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The Nature of Agency

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1 hour ago, rodheadlee said:

Well don't keep it a secret.

It was a joke. That everyone imagines they are analyzing free will when in fact it was all mechanistically determined. Just like this post.....

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I'm a little slow today 

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I'll just leave this here:

It's all determinism. All the way down. Theological. Philosophical. Biological. 

Have a nice night. 

 

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1 hour ago, cksalmon said:

I'll just leave this here:

It's all determinism. All the way down. Theological. Philosophical. Biological. 

Have a nice night. 

 

Is your name Matt and do you own a dog named Rupert?

 

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On 12/30/2018 at 10:03 PM, clarkgoble said:

I'm not sure I agree with that. I think spirit has a place and then of course accident (although maybe you include that in environment).

It depends upon what you mean by choice and what you mean by control. Not trying to be silly here. There's a ton of literature on this in philosophy. I think a big consensus is that a large part of the problem is that language we use and our expectations of language.

I think we are able to make our own choices, but I also don't think there's some odd ontological aspect to choice.

This guy needs some compatiblism in his life. ;)

How does that work again? ;)

 

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17 hours ago, cksalmon said:

I'll just leave this here:

It's all determinism. All the way down. Theological. Philosophical. Biological. 

Have a nice night. 

 

If you are right, then I am sorry but I have been forced to believe in something other than what you are saying  - I don't really have a choice in the matter.  No offense, the universe just determined something else for me.   

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, pogi said:

If you are right, then I am sorry but I have been forced to believe in something other than what you are saying  - I don't really have a choice in the matter.  No offense, the universe just determined something else for me.   

Well I'm not going to get into it here because it will take too much time. but there is a point of view in philosophy called compatibilism that says that Free Will and determinism are compatible.

It sure feels like I can make my own decisions, and that's all that really matters to me.

I tell you what. I think someone who is a determinist should go out and kill somebody and then tell it to the judge, that he had no choice in the matter because it's all determined.

See how far that gets you. :)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compatibilism

"Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent.[1] Compatibilists believe freedom can be present or absent in situations for reasons that have nothing to do with metaphysics.[2] They define free will as freedom to act according to one's motives without arbitrary hindrance from other individuals or institutions."

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Well I'm not going to get into it here because it will take too much time. but there is a point of view in philosophy called compatibilism that says that Free Will and determinism are compatible.

It sure feels like I can make my own decisions, and that's all that really matters to me.

I tell you what. I think someone who is a determinist should go out and kill somebody and then tell it to the judge, that he had no choice in the matter because it's all determined.

See how far that gets you. :)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compatibilism

"Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent.[1] Compatibilists believe freedom can be present or absent in situations for reasons that have nothing to do with metaphysics.[2] They define free will as freedom to act according to one's motives without arbitrary hindrance from other individuals or institutions."

 

I'm personally not a fan of compatibilism.  I don't find that it is compatible (pardon the pun) with the gospel as I understand it.  I just don't believe that free will truly exists in compatibilism.  I agree with James and Kant on this one.  James accused them of creating a "quagmire of evasion" by stealing the name of freedom to mask their underlying determinism.  Kant called it a "wretched subterfuge" and "word jugglery".   Sam Harris used an analogy that I like, he said this in describing compatibilism, "A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings."  
 

 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, pogi said:

I'm personally not a fan of compatibilism.  I don't find that it is compatible (pardon the pun) with the gospel as I understand it.  I just don't believe that free will truly exists in compatibilism.  I agree with James and Kant on this one.  James accused them of creating a "quagmire of evasion" by stealing the name of freedom to mask their underlying determinism.  Kant called it a "wretched subterfuge" and "word jugglery".   Sam Harris used an analogy that I like, he said this in describing compatibilism, "A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings."  
 

