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

02-16-2012 , 10:27 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasdasuga
Also, I claimed it was "ludicrous" not to hold certain types of murderers responsible for their actions, specifically one who murders someone simply for his money, which is a way of carrying out the determinist claim of no personal responsibility to an extreme and showing just what types of crimes are supposedly out of a person's control.
It depends on what you mean by "holding them responsible." They are truly responsible (in a legal sense) for the murder if they thought about the act, reflected on it, had no brain damage, considered the alternatives, and still went through with it. But even if that's the case, they are not responsible in the sense that most people mean; that is, they "could have done otherwise but chose to go through with it and therefore deserve to suffer miserably for their actions."

There is a huge difference between these two worldviews. The common worldview is one in which justice should be served and evil people should suffer. Clearly this is morally absurd (even if free will existed).

The other, more scientifically sound viewpoint is that unnecessary suffering should always be avoided and the concept of retributive justice is evil, outdated and nonsensical.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-16-2012 , 10:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by clfst17
Yes, but only because the vast majority of people who claim to be strong determinists don't truly believe in determinism. They pay lip service to it, but they don't actually believe in it, so their behavior is similar to those who admit they don't believe in it. Determinists who actually believe in determinism have substantially greater compassion for bad people, and even the most "evil" humans don't deserve even the slightest suffering under this worldview.
Determinism doesn't lead inevitably to the conclusion that you shouldn't harm others (you have to also generally value the well being of others) or even that bad deeds should be unpunished (there are plenty of good non-judgemental reasons for harsh punishment).
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-16-2012 , 11:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by clfst17
There is a huge difference between these two worldviews. The common worldview is one in which justice should be served and evil people should suffer. Clearly this is morally absurd (even if free will existed).

The other, more scientifically sound viewpoint is that unnecessary suffering should always be avoided and the concept of retributive justice is evil, outdated and nonsensical.
I think it matters a lot what is meant by "suffer." If you're referring to the old "eye for an eye" form of justice, your point seems reasonable. One could also define the term "suffer" as suspending a citizen's rights and putting him in prison. If you still believe bad behavior should be punished, I'm not sure exactly where you want us to move the line.

I understand many arguing against free will believe it should ultimately revolutionize our judicial system, but to what extent? Abolishing the death penalty seems apparent, but aside from that what else should it effect?
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-16-2012 , 11:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
Determinism doesn't lead inevitably to the conclusion that you shouldn't harm others (you have to also generally value the well being of others) or even that bad deeds should be unpunished (there are plenty of good non-judgemental reasons for harsh punishment).
It might as well lead to that conclusion. If someone doesn't value the well-being of others I think it's fair to say their opinion is irrelevant. They are either a psychopath or lying or both.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-16-2012 , 11:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasdasuga
I think it matters a lot what is meant by "suffer." If you're referring to the old "eye for an eye" form of justice, your point seems reasonable. One could also define the term "suffer" as suspending a citizen's rights and putting him in prison. If you still believe bad behavior should be punished, I'm not sure exactly where you want us to move the line.

I understand many arguing against free will believe it should ultimately revolutionize our judicial system, but to what extent? Abolishing the death penalty seems apparent, but aside from that what else should it effect?
Suffering may be necessary in order to prevent deeper suffering. But in that case, there is still less overall suffering. To what extent we should change our system I have no idea, but there is a clear difference between people who think suffering not used to prevent deeper suffering is in any way necessary (many religious people believe this) and those who are against any and all unnecessary suffering.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-17-2012 , 08:30 AM
Okay, so day in and day out this question keeps plaguing me. Well plaguing is wrong, I'm genuinely intrigued. I think it fascinates me so because it seems I'm holding conflicting beliefs. On one hand, the deterministic argument is so solid (even negating the fact we don't truly live in a truly deterministic universe) I must believe everything is determined by prior causes. On the other hand, I simply cannot rid myself of the notion I have some influence in the course of my actions. When asked the question, "Can you take this basketball and make a free throw right now?" It's impossible for me to truthfully answer, "I really don't know, we'll have to wait and see." My answer is, "If course I can!" Even though I know I might not this time. I know I have the ability, and that if I focus hard enough I am capable of making it.

