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durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC)

07-01-2010 , 02:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
Right, this is the view I'm asking about. So how do you think that works? If a person could not have done otherwise than he did, it seems impossible to me to justify retributive punishment.
Okay, I've been meaning to respond to this, but have been distracted. So let's see how this works. Let's say that punishment for retributive reasons cannot be justified. Presumably, the argument is that responsibility is necessary for retribution to be just, and people are never responsible, thus retribution is never just.

Now, we can respond by saying that perhaps punishment can be justified on consequentialist grounds instead. Thus, in essence, claiming that moral responsibility cannot justify retributivism because retributivism is not justifiable. The problem here is that an acceptance of the same moral intuition that leads us to claim that retributive punishment is not justified (that we shouldn't punish people for something over which they had no control) also rules out consequentialism as a justification for punishment. That is, presumably our consequentialist-based punishment of people is also for something over which they had no control, even if something else (i.e. good consequences) will result from such punishment.

Note here that if you believe that this something else, in this case the positive consequences, can justify our punishing "innocent" people, then that opens the door for an alternative form of justification for retributive punishment of people for something over which they had no control as well, as the intuition that led to your rejection of retribution is not insuperable.

But perhaps, you think that even this kind of punishment isn't justified. That is, maybe you think that punishment is never justified. But why not? After all, it seems like saying it is not justified implies that the punisher shouldn't do it. But that is manifestly incorrect. After all, the punisher has no control over whether or not he punishes anyone, and so is also free of blame. In other words, there doesn't seem to be any normativity left at all.

And here, I'll go back and say that this is strongly counterintuitive. If you think that any normativity regarding action (including instrumental) cannot be justified, then your view of human action is very unusual.

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Well, I assume you agree that theistic spirituality is not possible without the belief in God, and if spirtuality without God nevertheless requires a belief in something extraphysical, then I still dispute that needing to make sense of that kind of spiritual life is any kind of reason to believe in something extraphysical.
I think theistic spirituality is very possible without belief in God. It is a spirituality that misidentifies the object of the spiritual experience. I also think spirituality (by which I mean those experiences we call spiritual or religious) doesn't require a belief in the extra-physical. For instance, LSD. Or meditation. Essentially, we've re-interpreted spiritual experiences as not being experiences of a divine realm, but rather as chemical-based experiences "happening" in our brains.

It is possible that we could do the same thing regarding morality. If we accept an error theory about moral concepts, we can be an eliminativist about "moral responsibility," and try to come up with a new theory to explain whatever the folk theory of morality was supposed to explain.

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Concenring your second point, I agree that it becomes very difficult to make sense of our prephilosophical emotional life if one thinks moral responsibility is incoherent (what would then 'explain' emotional life would just be cognitive science), but that doesn't make the argument against the possibility of moral responsibility theoretically weaker.
I don't understand. Are you saying that our emotional life then doesn't exist, or doesn't need to be explained? (Also note that I don't identify "emotions" with "feelings," but I think they also involve some cognitive features such as judgements or perceptions).
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by madnak
The Brits are subjected to plenty of propaganda through their media, just like any culture.
My statement was meant in the more specific way that your statement on propaganda is parallel to my 'Dr. Who is propaganda for alien protectors' statement.

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It's not people struggling over decisions. It's decisions that have explicitly magical properties and specific values.
Oh, now I see your point. It is fictional characters doing clearly fictional things that is the propaganda.

I totally agree with this. I don't let my son watch Naruto because of the clear propaganda of people acting in a magical way and summoning giant frogs.

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That's absurd. Personal interactions are probably the main vector for cultural indoctrination. Anecdotal evidence can't establish, of course, that this value or that value is being transmitted within a particular culture. But there are few quantifiable ways to precisely measure that in the first place, so anecdotes have their place.
Are you trying to say propaganda = cultural indoctrination?

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What do you mean by "obscure?" Does that mean "uncommon in American culture?" If so, you're begging the question.
No, it was a caveat added to my request so I don't have to work that hard.

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If not, the traditional Buddhist belief that the abiding self is an illusion. Or the belief that the soul exists but is neither indivisible nor eternal.
Please tell me that you meant to type that elsewhere. If not, there is such a thing as a seqwe. You should add one between your two seemingly unrelated statements.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 09:06 PM
I am wondering about something.

