Free Will and Determinism

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Free Will and Determinism

In discussing Paisley's criticism of the term "freethinker," (http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/13976) the question of how free will is affected by determinism has come up multiple times. Rather than further complicate the existing thread, I've deemed it better to create a new one.

Is it possible to have free will in a deterministic universe?

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Emeritus Professor Norman

Some recommended reading on this subject:

 

Emeritus Professor Norman Swartz

http://www.sfu.ca/philosophy/swartz/freewill1.htm

 

The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism (Robert Kane on Peter Van Ingwagon vs Daniel Dennett) 

Pages 71-94 : Here

 

Stanford Entry Section 3:3

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/#3

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I'd say that if the universe

I'd say that if the universe can be proven to be entirely determinist, then no. If, even at the level of quanta and particle-antiparticle pair creation and self-annihilation, we can prove that all things occur only because prior conditions force them to occur, then there is no room for free will. At that point, we are merely expressions of aggregate stimulus-response conditions overlaid on complex electrochemical cascades.

If, on the other hand, as deeply as mankind can ever go, there remains a level of causality we cannot nail down, the door remains open.

Regardless, however, of the 'truth' of free will v no free will, as I have said in PDW's thread, when we make (or think we make) decisions, we must do so under the premise that we have free will, or else we completely abdicate the concept of individual responsibility (which, after all, is one of the factors in the stimulus-response aggregations), and embrace nihilistic fatalism, which will rapidly lead to a complete breakdown of the Social Contract.

In other words, if there is free will, then we're well-served not denying it. If there is no free will, then the consequences of acknowledging that will likely preclude such acknowledgment, purely as a defense mechanism. And, if there is no free will, and no such defense mechanism exists, eventually we'll acknowledge it and kill one another, but that's ok, because we won't have the choice. So, in closing: Choose to act under the premise that you have Free Will for as long as you can. Because once you can't, well, you didn't have a choice in the matter anyway. Smiling

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Random Universe=Free Will?

I don't understand why free will is dependent upon an element of randomness. Either everything happens for a reason, or some elements of the universe are random. There isn't a third option. Even if the universe is determinate, we are not intelligent enough to notice it in every-day life. We cannot process fast enough to see the structure.

When we say "free will" what we really mean is "free of observable control," isn't it?

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lieutenant24 wrote:Is it

lieutenant24 wrote:
Is it possible to have free will in a deterministic universe?

This depends on how you define free will. The incompatibilist would say "no" because he defines free will as the ability, given the same situation and circumstance, to choose otherwise. On the other hand, the compatibilist says "yes" because he defines free will as the freedom to fulfil one's desires or intentions without external interference. 

lieutenant24 wrote:
I don't understand why free will is dependent upon an element of randomness. Either everything happens for a reason, or some elements of the universe are random. There isn't a third option.

I can present a fairly simple example to demonstrate how libertarian free will or indeterminism can coexist with determinism.

Most computer languages have some kind of built-in random function. The following presents a statement coded in a Perl program in which a built-in function will randomly "choose" a number between 1 and 10 and assign it to a designated variable:

$PickANumber = int(rand(10)) + 1;

Each time the program runs, all the statements in the program will be executed in a completely deterministic fashion. However, each time the foregoing statement is executed, it will "pick" a number that is (at least in theory) completely random.

There is one glitch here. The above function is not really random. The number that is actually chosen is based on the internal clock time of the computer. That is, whenever the program runs, then whatever number is in the "thousandths of second place" will be used. However, for all intents and practical purposes, the function is random even though in reality it is completely predetermined.

But if this were truly a random function, then the number that was "chosen" would have been selected without any physical cause.

It must also be stated that the prevailing scientific evidence suggests that the world is fundamentally indeterminate based on quantum mechanics. Furthermore, prominent physicists have proposed quantum mind theories to make a compelling case for libertarian free will.

Incidentally, there may be a "third option." Time is relative (according to the theory of relativity). That being the case, causality would be relative too. It all depends upon your frame of reference.

 

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I've never understood why

I've never understood why the average person gets their panties in a bunch about this question.  In a nutshell, it doesn't particularly matter at a quantum level whether or not some events are truly random -- at least not when dealing with sentient trillion-cell organisms with brains that don't notice much below the organizational level of very small insects, and who perceive time as a linear progression.

If you're interested, see "Error of Composition."

 

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BMcD wrote:Regardless,

BMcD wrote:
Regardless, however, of the 'truth' of free will v no free will, as I have said in PDW's thread, when we make (or think we make) decisions, we must do so under the premise that we have free will, or else we completely abdicate the concept of individual responsibility (which, after all, is one of the factors in the stimulus-response aggregations), and embrace nihilistic fatalism, which will rapidly lead to a complete breakdown of the Social Contract.

A "premise" is a belief or presupposition.

Quote:
premise : something assumed or taken for granted : presupposition (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

I'm glad to see you acknowledge that you must operate upon beliefs. This is progress. However, you have just stated that "free will" must be taken as a basic presupposition. This is making an argument for the existence of a soul. I would say that this is very strange for someone who professes to be an "agnostic atheist."

 

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Hambydammit wrote:I've never

Hambydammit wrote:

I've never understood why the average person gets their panties in a bunch about this question.  In a nutshell, it doesn't particularly matter at a quantum level whether or not some events are truly random -- at least not when dealing with sentient trillion-cell organisms with brains that don't notice much below the organizational level of very small insects, and who perceive time as a linear progression.

If you're interested, see "Error of Composition."

The problem is that undermines the worldview of atheistic materialism.

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lieutenant24 wrote:I don't

lieutenant24 wrote:

I don't understand why free will is dependent upon an element of randomness. Either everything happens for a reason, or some elements of the universe are random. There isn't a third option. Even if the universe is determinate, we are not intelligent enough to notice it in every-day life. We cannot process fast enough to see the structure.

When we say "free will" what we really mean is "free of observable control," isn't it?

Perhaps when you say it, but obviously (see Paisley's response) not in all cases.

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Paisley wrote:BMcD

Paisley wrote:

BMcD wrote:
Regardless, however, of the 'truth' of free will v no free will, as I have said in PDW's thread, when we make (or think we make) decisions, we must do so under the premise that we have free will, or else we completely abdicate the concept of individual responsibility (which, after all, is one of the factors in the stimulus-response aggregations), and embrace nihilistic fatalism, which will rapidly lead to a complete breakdown of the Social Contract.

A "premise" is a belief or presupposition.

Quote:
premise : something assumed or taken for granted : presupposition (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

I'm glad to see you acknowledge that you must operate upon beliefs. This is progress. However, you have just stated that "free will" must be taken as a basic presupposition. This is making an argument for the existence of a soul. I would say that this is very strange for someone who professes to be an "agnostic atheist."

