "no randomness or variation" clearly implies that compatibilists are relying on something that would require randomness.

But then, you couldn't find real randomness OR deviation in the description of a general compatibilist choice. If you could, you would have highlighted it in red.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,427
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Again, both you and Britannica are trying to limit what "can happen" to what "will happen". It is a standard error in the formulation of determinism to suggest that "we could not have done otherwise" when it is only the case that "we would not have done otherwise".

The distinction is meaningless. As there are no alternate actions within a deterministic system 'would not have' is equivalent to 'could not have' done otherwise. The relevant point here being: there are no alternate actions within a deterministic system. Which is not according to me or Brittanica, but how determinism is defined. Not as defined by me, or Brittanica, but just how determinism works by definition, which includes your own.....

Claiming that the distinction between "can" and "will", and between "actuality" and "possibility", are meaningless is nonsense. There are multiple things that we "can" do, but only one thing that we "will" do. We consider multiple possibilities before settling upon our actual vacation, or car, or home, or mode of transportation, or college, or career, or dinner, etc.

It's just how determinism works according to the given definition.

Your own definition.

The condition where all events are ''causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment'' (Marvin Edwards) - eliminates any possibility of alternate events happening at any given moment in time.

Given determinism, you can say that something is possible, that it can and does happen at some time.

But the point being, given determinism, when it happens, it happens necessarily. Whenever the 'possible' happens, it must happen.

When the 'possible' happens, it must happen as determined, and nothing can happen in its stead.

That is why the Brittanica description is correct. That when can and do happen, they must necessarily happen.

So, obviously, if an event must happen as determined, it surely will happen.



The notion of multiple possibilities is essential to human creativity and invention as well as to choosing. And it continues to do its work in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect, by shifting to a different language and logic specifically evolved to deal with such matters.

Multiple possibilities exist in the sense that these things can and do happen within the system. Which is not to say that any 'possibility' can be realized by anyone at any given instance in time.

That is the point.

That whatever possibility is realized in any given instance, must be realized in that instance because the evolving system brought events to that place and point in time where that 'possibility' is necessarily realized.

Space travel is possible, for instance, but was never possibly before the necessary technology was developed. It was not possible for the Greeks, Romans, etc, but it is for us because that is how history and it events unfolded.

Had things been different, it may not be possible. Given determinism, it could not have been different.

That is in accordance with your own definition.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
eliminates any possibility of alternate events happening at any given moment in time
Y=X^2+1 being the description of events eliminates the possibility of Y ever being 0, in the graph of that arbitrary function.

But it does not in any way limit the ability of functions to cross 0.

A function not "crossing zero" does not mean "functions cannot cross zero". It just means "this function will not cross zero"

Likewise A logically describable universe (this one, the one we are limited to) does not limit discussion of what universes can do. Note the plural there. Since we only have one real universe, it implies that these logical truths about other non-real universes don't create real deviation, just emulated deviation.

The thing is approximal emulated deviation, simulated deviation, is perfectly allowed and generates the essential artifacts for operating a choice.

The fact that it's simulated means that the statement "what actually happens will fall within the bounds of this scenario" will be either true or false. It is not necessarily true.

This truth value is whether the will is "free" or not.

The fact that the choice is effected by what we assume is a reliable machine with momentarily relevant fixed proclivities does not change or impact anything here: it is still the result of that process, which includes a choice from among these artifacts produced.

If one wishes to not be impacted by the choices of such a thing, one must open up that thing and change how it makes choices, modifying it's proclivities.

We can do this to ourselves, too. As evidenced by the fact that the guy who lifts sees gain.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Given determinism, you can say that something is possible, that it can and does happen at some time.

The problem is not with things that "can and do happen". Our issue involves things that "can and don't happen". Are things that "can" happen, but "will not" happen, to be considered real possibilities or not? That's what we're focusing on here.

In order for us to process matters of uncertainty in a rational manner, we require some logical token that refers to things that inevitably will not happen as well as the things that inevitably will happen. The notion of a "possibility" serves this purpose.

Something is possible if we are able to do it. It is not necessary for us to actually do it in order for it to be a real possibility.


