Free will vs. determinism

mikedot48
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Free will vs. determinism

This is a question for my fellow atheists, but if theists wish to jump in, feel free to do so.

Do you believe in free will or determinism?

If you believe in free will, how do you reconcile that with the belief that everything is a result of natural processes (law of cause+effect, laws of physics, etc.)??

If you believe in determinism, how can you hold criminals and annoying people accountable for their actions if they were pre-determined??

"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds." -FFRF


Jormungander
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Why shouldn't we hold people

Why shouldn't we hold people accountable for their actions because the universe in deterministic? We live in a deterministic universe, and we can use punishments as a way to discourage people from harming other people.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Quote:pre-determined??Define.

Quote:
pre-determined??

Define.

Cough cough.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Both. I'm a compatibilist.

Both. I'm a compatibilist. It all depends on how you define 'free will'. For me, the only definition that matters is that I am able to select how to act based on possible future outcomes without coercion or forces. For me that is will that is free.

It does not matter that my selection may be influenced by prior events. In fact, it is vital that my selection be influenced by what I know and feel, both of which are physical aspects of my brain. If my selection of actions was not based on my knowledge and feelings, then it would not really be *my* will, would it? So, in a sense, determinism is a *requirement* of free will. They are not just compatible, but free will depends on determinism.

The only kind of 'free will' I do not have is the magical free will that somehow 'I' am separate from my body, and yet I'm somehow magically able to direct my body. The reason I don't care about this free will is that I think that 'I' am fundamentally an aspect of my body, specifically my brain. And since I don't have a religious attachment to an after-life, I don't need to invent a 'soul' that is magically separate from my body.

No need for a soul, no need for magical 'free will'. Simple.

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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Quote:
pre-determined??

Define.

Cough cough.

That's a good point. As I often say, there is an important difference between determinism and pre-determinism. I am a determinist, but not a pre-determinist. I believe that knowledge of the future (or possible future) can be used as an input to *determine* a different outcome. If I see a ball coming at me, I can predict that it will hit me, and then use this knowledge to duck out of the way. In a pre-determined universe, the ball is either going to hit me or it isn't, and there isn't anything I can possibly do to change anything. So, 'why bother even trying to duck out of the way?', as the implication goes.

Pre-determinism is a straw man of determinism, used by magical-free-will believers who have no imagination.

Prisons can be used to deterministically deter people from committing crimes. No magical free will is required.

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Free Will is describes what

Free Will describes what we feel is happening when we make a conscious choice, but any choice will be 'determined' by our state of mind at the time, our sensory input, our mood, or recollection of relevant memories, etc, all pulling our decision in different directions.

Holding someone accountable is a well-established way to at least partly 'determine' their future behaviour, and the behaviour of other people who may be inclined by their individual life history and mental make-up to commit similar disapproved behaviour. If making clear to the person that their action is objected to by the people they share society with was not likely to affect, ie contribute to determining their future choices, it would indeed be pointless...

So 'holding people accountable' for tha actions, and invoking punishment, is all in fact based on determinism, that of mental processes, which are the higher level effects of interacting processes in our brains.

 

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I take the position of hard

I take the position of hard determinism. I consider the idea of free-will, or contra-causal freedom, absurd to the highest degree. I think of compatibilism as offering, as Kant put it, the freedom of clockwork, which I also regard as absurd. I content myself with the clockwork, because that view accords with what I have learned about the nature of conscious entities and I have noticed nothing absurd about that which it posits.

As for punishment from a deterministic perspective, and with regard to what I said above, I offer this (translated) quotation from "The System of Nature" (published in 1820) by Baron d'Holbach:

Quote:
The opposers of necessity, say, that if all the actions of man are necessary, no right whatever exists to punish bad ones, or even to be angry with those who commit them: that nothing ought to be imputed to them; that the laws would he unjust if they should decree punishment for necessary actions; in short, that under this system man could neither have merit nor demerit. In reply, it may he argued, that, to impute an action to any one, is to attribute that action to him; to acknowledge him for the author: thus, when even an action was supposed to be the effect of an agent, and that agent necessity, the imputation would lie: the merit or demerit, that is ascribed to an action are ideas originating in the effects, whether favorable or pernicious, that result to those who experience its operation; when, therefore, it should be conceded, that the agent was necessity, it is not less certain, that the action would be either good or bad; estimable or contemptible, to those who must feel its influence; in short that it would be capable of either eliciting their love, or exciting their anger. Love and anger are modes of existence, suitable to modify, beings of the human species: when, therefore, man irritates himself against his fellow, he intends to excite his fear, or even to punish him, in order to deter him from committing that which is displeasing to him. Moreover his anger is necessary; it is the result of his Nature; the consequence of his temperament. The painful sensation produced by a stone that falls on the arm, does not displease the less, because it comes from a cause deprived of will; which acts by the necessity of its Nature. In contemplating man as acting necessarily, it is impossible to avoid distinguishing that mode of action or being which is agreeable, which elicits approbation, from that which is afflicting, which irritates, which Nature obliges him to blame and to prevent. From this it will he seen, that the system of fatalism, does not in any manner change the actual state of things, and is by no means calculated to confound man's ideas of virtue and vice.

[...]

If society has the right to conserve itself, it has also the right to take the means: these means are the laws which present or ought to present to the will of man those motives which are most suitable to deter him from committing injurious actions. If these motives fail of the proper effect, if they are unable to influence him, society, for its own peculiar good, is obliged to wrest from him the power of doing it further injury. From whatever source his actions may arise, therefore, whether they are the result of free-agency, or whether they are the offspring of necessity, society coerces him if, after having furnished him with motives, sufficiently powerful to act upon reasonable beings, it perceives that these motives have not been competent to vanquish his depraved nature. It punishes him with justice, when the actions from which it dissuades him are truly injurious to society; it has an unquestionable right to punish, when it only commands those things that are conformable to the end proposed by man in his association; or defends the commission of those acts, which are contrary to this end; which are hostile to the nature of beings associated for their reciprocal advantage.

[...]

Let it not then be said, that it is degrading man to reduce his functions to a pure mechanism;, that it is shamefully to undervalue him, scandalously to abuse him, to compare him to a tree; to an abject vegetation. The philosopher devoid of prejudice does not understand this language, invented by those who are ignorant of what constitutes the true dignity of man. A tree is an object which, in its station, joins the useful with the agreeable; it merits our approbation when it produces sweet and pleasant fruit; when it affords a favorable shade. All machines are precious, when they are truly useful, when they faithfully perform the functions for which they are designed. Yes, I speak it with courage, reiterate it with pleasure, the honest man, when he has talents, when he possesses virtue, is, for the beings of his species, a tree that furnishes them with delicious fruit, that affords them refreshing shelter: the honest man is a machine of which the springs are adapted to fulfill its functions in a manner that must gratify the expectation of all his fellows. No, I should not blush, I should not feel degraded, to be a machine of this sort; and my heart would leap with joy, if I could foresee that the fruit of my reflections would one day be useful to my race, consoling to my fellow-man.

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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 Free Will: Why we don't

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

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Quote:This is a question for

Quote:

This is a question for my fellow atheists, but if theists wish to jump in, feel free to do so.

Do you believe in free will or determinism?

If you believe in free will, how do you reconcile that with the belief that everything is a result of natural processes (law of cause+effect, laws of physics, etc.)??

If you believe in determinism, how can you hold criminals and annoying people accountable for their actions if they were pre-determined??

Woah there, tiger.

 

'Deterministic' does not mean all actions are 'pre-determined'. You're projecting a theistic outlook (fate) onto a concept that you don't appear to understand.

 

Do we make choices? Yes.

Are these choices determined (or 'driven') by both our environment & genetic heritage? Yes.

 

Take a look at that. Our actions are, in part, derived from our surroundings. When our surroundings include abstractions like laws, we are helping to determine the actions of our fellow persons. When you say, 'Free Will', what does that even mean? Without any benchmarks ('determiners') to wiegh decisions against, how can a decision-making paradigm even exist? How can one perform an action that has no 'reason' behind it (even a random outburst cannot escape intention; the intent, in that case, is to appear to be random)?

Free Will is gibberish, and insisting on it's veracity betrays a fear that you might not be the special little snowflake you've been promised that you are.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
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Thanks

Thanks for your answers, guys.

I apologize for my ignorance and lack of knowledge about this topic (including the "pre-determined" thing). I only just gained interest in this a few days ago.

"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds." -FFRF


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Don't worry about it, Mike,

Don't worry about it, Mike, we all start somewhere.

