Hi Craig

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 think I can meet you half way and agree that in a determined universe wants, 
desires and anxieties would be futile. They wouldn't make sense from an 
adaptive point of view.

But I'm not convinced they make no logical sense. For example they could be 
epiphenomena coming along for the ride, unnecessarily colouring the unraveling 
of pre-written events.

The determined universe might be inefficient, if you like, carrying along with 
it baggage that isn't really used. The wants and anxieties would be implied by 
the universe's initial conditions and not everything in those conditions need 
be functional. I don't see a logical contradiction there. 

All the best.

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 19:13:57 -0700
From: whatsons...@gmail.com
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Determinism - Tricks of the Trade



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


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 will.
 


>> 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.


Ok
 


>>> 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 whom?
  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?

Craig
 




-- 

Stathis Papaioannou






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