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Does free will exist?

 
 
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:19 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154970 wrote:
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.
so then in reference to human actions would you would say that hard determinism is the notion that all human actions are done by compulsion(be they internal or external) Or must they be external only?

or would you not?

---------- Post added 04-21-2010 at 03:21 PM ----------

kennethamy;154970 wrote:
But let me ask you, what do you mean by OK? What are you okaying?

I was okaying, somewhat sarcastically, your notion that I can define anything any way I want, but if I don't use the 'standard' philosopher way of defining it, it is necessarily wrong. then you of course use the absurd example of defining 'force' as 'scrambled eggs'
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:33 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154971 wrote:
so then in reference to human actions would you would say that hard determinism is the notion that all human actions are done by compulsion

or would you not?

---------- Post added 04-21-2010 at 03:21 PM ----------


I was okaying, somewhat sarcastically, your notion that I can define anything any way I want, but if I don't use the 'standard' philosopher way of defining it, it is necessarily wrong.


Hard determinists think that I could not have done otherwise than I did do.

I did not say it is necessarily right or wrong since words don't have either right or wrong meanings. So you really don't understand my point. Words mean what people who use them mean by them. But I don't mean individuals, I mean people who use the language collectively. But they do not have intrinsic meanings they are born with, as you seem to think. You can use words however you please, this is a free country (or at least used to be). But you cannot use words as you please and expect people to understand you. If a word is a technical term, then its meaning is a technical meaning. "Hard determinism" is a technical term in philosophy, just as "force" is a technical term in physics. And philosophers understand by "hard determinism" a particular thing, just as physicists understand by "force" a particular thing. Why would you simply decide to give a technical term a meaning of your own, I have not idea. Can you explain why you would? Would you tell a physicist that you think that "force" should mean something other than mass times acceleration? What do you think his opinion of you would be if you did? Wouldn't be that you were rather foolish (to put it mildly)?
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:41 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154976 wrote:
Why would you simply decide to give a technical term a meaning of your own, I have not idea. Can you explain why you would? Would you tell a physicist that you think that "force" should mean something other than mass times acceleration? What do you think his opinion of you would be if you did? Wouldn't be that you were rather foolish (to put it mildly)?
Because it's not about "simply deciding to give a technical term a meaning of my own", it's because I realize that the current definition makes certain assumptions it should not make and it therefore becomes unclear.

And by giving it "a meaning of my own" you seem to imply I just picked it out of the blue, when, in fact, what I've done is clarify a muddied definition.

"Hard determinists think that I could not have done otherwise than I did do."
That is a direct quote from you....now tell me how my definition for hard-determinism, "everything that happens does so necessarily", is in conflict with your notion of what the standard definition of the technical term as used by philosophers is.

How would you define the technical term without using the words free will, cause, causal, causally, causation, or causality?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:48 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154981 wrote:
Because it's not about "simply deciding to give a technical term a meaning of my own", it's because I realize that the current definition makes certain assumptions it should not make and it therefore becomes unclear.

And by giving it "a meaning of my own" you seem to imply I just picked it out of the blue, when, in fact, what I've done is clarify a muddied definition.

"Hard determinists think that I could not have done otherwise than I did do."
That is a direct quote from you....now tell me how my definition for hard-determinism, "everything that happens does so necessarily", is in conflict with your notion of what the standard definition for the technical term as used by philosophers.


It is consistent with the definition. But that does not mean, of course, that is the definition of "hard determinism". "Hard determinism" means, "determinism is incompatible with free will". And that we could not have done otherwise than we did is an implication of that, and is, therefore, consistent with it. Think of it this way. The definition of "circle" is a plane figure, all of whose points are equidistant from its center. Right? Now that implies that if something is a circle, then it has a circumference of 360 degrees. But, that is not the definition of a circle. It is an implication of the definition of a circle. Do you see the difference?
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 02:53 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154984 wrote:
It is consistent with the definition. But that does not mean, of course, that is the definition of "hard determinism". "Hard determinism" means, "determinism is incompatible with free will". And that we could not have done otherwise than we did is an implication of that, and is, therefore, consistent with it. Think of it this way. The definition of "circle" is a plane figure, all of whose points are equidistant from its center. Right? Now that implies that if something is a circle, then it has a circumference of 360 degrees. But, that is not the definition of a circle. It is an implication of the definition of a circle. Do you see the difference?
Yes, I see the difference. Though I think in this case it's a false analogy, but I'll go with you on that.

And what is the standard definition of the technical term as used by philosophers of determinism?

especially for those trying to distinguish between determinism and causality, unless philosophers think they are necessarily related.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 03:06 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154986 wrote:
Yes, I see the difference. Though I think in this case it's a false analogy, but whatever.

