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Tags free will , predeterminism

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Old 14th June 2019, 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 14th June 2019, 06:51 AM   #122
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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 14th June 2019, 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 14th June 2019, 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 14th June 2019, 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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Old 14th June 2019, 10:45 AM   #126
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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 14th June 2019, 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 14th June 2019, 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 14th June 2019, 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 14th June 2019, 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 15th June 2019, 02:44 AM   #131
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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 15th June 2019, 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 15th June 2019, 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 15th June 2019, 03:24 PM   #134
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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 15th June 2019, 04:13 PM   #135
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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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Old 15th June 2019, 11:48 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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
Your answer implies that if it were effective you would apply it. It seems to me an atrocity.
(Anyway there is evident that it is effective. To eliminate the mentally retarded is a way to save government expenditure. You have no excuse to evade the question).

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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.
There are two kinds of "out of control". One: when you know what cause is but you don't know how to modify it. Two: When you don't know what cause is working.
The second option is relevant to determinism. You cannot say that you know that something is acting if you don't know what is it. You can only guess.

In effect, if you are not defending the determinism, this is not addressed to you.

Of course, determinism and indeterminism are philosophical questions. I don't know in what sense they are "pretentious". It seems that is an interesting question to you, because you are discussing it here.
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Old 16th June 2019, 02:04 AM   #137
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Your answer implies that if it were effective you would apply it. It seems to me an atrocity.
If there was solid evidence that the best deterrent to crime is to hang every criminal, I could be persuaded, yes.

But as I was saying, the evidence actually points the other way. When there is no way for the punishment to go up, there is no deterrent to further crime once that threshold is crossed. E.g., if you get hanged for a rape or a robbery, there's no reason not to murder the victim too, eliminating a witness.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
(Anyway there is evident that it is effective. To eliminate the mentally retarded is a way to save government expenditure. You have no excuse to evade the question).
I have the "excuse" that it is a rather obvious red herring. It has nothing to do with how cognition works, which is what the talk was about. Saving government money is SUCH an unrelated topic to cognitive determinism, it's almost funny.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
There are two kinds of "out of control". One: when you know what cause is but you don't know how to modify it. Two: When you don't know what cause is working.
The second option is relevant to determinism. You cannot say that you know that something is acting if you don't know what is it. You can only guess.
Fairly obviously, yes.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
In effect, if you are not defending the determinism, this is not addressed to you.
I'm not. I'm just saying that in practice the correlation between the (A) causes you know and can control, and (B) the effect will be the same either way.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Of course, determinism and indeterminism are philosophical questions. I don't know in what sense they are "pretentious". It seems that is an interesting question to you, because you are discussing it here.
I was just talking about the language. I'm just saying you don't have to assume any euphemisms and whatnot. I've been talking very plain text.
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Old 16th June 2019, 02:17 AM   #138
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
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.
Well, because as I was saying, it's been derailed recently into something that's a useless piece of nonsense. There's a gang that redefined it in such a way that NOTHING would ever qualify as free will, and as such it doesn't actually add one bit of information about anything.

I mean, having a property or belonging to a set, adds at most one bit of information: does it, or does it not. But when the set is defined in such a way that nothing could ever belong to it, then you don't actually have any extra information about anything.

Traditionally the question was just whether you have the option and nobody is stopping you.

E.g., see the example of the blackjack dealer I gave before. If I'm a blackjack dealer, depending on the casino, I MUST hit on a soft 17 or lower, and I MUST hold on a hard 17 or higher. I just don't have the choice, no matter what I see the client has. I could see that the client has a 10 as their face up card, so there is a sizable probability that he has 17 or more himself, but I'm not ALLOWED to decide to try for sheer luck and hit again. Even if I decided to break the rules and hit again, he'd just call my manager, and still wouldn't have lost to my "clever" breaking the rules.

E.g., in the context of religion, the "free will" argument boils down to: God doesn't prevent you from, say, killing someone. However that choice making goes inside your head, it's still inside your head, not a door that God has preemptively closed beforehand.
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Old 16th June 2019, 11:06 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
... You introduce a you that's different from Hitler only to define it as being identical with Hitler.

