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Tags free will , predeterminism

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Old Yesterday, 05:33 AM   #121
Myriad
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
According to F.B. Skinner, the father of behaviourism and a prominent determinist, blaming for doing evil is useless and even harmful (Cf. Beyond Freedom and Dignity). It is useless because words are powerless against conditioned behaviours. Effective programs of deconditioning are better than well-intentioned discourses. It is harmful because blaming evil creates the illusion of freedom in society and prevents it from doing better things against crime and evil in general.

It seems logical to me. No morality is consistent with determinism.

If you're talking about "blaming" as an emotion, I pretty much agree.

Blaming, though, as a process of attributing cause and attempting to amend that cause for better outcomes, is obviously useful. There's nothing illogical about blaming even an inanimate thing in order to improve future outcomes. If a shrub at a corner blocked a motorist's view of oncoming traffic and contributed to an accident, it makes sense to remove it to reduce the chance of subsequent similar accidents. If during the same incident the traffic signals were working properly, and did not contribute to the accident, then they can be left alone and do not need to be repaired or altered. One is blamed, the other is not, and that directs an appropriate course of remedial action.

It's true that verbally lecturing or blandishing the shrub (or the traffic signal) would be ineffective. But that's not what "blaming" means. Before an "effective program of deconditioning" (corporal, one presumes) can be applied to a human offender, the offender must be regarded as the cause of the offense. That's blaming.
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Old Yesterday, 06:51 AM   #122
dann
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I think what she's getting at is (at least that is how I myself view this) that if you were born -- Godwin alert !! -- if you were born with Hitler's exact circumstances and Hitler's exact genetics, then you couldn't have acted any differently. You too, then, would have done the exact same things as Hitler.

And that's because there isn't a separate "you" at all! Hitler's body-mind complex is all that he was. Much like a car, except a great deal more complex (and also not quite "designed" by someone).

I think so, too. And that's the problem with the idea. On the one hand, there's a you other than Hitler, and on the other hand, that person who isn't Hitler is defined as being Hitler: "born with Hitler's exact circumstances and Hitler's exact genetics."

So you might as well ask, "Could Hitler have behaved differently? Was he by definition unable to change his mind? Was his every whim, desire and action predetermined?" And since we already know what Hitler did, it's a tautology: Hitler did what Hitler did because Hitler did what Hitler did. You introduce a you that's different from Hitler only to define it as being identical with Hitler.

Quote:
Sure, this is not a big deal, in as much as it follows trivially and tautologically from a materialistic paradigm, as I said earlier. But where this idea is useful, is it lets us view even a Hitler without any need for "punishment" per se.

So, if we caught hold of Hitler, then we'd see what we'd need to do to correct his particular mental kinks. If we couldn't correct those kinks adequately, then we'd see what we'd need to do keep society from him. And we'd also see what we'd need to do to build in ample deterrence to prevent future Hitlers and future minions of Hitler. But what we wouldn't need -- not even for a Hitler -- is "punishment", per se, as the word "punishment" is generally understood, not even for his particular heinous crimes.

Seeing things in this perspective appears healthy to me, both at the individual level, and at the level of society. So much less baggage that way.

I find it plain crazy and therefore not healthy at all.
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Old Yesterday, 08:23 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I think so, too. And that's the problem with the idea. On the one hand, there's a you other than Hitler, and on the other hand, that person who isn't Hitler is defined as being Hitler: "born with Hitler's exact circumstances and Hitler's exact genetics."

So you might as well ask, "Could Hitler have behaved differently? Was he by definition unable to change his mind? Was his every whim, desire and action predetermined?" And since we already know what Hitler did, it's a tautology: Hitler did what Hitler did because Hitler did what Hitler did. You introduce a you that's different from Hitler only to define it as being identical with Hitler.




I find it plain crazy and therefore not healthy at all.
It is a tautology, of the logical (as opposed to rhetorical) sort.