And what is the standard definition of the technical term as used by philosophers of determinism?


Could you say why it is "a false analogy"? I am sure you have some reason for saying that, aside from the fact that you don't happen to like it.

There are no "philosophers of determinism". But I have given it a number of times. Determinism is the thesis that every event, or state of affairs can be explained by universal causal laws of nature, together with initial conditions obtaining at the time. This thesis is often called the Deductive-Nomological model of scientific explanation, and is associated with Carl Hempel who formulated it and explored it in a number of seminal papers. It is easy to look up if it interests you.

Believe it or not, philosophy is not something you make up on the spot. It is exacting and difficult. But as Benedict Spinoza wrote,

"All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare, for if they were not difficult, why anyone could do them".
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 03:17 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154989 wrote:
Could you say why it is "a false analogy"? I am sure you have some reason for saying that, aside from the fact that you don't happen to like it.

There are no "philosophers of determinism". But I have given it a number of times. Determinism is the thesis that every event, or state of affairs can be explained by universal causal laws of nature, together with initial conditions obtaining at the time. This thesis is often called the Deductive-Nomological model of scientific explanation, and is associated with Carl Hempel who formulated it and explored it in a number of seminal papers. It is easy to look up if it interests you.

Believe it or not, philosophy is not something you make up on the spot. It is exacting and difficult. But as Benedict Spinoza wrote,

"All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare, for if they were not difficult, why anyone could do them".
I would hope that you would know that I wasn't talking about "philosophers of determinism" and clearly you did because you defined the term, determinism, directly after; which makes me wonder, why add that comment at all? Now onto your questions. Why do I think(notice I only think. I'm not certain) it's a false analogy? because the definition of a circle does not use the triangle or rectangle in it's definition.

within your definition of hard determinism, you are using what would, analogously, amount to another shape to define it. If hard determinism was a circle, then free will would probably be a rhombus or some other shape other than a circle. So, if hard determinism is a circle, you have defined it as, "a circle that is incompatible with a rhombus". This is not a good way to define a circle and it's not a good way to define hard determinism.

I think prothero noticed it too.

He was also, I think, pointing out that your definition of determinism seems to be very similar to the notion of causality which is why he asked for clarification
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 03:30 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154990 wrote:
I would hope that you would know that I wasn't talking about "philosophers of determinism" and clearly you did because you defined "determinism" directly after; which makes me wonder, why add that comment at all? Now onto your questions. Why do I think(notice I only think that I'm not certain) it's a false analogy? because the definition of a circle does not use the triangle or rectangle in it's definition.

within your definition of hard determinism, you are using what would, analogously, amount to another shape to define it. If hard determinism was a circle, then free will would probably be a rhombus or some other shape other than a circle. So if hard determinism is a circle you have defined it as a circle that is incomparable with a rhombus. This is not a good way to define a circle and it's not a good way to define hard determinism.

I think prothero noticed it too.

He was also, I think, pointing out that your definition of determinism seems to be very similar to the notion of causality which is why he asked for clarification


I have no idea what you can mean by the bit about using triangle in the definition of a circle. What has that to do with it? All I did is to point out that an implication of a definition is not the definition. What you are saying, I have no clue. An implication of the definition of "triangle" as a plane enclosed figure with three sides is that the sum of its angles is equal to a straight angle. But that is not the definition of a triangle.

The definition of "determinism" involves causation. But it is not the same as causation. Definition always involve other ideas, but are not the same as those other ideas.
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 03:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154993 wrote:
I have no idea what you can mean by the bit about using triangle in the definition of a circle. What has that to do with it? All I did is to point out that an implication of a definition is not the definition. What you are saying, I have no clue. An implication of the definition of "triangle" as a plane enclosed figure with three sides is that the sum of its angles is equal to a straight angle. But that is not the definition of a triangle.

The definition of "determinism" involves causation. But it is not the same as causation. Definition always involve other ideas, but are not the same as those other ideas.
I give up.

You defined hard determinism as "determinism that is incompatible with free will"

this would be analogous to defining a right triangle as: "triangle that is incompatible with circles"

it's unhelpful is all. To define a term using some other "competing term". The implication ought to be that it's incompatible with free will, but that should follow from the definition, not be the definition.

besides since when are definitions not debatable?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 03:50 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154996 wrote:
I give up.

You defined hard determinism as "determinism that is incompatible with free will"

this would be analogous to defining a right triangle as: "triangle that is incompatible with circles"

it's unhelpful is all. To define a term using some other "competing term". The implication ought to be that it's incompatible with free will, but that should follow from the definition, not be the definition.

besides since when are definitions not debatable?



