On 21 August 2013 03:59, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> It is possible to make the distinction between doing something by accident
>> and intentionally, between enslavement and freedom, while still
>> acknowledging that brain mechanisms are either determined or random.
> Why would such a distinction be meaningful to a deterministic or random
> process though? I think you are smuggling our actual sense of intention into
> this theoretical world which is only deterministic-random (unintentional).

If you are saying that something cannot be emotionally meaningful if
it is random or determined you are wrong. Patients are anxious about
the result of a medical test even though they know the answer is
determined and gamblers are anxious about the outcome of their bet
even though they know it is random.

>> I do something intentionally if I want to do it and am aware that I am
>> doing it; this is compatible with either type of brain mechanism.
> Only if you have the possibility of something 'wanting' to do something in
> the first place. Wanting doesn't make sense deterministically or randomly.
> In the words of Yoda, 'there is no try, either do or do not'.

You know that you have wants, and you conclude from this that your
brain cannot function deterministically or randomly. You make this
claim repeatedly and without justification.

>> I am enslaved if someone physically constrains me or threatens me in order
>> to make me behave in a certain way; this is also compatible with either type
>> of brain mechanism.
> In the deterministic universe, you would be enslave no matter what, so what
> difference would it make whether your constraint is internally programmatic
> or externally modified?

I don't think being a "slave" to brain processes is considered to be
real slavery by most people. You are free to differ in your

>>> Some questions for determinist thinkers:
>>> Can we effectively doubt that we have free will?
>> I can't effectively doubt that I decide to do something and do it. I can
>> effectively doubt that my actions are random, that they are determined, or
>> that they are neither random nor determined
> It sounds like you are agreeing with me?

On this point, yes; but I'm using the common, legal or compatibilist
definition of free will, not yours.

>>> Or is the doubt a mental abstraction which denies the very capacity for
>>> intentional reasoning upon which the doubt itself is based?
>> Yes: if I intend to do something, I can't doubt that I intend to do it,
>> for otherwise I wouldn't intend to do it.
> If you doubt anything though, it is because you intend to believe what is
> true and your sense is that some proposition is not true. To say "I doubt
> that there is a such thing as free will (intention)" is itself an
> intentional, free-will act. You are saying not just that there is a sense of
> doubt, but that you voluntarily invest your personal authority in that
> doubt.

I don't doubt free will in the common, legal or compatibilist sense. I
doubt it in your sense, since it is not even conceptually possible.

>>> How would an illusion of doubt be justified, either randomly or
>>> deterministically? What function would an illusion of doubt serve, even in
>>> the most blue-sky hypothetical way?
>>> Why wouldn’t determinism itself be just as much of an illusion as free
>>> will or doubt under determinism?
>> Determinism and randomness can be doubted. There is no problem here.
> Only because we live in a universe which supports voluntary intentional
> doubt. They couldn't be doubted in a universe which was limited to
> determinism and randomness. That's my point. To doubt, you need to be able
> to determine personally. Free will is the power not just to predict but to
> dictate.

I can doubt something if it was determined at the beginning of the
universe that I would doubt it. Where is the logical problem with

>> For psychology not to be reducible to physiology, something extra would be
>> needed, such as non-physical soul.
> Then the opposite would have to be true also. For select brain physiology
> not to be reducible to psychology, you would need some homunculus running
> translation traffic in infinite regress. Non-physical and soul are labels
> which are not useful to me. Physics is reducible to sense, and sense tends
> to polarize as public and private phenomena.

A house is reducible to bricks because if you put all the bricks in
place the house necessarily follows. Psychology is reducible to
physiology because if you put all the physiology in place the
psychology follows necessarily.

>> Absent this something extra, the reduction stands. That's my definition of
>> reductionism. If your definition is different then, according to this
>> different definition, it could be that reductionism is wrong in this case.
> Physical reductionism is wrong because it arbitrarily starts with objects as
> real and subjects as somehow other than real. It's not really reductionism,
> it's just stealth dualism, where mind-soul is recategorized as an
> unspecified non-substance...an 'illusion' or 'emergent property'...which is
> just Santa Claus to me as far as awareness goes.

A house is not "other than real" or "illusion", but a house is an
emergent phenomenon from the bricks. It is different from the bricks,
but ultimately it is just the bricks.

>> The logic is in the low level chemical processes. These *never* defy
>> physics. Fantastically amplified complexity leads from these dumb processes
>> to the creation of literature and smart phones.
> Complexity can only complicate and enhance awareness that is already there.
> Low level processes never defy physics because they represent the outermost
> periphery of experience. High level processes *always* defy (public)
> physics. Feelings have no location, specific gravity, velocity, etc. They
> are proprietary and signifying.

Awareness must already be there in the same sense as the house must in
some sense already be there in the bricks. But if the bricks are piled
together incorrectly there is no house, and if the brain chemicals are
piled up together incorrectly there is no mind.

>> It's not an argument against mechanism to say that it will lead to moral
>> degeneracy. If you are right, then we will all suffer when we see the truth;
>> but that will not change the truth.
> That is an assumption of mechanism though. The knife can't tell you the
> morality of stabbing. If game theory is amoral, it is because it represents
> this kind of voluntary self-dilution, a regression to a pre-human
> sensibility. If we use that mechanistic logic to judge the decision to use
> mechanistic logic, we have as self-fulfilling fallacy...a fallacy that is
> hidden by its own nested circularity.

Mechanistic logic leads to morality insofar as mechanistic logic
governs the functioning of the brain.

Stathis Papaioannou

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