Let's imagine hypothetical experiment: we copy universe infinite times and observe certain person's actions in each of these universes. If his actions are the same in each of these cloned universes is this result compatible with free will?
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 09:26 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gg911gg
I am wondering about something.

Let's imagine hypothetical experiment: we copy universe infinite times and observe certain person's actions in each of these universes. If his actions are the same in each of these cloned universes is this result compatible with free will?
chaos theory predicts that in dome systems events with similar initial conditions will arrive at very different results.

i would conject that any large extremely complex system, ie stock market, with the same exact same initial conditions would arrive at separate results at any particular point in time even if the mean as time increased were identical.

ie random stuff happens
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 10:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by 11t
ie random stuff happens
Obviously, I assumed random stuff doesn't happen in my hypothetical scenario. My question was not if cloned universes would arrive at different results. My question was if cloned universes wouldn't arrive at different results would that be incompatible with free will?

Last edited by gg911gg; 07-01-2010 at 10:10 PM.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 10:06 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gg911gg
Obviously, I assumed random stuff doesn't happen in my hypothetical scenario. My question was not if cloned universes would arrive at different results, but if cloned universes didn't arrive at different results would that be incompatible with free will?
your double negative confuses me
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 10:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by 11t
your double negative confuses me
I don't see any double negative, besides I don't really see how this debate is relevant.

I wasn't asking whether or not random stuff happens.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 10:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gg911gg
Obviously, I assumed random stuff doesn't happen in my hypothetical scenario. My question was not if cloned universes would arrive at different results. My question was if cloned universes wouldn't arrive at different results would that be incompatible with free will?
If you think determinism means that all universes with the same starting conditions will have the same ending conditions, then whether or not you think free will is compatible with this universe depends on whether or not you are a compatibilist. In this discussion, durka has been arguing that it is not compatible, and madnak that it is.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 10:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Original Position
If you think determinism means that all universes with the same starting conditions will have the same ending conditions, then whether or not you think free will is compatible with this universe depends on whether or not you are a compatibilist. In this discussion, durka has been arguing that it is not compatible, and madnak that it is.
Hm, looks like I didn't really make myself clear

I know libertarian free will isn't compatible with determinism.

I wondered if is it possible that all universes with the same starting condition have the same ending condition and at the same time aren't necessarily determined. Is it possible that a person would always choose same actions in same scenarios and still had free will in libertarian sense?

If it still doesn't make sense you can just ignore the post, I don't want to cluster an interesting thread.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-01-2010 , 11:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
Or you're too cynical. Brian's points there are the right attitude. I tell my students to write their papers as if they're explaining it to a 6 year old.
+1 with caveats.

The point of communicating is to pass knowledge/thoughts.

If you can't make your thoughts clear to others, that is an indication that your thoughts themselves are not clear.

Evidence (but not proof): I was able to explain calculus to my 10 year old son this evening in about 1/2 an hour. He can't do the calculations, but he understands the ideas behind the calculations.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 12:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gg911gg
Hm, looks like I didn't really make myself clear

I know libertarian free will isn't compatible with determinism.

I wondered if is it possible that all universes with the same starting condition have the same ending condition and at the same time aren't necessarily determined. Is it possible that a person would always choose same actions in same scenarios and still had free will in libertarian sense?

If it still doesn't make sense you can just ignore the post, I don't want to cluster an interesting thread.
The answer to your question is not settled.

I've argued that such a scenario is incompatible with free will; Madnak that it is compatible.

I think that his argument is inconsistent and he (for some inexplicable reason, IMO) disagrees.

Welcome to the thread, though
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 12:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Original Position
Presumably, the argument is that responsibility is necessary for retribution to be just, and people are never responsible, thus retribution is never just.
Yeah, that'd be the argument. Just fyi, although I'm pretty comfortable with the free will literature, I'm a novice on moral theory.

