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Re: [naturalismphilosophyforum] Re: Options

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  • stephnlawrnce@aol.com
    ? ?Tim, Having read your posts, I think there are three key issues. I won t stop to go back and find quotes but if you can see that?I ve misinterpreted your
    Message 1 of 277 , Feb 1, 2009
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       Tim,

      Having read your posts, I think there are three key issues. I won't stop to go back and find quotes but if you can see that I've misinterpreted your view, then please correct me.

      The issues are:

      1) Randomness is needed for creatures such as us to have evolved.

      2) Randomness is needed to make real meaningful choices.

      3) The issue over the narrow definition of self that is used when saying I could not do otherwise.

      Ok on 1) I think you may be mistaken as I don't think random means indeterministic in the term random mutation. But at the quantum level the consensus in the scientific community is that randomness exists. If so it's very hard to imagine how the universe would differ if it didn't and it may well be true that creatures like us would not evolve.

      2) Is something we strongly disagree on because being able to do other than we do in the circumstances does not appear to add anything at all to choice making. Today you could go for a walk, have lunch with your family or murder a prostitute. Now I'm sure out of those options murdering a prostitute is bottom of the heap. But what if there was a random element to choice making? What if there was a statistical chance that you could murder a prostitute today, that you could get to that set of circumstances from the circumstances that you are in now.  As it's a dreadful option being able to pick it is no use to you. And what if you do go ahead and do it. Again being able to have avoided it, given the circumstances would be useless to you, as the fact is you did it and you are stuck with it. Lastly if there was too much randomness in the system, you'd be beserk, you'd be regularly making the most dreadful choices. Choice making would cease to be of any use to you at all.

      What people say isn randomness "washes out" when we scale up to beings the size of you and I. I think what this means is that the probability of you doing other than you do at any given moment is stupendously low, so low as to be irrelevent for all practical purposes when thinking about human choice making.

      3) Is interesting. We need to make sense of can and could. I can go to the park, even though I'm not, I can go to work, even though I'm staying at home. Philosophers attempt to make sense of this by widening the circumstances from what they actually are to include other possible worlds. I really think they may have gone up the garden path and there is a better explanation but don't know what it is. This subject interests me a great deal and I hope to understand it better in the future. 

      But when I refer to you, wouldn't you accept that normally I'm refering to the you who was born at a particular moment of a particular day, in the actual world? If I said your birthday was (insert your birthday) You wouldn't say no this is using a narrow version of you and then produce a list of all the possible days you could have been born.

      This is the you we are concerned with, it's this you that couldn't do otherwise given the circumstances of your birth. (leaving out a very low probability of doing otherwise due to quantum randomness) and this is vitally important because you don't have the way of avoiding what you do, which you would need to be ultimately responsible for your actions.

      Stephen

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    • stephnlawrnce@aol.com
      Ken, ... I think these two points cover the compatibilist position quite well. I think they just cover what anybody means when they say something like this.?
      Message 277 of 277 , Mar 23, 2009
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        Ken,
        > In your running race example you could have won the race if you hadn't lost the race but won it instead.

        >you could have won the race if you hadn't run at that speed but had run faster instead.

        I think these two points cover the compatibilist position quite well.



        I think they just cover what anybody means when they say something like this

        But, of course, they believe in something more too and that something is not compatible with determinism. 

        Stephen
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