If you've never yourself identified with immaterial soul ideas, nor ever had to deal with those who do -- and, more importantly, if you've never ever felt the intuitive vengefulness that kicks in when wronged, nor ever had to deal with those who do so react -- then I guess you have no need of this argument or indeed of this discussion. Otherwise it serves to help correct that kink.


Originally Posted by dann View Post
I find it plain crazy and therefore not healthy at all.

I will join kellyb (whose question you either did not see or did not answer) in asking: What appears crazy to you, or unhealthy, in leaving out ideas of vengefulness and retribution and "just" (that is, eye-for-an-eye) punishment, while at the same time leaving in deterrence and correction?

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Old 16th June 2019, 01:07 PM   #140
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1. I suppose it does say "religion" in the board name, but that means we discuss ABOUT religion, not by assuming religious ideas to be true. That goes for immaterial soul ideas too. Whatever cognition ideas you propose, must stand on their own, based on what we do know, not by assuming you can have Hitler's soul or such.

2. I'll give you a simple argument: because vengeance doesn't really solve anything. What you want is deterrence. You can't bring back the dead by hanging the murderer. What you CAN do though is protect the living, which is to say, deter more people from murdering.

And as such the punishments must be tuned for maximum effect rather than what would be a just vengeance. From what we can tell in the modern world, you don't actually need to go for "an eye for an eye", and it's in fact counter-productive to do so, if the goal is deterrence. Among other things because past a point, it just starts making it worth killing the witnesses, if there is no room to escalate the punishment any more.
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Old 16th June 2019, 01:57 PM   #141
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1. Think of it as an argumentum ad absurdum exercise, designed to show up the futility of an-eye-for-an-eye.

2. We are in agreement here.

Like I said to dann, if you've never encountered the instinct for vengeance, whether in yourself or in others, then you probably don't need this argument at all. But if you have, then this argument, this thought, may help.

Sure, simply pointing out the pointlessness of vengeance may work, too, just by itself. If it does, great. On the other hand, it may not, given we're dealing with deep-rooted instinct here, when it comes to vengeance. In which case, this approach may help IMO.

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Old 16th June 2019, 02:43 PM   #142
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Well, I was trying to frame it in the context of the cognition talk we've been having.

If you just want an argument for why you shouldn't start hanging left, right and centre, here's another very pragmatic one: because we're not omniscient. There's always the probability to condemn an innocent. and from what's been studied in the late 20'th and early 21'st century, it seems like we've been finding a lot of people guilty that turned out to be innoncent at closer inspection. There are lying witnesses, unreliable witnesses, leading the witnesses, "experts" testifying stuff that later turned out to be PHYSICALLY impossible (as in, literally contradicting even high school level physics,) etc. And then there are people who voluntarily confess to stuff they haven't actually done, and in many cases COULDN'T do. There are famous cases where we have literally two dozen people confessing doing each of them.

Extreme cases create bad case law, as they say. And Hitler is as extreme a case as it gets, including the monumental amount of evidence we have about what he did. Most cases that a legal system has to deal with aren't anything like that. So essentially we must make a legal system that has to deal with FAR less clear cut cases.

So, anyway, if you're wrong and you put someone in jail, well, you probably ruined their life, but you can at least free them later if new evidence proves their innocence. But if you've executed someone, you can't bring them back.
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Old 16th June 2019, 03:04 PM   #143
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Sure, that's a good argument for doing away with capital punishment. But it speaks to only capital punishment. Realizing that "them" is no different from "us", barring accidents of birth and circumstance, can probably do a lot to cool off a great deal of the righteous indignation thing, generally speaking.
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Old 16th June 2019, 09:15 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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.
I am aware of Al Ghazali being a mystic. Because I aspired to become one while reading his mystic books as a teenager and got quite damaged intellectually from it.
But I never read his books regarding philosophical arguments. And after my worldview changed never got curious enough to go back and see if he had some merit in his arguments touching philosophical topics.
This topic here reminded me of his causality argument eventhough it was for the supernatural..
I thought I'd get some concrete information on that, for what it's worth it..

I've been reading this thread with great enjoyment. I appreciate your inputs. On the topic I've only read Chapman Cohen's book. (Determinism or Free Will). And it kind of shaped my mind although with some unconvincing points in it.
This thread is giving me an opportunity to revamp my take on the subject.