So, while brainstorming about this in my head I came up with something and I'm going to attempt to make a compatiblist argument. I'm sure my amateurishness will show through, but please bare with me. I'm really looking for someone to point out the flaws in my reasoning. This might take a couple posts, so I'll start by talking about causation.

We know an action must have causes, in fact it may have many causes, but it must have at least one. Is this true? Lets say yes for the sake of this argument. We can also go through the chain of causes and trace each cause back to another and another, perhaps forever if we wish.

So let's say John and Sarah and Peter become offended at me for some separate things I've done (unintentionally, of course). Let's say they begin hurling insults my way which culminate in me getting angry. Eventually Peter hurls one more insult which causes my anger to boil over and I punch him square in the kisser.

We know the causes for this action are many, and we can easily trace them back to my offending said people, and if we want we can go further. But my question for right now is, can my anger be considered one of the causes I hit Peter?
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-18-2012 , 11:16 PM
With no apparent objections we'll assume anger can be considered a cause.

Now consider something Dan Dennett points out about calling something red. He notes that if we call a painting red, someone could say it is not red because it is made up of things that are not red. But we all agree it is still red. I'll use the example of life.

You are alive. You could make the same argument as above that all the atoms you are made up of are not alive, therefore you are not. I could incinerate you, making sure to keep all of your ashes, steam, etc. together. I could then make sure that sorry pile of you was at the right temperature so that you have the exact same amount of energy as when you were alive. We can all agree that pile is not alive. What's the difference? How can the exact same atoms in the same quantity and with the same amount of energy be alive in one instance and dead in another? Because what we call life depends on the specific organization of those atoms and the specific state of the energy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
It's not that relevant if you can reproduce the exact case, it's not about knowing in particular what you would or wouldn't do differently. Either you reach the same decision or you do not. If you reach the same decision because the decision was a necessary consequence of some chain of prior events, then the story is you weren't really free. If you reach a different decision given that same chain of prior events, the story is your will is outsourced to some mysterious random mechanism.
About that mechanism, there is no reason to assume it is random. I've pointed out we can have something new arise from parts that do not already have that something, and we can accept it is the special arrangement or organization of those parts that matters. Why then, can we not say that a special arrangement of thoughts and prioritization of urges deliberated within the mind can "mysteriously" create something new, a new cause in the chain of causation, we refer to as free will? I'm not speaking of free will defined as without prior cause, but a more compatiblist version of free will defined as ability to choose. This is the version that really matters, after all. The one that allows us to have some influence over our decisions and to be able to take credit for them.

Someone might object that this version of free will exists only subjectively, so it is not a real cause. But if anger, a subjective emotion, can be considered a cause, subjective free will can also be a cause in the chain of events. If we can claim subjective free will is something new, created by the special organization of our thoughts, in the same manner as (and perhaps connected somehow to) life itself, we can correctly claim influence in our choices.

Sorry for the wall of text, but w/e this is the internet ignore if you want. Alas, the above paragraphs are likely riddled with flaws in logic... but, I'm asking if someone with a better grasp on the subject - even you, smrk - would help point out where.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-19-2012 , 12:26 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasdasuga
But my question for right now is, can my anger be considered one of the causes I hit Peter?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasdasuga
With no apparent objections we'll assume anger can be considered a cause.
Part of a causal chain? Yes. An uncaused cause, no.

(I was hoping a compatibilist would stop by to help you out)

Quote:
<snipped description of emergent properties>
Yes. Emergent properties exist. No particular objections.