No, this would be 'premise' as in a 'given' or 'something taken for granted', given the parameters of the incident, which, after all, takes place entirely within the scope of interacting with the universe as presented by one's perceptions. As we've already discussed, those perceptions cannot be trusted, nor can the mind making the decisions. In effect, we don't even know we're actually in the situation, or making the decision, and so still cannot make any assertion of knowledge, which is what belief is. As I've already said to you on many occasions, I cannot help but interact with the universe my mind presents to me by the rules my mind appears to be presenting as valid. And, as we have also discussed many times, my tendency to use linguistic shorthand when discussing concepts within the framework of those interactions in no way indicates any trust or confidence in the universe as presented to my mind by my mind... including all that I may or may not perceive myself as thinking and/or doing.

But good pounce there! Definitely high marks for effort and seizing the opportunity! Smiling

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At first read, I seemed to

At first read, I seemed to agree with your first reply Paisley. But this bugs me,

"The problem is that [it] undermines the worldview of atheistic materialism." P

   Atheist = not Theist - Materialism = All Reality     So how does that P quote make any sense ?  Help a dumb guy , me ....         I can barely fly ! Set me free !

   ((((  "third option" , the middle say the buddhists ....


   BMcD , you is very kind .....

   Eloise, can you briefly summarize that ? I will read and try .... maybe, ((( it's my choice?!!  Ain't it  ?     

 

 


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I did a little reading there

I did a little reading there Eloise then went googling and found this, idea

   Free will is a metaphysical term, .... and  Metaphysical is just a term for something that we cannot yet explain within our existing physics, language and intuition . When we can explain it and incorporate it into physics and babel then it will no longer be metaphysical !

  I Googled, epistemic determinism 

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lieutenant24 wrote:I don't

lieutenant24 wrote:

I don't understand why free will is dependent upon an element of randomness. Either everything happens for a reason, or some elements of the universe are random. There isn't a third option. Even if the universe is determinate, we are not intelligent enough to notice it in every-day life. We cannot process fast enough to see the structure.

When we say "free will" what we really mean is "free of observable control," isn't it?


I think that's a perfect way to sum it up.
Determinism comes from the fact that the physical universe follows physical laws.
So when you refer to physical objects or physical events, their behaviour will be determined by these laws.
I don't think that our language of decision making refers to such physical objects.

Our decision making language is different to the language of describing the world.
When being taught to describe the world, we were taught to point at objects or pictures and use a word to name them, to refer to them in conversation.
That's very different to how we learned our language to decision making.
Instead we'd convey 'intentions' to a person in a way to communicate and make sense of behaviours.
We learned to predict what a person would do based on how they explained their 'intention'.
So decision making concepts are concepts of prediction.

Our descriptive language refers to physical objects that follow the deterministic rules of physics.
This is why decriptions of the events of the physical world are deterministic.
When it comes to our concepts of decision making like 'will' and 'desire', we aren't referring to physical 'things' so these same rules don't apply.
Instead, the rules are rooted in their predictive use.
When we say some desires something, this means they have a disposition to a certain sort of behaviour.
This behaviour is quite probable then. But 'desire' is predictive rather than absolute, so while it makes a behaviour 'probable', it is never certain.
So when we apply the concept 'desire', that does not determine what behaviour is to follow.
So there is potential for spontenaeity, because applications of our choice langauge deal with probabilities and likelyhoods rather than determinations.
 

 


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I AM GOD AS YOU

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:
Atheist = not Theist - Materialism = All Reality     So how does that P quote make any sense ?  Help a dumb guy , me ....         I can barely fly ! Set me free !

   ((((  "third option" , the middle say the buddhists ....

Buddhism is not compatible with materialism.

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Why not?Buddhism was all

Why not?
Buddhism was all about a practical guide for a personal guide to enlightenment.
Granted, lots of Buddhist traditions have involved supernatural beliefs, but the core of it was a practical approach to life and separate from any metaphysical worldviews.


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Buddhism

If you get down to the philosophical part it, it is about seperating the illusion of our minds and to see what reality is and the reality of the universe, and how all things have a causes for their actions (Hence the issue the dali lama has with some of the quantum mechanics being completely random, however he does admit his lack of knowledge on the topic). The idea of buddhism is to understand the causes of suffering and overcome suffering, once you understand the causes of it, in all it's forms, mental, physical and spiritual, then once can over come it and be happy. So I would that buddhism is the most comparable with materialism, since it focuses on all reality. To seperate the illusion of our minds and focus on reality.


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Paisley, I'm not asking this

Paisley, I'm not asking this flippantly.  Do you actually read the posts, or do you just skim until you see a word you recognize from church and then run with it?

First, determinism is not linked in any way to atheism.  One may hold to any philosophy one desires and be an atheist, so long as the question, "Do you believe in god?" is answered with a "no."

Second, even if one holds to determinism, we still have the local perception of choice.  In other words, without being aware of events at a cellular or atomic or quantum level that are making my choice inevitable, I still perceive, and therefore experience, what can only be described as a choice.

Third, it is not the determinist, but the theist, who cannot properly define free will.  The very idea of "choosing" to believe in a deity falls prey to the same deterministic paradox.  If God knows what we will do, then god has predetermined our course, and so we have no free will.

You can't have it both ways.  If God is omnipotent and/or omniscient, then there is no free will in the theist mindset.  If there is free will in the theist mindset, then you cannot use the same criteria to prove that there is not free will in an atheist mindset (sic!).

So, which is it?  Is God omniscient?  That's a yes or no question.

 

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Addendum:Put very simply, it

Addendum:

Put very simply, it doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient.

 

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Who cares, enjoy the ride,

Who cares, enjoy the ride, etc etc.


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Strafio wrote:Our

Strafio wrote:
Our descriptive language refers to physical objects that follow the deterministic rules of physics.
This is why decriptions of the events of the physical world are deterministic.
When it comes to our concepts of decision making like 'will' and 'desire', we aren't referring tophysical 'things' so these same rules don't apply.

They may not apply, but they are still there.

I agree, as lieutenant24 put it, that "when we say "free will" what we really mean is "free of observable control"" however even if we mean that on a social level, it doesn't negate a fundamental deterministic level; we can still technically examine the physics behind it. What I mean by this is that there is a causal deterministic framework, for instance, to a thought, a choice, an emotion, etc. Or, as Hamby put it: "...even if one holds to determinism, we still have the local perception of choice.  In other words, without being aware of events at a cellular or atomic or quantum level that are making my choice inevitable, I still perceive, and therefore experience, what can only be described as a choice." So the fact we may not be aware of this deterministic level, or the facts that it is irrelevant to our daily life, it doesn't mean it isn't there.