But that is, in fact, the definition of "hard determinism" Won't you please believe me. That is what philosophers mean by the term. Just as physicists mean, by "force" mass time acceleration. Are you saying that I am lying to you? Or that I am mistaken? I simply don't understand your objection. You might think that "force" should mean, scrambled eggs. But it does not. It is simply a fact that in philosophy "hard determinism" means the view that determinism and free will are incompatible. According to soft determinism, it is false that determinism and free will are incompatible. According to soft determinism they are compatible. I think that sort determinism is true, and that hard determinism is false. But that has nothing whatever to do with what it means to say that hard determinism means that free will and determinism are incompatible. So, what are you "giving up" about?

I think you may be confusing two different statements:

1. Philosophers mean by "hard determinism" that determinism is incompatible with free will, and,

2. It is true (false) that determinism is incompatible with free will.

But you see, don't you that 1 and 2 are very different statements, and that they can have different truth values? In fact, they are independent statements which means that neither statement implies the other statement.
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 03:55 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;154997 wrote:
But that is, in fact, the definition of "hard determinism" Won't you please believe me. That is what philosophers mean by the term. Just as physicists mean, by "force" mass time acceleration. Are you saying that I am lying to you? Or that I am mistaken? I simply don't understand your objection.
if their definition was that determinism meant "scrambled eggs" should I believe that? This is nothing more than an argumentum ad populum on your part. Their definition is not good. I realize that is the working definition. Do you think I don't realize that is the ''standard'' definition? Why don't you believe me that that definition is not good? And why have you completely avoided any relevant points I brought up in my last post?

A proper definition, IMO, of hard determinism should not include free will in it. The fact that free will and hard determinism are incompatible should be implied by the definition, not be the definition. I gotta go to class now.

kennethamy;154997 wrote:
So, what are you "giving up" about? It is a mystery.
Trying to get through to you. Because you are more concerned with picking out some non relevant material and asking why I would think that or what that has to do with anything, then in trying to understand what I'm saying. And that tends to get tiresome.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 03:58 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154998 wrote:
if their definition was that determinism meant "scrambled eggs" should I believe that? This is nothing more than an argumentum ad populum on your part. Their definition is not good. I realize that is the working definition. Why don't you believe me that that definition is not good? And why have you completely avoided any relevant points I brought up in my last post?

Trying to get through to you. Because you are more concerned with picking out some non relevant material and asking why I would think that or what that has to do with anything, then in trying to understand what I'm saying. And that tends to get tiresome


I think you are confusing two different statements:

1. Philosophers mean by "hard determinism" that determinism is incompatible with free will, and,

2. It is true (false) that determinism is incompatible with free will.

But you see, don't you that 1 and 2 are very different statements, and that they can have different truth values? In fact, they are independent statements which means that neither statement implies the other statement.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 07:41 pm
@Diogenes phil,
Ken,
do you have an explanation of what "soft determinism" would be other than a type of determinism that is compatible with "free will". I am by nature an incompatibilist so "soft determinism" and the type of "free will" that would be compatible with it are both misunderstandings of "determinism" and "free will" IMHO. All the compatibilists seem to be able to offer is "soft determinism" is compatible with "free will" but that is not really an explanation of what they mean by "soft determinism" or by "free will".
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 07:57 pm
@prothero,
prothero;155062 wrote:
Ken,
do you have an explanation of what "soft determinism" would be other than a type of determinism that is compatible with "free will". I am by nature an incompatibilist so "soft determinism" and the type of "free will" that would be compatible with it are both misunderstandings of "determinism" and "free will" IMHO. All the compatibilists seem to be able to offer is "soft determinism" is compatible with "free will" but that is not really an explanation of what they mean by "soft determinism" or by "free will".