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Now, we can respond by saying that perhaps punishment can be justified on consequentialist grounds instead. Thus, in essence, claiming that moral responsibility cannot justify retributivism because retributivism is not justifiable. The problem here is that an acceptance of the same moral intuition that leads us to claim that retributive punishment is not justified (that we shouldn't punish people for something over which they had no control) also rules out consequentialism as a justification for punishment. That is, presumably our consequentialist-based punishment of people is also for something over which they had no control, even if something else (i.e. good consequences) will result from such punishment.
I think your analysis is right, but then I'd want to say that consequentialist-based punishment is not punishment proper; if consequentialist-based punishment means roughly "lock up the serial killer so he won't kill again" or deterrence. It's still true that you can argue that consequentialist-based punishment is unjust (anti-utilitarianism?), but I don't think it's unjust for the same reason.

Hell is a good vehicle for making this distinction. People in hell pose no threat to anyone, so there's no need to worry about future harm they will cause. They're there because they deserve to be. That's how I conceive retributive punishment (and if nobody is ultimately responsible for what they do, I think retribution is deeply problematic).

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Note here that if you believe that this something else, in this case the positive consequences, can justify our punishing "innocent" people, then that opens the door for an alternative form of justification for retributive punishment of people for something over which they had no control as well, as the intuition that led to your rejection of retribution is not insuperable.
I don't think I'm grasping your point here. What would be the alternative form of justification for retributive punishment?

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But perhaps, you think that even this kind of punishment isn't justified. That is, maybe you think that punishment is never justified. But why not? After all, it seems like saying it is not justified implies that the punisher shouldn't do it. But that is manifestly incorrect. After all, the punisher has no control over whether or not he punishes anyone, and so is also free of blame. In other words, there doesn't seem to be any normativity left at all.

And here, I'll go back and say that this is strongly counterintuitive. If you think that any normativity regarding action (including instrumental) cannot be justified, then your view of human action is very unusual.
I think this is an interesting topic. My view is that you are making a mistake in the first paragraph. While it's true that the punisher does not have any control over whether he punishes anyone, I don't think this implies that it's impossible to have normativity; I don't see a problem with saying that the punisher ought not punish anyone. Let me stop and say what I'm understanding normativity to mean: saying how things ought to be. I think normativity is compatible with denying moral responsibility. Why would it be the case that because the punisher is destined to punish, it's wrong to say that he ought not punish? It seems that you are requiring that what's asserted after an ought must be possible in this universe; but why?

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I think theistic spirituality is very possible without belief in God. It is a spirituality that misidentifies the object of the spiritual experience. I also think spirituality (by which I mean those experiences we call spiritual or religious) doesn't require a belief in the extra-physical. For instance, LSD. Or meditation. Essentially, we've re-interpreted spiritual experiences as not being experiences of a divine realm, but rather as chemical-based experiences "happening" in our brains.
Unless you want to discuss this more, I'm going to give only a minimal reply. I'll grant you that spirituality is possible without belief in the extra-physical, but if you are a theist, your spiritual life revolves around and requires the belief in God; can you be a theist and not believe in God? If you grant me the sense in which I'm saying theistic spirituality requires the belief in God, then my only point was that the need to explain/retain/maintain that kind of spiritual life (edit) does *not* contribute to any argument for the existence of God.

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I don't understand. Are you saying that our emotional life then doesn't exist, or doesn't need to be explained? (Also note that I don't identify "emotions" with "feelings," but I think they also involve some cognitive features such as judgements or perceptions).
I'm saying that I think pessimistic/hard incompatibilism is true; I think that free will and moral responsibility are fundamentally incoherent. Of course, this abstract result is problematic for non-philosophical life, like when someone doesn't flush the only toilet at the gym and you want to find that person and choke them til they are purple.

Last edited by smrk; 07-02-2010 at 12:56 AM.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 12:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gg911gg
Hm, looks like I didn't really make myself clear

I know libertarian free will isn't compatible with determinism.

I wondered if is it possible that all universes with the same starting condition have the same ending condition and at the same time aren't necessarily determined. Is it possible that a person would always choose same actions in same scenarios and still had free will in libertarian sense?

If it still doesn't make sense you can just ignore the post, I don't want to cluster an interesting thread.
Okay, I didn't understand your original scenario. So yes, it is possible that the person would freely choose the same thing in all actual universes and still be free on both the libertarian and compatibilist conceptions of freedom (though obviously extremely unlikely on the libertarian view). The difference is that according to the libertarian this person still could have chosen differently in any of those worlds, while according to the compatibilist she couldn't have (except in the counterfactual sense of "choose").

