Friday, January 06, 2006

In summary

I think we can safely say

1) assuming "having apparent choice is free will" then "free will is having apparent choice" -> true but trivial.
2) "choice only matters if you have free will" and at the same time "You should believe in free will is good if you have free will" -> two unsubstantiated value judgements.
3) "choice implies freewill by definition" -> refuted.

4) "We have free will" - not sufficient information from the below logic.

Richard argues

"I don't assume anything even remotely contentious"

1) I can refute the proposal that they are uncontentious, because it is being argued here! And others such as Dr Pretorius, Clark Goble A-train MavXP and Myself (in fact almost every comment) have all at least asked the question whether the conclusion is misleading. Making it surprising that he says

"my arguments cannot be countered."

He then argues

"It's not as if you can admonish the machine for making the wrong choice!"

What he is doing here is adding "blame" into the equasion.

But Richard has previously argued as any good utilitarian should that

[moral responsibility] is a sliding scale, whereby we are more responsible the more open we are to the influence of praise/blame (recall the pragmatic basis of morality we are using here).

Ie that the use of blame (admonishing) is a function of the outcomes we can achieve by using it. So blame is almost identical to reprogramming of a computer that is in error - it jsut doesn't work in as reliable a manner.

The "cold and hardened murderer" is psychologically screwed up. I would want him locked away for our safety, but I'm not sure whether it would be appropriate to blame him for having a screwed-up brain.

If that was the example obviously not being a murderer would "have value" regardless of whether we blamed the person or not and we might try to convince them to see the world more reasonably.

And even more fundimentally I refute the argument that you can't admonish a person for making the wrong choice because that is exactly what I am doing here with Richard. Ie I take a determanisticperspective and yet like a train implies

why is it useful or necessary? that is, what happens differently if you don't "believe" it?

It seems to make no difference. In fact admonishing relies on determinism (and the ability to be effected by admonishment).

Finally denying free will doesnt deny that the universe has some intrinsic value or that life has value or that people can have an effect on the world so you can still have value judgements relating to outcomes. It just means that that effect is in a sense predictable, (even if the uncertainty principle says WE can't predict it!). Richard looks at this sort of issue in his post on determanism .


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