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Re: Response to Galen Strawson on No Free Will

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  • ldg994
    Stephen, You wrote: He is not using luck to mean chance. Could you please explain the difference between luck and chance. Also, I have no idea what this
    Message 1 of 74 , Feb 4, 2011
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      Stephen,

      You wrote: "He is not using luck to mean chance."

      Could you please explain the difference between luck and chance.

      Also, I have no idea what this sentence means: "If it's true then the people who know are those who believe it's true and who are justified in believing it's true."

      "If it's true..." The whole point is to determine what is true. If we were to accept Strawson's argument, anyone's rational decision making would be just a matter of luck and truth would be evasive.

      If it is only "by Luck" that some people are able to make proper moral decisions (as Strawson maintains) then it is also only by Luck that people are able to make proper rational decisions. How do we know who has the proper "Luck"? Who tells us that? Is it the lucky ones? Who are they? Do they constantly have the luck or does it often go away?

      Strawson's argument calls into question the whole concept of rational thought and is thus self-defeating.

      Regards,
      Otis


      --- In naturalismphilosophyforum@yahoogroups.com, stephnlawrnce@... wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Hi Otis,
      >
      > <<In Strawson's article he argues that no one is ultimately responsible for his or her thoughts. He writes: "For whatever one actually does, one will do what one does because of the WAY ONE IS, and the way one is is something for which one neither is nor can be responsible, however self-consciously aware of one's situation one is.">>
      >
      > Right, we do what we do because we are what we are but we can't be ultimately responsible for what it is that we are.
      >
      > Also Otis, we just assume we aren't ultimately responsible for what it it that we are don't we? We know genetics play a role, our parents, our past experiences. We don't doubt this do we?
      >
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      >
      > <<So this is Strawson's argument: What ever decisions one makes is because of the "way one is." and the way one is is just a matter of luck. >>
      >
      > Ok, by luck he means the way we are depends upon many things they themselves out of our control. For a determinist one of those things would be the state of the world on the 5th of august 1763, for instance.
      >
      > <<He does not allow Reason to play a part in one's decision making>>
      >
      > Doesn't he? I don't follow why you think this?
      >
      > <<So, according to Strawson, "Reason" is just a type of "motivational set" that some people have as a matter of luck; >>
      >
      > Luck meaning the explanation for how they have come to reason include many things in the past and even before they were born that they are not ultimately responsible for.
      >
      > <<There is no way to objectively determine this. As a consequence, there would be no way for someone to know whether Strawson is reasoning properly or not.>>
      >
      > You haven't explained why you think this is a consequence? Not being ultimately responsible for the way we are doesn't seem to have any bearing on whether there is a way of knowing whether Strawson is reasoning properly or not.
      >
      > <<For Stawson, reasoning is just a matter of luck, meaning that whether his argument is properly reasoned or not is just a matter of chance.>>
      >
      > He is not using luck to mean chance.
      >
      > << It may be true or it may not be true. Who knows?>>
      >
      > If it's true then the people who know are those who believe it's true and who are justified in believing it's true.
      >
      > Stephen
      >
    • stephnlawrnce@aol.com
      Ron,
      Message 74 of 74 , Feb 13, 2011
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        Ron,
         

        <<How do you reconcile the disconnect that occurs when we speak about
        how things *ought* to be or how people *ought* to behave or what is
        or is not "proper", with the recognition that there is no Free Will
        and that people apparently aren't ultimately responsible for anything?>>
         
        By acknowledging that there isn't a disconnect.
         
        How we get from is  to ought is a problem but not a problem to do with ultimate responsibility. It is in part to do with responsibility though. It's a goalkeepers job to stop strikers from scoring. He is responsible for the goals against his team in cases in which he is able to stop the shots but doesn't. This requires a compatibilist understanding of able, nothing else works or is required. Able means there is nothing to prevent him from doing so if he has the will to do so. In terms of prevention we are interested in external circumstances, so I can't buy a drink because I have no money, for instance. We're also interested in internal circumstances, my daughter is unable to drive the car to town even if the will arises because she is not likely to complete the task successfully, she is not competent to do the task.

        <<How do we, in one breath, "transcend the machine" (my words) to make
        these observations about humanity,>>
         
        Transcending the machine is meaningless.
         
        << but then in another breath declare
        that: because no one can ultimately, well, "transcend the machine",
        we must not hold them responsible for their moral judgments?>>
         
        We ought to hold people responsible, holding people responsible influences people to do what they ought to do, which is compatible with determinism. 


        <<And how does all this jibe with the fact that people - all the time -
        *choose* (no Free Will involved) to change their lives and their ways
        of thinking about things?>>
         
        It fit's perfectly, choices are deterministic, changing our lives refers to influencing what happens so as it's one way rather than another. That's what causes do, so this is compatible with living in a cause and effect type universe by definition.
         
        Stephen




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