We would describe this by saying that according to the libertarian there is a possible world with the exact same starting conditions in which she chose differently, and for the compatibilist, there is no possible world in which determinism is true and with the same starting conditions in which she chose differently.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 01:27 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
I'm saying that I think pessimistic/hard incompatibilism is true; I think that free will and moral responsibility are fundamentally incoherent. Of course, this abstract result is problematic for non-philosophical life, like when someone doesn't flush the only toilet at the gym and you want to find that person and choke them til they are purple.
I'll respond to the rest of what you say in a bit, but I need a clarification here. You say that you view "moral responsibility" as incoherent. Generally I understand this to mean that you think that this term has no meaning, i.e. that conceptual analysis of this idea is impossible because there is no consistent concept to analyze.

But most of your argument seems to lead to the conclusion that in a deterministic universe no one is morally responsible, not that "moral responsibility" has no meaning. These are obviously different claims (I have a relatively clear concept of "unicorn," but I also think there are no unicorns).

Which of these views should I direct my comments towards?
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 01:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by madnak
There is a powerful indoctrination going on here in the US, for anyone who notices. I can collect specific examples of how the American media references free will in a libertarian (or out-and-out magical) way if you like, but it will take some time.
Well, surely you don't think this is intentional?

Last edited by vixticator; 07-02-2010 at 01:29 AM. Reason: this is a really bad joke I'm setting up
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 01:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Original Position
I'll respond to the rest of what you say in a bit, but I need a clarification here. You say that you view "moral responsibility" as incoherent. Generally I understand this to mean that you think that this term has no meaning, i.e. that conceptual analysis of this idea is impossible because there is no consistent concept to analyze.

But most of your argument seems to lead to the conclusion that in a deterministic universe no one is morally responsible, not that "moral responsibility" has no meaning. These are obviously different claims (I have a relatively clear concept of "unicorn," but I also think there are no unicorns).

Which of these views should I direct my comments towards?
It's a hard thing to explain (or I'm wrong/inconsistent), but it's both. It's not that there's no concept to analyze, it's that the analysis of the ostensible criteria for moral responsibility demonstrates that they cannot all be simultaneously affirmed. Nietzsche calls it a self-contradicition. I've avoided saying that it's a contradiction because I think of contradictions in just the logical sense; I'm not sure free will is self-contradictory in the same way as "This married man is not married" is self-contradictory; but some might be inclined to argue that way, that "free" contradicts "will".

But the reason I say it's both is because the compatibilist does not require alternate possibilities or libertarian freedom for moral responsibility. Now, that'd be fine, but moral responsibility and retributive punishment are ostensibly linked, and if the compatibilist's concept of moral responsibility allows for retributive punishment and (as I argue) retributive punishment is unjust if determinism is true, then that attenuates the compatibilist's concept of moral responsibility. It would actually attenuate it to a degree that I can call myself a compatibilist.

edit: although if retributive punishment goes, so would praise and blame and for the same reason.

Last edited by smrk; 07-02-2010 at 02:10 AM.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 02:35 AM
I'm not really happy with the above post, let me provide a more eloquent summary

This is from the G Strawson link

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In the end, luck swallows everything. This is one way of putting the point that there can be no ultimate responsibility, given the natural, strong conception of responsibility that was characterized at the beginning of 4. Relative to that conception, no punishment or reward is ever ultimately just or fair, however natural or useful or otherwise humanly appropriate it may be or seem.

The facts are clear, and they have been known for a long time. When it comes to the metaphysics of free will, Andr Gide's remark is apt: 'Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.' It seems that the only freedom that we can have is compatibilist freedom. If - since - that is not enough for ultimate responsibility, we cannot have ultimate responsibility. The only alternative to this conclusion is to appeal to God and mystery - this in order to back up the claim that something that appears to be provably impossible is not only possible but actual.