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Topher wrote:What I mean by

Topher wrote:
What I mean by this is that there is a causal deterministic framework, for instance, to a thought, a choice, an emotion, etc. Or, as Hamby put it: "...even if one holds to determinism, we still have the local perception of choice. In other words, without being aware of events at a cellular or atomic or quantum level that are making my choice inevitable, I still perceive, and therefore experience, what can only be described as a choice." So the fact we may not be aware of this deterministic level, or the facts that it is irrelevant to our daily life, it doesn't mean it isn't there.

That's not simply a 'perception of a choice' as it it's an illusion.
That 'perception' of choice is the very definition of choice.
It's what it means to have a choice.
I don't think you disagree with that.

It seems our only disagreement is that you still have the opinion that such concepts as 'choice' and 'desire' reduce into particular brain states/actions.
That is, you believe that our applications of the word have a strict coincidence with particular states of the brain wheras I believe that there maybe some correlations but these will never be perfect and there will always be missing information - the concept just doesn't have such strict application.
I think that the main reason is because of the Externalist position on philosophy of mind.
There are two sorts of supervenience.

Strong Supervenience
If entity x has mental property M then it also has physical property P where all entities with physical property P therefore have mental property M.
(E.g. If x has mental property Desire then it also has physical property BrainState1 so all entities with BrainState1 also have mental property Desire.)

Global Supervenience
Any two worlds with the same physical properties will therefore have the same mental properties.
(E.g. If there was a duplicate of this universe with the exact same physical events, it wouldn't make sense to ascribe differing mental properties too)

Global supervenience is sometimes called 'weak' supervenience.
Both are physicalist positions.
Strong supervenience declares that the physical properties necessary for mentality can be isolated.
Global supervenience claims that mental properties can only be ascribed within the context of the whole world, rather than isolated to particular physical properties.

The externalist position claims that some of the content of the mind is not determined by what the person themselves know.
That is, we can have "Jim believes proposition X" where X contains information that Jim doesn't know about.
A simple example that you might not find convincing is as follows:
"Jim believes the chair that jeniffer sat in is broken."
This is a true belief as Jim believes a chair is broken and it is the one that Jennifer sat in.
However, he doesn't know that Jennifer sat in it so the content of his belief contains information that he doesn't know about.
A major problem for the identification of desires and beliefs with brain states is the difficulty with reducing mental content, i.e. propositions, into brain states.
This shows that the way that we apply statements about belief and desire and other intentional states are not contained within the person's own knowledge so cannot be reducible to a state of the brain.
There have been attempts to get around this, saying that the brain state contains enough information to 'point' to the mental content.
(i.e. the brain contains 'narrow content' that is enough to point to the 'wide content' out there, but I don't think this kind of explanation has worked yet)


Putnam used the classic "Twin Earth" example.
He imagined there being a twin earth - exactly the same as ours except rather having Water that is H20 it's actually T-water which is XYZ
It looks, behaves and tastes like water and they even call it water.
Imagine both Earth and Twin Earth are set in the times of Ancient Greece before they discovered the molecular structure of water.
Socrates and Twin Socrates are both drinking what they call water.
Socrates knows he is drinking Water. Twin Socrates knows he is drinking Twin Water.
The belief in each case is different but both are having the exact same experience and have the exact same information in their brains.

My favourite example is the Frog.
The Frog's perception isn't advanced enough to pick out the details of a fast moving fly - it just sees a 'dot' appear that it reacts too.
If a fly zips past a frog and the frog sticks out its tongue then would say that the frog saw that fly.
If a wasp zips past the frog in the same way, and in the same way the frog sticks out his tongue then we'd say that the frog saw the wasp.
In each case, the frog's experience was exactly the same - just a dot blipping by.
However, in each case the intentional state we ascribe points to the actual insect it perceived rather than be based purely on the frog's perception.
Once again, it tells us about how we are inclined to apply intentional states, giving us clues to how this language game functions.
This externalism of content supports a non-reductionist view of mental states, one that doesn't quite fit the theory you have in mind.


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Strafio wrote:It seems our

Strafio wrote:
It seems our only disagreement is that you still have the opinion that such concepts as 'choice' and 'desire' reduce into particular brain states/actions.
That is, you believe that our applications of the word have a strict coincidence with particular states of the brain wheras I believe that there maybe some correlations but these will never be perfect and there will always be missing information - the concept just doesn't have such strict application.

I agree - I think there is more information than the physical cannot account for. I call them abstractions.

I should elaborate... I'm not saying the concept itself is deterministic, I am saying the framework from which the concept arrives from is. I don't think a concept randomly appears; a choice isn't random.

I'll put it another way: What the concept supervenes on (i.e. brain states) is physical and deterministic, but we can't say the concept itself is physical and deterministic, but rather is the result of such things. That is the relationship I am talking of.

I'm not saying a concept itself is a particular brain state (I'm not equating them), but I am saying that a particular brain state is required in order for a particular concept to emerge from it. In that way, the concept is the result of the specific brain state, but the concept in its totality is more than the brain state, and but this I mean the abstractions; things not relating to determinism or the physical, but rather to language and how use/apply the concept.

Strafio wrote:
Putnam used the classic "Twin Earth" example.
He imagined there being a twin earth - exactly the same as ours except rather having Water that is H20 it's actually T-water which is XYZ
It looks, behaves and tastes like water and they even call it water.
Imagine both Earth and Twin Earth are set in the times of Ancient Greece before they discovered the molecular structure of water.
Socrates and Twin Socrates are both drinking what they call water.
Socrates knows he is drinking Water. Twin Socrates knows he is drinking Twin Water.
The belief in each case is different but both are having the exact same experience and have the exact same information in their brains.

Why would the belief in each case be different. They both believe they are drinking water, thus there belief is the same.
The only way there could be a difference is if they are aware of the other type of water. If they're not aware of the other water then they cannot be a difference in belief.

Strafio wrote:
This externalism of content supports a non-reductionist view of mental states, one that doesn't quite fit the theory you have in mind.

Stop assuming I'm a reductionist about everything.

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Topher wrote:I should

Topher wrote:
I should elaborate... I'm not saying the concept itself is deterministic, I am saying the framework from which the concept arrives from is. I don't think a concept randomly appears; a choice isn't random.

I know, but there's a not a dichotomy between determined and random.
Things can be probable without being determined.
E.g. If I flip a coin 10 times, it's probable that I won't get 10 heads in a row, but it's not certain so it's still possible.
I think you're saying that there's a deterministic process that set's these probabilities.
I sort of agree, in that the language game as a whole takes place in a deterministic world.
However, I don't think that individual concepts like 'choice' and 'desire' directly supervene over a deterministic concept.
(So it seems we're onto this Strong Supervenience Vs Global Supervenience topic now.)


