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Re: [naturalismphilosophyforum] Re: Contra-causal free will

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  • Phil Knight
    Sonny, I don’t think this piece accomplished what you had hoped it would regarding reconciling your views on FW. For the great majority of this
    Message 1 of 46 , Feb 1, 2006
      Sonny,
      I don’t think this piece accomplished what you had hoped it would regarding reconciling your views on FW. For the great majority of this piece you explain how it is that which is called free will is in fact not free. And well of course I am fine with that. But there's also a bit of confused mishmash in there too, and a beginning in which you make an assertion which is never supported, (i.e., "More importantly, this perspective does not jeopardize social conventions supporting moral responsibility, like law, shunning, sanctions, rewards and other social responses to individual behavior. In fact, it strengthens them..")
      But no where in this do I get any sense as to why you feel justified in promoting terms such as “sufficient freedom”, “freedom of thought”, “[freedom of] choice”, “[freedom of] will", “personal responsibility (meaning blame)”, and “moral agent/moral agency”. Causation of behavior is absolute, there is no uncaused behaviors and thus there is no sufficient freedom, or the rest of those CCFW notions. The only way any of those things can be is if there is some CCFW about, but there is none. If you have a case to be made for the existence of CCFW then please make it.
      And what are you on about concerning "three words"? Do you mean non-free will? If you ever need any elaboration on one NFW point or another, all you have to do is say so. If this where about theology and we were trying to say what is wrong with religions today is that there is no god... and someone like you starts harping on us that “saying there is no god is not enough”, how would you expect us to react? Well it is the first step that has to be completely grasped before one can go on. That first step is crucial because it’s hard to walk along a journey with someone when their feet are stuck back at square one.
      I've written tons on why it is that there is no free will. Do you want that regurgitated every time one of us says NFW? It would seem unnecessary to someone who professes NFW as you do. Am I just not understanding you?
      Steve

      Ken Batts <ken@...> wrote:
      Sonny: I enjoyed reading your essay, and I think I agree with most of it.

      I'm not sure what you mean by this sentence, perhaps the most important one in the essay:

      "More importantly, this perspective does not jeopardize social conventions supporting moral
      responsibility, like law, shunning, sanctions, rewards and other social responses to individual
      behavior.  In fact, it strengthens them."

      Do you mean that we need social conventions which support morality, but not necessarily the
      ones we have, which are based on free will? It seems many of the conventions we have are
      weak because they don't understand that criminals are only proximately the cause of their
      crimes, determined by genes and environment.

      Do you mean that more appropriate social conventions which support morality will be
      stronger ("it strengthens them"), in the sense of making them more appropriate and in tune
      with reality? If so I agree completely.

      Ken



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    • Ken Batts
      Steve: I wish there was some way to stop the confusion over freedom and free will (not your confusion, I know you don t have any). Freedom still has a
      Message 46 of 46 , Feb 4, 2006
        Steve: I wish there was some way to stop the confusion over "freedom" and "free will" (not
        your confusion, I know you don't have any). "Freedom" still has a meaning, though it's not
        what people think. To me "freedom" simply means no barriers external to the entity. If a pool
        ball is rolling along a path, it is "free" to continue on its path if no force stops it. The same
        with political freedom. It means if a woman goes to a voting booth, she is free to vote if no
        political force stands in her way. Whether the woman has some internal barriers to doing it is
        different, and of course there's no freedom involved, she either does or she doesn't have
        barriers, for whatever combination of causes and randomnesses.

        But as we know political and social freedom have nothing to do with free will. That's why the
        word freedom, to have meaning, needs to be accompanied by the word "social" or "political",
        since only in those senses is there freedom.

        I think we do need to develop a method of distinguishing these very different senses of free,
        since most people don't get the distinction. Compatibilism doesn't help, it thrives on blurring
        the distinction between them. I believe the determinants involved in not getting this are not
        simply a matter of intelligence, or logical ability, they are complex but fully caused and in my
        lexicon respectworthy because they are caused. Nevertheless I support your "nfw is square
        one" approach, moving on without covering that square is futile.

        Ken
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