But the point being, given determinism, when it happens, it happens necessarily. Whenever the 'possible' happens, it must happen.

Of course. But, again, what are we going to call the things that could happen but necessarily will not happen? My point is that we have already solved this problem. Possibilities remain possibilities whether they are determined to happen or determined not to happen.

When the 'possible' happens, it must happen as determined, and nothing can happen in its stead.

Nothing else will happen in its stead. However, other things could have happened in its stead. I chose the Salad, but I could have chosen the Steak instead.

This is why the Britannica description is incorrect, and other descriptions of determinism that claim that "we could not have done otherwise" are all incorrect.

I could have chosen the Steak is a fact. It is a fact because "could have" always implies (1) that it did not happen, which is a fact because I did not choose the Steak. And (2) that it only would have happened under different circumstance, which is also a fact, because it only would have happened if it had been determined that I would order the Steak rather than the Salad.


The notion of multiple possibilities is essential to human creativity and invention as well as to choosing. And it continues to do its work in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect, by shifting to a different language and logic specifically evolved to deal with such matters.

Multiple possibilities exist in the sense that these things can and do happen within the system.

And many possibilities also exist in the sense that these things can happen but never will happen within the system.

That is the point. Multiple things "can" happen, even though only one thing inevitably "will" happen and the rest inevitably "will not" happen.

That fact that something will not happen does not mean that it is impossible.

... Space travel is possible, for instance, but was never possibly before the necessary technology was developed. It was not possible for the Greeks, Romans, etc, but it is for us because that is how history and it events unfolded.

Good. The space travel example demonstrates what "impossible" means. If something is impossible at a given place and time, then it cannot happen. As you point out, space travel was impossible for the ancient Greeks and Romans. They could not fly to the moon even if they chose to. So, no one, except the mentally ill, chose to do so. It was not in their list of realizable alternatives. It was not on anyone's menu of options.

Something is "possible" if we are able to do it if we choose to. Something is "impossible" if we are unable to do it, even if we chose to.

While I cannot fly to the moon, I can walk to the kitchen. Walking to the kitchen is a real possibility, and it remains a real possibility even if it is deterministically inevitable that I will not choose to do so right now.

I know it is a real possibility, because earlier I walked to the kitchen and fixed a cup of coffee. It is always something that I can do, anytime that I choose to. Determinism does not change this.

That is in accordance with your own definition.

All of this, that I am saying right now, about possibilities and about what I could have done, is in accordance with my definition of determinism, and in accordance with the first sentence in the Britannica definition, and in accordance the the Tech definition (same inputs, same outputs).

I chose the Salad, but I could have chosen the Steak. Both parts are factual, and are also entirely consistent with the definition of determinism that I am using.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
Other than the fact that I disagree with Marvin describing "could" implies "NOT(!) did", I agree with all of this.

He could and so he did, thus, rejecting this implication validly reads as "he made the choice to do it and it worked out."
 

pood

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
1,053
Basic Beliefs
agnostic
The more I participate in or read these free will/determinism threads, the sillier I find hard determinism to be. If DBT is hoping to make any converts, he certainly isn’t going to make one out of me.

Let’s see how silly it is via a simple reductio.

Imagine a great architect. Let’s fall him Howard Roark, after the architect/hero of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead.” I’m no fan of Rand’s demented politics and twisted ethical philosophy, but I do think the Fountainhead was a great novel.

We learn that Roark builds great buildings. How does he do that? Well, let’s see what he does with a commission. When he sits down at the drafting table, he has a bunch of choices to make. The choices won’t stop until the building’s pinnacle is crowned and construction is over.

But wait! Let’s examine Roark’s efforts from a hard determinist perspective. DBT has been telling us over and over that we have no choices at all — that anything that looks like a real choice is illusory.

Fine and dandy. Let’s accept this position arguendo to fuel this reductio. We’ll say that Roark doesn’t have choices. He has, instead, i-choices — illusory choices.

Let’s say that there are five thousand separate steps to bringing this building into being, from first draft on the drafting table to the final crowning of the pinnacle. The naive compatibilist, or the libertarian for that matter, imagines that each step will involve a choice by Roark. But they’re wrong, says DBT and other hard determinists. In fact, Roark only has i-choices.

