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Deterministic Compatibilism

Envisage
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6/5/2014 12:33:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I am rather ignorant of this field first and foremost, and I would regard myself as a Hard Incompatiblist, as I don't think Free Will exists in the way we traditionally think about it regardless of whether of not determinism is true.

I read the following exchange between Sam Harris (a Deterministic Incompatiblist) and Daniel Dennet regarding Sam Harris' book free will (from which I have read excepts in the library but not cover-to cover yet).

http://www.samharris.org...

It appears to me that most compatibilist arguments for free will involve the redefinition of what free will is, and simply no compelling arguments actually exist for it given the case.

I mean prima facie this seems just plain obvious, and it seems to hold up to scrutiny:

1. Your current actions are completely determined by your prior actions
2. You couldn't have done anything different
3. Therefore your 'choices' made are just pathways to the inevitable conclusion

It also seems to hold significant real-life concequences, as it correlates witht he view that criminals, and deeply immoral individuals are mentally unhealthy, instead of just plain evil. Since it is their current brain state that leads to their choices, and their choices really aren't their fault, dispite much of it being self-catalyzed.

The above might seem scary, and I imagine that's why many philosophers hold to a view of compariblism, I just don't see how that position is logically and intellectually tenable. Thoughts?

/rant
Envisage
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6/5/2014 12:52:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/5/2014 12:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
I am rather ignorant of this field first and foremost, and I would regard myself as a Hard Incompatiblist, as I don't think Free Will exists in the way we traditionally think about it regardless of whether of not determinism is true.

I read the following exchange between Sam Harris (a Deterministic Incompatiblist) and Daniel Dennet regarding Sam Harris' book free will (from which I have read excepts in the library but not cover-to cover yet).

http://www.samharris.org...

It appears to me that most compatibilist arguments for free will involve the redefinition of what free will is, and simply no compelling arguments actually exist for it given the case.

I mean prima facie this seems just plain obvious, and it seems to hold up to scrutiny:

1. Your current actions are completely determined by your prior actions
2. You couldn't have done anything different
3. Therefore your 'choices' made are just pathways to the inevitable conclusion

It also seems to hold significant real-life concequences, as it correlates witht he view that criminals, and deeply immoral individuals are mentally unhealthy, instead of just plain evil. Since it is their current brain state that leads to their choices, and their choices really aren't their fault, dispite much of it being self-catalyzed.

The above might seem scary, and I imagine that's why many philosophers hold to a view of compariblism, I just don't see how that position is logically and intellectually tenable. Thoughts?

/rant

I forgot to mention, Danel Dennet is a Deterministic Compatibilist
Iredia
Posts: 1,608
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6/5/2014 12:59:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/5/2014 12:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
I am rather ignorant of this field first and foremost, and I would regard myself as a Hard Incompatiblist, as I don't think Free Will exists in the way we traditionally think about it regardless of whether of not determinism is true.

I read the following exchange between Sam Harris (a Deterministic Incompatiblist) and Daniel Dennet regarding Sam Harris' book free will (from which I have read excepts in the library but not cover-to cover yet).

http://www.samharris.org...

It appears to me that most compatibilist arguments for free will involve the redefinition of what free will is, and simply no compelling arguments actually exist for it given the case.

I mean prima facie this seems just plain obvious, and it seems to hold up to scrutiny:

1. Your current actions are completely determined by your prior actions
2. You couldn't have done anything different
3. Therefore your 'choices' made are just pathways to the inevitable conclusion

It also seems to hold significant real-life concequences, as it correlates witht he view that criminals, and deeply immoral individuals are mentally unhealthy, instead of just plain evil. Since it is their current brain state that leads to their choices, and their choices really aren't their fault, dispite much of it being self-catalyzed.

The above might seem scary, and I imagine that's why many philosophers hold to a view of compariblism, I just don't see how that position is logically and intellectually tenable. Thoughts?