Topher wrote:
I'm not saying a concept itself is a particular brain state (I'm not equating them), but I am saying that a particular brain state is required in order for a particular concept to emerge from it. In that way, the concept is the result of the specific brain state, but the concept in its totality is more than the brain state, and but this I mean the abstractions; things not relating to determinism or the physical, but rather to language and how use/apply the concept.

I see... that is actually an important distinction that I wasn't really crediting you with before.
(Although to be fair me, saying that the connection was 'causal' in previous discussions did imply reductionism!)
So you're right that Strong Supervenience wouldn't require reductionism.
I think I understand you now.
I think our only difference is my position involves Global Supervenience and yours involves Strong Supervenience.

Strafio wrote:
Putnam used the classic "Twin Earth" example.
He imagined there being a twin earth - exactly the same as ours except rather having Water that is H20 it's actually T-water which is XYZ
It looks, behaves and tastes like water and they even call it water.
Imagine both Earth and Twin Earth are set in the times of Ancient Greece before they discovered the molecular structure of water.
Socrates and Twin Socrates are both drinking what they call water.
Socrates knows he is drinking Water. Twin Socrates knows he is drinking Twin Water.
The belief in each case is different but both are having the exact same experience and have the exact same information in their brains.

 

Topher wrote:
Why would the belief in each case be different. They both believe they are drinking water, thus there belief is the same.
The only way there could be a difference is if they are aware of the other type of water. If they're not aware of the other water then they cannot be a difference in belief.

Socrates believes he is drinking water.
Twin Socrates believes he is drinking twin-water.
These are different beliefs as water is different to twin-water.
If you don't like the Twin Earth Example, what do you make of the others?
There's also the Stanford Encyclopedia entry I linked to in the previous post.


Strafio wrote:
This externalism of content supports a non-reductionist view of mental states, one that doesn't quite fit the theory you have in mind.

Topher wrote:
Stop assuming I'm a reductionist about everything.

Your position isn't always very clear on this.
I think I finally get your distinction between reductionism and your position so I'll stop saying 'reductionism' now.
In the meantime, Externalism still contradicts your claim of Strong Supervenience.


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Here I go again , asking

Here I go again , asking god, .... I meant google !

  http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Strong+Supervenience.&btnG=Google+Search


Paisley
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Strafio wrote:Why

Strafio wrote:
Why not?
Buddhism was all about a practical guide for a personal guide to enlightenment.
Granted, lots of Buddhist traditions have involved supernatural beliefs, but the core of it was a practical approach to life and separate from any metaphysical worldviews.

Materialism itself is a metaphysical worldview. Buddhism can properly be identified in philosophical terms as idealism, panpsychism, or neutral monism. However, it is definitely not compatible with atheistic materialism.

Quote:
In Buddhism, consciousness-only or mind-only (Sanskrit: vijñapti-mātratā, vijñapti-mātra, citta-mātra; Chinese: 唯識; Pinyin: wei shi; Japanese: yuishiki) is a theory according to which all existence is nothing but consciousness, and therefore there is nothing that lies outside of the mind. This means that conscious-experience is nothing but false discriminations or imaginations; a provisional antidote; thus, the notion of consciousness-only is an indictment of the problems engendered by the activities of consciousness. This was a major component of the thought of the school of Yogācāra, which had a major impact on subsequent schools after its introduction in East Asia. But original Buddhism was neither idealist nor materialist

source: Wikipedia "Consciousness-only"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness-only 

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BMcD wrote:Paisley wrote:A

BMcD wrote:
Paisley wrote:
A "premise" is a belief or presupposition.

Quote:
premise : something assumed or taken for granted : presupposition (source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

I'm glad to see you acknowledge that you must operate upon beliefs. This is progress. However, you have just stated that "free will" must be taken as a basic presupposition. This is making an argument for the existence of a soul. I would say that this is very strange for someone who professes to be an "agnostic atheist."

No, this would be 'premise' as in a 'given' or 'something taken for granted', given the parameters of the incident, which, after all, takes place entirely within the scope of interacting with the universe as presented by one's perceptions.

"Something taken for granted" is a belief. Playing with semantics is not going to change this.

BMcD wrote:
As we've already discussed, those perceptions cannot be trusted, nor can the mind making the decisions. In effect, we don't even know we're actually in the situation, or making the decision, and so still cannot make any assertion of knowledge, which is what belief is.

Your foregoing statement qualifies as an "assertion of knowledge" and therefore, by your own definition, a belief.

BMcD wrote:
As I've already said to you on many occasions, I cannot help but interact with the universe my mind presents to me by the rules my mind appears to be presenting as valid. And, as we have also discussed many times, my tendency to use linguistic shorthand when discussing concepts within the framework of those interactions in no way indicates any trust or confidence in the universe as presented to my mind by my mind... including all that I may or may not perceive myself as thinking and/or doing.

The bottom line is that your argument implies that you are preprogrammed to believe in free will, whether it is true or illusory. Such an argument is very contradictory to say the least.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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latincanuck wrote:If you get

latincanuck wrote:
If you get down to the philosophical part it, it is about seperating the illusion of our minds and to see what reality is and the reality of the universe, and how all things have a causes for their actions (Hence the issue the dali lama has with some of the quantum mechanics being completely random, however he does admit his lack of knowledge on the topic). The idea of buddhism is to understand the causes of suffering and overcome suffering, once you understand the causes of it, in all it's forms, mental, physical and spiritual, then once can over come it and be happy. So I would that buddhism is the most comparable with materialism, since it focuses on all reality. To seperate the illusion of our minds and focus on reality.

The key word here is "spiritual." A spiritual worldview is not compatible with a materialistic one. By the way, you do know that Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of a Bodhisattva (i.e. an enlightened spiritual being)? Right?

Quote:
The Dalai Lama is believed to be the current incarnation of a long line of Tulkus, or Buddhist Masters, who have become exempt from the wheel of death and rebirth. These ascended masters have chosen of their own free will to be reborn to this plane in order to teach humanity. "Lama" (meaning "Teacher" ) is a title given to many different ranks of Tibetan Buddhist clergy.

source: Wikipedia "Dalai Lama"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalai_Lama 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:"Something

Paisley wrote:

"Something taken for granted" is a belief. Playing with semantics is not going to change this.

No, in this usage, it's a parameter of the environment being referred to, conceptually the same as a 'Given' statement in a logic/mathematic problem.

Paisley wrote:

Your foregoing statement qualifies as an "assertion of knowledge" and therefore, by your own definition, a belief.

No, it's an assertion of doubt, of lack of knowledge. You're not scoring so well on this attempt. Are you feeling ok? You seem like you're just phoning it in. Maybe take a day or two to relax and rest up, come at it fresh and sharp?

Paisley wrote:

The bottom line is that your argument implies that you are preprogrammed to believe in free will, whether it is true or illusory. Such an argument is very contradictory to say the least.

