13
   

Does free will exist?

 
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 08:13 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;154849 wrote:
I see how you could make that mistake but no that was not my intention. You claimed that philosophers ordinarily use a term one way and you provided a single author as evidence. Yet, ughaibu also posted an article that doesn't use the term that way and even goes on to point out it would be a mistake to do so. Unless you think most philosophers are mistaken, that would seem to imply it was a minority view. So, you are both tied right now. Maybe it's ordinarily used that way, maybe not.

Are you ready to retract your statement now?


The Cambridge Encyclopedia is a reliable source for informing students of philosophy how philosophical terms are ordinarily used. It is cited like a dictionary. The other source, from the SEP is not used that way. It is written by individual authors (who are reliable) and it does not pretend to be an accurate description of how philosophers (in general) think about the subject. It is not used as a dictionary. In any case, as I keep pointing out, there is an important distinction between how a term is actually used, and how someone may think it ought to be used. There is no "tie" since there is no contest. We are not talking about the same thing. So, am I ready to retract. No. But, you did not actually say that there was a conflict. But you certainly implied there was one. There isn't.
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 08:41 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154853 wrote:
But, you did not actually say that there was a conflict.


So earlier when you said that I did, that was a lie.

I didn't imply it either but that's a weaker argument that I'm not prepared to waste my time on anymore. I've explained it once.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 08:46 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;154861 wrote:
So earlier when you said that I did, that was a lie.

I didn't imply it either but that's a weaker argument that I'm not prepared to waste my time on anymore. I've explained it once.


Lies are intentional falsehoods. But, have it your way.
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 08:49 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154865 wrote:
Lies are intentional falsehoods. But, have it your way.


Well, you obviously knew I hadn't said that. How could you have accidentally claimed that I said something that I never said? Do you have Alzheimer's Disease?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 09:09 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;154866 wrote:
Well, you obviously knew I hadn't said that. How could you have accidentally claimed that I said something that I never said? Do you have Alzheimer's Disease?


Sometimes, "said" is loose for, "clearly implied". So, yes. You did not actually say it, but you clearly implied it. For, there would be no other plausible explanation for why you said it.
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 09:47 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154871 wrote:
Sometimes, "said" is loose for, "clearly implied". So, yes. You did not actually say it, but you clearly implied it. For, there would be no other plausible explanation for why you said it.


The explanation was in post #20.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 11:37 am
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;154806]The question may be whether determinism and causation are separate concepts. Not whether hard determinism and causation are separate concepts. Hard determinism says that determinism and free will are incompatible. [/QUOTE]
kennethamy;154806 wrote:


Since I don't know what you mean by "determinism" I cannot say whether determinism and causation are separate concepts in your vocabulary. As philosophers use the term, "determinism" determinism is the thesis that every event has a cause, such that the event will not occur unless the cause occurs. As I said, I don't know how you are using the term, "determinism".
Well it seems to me philosophers are inconsistent in how they use the terms causality, determinism, and free will. Using the terms the way you suggest merely adds to the confusion. Merging the concepts of determinism and causality comes out of the classical mechanical Newtonian view of the world as machine obeying fixed immutable natural law and readily led to a hard determinism view of the world which is incompatible with free will.

Leaving aside the complexity of minds and mental processes and of the concept of free will for a moment, How do you apply your concept of causality and determinism to say quantum events?

Quantum events are "indeterministic" meaning that the outcomes of specific quantum events with apparently identical causes are not predictable specific events but a stochastic probability distribution. Are we then to say that an individual event is determinism or indeterminism? Are we to say quantum events are without "causes"?

It seems to me that quantum events clearly separate the notion of determinism and causality and that modern philosophers should acknowledge the problems engendered by defining them in terms of each other. The way you use determinism and causality (a problem that would not occur in classical mechanics). It serves not to clarify the issues of determinism, causality, mind and free will but to confound them.
Indeterministic events (events which are only predictable as stochastic probability distributions) still quite clearly have causes.

