06-05-2010 , 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
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This is a statement as fact of something which has not been demonstrated. Unless you mean that "if there is free will, there must be intentionality" instead of "if there is intentionality, there must be free will."
For someone who claims to have read and essentially memorized a 50 page tome on consciousness, I don't know how a simple logic statement can be so confusing to you.

P is required for Q.
-> P is necessary for Q
-> If we have Q, then we must also have P.
-> If Q then P.

Let

P = Intentionality
Q = Free will

-> If there is free will, there must be intentionality
06-05-2010 , 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
For someone who claims to have read and essentially memorized a 50 page tome on consciousness, I don't know how a simple logic statement can be so confusing to you.

P is required for Q.
-> P is necessary for Q
-> If we have Q, then we must also have P.
-> If Q then P.

Let

P = Intentionality
Q = Free will

-> If there is free will, there must be intentionality
You require that Q is sufficient for P.
06-05-2010 , 01:26 PM
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You require that [free will] is sufficient for [intentionality].
Assertions:

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If determinism is true, my consciousness is just as much consciousness as a rock rolling down a hill, or a tree choosing the direction in which to grow its roots.
* If no free will, then no consciousness
-> If consciousness, then free will

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Some conceptions of consciousness require intentionality.
* If intentionality, then consciousness.

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* If free will, then intentionality.

I seem to have drawn myself a nice consistent picture.

If consciousness, then free will.
If free will, then intentionality.
If intentionality, then consciousness.

I have stated that none of the statements (consciousness, free will, intentionality) are empirically provable. So I know that there's no internal contradiction in what I've said so far.

Maybe somewhere I said something that caused confusion?

Edit: And the only claim to truth value to any of these is that I've asserted that my experience of free willed decisions is sufficient for me to take the position that I have free will.

Edit #2: And if I lose free will, I don't know how to make sense of either of the other two concepts without redefining them.

Edit #3: Similarly, if I lose consciousness, I don't know what free will looks like nor intentionality.

Edit #4: What were we talking about? Maybe I'm the one who has gotten confused.

Last edited by Aaron W.; 06-05-2010 at 01:39 PM.
06-05-2010 , 01:45 PM
It was a very small nitpick. IIRC, somethings (p) can be a necessary condition for another (q) while q is not sufficient for p. But, that's IIRC.

Is intentionality required for free will? I was claiming that free will is necessary for intentionality.

I would agree that (in my arguments) intentionality is a sufficient condition for free will...but I made my nitpick post because you may need to add a premise (or statement) that intentionality is sufficient for free will. (Though, from your post you appear to say that intentionality is necessary for free will...and I'm not sure that that's true.)
06-05-2010 , 01:53 PM
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IIRC, somethings (p) can be a necessary condition for another (q) while q is not sufficient for p. But, that's IIRC.
Interesting. I've never heard of that distinction.

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(Though, from your post you appear to say that intentionality is necessary for free will...and I'm not sure that that's true.)
In my head, they're all very tightly related. Brian is right at the point where he says I can't argue these points effectively. My problem is more from a lack of formal education in the nuances of all these terms (and the appropriate related terms and concepts). I can only get so far before things get fuzzy, and the fuzziness happens before the point where I can adequately distinguish between the different concepts.
06-05-2010 , 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
Assertions:

* If no free will, then no consciousness
-> If consciousness, then free will

* If intentionality, then consciousness.

* If free will, then intentionality.

I seem to have drawn myself a nice consistent picture.

If consciousness, then free will.
If free will, then intentionality.
If intentionality, then consciousness.

I have stated that none of the statements (consciousness, free will, intentionality) are empirically provable. So I know that there's no internal contradiction in what I've said so far.

Maybe somewhere I said something that caused confusion?

Edit: And the only claim to truth value to any of these is that I've asserted that my experience of free willed decisions is sufficient for me to take the position that I have free will.
There is nothing wrong with making assertions. The problem is that assertions are not particularly convincing. Also, it can be argued that your experience of free will is just the experience of something else (being the immediate cause, not being forced by immediate external causes, or whatever) that you have decided has implications that it may or not have.

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Edit #2: And if I lose free will, I don't know how to make sense of either of the other two concepts without redefining them.
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Edit #3: Similarly, if I lose consciousness, I don't know what free will looks like nor intentionality.
I completely agree with these in the case of you. If I lose any of the concepts I believe in, it would make me have to redefine the other concepts I have as well.

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Edit #4: What were we talking about? Maybe I'm the one who has gotten confused.
Not confused. Just convinced that your position is the only possible position that explains your experiences. This is not exactly uncommon.
06-05-2010 , 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
For someone who claims to have read and essentially memorized a 50 page tome on consciousness, I don't know how a simple logic statement can be so confusing to you.