/rant

I'm a compatibilist but on the side of free-will. Will is simply a way of sayin' mind. Everything is determined because there is a Mind or Will or God behind it all. BUT . . . this by no means eradicates the fact that humans have free-will within appreciable limits. You can only say everything is determined when you have a mind. Before you were born or when you hadn't grown you couldn't know this even tho' the natural order of things remained. There is a reason why I put I'm is search of the Tao. Taoism is a philosophy where two seemingly contrarian things are shown to akin to opposite sides of a coin, each needing the other.
Porn babes be distracting me. Dudes be stealing me stuff. I'm all about the cash from now. I'm not playing Jesus anymore.
Iredia
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6/5/2014 1:05:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I will list propositions to balance what you have written. 1) Only minds that can make choices see what an action results 2) you could act differently from the way you act before (you do it when you decide to dress differently, change courses, switch hobbies etc) 3) While your past choices are set in stone and unchangeable your future isn't even tho' one can rightly predict it from your current actions. I hope Envisage will be open to my next posit. That determinsim is best applied to unconscious objects. This includes (and I say this with all solemnity) corpses and inanimate objects like corpses.
Porn babes be distracting me. Dudes be stealing me stuff. I'm all about the cash from now. I'm not playing Jesus anymore.
philochristos
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6/6/2014 8:07:26 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Compatibilism is the view that free will and determinism are compatible. You're right that compatibilists define free will differently than libertarians. The way compatibilists define free will makes it consistent with determinism.

But there are two kinds of determinism--hard determinism and soft determinism. What you appear to object to is the notion that free will (along with moral responsibility) is compatible with hard determinism. And I would agree with you about that.

Hard determinism is the view that every event is the direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling.

Soft determinism makes room for psychological causes. A soft determinist will say that our actions are determined, not merely by prior action, but by our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.

Granted, we have no control over the laws of nature, and therefore hard determinism is inconsistent with moral praise or blame, but having our actions be determined by our own plans, motives, intentions, desires, etc. is the very meaning of being in control of our actions, and rather than elminate any basis for praise or blame, it actually establishes a basis for praise or blame.

After all, our prior intentions and desires are the basis upon which we judge an act to be moral or immoral. Consider these scenarios:

1. I shove an old lady because somebody behind me shoved me into her. This would be an example of being determined, in the hard sense, to shove the old lady, and we'd all agree that I'm not guilty of any wrong in that case because it was not in my control.

2. I shove an old lady because I hate old ladies. In this case, my hatred determined my action, but clearly this makes me guilty. If the reason I shoved an old lady is just because I hate old ladies, I'm blamable.

3. I shove an old lady to save her from being hit by a car. In this case, my motive to rescue the old lady is the reason I shoved her, which makes my action praiseworthy.

So whether an action is blameworthy or praiseworthy depends on the prior mental state that gave rise to the action.

The more hand our own mental states have in bringing about our actions, the more those actions are under our control. It follows that our actions are completely under our control when they are determined by our prior mental states. Since we can only to responsible for our actions to the degree that our actions are under our control, it follows that we are most responsible for our actions when our actions are determined by our prior mental states.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Envisage
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6/6/2014 12:14:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/6/2014 8:07:26 AM, philochristos wrote:
Compatibilism is the view that free will and determinism are compatible. You're right that compatibilists define free will differently than libertarians. The way compatibilists define free will makes it consistent with determinism.

But there are two kinds of determinism--hard determinism and soft determinism. What you appear to object to is the notion that free will (along with moral responsibility) is compatible with hard determinism. And I would agree with you about that.

I actually object to it being compatible with either determinism and non-determinism. But yes we are on the same page.

Hard determinism is the view that every event is the direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling.

Soft determinism makes room for psychological causes. A soft determinist will say that our actions are determined, not merely by prior action, but by our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.

Wouldn't that still rule out free will though? As our desires, beliefs etc are themselves material entities in determinism (correct me if I am wrong). So while the choices manifest from contributions of all of these, free will in the sense that we have genuine choice seems untenable.