No, the bottom line in my argument is that regardless of the truth of free will, asserting a lack of free will is ultimately not a useful or practical course of action. Think of it as a form of Pascal's Wager that actually works, since the original doesn't.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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Hambydammit wrote:Paisley,

Hambydammit wrote:
Paisley, I'm not asking this flippantly. Do you actually read the posts, or do you just skim until you see a word you recognize from church and then run with it?

How can I take a member of this forum seriously when he identifies himself as a kitty cat wearing a badge and carrying an uzi machine gun?

Hambydammit wrote:
First, determinism is not linked in any way to atheism. One may hold to any philosophy one desires and be an atheist, so long as the question, "Do you believe in god?" is answered with a "no."

Agreed. However, you must subscribe to determinism, indeterminism, niether or both. If there is another option, then I'm not familiar with it.

Whenever I encounter a professing atheist who makes the argument that "atheism is simply the disbelief in God," then I know this atheist is vainly attempting to hide under a negative definition in order to safeguard his beliefs from public scrutiny. If you want to engage in a public debate or discussion, then I'm afraid you will have to take a position. Fair play demands this much.

Hambydammit wrote:
Second, even if one holds to determinism, we still have the local perception of choice. In other words, without being aware of events at a cellular or atomic or quantum level that are making my choice inevitable, I still perceive, and therefore experience, what can only be described as a choice.

Translation: "I believe that I have free will because it appears to be self-evident." If your first-person experience is providing you with evidence that you have free will, then how do you account for it based on your worldview of atheistic materialism?

Hambydammit wrote:
Third, it is not the determinist, but the theist, who cannot properly define free will. The very idea of "choosing" to believe in a deity falls prey to the same deterministic paradox. If God knows what we will do, then god has predetermined our course, and so we have no free will.

This is not a problem with the definition of free will per se. Free will (i.e. libertarian free will) can simply be defined as the ability of an agent to choose otherwise if the same past situation and circumstance were to be replayed. That being said, your argument does not logically follow. Who says that God knows what free agents will do? I can assure you that there are many in the evangelical community and philosophical theologians who believe that God does not. This viewpoint is called "open theism."

Quote:
Open theism, also known as free will theism, is a philosophical view about the nature of a theistic God's knowledge, according to which God is incapable, to some extent, of knowing the future actions of a human being with free will.

source: Wikipedia "Open theism"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_theism

Hambydammit wrote:
You can't have it both ways. If God is omnipotent and/or omniscient, then there is no free will in the theist mindset. If there is free will in the theist mindset, then you cannot use the same criteria to prove that there is not free will in an atheist mindset (sic!).

Yes, I can. Regardless of the position the atheist takes concerning the "determnism vs. indeterminism" debate, I win.

If you subscribe to determinism, then as you have just stated there is no free will. Why? Because every act an individual performs, every thought he entertains, and every belief he cherishes are completely predetermined and could not have been otherwise. What he calls "will" is simply an extension of infinite causality. And since inifinite causality must ultimately be the determininer of all intentional acts, then only infinite causality can be ascribed with the banner of "will" or "intelligent agent." Of course, the term that is properly applied to this universal will or intelligent agent is "God." Smiling

If you subscribe to indeterminism, then you have the burden of explaning how physical events are uncaused and unbidden. I would think this would be problematic for the worldview of atheistic materialism.

At any rate, the prevailing scientific evidence based on quantum mechanics suggests that the world is fundamentally indeterminate. Moreover, prominent physicists have provided compelling quantum mind theories in which quantum indeterminacy is employed to account for free will.

Quote:
Quantum mind theories are based on the premise that quantum mechanics is necessary to fully understand the mind and brain, particularly concerning an explanation of consciousness. This approach is considered a minority opinion in science, although it does have the support of the well-known Roger Penrose, who has proposed a quantum mind theory in conjunction with Stuart Hameroff. Karl H. Pribram and Henry Stapp have also proposed variations.

source: Wikipedia "Quantum mind"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:How can I take


Paisley wrote:
How can I take a member of this forum seriously when he identifies himself as a kitty cat wearing a badge and carrying an uzi machine gun?

 
 Easy, consider the content of his arguments. The phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind....

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But the light grows weak while under Yggdrasil. --clutch


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Uzi???

tothiel wrote:


Paisley wrote:
How can I take a member of this forum seriously when he identifies himself as a kitty cat wearing a badge and carrying an uzi machine gun?

 
 Easy, consider the content of his arguments. The phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind....

That is an AK-47, at least it looks like it, an Uzi is short barreled and has the clip behind the trigger not in front of it.


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Paisley, this is really very

Paisley, this is really very simple.  Atheists are not required to subscribe to any of the above.  Atheism is a state of being, not a philosophy.  It requires nothing more than a "No" answer.  If someone is an atheist and can't say whether they're a determinist or not, you could rightly accuse them of being less than philosophically savvy, but you can't deny that they are an atheist without an opinion on the question of determinism.

If you want to talk about determinism, that's fine, but it has no connection to atheism.  As I've said before, and you completely ignored it, it doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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latincanuck wrote:tothiel

latincanuck wrote:

tothiel wrote:


Paisley wrote:
How can I take a member of this forum seriously when he identifies himself as a kitty cat wearing a badge and carrying an uzi machine gun?

 
 Easy, consider the content of his arguments. The phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind....

That is an AK-47, at least it looks like it, an Uzi is short barreled and has the clip behind the trigger not in front of it.

Afraid he's got you there, Paisley. It's definitely a Kalashnikov-derived rifle.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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quote=Strafio]I think you're

Strafio wrote:
I think you're saying that there's a deterministic process that set's these probabilities.

Well you could say that. Although I do think that for certain things about the brain, we can say that  BrainState1 in humans is necessarily required for MentalState1 in human (i.e. we can't have MentalState1 without BrainState1). I add the 'human' qualifier because other animals may have the same or similar mental state from a slightly different structure and this brain state.

Strafio wrote:
(Although to be fair me, saying that the connection was 'causal' in previous discussions did imply reductionism!)

I can see that. I was using it to mean X was caused by Y, but Y wasn't necessarily equal to X. I think there is a difference between saying something is casual and that it is reducible, after all, emergentism is also casual (i.e. caused by the brain).

Topher wrote:
Why would the belief in each case be different. They both believe they are drinking water, thus there belief is the same.
The only way there could be a difference is if they are aware of the other type of water. If they're not aware of the other water then they cannot be a difference in belief.

Strafio wrote:
Socrates believes he is drinking water.
Twin Socrates believes he is drinking twin-water.
These are different beliefs as water is different to twin-water.

Well what I mean is while the beliefs are clearly different in content, the way they are held (i.e. the neurological processes involved in holding the belief) are the same. If each Socrates is unaware of this other 'type' of water, and to each of them they are drinking the 'only' water, then there will be no actual difference in the belief. That is why they have the same experience.
 

