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    (Original post by miser)
    Yes, you are quite right that there is an argument to be made there. In my opinion it depends very much on what our reasons for imprisoning people are. If there are to be any humans at all then it is necessary for us to find a way to live cohesively.

    I have three main thoughts about the argument:

    1. I would say I don't believe it is moral to allow a person to go around directly infringing on others' rights, and so these people who would do this must be prevented from doing so (and prison would be a justified means).
    2. I don't believe that society has any right to 'benefit' from prisoners, only that individuals have a right not to have their rights transgressed upon. Insofar as prisons are necessary for this, we ought to employ them.
    3. In answer to the question of whether these prisoners are having their own rights infringed, I don't believe people have a right to freedom when their freedom is at the expense of the rights of others.
    More or less satisfied overall, but I still have a little bit of a question left... You're saying that criminals no longer have a right to freedom if their freedom would compromise the rights of others, but I feel this is almost sidestepping the question in a way: what's the argument for "removing" criminals' rights to freedom if we assume that there is no free will i.e. that they could not have done anything other than commit the crime that they did? Simply that it maximizes the "positive" effects on society?

    Your first bullet point may have been an answer to this, I'm not 100% sure. If so, some clarification would be great Cheers
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    I guess we have a free will, if we are not influenced by propagandism or ideologies. If people are free from them and able to believe in things which they have verified by themselves, I'm sure they are headed in the right direction to have a free will.
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    (Original post by Implication)
    More or less satisfied overall, but I still have a little bit of a question left... You're saying that criminals no longer have a right to freedom if their freedom would compromise the rights of others, but I feel this is almost sidestepping the question in a way: what's the argument for "removing" criminals' rights to freedom if we assume that there is no free will i.e. that they could not have done anything other than commit the crime that they did? Simply that it maximizes the "positive" effects on society?

    Your first bullet point may have been an answer to this, I'm not 100% sure. If so, some clarification would be great Cheers
    I don't think the absence of free will has any bearing on it. I don't see imprisonment as a punishment, but a mitigation of harm to others, so I wouldn't argue that some people 'deserve' to be imprisoned and others not - nobody 'deserves' it, but in the absence of free will, nobody 'deserves' anything (except for their rights to be respected). We would imprison earthquakes if we could, or innocent babies if they had an unfortunate proclivity for manslaughter (but we wouldn't make their time in prison unnecessarily unpleasant).

    It is never one person's right to revoke another person's right, therefore absolute freedom cannot be unimpeachable. It is sensible and good to allow people freedom, but abuse of that freedom must be prevented.
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    (Original post by 0x2a)
    An omniscient God knows I am going to be doing a certain action, and not another. Then it has already been set and already known that I'll do action A and not B, therefore, I won't do B and I'll do A. I have no choice other than to do A.

    Doesn't make what more likely? That people have free will or not? I never said that, perhaps I didn't type my ideas down properly.

    If we found out that we DO have free will it wouldn't change much, because society as a whole already assumes that we have free will.

    On the other hand, if we found out we DON'T have free will then it'll be a completely different story.
    He knows what you're going to do. You still have a choice. He just knows what choice you'll make. Human decision-making would be easy to predict if you had all the variables and information, if you were omniscient.

    To use a well-worn example... If I give a starving man a loaf of bread, I know that he'll eat it. He still has a choice in the matter.

    Ah, right. Sorry, gotcha now.


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    (Original post by Abbot)
    He knows what you're going to do. You still have a choice. He just knows what choice you'll make. Human decision-making would be easy to predict if you had all the variables and information, if you were omniscient.

    To use a well-worn example... If I give a starving man a loaf of bread, I know that he'll eat it. He still has a choice in the matter.

    Ah, right. Sorry, gotcha now.


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    The man hardly has a choice in the matter. He is compelled to do it from pains of hunger. He doesn't have the choice not to eat it because he doesn't want to experience hunger; he cannot choose what he wants and so he is not free.
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    (Original post by Abbot)
    He knows what you're going to do. You still have a choice. He just knows what choice you'll make. Human decision-making would be easy to predict if you had all the variables and information, if you were omniscient.

    To use a well-worn example... If I give a starving man a loaf of bread, I know that he'll eat it. He still has a choice in the matter.

    Ah, right. Sorry, gotcha now.


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    Exactly God knows what you're going to do. He might give you choice A and B, but he knows you'll take A not B, therefore you must take A and not B, so we don't have a choice.

    The idea of omniscience is not just knowing all the variables, but also knowing what exactly is going to happen, therefore if an omniscient being were to exist, everything that the omniscient being knows is going to happen must happen (In this case event A) and everything that the omniscient being knows won't happen, will not occur (event B).

    The illusion of free will occurs exactly because we don't have information about all the variables. IF we did have this information (but we weren't omniscient), life and everything else would be a mathematical game of combinatorics, everything and anything could be predicted, although we wouldn't know exactly what events will occur.