 

Everything in philosophy is "word jugglery" ;)

At least Wittgenstein thought so. :)

Words are about all we have to talk with and about. :)

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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11 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Everything in philosophy is "word jugglery" ;)

At least Wittgenstein thought so. :)

Words are about all we have to talk with and about. :)

 

Good point.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, pogi said:

Good point.

Thanks, and I am not a Harris fan.

I mean think about this

"A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings."  

Yes that IS compatibilism, but so what? Alma 32. 

If it is "sweet" to you what's the difference?

A Mormon is free as long as he loves to live the commandments- that is doctrine, that commandments MAKE freedom!! 

So in a sense compatibilism IS doctrine!

:)

This is about positive liberty, the idea that freedom can be created by following rules:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Concepts_of_Liberty

 

Positive libertyEdit

"is involved in the answer to the question 'What, or who, is the source of control or interference that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that?' The two questions are clearly different, even though the answers to them may overlap."[6]

Positive liberty may be understood as self-mastery, and includes one's having a role in choosing who governs the society of which one is a part.

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Thanks, and I am not a Harris fan.

I like Harris, I just don't agree with his conclusions :)  But I do find his arguments compelling.  I will say this, if I was to ever lose my faith in God, I would most likely be a strict determinist like Harris.  Nothing else makes sense to me.  His only  problem is that he does not include the spiritual realm into his equation. 

4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I mean think about this

"A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings."  

Yes that IS compatibilism, but so what? Alma 32. 

If it is "sweet" to you what's the difference?

A Mormon is free as long as he loves to live the commandments- that is doctrine, that commandments MAKE freedom!! 

So in a sense compatibilism IS doctrine!

:)

I think the difference is that as Harris states, whether you love the strings or not, there are still strings in compatibilism.  In other words, compatibilism does not cut the strings of its underlying determinism.    That to me is incompatible with the gospel, where there is no underlying determinism - there are no strings controlling our decisions.  Compatibilism would be equivalent to a Calvinist saying that you are free as long as you love your strings - but in the end, you are still a Calvinistic/deterministic puppet.

 

Edited by pogi

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Everything in philosophy is "word jugglery" ;)

At least Wittgenstein thought so. :)

Words are about all we have to talk with and about. :)

 

 

Or as my college roommate used to say, “Philosophy is vain strivings and verbal vexations.”

 

The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy but they were listening in gibberish.” 
― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

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On 12/31/2018 at 12:01 AM, Glenn101 said:

Based upon that premise, why wouldn't the outcomes of identical twin brothers or sisters raised together be exactly the same?

Glenn

No two individuals have exactly the same epigenitics or exactly the same dna. Beyond that though, environmental differences show up almost immediately - one of our boys weighed 20% more at birth than the other.

 I think perhaps the bigger question, and and a real problem for those that pose a spirit is why are identical twins (even those raised apart) soooo similar. 

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If God really wanted us to believe in free agency, why did he invent Sees Chocolates?

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

 I think perhaps the bigger question, and and a real problem for those that pose a spirit is why are identical twins (even those raised apart) soooo similar. 

I don't see that as a problem theologically.  I think very few people still believe as Aristotle did, that we are a tabula rasa (blank slate).  DNA clearly plays a role in influencing personality traits, which might influence decision making, but it certainly is not the same as determinism.  There is still room for individuality and independent agency with nearly 100% identical DNA.   

Edited by pogi

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31 minutes ago, pogi said:

I don't see that as a problem theologically.  I think very few people still believe as Aristotle did, that we are a tabula rasa (blank slate).  DNA clearly plays a role in influencing personality traits, which might influence decision making, but it certainly is not the same as determinism.  There is still room for individuality and independent agency with nearly 100% identical DNA.   

A scientific understanding of the human mind is in its infancy, but to my knowledge, there have been no studies supporting dualism ever. Quite the opposite, as time after time we are showing that brain is the mind and the mind is the brain. 