What seems crazy about seeing punishment as unnecessary outside of its possible deterrence effect?
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Old Yesterday, 08:30 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
So you might as well ask, "Could Hitler have behaved differently? Was he by definition unable to change his mind? Was his every whim, desire and action predetermined?" And since we already know what Hitler did, it's a tautology: Hitler did what Hitler did because Hitler did what Hitler did. You introduce a you that's different from Hitler only to define it as being identical with Hitler.
I just want to add, people who believe in deities and souls and such will often NOT see it as even close to tautological, because even without overtly arguing such, they believe they could have been born with Hitler's exact same genetics and exact same experiences, and something (which must be some soul-type thingie) within them definitely would have made them turn out very differently.

They believe Hitler had some "badness" within him that had nothing to do with genetics or life experiences and environment. They believe they're not like him because of some super-natural-type goodness.
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Old Yesterday, 10:03 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I just want to add, people who believe in deities and souls and such will often NOT see it as even close to tautological, because even without overtly arguing such, they believe they could have been born with Hitler's exact same genetics and exact same experiences, and something (which must be some soul-type thingie) within them definitely would have made them turn out very differently.

Only if they buy into the absurd 'thought experiment' of being Hitler and yet at the same time being themselves. Absurd premises lead to absurd outcomes: Right-Thinking People

Quote:
They believe Hitler had some "badness" within him that had nothing to do with genetics or life experiences and environment. They believe they're not like him because of some super-natural-type goodness.

National Socialism is an acquired taste; it's not innate, however much nazis would like to imagine that it is. And "life experiences and environment" also don't condemn you to become a nazi. It takes quite a lot of practice and getting things wrong to end up there.
What Is Racism?
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old Yesterday, 10:45 AM   #126
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I think what she's getting at is (at least that is how I myself view this) that if you were born -- Godwin alert !! -- if you were born with Hitler's exact circumstances and Hitler's exact genetics, then you couldn't have acted any differently. You too, then, would have done the exact same things as Hitler.
Not without rewriting quantum mechanics and/or how synapses work, you wouldn't. As I was saying, you have some trillions of random number generators up there. There's a lot of times in your life that you probably aren't aware where a decision could go either way, and you were just random roll away from taking the opposite one.

Now it doesn't necessarily mean free will, but it does nix the silly simplistic predetermination idea.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
So, if we caught hold of Hitler, then we'd see what we'd need to do to correct his particular mental kinks. If we couldn't correct those kinks adequately, then we'd see what we'd need to do keep society from him. And we'd also see what we'd need to do to build in ample deterrence to prevent future Hitlers and future minions of Hitler. But what we wouldn't need -- not even for a Hitler -- is "punishment", per se, as the word "punishment" is generally understood, not even for his particular heinous crimes.
Actually, as David correctly noted, especially if you believe in some kind of determinism then you would need a punishment more than ever. ESPECIALLY then.

Because they overlap with deterrence. When you take a decision based on some data, regardless of whether you believe that process to be deterministic or not, the possible outcomes are part of that data. That includes what kind of punishment you can expect to get, vs what are the rewards. It's a risk/benefit analysis.

And it's silly to expect it to work just as well if you remove a huge chunk of the risk from that equation.

And dunno about Hitler but it's in fact amply documented that a lot of the SS and other higher ups took decisions by the end to try to mitigate the punishments they expected to receive. That includes stuff like starting to refrain from atrocities, stopping from rounding up more Jews, along with less desirable stuff like destroying documents or killing witnesses.

If you remove the punishment from the possible outcomes -- hell, even blaming the guy, according to some here -- there's no reason not to keep rounding and executing undesirables right until the last moment when the Americans or Soviets walk in and arrest you.
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Old Yesterday, 03:50 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
That the principle of causality be a rule of method instead of a description of facts doesn't entail that causes don't exist or that really everything has a cause. It means that we don't know if some events have actually a cause.
I'm estimating that you may have knowledge about Ghazzali's thoughts on causality. I can vaguely remember it. If I'm correct he claims that the only cause for everything is his God (Allah's will). He considered it a heresy to claim that things happen for explainable material reasons. (Like sun rise happening every day..). I think this is a one big influence he had on the Islamic thought that he is considered a pivotal figure for it's demise.
I'd appreciate it if you can talk about this more.
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Old Yesterday, 06:27 PM   #128
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Well, Al Ghazali was a mystic and indeed as anti-intellectual as you can get. Indeed for him it was foolish of the philosophers to even think that paper burns at a certain temperature. Nah, it burns when and if Allah wills it to burn, or not if he doesn't. Actual example of his, btw. Also, maths was the language of the devil.