    The example is quite weak in my opinion. You aren't omniscient, therefore you haven't recognised all the other variables at hand. What if the man was allergic to bread? To a God, if the starving man rejected the choice, then it would have been obvious to God since he was omniscient, and knew that the man would definitely reject the bread. But to you, if the man rejected your bread, you'd be rather shocked at this choice since not only is the man starving, but because you didn't have knowledge prior to this event.
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    (Original post by Implication)
    Moral philosophy is really not my thing haha. I'm of the (somewhat uneducated!) opinion that most moral philosophy is little more than armchair speculation, as I concluded long ago that there was no reason to suppose that moral statements are objective descriptions of reality. So yeah, I wouldn't personally propose that it is immoral to use people as a means to an end, I was simply curious about how one might react to this argument in the context of a paradigm shift away from belief in free will.
    Well, there you go, I suppose. I doubt the clockwork thing would go mainstream as an argument, when the Commons debate policy for example, because it'd make people unhappy.

    (Original post by Implication)
    Aye, I agree that losing free will makes morality somewhat more difficult... but I wouldn't say that the argument was contradictory exactly: I don't think free will and morality are necessarily mutually exclusive, as you seem to be implying.
    Well, you asked if it would be immoral to imprison someone if they hadn't freely willed the offence, implying that they wouldn't be morally responsible. But how could anyone be held morally responsible for imprisoning them if no one else has free will either?


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    Theory focuses on the deeper and more resilient aspects of social structure. It considers the processes by which structures, including schemes, rules, norms, and routines, become established as authoritative guidelines for social behavior etc. Its too vast it seems.
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    (Original post by JohnPaul_)
    How dangerous, if it would be, to give up the assumption that we don't have Free Will? Neuroscientific studies are more and more pointing towards the direction of us not having free will.

    However I feel as though I have Free Will even if I don't.

    Thoughts?

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    People mistake "preference" for "free-will". e.g. "I choose to have a beef burger tonight." This is preference for a beef burger, not free will. Free will is when you have the ability to ignore your preferences. Preferences are determined by external factors such as your physical limitations and the environments and experiences that have molded your thoughts. There is of course no such thing as free will. You have been entirely constructed by external influences.
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    (Original post by Stevo72)
    People mistake "preference" for "free-will". e.g. "I choose to have a beef burger tonight." This is preference for a beef burger, not free will. Free will is when you have the ability to ignore your preferences. Preferences are determined by external factors such as your physical limitations and the environments and experiences that have molded your thoughts. There is of course no such thing as free will. You have been entirely constructed by external influences.
    But I would argue that free will does not require this ability, a world in which everybody acts on their preferences after moral considerations is fine and perfectly compatible with free will and moral responsibility. Please read my previous post on the last page. (which everyone has ignored)
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    (Original post by JohnPaul_)
    How dangerous, if it would be, to give up the assumption that we don't have Free Will? Neuroscientific studies are more and more pointing towards the direction of us not having free will.

    However I feel as though I have Free Will even if I don't.

    Thoughts?


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    You feel as if you do because it's an illusion. Free Will is just that, an illusion.
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    (Original post by Substantia)
    But I would argue that free will does not require this ability, a world in which everybody acts on their preferences after moral considerations is fine and perfectly compatible with free will and moral responsibility. Please read my previous post on the last page. (which everyone has ignored)
    I tend to look at things in absolute terms, so once you have included a filter on your choices such as socially inherited morals, then you have lost your free-will. Free-will should be the ability to do everything that you are physically capable of doing, including slitting your own throat. To limit your actions by the social rules you have picked up since being a baby is being steered by the multitude of decisions of others.
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    (Original post by Stevo72)
    I tend to look at things in absolute terms, so once you have included a filter on your choices such as socially inherited morals, then you have lost your free-will. Free-will should be the ability to do everything that you are physically capable of doing, including slitting your own throat. To limit your actions by the social rules you have picked up since being a baby is being steered by the multitude of decisions of others.
    In that case your version of free will doesn't exist. But by saying 'free will doesn't exist' or 'free will is an illusion' is misleading because there are other conceptions of free will that fit our common experience of free will quite well.

    I know that I can't get up right now and slit my throat, I have no reason or intention to do so. But I do know that if I were presented with good reasons for why I ought to then I could. And for me that is a good enough type of free will, and is enough for moral accountability.

    Would you really want to live in a world in which we could do anything? With no need for reasons, without any emotive motivation? We can't do everything at anytime but I don't believe this is necessary for free will and accountability.

    I think free will is the ability to choose differently when presented with different information, and then be able to act on that choice. (more detailed definition on previous page)
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    The illusion of free will is vital to those who would wish people to believe that everyone has more or less the same opportunities if they would only put their mind to it.

    But when we have passed all the hurdles to try to get to a place where someone else may have been, nor may have been far more likely to have been, through nothing more than the circumstances of their birth we are still not in the same 'category' as that person.
    They are the occupiers who would naturally feel some discomfort at sharing their position in the world with those who have long plodded there.