P is required for Q.
-> P is necessary for Q
-> If we have Q, then we must also have P.
-> If Q then P.

Let

P = Hair
Q = Dog

[b]Hair[b] is required for dog
-> If there is dog, there must be hair
But it does not hold true that if their is hair, there must be dog.

Don't mess with me on logic statements
06-05-2010 , 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
Not confused. Just convinced that your position is the only possible position that explains your experiences. This is not exactly uncommon.
Huh? I think my experiences are fully explainable by determinism.

I just don't believe determinism is true.
06-05-2010 , 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
Don't mess with me on logic statements
LOL

I said:

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Originally Posted by me
which I demonstrated translates to

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Originally Posted by me
If there is free will, there must be intentionality
You said:

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Originally Posted by you
Unless you mean that "if there is free will, there must be intentionality" instead of "if there is intentionality, there must be free will."
which translates to

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Originally Posted by you said I said
if there is intentionality, there must be free will.
Stop being asinine.
06-05-2010 , 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
But it does not hold true that if their is hair, there must be dog.

Don't mess with me on logic statements
wtf? he's not suggesting that hair is sufficient for dogness.

he's suggesting that hair is necessary for dogness; therefore, dogness is sufficient for hairness.

(FWIW, bad example since hair isn't a necessary condition...but that's a huge side issue of definitions and particularly of natural kinds.)
06-05-2010 , 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
LOL

...
Stop being asinine.
I completely misunderstood what you meant with your earlier statement. I thought you meant intentionality is necessary for free will equals free will is necessary for intentionality.

I maintained that misunderstanding through the follow up post.

My fault for misunderstanding you. My error
06-05-2010 , 04:20 PM
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wtf? he's not suggesting that hair is sufficient for dogness.

he's suggesting that hair is necessary for dogness; therefore, dogness is sufficient for hairness.

(FWIW, bad example since hair isn't a necessary condition...but that's a huge side issue of definitions and particularly of natural kinds.)
So, he thinks all dogs have hair? What a strange idea!

Intentionality and free will are not necessary conditions for each other in either direction, imo, so it would have been an excellent example, had I understood his post.
06-05-2010 , 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
Huh? I think my experiences are fully explainable by determinism.

I just don't believe determinism is true.
I don't think that anyone would suggest that consciousness doesn't exist. That idea went out with the pure behaviorists.

Given what you have said earlier, I don't see how the first sentence makes sense.

?
06-05-2010 , 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
I don't think that anyone would suggest that consciousness doesn't exist. That idea went out with the pure behaviorists.

Given what you have said earlier, I don't see how the first sentence makes sense.

?
Given that nobody is quite sure what "consciousness" really is, I don't see this a problem. It it ultimately turns out that determinism is true, then the conception of "consciousness" that I have is wrong (just like those other things).
06-08-2010 , 09:35 AM
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If determinism is true, then how you respond isn't up to you...it's up to the universe...geebus.
The two aren't mutually exclusive, so this is just an unsupported assertion.

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Because the 'proximate' cause is only arbitrary circle drawing. The only 'cause' is really the ultimate cause. At least, 'proximal causality' in determinism is not sufficient for responsibility.
More unsupported assertions. Yet again, you haven't given a single reason for anyone to believe any of this.

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If an atom were 1 micrometer in a different direction than it is then the universe would be different...so what?
Uh, you're the one who claimed that there would be no difference. You literally claimed that there was no difference. So what? So you were wrong, that's what.

Now you're trying to backpedal and act like the significance of the difference is what matters. You're not going to get away that easily, and if you want to talk about the standards according to which we evaluate the significance of an event then you should do so explicitly in the first place.
06-08-2010 , 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by BTirish
With regard to (A), madnak is absolutely correct that this general intuition of freedom has not been expressed in any obvious or articulate way by the vast majority of ancient cultures. Despite his suggestion earlier in the thread, however, this is not unique to the notion of freedom: "person," "self," "self-consciousness," "self-confidence," and "niceness" are all terms very familiar to us for which there are not any universally attested obvious correlates in ancient writings. There are those who have made exactly the same argument about "self" that madnak is making about "libertarian free will" here: that it's just a Western construct. Given that madnak's own definition of choice involves reference to oneself as the proximate (but determined) cause of chosen actions, I assume he wouldn't agree with such an argument about "self."
You assume wrong. An implicit acceptance of the Western sense of "self" is expedient, but I in no way believe it's "true." I don't believe in "niceness" or "self-consciousness" or "self-confidence" either, except as references for particular ranges of behavior. I don't believe that any of these things "really" exist.