My response to the though experiments question (i.e. when Socrates and twin-Socrates say 'water' are they referring to the same thing) is that 'water' in the way it is used refers not to H2O or XYZ (they're ignorant of that), but rather to the concept of water.

Strafio wrote:
Strong Supervenience
If entity x has mental property M then it also has physical property P where all entities with physical property P therefore have mental property M.
(E.g. If x has mental property Desire then it also has physical property BrainState1 so all entities with BrainState1 also have mental property Desire.)

Global Supervenience
Any two worlds with the same physical properties will therefore have the same mental properties.
(E.g. If there was a duplicate of this universe with the exact same physical events, it wouldn't make sense to ascribe differing mental properties too)

Global supervenience is sometimes called 'weak' supervenience.
Both are physicalist positions.
Strong supervenience declares that the physical properties necessary for mentality can be isolated.
Global supervenience claims that mental properties can only be ascribed within the context of the whole world, rather than isolated to particular physical properties.

Can you explain exactly how they are different. I don't see it. Why does Strong Supervenience not hold that a copy of a human with the same brain states will not produce the same mental states?

Both of your descriptions seem to be describing the same thing: If Bob has BrainState1 then he will also have MentalState1. And if T-Bob has T-BrainState1 then he must also have T-MentalState1

Also, I'm not entirely sure that brain state > mental state is reversible. By that I mean we can say BrainState1 must necessarily produce MentalState1, however I don't think we can say MentalState1 must have come from BrainState1. I think it may be *possible* (I don't know if it is the true) for a mental state to have been produced by a differing brain state, such as after an injury.

Strafio wrote:
The externalist position claims that some of the content of the mind is not determined by what the person themselves know.

I agree. I don't think our mind (entirely) is contingent on our knowledge. Somethings are instinctive.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Strafio wrote:(Although to

Strafio wrote:
(Although to be fair me, saying that the connection was 'causal' in previous discussions did imply reductionism!)

Topher wrote:
I can see that. I was using it to mean X was caused by Y, but Y wasn't necessarily equal to X. I think there is a difference between saying something is casual and that it is reducible, after all, emergentism is also casual (i.e. caused by the brain).

But 'cause' is a relation between two physical events.
Unless you mean a variation on the usual definition of cause?
(After all, I believe that decision making causes physical consequences, and that requires slightly different version of 'cause')

Topher wrote:
Why would the belief in each case be different. They both believe they are drinking water, thus there belief is the same.
The only way there could be a difference is if they are aware of the other type of water. If they're not aware of the other water then they cannot be a difference in belief.

Strafio wrote:
Socrates believes he is drinking water.
Twin Socrates believes he is drinking twin-water.
These are different beliefs as water is different to twin-water.

Topher wrote:
Well what I mean is while the beliefs are clearly different in content, the way they are held (i.e. the neurological processes involved in holding the belief) are the same. If each Socrates is unaware of this other 'type' of water, and to each of them they are drinking the 'only' water, then there will be no actual difference in the belief. That is why they have the same experience.

That is the point.
The content of our intentional states are not internal to the mind itself, therefore not the brain.
The content is determined more by the context rather than the physical state of the brain.
It's a very good argument against Strong Supervenience.


Strafio wrote:
Strong Supervenience
If entity x has mental property M then it also has physical property P where all entities with physical property P therefore have mental property M.
(E.g. If x has mental property Desire then it also has physical property BrainState1 so all entities with BrainState1 also have mental property Desire.)

Global Supervenience
Any two worlds with the same physical properties will therefore have the same mental properties.
(E.g. If there was a duplicate of this universe with the exact same physical events, it wouldn't make sense to ascribe differing mental properties too)

Global supervenience is sometimes called 'weak' supervenience.
Both are physicalist positions.
Strong supervenience declares that the physical properties necessary for mentality can be isolated.
Global supervenience claims that mental properties can only be ascribed within the context of the whole world, rather than isolated to particular physical properties.

Topher wrote:
Can you explain exactly how they are different. I don't see it. Why does Strong Supervenience not hold that a copy of a human with the same brain states will not produce the same mental states?

Strong supervenience holds that a copy of the human will have the same mental states.
Global supervenience doesn't - it claims that if you were to an entire world (i.e. copy the context around the person) then the mental states would remain the same.

Topher wrote:
Both of your descriptions seem to be describing the same thing: If Bob has BrainState1 then he will also have MentalState1. And if T-Bob has T-BrainState1 then he must also have T-MentalState1

Not necessarily with Global Supervenience.
Global Supervenience says that if you copied the entire world then it would be garaunteed that all the mental states would be the same.
It doesn't make the same garauntee if you just copied individual people apart from their context.

Strafio wrote:
The externalist position claims that some of the content of the mind is not determined by what the person themselves know.

Topher wrote:
I agree. I don't think our mind (entirely) is contingent on our knowledge. Somethings are instinctive.

That's not what it's saying though.
It's saying that the content of a belief or desire is not contained within the mind.
I.e. it's atleast partially determined by the context around it.

The Stanford Encyclopedia will probably explain Externalism better than I can!


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tothiel wrote:Easy, consider

tothiel wrote:
Easy, consider the content of his arguments. The phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind....

I did consider his arguments and I responded to each accordingly.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley, I have noticed that

Paisley, I have noticed that your main tactic for debating me is ignoring everything I say.  Would you mind responding to the following statement, please?

The discussion of determinism is irrelevant to either theism or atheism because the sentience of the agent of determinism is irrelevant to the question of whether the universe is deterministic.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Strafio wrote:But 'cause' is

Strafio wrote:
But 'cause' is a relation between two physical events.
Unless you mean a variation on the usual definition of cause?
(After all, I believe that decision making causes physical consequences, and that requires slightly different version of 'cause')

Well, if something is not caused, it must be random; spontaneous.
But if MentalState1 is the result of, and supervenes on, BrainState1, then it must have been caused by it.
Mental states in my view is not a 'thing' in of them self but rather are better described as the processes of the brain states, or as a capacity.

Strafio wrote:
That is the point.
The content of our intentional states are not internal to the mind itself, therefore not the brain.
The content is determined more by the context rather than the physical state of the brain.
It's a very good argument against Strong Supervenience.

Well, I don't even agree with the thought experiment anyway.
My response to the question it proposes (i.e. when Socrates and twin-Socrates say 'water' are they referring to the same thing) is that 'water', in the way it is used, refers not to H2O or XYZ (they're ignorant of that), but rather to the concept of water. 'Water' in the way it is being used is therefore anything which fits that concept without any knowingly distinct differences. I deny that the beliefs are different because there is no difference in the concept that belief is based on. So they're each in the same situation.