Granted, we have no control over the laws of nature, and therefore hard determinism is inconsistent with moral praise or blame, but having our actions be determined by our own plans, motives, intentions, desires, etc. is the very meaning of being in control of our actions, and rather than elminate any basis for praise or blame, it actually establishes a basis for praise or blame.

I see your point.

After all, our prior intentions and desires are the basis upon which we judge an act to be moral or immoral. Consider these scenarios:

1. I shove an old lady because somebody behind me shoved me into her. This would be an example of being determined, in the hard sense, to shove the old lady, and we'd all agree that I'm not guilty of any wrong in that case because it was not in my control.

2. I shove an old lady because I hate old ladies. In this case, my hatred determined my action, but clearly this makes me guilty. If the reason I shoved an old lady is just because I hate old ladies, I'm blamable.

3. I shove an old lady to save her from being hit by a car. In this case, my motive to rescue the old lady is the reason I shoved her, which makes my action praiseworthy.

So whether an action is blameworthy or praiseworthy depends on the prior mental state that gave rise to the action.

The more hand our own mental states have in bringing about our actions, the more those actions are under our control. It follows that our actions are completely under our control when they are determined by our prior mental states. Since we can only to responsible for our actions to the degree that our actions are under our control, it follows that we are most responsible for our actions when our actions are determined by our prior mental states.
philochristos
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6/6/2014 11:08:25 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/6/2014 12:14:58 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 6/6/2014 8:07:26 AM, philochristos wrote:

Soft determinism makes room for psychological causes. A soft determinist will say that our actions are determined, not merely by prior action, but by our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.

Wouldn't that still rule out free will though?

That depends on how you define free will, and how you define free will depends on what you think your will is free from. A will that is free from even our own antecedent intensions and desires is not, in my view, a will that is free in any meaningful sense. It seems to me that if the will follows the desires, then it's free in the most robust sense because, as I said before, the more hand our own desires have in bringing about our acts, the more those acts are under our control. Freedom, from a compatibilist point of view, means being free from causal factors or even random factors that might prevent us from acting out of our own desires and motives. For example, a muscle spasm, a tick, or something like turrets would be an example of a random a-causal act that we had no control over, and is therefore not a free act. And if you wanted to walk but couldn't because somebody tied your legs together, and you were physically incapable of walking, that would be an example of physical causes preventing you from acting on your desire, so you wouldn't be free in that sense. But if your every desire was to walk, and that desire had everything to do with you actually walking, it seems to me that you're acting freely in that case.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
PureX
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6/7/2014 6:54:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
We are part of the phenomenon of existence, and existence itself is the result of the interaction of both chance and limitation. So that as we are conscious and intelligent creations/expressions of existence, we have limited free will.

We can choose our path, but only to the extent that we are aware of our possible options.
YouShallKnow
Posts: 10
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6/9/2014 1:53:14 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
philocristos,

At 6/6/2014 8:07:26 AM, philochristos wrote:
But there are two kinds of determinism--hard determinism and soft determinism. What you appear to object to is the notion that free will (along with moral responsibility) is compatible with hard determinism. And I would agree with you about that.

Hard determinism is the view that every event is the direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling.

Soft determinism makes room for psychological causes. A soft determinist will say that our actions are determined, not merely by prior action, but by our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.

What if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", are in reality also a "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", wouldn't that nullify the distinction between hard and soft determinism?
philochristos
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6/9/2014 7:20:20 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 1:53:14 AM, YouShallKnow wrote:
philocristos,

At 6/6/2014 8:07:26 AM, philochristos wrote:
But there are two kinds of determinism--hard determinism and soft determinism. What you appear to object to is the notion that free will (along with moral responsibility) is compatible with hard determinism. And I would agree with you about that.

Hard determinism is the view that every event is the direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling.

Soft determinism makes room for psychological causes. A soft determinist will say that our actions are determined, not merely by prior action, but by our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.