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Old 16th June 2019, 10:37 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If there was solid evidence that the best deterrent to crime is to hang every criminal, I could be persuaded, yes.
But as I was saying, the evidence actually points the other way. When there is no way for the punishment to go up, there is no deterrent to further crime once that threshold is crossed. E.g., if you get hanged for a rape or a robbery, there's no reason not to murder the victim too, eliminating a witness.

I have the "excuse" that it is a rather obvious red herring. It has nothing to do with how cognition works, which is what the talk was about. Saving government money is SUCH an unrelated topic to cognitive determinism, it's almost funny.
(...)
You are recoiling from my question about Hitler. Instead you put another case that don't raise problems to nobody.

You can easily imagine yourself some examples where capital punishment is applied to crimes without any risk to the victims. Death penalty for economic crimes in China, for example.

You are trying to avoid my question because you are clearly uncomfortable with your own answer: "If there was solid evidence that the best deterrent to crime is to hang every criminal, I could be persuaded, yes". This suggest that you don't see any problem in applying disproportionate means against minor faults. This is to say, your unique criterion for penalty is efficacy. Morality or human rights are dead letter.
That is why my question is not red herring. This thread raises the problem of evidence on determinism and the problem of unmorality is a classic argument against determinism.
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Old 17th June 2019, 01:02 AM   #146
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@David Mo
I have no problem discussing Hitler or punishments. The problem with your question was just that:

A) it's about gassing the mentally deficient. Being retarded or a schizophrenic is not a crime AND

B) being retarded not something you learn to do, so it has nothing to do with cognitive determinism. You can't really deter people from being born retarded, AND

C) it was at least tried to be done in secrecy, hence the deterrence value was not even the goal, AND

D) it's about saving money for the state, which is not the same thing as the deterrence that causes the most effect. It is an entirely different topic from people learning not to do that.

I don't see WTH does it have to do with cognitive determinism at all. THAT is what makes it a red herring.


On the other hand, death penalty in China is good example for a change. Technically I do have an issue with the death penalty that I wrote in #142, and there is the fact that I mentioned repeatedly that actually real world data indicates that over the top punishments are actually counter-productive. But IF -- and that's a big IF -- hypothetically it were shown that that's what works the best, sure, I could be persuaded.

If that makes me an ass hole, so be it. I can live with that.
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Old 17th June 2019, 01:32 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
If you've never yourself identified with immaterial soul ideas, nor ever had to deal with those who do -- and, more importantly, if you've never ever felt the intuitive vengefulness that kicks in when wronged, nor ever had to deal with those who do so react -- then I guess you have no need of this argument or indeed of this discussion. Otherwise it serves to help correct that kink.


I will join kellyb (whose question you either did not see or did not answer) in asking: What appears crazy to you, or unhealthy, in leaving out ideas of vengefulness and retribution and "just" (that is, eye-for-an-eye) punishment, while at the same time leaving in deterrence and correction?

There is no intuitive vengefulness and it doesn't just kick in when wronged - whatever that may be. It actually requires you to think that something wronged you, otherwise there's no vengefulness. And by the way, in spite of the feeling that you need revenge for something happening to you, people have been known to forgive even the killers of their children.
(You know, what you would probably describe as intuitive forgiveness kicking in ...)
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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 17th June 2019, 01:36 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
B) being retarded not something you learn to do, so it has nothing to do with cognitive determinism. You can't really deter people from being born retarded,

... and if you're born retarded, your thinking skills are impaired, they're not determined. Being retarded doesn't force upon you certain ideas - like, vote for Trump, for instance.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"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 17th June 2019, 07:07 PM   #149
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Trying to understand the debate topic, I have some simple questions, if I may.

If I believed in my free will does it mean that I believe that I have a soul that "can" make me make decisions free from (or even against) the influences of my body and my experiences and my surrounding world ?

Is there an agenda in the free will argument for supernatural agencies ?

Is the argument for free will scientific in its origin?

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Old 17th June 2019, 10:59 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@David Mo
I have no problem discussing Hitler or punishments. The problem with your question was just that:
A) it's about gassing the mentally deficient. Being retarded or a schizophrenic is not a crime AND
B) being retarded not something you learn to do, so it has nothing to do with cognitive determinism. You can't really deter people from being born retarded, AND
C) it was at least tried to be done in secrecy, hence the deterrence value was not even the goal, AND
D) it's about saving money for the state, which is not the same thing as the deterrence that causes the most effect. It is an entirely different topic from people learning not to do that.

