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Proof of nonexistence of free will

 
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 04:19 pm
@pskwirz671,
pskwirz671 wrote:

"If Event E happened, then Event E necessarily happened"

While the sentence is not necessarily true like the sentence [If E happened, then E happened], it is not illogical or necessarily false either. The only propositon needed to make it true is "all things that happen necessarily happen". The only way to prove or disprove this proposition would be to travel back in time and see if you could prevent E from happening.


I certainly hope you are not ascribing that view to me. It is not true that if E happened, then E necessarily happened. Events are contingent, not necessary.

In the second place, since the sentence, if E happened then E necessarily happened in not true, it follows that it is not necessarily true.

In the third place, there is no reason in the world to think that, for example, because Obama was elected president, that it was impossible that he should not have been elected president, which is what it means to say that necessarily Obama was elected president, since that would mean that it would be self-contradictory for Obama not to have been elected president, and no Obama supporter thinks that. In any case, we don't have to go back in history to know that a lot of people tried to prevent Obama from being president. Hilary Clinton tried very hard to prevent him from being president. But the fact that she did not succeed in no way shows that necessarily, Obama was elected president, since had Hilary succeeded, he would not have been elected president. There is no more reason to think that just because something happened that it had to happen, than there is an reason to think that because something will happen that it necessarily will happen.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 04:59 pm
@pskwirz671,
Forget about gods floating about on white clouds ! Even "believers" would have problems with that one !

You are assuming "existence" is about "a thing" having some sort of "independent reality" (thing in itself) separate from the functional network of relationships in which it operates as a semantic node. "Independent reality" is axiomatic to the meaning of "proof of existence". But I believe Kuhn's "paradigms" reject such a concept and argue instead for a total restructuring of a semantic network due to (a) an accumulation of counterexamples and (b) a viable alternative.

I reject "independent reality" in general, and its application to "free will" in particular hence I state the concept of "proof of nonexistence of free will",is meaningless in a society which considers "selves" as identifiable functional entities. However, I am aware of alternative societal paradigms which do not or did not consider "selves" as significant functional units. Totalitarian regimes for example where "the will of the individual" was suppressed. So those who would wish to eliminate the functionality of the concept of "free will" (change the paradigm) are playing a political or sociological game with known consequences rather than a logical one. Viability of alternatives is required.

spendius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 05:13 pm
@fresco,
Is finessing a Jack in a doubled and redoubled 7 no trumps contract a possibility?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 05:18 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Forget about gods floating about on white clouds ! Even "believers" would have problems with that one !

You are assuming "existence" is about "a thing" having some sort of "independent reality" (thing in itself) separate from the functional network of relationships in which it operates as a semantic node. "Independent reality" is axiomatic to the meaning of "proof of existence". But I believe Kuhn's "paradigms" reject such a concept and argue instead for a total restructuring of a semantic network due to (a) an accumulation of counterexamples and (b) a viable alternative.

I reject "independent reality" in general, and its application to "free will" in particular hence I state the concept of "proof of nonexistence of free will",is meaningless in a society which considers "selves" as identifiable functional entities. However, I am aware of alternative societal paradigms which do not or did not consider "selves" as significant functional units. Totalitarian regimes for example where "the will of the individual" was suppressed. So those who would wish to eliminate the functionality of the concept of "free will" (change the paradigm) are playing a political or sociological game with known consequences rather than a logical one. Viability of alternatives is required.




I don't know where the floating gods came from, but the question is whether something can exist even if no one is aware of its existence. And it seems obvious that, for example the planet Neptune existed before anyone was aware of its existence, and that it was later discovered, and, as a result people were aware of its existence. Have you any reason to suppose that is not true? Or do you really think that Neptune sprang into existence only when astronomers became aware of it? If you do, could you explain why you believe such a thing? I am sure a lot of people would wonder about that. Particularly since astronomers universally agree that Neptune existed long before people existed. So, whatever you are rejecting when you say you reject independent reality, it is bizarre of you to reject the view that Neptune existed independently of any person being aware of Neptune, since, it is a fact that Neptune existed before anyone who could be aware of Neptune existed. What else you might mean by rejecting independent reality I am sure I don't know. But you might want to say what you mean by that. I mean in English.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 02:42 am
@spendius,
Good question ! Smile My gut reaction is "no" but that might be based on the assumption that the contract is made.