What if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", are in reality also a "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", wouldn't that nullify the distinction between hard and soft determinism?

I don't think it matters what causes our desires. I went into more detail about this on my blog.

http://philochristos.blogspot.com...
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
n7
Posts: 1,360
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6/9/2014 7:21:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/5/2014 12:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
I am rather ignorant of this field first and foremost, and I would regard myself as a Hard Incompatiblist, as I don't think Free Will exists in the way we traditionally think about it regardless of whether of not determinism is true.

I read the following exchange between Sam Harris (a Deterministic Incompatiblist) and Daniel Dennet regarding Sam Harris' book free will (from which I have read excepts in the library but not cover-to cover yet).

I have read Harris' book "Free Will" from cover to cover. To be honest, it was little lacking. I didn't feel I walked away from it with a greater deal of knowledge on the subject. I read the book only knowing what determination and free will was, I didn't even know what compatiblism was at the time. I don't feel he adequately explained compatibilism and only dedicated a little portion of his book to it. He never talked about more developed theories of compatiblism like Frankfurt's account. If you want to learn about the subject I recommend the great courses lectures on it.

http://www.thegreatcourses.com...

It's much better than Harris' book. It's unbiased and explains the concepts very well.

http://www.samharris.org...

It appears to me that most compatibilist arguments for free will involve the redefinition of what free will is, and simply no compelling arguments actually exist for it given the case.

I mean prima facie this seems just plain obvious, and it seems to hold up to scrutiny:

1. Your current actions are completely determined by your prior actions
2. You couldn't have done anything different
3. Therefore your 'choices' made are just pathways to the inevitable conclusion

It also seems to hold significant real-life concequences, as it correlates witht he view that criminals, and deeply immoral individuals are mentally unhealthy, instead of just plain evil. Since it is their current brain state that leads to their choices, and their choices really aren't their fault, dispite much of it being self-catalyzed.

The above might seem scary, and I imagine that's why many philosophers hold to a view of compariblism, I just don't see how that position is logically and intellectually tenable. Thoughts?

/rant
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.


Uphold Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Sargonist-n7ism.
Envisage
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6/9/2014 7:24:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 7:21:24 PM, n7 wrote:
At 6/5/2014 12:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
I am rather ignorant of this field first and foremost, and I would regard myself as a Hard Incompatiblist, as I don't think Free Will exists in the way we traditionally think about it regardless of whether of not determinism is true.

I read the following exchange between Sam Harris (a Deterministic Incompatiblist) and Daniel Dennet regarding Sam Harris' book free will (from which I have read excepts in the library but not cover-to cover yet).

I have read Harris' book "Free Will" from cover to cover. To be honest, it was little lacking. I didn't feel I walked away from it with a greater deal of knowledge on the subject. I read the book only knowing what determination and free will was, I didn't even know what compatiblism was at the time. I don't feel he adequately explained compatibilism and only dedicated a little portion of his book to it. He never talked about more developed theories of compatiblism like Frankfurt's account. If you want to learn about the subject I recommend the great courses lectures on it.

http://www.thegreatcourses.com...

It's much better than Harris' book. It's unbiased and explains the concepts very well.

http://www.samharris.org...

It appears to me that most compatibilist arguments for free will involve the redefinition of what free will is, and simply no compelling arguments actually exist for it given the case.

I mean prima facie this seems just plain obvious, and it seems to hold up to scrutiny:

1. Your current actions are completely determined by your prior actions
2. You couldn't have done anything different
3. Therefore your 'choices' made are just pathways to the inevitable conclusion

It also seems to hold significant real-life concequences, as it correlates witht he view that criminals, and deeply immoral individuals are mentally unhealthy, instead of just plain evil. Since it is their current brain state that leads to their choices, and their choices really aren't their fault, dispite much of it being self-catalyzed.

The above might seem scary, and I imagine that's why many philosophers hold to a view of compariblism, I just don't see how that position is logically and intellectually tenable. Thoughts?

