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PhilosophyGround >> Determinism and your thoughts


9/12/06 4:06 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 12-Sep-06 04:08 PM
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"did you throw in the towel because you´re tired of the topic or do you really think that a sort of schmoral responsibility can be introduced if D is true because it is a practical solution?" I throwed in the towel because I´m not sure if sanguine was understanding what we disagreed on. But maybe he did, and then it´s not much to discuss anyway, since it´s semantic preferences. "Do you also agree with this then? "(1) Given D - when we give people reasons to act, punish them or give them incentives, they are capable of changing their behaviour because of THOSE incentives/punishments." Again, it depends on what we mean by the word "change": if it means "to be able to do differently the I did" (ceteris paribus), then No. If we by "change" mean something like what sanguine was arguing for, then, Yes. Why did you throw in the towel?
9/12/06 5:59 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 12-Sep-06
Member Since: 08/02/2001
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"Beyond Good and Evil" - Part 1, section 21.
9/13/06 4:49 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 13-Sep-06
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"Why did you throw in the towel?" I didn´t. I just sat back for a moment to see how things unfold. The point with this.. "(1) Given D - when we give people reasons to act, punish them or give them incentives, they are capable of changing their behaviour because of THOSE incentives/punishments." ...is that I would argue that the PRACTICAL solution for moral responsibility only works if people are able to change their actions because of the reasons that are given to them. But that kinda implies a some sort of a break in the causal chain. People either are able to change their behaviour because of the reasons that are given to them or they just "change" their actions because it was determined anyway. Or so it seems to me. I. P.S Having argued on the compatibilism/moral resp stuff for a while we could also get back on the determinism-free will distinction and see what the D-believers think the sources of the determination are. The cultural determination thing is especially problematic imo.
9/13/06 11:03 AM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 13-Sep-06
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" But that kinda implies a some sort of a break in the causal chain" Why do you say that? " People either are able to change their behaviour because of the reasons that are given to them or they just "change" their actions because it was determined anyway" As you know, I'd say both are true Can you go over the 'cultural determination' thing again? What is cultural determination? Is it the same thing as behaviorism?
9/13/06 12:00 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 13-Sep-06
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"I didn´t. I just sat back for a moment to see how things unfold." Ok, great. I´ll do the same now then. :)
9/13/06 12:47 PM
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winnidon
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Edited: 13-Sep-06
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" People either are able to change their behaviour because of the reasons that are given to them or they just "change" their actions because it was determined anyway" As you know, I'd say both are true Sanguine, As others have pointed out it seems, given D, that you are operating with a very thin notion of change. I would argue that it is too thin to support a robust notion of moral resoponsibility. Certainly this would seem to be the case if you stongly adhere to "they just "change" their actions because it was determined anyway" To be clear, given D, they would change their actions because of the past facts and the laws of nature. And, as such, this would be the case for ALL our actions (mental or otherwise) To my mind what is at issue is this: As you suggest, suppose someone gives person A a reason to change their behaviour such that, A does in fact change his behaviour. Let's fill in some details. Suppose one explains the *change* (as Quine would - I'm currently reading Epistemology Naturalized ;) by some elaborate neural processing in the brain that issues in perception. At this point there is a real sense in which it seems that one would want to say that the change in behaviour is determined by the requisite neural processing. Now--and here is the rub--given D, the change in behaviour and the requisite neural processing one supposes was set to occur long before person A was born. Crucially it is not as if when confronted with the reason for change Person A could not have changed. Furthermore, it is not as if the person who gave the reason for change could have elected not to give that very reason. Of course we can imagine continuing this backwards down the causal chain. The point, of course, is that at no step along the causal chain could one (like the brick) have acted other than he, in fact, did. Now it seems to me that you (knowingly or unknowingly) want to play semantics and offer an ad hoc explanation of how *change* can occur given D. I.E., Person A changed b/c minimally he was given a reason and it set off the requisite neural processing. I would agree to this BUT I would take issue with the notion of *change* in operation. This is because I would say person A never changed rather he crucially stayed the path (as one would expect) given to him by the laws of nature and the past facts. You might say he changed perhaps because he acted out of character but this would be to overlook a crucial point--namely that determinism is a metaphysical view. Ultimately Person A didn't change his behaviour because of a good reason but becasue of the past facts and the laws of nature. The problem of course is this: does it even make sense to hold a caterpillar responsible for turning into a butterfly? Surely not because it is not as if it could have ever done otherwise. Now, I suspect you will take issue with this example in the way that you took issue with the brick example. In doing so, I believe you miss a crucial point of the arugument but in any case here is another example. Does it make sense--all things being equal--to hold people responsible for getting old? I should say assume, of course, that we are speaking of people who live and have lived all things considered "healthy" lives. I want to argue that it does not make sense because it is not as if they can do anything, short of dying at an earlier age, to prevent getting older. Crucially, they cannot do otherwise. Now many contend that an ability to do otherwise is not required for a robust notion of moral responsibility. This of course demands a convincing argument of which you have given none. It seems to me that if you want to hold the view that you do why not advocate indeterminism? To be clear: Indeterminism is a technical term that merely precludes deterministic causation (a species of causation) not all types of causation. To say that X nondeterministically causes Y is to express a lack of causal necessity, to wit there is a probability (whatever it may be) that given the occurrence of X, that Y will not occur. Thus, indeterminism entails that given the exact same past and laws of nature (that cause X) Y must be capable of occurring or not occurring. One drawback from this appoach is the well-known 'luck objection' but that need not concern us at present.