And I think the suggestion that they do exist is pretty ludicrous. On what basis can anyone make such a claim?

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In any event, my response to madnak's argument about (A) is this: the vast majority of people, in the ancient world and today, live pre-philosophical (or non-philosophical) lives in which the language they use rarely expresses anything newly insightful about the human condition. I include myself to a certain degree in this: I study philosophy, but I know I'm not particularly original or insightful. One of the basic difference between pre-philosophical experience and philosophy is that philosophy tries to express the things most taken for granted by non-philosophers. That those with philosophically-disposed minds employ novel terms does not mean that they are inventing the notion from nothing. For this reason, the absence of historical usage of terms for "free will" doesn't necessarily mean very much about whether or not human beings are actually free or even whether the average person has some intuition about freedom.
This suggests that a naive pre-philosophical perspective is not enough to justify claims of libertarian free will (which is hardly a pre-philosophical notion). That's perfectly fine, if there exists some kind of reasoning that does support the notion of libertarian free will - but no such reasoning has been presented. That reasoning could be as simple as some credible argument that the concept of libertarian free will really does correspond to some kind of basic human experience - but in the discussion on free will there is no such reasoning presented (unless it begs the question, per Jib's attempts) - the correspondence of libertarian free will with how people experience the world is merely assumed.

The onus is still on those making the claim to support it. No amount of handwaving can change that.

I do have to say, this is the first time in my whole history of posting on 2+2 that someone has actually responded to my point about

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As for (A) itself, I would agree that most people live their lives in such a way that they have no intuitive sense about the truth or falsity of determinism with regard to their own choices. People for the most part live unreflective lives in which they don't articulate for themselves anything about these sorts of difficult issues.

That being said, I think the average reasonably educated person in America is such that, in a conversation about these issues, they will have an intuition in favor of what has been articulated by durkadurka33 as libertarianism and against determinism and compatibilism. That is, I think most people will usually think that "the ability to do / have done otherwise" is necessary for moral responsibility. With durkadurka33, I share this intuition. EDIT: I'm aware of the limited character of my claim (today and in America) and I'm not presenting this as evidence by itself in favor of libertarian free will. Just making an observation.
I agree with you; but most people sharing that intuition in a country where such a notion of free will is literally mentioned in most children's television cartoons is hardly surprising. Furthermore, many people (including myself) claim to have no such intuition. If free will is intuitively obvious, then I'd contend the intuition of free will has to be universal. A majority of educated Americans isn't sufficient to hold up such a strong claim.
06-08-2010 , 09:54 AM
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Actually, the dominant position is compatibilism.
While I can buy that this is the dominant position among experts on the subject (easily in fact, as I think it's the only position that is especially rational), it seems unlikely to me that most educated Americans (I'm thinking college graduates) are compatibilists. So I have to ask, the dominant position among whom?
06-08-2010 , 10:03 AM
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Give me some criteria to determine which between two theories in an empirically underdetermined situation is 'more likely.' Which probability are you speaking of (what interpretation)?

(Hint: this is an issue that's been a problem for philosophers, logicians, and mathematicians for at least a few hundred years)
In science, if two hypotheses predict the same empirical results, then the simpler hypothesis (that including fewer elements) is accepted. At a minimum, any hypothesis proposing some kind of extra (extraneous) variables bears the burden of proof. The principles of parsimony and economy are how we "pare down" the (infinite) range of possibilities.

Most epistemologies derived from pragmatism (including my own) take a similar approach. And even those that aren't typically acknowledge that the onus is on the one suggesting the addition of the unnecessary element.

Why is free will such an exception? Since you appear to accept that both ideas are equally consistent with our observations, why do you accept the one that throws extra factors into the mix and assert that it needs no justification?
06-08-2010 , 10:06 AM
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It's meaningless because it presupposes that there's some choice; that is, that there's some ability "to do otherwise" which is meaningless in a deterministic system. ducy?
Except that nowhere is choice defined as an ability to do otherwise given identical conditions (except in the tracts of libertarians themselves). Choice is generally defined as selection from a range of options, which is clearly possible under determinism.

Your attempt to equivocate here isn't going to fly.
06-08-2010 , 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by BTirish
A brief summary of what is a complicated issue in St. Thomas's thought will be difficult, but I'll do what I can.