I don't see WTH does it have to do with cognitive determinism at all. THAT is what makes it a red herring.

On the other hand, death penalty in China is good example for a change. Technically I do have an issue with the death penalty that I wrote in #142, and there is the fact that I mentioned repeatedly that actually real world data indicates that over the top punishments are actually counter-productive. But IF -- and that's a big IF -- hypothetically it were shown that that's what works the best, sure, I could be persuaded.

If that makes me an ass hole, so be it. I can live with that.
A) If you are determinist you cannot speak of a crime because determinism exclude any reference to responsibility. There are only causes. A stone cannot commit any crime. Therefore, if a person causes a damage causes a damage and that is final.

B) If you are determinist the word “persuade” has not many sense. There are caused behaviours. If you can modify a behaviour changing its causes, you do it. If you cannot do it, you can eliminate the problem. This is to say, eliminating retarded persons. The final solution, you know.

C) Elimination of retarded people was done in relative secrecy because people are weak and deluded with false concepts such as liberty, morality, etc. But a true determinist know what is to be done.

D) A thief, a killer or a corrupt politician are the same for a determinist. They are behaviours which must be stopped. If you can change their behaviours, you do it. If you cannot, you eliminate the individuals. Or you punish them in a so awful way than other possible evildoers are dissuaded. Other thing will be sappy stuff.

E) I don't know what "cognitive determinism" is. Or, more precisely, I don't know what you mean. I know the words "cognitive determinism" applied to Piaget's evolutionist theory of children’s cognitive processes, but this has no relation with our issue. I remember you that the issue of this thread is the validity of determinism.

F) “But IF -- and that's a big IF -- hypothetically it were shown that that's what works the best, sure, I could be persuaded.”
It cannot be disputed that keeping certain chronically ill and mentally retarded people alive is an objective detriment to society. Clearly it is, if we stick to objective facts. You prefer not to see it, because the consequences are harsh for anti-moralist theories such as determinism and your own.
Your answer is consistent with a determinist point of view and with the final solution of retarded people. That disgusts me. I have not many things to add.
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Old 17th June 2019, 11:56 PM   #151
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@David Mo
Mate, what is your problem? Seriously.

Your whole post is by now just a hodge-podge of bare postulates about what someone else thinks, what is best for society, etc, without any support other than that you said so. And then at point F you take a statement that was EXPLICITLY made about a different situation and try to pretend it's about eliminating the retarded. That has already crossed over from red herring to strawman.

Well, if your own retarded strawmen disgust you, then don't do them. You have the power

But generally, together with going into delusional speculations in #145 about what secret reasons I must have to not take the bait of your red herring, I can only conclude that at this point you're just trolling.
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Old 18th June 2019, 03:06 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@David Mo
Mate, what is your problem? Seriously.

Your whole post is by now just a hodge-podge of bare postulates about what someone else thinks, what is best for society, etc, without any support other than that you said so. And then at point F you take a statement that was EXPLICITLY made about a different situation and try to pretend it's about eliminating the retarded. That has already crossed over from red herring to strawman.

Well, if your own retarded strawmen disgust you, then don't do them. You have the power

But generally, together with going into delusional speculations in #145 about what secret reasons I must have to not take the bait of your red herring, I can only conclude that at this point you're just trolling.
I see you've lost the urge to argue and general disqualifications begin. It often happens when one is short of arguments.
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Old 18th June 2019, 05:42 AM   #153
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I could say the same. Especially when you still dive into baiting a la "It often happens when one is short of arguments." Uh-huh. That determined to derail the talk into your nonsense, huh?

Well, first of all, since you posted a bunch of postulates, it's up to you to have an argument to support them. Speculating about whether I have a counter-argument or not, is cute in its idiocy, but it's still your burden of proof not mine.

That said, problem still is: it is a complete red herring. It has nothing to do with determinism. The whole argument is completely and utterly orthogonal to it. To wit:

1. The retarded are still exactly as retarded, and just as incurable of it, regardless of whether you hypothesize their brains to function deterministically or not.

2. Exactly how productive members of society they are, is also the same, regardless of whether you hypothesize their brains to function deterministically or not.