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Why then, can we not say that a special arrangement of thoughts and prioritization of urges deliberated within the mind can "mysteriously" create something new, a new cause in the chain of causation, we refer to as free will?
The only reason to not call it "free will" is that we already have a name for it. Namely, "thought." Thoughts are part of the causal chain.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-19-2012 , 01:50 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
The only reason to not call it "free will" is that we already have a name for it. Namely, "thought." Thoughts are part of the causal chain.
I dont think we can call it thought. What I'm describing is the particular arrangement of thoughts and desires. The organization and what is produced from it. I dont care if we call it free will, we can call it David Bowie for that matter. What is important is it gives us what we believe free will should, a choice. Think of it as a "living choice" which we can claim, instead of the "dead choice" hard determinists refer to, which could not be any other way and is no real choice at all.

Last edited by Pasdasuga; 02-19-2012 at 01:55 AM. Reason: Drunk speling
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-19-2012 , 09:09 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasdasuga
I dont think we can call it thought. What I'm describing is the particular arrangement of thoughts and desires. The organization and what is produced from it. I dont care if we call it free will, we can call it David Bowie for that matter. What is important is it gives us what we believe free will should, a choice. Think of it as a "living choice" which we can claim, instead of the "dead choice" hard determinists refer to, which could not be any other way and is no real choice at all.
Ok, we'll call it thoughts and desires (and the interaction between the two) that are particular to a time and place. What you are differentiating is internal processes (thoughts, beliefs, desires, emotions, etc.) from external processes (whether it is sunny outside, how other people act, etc.). Then stating that there is a complex interactive relationship between things (internal x internal, internal x external, external x external) in which each effects the others to some extent.

Let me try to restate your argument leaving out all the fluff:

1) Subjective feelings and complex emergent properties exist and can be part of a causal chain.

2) Therefore free will exists.

There seems to be a monstrous leap between 1) and 2)...
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-19-2012 , 10:14 AM
I wont pretend I'm not taking a leap, but it's not the same one you claim I'm taking. Forget about subjectivity. The leap is where I'm claiming a "mysterious mechanism" (see smrk's post), i.e.,our mind's ability to organize our thoughts and desires is creating something entirely new which influences the causel chain, in a similar way that the organization of matter and energy in our body creates something mysterious...life. This influence allows us to take credit for some of our choices, proportional to the amount of deliberation (and our intelligence, I suppose) verses competing causes.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-19-2012 , 07:19 PM
You're still saying two fundamentally different things. You said again that you want to defend a compatibilist version of free will, but then you talk about something 'entirely new which influences the causal chain'. Something entirely new in the causal chain is not compatibilism because it is not determinism. If you want something entirely new in the causal chain that can follow from identical prior circumstances, then what you want is a libertarian version of free will. If this is indeed what you want, this is where the mysterious mechanism objection comes into play, because libertarians have to explain how/why the element of chance makes their theory of free will any more coherent than the compatibilist's theory of free will (or better than the no free will thesis I argue for).
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 12:56 AM
Why would the element of chance need to be injected into this theory? I'm proposing what arises out of this mechanism is derived from a particular organization of thoughts and desires. That what emerges out of this organization can influence our decisions. Ah, I see, but you are claiming what emerges must be indeterminate or else it would always be the same. Maybe this is the spot where quantum indeterminacy fits in (see probability wave function and double slit experiment). Much like focusing an electron beam through two slits shows us the path of the electron is split into multiple bands, this focus of thought could give us a set of different options for any one set of events. What are our thoughts after all if not electrochemical signals? Now I'm really reaching... lol.

I think part of the reason I've muddled up on squaring this with determinism is that I'm not using the definition of free will meaning without prior cause, but instead one that focuses on our ability to influence our choices. Dennett mentions something like this as a more meaningful version of free will. If the influence which emerges from our mind's ability to organize thought can be considered a part of the causal chain and it provides us more than one option for any particular set of circumstances, we should then be able to start taking some ownership for our choices.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 02:35 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasdasuga
Why would the element of chance need to be injected into this theory? I'm proposing what arises out of this mechanism is derived from a particular organization of thoughts and desires. That what emerges out of this organization can influence our decisions. Ah, I see, but you are claiming what emerges must be indeterminate or else it would always be the same. Maybe this is the spot where quantum indeterminacy fits in (see probability wave function and double slit experiment). Much like focusing an electron beam through two slits shows us the path of the electron is split into multiple bands, this focus of thought could give us a set of different options for any one set of events. What are our thoughts after all if not electrochemical signals? Now I'm really reaching... lol.
So the issue here is, if quantum indeterminism obtains, how does that end up helping an incompatibilist theory of free will? It seems to help a lot up front because it makes it possible that people "can do otherwise". But if an important aspect of making a choice depends on a random event, then how can a person claim to be responsible for that random event occurring?