9/13/06 3:10 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 13-Sep-06 03:13 PM
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Winnidon. How is Quine? Worth reading? I never got around to him. Here is what I take issue with in your post. It is already covered in most of my discussion with Fudo, but I can understand if you didn't get around to reading it. "Ultimately Person A didn't change his behaviour because of a good reason but becasue of the past facts and the laws of nature. " Person A changed his behavior because of good reason and person A changed his behavior because of past facts and the laws of nature. These are two different ways of talking about the same thing. The former is called the intentional stance and the latter is called the physical stance.( I got into detail about this in an earlier post) Just because the physical stance is true, doesn't mean the intentional stance is false. In fact we developed the 'intentional stance' as an evolutionary adaptation to solve problems and talk about the world around us. We know the intentional stance is true because it works. Let me give you an example The Yankees beat the Orioles in a baseball game 10-0. Someone taking the intentional stance would say that the Yankees won the game beCAUSE Derek Jeter hit two home runs and Randy Johnson pitched a great game. Somebody talking in the physical stance would say the Yankees won beCAUSE of the laws of nature and past facts. Both are true. They are two different ways of describing the same phenomena. "Does it make sense--all things being equal--to hold people responsible for getting old? I should say assume, of course, that we are speaking of people who live and have lived all things considered "healthy" lives. I want to argue that it does not make sense because it is not as if they can do anything, short of dying at an earlier age, to prevent getting older. Crucially, they cannot do otherwise." What would it mean to hold someone morally responsible for being old? Or what would it mean to hold a caterpiller responsible for turning into a butterfly? You presented two cases that are not 'moral' events. Holding someone morally responsible has nothing to do with if they could or could not have done otherwise. It has to do with whether or not holding them morally responsible would be beneficial for society.(To a certain extent, I am not advising full blown utilitarianism)
9/13/06 4:03 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 13-Sep-06
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The problem with indeterminism is that it is not a scientifically viable theory. I have been reading Stephen Hawkings "A Briefer History of Time" and it appears that even in the wacky world of quantum mechanics things are still likely deterministic its just that we can never be able to predict future events because it is impossible for us to ever know the current state of the universe.
9/14/06 3:23 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 14-Sep-06
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"It has to do with whether or not holding them morally responsible would be beneficial for society.(To a certain extent, I am not advising full blown utilitarianism)" First of all it is very confusing if you refer to your views as utilitarianism. Stop doing that ;) Isn´t it the case that the determinism debate would be pretty pointless if D would be true. I mean we would continue holding people responsible since it is determined anyway and there´s nothing we can do about it? Or is it that if we agree that there really is no point we can actually change society? I.
9/14/06 10:46 AM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 14-Sep-06
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" mean we would continue holding people responsible since it is determined anyway and there?s nothing we can do about it?" Unless it was determined that we wouldn't.(physical stance) or there were good reasons not to(intentional stance) "Or is it that if we agree that there really is no point we can actually change society? " We can't change society from its 'determined' path, but that doesn't mean "we can't change society"(using intentional stance) for the better.