On the view of Thomas, "to will" is a generic term that can signify a number of distinct acts. For our purposes, two of these acts are very important to distinguish: intention and choice. Intention is the act by which one wills something as an end. A choice (or electio in his Latin terminology) is the act by which some means is preferred for the attainment of an intended end. (In this, Thomas is following the view of Aristotle, which is spelled out in the Nicomachean Ethics.) Thomas thus draws a distinction between intending an end and choosing the means through which the end is attained. The distinction between intention and choice thus depends upon the distinction between ends and means.

With regard to end and the intention of ends, St. Thomas asserts that happiness is the general end that human beings necessarily intend whenever we think of it, such that for the most part everything we will is for the sake of happiness. A human being is thus not free to reject happiness. This is a consequence, on his view, of another claim: that the general end of the human will itself is "the good in general." Whatever human beings will, we will because we think that it is good. We never will something simply as evil or for the sake of evil; if we will something that we know is evil, we do so because we think that it is nevertheless good here and now for us.

Human beings necessarily will happiness (at least whenever they think of it): that is, about the willing of happiness, there is no freedom. But of course "happiness" isn't the name of some specific object or act: it's the general name for the fulfillment that we are seeking in the attainment of good things. There is obviously tremendous disagreement among human beings about what happiness actually consists in. We agree that we want happiness, but we disagree about what it actually is. In essence, then, our practical reasoning is ultimately always reasoning about how we are going to attain happiness--the general fulfillment and satisfaction in good things. In general, we order our lives ultimately for the sake of happiness, with various means to happiness taking on the role of proximate ends.

If it is ever the case that we necessarily recognize that some means is necessarily constitutive of or instrumental for happiness, then St. Thomas says that we will necessarily will this means for the sake of happiness. But he denies that this is ever absolutely the case in normal human life: there is nothing absolutely necessary about the reasoning by which we conclude that this or that will conduce to our happiness. This is the foundation of his claim that the act of choice is free, along with the following claim: that the character of human intellectual life is such that we not only make judgments about things, but make judgments about our judgments (and judgments about our judgments about our judgments etc.) with no necessary end to the process of deliberation except when we proceed to make a choice.

A number of posters in this thread have taken for granted that human reasoning proceeds according to deterministic necessity, and then reasonably argued that it would follow that choices must also be necessary. Thomas would agree with the force of the argument but deny the antecedent: the absence of necessity in choices must be grounded in a lack of necessity in our practical reasoning.

There's much, much more to say, but I'll leave it at that for now.
The real crux of libertarian free will is indeterminism (well, incompatibilism is arguably even more important, but they're both relevant). Nothing in this account suggests indeterminism (unless you believe uncertainty implies indeterminism, and you haven't given any reason why that would be the case).
06-08-2010 , 10:16 AM
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But everything you ever did, will do, and could do is already determined well before your existence.
By the way, I forgot to call you out on this blatant straw man.

You already accepted my definition of determinism, so equivocating like this is out of line.

Determinism typically does not hold any one time index as having pre-eminence. It's no more meaningful to say that my actions were determined well before my existence than it is to say that my actions will be determined well after my death. It is simply wrong to say that my actions are already determined - in every sense in which the term "already" can be said to apply, it does not apply to my actions.
06-08-2010 , 10:21 AM
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Except that nowhere is choice defined as an ability to do otherwise given identical conditions (except in the tracts of libertarians themselves). Choice is generally defined as selection from a range of options, which is clearly possible under determinism.

Your attempt to equivocate here isn't going to fly.
THERE ARE NO OPTIONS TO SELECT FROM

ducy?
06-08-2010 , 10:21 AM
More walls of text...
06-08-2010 , 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
If determinism is true, whether you were going to punish someone or not was already determined as well. If you punish someone, it's not as if you could *NOT* have punished him, and if you did not punish him, it's not as if you *COULD* have punished him. Pragmatism has nothing to do with it.

The question is meaningless because the script has already been written and everyone is just going through the motions.
Again, see my above post. Given the definition of determinism I've given (and most any credible definition) this is nonsense. "Already" can't even apply (it's a syntax error here, not to mention a category error).

My definition explicitly shows that there is no script and that if there were, it would exist outside of time and not at a particular time index.

Your point applies to predestination, not to determinism (which is a wholly different concept). If you can't tell the difference between predestination and determinism, then you're working at an extremely naive level here and ought to step back and get a grasp on the basics before proceeding. If you can tell the difference, then conflating the two is egregiously disingenuous.

We are not discussing predestination here, and the both of you should have some scrap of intellectual honesty and quit bringing it up. It has nothing to do with the debate but it sufficiently confusing to those who aren't familiar with the subject that it will throw them off (and derail the whole thread in the process).
06-08-2010 , 10:31 AM
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