Free will usually is the notion of the ability to do or to have done otherwise.
Hard determinism is the notion that there is only one possible outcome, only one possible future and that given sufficient knowledge both the state of the past and the state of the future are predictable, knowable.

What "soft determinism" means to you I do not know?
Likewise what the form of "free will" that is compatible with "soft determinism" is I do not know?

For the moment just tell me what "hard determinism" , "soft determinism" and "indeterminism"are in your view with relationship to quantum events and causality and without bringing free will into the definitions?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 12:12 pm
@prothero,
prothero;154899 wrote:
Well it seems to me philosophers are inconsistent in how they use the terms causality, determinism, and free will. Using the terms the way you suggest merely adds to the confusion. Merging the concepts of determinism and causality comes out of the classical mechanical Newtonian view of the world as machine obeying fixed immutable natural law and readily led to a hard determinism view of the world which is incompatible with free will.

Leaving aside the complexity of minds and mental processes and of the concept of free will for a moment, How do you apply your concept of causality and determinism to say quantum events?

Quantum events are "indeterministic" meaning that the outcomes of specific quantum events with apparently identical causes are not predictable specific events but a stochastic probability distribution. Are we then to say that an individual event is determinism or indeterminism? Are we to say quantum events are without "causes"?

It seems to me that quantum events clearly separate the notion of determinism and causality and that modern philosophers should acknowledge the problems engendered by defining them in terms of each other. The way you use determinism and causality (a problem that would not occur in classical mechanics). It serves not to clarify the issues of determinism, causality, mind and free will but to confound them.
Indeterministic events (events which are only predictable as stochastic probability distributions) still quite clearly have causes.

Free will usually is the notion of the ability to do or to have done otherwise.
Hard determinism is the notion that there is only one possible outcome, only one possible future and that given sufficient knowledge both the state of the past and the state of the future are predictable, knowable.

What "soft determinism" means to you I do not know?
Likewise what the form of "free will" that is compatible with "soft determinism" is I do not know?

For the moment just tell me what "hard determinism" , "soft determinism" and "indeterminism"are in your view with relationship to quantum events and causality and without bringing free will into the definitions?


I defined "soft determinism". It is the view that determinism and free will are compatible. It is also called, "compatibilism". It is not what it means to me that counts. It is what it means. It is a technical term that philosophers use. It might mean to me that chickens lay eggs. But that is not what it means. Just as "force" might mean to me "marriage" But what it means in physics is, M x A. It makes no sense to say that free will is compatible with soft determinism, for, as I have just pointed out, "soft determinism" means by definition, that determinism is compatible with free will. If you are unhappy with the way that philosophers use terms, I suggest that you write a letter of complaint to the president of the American Philosophical Association. But, before you do that, I suggest you learn how philosophers do use the terms you are complaining about.

---------- Post added 04-21-2010 at 02:35 PM ----------

Night Ripper;154879 wrote:
The explanation was in post #20.