There is a subtle, but important, distinction between determinism and predeterminism. Determinism says that all events follow a certain pattern of behavior. It may include probabilistic behavior, like you find in quantum mechanics. (The particles may not follow an absolutely rigid pattern of behavior, but the larger objects they comprise—stones, houses, humans, and planets—essentially do, hence the reason that stones do not teleport to various mountain tops.) Predeterminism adds what we may call fate or predestination. The outcome is determined beforehand; the universe or a god may have set things up so that you would die of sickness, regardless of whether you went to a doctor, or go into war, regardless of whether you wanted to. The outcome is certain, but not necessarily the events that lead to the outcome. Perhaps a metaphor would make the distinction clearer. Think of the universe as a poker game. Determinism and predeterminism both hand you a rule book and deck of cards, but predeterminism stacks the deck.
 

 

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You have the wrong idea

You have the wrong idea about "predetermined", or predestination. Look at it this way. If I throw a rock in a creek, I know, by the nature of the fish they will scatter from it. If I throw many rocks, they will surely scatter in even more directions. But based on this instinct, and my knowledge, I could theoretically force one by rows of arranged rock dropping right into a net I placed in the water. YET.... it will have the FREEWILL to go against its instincts as a fish, and attempt other directions. I do not have the fish stringed, but I am using its own instincts to accomplish my goal. If God is beyond superior knowing our nature as the little I know of a fish he predict our 'direction' in life, based on surrounding circumstances and reaction like rocks and the fish. This was proven well using our nature of greed, jealousy and murder to accomplish Salvation at the cross. The CURE to as not be led away by our "instincts" is by the acceptance of that sacrifice and the indwelling of the Spirit, who with the Bible gives direction AGAINST our NATURE... eg, love your enemies. We all found it was true to go against our nature that it is better to give away than to take all the time. However, we are not just instinct animals. We have a mind and a conscience which veers its head as a built in warning system against an act which is wrong. So the predeterminism thought of nobody can blame themselves is faulty.


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 Quote: I know, by the

 

Quote:
 I know, by the nature of the fish they will scatter from it.

Quote:
it will have the FREEWILL to go against its instincts as a fish

Ok, ignoring for a minute that this is contradictory, there's something else you've totally missed.  Fish, like every other creature, are a product of genes, which exist as a result of various atoms forming absolutely predictable bonds.  Where this becomes important is that absolutely nothing done by any organism -- ever -- would be possible if it were not facilitated by the genes.

Think about that statement in reverse:  Absolutely everything a fish can do is a result of it being built by genes in such a way that it can be done.  Imagine that we do an experiment with fish and rocks.  We put a hundred fish in a tank and throw a rock into the tank a thousand times in exactly the same place, noting the exact location of each individual fish at the time of entry.  We could then track each fish to see if it did exactly the same thing every time, or whether it sometimes did something different.  If it did something different, we'd simply say, "Approximately 5% of the time, fish go this way as opposed to that way."

While it's certainly possible to assert that this is the manifestation of free will, the assertion answers no questions, nor does it have any basis in fact, since free will (as I have explained in great detail in the essay you have not read) is a nonsense term.  The accurate explanation is that fish have been genetically programmed to be able to take different options.

Consider the evolutionary advantage of having multiple options.  Suppose a fish has to run away from a certain predator fish quite often.  Now imagine that there are two varieties of this fish -- one that always makes a left turn after five swishes of the tail, and another that sometimes makes a left and sometimes makes a right.  If the fish only made a left turn, eventually, by sheer force of numbers, there would be a variant predator that always anticipated that left turn.  This would give the predator an advantage, and soon the population would become unstable.  However, if the fish moved unpredictably, this adaptation would have no advantage.

It should be obvious that having the ability to act unpredictably is evolutionarily selectable.  Now all we need to do is realize that humans do exactly the same thing.  We are very complicated creatures, to be sure, but our genes have changed as we have become smarter and smarter -- they are the reason for it.

Now, finally, I want you to think about this -- if unpredictable behavior is a selectable trait, so too is motivated unpredictable behavior.  That is, if a creature that mindlessly acts unpredictable has an advantage, a creature that can predict the outcome of its actions and can act unpredictably has an even greater advantage.  Enter sentience.

 

 

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mikedot48 wrote:This is a

mikedot48 wrote:
This is a question for my fellow atheists, but if theists wish to jump in, feel free to do so.