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5 hours ago, pogi said:

I like Harris, I just don't agree with his conclusions :)  But I do find his arguments compelling.  I will say this, if I was to ever lose my faith in God, I would most likely be a strict determinist like Harris.  Nothing else makes sense to me.  His only  problem is that he does not include the spiritual realm into his equation. 

I think the difference is that as Harris states, whether you love the strings or not, there are still strings in compatibilism.  In other words, compatibilism does not cut the strings of its underlying determinism.    That to me is incompatible with the gospel, where there is no underlying determinism - there are no strings controlling our decisions.  Compatibilism would be equivalent to a Calvinist saying that you are free as long as you love your strings - but in the end, you are still a Calvinistic/deterministic puppet.

 

But compatibilism does not posit determinism, that strings analogy is Harris's own analogy to teach the principle, or possibly distort it in his favor.

Compatibilism just shows a way out of any intellectual traps IF an individual IS a determinist.

Suppose you were discussing evolution with someone who thought that being pro evolution makes you automatically an atheist.

You might present the argument that God might have used evolution to create life, simply to show that evolution is compatible with theism, without you yourself making any statement about which was "correct" even if you were a creationist or an evolutionist.

You would simply be showing that theism is compatible with both options without taking any sides as to which option was correct.

That is what compatibilism is doing. It just shows a way out of the intellectual trap if one is caught in it.

I am not sure but I presume that Calvinists  find murder sentences just, and would not free murderers because they are not responsible for their actions because their actions were determined before birth, and the murderer had no choice in committing the murder

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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2 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

No two individuals have exactly the same epigenitics or exactly the same dna. Beyond that though, environmental differences show up almost immediately - one of our boys weighed 20% more at birth than the other.

 I think perhaps the bigger question, and and a real problem for those that pose a spirit is why are identical twins (even those raised apart) soooo similar. 

I can understand the epigenetics part as that is changes in genes over time. Am not sure as to the DNA part as they both come from the same zygote. The similarity between twins raised apart does not really pose a problem for those who propose a spirit. It does call for a bit of speculation though, but a reasonable one. With an assumption that we had friendships and loves in the pre-existence it is reasonable to speculate that very similar spirits with close friendship bonds would be allowed to come to this earth as twins.

Glenn

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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Or as my college roommate used to say, “Philosophy is vain strivings and verbal vexations.”

 

The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy but they were listening in gibberish.” 
― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

The good news or the bad news depending on how you see it is that it took a philosopher to figure that out.

Gibberish is in the eye of the beholder, usually an amateur philosopher who doesn't know he is speaking gibberish. :)

For example there are folks hereabouts who actually think "truth" can be defined while doing so is ALSO a vain striving and verbal vexation. ;)

We we really should just be talking about chairs and tables and God and forget all the crazy abstractions. That's where you get into trouble.

The the nature of agency is clearly one of those abstractions.

Did the kid take the cookies or not?

It should end there. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

A scientific understanding of the human mind is in its infancy, but to my knowledge, there have been no studies supporting dualism ever. Quite the opposite, as time after time we are showing that brain is the mind and the mind is the brain. 

Great to know.

But where is the itch in the mosquito bite, or the blue in the retinal cones?

Does a description of a chemical reaction include within it a description of what it is to itch? 

Then they are not logically identical.

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5 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Did the kid take the cookies or not?

Did anyone see them take the cookies?

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15 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

But compatibilism does not posit determinism, that strings analogy is Harris's own analogy to teach the principle, or possibly distort it in his favor.

Compatibilism just shows a way out of any intellectual traps IF an individual IS a determinist.

Suppose you were discussing evolution with someone who thought that being pro evolution makes you automatically an atheist.

You might present the argument that God might have used evolution to create life, simply to show that evolution is compatible with theism, without you yourself making any statement about which was "correct" even if you were a creationist or an evolutionist.

You would simply be showing that theism is compatible with both options without taking any sides as to which option was correct.

That is what compatibilism is doing. It just shows a way out of the intellectual trap if one is caught in it.

