05-25-2010 , 12:00 PM
The point is that it doesn't favour anything if it's entirely consistent with all 4 positions. The fact that people may 'feel' or 'think' that they have libertarian free will doesn't necessitate that they actually have it. It may just be an illusion. That sense datum does not support libertarian free will: while we may expect that datum given that libertarianism is true, it is entirely consistent to expect it (even though the prior probability may be lower) given the other 3 positions. Best to just entirely drop that as 'evidence' since it's not in the slightest (sorry).

With that argument, P3 and P2 are entirely consistent with believing in determinism so you don't get the contradiction that you need. An agent can both 'wish' that they could have done otherwise and yet know that they couldn't have done otherwise. There's no contradiction there.
05-25-2010 , 12:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
The point is that it doesn't favour anything if it's entirely consistent with all 4 positions. The fact that people may 'feel' or 'think' that they have libertarian free will doesn't necessitate that they actually have it. It may just be an illusion. That sense datum does not support libertarian free will: while we may expect that datum given that libertarianism is true, it is entirely consistent to expect it (even though the prior probability may be lower) given the other 3 positions. Best to just entirely drop that as 'evidence' since it's not in the slightest (sorry).

With that argument, P3 and P2 are entirely consistent with believing in determinism so you don't get the contradiction that you need. An agent can both 'wish' that they could have done otherwise and yet know that they couldn't have done otherwise. There's no contradiction there.
Ok, given that nothing can be presented to contradict either position and that no evidence can favor one over the other, why hold one belief over the other? It seems that you are just saying that belief in either free will or determinism is just arbitrary, is that correct?

Do you hold that your belief in free will is simply an arbitrary distinction that you make to serve some other purpose, like the ability to hold people accountable?
05-25-2010 , 01:06 PM
Bingo!

BTW, I think that soft determinism/compatibilism is incoherent. Just because I don't think that it's an empirical question and that no rational argument can be given in support of one position rather than another, there's still lots of philosophical work to be done to investigate the various positions (there is still considerable progress in understanding and refinement of the various positions over the years and is still continuing - a topic that I work on).
05-25-2010 , 02:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
Bingo!

BTW, I think that soft determinism/compatibilism is incoherent. Just because I don't think that it's an empirical question and that no rational argument can be given in support of one position rather than another, there's still lots of philosophical work to be done to investigate the various positions (there is still considerable progress in understanding and refinement of the various positions over the years and is still continuing - a topic that I work on).
I think you hold something generally similar to the position of Thomas Aquinas on this issue, according to whom the denial of free will is among "the oddest philosophical opinions," because it is inconsistent (except by extraordinary mental leaps) with such notions as responsibility, deliberation, exhortation, precept, punishment, praise, and blame, all of which are foundational notions for any moral philosophy. The denial of free will is therefore like the denial of the reality of motion (by those philosophers who followed Parmenides): it carries absurd consequences and destroys entire branches of philosophy, but nevertheless the arguments of one who makes such a denial cannot be directly refuted.
05-25-2010 , 03:01 PM
If determinism is true (and AFAIK it is) then the denial of free will is totally coherent...I differ from Aquinas, but I take your point.
05-25-2010 , 03:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
Bingo!

BTW, I think that soft determinism/compatibilism is incoherent. Just because I don't think that it's an empirical question and that no rational argument can be given in support of one position rather than another, there's still lots of philosophical work to be done to investigate the various positions (there is still considerable progress in understanding and refinement of the various positions over the years and is still continuing - a topic that I work on).
Ok, fair enough. Do you think that there could be evidence for either side? If so, do you have any idea of something that if discovered to be true it would lend credence to one side over the other?
05-25-2010 , 03:05 PM
I've said many times that I don't think that it's a matter of evidence...it's not an empirical question and the question is structurally underdetermined in the first place. None of the positions is falsifiable or capable of empirical confirmation.
05-25-2010 , 04:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
I've said many times that I don't think that it's a matter of evidence...it's not an empirical question and the question is structurally underdetermined in the first place. None of the positions is falsifiable or capable of empirical confirmation.
Ok, sorry. I did not know if you were saying currently there is no evidence or that evidence is not possible. Thanks for your replies.
05-25-2010 , 04:54 PM
durka,

What would be your response to G Strawson's basic argument - the a priori argument that ultimate moral responsibility is incoherent? Or, if you prefer, can you describe/hypothesize any indeterministic mental process which coheres with libertarian free will? You seem to think that there's some sort intuitive prima facie parity between free will deniers and libertarians, but I don't see it. The pessimistic argument is pretty straightforward and easy to grasp - the libertarian alternatives are (as someone who would like libertarians to be right) disappointing at best. About the only libertarian line I can follow metaphilosophically is analogous to cognitive closure: that humans are not smart enough to understand free will. But that's not really an intuition; that's a gambit.
05-25-2010 , 05:26 PM
I'd have to review the argument but I don't really have time (I wrote a summary paper on it last year but it's on my other - dead - computer atm). If you could summarize the argument it may refresh my memory (IIRC my criticism is that it begs the question...shocker).
05-25-2010 , 05:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
If determinism is true (and AFAIK it is) then the denial of free will is totally coherent...I differ from Aquinas, but I take your point.
Wait, I thought you believed in libertarian free will? Or are you saying determinism and free will are compatible and that's what you believe? And why do you think determinism is true?