Five thousand steps later, the building is crowned. Everyone is awed by it. Roarkd chose i-chose those steps flawlessly.

The question for DBT and other hard determinists is, how did this happen? How did this building get built, and not only built, but flawlessly and beautifully built?

Because clearly, under hard determinism, Roark deserves no praise for the building — in fact, he had nothing to do with it! Remember, he was making i-choices— illusory choices. This being the case, who, or what, under hard determinism, is responsible for this magnificent building?

Did the Big Bang build it? Is the BB sentient, and does it have some special interest in 20th century modernist architecture? No? Then how did Roark happen to make 5,000 consecutive correct i-choices, when he had no actual choice in the design or construction at all? Was it pure dumb luck that this building fell flawlessly into place? Just dumb luck that the initial conditions at the bang produced a flawless, beautiful building in a city on planet earth some 15 billion years later?

The absurdity is manifest. Of course Roark made choices, real choices, not i-choices. Otherwise the fact of the building is inexplicable — even the fact of evolved brains would be inexplicable under hard determinism, which I have pointed out in the past and which point DBT never adequately addressed. Brains evaluate options and make choices! Of what use would such an organ be in the puppetverse, the falling dominoes dystopia, of hard determinism?

Hard determinism is not the same thing as causal determinism. Causal determinism describes a world in which events reliably follow causes — Hume’s constant conjunction. Hard determinism posits a mystical, quasi-religious world that is a secular version of Calvinism and predestination.

I think the original core mistake that DBT and other hard determinists make is to posit that there are actual laws of nature and that these laws “govern” the universe. In fact, such “laws” describe and do not prescribe what happens in the world. I’ve repeatedly asked DBT whether he thoughts the laws of nature were descriptive or prescriptive, and to my knowledge he has never given a straight, clear answer.

Think, everyone: under hard determinism, Roark had no choice but to make a beautiful and flawless building!

I challenge DBT to tell me: Where did this building come from?
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Other than the fact that I disagree with Marvin describing "could" implies "NOT(!) did", I agree with all of this.

Yes. It is not uncommon to use "could" to include what "would" happen. After all, the thing that actually did happen was among the many things that could happen. The thing that did happen was one of the possibilities, in fact, the only one that was realized.

But when referring to past events, once we know what would happen, we would say it "did" happen, or in determinist terms, it is the only thing that "would" happen. It would sound strange to refer to what "did" happen as what "could have" happened. Normally, when we say something "could have" happened, we are speaking of something that "did not" happen. That it is the default meaning.

In a different context, such as when someone asks us, "What were all of the things that could have happened?", we would include the thing that did happen in that list.

So, I agree with your point.
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
28,276
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist
It would sound strange to refer to what "did" happen as what "could have" happened.
Indeed.

It would be wrong to say "Geelong could have won the Grand Final", because that implies that they lost, but that this fate was avoidable. But in fact, they won (and this fate was inevitable, despite the fact that the Swans could have won if only they hadn't been utterly shit on the day*).

It would be even more wrong to say "Geelong could not have won the Grand Final", because they actually did win it.



*OK, it's really stretching the definition of 'could', given the Swans' woeful performance; But until the match was played, even the bookmakers, who have a financial interest, weren't 100% sure that they couldn't
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
11,547
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
It would sound strange to refer to what "did" happen as what "could have" happened.
Indeed.

It would be wrong to say "Geelong could have won the Grand Final", because that implies that they lost, but that this fate was avoidable. But in fact, they won (and this fate was inevitable, despite the fact that the Swans could have won if only they hadn't been utterly shit on the day*).

It would be even more wrong to say "Geelong could not have won the Grand Final", because they actually did win it.



*OK, it's really stretching the definition of 'could', given the Swans' woeful performance; But until the match was played, even the bookmakers, who have a financial interest, weren't 100% sure that they couldn't
My point is that it's allowed, and much of the reason is literary and rhetorical suspense.

Edit: and abused for weasel purposes. Don't do that. It's mean.
 
Top Bottom