But that is exactly what soft determinism is. What you seem to be asking for is an argument for soft determinism. And the crucial argument for soft determinism is that causation is not compulsion, and hard determinism (as well as the other incompatibilist theory, libertarianism) both make the very same error. Namely, they confuse causation with compulsion. My reasons for visiting a restaurant may cause me to visit that restaurant, but those reasons do not compel me to visit the restaurant. So that is a case of causation which is not compulsion. Of course, I am assuming that it is compulsion that is the opposite of free will, not causation per se. All compulsions are, of course, causes. But not all causes are compulsions, as in my restaurant example above. So, that is really the basic argument for sort determinism.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 08:33 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;155070 wrote:
But that is exactly what soft determinism is. What you seem to be asking for is an argument for soft determinism. And the crucial argument for soft determinism is that causation is not compulsion, and hard determinism (as well as the other incompatibilist theory, libertarianism) both make the very same error. Namely, they confuse causation with compulsion. My reasons for visiting a restaurant may cause me to visit that restaurant, but those reasons do not compel me to visit the restaurant. So that is a case of causation which is not compulsion. Of course, I am assuming that it is compulsion that is the opposite of free will, not causation per se. All compulsions are, of course, causes. But not all causes are compulsions, as in my restaurant example above. So, that is really the basic argument for sort determinism.
You are a slippery bunch you soft determinists.
So does a soft determinist believe in William James "iron block universe"?
Or in the universe of LaPlace's demon?
Do you "soft determinists" think the course of future events is fixed and unalterable? That there is only one "real" possiblity for the future?
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2010 10:42 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;154998 wrote:
Do you think I don't realize that is the ''standard'' definition? Why don't you believe me that that definition is not good?
Kennethamy is correct to the extent that hard determinists are realists about determinism and incompatibilism, whereas soft determinists are realists about determinism and compatibilism, but he's incorrect about almost everything else, concerning this subject.
First, Kennethamy maintains that realism about determinism doesn't conflict with realism about micro-indeterminism, this is nonsense. The basic claim of determinism is that everything is fixed, there are no exceptions for quantum events, any more than there are exceptions for biological events, such as acts of free will. If this weren't the case, and Kennethamy was correct, then there wouldn't be any hidden variables theories, as the only function of hidden variables theories is to allow determinists to claim that no-go theorems don't definitively show determinism to be false.
Second, about Kennethamy's claim that determinism is a thesis about cause; the only group of scientists who have any pretensions to deciding whether or not the world is determined, is physicists. All deterministic laws of physics are reversible, and for determinism to be true, laws of nature too must be reversible, because to exactly fix an outcome requires an equation. But cause is not reversible, dropping the piano on the egg causes the egg to break, but breaking the egg doesn't cause the piano to drop onto it. In a determined world the notion of cause is as meaningless as stating that two plus two causes four and four causes two plus two.
Historically, the post-Newton modern determinism first started falling apart with the irreversibility of Loschmidt's paradox.
In any case, on this thread Kennethamy writes "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", which is full blown rubbish. It's a claim of explanatory completeness, and it should be obvious at a glance that explanations dont determine. How could determinism be the thesis of explanatory completeness when there are phenomena which are explained by quantum indeterminancy? And Kennethamy is a realist about quantum indeterminancy. Further, the coving law theory of explanation is a thesis about scientific explanations, given the present best theories of science, the probability of any event having such an explanation, and thus, according to Kennethamy, being determined, is zero, so quite obviously this is not what anyone, at all familiar with the matter, means by determinism.
Kennethamy is great if you want to know the opinions of almost any leading philosopher up till the middle of the twentieth century, but his ideas about the philosophical positions themselves, are confused and unreliable.
0 Replies
 
Wisdom Seeker
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 07:00 pm
@Diogenes phil,
freewill and non-freewill exist, they just keep everything in balance, there must be equality.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 07:10 pm
@prothero,
prothero;155090 wrote:
You are a slippery bunch you soft determinists.
So does a soft determinist believe in William James "iron block universe"?
Or in the universe of LaPlace's demon?
Do you "soft determinists" think the course of future events is fixed and unalterable? That there is only one "real" possiblity for the future?


1. It depend on what that means. It is not a particularly clear thing to say. Not even as a metaphor.
2. If the universe of La LaPlace's demon is a determinist universe, yes, since all soft determinists are, of course, determinists.
3. Well, if by that you mean, are soft determinists fatalists, then the answer is no, since fatalism is inconsistent with free will, and all soft determinists believe (of course) that free will is true.

I should not give you this ammunition, but you sound like Kant. He said about Hume (who really invented soft determinism, although, not the term, of course: that is William James' term, as is the term, "Hard determinism" in his The Will to Believe- are you surprised?) that his theory was a "miserable evasion".
0 Replies
 
CharmingPhlsphr
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 07:36 pm
@Diogenes phil,
Diogenes;154667 wrote:
Can some one basically summarize the arguments FOR and AGAINST free will, and summarize the POSITIONS of those FOR and AGAINST free will? Thanks!


I have retired from this topic mostly, but if I could offer any assistance, I would refer you to Anselm's pseudo-dialectic on free will, strangely titled, Free Will. Anselm makes some pretty strong and interesting points. Enjoy.
0 Replies
 
Pyrrho
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2010 05:45 pm
@Diogenes phil,
Diogenes;154667 wrote:
Can some one basically summarize the arguments FOR and AGAINST free will, and summarize the POSITIONS of those FOR and AGAINST free will? Thanks!


For that kind of question, an encyclopedia entry is usually best. Here is one:

Free will - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
0 Replies
 
 

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