I haven't been following the thread super closely (reading this as I leave work), so apologies if this has been covered.
05-25-2010 , 05:41 PM
Here's the link http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/V014SECT3

I'll just quote the penultimate paragraph here, but there's a step by step argument in the link.

Quote:
The pessimists' argument may seem contrived, but essentially the same argument can be given in a more natural form as follows. (i) It is undeniable that one is the way one is, initially, as a result of heredity and early experience. (ii) It is undeniable that these are things for which one cannot be held to be in any way responsible (this might not be true if there were reincarnation, but reincarnation would just shift the problem backwards). (iii) One cannot at any later stage of one's life hope to accede to true or ultimate responsibility for the way one is by trying to change the way one already is as a result of one's heredity and previous experience. For one may well try to change oneself, but (iv) both the particular way in which one is moved to try to change oneself, and the degree of success in one's attempt at change, will be determined by how one already is as a result of heredity and previous experience. And (v) any further changes that one can bring about only after one has brought about certain initial changes will in turn be determined, via the initial changes, by heredity and previous experience. (vi) This may not be the whole story, for it may be that some changes in the way one is are traceable to the influence of indeterministic or random factors. But (vii) it is foolish to suppose that indeterministic or random factors, for which one is ex hypothesi in no way responsible, can in themselves contribute to one's being truly or ultimately responsible for how one is.
05-25-2010 , 06:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt R.
Wait, I thought you believed in libertarian free will? Or are you saying determinism and free will are compatible and that's what you believe? And why do you think determinism is true?

I haven't been following the thread super closely (reading this as I leave work), so apologies if this has been covered.
Read through that post again and see if you understand it the 2nd time through...that's not at all what that post means.
05-25-2010 , 06:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
Here's the link http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/V014SECT3

I'll just quote the penultimate paragraph here, but there's a step by step argument in the link.
It's coming back to me. The libertarian doesn't require "ultimate" responsibility viz. responsible for 100% of 100% of one's actions. Instead, it merely requires that one could be responsible for at least one "free" act (Kane would call this a self forming action - SFA). While I don't agree with how Kane tries to establish the plausibility of a physicalist libertarianism, he does set out a good sufficient condition for responsibility that is really minimal.
05-25-2010 , 06:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
It's coming back to me. The libertarian doesn't require "ultimate" responsibility viz. responsible for 100% of 100% of one's actions. Instead, it merely requires that one could be responsible for at least one "free" act (Kane would call this a self forming action - SFA). While I don't agree with how Kane tries to establish the plausibility of a physicalist libertarianism, he does set out a good sufficient condition for responsibility that is really minimal.
His reply to that is in the last section http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/V014SECT6

I should say that I don't understand why he strains to use ultimate. The distinction between practical responsibility (i.e. identifying an entity with proximate casual influence) and ultimate responsibility (i.e. what we need to have in order to be fairly praised/blamed for our actions) is fine, but it leads to the kind of objection you are raising about what is meant by ultimate. The pessimistic argument works just as well against "at least one free act".
05-25-2010 , 06:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
While I don't agree with how Kane tries to establish the plausibility of a physicalist libertarianism, he does set out a good sufficient condition for responsibility that is really minimal.
I don't know much about the kinds of libertarians there are, although I have encountered Kane. Do most libertarians think there will be a mechanistic/cognitive account of the faculty of free will eventually?
05-25-2010 , 07:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
I don't know much about the kinds of libertarians there are, although I have encountered Kane. Do most libertarians think there will be a mechanistic/cognitive account of the faculty of free will eventually?
In a word: yes.

But, as I've indicated, no such confirmation is likely to be possible given my charge of underdetermination.
05-25-2010 , 09:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
In a word: yes.

But, as I've indicated, no such confirmation is likely to be possible given my charge of underdetermination.
Durka in your opinion.
How strong is free will?

I opine it is weak.
For the most part we are automatons.
05-25-2010 , 10:28 PM
Pretty meaningless question IMO. Bordering on a category mistake.
05-25-2010 , 11:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
I don't know much about the kinds of libertarians there are, although I have encountered Kane. Do most libertarians think there will be a mechanistic/cognitive account of the faculty of free will eventually?
Libertarian is a political philosophy or party.
05-25-2010 , 11:06 PM
level or see wiki
05-25-2010 , 11:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
In a word: yes.

But, as I've indicated, no such confirmation is likely to be possible given my charge of underdetermination.
can you restate this quickly or link to post #, sloth consumes me
05-25-2010 , 11:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
level or see wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian

clown
05-25-2010 , 11:29 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryanb9
Once again, you bring down the IQ of this thread by including your presence and adding nothing.
05-25-2010 , 11:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
can you restate this quickly or link to post #, sloth consumes me
I leave this as an exercise for the reader...

m