9/15/06 3:49 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 15-Sep-06
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Ok I see there is no point of continuing the discussion probably as it is now :) For me the fact that you take an "intentional stance" doesn´t mean anything. If D is true things are still determined and that´s it ;) I think it would be good to let this rest a bit and return to it in half a year or so... Greets, Indrek P.S We need to find something new to write 100+ posts on...
9/15/06 10:58 AM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 15-Sep-06
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"P.S We need to find something new to write 100+ posts on..." Man, I´m trying to concentrate on my studies. :-) This semster I´m taking two continuing courses in Logic and also two more advanced courses in Philosophy of Science. So I might be able to start som discussion on those topics after the tests. What are you studying now Indrek?
9/16/06 3:16 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 16-Sep-06 03:24 AM
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I have 4 courses this semester. 1) Conceptions of truth - obviously on truth, based on Wolfgang Künne´s book by the same name 2) Theories of justification - epistemology 3) Education and society - intro to the philosophy of education, Plato, Rousseau and Freire, Illich, Postman etc. 4) Poststructuralist political theories (from politics department) - this is not mandatory, but I´ll get to know something about the queer philosophy here :) + I have 3 books that I have to read for my thesis on Nozick and write stuff on, so I get points for them too. Haven´t chosen them yet, but I´ll probably take David Gauthier "Morals by agreement", G. A. Cohen "Self-ownership...", Locke "Second treatise" etc. But as for what I am "studying" right now then meta-ethics. I´m trying to write an article on Mackie and so I read a lot of stuff nowadays. Michael Smiths "The Moral Problem" and Richard Joyce´s "The Myth of Morality" are both excellent and I would strongly recommend both. So my next topic will probably come from meta-ethics, moral psychology or evolutionary psychology (which I find very intriguing and prima facie true). I.
9/16/06 11:44 AM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 16-Sep-06
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Interesting courses! I will check those books you recommended too.
9/18/06 9:32 AM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 18-Sep-06
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Two jokes that I think fits this thread: -How many philosophers does it take to change a light bulb? -Depends on how you define 'change'. -How many Analytic Philosophers does it take to change a light bulb? -None-its a pseudo-problem...light bulbs give off light (hence the name)...if the bulb was broken and wasn't giving off light, it wouldn't be a 'light bulb' now would it?
9/18/06 4:31 PM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 18-Sep-06
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LOL pretty fitting indeed :)
11/24/06 4:33 AM
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effertime
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Edited: 24-Nov-06
Member Since: 04/15/2006
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"-How many philosophers does it take to change a light bulb? -Depends on how you define 'change'. -How many Analytic Philosophers does it take to change a light bulb? -None-its a pseudo-problem...light bulbs give off light (hence the name)...if the bulb was broken and wasn't giving off light, it wouldn't be a 'light bulb' now would it? " Those are great. I didnt read through this entire thread, so this may or may not have already been discussed. But i believe that the idea of free will is always relative to an observer. So at a high level it would look something like: A person (entity) observing the world from a 1st person perspective is experiencing free will An entity observing events from a distance will have a perspective of predictable actions. For example, and observer of an event that has statistical data from previous events. i.e. a sports fan who is able to somewhat predict event outcomes based on sound statistical data. And lastly, an observer that has access to aall predictable data could be considered "all knowing" and therefor could "know" the outcomes of all events, thus rendering all events as pre-determined. I think its safe to say that all three of these conditions can exist simultaniously.
12/2/06 9:05 AM
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DMC
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Edited: 02-Dec-06
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Great thread. Sanguine wrote, 'The problem with indeterminism is that it is not a scientifically viable theory. I have been reading Stephen Hawkings "A Briefer History of Time" and it appears that even in the wacky world of quantum mechanics things are still likely deterministic its just that we can never be able to predict future events because it is impossible for us to ever know the current state of the universe.' I know this remark is just an aside to the real discussion here but you gotta read over the relevant passages again. Heisenberg's indeterminacy principle is not an epistemologoical problem. That's the whole point. It's not that we, human beings, cannot possibly identify both a particles precise momentum and position at given moment in time. The beautiful and shocking implication of the theory is that it doesn't have an exact position and momentum at a given moment in time. But as you rightly pointed out this physical indeterminacy is cancelled out at any level above the planck length.
4/5/07 3:52 PM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 05-Apr-07
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I have developed a more or less coherent view by now I guess. I haven´t gone over this thread to see what I have argued but I guess I have maybe a different pov now: determinist-incompatibilist-fictionalist.

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