You also said that my case was no stronger than U's. Could you please say what that case was? If there was a case, then weren't you saying that my evidence for how "determinism" is used is not stronger than, U's. And doesn't that mean that you think that the quotes from SEP is evidence that "determinism" is not commonly used by philosophers to imply causation? And don't you now admit that you are wrong to think that SEP says that philosophers do not commonly use "determinism" to imply causation> And that, therefore, all the evidence is on my side, and none is on your side?
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 12:49 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154910 wrote:
I defined "soft determinism". It is the view that determinism and free will are compatible. It is also called, "compatibilism". It is not what it means to me that counts. It is what it means. It is a technical term that philosophers use. It might mean to me that chickens lay eggs. But that is not what it means. Just as "force" might mean to me "marriage" But what it means in physics is, M x A. It makes no sense to say that free will is compatible with soft determinism, for, as I have just pointed out, "soft determinism" means by definition, that determinism is compatible with free will. If you are unhappy with the way that philosophers use terms, I suggest that you write a letter of complaint to the president of the American Philosophical Association. But, before you do that, I suggest you learn how philosophers do use the terms you are complaining about.
It is useless to circularly define determinism in terms of free will or causality. perhaps you could just answer the question I asked and we might be able to have a discussion. Lets try to clarify not confound.
To say that "soft determinism" is the form of determinism that is compatible with free will, is to say nothing meaningful.
Like wise to say that you believe in the form of free will that is compatible with soft determinism is to say nothing.
So again how do the concepts of hard determinism, soft determinism, indeterminism and causality relate to individual quantum events?
I know you are astute enough to understand what I am asking, the question is do you wish to discuss it?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 01:02 pm
@prothero,
prothero;154926 wrote:
It is useless to circularly define determinism in terms of free will or causality. perhaps you could just answer the question I asked and we might be able to have a discussion. Lets try to clarify not confound.
To say that "soft determinism" is the form of determinism that is compatible with free will, is to say nothing meaningful.
Like wise to say that you believe in the form of free will that is compatible with soft determinism is to say nothing.
So again how do the concepts of hard determinism, soft determinism, indeterminism and causality relate to individual quantum events?
I know you are astute enough to understand what I am asking, the question is do you wish to discuss it?


Why is it circular? How is it circular? A circular definition is one that defines a term by itself, or a close synonym. How are "determinism" and "causation" the same term, or close synonyms? They are not. Therefore there is no circularity.

To say that "soft determinism" is the form of determinism that is compatible with free will, is to say nothing meaningful.

Can you give an argument for that, or do you expect me simply to take your word for it?

If QM is true (and I assume it is true) then indeterminism is true at the micro-level. But whether that has anything to do with the macro-level is another issue. But, as I have pointed out, soft determinism says that determinism is compatible with free will. So whatever QM says about determinism is irrelevant. (Except that if determinism is false on the macro-level, then it is hard to see how people can be responsible for their actions, and responsibility implies determinism of some kind).

If determinism implies that free will is false, and if indeterminism implies that free will is false, then that implies that free will is a self-contradictory concept.
Will Storm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 01:07 pm
@Diogenes phil,
free will exists in me choosing one option over others. I have free will to capitalize my next word OR not. It is free in the sense that it is not bound by necessity until i do it.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 01:09 pm
@Will Storm,
Will Storm;154932 wrote:
free will exists in me choosing one option over others. I have free will to capitalize my next word OR not. It is free in the sense that it is not bound by necessity until i do it.


How is it "bound by necessity" after you do it?
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 01:40 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154931 wrote:
Why is it circular? How is it circular? A circular definition is one that defines a term by itself, or a close synonym. How are "determinism" and "causation" the same term, or close synonyms? They are not. Therefore there is no circularity..

What is the difference then IYV (in your view) between causation and determinism? How are they related?
What can you say about "soft determinism" other than it is the view of determinism that is compatible with free will?

Anyone else out there that can explain the difference between hard determinism, soft determinism, and indeterminism without using poorly defined terms like "free will" "compatiblism" or "causality"?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 01:49 pm
@prothero,
prothero;154953 wrote:
What is the difference then IYV (in your view) between causation and determinism? How are they related?
What can you say about "soft determinism" other than it is the view of determinism that is compatible with free will?


As I already have said, determinism is the view that every event and state of affairs can be explained by subsuming it under a universal causal law together with initial conditions. It is codified in the covering law theory of explanation.

What else would you like me to say about soft determinism. I suppose its central point is that: (a) causality and compulsion are not the same, and, (b) that we act freely when we are not compelled.

Why don't you just look this up on SEP or on Wiki? You will get a fuller explanation than I can give here.
0 Replies
 
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 01:51 pm
@prothero,
prothero;154953 wrote:
What is the difference then IYV (in your view) between causation and determinism? How are they related?
What can you say about "soft determinism" other than it is the view of determinism that is compatible with free will?