/rant

Thanks for that n7!! I will definitely check it out.
YouShallKnow
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6/9/2014 10:34:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 7:20:20 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/9/2014 1:53:14 AM, YouShallKnow wrote:
philocristos,

At 6/6/2014 8:07:26 AM, philochristos wrote:
But there are two kinds of determinism--hard determinism and soft determinism. What you appear to object to is the notion that free will (along with moral responsibility) is compatible with hard determinism. And I would agree with you about that.

Hard determinism is the view that every event is the direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling.

Soft determinism makes room for psychological causes. A soft determinist will say that our actions are determined, not merely by prior action, but by our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.

What if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", are in reality also a "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", wouldn't that nullify the distinction between hard and soft determinism?

I don't think it matters what causes our desires. I went into more detail about this on my blog.

http://philochristos.blogspot.com...

But if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then there's seems to be no real difference on your definition of soft and hard determinism.

On your blog link:

>>If Craig is right in thinking that divine determinism removes our responsibility and that libertarian freedom is necessary for moral responsibility, then it would follow that the stronger our desire to do good, the less praiseworthy we are for doing it, and the stronger our desire to do evil, the less blameworthy we are for doing it. The reason is because the stronger our desire to do good or evil, the closer those desires are to determining our actions, and Craig thinks we cannot be responsible for our actions if they are determined by any antecedent conditions, including our own desires and motives.

If a desire removes all moral responsibility in case it is so strong that we cannot help but give in to it, then it would follow that the less influence desire has over our actions, the more responsible we are for them because the less influence our desires have over our actions, the more free we are in the libertarian sense. It would follow that we are most free (and therefore most responsible) when our desires have no influence over our actions at all.

But think about how counter-intuitive that is. It would follow that you are most responsible for your actions when you didn"t mean to do them. You had no plan to do them, no desire to do them, no motive, etc. You are most responsible for your actions when they are accidents that happen for no reason at all.
<<

This I think rest on how you view "desire". If desire is itself determined/beyond our "free-will" (as in my first inquiry), then yap, by libertarian view, our deeds are not so praise/blameworthy. But if desire is itself, in reality, a product of past free choices that which isn't determined, then, no, by libertarian view, our deeds are subject to proper praise/blame.

You seem to assume the former, namely, that desire is itself determined/beyond our "free-will", but libertarians, I guess, view it as the latter.
philochristos
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6/9/2014 10:49:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 10:34:01 PM, YouShallKnow wrote:

But if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then there's seems to be no real difference on your definition of soft and hard determinism.

It seems to me there's a pretty big difference between doing something intentionally and doing it unintentionally.

But if desire is itself, in reality, a product of past free choices that which isn't determined, then, no, by libertarian view, our deeds are subject to proper praise/blame.

I believe I covered this on my blog.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
YouShallKnow
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6/10/2014 12:37:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 10:49:15 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/9/2014 10:34:01 PM, YouShallKnow wrote:

But if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then there's seems to be no real difference on your definition of soft and hard determinism.

It seems to me there's a pretty big difference between doing something intentionally and doing it unintentionally.

If "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then intent, in libertarian sense, is merely an illusion.

But if desire is itself, in reality, a product of past free choices that which isn't determined, then, no, by libertarian view, our deeds are subject to proper praise/blame.

I believe I covered this on my blog.

I don't seem to see it on the same page you linked. Can you paste or repeat it here? Thanks.
Smithereens
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6/10/2014 2:33:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The most fundamental tenet of compatibilism is that one can believe both free-will and determinism to be true simultaneously. In debates in this area, free-will is usually interchanged with moral responsibility, because that is usually what needs to be inferred. If you believe that we are capable of morally meaningful actions, but also accept determinism to be true, you are likely a compatibilist. What are your views on the nature of morality?
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philochristos
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6/10/2014 7:01:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/10/2014 12:37:21 AM, YouShallKnow wrote:
At 6/9/2014 10:49:15 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/9/2014 10:34:01 PM, YouShallKnow wrote:

But if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then there's seems to be no real difference on your definition of soft and hard determinism.