Thanks. I feel FREE to do so. Eye-wink

mikedot48 wrote:
Do you believe in free will or determinism?

Everyone presupposes free will in practice even if they deny it in theory.

mikedot48 wrote:
If you believe in free will, how do you reconcile that with the belief that everything is a result of natural processes (law of cause+effect, laws of physics, etc.)??

The question should be rephrased: How do you reconcile a belief in determinism if quantum theory says that nature is fundamentally indeterminate?

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


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natural wrote:Both. I'm a

natural wrote:
Both. I'm a compatibilist. It all depends on how you define 'free will'. For me, the only definition that matters is that I am able to select how to act based on possible future outcomes without coercion or forces. For me that is will that is free.

Free will (as it is conventionally understood) is the belief that, given the same situation or circumstances, "I could have acted otherwise." That everyone presupposes this explains why the terms "guilt," "regret," and "remorse" have currency in our vocabularly. Compatibilism simply redefines "free will" to be "compatible" with determinism (hence the term).

natural wrote:
It does not matter that my selection may be influenced by prior events. In fact, it is vital that my selection be influenced by what I know and feel, both of which are physical aspects of my brain. If my selection of actions was not based on my knowledge and feelings, then it would not really be *my* will, would it? So, in a sense, determinism is a *requirement* of free will. They are not just compatible, but free will depends on determinism.

Yes and no. Yes, "free will" entails self-determinism. No, your "will" is not free. Why? Because what you call your "will" must ultimately be determined by influences external to yourself. (Your "will" is simply one link in a causal chain that extends backwards to the beginning of time or the indefinite past).

As I see it, the only being who can have compatibilist free will is God. Why? Because only God can be free from external influences.

natural wrote:
The only kind of 'free will' I do not have is the magical free will that somehow 'I' am separate from my body, and yet I'm somehow magically able to direct my body. The reason I don't care about this free will is that I think that 'I' am fundamentally an aspect of my body, specifically my brain. And since I don't have a religious attachment to an after-life, I don't need to invent a 'soul' that is magically separate from my body.

I guess logic dictates this conclusion. If you believe in theory that you do not really have free will, then you're not really able "to direct your body." Evidently, you're just a passive spectator in the game of life, not an active participant.

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


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Visual_Paradox wrote:There

Visual_Paradox wrote:
There is a subtle, but important, distinction between determinism and predeterminism. Determinism says that all events follow a certain pattern of behavior. It may include probabilistic behavior, like you find in quantum mechanics. (The particles may not follow an absolutely rigid pattern of behavior, but the larger objects they comprise—stones, houses, humans, and planets—essentially do, hence the reason that stones do not teleport to various mountain tops.) Predeterminism adds what we may call fate or predestination. The outcome is determined beforehand; the universe or a god may have set things up so that you would die of sickness, regardless of whether you went to a doctor, or go into war, regardless of whether you wanted to. The outcome is certain, but not necessarily the events that lead to the outcome. Perhaps a metaphor would make the distinction clearer. Think of the universe as a poker game. Determinism and predeterminism both hand you a rule book and deck of cards, but predeterminism stacks the deck.

I generally agree with the distinction you made. However, I disagree that determinism inlcudes the probabilistic behavior that is found in quantum mechanics. This is tantamount to saying "determinism includes indeterminism." It's sheer nonsense.

Now, let's think about determinism here. If determinism is true, then free will is illusory (you seemed to suggest this in a previous post). And if free will is illusory, then all intentional acts are illusory. And if all intentional acts are illusory, then all purpose-driven actions are illusory. And if all purpose-driven actions are illusory, then all intelligent behavior is illusory.

This is a very strange conclusion. Determinism ultimately implies that there is no intelligence in the universe.

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


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I believe that the

I believe that the concomitant, contiguous universe is perfectly pre-deterministic.  Equally I believe that the phenomenon to which we, principally, refer as a continuous human experience is utterly free under that law, however, it can naturally operate in a frame of reference which exhibits deterministic patterns.

To start with essential quantum theory elements we say that at the smallest scales probabilities having equal weight become numerous - graduating up to our local scale we find the sum of probabilities approximate relatively straight lines. I would add that beyond the local scale (towards massive gravitational objects and ultimately the universe) probability amplitudes refine down to pure unfettered determinism.