The debate continues; some have thought that philosophy ought to move on. There is little reason to expect that it will do so, as each new generation arises bearing philosophers gripped by the conviction that they can have ultimate responsibility. Would it be a good thing if philosophy did move on, or if we became more clear- headed about the topic of free will than we are? It is hard to say.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 10:15 AM
But his account is only one of 'ultimate' responsibility and I've specifically argued against such a requirement. He thinks that a necessary condition of responsibility is 'ultimate responsibility.' Since he thinks such a thing is impossible, then responsibility is impossible. But, I question that as a necessary condition altogether.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 10:18 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
I'm not really happy with the above post, let me provide a more eloquent summary
In hard determinism, "ultimate responsibility" is also undermined.

You are stating this is also true for compatibilism, I think. (?)

Is ultimate responsibility necessary for all philosophical justifications for punishment?

In other words, can we have any legitimate justification for punishing for "bad" behavior or punishing "bad" people, just because they are bad?
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 10:47 AM
Strawson argues that ultimate reponsibility is a necessary condition for responsibility. This requirement does not exist in either determinism or libertarianism but it is also absent in compataibilism. Therefore, no responsibility.

However, somewhere in this thread I've argued against that as a necessary condition. Though, to be clear, part of my argument against the compatibilist may look familiar to a Strawsonian: the compatibilist seems to remove ANY and all influence of the agent on events. The libertarian doesn't require 'ultimate' causation for responsibility but thinks that there is at least some influence that the agent has (kayaker in the rapids).
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
Oh, now I see your point. It is fictional characters doing clearly fictional things that is the propaganda.

I totally agree with this. I don't let my son watch Naruto because of the clear propaganda of people acting in a magical way and summoning giant frogs.
It's when the things are not clearly fictional that it's propaganda. For example, when Naruto gets the **** beat out of him and manages to get back up again through the sheer power of determination - there's a lesson here and it's a common lesson in the Japanese media, from what I've seen. "Determination" or "resolve" give characters super powers, and there is often an implication that success in the real world hinges on these things. This is less common in the US (though it can still be found), and sometimes it's limited (in the original Rocky movie, for example, Rocky loses the fight despite his super powers).

Love is able to "break the rules" in a similar way in both cultures - not only will characters in children's tv like Sailor Moon and Care Bears literally gain their powers from "love," but often characters in otherwise "adult" genres will be able to break free of mind control, cause cancer to go into remission, or even win a court case simply by "amping up" their level of concern for other characters. This is frequently not presented as a supernatural thing at all, but as a normal human "power" (and while it can be written off as coincidence in many more realistic shows, I think there's a often a strong impression that if characters care enough or fight hard enough, then they can "defeat" terminal illness or survive natural disasters).

But while "the power of determination" and "the power of love" are universally present, I don't see "the power of free will" in anime, or outside of Western culture in general. This idea that there's a "special component" of choice, and that this "special component" is a common or even necessary element of choice, is presented to Americans (and probably Europeans plus an increasing proportion of people worldwide as American media becomes popular) as normal from just about the time that they are born.

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Are you trying to say propaganda = cultural indoctrination?
I think cultural indoctrination can be very much a form of propaganda, and usually is. Do you disagree that, for example, Veggie Tales is a form of Christian propaganda?

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Please tell me that you meant to type that elsewhere. If not, there is such a thing as a seqwe. You should add one between your two seemingly unrelated statements.
Those are the examples I want you to find in the American media.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 03:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
But his account is only one of 'ultimate' responsibility and I've specifically argued against such a requirement. He thinks that a necessary condition of responsibility is 'ultimate responsibility.' Since he thinks such a thing is impossible, then responsibility is impossible. But, I question that as a necessary condition altogether.
I think you make a point that he should/would address because him constantly using the term ultimate responsibility does make it seem like it's possible to have something less than ultimate responsibility (if the agent has some genuinely free but non-random control, then I agree that would be sufficient for moral responsibility more robust than what compatibilism can provide). I'll guess (though I could be wrong) that he does not mean ultimate in the sense that leaves him open to your objection; the argument would be that one cannot be ultimately responsible for anything one does, not even for the slightest seemingly volitional wobble, because one cannot be the causa sui of any action. So this would lead back to the argument over whether random = or != indeterminism.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 03:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
+1 with caveats.

The point of communicating is to pass knowledge/thoughts.