3. The costs of caring for them are still the exact same, regardless of whether you consider their brains to function deterministically or not.

4. The chances of passing it on to offspring (since really Hitler's reason was eugenics, not philosophy of the mind) are still the exact same, regardless of whether you consider their brains to function deterministically or not.

5. Whether the state needs to care for its citizens, and how much, is also rather independent of whether you believe in determinism or not.

6. The supposed burden to the state needs to be first demonstrated, not just pulled out of the ass and proclaimed to be beyond questioning. You are not the pope, you don't get to do infallible pronouncements. There are plenty of menial jobs that can be done perfectly well by people with mild or even moderate retardation. Which is to say, IQ 35 or higher. Which covers the VAST majority of people with intellectual deficiency.

But also because:

7. How well a country functions is also dependent on cultural and sociological factors. National unity, morale, etc, are actually very important. It does not follow that starting killing people's relatives is actually better for the country, even if it saves a few bucks in the short term. You have to support that idea, not just postulate that it's unquestionable, silly.

8. "If you are determinist the word “persuade” has not many sense. There are caused behaviours." That is at best a dumb word game, and at worst downright stupid. Persuasion is one way to cause a desired behaviour. The idea that if someone believes in deterministic decision making, they'd necessarily become oblivious to half the data that goes into making those decision, is just plain old nonsense.

9. "If you can modify a behaviour changing its causes, you do it. If you cannot do it, you can eliminate the problem. This is to say, eliminating retarded persons. The final solution, you know." Again, that's downright stupid. It postulates motivations and goals which are not part of just believing in deterministic decision making. Just believing that something works in a certain way, doesn't automatically involve wanting to solve EVERYTHING even vaguely related to it.

10. It also postulates a kind of black and white thinking that is not a given. Even if one believes that certain decisions are deterministic, it doesn't follow that they'd necessarily then classify every single decision into either perfect or deserving nothing short of death. It doesn't follow that basically if you think that thought processes are deterministic, you'd automatically believe in the Nirvana Fallacy. It's a fallacy for a reason. And known to be one.

If you want to postulate that such thinking is inherent, then support it. Or don't. But in the meantime, poisoning-the-well rhetoric about how everyone who's of a different school of philosophy than you is nothing short of a proponent of a "final solution" is itself idiotic.

Not the least because:

11. Even where punishments are involved, there is a benefit from having a more gradual scale. And I've already repeatedly given a reason why. The notion that if someone believes that there's a deterministic cause-effect at work, they'd automatically be unable to comprehend that certain causes work better towards producing an effect, is not a given.

12. "Or you punish them in a so awful way than other possible evildoers are dissuaded." Again, that's postulating that more awful punishments work better. That is not a given. Support it, or don't, but just repeating it like a broken record doesn't at some point just make it true.

But more importantly:

13. That returns in a circle to your implying that being retarded equals being an evildoer. If that seems in any way obvious a premise to you, then the problem is in YOUR mental model, and you can stop projecting. It does not follow that if one believes in deterministic decision making, they'd automatically be oblivious to 2500 years or so of figuring out the best justice system.

E.g., that they'd totally forget fundamental principles like needing a Mens Rea (evil intent) before something qualifies as evildoing, or why those principles are there. In fact, just that one alone automatically excludes anything out of your control from being qualified as evildoing. Unless someone actually wanted to be retarded and made themselves so, it CAN'T qualify as evildoing.

Even more importantly:

14. Again, there you try to sneak in the downright idiotic notion that any "deterrence" can even be conceived when it comes to something like being retarded. You can escalate punishment as high as you wish, it still CAN'T deter someone from being retarded. Again, you just postulate that someone who's a believer in deterministic decision making, would be automatically oblivious to that, and try to apply the same to everything whether it can actually be deterred or not. That is not a given.

Etc.

But basically, as I've said it the first time: "Your whole post is by now just a hodge-podge of bare postulates about what someone else thinks, what is best for society, etc, without any support other than that you said so." Speculating about my possible reasons and reactions to it doesn't change the fact that it's YOUR burden of proof to support all that.
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:13 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I could say the same. Especially when you still dive into baiting a la "It often happens when one is short of arguments." Uh-huh. That determined to derail the talk into your nonsense, huh?