    It's why some people in Britain even with much talent and many hundreds of millions in the bank will still not be regarded as part of the true upper middle class, let alone the upper class.

    If you cannot even transcend your original class without something veering on psychotic behaviour then how can you have free will?

    Even Thatcherism , supposedly believing in the Free Will of a free economy, still didn't want the 'lower orders' to have too much of it. They weren't given the Free Will to have their voices heard so that they could spend the rest of their days in the way that they had been accustomed to working in traditional manufacturing industries.

    Individual Free Will is still constrained by where and to whom you were born, unless you want to be a caricature of what you had hoped you might have been born as in your picture of an idealistic alternative reality.

    A problem is that power struggles can happen in many different directions and unless you want to end up looking like the aggressor then you end up being its opposite, the submissive, instead.
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    (Original post by Substantia)
    I think free will is the ability to choose differently when presented with different information...
    No, that is preference. Preference/bias has been banged into your head from external influences since you were born. The final choice has already been made for you.

    Free-will is to ignore all previous information and just do anything with no justification for it.
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    (Original post by Stevo72)
    No, that is preference. Preference/bias has been banged into your head from external influences since you were born. The final choice has already been made for you.

    Free-will is to ignore all previous information and just do anything with no justification for it.
    On the contrary that is the opposite of free will. Acting without reason or justification is madness, acting without motivation is just plain impossible.

    We would need to invoke some spirit or soul to have this type of free will, but I don't think we need or particularly want this type of free will.
    Just because the type of free will that you are suggesting doesn't exist and is false does not mean that other definitions of free will are also false. If we define the earth as a flat land that is at the center of the universe and then find out that this definition of the earth is false, it does not follow that the earth does not exist.

    There are numerous models of free will that are very good and although I admit that there are still criticisms, the criticisms are normally very philosophically technical. You may argue that the burden of proof lies with compatibilsm, but I would say that considering that if everybody took the hard determinists view point there would be large societal changes, judicial changes and changes in attitude that it is at least important to explore what these other models of free will entail.

    http://www.informationphilosopher.co...ge_models.html

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/

    (btw I don't endorse the viewpoint of this information philosopher guy, but this website is an excellent resource for most arguments concerning free will. I would particularly recommend reading daniel dennett's viewpoint on the matter. My point is that new science does NOT NECESSARILY destroy the notion of free will. )
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    (Original post by Substantia)
    On the contrary that is the opposite of free will. Acting without reason or justification is madness, acting without motivation is just plain impossible.

    We would need to invoke some spirit or soul to have this type of free will, but I don't think we need or particularly want this type of free will.
    Just because the type of free will that you are suggesting doesn't exist and is false does not mean that other definitions of free will are also false. If we define the earth as a flat land that is at the center of the universe and then find out that this definition of the earth is false, it does not follow that the earth does not exist.

    There are numerous models of free will that are very good and although I admit that there are still criticisms, the criticisms are normally very philosophically technical. You may argue that the burden of proof lies with compatibilsm, but I would say that considering that if everybody took the hard determinists view point there would be large societal changes, judicial changes and changes in attitude that it is at least important to explore what these other models of free will entail.

    http://www.informationphilosopher.co...ge_models.html

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/

    (btw I don't endorse the viewpoint of this information philosopher guy, but this website is an excellent resource for most arguments concerning free will. I would particularly recommend reading daniel dennett's viewpoint on the matter. My point is that new science does NOT NECESSARILY destroy the notion of free will. )
    Daniel Dennett may call his a view for free will, but there is no freedom in it. Yes, I do make decisions as I please, but I do not control what pleases me.
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    (Original post by miser)
    Daniel Dennett may call his a view for free will, but there is no freedom in it. Yes, I do make decisions as I please, but I do not control what pleases me.
    But I think this is an adequate version of free will for moral responsibility, and that is what is really important. If somebody is pleased by murder, theft and immoral business, then that is 'bad luck' but we can still hold them accountable for their actions because they had a choice. I'm somewhat agnostic about determinism, but I do think that even if determinism is true moral responsibility remains intact.
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    (Original post by Substantia)
    But I think this is an adequate version of free will for moral responsibility, and that is what is really important. If somebody is pleased by murder, theft and immoral business, then that is 'bad luck' but we can still hold them accountable for their actions because they had a choice. I'm somewhat agnostic about determinism, but I do think that even if determinism is true moral responsibility remains intact.
    Where was their choice if they desired to kill more than they desired not to? All a decision ever is is a statement of desire.
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    (Original post by miser)
    Where was their choice if they desired to kill more than they desired not to? All a decision ever is is a statement of desire.
    Their choice was made when balancing their desire to kill with their moral considerations. If they still choose to kill after deliberation (and they are capable of rational thought, had all the necessary information to guide their decision and they are able to act on their choice) then we can deem them to be morally blameworthy, they are by definition a bad person. A decision is a statement of ones desires balanced against/with their other considerations, if their decision is seen to be a bad one, then our morally reactive attitude is of disapproval and I see this as perfectly fitting.
 
 
 
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