It seems to me there's a pretty big difference between doing something intentionally and doing it unintentionally.

If "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then intent, in libertarian sense, is merely an illusion.

In libertarianism, your actions are not determined by your intent anyway. I'm not advocating libertarianism. I'm advocating compatibilism. Intent is everything in compatibilism.

But if desire is itself, in reality, a product of past free choices that which isn't determined, then, no, by libertarian view, our deeds are subject to proper praise/blame.

I believe I covered this on my blog.

I don't seem to see it on the same page you linked. Can you paste or repeat it here? Thanks.

Here's what I said:

"So far, I have argued that we can be responsible for our actions if they are determined by our own antecedent psychological states, especially our own desires, motives, and inclinations. But what of the cause of those prior psychological states? Some people claim that we must choose them before we can be morally responsible. If they arise from some outside cause, then we cannot be responsible for acting on them.

But that leads to an infinite regress. If you must choose your desires before you can be responsible for acting on them, then the choice of your desires must be determined by an even earlier desire. And that desire must be preceded by an earlier choice which also must be preceded by an earlier desire, etc.

There"s only one of two ways to halt this infinite regress. You can either halt it by beginning with a desire you did not choose (the compatibilist position) or by beginning with a choice that arose spontaneously without any determining desire at all (the libertarian position). Since we can only be morally responsible for actions we did on purpose, and our actions are only on purpose to the degree that they are determined by our own desires and motives, it follows that we cannot take the libertarian position. Ultimately, all of our actions must originate from desires that we did not choose. Otherwise, morality would be impossible altogether."
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Sidewalker
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6/10/2014 7:12:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/5/2014 12:33:54 PM, Envisage wrote:
I am rather ignorant of this field first and foremost, and I would regard myself as a Hard Incompatiblist, as I don't think Free Will exists in the way we traditionally think about it regardless of whether of not determinism is true.

I read the following exchange between Sam Harris (a Deterministic Incompatiblist) and Daniel Dennet regarding Sam Harris' book free will (from which I have read excepts in the library but not cover-to cover yet).

http://www.samharris.org...

It appears to me that most compatibilist arguments for free will involve the redefinition of what free will is, and simply no compelling arguments actually exist for it given the case.

That is Sam Harris' approach, he redefines the debate to suit his agenda, but the fact remains that the free will debate has always been about whether we have the cognitive ability to conceive of future courses of action, deliberate about various reasons for choosing among them, determine our actions on the basis of such deliberation, and control our actions despite the presence of competing desires. If we can exercise these cognitive abilities to act without our actions being unreasonably compromised by external pressure, then we possess free will and human beings are morally responsible causal agents.

I mean prima facie this seems just plain obvious, and it seems to hold up to scrutiny:

1. Your current actions are completely determined by your prior actions
2. You couldn't have done anything different
3. Therefore your 'choices' made are just pathways to the inevitable conclusion

Nonsense, what is "plain obvious" is the self-evident experiential reality that we are morally responsible causal agents which results from the undeniable fact that we are conscious beings.

It also seems to hold significant real-life concequences, as it correlates witht he view that criminals, and deeply immoral individuals are mentally unhealthy, instead of just plain evil. Since it is their current brain state that leads to their choices, and their choices really aren't their fault, dispite much of it being self-catalyzed.

The above might seem scary, and I imagine that's why many philosophers hold to a view of compariblism, I just don't see how that position is logically and intellectually tenable. Thoughts?

/rant

Consciousness has causal influence due to its content, not solely because of the physical aspects of its neural correlates. A conscious state includes a desire or intention, it includes the ability to envision a future state and establish a strategy for attaining that state. That makes it more than a purely physical state, it is a conscious state with reference to a future possibility, and no such reference is part of any purely physical state. Such conscious states can have causal effect to bring about further states for the sake of values and purposes, and intents, values, and purposes are not reducible to the purely physical state of your argument.