Quote:
If the influence which emerges from our mind's ability to organize thought can be considered a part of the causal chain and it provides us more than one option for any particular set of circumstances, we should then be able to start taking some ownership for our choices.
If you're talking about having more than one option given identical circumstances, then you don't actually have more than one option. If determinism is true and a snowstorm hits town A, it's false that it could have hit town B instead. It's not necessarily false that some future storm with very very similar characteristics will hit town B, but is that relevant? For that future storm with very very similar characteristics may indeed hit town B, but it is false that it could have hit town C, and so on.

More generally, the main objection for compatibilists to deal with is van Inwagen's Consequence Argument:

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If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Therefore, the consequences of these things (including our present acts) are not up to us.
So if you're entertaining the compatibilist's line of thought, do you think this argument is unpersuasive?

Last edited by smrk; 02-20-2012 at 02:52 AM. Reason: added link
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 02:52 AM
I'm familiar with that argument, and yes it is very persuasive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
So the issue here is, if genuine indeterminism obtains, how does that end up helping an incompatibilist theory of free will? It seems to help a lot up front because it makes it possible that people "can do otherwise". But if an important aspect of making a choice depends on a random event, then how can a person claim to be responsible for that random event occurring?
The probability wave of an electron (or any other quantum particle) is not random. It's location can be predicted, just not absolutely determined at any given moment.


Quote:
If you're talking about having more than one option given identical circumstances, then you don't actually have more than one option.
But that is exactly what a quantum particle has...more than one option for it's path given the exact same trajectory. If our thoughts are electronic quanta, couldn't the organization of them be similar to focusing them into slits like in the experiment, with a trajectory which yields multiple probable outcomes?

Last edited by Pasdasuga; 02-20-2012 at 02:57 AM.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 03:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasdasuga
I'm familiar with that argument, and yes it is very persuasive.
People like Dennett and most exceptionally David Lewis didn't find it very persuasive, so you can investigate that further if you're looking for a compatibilist reply.

Quote:
The probability wave of an electron (or any other quantum particle) is not random. It's location can be predicted, just not absolutely determined.

But that is exactly what a quantum particle has...more than one option for it's path given the exact same trajectory. If our thoughts are electronic quanta, couldn't the organization of them be similar to focusing them into slits like in the experiment, with a trajectory which yields multiple probable outcomes?
I don't know much about real physics (like what happens with the numbers and the equations and stuff). If more than one state of the universe at t1 can follow from the state of the universe at t0, then there's no reason that this specific state of the universe at t1 followed from the state of the universe at t0, even if we know statistically that 55% of the time it will contain some property and 45% of the time it will contain another property.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 03:55 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
People like Dennett and most exceptionally David Lewis didn't find it very persuasive, so you can investigate that further if you're looking for a compatibilist reply.

Will do. I know Dennett doesn't claim quantum indeterminacy plays much of a role either, though he does point at it to show the universe is not actually deterministic in nature, I think.


Quote:
I don't know much about real physics (like what happens with the numbers and the equations and stuff). If more than one state of the universe at t1 can follow from the state of the universe at t0, then there's no reason that this specific state of the universe at t1 followed from the state of the universe at t0, even if we know statistically that 55% of the time it will contain some property and 45% of the time it will contain another property.

I think this is where the multiple worlds theory comes from, that there are essentially infinite realities branching out from the big bang, and that if we were to travel back in time we would actually just be jumping to a different branch of an alternate reality. This would also solve the grandfather paradox.

