On Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:33:06 AM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
> On 21 August 2013 03:59, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com <javascript:>> 
> 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. 

But that's only because of the impact that the random or determined 
condition has on our free participation. We have anxiety because a 
particular condition threatens to constrain our free will or cause 
unpleasant sensations. They are inextricably linked. A sensation can only 
be so unpleasant if we retain the power to escape it voluntarily. It is 
only when we we think that a situation will be unpleasant and that we will 
not be able to avoid it that anxiety is caused. We can't say whether we 
would have anxiety in a deterministic universe unless we knew for sure that 
we had been in a deterministic universe at at some point, but logically, it 
would not make sense for any such thing as anxiety to arise in a universe 
of involuntary spectators. What would be the justification of such an 
emotion? Anxiety makes sense if you have free will. If anything anxiety is 
caused by the ability to imagine the loss of the effectiveness of your free 

> >> 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. 

My brain has nothing to do with it. I am saying that the ontology of desire 
is impossible under strong determinism. Deterministic and random processes 
cannot possibly produce desire - not because desire is special, but because 
it doesn't make any sense. You are talking about putting in a gas pedal on 
a bowling ball.

> >> 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 
> definition. 

Why not? What exactly is the difference whether your enslavement is 
internally based or externally based?

> >>> 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. 

It doesn't have to be conceptually possible, it is more primitive than 
concept. We have no choice but to experience it directly, and can only deny 
that this is the case by demonstrating that we have the power to do that as 
an act of free will.

> >>> 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 
> that? 

How would "doubt" exist? Does a falling rock doubt? Doubt, like anxiety, is 
derived only from the effectiveness of free will. We take our beliefs 
seriously only because there is a tangible, irreversible, public effect 
that our actions cause. Were that not the case, and we were impotent 
spectators to our own brain processes, we could hardly doubt or not doubt 
any proposition we came across - we would simply observe that the 
probability that the belief was beneficial to the organism was being 
calculated, without any feeling about it at all.

> >> 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. 

If a house falls apart, it can be repaired. It can't die or cease being a 
house without being completely destroyed. The statement that if you put all 
the physiology in place, the psychology follows necessarily is an 
assumption, but I think that it is not likely to be true. It's not that 
simple. Psychology drives physiology as well as the other way around, and 
ultimately, all matter can be considered the expression of universal 
psychology (pansensitivity).

> >> 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. 

Yes, it is just bricks without human interaction. Intentional human 
habitation makes it a house. Houseness does not emerge from the bricks, it 
is a signifying expectation projected onto a builder's actions which 
motivates fulfillment by way of masonry. The key is to realize that 
'ultimately it is just' does not automatically equal the perspective of 
inanimate objects. A brick's view of the world is no more ultimate than our 
view. We are more qualified to define the universe than the brick is, but 
the brick-level definition is a more common definition. You are 
automatically amputating quality because you over-signify the relevance of 
quantity. Because there's a lot of stuff that seems inanimate, you think 
that emotion and subjectivity is a fluke - but objectivity is the same 
fluke, it's just repeated over and over in a form that is so distant from 
our own that it seems opposite.

> >> 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.

You're confusing the human experience of a house with a hypothetical 
experience that you project in the absence of humans. It's a disoriented 
projection though - the atoms that make up the brick don't perceive any 
brick, nor does the ground or the atmosphere perceive a brick. A brick to 

> 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. 

You can use a sheet over a bush to make a house. Anything that you can 
crawl into can be a house. Again this projection of an objectively 
'correct' configuration is an assumption. You are looking at New York City 
and saying that if it was not in the configuration it is now, it wouldn't 
work because it would be incorrect. You're generalizing from the particular 
rather than questioning the general.

> >> 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. 

That's circular. You have already decided that the brain produces the mind, 
but that is not supported. Mechanistic logic governs the functioning of the 
routers and servers of the internet. Does that mean that architecture is 
producing the content of Facebook?


> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou 

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