Anyone else out there that can explain the difference between hard determinism, soft determinism, and indeterminism without using poorly defined terms like "free will" "compatiblism" or "causality"?
I agree that his definitions inherently creates a connection(and even use the others within their definitions) between determinism, free will, and causality when these things are not necessarily related(well I reckon free will and determinism are...).

without putting a ton of thought into it I guess these would be my definitions:
I would define hard determinism as the notion that EVERYTHING that happens does so necessarily.

Free will I would define as the notion that the 'determining' factor of a person's choice lies within the person's own self.

I would define causality as the notion that everything that happens has a cause for happening.

I would define soft determinism as the notion that ALMOST everything that happens does so necessarily.

I will say it does seem rather strange to me to have need to separate causality in the first place as it seems to me at least that it exists. In which case, causality would or at least, could fit into all the definitions. I think there is strong evidence to suggest causality at least.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:00 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154959 wrote:
I agree that his definitions inherently creates a connection(and even use the others within their definitions) between determinism, free will, and causality when these things are not necessarily related(well I reckon free will and determinism are...).

without putting a ton of thought into it I guess these would be my definitions:
I would define hard determinism as the notion that EVERYTHING that happens does so necessarily.

Free will I would define as the notion that the "determining" factor of 'what' happens lies within each person themselves.

I would define causality as the notion that everything that happens has a cause for happening.

I would define soft determinism as the notion that ALMOST everything that happens does so necessarily.


That's great. But that is not what "hard determinism" and "soft determinism" mean when philosophers use them. So what is the point of your definitions? You can define "force" as a scrambled egg, but that is not what physicists understand by the term, "force". They understand by force, mass times acceleration. So, when you tell a physicist that you had force for breakfast, he will only stare at you.
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:03 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154963 wrote:
That's great. But that is not what "hard determinism" and "soft determinism" mean when philosophers use them. So what is the point of your definitions? You can define "force" as a scrambled egg, but that is not what physicists understand by the term, "force". They understand by force, mass times acceleration. So, when you tell a physicist that you had force for breakfast, he will only stare at you.
how does hard determinism NOT mean, everything that happens does so necessarily?

can something happen un-necessarily given hard determinism?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:07 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154964 wrote:
how does hard determinism NOT mean, everything that happens does so necessarily?

can something happen un-necessarily given hard determinism?


What do you mean by "how"? How does "force" not mean, "scrambled eggs"? Philosophers do not mean by "hard determinism" everything happens necessarily, and physicists do not mean by "force", scrambled eggs. That's how. Words mean what they are used to mean by people who use that. They don't have intrinsic meanings that they were born with.
Think about what Thomas Hobbes wrote: "Words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon with them, but they are the money of fools." Do you understand what he meant by that?
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:09 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154965 wrote:
What do you mean by "how"? How does "force" not mean, "scrambled eggs"? Philosophers do not mean by "hard determinism" everything happens necessarily, and physicists do not mean by "force", scrambled eggs. That's how. Words mean what they are used to mean by people who use that. They don't have intrinsic meanings that they were born with.
OK. . . .why does hard determinism think free will is false? Maybe your answer to that question will help you figure out that hard determinism has implications beyond just "free will is false" and that it can be defined without even using that phrase.

I thought he was asking for a definition that did NOT include the words "free will" or the word or some form of the world "causality" like cause, causal, etc.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:17 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154967 wrote:
OK. . . .why does hard determinism think free will is false? Maybe your answer to that question will help you figure out that hard determinism has implications beyond just "free will is false"


Because according to hard determinism, causation means compulsion. So that if I am caused to go to a restaurant because my friend recommends it to me, that implies that I had to go to the restaurant, and that I was not able to do otherwise.


But let me ask you, what do you mean by OK? What are you okaying?

When Hobbes writes, that words are wise men's counters, but fools think they are the real thing, what do you think he means by that?
 

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