If you can't make your thoughts clear to others, that is an indication that your thoughts themselves are not clear.
Really. Hegel, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein probably seem "unclear" to the overwhelming majority, but I think their thoughts are about as clear as can possibly be. On the other hand, Ray Comfort is crystal clear, and I consider his thoughts incoherent and worthless.

There are a thousand different factors involved in written communication - the skill and ability of the writer and reader are two important ones, but they are far from universal. I find it hard to understand the experiences of a transsexual because I don't have any shared experience to draw on. I find it hard to understand a tract by a postmodernist feminist Marxist because my core assumptions are in opposition to theirs. I find it hard to understand poetry because I need to read it multiple times, out loud, and seriously consider the symbolism before I "get it." I find it hard to understand a textbook on advanced agricultural engineering because I don't have the prerequisite knowledge to do so. I find it hard to understand Beowulf because the language is archaic and the cultural context alien. I find it hard to understand Hegel because the ideas are complex. I find it hard to understand a paragraph taken out of context from a technical book because the context is a critical component of the message.

Regardless of how perfect the writer is, I may still have to put some work into it as a reader. I'll bet even Feynman would have agreed.

Sometimes you'll encounter sloppy writing - even if you're paying to read it - and there's no avoiding that. But I don't think the skill of the writer correlates especially well with the quality of the ideas being expressed (except to the extent that analytic ability and verbal ability in general correlate). I like to think I've got some solid writing (and communicating) behind me on 2+2 - but no, this thread isn't exactly a shining example. Still, that's no excuse for jumping to conclusions, skimming with no attention to context, or insisting on the most inane interpretation possible.

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Evidence (but not proof): I was able to explain calculus to my 10 year old son this evening in about 1/2 an hour. He can't do the calculations, but he understands the ideas behind the calculations.
If this is true (that is, he really understands the ideas as well as you claim), then I'll wager he's in the top 10% of intelligence.

If I take someone from the bottom 10%, you can spend 10 hours just trying to explain what a tangent line is and you still won't get anywhere.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 04:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
I think you make a point that he should/would address because him constantly using the term ultimate responsibility does make it seem like it's possible to have something less than ultimate responsibility (if the agent has some genuinely free but non-random control, then I agree that would be sufficient for moral responsibility more robust than what compatibilism can provide). I'll guess (though I could be wrong) that he does not mean ultimate in the sense that leaves him open to your objection; the argument would be that one cannot be ultimately responsible for anything one does, not even for the slightest seemingly volitional wobble, because one cannot be the causa sui of any action. So this would lead back to the argument over whether random = or != indeterminism.
The whole point of the criticism is that even if one can't be the ultimate source of an action...who cares? Why is this a necessary condition?

The libertarian can deny this sense of 'ultimate' responsibility as a necessary condition for responsibility (and so could the compatibilist).

Yes, a discussion of indeterminism = or =/= random would be required for the libertarian, though.

Basically, I'd expect something like the kayaker in a river. The kayaker isn't the 'ultimate' source of any movement since the river has a big influence. The question is whether the kayaker's "self generated" movements are the product of mere deterministic causal interactions (determinist or compatibilist) or not (libertarian). And, if they are not, then whether such interactions are sufficient for responsibility (ie, not merely 'random').
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
07-02-2010 , 06:49 PM
durka, I think that smrk is parsing the phrase "ultimate responsibility" as "ultimately responsible for x" and not as "absolute source of responsibility for x"

smrk's sense, as I understand it, is about who the true author of some effect or behavior is -- who or what is "ultimately" responsible for it -- even if that ultimately responsible entity only affects a minor and otherwise influenced aspect of overall behavior

whereas the second sense, as I understand it, and the one you seem to be addressing, is about the amount or quantity of responsibility being described -- such that "ultimate responsibility" means "total" or "absolute" responsibility for an action without any mitigating influences

but Strawson, per smrk, is pointing to the fallacy of the causa sui; he is not saying people are not absolutely responsible for their actions, therefore no free will; he is saying people are utterly composed of prior causes, which themselves are composed of prior causes, and so on, therefore people themselves are not ultimately (i.e. truly) responsible for their actions, therefore no free will
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote

      
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