Strafio wrote:
Not necessarily with Global Supervenience.
Global Supervenience says that if you copied the entire world then it would be garaunteed that all the mental states would be the same.
It doesn't make the same garauntee if you just copied individual people apart from their context.

So the difference is that global supervenience relies on the external world. That some mental states require external context. And strong supervenience relies purely on the brain itself. They don't seem mutually exclusive.

Obviously any intentional mental state about the current external world (wide content) will require the external context in the twin world. But if it isn't intentional (narrow content), then it wouldn't require the external.

I added the qualifier 'current' about as it seems to me that memories (things about the past) do not rely on current environment or state of affairs; they rely on the state of affairs at the origin of the event and as such will be self-contained within the memory. They do not refer to/rely on the current environment. Also, mental states that are about fictional objects (i.e. god; easter bunny) can also be self-contained providing the fictional object is contained within a memory. Similarly, beliefs which rely on memories can be also be self-contained. Therefore memories, and anything which explicitly relies on them, can be seen as narrow. It seems that is all these cases, no matter what the environment was like, it wouldn't alter the memories, and therefore the mental states which relies on them.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Paisley wrote:tothiel


Paisley wrote:


tothiel wrote:
Easy, consider the content of his arguments. The phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind....


I did consider his arguments and I responded to each accordingly.


Ummm? So dismissing someone and not taking them seriously on the grounds that you find their avatar silly has what to do with the content of a post again?
I mean, that is what this "How can I take a member of this forum seriously when he identifies himself as a kitty cat wearing a badge and carrying an uzi machine gun?" suggest is taking place does it not?

Not that it matters much it just seems that such a comment in this context is being used as an excuse not to engage on the basis of assuming ones character from an arbitrary basis.
 

 

 

On a lesser note I would like to say hi to strafio and topher. (you two may know me from map as blind.)

As through a glass darkly you seek yourself,
But the light grows weak while under Yggdrasil. --clutch


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Topher wrote:Well, if

Topher wrote:
Well, if something is not caused, it must be random; spontaneous.

Nope. Cause isn't the only 'non-random' connection between concepts.
You're making that same old leap "connection, therefore causal connection"
For example, here's another connection:
Language Game A and Language Game B are two separate language games with two separate rules.
LGame A contains a concept X. LGame B contains concept Y.
As it happens, concept X is applicable in the exact same situations where concept Y is applicable.
So although they are different concepts from different language games, they will always be applicable to the same situations.
This means they have a connection of strong supervenience.

This is just one example of a non-causal connection.
Happens to be the one for my own theory of mind.
I'd bet that there are more possible ones out there too.
Either way, your "connection implies causal connection" was before unjustified.
Now I have proven it wrong by counter example.


Topher wrote:
Well, I don't even agree with the thought experiment anyway.
My response to the question it proposes (i.e. when Socrates and twin-Socrates say 'water' are they referring to the same thing) is that 'water', in the way it is used, refers not to H2O or XYZ (they're ignorant of that), but rather to the concept of water. 'Water' in the way it is being used is therefore anything which fits that concept without any knowingly distinct differences. I deny that the beliefs are different because there is no difference in the concept that belief is based on. So they're each in the same situation.

What you're doing there is denying the results of the thought experiment in order to preserve what you feel belief must be based on your own prefered conceptions.
Thought experiments show how we are naturally inclined to apply the concept without the bias of theoretical pre-conceptions.

I've always prefered the one about the frog to the twin earth one.
Go back to the one that I made about the frog.
Do you deny that the frog sees flies?
In doing so, you become very revisionist about how we apply the language intentional states.
That is, you deny how we are naturally inclined to use it in favour of how you think we ought to use it based on your current theory of mind.
However, since our argument on Strong Supervenience and mere Global Supervenience rest on linguistic premises, such revisionism would be question begging.


Strafio wrote:
Not necessarily with Global Supervenience.
Global Supervenience says that if you copied the entire world then it would be garaunteed that all the mental states would be the same.
It doesn't make the same garauntee if you just copied individual people apart from their context.

Topher wrote:
So the difference is that global supervenience relies on the external world.
That some mental states require external context. And strong supervenience relies purely on the brain itself. They don't seem mutually exclusive.

Strong supervenience implies Global Supervenience but you can accept Global Supervenience while rejecting Strong Supervenience.
(So if someone says that they accept Global Supervenience, then it means that they've rejected stronger superveniences)
If Strong Supervenience is right, having the right brain state will mean that they have that mental state, no matter what situation they are in.
Global supervenience doesn't require such a connection between brain state and mental state.

 


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Paisley wrote:tothiel

Paisley wrote:

tothiel wrote:
Easy, consider the content of his arguments. The phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind....

I did consider his arguments and I responded to each accordingly.

You know, Paisley, I find it odd... and somewhat telling... that you can't even acknowledge your error on the completely trivial issue of whether Hamby's avatar is wielding an uzi (submachinegun, short barrel, in-line foregrip and magazine in the pistolgrip) or a kalashnikov/AK (assault rifle or carbine, classic banana-shaped forward magazine, rifle stock, 135-degree angled stabilizer above the barrel). I mean, yeah, it's trivial bullshit, but a simple 'whups, my bad', maybe with a joke tossed in, would go a long way toward re-humanizing your forum presence and showing you to be more than a simple rabid adversary.

And I'm not saying this to get on your case. Really, I'm not. It just strikes me as odd that the simplest little human gestures that we'd make without hesitation when talking face to face can get so casually thrown aside when discussing issues in text... and that casual disregard for the things that reinforce social commonality is so often a part of what turns 'discussion' into 'argument'.

Just something to think about.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid


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Hambydammit wrote:Paisley,

Hambydammit wrote:
Paisley, this is really very simple.  Atheists are not required to subscribe to any of the above.  Atheism is a state of being, not a philosophy.  It requires nothing more than a "No" answer.  If someone is an atheist and can't say whether they're a determinist or not, you could rightly accuse them of being less than philosophically savvy, but you can't deny that they are an atheist without an opinion on the question of determinism.

If you want to talk about determinism, that's fine, but it has no connection to atheism.  As I've said before, and you completely ignored it, it doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

Atheism implies a materialistic worldview. If you refuse to acknowledge this, then you fortfeit by default. I am not going to debate an individual who wants the luxury of attacking my position without submitting his position to the same scrutiny.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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latincanuck wrote:tothiel

latincanuck wrote:
tothiel wrote:
Paisley wrote:
How can I take a member of this forum seriously when he identifies himself as a kitty cat wearing a badge and carrying an uzi machine gun?

 
Easy, consider the content of his arguments. The phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind....

That is an AK-47, at least it looks like it, an Uzi is short barreled and has the clip behind the trigger not in front of it.