So in short I believe in, somewhat, a continuum of determinism. Within it there exists absolute freedom and absolute constraint, both of which, and all the in betweens, I believe are accessible reality - access albeit depends on your concept of identity and is essentially a digression, so suffice it to say, I believe in both - free will and determinism.

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Hambydammit wrote: Free

I read your article. And as I said in another thread, I'm not sure what to make of it. You're either peddling eliminative materialism or unknowingly making a case for panpsychism. This seems to be the outcome when one refuses to acknowledge "qualia" (what academic philosophers refer to the hard problem of consciousness.) 

 

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Eloise wrote:I believe that

Eloise wrote:
I believe that the concomitant, contiguous universe is perfectly pre-deterministic.  Equally I believe that the phenomenon to which we, principally, refer as a continuous human experience is utterly free under that law, however, it can naturally operate in a frame of reference which exhibits deterministic patterns.

To start with essential quantum theory elements we say that at the smallest scales probabilities having equal weight become numerous - graduating up to our local scale we find the sum of probabilities approximate relatively straight lines. I would add that beyond the local scale (towards massive gravitational objects and ultimately the universe) probability amplitudes refine down to pure unfettered determinism.

So in short I believe in, somewhat, a continuum of determinism. Within it there exists absolute freedom and absolute constraint, both of which, and all the in betweens, I believe are accessible reality - access albeit depends on your concept of identity and is essentially a digression, so suffice it to say, I believe in both - free will and determinism.

And what is your "concept of identity" and how does that mesh with your concept of God?

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


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 Quote:I read your

 

Quote:
I read your article. And as I said in another thread, I'm not sure what to make of it. You're either peddling eliminative materialism or unknowingly making a case for panpsychism.

That's so bizarre that... wow.  I can't think of anything to say to that.  While you're at it, you might as well mention that it might be a well laid out case for Eddie Van Halen as the greatest guitarist ever.

 

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:I

Hambydammit wrote:
 
Quote:
I read your article. And as I said in another thread, I'm not sure what to make of it. You're either peddling eliminative materialism or unknowingly making a case for panpsychism.

That's so bizarre that... wow.  I can't think of anything to say to that

I was able to surmise that by your response in my "consciousness and evolutionary theory" thread. Of course, you don't have to explain how consciousness was naturally-selected if you eliminate it as a problem (or unwittingly assume it as a brute fact of all living organisms).

Incidentally, contrary to your belief, there are many who believe that a goldfish has an inner life. The notion that it is simply an organic "robot without consciousness" is patently absurd.

"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:And what is

Paisley wrote:

And what is your "concept of identity" and how does that mesh with your concept of God?

As I said, that's a major digression, lets save this thread for the topic of free will. Try THis Page

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 Quote:Of course, you

 

Quote:
Of course, you don't have to explain how consciousness was naturally-selected if you eliminate it as a problem (or unwittingly assume it as a brute fact of all living organisms).

I'm not particularly interested in defining something out of existence simply because I don't want to deal with it.  I have neither eliminated the problem of explaining consciousness or assumed it as a brute fact.

Interestingly, it turns out that someone else has already dealt with the problem of consciousness:

Consciousness Explained

Rather than give a book report, I'll let you read this and get back to me.  Once you're done with that, you can try for a different perspective:

How the Mind Works 

 

When you get done with that, You'll be relatively well versed in the philosophy of mind in the 21st century.  Then we can talk.

Quote:
Incidentally, contrary to your belief, there are many who believe that a goldfish has an inner life. The notion that it is simply an organic "robot without consciousness" is patently absurd.

Why should I care what some people believe?  Do they have evidence?  Furthermore, did you miss the part where I described consciousness as a continuum, not an on-off switch?  Is it beyond your understanding that my model is compatible with goldfish having an inner life?

 

 

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Hambydammit wrote:Paisley

Hambydammit wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Of course, you don't have to explain how consciousness was naturally-selected if you eliminate it as a problem (or unwittingly assume it as a brute fact of all living organisms).

I'm not particularly interested in defining something out of existence simply because I don't want to deal with it.  I have neither eliminated the problem of explaining consciousness or assumed it as a brute fact.

Interestingly, it turns out that someone else has already dealt with the problem of consciousness.