Honestly, as anti-intellectuals go, even the Flat Earthers could learn a thing or two from him

Honestly, though, in the context of pre-determination I'm not sure what there is to talk about it. It's not a scientific argument, it's just that some delusional and overtly anti-scientific dude said so. No different nor more worthy of consideration than when the local redneck says so.

In fact, the average bible-thumping redneck may actually be saner. Chances are he's not as rabid a God fanboy as Al Ghazali. Honestly, if you put that much sheer single-minded fanboyism into writing on any other topic, even the fanboys would think you're crazy.
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Old Yesterday, 11:14 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The presupposition there is that they actually are more effective, but that would first have to be proven. Otherwise the whole argument is unsound.

Why? It can be deterministic for the variables you control, but those you don't control can still cause deviations.

(...)

Same with education, really. Unless you lock that person up in a room where you can control all they see or hear, 24 hours a day, there will be a pseudo-randomness in the results you get for the same action. Just because there are a lot of variables you don't even know, much less control.
You have overlooked the first question. The question is if brutal means to prevent an undesirable behaviour were effective you would apply them. This is a moral question not a factual one. So the question is whether Hitler was right to eliminate the weak-minded who were a burden to the state.

"Not under control" is a euphemism. You're recognizing that in normal situations you don't know which variables determine the human behaviour. Instead, you assume that these variables exist and that free will is not one of them. Well, your determinism is an assumption. That is, a metaphysical determinism.

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Old Yesterday, 11:32 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
If you're talking about "blaming" as an emotion, I pretty much agree.

Blaming, though, as a process of attributing cause and attempting to amend that cause for better outcomes, is obviously useful. There's nothing illogical about blaming even an inanimate thing in order to improve future outcomes. If a shrub at a corner blocked a motorist's view of oncoming traffic and contributed to an accident, it makes sense to remove it to reduce the chance of subsequent similar accidents. If during the same incident the traffic signals were working properly, and did not contribute to the accident, then they can be left alone and do not need to be repaired or altered. One is blamed, the other is not, and that directs an appropriate course of remedial action.

It's true that verbally lecturing or blandishing the shrub (or the traffic signal) would be ineffective. But that's not what "blaming" means. Before an "effective program of deconditioning" (corporal, one presumes) can be applied to a human offender, the offender must be regarded as the cause of the offense. That's blaming.
I means blaming as a verbal act. To attribute to someone or some act a morally unacceptable quality.To make responsible someone of a fault.

For the rest I copy from my comment 117:
Skinner affirms that familiar or social pressure determines the behaviour. Therefore a person can be influenced if he is blamed by a parent or a friend. But this is not due to moral reasoning but to personal or social influence. Therefore this personal influence can be used in more efficient ways than moral sermons.
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Old Today, 02:44 AM   #131
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
You have overlooked the first question. The question is if brutal means to prevent an undesirable behaviour were effective you would apply them. This is a moral question not a factual one. So the question is whether Hitler was right to eliminate the weak-minded who were a burden to the state.
As I was saying, it would still first have to be proven that those are indeed the most effective means. So far, the data we have

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
"Not under control" is a euphemism. You're recognizing that in normal situations you don't know which variables determine the human behaviour. Instead, you assume that these variables exist and that free will is not one of them. Well, your determinism is an assumption. That is, a metaphysical determinism.
You must confuse me with someone else. That's not an argument either pro or against free will, nor pro or against determinism. The argument is that at the end of the day it doesn't make a difference whether it's deterministic or not, since you don't know or control most of them.

Also I don't have to assume anything, nor use euphemisms. Anyone who's ever had a child relative knows that they learn all sorts of bad behaviours from other children at school. That is exactly the kind of variable that's not under your control. It's not an euphemism, it's literally meant that way. What they'll learn during recess is literally a variable and literally not under your control, even if you knew exactly how cognition works.