I am not sure but I presume that Calvinists  find murder sentences just, and would not free murderers because they are not responsible for their actions because their actions were determined before birth, and the murderer had no choice in committing the murder

Thanks Mark,

Compatibilism may not posit determinism per se, but the way I see it is that it serves no purpose without it.  The argument only works given that determinism is posited, otherwise compatibilism doesn't really make sense and there would be no compatibilists.  Given that it seeks to reconcile free will with determinism, I find the argument to be inconsistent with the gospel (as I understand it) as I see no determinism in the gospel and therefore the compatibilism argument becomes null and void in a gospel sense and becomes incompatible.  

I am not sure about Calvinists either, but even if they do justify punishment and responsibility for the actions of others, they are still Calvinists/determinists in the end, which is incompatible with the gospel.  On top of that, compatibilism only seems to work if we water down the definition of "free-will" into something unrecognizable from a gospel perspective.

Edited by pogi

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Thanks Mark,

Compatibilism may not posit determinism per se, but the way I see it is that it serves no purpose without it.  The argument only works given that determinism is posited, otherwise compatibilism doesn't really make sense and there would be no compatibilists.  Given that it seeks to reconcile free will with determinism, I find the argument to be inconsistent with the gospel (as I understand it) as I see no determinism in the gospel and therefore the compatibilism argument becomes null and void in a gospel sense and becomes incompatible.  

I am not sure about Calvinists either, but even if they do justify punishment and responsibility for the actions of others, they are still Calvinists/determinists in the end, which is incompatible with the gospel.  On top of that, compatibilism only seems to work if we water down the definition of "free-will" into something unrecognizable from a gospel perspective.

That's like saying that

"LDS apologists may not agree with antimormons per se, but the way I see it is that they serve no purpose without antimormons.The argument only works given that antimormonism is posited, otherwise apologetics doesn't really make sense and there would be no apologists." And that therefore the entire existence of apologists is against the gospel.

I kind of see compatibilism as the apologists for free will.

 

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Compatibilism may not posit determinism per se, but the way I see it is that it serves no purpose without it.  The argument only works given that determinism is posited, otherwise compatibilism doesn't really make sense and there would be no compatibilists.  Given that it seeks to reconcile free will with determinism, I find the argument to be inconsistent with the gospel (as I understand it) as I see no determinism in the gospel and therefore the compatibilism argument becomes null and void in a gospel sense and becomes incompatible. 

Compatibilism applies not just to causal determinism but also if there are truths about the future (i.e. things akin to foreknowledge). Arguably many of the arguments also apply to randomness - the opposite of determinism.

1 hour ago, pogi said:

Given that it seeks to reconcile free will with determinism, I find the argument to be inconsistent with the gospel (as I understand it) as I see no determinism in the gospel and therefore the compatibilism argument becomes null and void in a gospel sense and becomes incompatible.  

If God has foreknowledge then the same problem appears and typically accurate knowledge of the future is a part of most Mormon readings of scripture. There are attempts to avoid this. So for instance Blake Ostler argues that God has foreknowledge only of things he can bring about. I think that runs into problems if there's foreknowledge of how Christ was killed for instance since it would imply God brought about crucifixion which seems problematic at best. There's also the question in science (still open) over whether the four dimensional universe is the proper conception of relativity. That is that pass and future are determined at the same time. It gets tricky and there are different ways to conceive of the issue. However an even bigger problem is that if there are multiple creations you have the problem of how God can interact with them all at the same time. That seems to clearly imply faster than light communication which logically requires a block universe and thus compatibilism.

Where open theism attempts to deal with this, I find the arguments against relativity to be extremely weak. Primarily I think people who are disturbed about compatibilism look for any possibility, however strained, to avoid foreknowledge. However I think it's clearly presupposed by scripture and the relativity issue is also deeply problematic for such theology (as is the big bang).

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