I do agree that if we want to inject quantum indeterminacy as part of the mechanism to give multiple options for the same prior causes, we're still left with explaining how we are able to select from these differing outcomes in order to take ownership. I'm probably at a dead end here, except to say perhaps it is as hard to understand and explain as is life itself emerging from non-living matter. Won't stop me from trying though
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 04:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasdasuga
Will do. I know Dennett doesn't claim quantum indeterminacy plays much of a role either, though he does point at it to show the universe is not actually deterministic in nature, I think.
I'm guessing/hoping nearly all philosophers accept what people smarter than them tell them about the nature of the universe, so compatibilist determinists shouldn't ever deny that it's at least possible/likely that our universe has indeterministic qualities. They rely on the idea that there's determinism at the biological/cognitive layer, so that quantum indeterminacy either cancels out or that it doesn't render random the choices people make according to prior reasons. It's certainly possible to think that quantum indeterminism creates the possibility of genuine alternatives and also that determinism obtains at the cognitive level, but I don't think this alternative gives us moral responsbility either (or ownership as you say).
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 10:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by housenuts
don't know if there's a more appropriate low-content thread in SMP but POG is running a future-based sheep game that is interesting and related to many topics discussed here.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/59...sheep-1166932/
This is one of the highest content threads in SMP...it was only labelled LC as a joke (because the OP didn't realize that it would spawn the sorts of discussions that it has).
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 10:25 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrk
I don't know much about real physics (like what happens with the numbers and the equations and stuff). If more than one state of the universe at t1 can follow from the state of the universe at t0, then there's no reason that this specific state of the universe at t1 followed from the state of the universe at t0, even if we know statistically that 55% of the time it will contain some property and 45% of the time it will contain another property.
Let's be careful: there's no conclusive reason. There are all sorts of reasons: one can cite the stochastic process itself! That's a reason for s1 rather than s2!

Anti-libertarians assume that libertarians can't get what they want (for free will) without conclusive reasons. But where's the argument?

Think of it this way: assume that it's really 50% probable that a flipped coin will turn up heads, and that we can't actually predict the outcome by knowing the initial position and the force applied. Why did the coin land heads this time? Well, because it's going to land heads, on average, half the time.

So one objects: but that's the same reason you'd give if it landed up tails. Yup! So what? That is the reason: because the process is such that we're going to obtain the outcome, on average, half the time.

Now suppose that we get 10 heads in a row. What's the reason: same thing! The way that stochastic processes work is that, on average, there's a 50% probability of Heads on each flip; the events are independent; and we can calculate the prior probability of obtaining the 10H outcome!

Now none of these are "conclusive" reasons: but it's incoherent to ask for conclusive reasons for an outcome, s1, of a truly stochastic process!
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 07:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
Let's be careful: there's no conclusive reason. There are all sorts of reasons: one can cite the stochastic process itself! That's a reason for s1 rather than s2!

<snip>

Now none of these are "conclusive" reasons: but it's incoherent to ask for conclusive reasons for an outcome, s1, of a truly stochastic process!
I think we agree here. I'm not saying a stochastic process can't count as a reason or a cause of something, but it can never of itself serve as the reason (the 'conclusive reason') that any particular outcome happens out of the range of possible outcomes for that process.

Quote:
Anti-libertarians assume that libertarians can't get what they want (for free will) without conclusive reasons. But where's the argument?
The argument is just the second part of the standard argument - here's McGinn's version of it:

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The argument is exceedingly familiar, and runs as follows. Either determinism is true or it is not. If it is true, then all our chosen actions are uniquely necessitated by prior states of the world, just like every other event. But then it cannot be the case that we could have acted otherwise, since this would require a possibility determinism rules out. Once the initial conditions are set and the laws fixed, causality excludes genuine freedom.

On the other hand, if indeterminism is true, then, though things could have happened otherwise, it is not the case that we could have chosen otherwise, since a merely random event is no kind of free choice. That some events occur causelessly, or are not subject to law, or only to probabilistic law, is not sufficient for those events to be free choices.