Okay, I stand corrected. Let me rephrase....

"How can I take a member of this forum seriously when he identifies himself as a kitty cat wearing a badge and carrying an AK-47 machine gun?"

 

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Quote:Atheism implies a

Quote:
Atheism implies a materialistic worldview. If you refuse to acknowledge this, then you fortfeit by default. I am not going to debate an individual who wants the luxury of attacking my position without submitting his position to the same scrutiny.

Paisley, you ignored my point again!

Let me repeat it several times so there's no way you can miss it.  Address this point or admit that you can't.

It doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

It doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

It doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

It doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

It doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

It doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

It doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

It doesn't matter whether the agent of determination is sentient or not, so the problem is exactly the same for both theists and atheists.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:Paisley, I

Hambydammit wrote:
Paisley, I have noticed that your main tactic for debating me is ignoring everything I say.  Would you mind responding to the following statement, please?

The discussion of determinism is irrelevant to either theism or atheism because the sentience of the agent of determinism is irrelevant to the question of whether the universe is deterministic.

I have already responded. It is relevant because the subject matter of this particular thread should be related to the subject of the forum which is entitled "Atheist vs. Theist."

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley, you're being

Paisley, you're being dense.

You say, "The problem is that undermines the worldview of atheistic materialism."

I'm pointing out the obvious.  If it undermines an atheistic worldview, it also undermines a theist worldview, or at least one in which God is either omnipotent or omniscient.  If determinism is a problem, then it is as much a problem for you as it is for me.

I have already explained why it is not a problem.  You are free to use the same defense if you like, since this entire question is completely irrelevant to theism or atheism.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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tothiel wrote:Paisley

tothiel wrote:
Paisley wrote:
I did consider his arguments and I responded to each accordingly.


Ummm? So dismissing someone and not taking them seriously on the grounds that you find their avatar silly has what to do with the content of a post again?

I said that I did respond to each of his arguments as is made evident in post # 28 of this thread. Perhaps, you should get your facts straight instead of making off-the-cuff comments.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley, it is not necessary

Paisley, it is not necessary to respond to a flawed argument if one of the premises can be shown to be flawed.  I have done this.  Determinism is a problem for anyone, theist or atheist, and so bringing atheism into the question is invalid.

Your question is invalid, and therefore, does not merit a response.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:Paisley,

Hambydammit wrote:

Paisley, you're being dense.

You say, "The problem is that undermines the worldview of atheistic materialism."

I'm pointing out the obvious.  If it undermines an atheistic worldview, it also undermines a theist worldview, or at least one in which God is either omnipotent or omniscient.  If determinism is a problem, then it is as much a problem for you as it is for me.

I have already responded thoroughly to this in post #28. Both determinism and indeterminism imply some kind of theistic-belief. I suggest that you make an honest effort and actually read my post before you comment.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Hambydammit wrote:Paisley,

Hambydammit wrote:
Paisley, it is not necessary to respond to a flawed argument if one of the premises can be shown to be flawed.  I have done this.  Determinism is a problem for anyone, theist or atheist, and so bringing atheism into the question is invalid.

Your question is invalid, and therefore, does not merit a response.

Read post #28. I have already responded to your objection.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Quote:Whenever I encounter a

Quote:
Whenever I encounter a professing atheist who makes the argument that "atheism is simply the disbelief in God," then I know this atheist is vainly attempting to hide under a negative definition in order to safeguard his beliefs from public scrutiny. If you want to engage in a public debate or discussion, then I'm afraid you will have to take a position. Fair play demands this much.

By this logic, an atheist also has a position on vacuum fluctuation as the precursor to the Big Bang.  Disbelief in god requires nothing but disbelief in god.  In fact, all it really needs is never hearing about god.  Are you suggesting that people who have never been exposed to the idea of a god have all formed philosophical positions regarding determinism?  That's borderline insane for you to suggest.  The question of determinism is a complicated philosophical question that involves advanced physics and mathematics.  Demanding that atheism (a simple "gut feeling" answer for many people) be tied to it is disingenuous at best, and hypocritical at worst.

Quote:
Translation: "I believe that I have free will because it appears to be self-evident." If your first-person experience is providing you with evidence that you have free will, then how do you account for it based on your worldview of atheistic materialism?

Very simply.  I do not function on a subatomic level.  Though I am a conglomerate of subatomic particles, I am more than that.  I am a sentient trillion celled organism whose direct perception judges time to be linear and space to be three dimensional.  I can only perceive a limited number of events, and though my brain has cataloged millions, or maybe billions of bits of information, I cannot consciously process all of them at any given time.  Because I am unaware of the chemical processes dictated by my neurons, I do not perceive my actions as predetermined.  Instead, I am forced, by nature of my own existence, to perform the mental process commonly called choice, in which I spend time weighing alternatives before I reach a conclusion that was previously unknown to me.

Again, it is an error of composition.  To assert that the whole operates under the same parameters as the parts is a logical fallacy.

Quote:
This is not a problem with the definition of free will per se. Free will (i.e. libertarian free will) can simply be defined as the ability of an agent to choose otherwise if the same past situation and circumstance were to be replayed.

Define "choose."  Prove libertarian free will exists. 

Quote:
Who says that God knows what free agents will do?

Theists.

Quote:
I can assure you that there are many in the evangelical community and philosophical theologians who believe that God does not. This viewpoint is called "open theism."

Right.  And they fall victim to the same quandary.  If god is not omniscient or omnipotent, then his actions must be in accord with the rest of the universe... i.e. they are determined by his existence.  You do know that omniscience and omnipotent are interdependent, right?

Quote:
Yes, I can. Regardless of the position the atheist takes concerning the "determnism vs. indeterminism" debate, I win.

You didn't explain your position.  You just went right back to attacking atheism.  Explain how determinism is defeated if god is omniscient.

Quote:
If you subscribe to determinism, then as you have just stated there is no free will.

It depends on what your definition of free will is.  Furthermore, I've already explained numerous times that it is an error of composition to demand that the whole act like the parts.  Again, limited knowledge creates the perception of free will, which is for all intents and purposes, the same as free will when it is impossible to interact on the level of determination.

Quote:
At any rate, the prevailing scientific evidence based on quantum mechanics suggests that the world is fundamentally indeterminate. Moreover, prominent physicists have provided compelling quantum mind theories in which quantum indeterminacy is employed to account for free will.

So what the fuck is the problem?  If the universe is fundamentally indeterminate, then determinism fails.  Why are you making us go through this ridiculous exercise?  None of this addresses my point, which you have most definitely not addressed.  The theist can no more reconcile an omniscient god with free will than an atheist who believes in a determinist universe.  If god is not omniscient, then he is not all powerful, and must be part of a larger set of laws, which is to say that its existence is bound by the problem of determinism.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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