Basically you don't have to assume that everything is pretentious philosophical twaddle. I'm talking very plain text there.
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Old Today, 01:34 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
Speaking for myself, there's no way I'd kill Maria Anna Schicklgruber.

Because in 1940 my father and mother met at the Seaplane base in Pembroke Dock, both being corporals in the RAF at the time.

Kill Maria and I don't exist. And I can't go back to kill her.
Hence the term "Grandfather Paradox".
Fiction and philosophy have several possible resolutions.
1. You can't prevent Hitler's conception, i.e. time is insufficiently plastic to allow for this while (perhaps) incorporating enough fuzziness at the quantum level to allow time travel.

2. You can prevent Hitler's conception (or otherwise alter the past) and create a timeline where he didn't exist.
Then, either you:
a. Cannot return to your present and remain in the altered past.
b. Return to an unchanged present as the new timeline doesn't include you.
c. Return to a changed present where the alterations you made have cascaded forwards. Your continued existence is a paradox.

There are other conceivable options.
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Old Today, 02:57 PM   #133
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Having earlier commented about physical indeterminism in cognition, that still isn't free will. Free will, upon examination, is the observation that there are decisions that can be made that are not wholly driven internally, but rather as a function of objective information acquired and researched externally. (Case in point: choice of RAM for your motherboard.) This means that the freedom to decide in such cases is not only a feeling or impression, but is an observation of behavior that is conscious and deliberate. All of this while recognizing that the bulk of behavior is driven by innate and subconsciously-acquired heuristics that are rationalized post-hoc, making much of it deterministic in a restricted sense.

So, yes to a non-deterministic universe with changing degrees of freedom owing to the addition of new parameters at scalar and complex boundaries, and yes to free will, with provisions.
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Old Today, 03:24 PM   #134
HansMustermann
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@catsmate
I must confess I wasn't planning to go in that direction with it.

If I have to frame it in the framework of that paradox, what I was trying to say is that by merely going back into the past at all, you have already created a new random timeline, even if you don't touch anything. Because for any future to be fixed in 1800, QM events would have to all roll the dice and get the exact same results as in our run. I.e., QM would have to be deterministic, via hidden variables or otherwise.

The moment you went back in time, essentially you reloaded a previous state of Earth, and everything can go differently from there.

Kind of like reloading an Europa Universalis game, if you will. Everything that happened after the date you reloaded in another game, may not happen the same this time around. Maybe this time the Ottomans don't rival you. Maybe this time around you roll a 1-1-1 skill for your next monarch. (Beyond awful, for those unfamiliar with the game.) Thus this time maybe Austria doesn't want to ally with you, since this time around you don't have the Ottomans as a common enemy. Maybe they'll rival you instead. Maybe this time France gets that overdue revolt instead of getting bored and fabricating a claim on you. Whatever could happen differently.

Or in our Hitler example, maybe Hitler will be born a girl. Maybe he'll be born retarded. Maybe he won't be born at all. There are a lot of quantum dice that can go spectacularly differently. Essentially in this timeline you don't KNOW if killing Maria is even worth it.


... Well, that and mostly I wanted to tempt someone to go back in time and kill a 5 year old girl. But you lot take all the fun out of being the Master
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Old Today, 04:13 PM   #135
Dr.Sid
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I have issues with the term 'free will'. What does it mean ?
Deterministic is not free. That it's usually clear.
But is random free ? Because QM shows no the base level, the world is random.
The world free typically means free in some aspect. Free prisoner can move anywhere. Free press can write anything. Free means absence of some specific limiting factor. What is the factor in 'free will' ? If it is determinism, then random means free, because random means 'independent on previous state', ie. the exact opposite of determinism.

I have no issue believing our brains are biologic computers, where random events plays some role, maybe even significant. Even if brains were working on macrolevel high enough to be 100% deterministic (similar to computers), we cannot control the environment of the brain to such degree, so the final outcome again won't be 100% deterministic.

But I can't convert this believe into answer to 'do we have free will', I just don't understand the question.
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