But hang on...the other side must get their points from somewhere in order to double, so perhaps its indeterminable.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 02:55 am
@fresco,
Bloody hell!! Chinks in fresco's armouring. Has there been a shift in the earth's magnetic field?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 03:02 am
@spendius,
Nope. Occasionally one has need of comic relief !
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 03:20 am
@fresco,
A course of Laurence Sterne and Frank Harris provides sufficient comic relief to never have need of it again. Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy is pretty nifty too.

Life's too short for Dryasdusts with strange names.
0 Replies
 
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 02:59 pm
@pskwirz671,
Quote:
I am thinking of two actions, act A and act B. Prior to acting I feel as if I am equally capable choosing to perform either act. I can picture myself performing each act in my mind, and I can plan all the steps involved in performing such an act. This is the feeling of free will. Even if I posit that A & B are my only two choices, I feel that it isn't inevitable that I will choose A b/c I might choose B, and it isn't inevitable that I will choose B b/c I might choose A. If I choose A, it doesn't prevent me from feeling that I could have chosen B, b/c I can remember that in the past I felt fully capable of doing so. I'll never be able to get in my time-machine and prove conclusively that I could have chosen B, but I have no reason to distrust the way I felt at the time.

You described the feeling well.
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 03:02 pm
@pskwirz671,
Quote:
Also, the idea that any act not precipitated by reasons is "unintentional" is probably wrong. I could imagine walking down a path, seeing a stone, and intentionally kicking it. The kick is certainly intentional, but I don't have any articulate reason for kickin' it.

Your intention to kick the stone was the reason for your action.

I gave an alternative formulation of my argument here:
http://able2know.org/topic/138901-6#post-4004019
0 Replies
 
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 03:17 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
However, I am aware of alternative societal paradigms which do not or did not consider "selves" as significant functional units. Totalitarian regimes for example where "the will of the individual" was suppressed. So those who would wish to eliminate the functionality of the concept of "free will" (change the paradigm) are playing a political or sociological game with known consequences rather than a logical one.

Totalitarian regimes didn't suppress free will of the individual. They suppressed the individual's desires.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 03:20 pm
@litewave,
litewave wrote:

Quote:
I am thinking of two actions, act A and act B. Prior to acting I feel as if I am equally capable choosing to perform either act. I can picture myself performing each act in my mind, and I can plan all the steps involved in performing such an act. This is the feeling of free will. Even if I posit that A & B are my only two choices, I feel that it isn't inevitable that I will choose A b/c I might choose B, and it isn't inevitable that I will choose B b/c I might choose A. If I choose A, it doesn't prevent me from feeling that I could have chosen B, b/c I can remember that in the past I felt fully capable of doing so. I'll never be able to get in my time-machine and prove conclusively that I could have chosen B, but I have no reason to distrust the way I felt at the time.

You described the feeling well.


Suppose the actions in question are between lifting my left pinky finger, and not doing so. Suppose I do lift my finger. The question is whether I could have refrained from doing so, and no done so. Why must I be able to get into a time machine to discover whether I could have refrained from lifting my finger? Why don't I have plenty of evidence right now that I could have refrained from lifting my finger? I mean just the ordinary evidence we would accept for whether I could do any action I have not done. For example, that I was under no compulsion to lift my finger, or that I did not have a nervous condition caused me to lift my finger at odd moments. Why would I need to have to go into the past (whatever that means) to know what I could have done (or not done)?
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 03:26 pm
@kennethamy,
The argument is, as I understand it from de Sade, that at the moment you lift the finger, or don't, it is beyond your control and the lead up to that moment is just indecision. I don't think that can be disproved.
0 Replies
 
litewave
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 03:34 pm
@kennethamy,
There are basically two kinds of factors that determine your choice:

Group 1: desires (intentions)
Group 2: all other factors

When all these factors are present, then the choice is fixed - it will be materialized as it logically follows from these factors and there is nothing that could change it. Regarding Group 1, the different desires are like different forces that influence you in different directions and when you add up all their influences you get a resulting force and direction, which means that the direction of the strongest desires will prevail but it may be modified by the weaker desires. The Group 1 factors give your choice intentionality, unless Group 2 factors thwart the direction of the Group 1 factors (in that case we don't say that our choice was intentional but that our intentions were thwarted, resulting in a different action than the one we intended/desired). Group 2 factors are anything you can imagine (other than desires/intentions) that influences the choice but the important thing about them is that they definitely don't make your choice a free one, because they are unintentional - they are the unintentional contribution to your choice.

So your choice is determined by your desires (intentions) and possibly by various other factors (which are unintentional). In order to control your choice you would need to control these factors. But how would you control them? They themselves are determined by other Group 1 and Group 2 factors (in a preceding choice), and so on.

I should add, in the light of quantum mechanics which suggests that some events are not determined by causes (that is, they are at least partly uncaused), that maybe even all the Group 1 and Group 2 factors will not definitely determine your choice. That means that your choice contains an uncaused component. This component, however, cannot make your choice a free one either, simply because it is not caused by anything, including you. So you could go against all existing factors but without control of your action.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 11:07 pm
@litewave,
Agreed...
0 Replies
 
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 11:16 pm
@litewave,
litewave wrote:

There are basically two kinds of factors that determine your choice:

Group 1: desires (intentions)
Group 2: all other factors

When all these factors are present, then the choice is fixed - it will be materialized as it logically follows from these factors and there is nothing that could change it.


What makes you think that Group 2 functions "logically", at all? Please support your argument with proofs...

N.B.: Is there anything that makes you think that Group 1 is logical in nature? What has logic to do with it? For what reason do you find erotics easily separable from all other casual factors, vs. fluid dynamics, say? What is it about the use of logic that makes all causal powers irreversible?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 11:23 pm
@litewave,
litewave wrote:

That means that your choice contains an uncaused component. This component, however, cannot make your choice a free one either, simply because it is not caused by anything, including you. So you could go against all existing factors but without control of your action.


Of course not, since free will has nothing to do with whether a choice is caused, but rather, how it is caused. If the cause is compulsion, then, of course, the choice is not a free choice.
0 Replies
 
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 11:42 pm
@litewave,
I wanted to edit my last post with these few questions, but I was unable to...: Do you believe that all "causal" powers operate in the "same" way? If not, does this difference make a difference in the way you regard "desire (intentionality)"? What is the cause of intentionality? Why should "free will" be identified with "control"?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 11:54 pm
@Razzleg,
Quote:
Why should "free will" be identified with "control"?


Note that "free will" is a social concept predominantly used in the accountability for social behaviour. In that sense the word "control" applies. All the above discussion equating "free will (social)" with "choice (psychological)" amounts to what Wittgenstein would have dismissed as geschwatz (worthless chatter).
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2010 12:24 am
@Razzleg,
Razzleg wrote:

I wanted to edit my last post with these few questions, but I was unable to...: Do you believe that all "causal" powers operate in the "same" way? If not, does this difference make a difference in the way you regard "desire (intentionality)"? What is the cause of intentionality? Why should "free will" be identified with "control"?


I don't know what you mean by "same way". (And apparently you aren't sure either, else you would not put quotes around the word same). So you explain how you think causes operate, and then explain how you think they might operate in the same way, and then I'll have some idea how to reply. I imagine that my intentions have different causes, depending on what they are. I don't think there is some general cause of all intentions. When someone claims that he did something of his own free will he is denying that he was compelled to do it. That is how the term, "I did it of my own free will" is used in English.
0 Replies
 
 

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