Well, first of all, since you posted a bunch of postulates, it's up to you to have an argument to support them. Speculating about whether I have a counter-argument or not, is cute in its idiocy, but it's still your burden of proof not mine.

That said, problem still is: it is a complete red herring. It has nothing to do with determinism. The whole argument is completely and utterly orthogonal to it. To wit:

1. The retarded are still exactly as retarded, and just as incurable of it, regardless of whether you hypothesize their brains to function deterministically or not.

2. Exactly how productive members of society they are, is also the same, regardless of whether you hypothesize their brains to function deterministically or not.

3. The costs of caring for them are still the exact same, regardless of whether you consider their brains to function deterministically or not.

4. The chances of passing it on to offspring (since really Hitler's reason was eugenics, not philosophy of the mind) are still the exact same, regardless of whether you consider their brains to function deterministically or not.

5. Whether the state needs to care for its citizens, and how much, is also rather independent of whether you believe in determinism or not.

6. The supposed burden to the state needs to be first demonstrated, not just pulled out of the ass and proclaimed to be beyond questioning. You are not the pope, you don't get to do infallible pronouncements. There are plenty of menial jobs that can be done perfectly well by people with mild or even moderate retardation. Which is to say, IQ 35 or higher. Which covers the VAST majority of people with intellectual deficiency.

But also because:

7. How well a country functions is also dependent on cultural and sociological factors. National unity, morale, etc, are actually very important. It does not follow that starting killing people's relatives is actually better for the country, even if it saves a few bucks in the short term. You have to support that idea, not just postulate that it's unquestionable, silly.

8. "If you are determinist the word “persuade” has not many sense. There are caused behaviours." That is at best a dumb word game, and at worst downright stupid. Persuasion is one way to cause a desired behaviour. The idea that if someone believes in deterministic decision making, they'd necessarily become oblivious to half the data that goes into making those decision, is just plain old nonsense.

9. "If you can modify a behaviour changing its causes, you do it. If you cannot do it, you can eliminate the problem. This is to say, eliminating retarded persons. The final solution, you know." Again, that's downright stupid. It postulates motivations and goals which are not part of just believing in deterministic decision making. Just believing that something works in a certain way, doesn't automatically involve wanting to solve EVERYTHING even vaguely related to it.

10. It also postulates a kind of black and white thinking that is not a given. Even if one believes that certain decisions are deterministic, it doesn't follow that they'd necessarily then classify every single decision into either perfect or deserving nothing short of death. It doesn't follow that basically if you think that thought processes are deterministic, you'd automatically believe in the Nirvana Fallacy. It's a fallacy for a reason. And known to be one.

If you want to postulate that such thinking is inherent, then support it. Or don't. But in the meantime, poisoning-the-well rhetoric about how everyone who's of a different school of philosophy than you is nothing short of a proponent of a "final solution" is itself idiotic.

Not the least because:

11. Even where punishments are involved, there is a benefit from having a more gradual scale. And I've already repeatedly given a reason why. The notion that if someone believes that there's a deterministic cause-effect at work, they'd automatically be unable to comprehend that certain causes work better towards producing an effect, is not a given.

12. "Or you punish them in a so awful way than other possible evildoers are dissuaded." Again, that's postulating that more awful punishments work better. That is not a given. Support it, or don't, but just repeating it like a broken record doesn't at some point just make it true.

But more importantly:

13. That returns in a circle to your implying that being retarded equals being an evildoer. If that seems in any way obvious a premise to you, then the problem is in YOUR mental model, and you can stop projecting. It does not follow that if one believes in deterministic decision making, they'd automatically be oblivious to 2500 years or so of figuring out the best justice system.

E.g., that they'd totally forget fundamental principles like needing a Mens Rea (evil intent) before something qualifies as evildoing, or why those principles are there. In fact, just that one alone automatically excludes anything out of your control from being qualified as evildoing. Unless someone actually wanted to be retarded and made themselves so, it CAN'T qualify as evildoing.

Even more importantly:

14. Again, there you try to sneak in the downright idiotic notion that any "deterrence" can even be conceived when it comes to something like being retarded. You can escalate punishment as high as you wish, it still CAN'T deter someone from being retarded. Again, you just postulate that someone who's a believer in deterministic decision making, would be automatically oblivious to that, and try to apply the same to everything whether it can actually be deterred or not. That is not a given.

