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SMBC Comics Forum • View topic - [2017-06-07] compatibilism

[2017-06-07] compatibilism

Blame Quintushalls for this.

Moderators: NeatNit, Kimra

[2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby rzellertownson » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:10 pm

So, uh, while Dr. Dennett might have the predictive power to know what Zach was thinks when people say that free will is compatible with a deterministic universe, I apparently don't.

Anyone here fall into orange stick figure camp here or otherwise feel equipped to give a more specific voice to said camp? Or what said camp means when they say that free will is incompatible with determinism?

I'm assuming that this camp views legal responsibility for one's actions as being totally unrelated to free will.
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby Jules.LT » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:14 pm

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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby JohnQ » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:43 am

The problem is that when most people discuss free will, they are discussing the libertarian sort of "free will" that says things like "I could have done otherwise if I wished to".
That sort of free will is not compatible with a deterministic universe.

Dennett (awesome stick-figure rendering of him BTW, knew who it was instantly) is working from a different definition that is compatible with a deterministic universe... and is probably "good enough" for most people... but it is not what most people think when they hear "free will".
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby King of Ferrets » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:35 am

Roughly, free will is usually considered to mean "I have a legitimate choice to make between possible outcomes", and determinism is usually considered to mean "there is only one possible outcome, based on the operation of the laws of physics". The argument goes that saying the universe is deterministic is akin to saying that we don't have free will, because there wasn't another way it could go that we could've chosen.

Compatabilist positions are those that attempt to have both free will and determinism, and there are a couple variants. What I subscribe to, though, more or less boils down to this: Humans who know each other well can often predict what they'll do in response to certain circumstances. Determinism of human action more or less boils down to, if you know everything about a person, you can accurately predict which choice they'll pick when they make decisions, and even the deliberations they might go through when considering their choice. This isn't so much a fallout of "lack of free will" - that is, ability to make other choices - as it is a consequence of the fact that people have personalities and inclinations. So I don't see an issue with saying that a deterministic universe has free will, because determinism isn't there because we aren't making choices, but because people have personalities and will make their choices based on particular conditions at the time, and so there will be a decision they're eventually bound to come to.

I, personally, call this free will - I have a choice to make, but because I'm me, I always make it a certain way. Some others don't, because there's not technically a possibility of a different choice.
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby Kit. » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:10 am

1. "Closest living descendants of dinosaurs" is bullshit. There is no such thing as "non-closest living descendants" of a clade. Birds are dinosaurs, not "closest living descendants" of dinosaurs.

2. "Free will" is a binary predicate: F(subject or object, influence). Using it as a unary predicate F(subject) is a stolen concept fallacy.
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby CUP » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:27 am

The best sketch I've heard goes like this.

We want to define free will on the basis of "YOU ---> FUTURE" where YOU is the amount you effect the future. We say you have some free will if YOU can be greater than zero. But, as we assume, "YOU + PHYSICS ---> THE FUTURE". Then, given that a materialistic determinist says that physical processes 100% determine the future, that leaves 0% influence left over for YOU to have on the future. So philosophy fan claims that materialistic determinism and free will are a contradiction.

This is nonsense.

1) "PHYSICS ---> THE FUTURE" where PHYSICS is 100% of the causes with no "room" for anything else. This is a fine way to represent determinism.

2) "YOU ---> THE FUTURE" where you must be greater than 0%. This is a fine way to represent free will! No problems so far. But...

3) "YOU + PHYSICS ---> THE FUTURE" this diagram of the "base situation" is inherently dualistic twaddle pulled out of his ass.

The "contradiction" is between dualism assumed as an axiom in point 3) and materialism assumed in point 1). Free will never even entered into it.

The materialist simply thinks YOU is a part of PHYSICS, and has zero problem identifying a subsection of the physical universe that effects the future which is labeled as YOU. You willing things, you having a will, you having thoughts, you existing at all. These are all physical processes. Moreover, THE FUTURE is also part of physics. So the actual materialistic version of 3) is this

3a) "PHYSICS ( YOU ---> THE FUTURE )"

And what do you know, the statement of free will we were looking for is right there inside the parentheses. How about that pigeonsaurus rex.
CUP
 

Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby Jules.LT » Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:47 am

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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby Guest » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:50 pm

Yeah, JohnQ actually cited a compatibilist definition of free will. The incompatibilist (libertarian/hard determinist) idea of free will is "could have done otherwise". Compatibilism requires the "... if I had wanted (or wished)". It's also very odd that people seem to assume (as in the comic) that libertarians and hard determinists have a more traditional or popular view of free will, such that compatibilists have to be "redefining" it. If you dig into a prosaic question about whether a particular person is free, just an ordinary view of autonomy requires "... if I had wanted". To be able to do otherwise even if you don't want to do otherwise just makes your actions random and outside your control. To incompatibilists, there can be no distinction between slaves and masters: neither are anything other than a product of physical circumstances and physical laws. Incompatibilist definitions of free will might be more naively stated, but I don't think they are truly more popular are traditional: just less exact or more missing the point.
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby cellocgw » Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:54 pm

When it comes to questions about free will and choice, I think Rush covered that just fine.
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby MeisterKleister » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:32 pm

"Men educated in [the critical habit of thought] … are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain." -William Graham Sumner

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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby Jules.LT » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:23 am

Nice :)
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby Daniel Maidment » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:23 pm

Dennet also bothered me in this, I've read some of his books to figure out just how exactly he manages to reconcile hard determinism and free will, and he doesn't end up managing. Only skirts around the definitions, which I think can be summarised succinctly as this:
Game Theory -->
1 player in the system --> simple system
2 players in the system --> attempt to out compete the other --> guess the others intent --> recursive guessing --> complexity --> effective free will because system is too complex
Reality -->
many players --> system is stupidly complex --> predicting outcomes is absurd --> might as well call it free will.

So yeah, Dennet's approach comes down to condescendingly saying that even if reality is perfectly causal, which would imply determinism, it doesn't matter because it's so complicated anyway. Which is a bit of a cop out. Don't get me wrong, I love Dennet and his work, and to a large degree I agree with him.
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby Jules.LT » Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:01 pm

My understanding was that determinism doesn't matter because we are *part* of the causal process rather than objects of it.
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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby MeisterKleister » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:57 pm

Last edited by MeisterKleister on Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Men educated in [the critical habit of thought] … are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain." -William Graham Sumner

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Re: [2017-06-07] compatibilism

Postby Guest » Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:24 pm

Is there any way to get registered? I'm receiving neither approval nor disapproval messages from SMBC. Forum broken, or plain passive-aggressivity?
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