Thus one horn of the dilemma represents choices as predetermined happenings in a predictable causal sequence, while the other construes them as inexplicable lurches to which the universe is randomly prone. Neither alternative supplies what the notion of free will requires, and no other alternative suggests itself. Therefore freedom is not possible in any kind of possible world. The concept contains the seeds of its own destruction.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 07:55 PM
durka is not a fan of cutesy po-mo phrases like "the concept contains the seeds of its own destruction"

expect to be hammered for BEGGING THE QUESTION
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 08:17 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by lagdonk
durka is not a fan of cutesy po-mo phrases like "the concept contains the seeds of its own destruction"

expect to be hammered for BEGGING THE QUESTION
Ok let's see if we can get him to totally stroke the **** out. Courtesy of the Information Philosopher.

Mark Balaguer:

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Any event that’s undetermined is uncaused and, hence, accidental. That is, it just happens; i.e., happens randomly. Thus, if our decisions are undetermined, then they are random, and so they couldn’t possibly be ‘‘appropriately non-random’’. Or to put the point the other way around, if our decisions are appropriately non-random, then they are authored and controlled by us; that is, we determine what we choose and what we don’t choose, presumably for rational reasons. Thus, if our decisions are appropriately non-random, then they couldn’t possibly be undetermined. Therefore, libertarianism is simply incoherent: it is not possible for a decision to be undetermined and appropriately non-random at the same time.
(A Coherent, Naturalistic, and Plausible Formulation of Libertarian Free Will, NOS 38:3 (2004) 379–406)
Thomas Pink:

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There are but these two alternatives. Either an action is causally determined. Or, to the extent that it is causally undetermined, its occurrence depends on chance. But chance alone does not constitute freedom. On its own, chance comes to nothing more than randomness. And one thing does seem to be clear. Randomness, the operation of mere chance, clearly excludes control.
(Free Will: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, 2004, p. 16)
Kadri Vihvelin:

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Either determinism is true or it's not. If determinism is true, then my choices are ultimately caused by events and conditions outside my control, so I am not their first cause and therefore...I am neither free nor responsible. If determinism is false, then something that happens inside me (something that I call “my choice” or “my decision”) might be the first event in a causal chain leading to a sequence of body movements that I call “my action”. But since this event is not causally determined, whether or not it happens is a matter of chance or luck. Whether or not it happens has nothing to do with me; it is not under my control any more than an involuntary knee jerk is under my control. Therefore, if determinism is false, I am not the first cause or ultimate source of my choices and...I am neither free nor responsible.
(Arguments for Incompatibilism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007)

Steven Pinker
:

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a random event does not fit the concept of free will any more than a lawful one does, and could not serve as the long-sought locus of moral responsibility. (How The Mind Works, 1997, p.54)

Ishtiyaque Haji
:

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Among the grandest of philosophical puzzles is a riddle about moral responsibility. Almost all of us believe that each one of us is, has been, or will be responsible for at least some of our behavior. But how can this be so if determinism is true and all our thoughts, decisions, choices, and actions are simply droplets in a river of deterministic events that began its flow long, long before we were ever born? The specter of determinism, as it were, devours agents, for if determinism is true, then arguably we never initiate or control our actions; there is no driver in the driver's seat; we are simply one transitional link in an extended deterministic chain originating long before our time. The, puzzle is tantalizingly gripping and ever so perplexing — because even if determinism is false, responsibility seems impossible: how can we be morally accountable for behavior that issues from an "actional pathway" in which there is an indeterministic break? Such a break might free us from domination or regulation by the past, but how can it possibly help to ensure that the reins of control are now in our hands?
(Moral Appraisability, 1998, p.vii)
Derk Pereboom:

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Let us now consider the libertarians, who claim that we have a capacity for indeterministically free action, and that we are thereby morally responsible. According to one libertarian view, what makes actions free is just their being constituted (partially) of indeterministic natural events. Lucretius, for example, maintains that actions are free just in virtue of being made up partially of random swerves in the downward paths of atoms. These swerves, and the actions they underlie, are random (at least) in the sense that they are not determined by any prior state of the universe.