Your argument necessarily denies purposeful action or human freedom and responsibility in order to reduce all behavior to purely physical deterministic laws. The argument is refuted by the fact that human beings are subject to both physical causality and the aforementioned teleological causality, which means we are free and responsible causal agents, we can change our conduct for reasons that are not included in the purely physical causation which by definition, does not include intent, values and purpose.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
YouShallKnow
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6/22/2014 11:21:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/10/2014 7:01:59 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/10/2014 12:37:21 AM, YouShallKnow wrote:
At 6/9/2014 10:49:15 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/9/2014 10:34:01 PM, YouShallKnow wrote:

But if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then there's seems to be no real difference on your definition of soft and hard determinism.

It seems to me there's a pretty big difference between doing something intentionally and doing it unintentionally.

If "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then intent, in libertarian sense, is merely an illusion.

In libertarianism, your actions are not determined by your intent anyway. I'm not advocating libertarianism. I'm advocating compatibilism. Intent is everything in compatibilism.

But if intent is determined by other thing, then intent, as widely understood, which seems to include aspect of being your and only your triggering, would seem to be merely illusory. If I understand you, a robot that is programmed to have a good nature would always have a good "intention" right? Would it then be morally praise/blameworthy?
philochristos
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6/23/2014 8:33:38 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/22/2014 11:21:21 PM, YouShallKnow wrote:
At 6/10/2014 7:01:59 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/10/2014 12:37:21 AM, YouShallKnow wrote:
At 6/9/2014 10:49:15 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/9/2014 10:34:01 PM, YouShallKnow wrote:

But if "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then there's seems to be no real difference on your definition of soft and hard determinism.

It seems to me there's a pretty big difference between doing something intentionally and doing it unintentionally.

If "our desires, beliefs, motives, inclinations, biases, etc.", be just a subset of "direct result of a prior blind mechanistic cause, like dominoes falling", then intent, in libertarian sense, is merely an illusion.

In libertarianism, your actions are not determined by your intent anyway. I'm not advocating libertarianism. I'm advocating compatibilism. Intent is everything in compatibilism.

But if intent is determined by other thing, then intent, as widely understood, which seems to include aspect of being your and only your triggering, would seem to be merely illusory. If I understand you, a robot that is programmed to have a good nature would always have a good "intention" right? Would it then be morally praise/blameworthy?

What do you think would have to give rise to a person's intention before it could be real or before we could be responsible for acting on it? I don't think intent or desire are illusory, regardless of what causes them. I can cause another person to have a desire by persuading them, and if they then act on, that doesn't relieve them of responsibility just because the cause of their desire was something outside of them.

I don't think robots can have minds, so they can't have intentions. They behave mechanistically.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
YouShallKnow
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6/23/2014 9:34:55 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/23/2014 8:33:38 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/22/2014 11:21:21 PM, YouShallKnow wrote:
But if intent is determined by other thing, then intent, as widely understood, which seems to include aspect of being your and only your triggering, would seem to be merely illusory. If I understand you, a robot that is programmed to have a good nature would always have a good "intention" right? Would it then be morally praise/blameworthy?

What do you think would have to give rise to a person's intention before it could be real or before we could be responsible for acting on it? I don't think intent or desire are illusory, regardless of what causes them. I can cause another person to have a desire by persuading them, and if they then act on, that doesn't relieve them of responsibility just because the cause of their desire was something outside of them.

I don't think robots can have minds, so they can't have intentions. They behave mechanistically.

His choice of being persuaded and acting will be determined by their previous desire. I'm talking about the very first desire that determines your first and succeeding choices, which then molds your whole character. For instance, if I understand you correctly, a good person has a good first desire which determines his/her first and succeeding good choices, and then their good character.

This seems to me like a good robot that due to a good program. The first desire would be the good program which determines/strictly causes his good output/actions.