Etc.

But basically, as I've said it the first time: "Your whole post is by now just a hodge-podge of bare postulates about what someone else thinks, what is best for society, etc, without any support other than that you said so." Speculating about my possible reasons and reactions to it doesn't change the fact that it's YOUR burden of proof to support all that.
I appreciate your long comment. It is a great effort of communication. Unfortunately it is a mistake from the beginning. I means this phrase that you repeat several times:

“The retarded are still exactly as retarded, and just as incurable of it, regardless of whether you hypothesize their brains to function deterministically or not.”

The main thesis of psychological determinism is that every human behaviour has a cause at least. My argument against determinism is not based whether this is factually true or not or applied to retarded or everybody. My argument is analytical. It is based on an inconsistency of determinism. That is to say, the postulates of determinism lead to conclusions that are contradictory to common intuitions and are undesirable even to determinists.
Therefore, I begin with the supposition or hypothesis that the main thesis of determinism is true. Let us see:

1. If every human behaviour is caused or determined by a sequence of causes a man is not morally responsible of his acts. The same that you don't blame (morally) a rock for the damages caused by its fall.

Can we pass to the following premise?
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:27 PM   #155
Chanakya

 
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I'm interested in this, David Mo. I believe you're wrong, and I believe it is easy enough to directly show that. But before I do that, I'm interested in seeing how your approach might pan out. Please proceed.


One observation, though. Even if you can show that determinism leads to undesirable results -- big 'if' -- that would still not speak to the truth value of determinism. You realize that, right?

Just as antitheism is not an argument for atheism, similarly here.

So perhaps you could, along with proceeding with your argument, also address this preemptive objection of mine.
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Old 19th June 2019, 12:29 AM   #156
HansMustermann
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@David Mo
As Chanakya correctly noted, if you don't address whether determinism is factually true, then it's at best just a big appeal to consequences fallacy. But as I was saying, you never proved that determinism actually implies wanting to gas the retarded, so in reality it's just a poisoning the well fallacy. Spiced up with a big reductio ad hitlerum for maximum emotional bullcrap.

Look, even if conceivably believing in quantum mechanics would make me want to design a better nuke, while believing in the Tooth Fairy would make me provide free dental care, the fact still remains that the former is true while the latter is false. Going some version of "oh noes, don't believe X, the ones who believe X are worse than HITLER!" is just stupid.

So, as I was saying, you've been spending all this time trying to derail the talk into some irrelevant nonsense.


That said, sure, as I was saying before, it seems to me like a big reason for this push for determinism is to avoid personal responsibility. So, sure, in a certain sense I have already agreed to that one point.
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Old 19th June 2019, 01:15 AM   #157
Chanakya

 
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
... it seems to me like a big reason for this push for determinism is to avoid personal responsibility...

I'm sorry, I don't see that. Which push for determinism do you refer to here? And why do you think a big reason for that is to avoid responsibility?

Who is avoiding responsibility? Responsibility for what? And how do you figure that they're doing this?

(If you're saying determinism can be (mis-)used to advocate abdication of responsibility, sure, I'm with you. But that's like saying RCC confession can foster irresponsibility, or that atheism can foster anarchy. It can, sure. I agree. But that's different from showing it must. And that's also different from showing that's what's happening in practice.)
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Old 19th June 2019, 01:42 AM   #158
HansMustermann
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Considering that what is repeatedly stated is that if you take decisions for reasons, you can't be morally blamed for anything you do, I'm not sure how personal responsibility is even possible in that setup.
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Old 19th June 2019, 02:36 AM   #159
David Mo
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Chanakya and HansMustermann:

Before stirring up the ghost of fallacies, carefully follow my reasoning, please: I am not going to prove that determinism is true or false. I am going to show a logical/moral consequence of admitting determinism. If my argument is correct it cannot be a fallacy.

I will continue as soon as I have time again.

Thanks for your patience.
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Old 19th June 2019, 03:58 AM   #160
HansMustermann
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That would still make it at best a red herring for the topic we're in, since the actual topic is the validity of it.

That said, if you want to claim any consequences, you still have to show that they are actual consequences and not just poisoning the well. I.e., you'd still have to support the connecting dots there.
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Last edited by HansMustermann; 19th June 2019 at 04:01 AM.
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