If quantum theory is true, the position and momentum of micro-particles exhibit randomness in this same sense, and natural indeterminacy of this sort might also be conceived as the metaphysical foundation of indeterministically free action. But natural indeterminacies of these types cannot, by themselves, account for freedom of the sort required for moral responsibility.

As has often been pointed out, such random physical events are no more within our control than are causally determined physical events, and thus, we can no more be morally responsible for them than, in the indeterminist opinion, we can be for events that are causally determined.
(Nos 29, 1995, reprinted in Free Will, ed. D. Pereboom, 1997, p.252)
John Searle:

Quote:
As far as human freedom is concerned, it doesn't matter whether physics is deterministic, as Newtonian physics was, or whether it allows for an indeterminacy at the level of particle physics, as contemporary quantum mechanics does. Indeterminism at the level of particles in physics is really no support at all to any doctrine of the freedom of the will; because first, the statistical indeterminacy at the level of particles does not show any indeterminacy at the level of the objects that matter to us – human bodies, for example. And secondly, even if there is an element of indeterminacy in the behaviour of physical particles – even if they are only statistically predictable – still, that by itself gives no scope for human freedom of the will; because it doesn't follow from the fact that particles are only statistically determined that the human mind can force the statistically-determined particles to swerve from their paths. Indeterminism is no evidence that there is or could be some mental energy of human freedom that can move molecules in directions that they were not otherwise going to move. So it really does look as if everything we know about physics forces us to some form of denial of human freedom.
(Mind, Brains, and Science, 1984, pp.86-7)

Max Planck
:

Quote:
"Let us ask for a moment whether the human will is free or whether it is determined in a strictly causal way. These two alternatives seem definitely to exclude one another. And as the former has obviously to be answered in the affirmative, so the assumption of a law of strict causality operating in the universe seems to be reduced to an absurdity in at least this one instance. In other words, if we assume the law of strict dynamic causality as existing throughout the universe, how can we logically exclude the human will from its operation?...

"Recent developments in physical science [viz., quantum indeterminacy] have come into play here, and the freedom of the human will has been put forward as offering logical grounds for the acceptance of only a statistical causality operative in the physical universe. As I have already stated on other occasions, I do not at all agree with this attitude. If we should accept it, then the logical result would be to reduce the human will to an organ which would be subject to the sway of mere blind chance."
(Where Is Science Going?, Ox Bow Press, 1981 (1933), p.101-105)
P.S. Some of these people on the even bigger list in the link are or have been libertarians, they are just stating what the standard argument is.

Last edited by smrk; 02-20-2012 at 08:28 PM.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 09:08 PM
Here's support for free will by the most revered living physicist in the world:

"The ultimate objective test of free will would seem to be: Can one predict the behavior of the organism? If one can, then it clearly doesn't have free will but is predetermined. On the other hand, if one cannot predict the behavior, one could take that as an operational definition that the organism has free will."

Professor Stephen Hawking, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays

Since virtually no significant human behavior can be predicted with anywhere near certainity, human free will reigns. Its that simple.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote
02-20-2012 , 10:03 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by durkadurka33
Let's be careful: there's no conclusive reason. There are all sorts of reasons: one can cite the stochastic process itself! That's a reason for s1 rather than s2!
Welcome back, Durka. Hope you are reasonably caught up on your work.

Since once upon a time I taught statistics and probability and know how the youngins get confused by technical sounding words that have simple meanings, I offer the following simple definition:

Quote:
http://www.stat.cmu.edu/~cshalizi/754/ Stochastic processes are collections of interdependent random variables. (emphasis mine)
Randomness does work as a possible alternative to determinism. Pretty sure that any attempt to link free will or moral responsibility to randomness would be pretty incoherent though.

(Damnit smrk and your beating me to posts)

Last edited by BrianTheMick; 02-20-2012 at 10:17 PM.
durkadurka, you only believe in free will because....(LC) Quote

      
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