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Gnu Ordure



    Posts: 3833
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Azd, I don't know whether you want to continue our conversation after such a long break, but I wrote this anyway.

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No, not telling you to grow up, not at all!    I didn't mean anything like that.  What I meant was ...
Ah, OK, I get you. 
 
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I thought I had replied to your posts in this thread, Gnu.  My bad.
I know that's a trivial example, but it makes me wonder; why would you feel bad about anything you do, and why would you apologize?
 
If you're not responsible for your actions, why would you feel bad or guilty about any of them? Aren't those the immature emotional reactions you're referring to, archaic hangovers from the age of illusory free will?
 
And likewise, one can only meaningfully apologize for what one is responsible for. So in your deterministic world, apologizing for anything at all seems somewhat meaningless. And insincere. Because if you really believe that your actions were inevitable, and you know they weren't your fault, an apology is inappropriate and irrelevant, so why offer it?
 
(This is from the other thread where we're discussing the same thing):
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You've revealed that your belief in free will is a product of doublethink, not a genuine intellectual conclusion.

I'm not double thinking, Azd. Not yet, anyway. The fact is, the question of free will hasn't been settled yet. People have been investigating it for millennia, and it hasn't yet been established that free will is an illusion. In which case, it seems reasonable for neutral observers to be agnostic on the issue.
 
So (ironically) it seems that we can choose whether to believe in determinism or believe in freedom (or some compatibilist synthesis).
 
So I'm an agnostic free willist. I believe in free will, but I could be wrong.
 
There's no contradiction or doublethink there.
 
My argument is that if we are given the choice whether to believe in determinism or free will, It's a moral issue, it's a matter of doing the right thing, or not. As such, it is reasonable to use consequentialism to make the ethical decision. Which isn't the same as using an argumentum ad consequentiam to prove a point of logic.
 
Going back to Orwell though, I'm amused that you accuse me of (double)thinking along Party lines.That's ironic, as I'm the one advocating belief in freedom, and you're the one advocating abnegation of moral responsibility and submission to historic inevitability. If we were living in 1984, Azd, it would be me in the torture chair and you applying the electricity and the rats. 
 
I said before that under determinism there is no justice, no morality. Orwell describes the same world in 1984 (my bold):
 
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Its [Newspeaks's] vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as " This dog is free from lice " or " This field is free from weeds ". It could not be used in its old sense of " politically free " or " intellectually free " since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. <snip>
 
As we have already seen in the case of the word free, words which had once borne a heretical meaning were sometimes retained for the sake of convenience, but only with the undesirable meanings purged out of them. Countless other words such as honour, justice, morality, internationalism, democracy, science, and religion had simply ceased to exist. A few blanket words covered them, and, in covering them, abolished them.
I know Orwell wasn't talking about a deterministic world, merely a totalitarian one. But they appear to have similarities... you might want to consider the implications of that.
 
Another quote:
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That the choice for mankind lay between freedom and happiness, and that, for the great bulk of mankind, happiness was better.
Orwell asks us to choose between freedom and happiness; in this thread the choice is between freedom and truth. Tricky, eh? I'm still going with freedom...
 
And one more:
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The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron -- they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? 
Determinism also abolishes freedom.
 
(I re-read 1984 last week, by the way; I was looking at wiki to distinguish between doublethink and cognitve dissonance, and decided to go back to the source. It's still an awesome book).

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I tacitly acknowledged all this when I said that we needed different concepts of "responsibility" that do function under determinism.  See the bolded word?  "Different"?  Yeah, that was key.
I don't understand your different concept of responsibility.

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This brings me back to our meta-problem, Gnu.  I can't know at any point whether your not understanding something is due to a genuine failure of communication, or whether it's because you are deliberately deciding not to understand it.
Sorry, but I don't see how I can help you. Believe what you like; talk to me, or don't.

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And I still don't know what you mean when you say that you "believe in free-will as a subjective, experiential truth".
I mean the same thing about free will as I do about morality when I say that it is subjective.
But you don't think your morality is an illusion, surely? So I don't get your analogy.

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No choices, no responsibility, no morality - just bouncing down the hill... I choose not to believe that.
Given your belief that those ideas cannot be harmonized to physical fact, I can see why you might want to reject physical fact.  But such harmonization is the alternative I'm talking about.  The stuff I struck out does not necessarily follow from determinism, 
Whereas Jetson responded to my comment with a simple "Yup" - he thinks those do follow. 
 
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And of course, by your argument, it is inevitable that I choose that. It is inevitable that on this issue I value freedom more than truth. How can I do otherwise?

It was inevitable. 
According to you, everything was inevitable, everything is inevitable, everything will be inevitable. So I stand by what I said there.

Happy New Year.

Gnu.
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Azdgari Flagrant strawmen. Then again, honesty is unimportant, right? January 13, 2012, 07:38:09 PM