Prominent philosophers in the academic community such as David Chalmers and Thomas Nagel have argued that Dennett fails to address the topic of subjective awareness itself and that his book should be more aptly named "Consciousness Unexplained."

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

Dennett is a "eliminative materialist" and denies "qualia" (what philosphers call the "hard problem of consciousness" - i.e. subjective experience itself. The "soft problem" refers to information processing.)

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

Hambydammit wrote:
Furthermore, did you miss the part where I described consciousness as a continuum, not an on-off switch?

No, I didn't miss the point. This is why I said "I don't know if you're peddling eliminative materialism or unwittingly arguing for panpsychism." And my guess is that eliminative materialists such as Dennett may be guilty of the same. If consciousness is a continuum of the evolutionary process, then this implies that "electrochemical reactions" or "self-replicating molecular systems" have proto-consciousness. 

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


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 Paisley, have you read

 Paisley, have you read Dennett or Nagel?

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Hambydammit wrote:Paisley,

Hambydammit wrote:
Paisley, have you read Dennett or Nagel?

No, but the "View From Nowhere" is on my list. Why do you ask?

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


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 I wanted to verify that

 I wanted to verify that you have no idea what you're talking about.  Thanks.

 

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

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Hambydammit wrote:I wanted

Hambydammit wrote:
I wanted to verify that you have no idea what you're talking about.  Thanks.

I cited sources to support my claims. What exactly is your objection? That Dennett is an "eliminative materialist?" That he denies "qualia?" That his argument unwittingly assumes panpsychism?

 

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


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 Quote:What exactly is your

 

Quote:
What exactly is your objection?

That you're citing arguments you are not familiar with.  You're just name dropping, not arguing.  I have read both Dennett and Nagel, and I do understand both Nagel's objection to Dennett and Dennett's answer to the objection.  But you see, we can't talk about it because you don't know either.

I'm not here to be your surrogate for actual study.  Do your homework before you try to play with the big boys, you poser.

 

 

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

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:
 
Quote:
What exactly is your objection?

That you're citing arguments you are not familiar with.  You're just name dropping, not arguing.  I have read both Dennett and Nagel, and I do understand both Nagel's objection to Dennett and Dennett's answer to the objection.  But you see, we can't talk about it because you don't know either.

I'm not here to be your surrogate for actual study.  Do your homework before you try to play with the big boys, you poser.

Puhlease! I subjected myself to your painfully tedious post which was nothing more than a waterdown version of Dennett's "explanation." The bottom line here is that you're simply attempting to "save face" because you have no response to my critique of your argument.

"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 haven't

 Paisley, you haven't critiqued my argument.  You've just tossed out some terms and expected me to jump through your hoops.  Stop dropping names and start making your own arguments.  Am I parroting Dennett?  Quote Dennett and quote me and demonstrate your claim.  Does Dennett's argument fail?  Demonstrate why.  Don't just cite somebody who claims it does.  I've written about the concept of mind.  If I decided to say that Nagel's got it wrong, somebody could go on another forum and say, "Hambydammit argues that Nagel's got it wrong and Dennett has it right."  Would that mean anything?  Would it constitute an argument?

OF COURSE NOT!

Philosophers are not arguments.  Arguments are arguments, and you haven't made any.  You've made assertions.  Does my position lead to an impossible conclusion?  Walk me through it.  Make the argument yourself.  I have no time for or interest in comparing the size of our literary dicks.

 

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 haven't critiqued my argument.  You've just tossed out some terms and expected me to jump through your hoops.  Stop dropping names and start making your own arguments.  Am I parroting Dennett?  Quote Dennett and quote me and demonstrate your claim.  Does Dennett's argument fail?  Demonstrate why.  Don't just cite somebody who claims it does.  I've written about the concept of mind.  If I decided to say that Nagel's got it wrong, somebody could go on another forum and say, "Hambydammit argues that Nagel's got it wrong and Dennett has it right."  Would that mean anything?  Would it constitute an argument?

OF COURSE NOT!

Philosophers are not arguments.  Arguments are arguments, and you haven't made any.  You've made assertions.  Does my position lead to an impossible conclusion?  Walk me through it.  Make the argument yourself.  I have no time for or interest in comparing the size of our literary dicks.

I'm not going to play a tit for tat game with you. I made my argument. And unless you can muster up a counterargument, then quit wasting my precious time. I have little patience for stupidity.

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