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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - May 21 2007 :  11:25:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi everyone,

I am trying to offer a different definition on the subject of determinism, which could have major implications. The conventional definition is that something 'causes or compels' man to do what he does by antecedent events. And the opposite, which is free will, is something done freely, a free agent, so to speak, that is not dependent on nurture or nature but is autonomous in its decision making. I would like to propose a new definition. Is there a thread where I can post an essay, a very interesting one I must add. It is very difficult to share a new idea in a piecemeal fashion and I am reluctant to do so. The problem is that most philosophies have been studied and therefore it is easy to debate the philosopher's ideas. But if the philosopher is unknown, then it difficult to discuss his ideas, only because no one has read his work and therefore it is like offering an equation with the first half deleted. Please let me know if there is such a thread.

Janis

All truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed; then it is violently opposed; finally it is accepted as self-evident. --Schopenhauer

Tom Trelogan
Forum Admin

1417 Posts

Posted - May 21 2007 :  1:33:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You could post it right here if you'd like. If it's in a form that involves formatting you'd like preserved, a .doc file or a .pdf file, you could e-mail it to me, and I could host it and create a link to it right here in the Agora thread.
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - May 21 2007 :  3:06:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for your suggestion. Actually, to post it would be quite lengthy because it is a book and posting a chapter or two would not do it justice. I think what I will do is put it on a PDF file and send it to you. The author passed away in 1991 and I own the rights to it, so there is no problem with copyright. He made a discovery in 1959 that lies locked behind the door of determinism, but he was unable to bring it to light since he was not a member of a leading university, and held no distinguishing titles. It would be unfortunate if this discovery got lost for another century because there was no group or entity that could carefully analyze it. As soon as I get the file, I'll send it off to you. Thanks again!

Janis
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - May 29 2007 :  08:15:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Tom and all the other members,

Because I am in the midst of getting this author's work to press, it will take some time before I have it put it in a PDF format. By that time, I may have forgotten that I intended to give this knowledge to this forum. Therefore, I will at least begin to cut and paste two of this author's discoveries. The third I will leave out, as anyone who sees the undeniable relations of his first two discoveries, will want to learn more about his third discovery. I thank Tom for allowing me to paste this work, as so many forums won't allow anything but a limited amount of text before they say 'no more'. Can you imagine if Edison in the middle of his demonstration was told that it was too long and forget it? That is what I am up against, so thanks again to those philosophers who are truly open minded. :) In the next post, I will begin.
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - May 29 2007 :  08:19:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Note added on 4/8/2010:

For a long time, I have hoped to be able to make this text available in the form of a .pdf file. The day has arrived! To access that file, just click on the link below. Thank you!
  • Decline and Fall of All Evil: The Most Important Discovery of Our Times -- Temporarily Unavailable
The exchange that follows was written in the days immediately following my posting of the first version of the text.
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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  11:31:57 AM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Your introduction, it seems to me, wrongly equates determinism with a lack of free will.

Yes, this is an argument about semantics, but in an academic forum belonging to the philosophy department of a university, precise definition of terms ought to be a highly valued virtue. To be fair, the author of the work you have edited may have written for those not interested in academic philosophy, but here we are on the philosophy department's forum. So....

In defining determinism, I'm not sure I can do better than I did before in another thread here. I'll throw in the definition of free will that I included with it for good measure.


Determinism
Theistic Determinism
If it happens, God made it happen; if it doesn't happen, God made it not happen.

Old-Fashioned Scientific Determinism
There is more than one useful definition.

1. The future state of the universe at any instant in time is, in every detail, precisely determined by the state of the universe at every previous instant in time.

2. If it happened, it was inevitable; if it didn't happen it was impossible. If a person rolls a pair of dice, she may believe that the dice can land with any total from two to twelve, but, in fact, for any given roll of the dice, only one of these outcomes is possible, and all the others are impossible. The same is true of any experiment of this general form.

3. Neither the universe as a whole, nor any part of it (including a human organism) is the slightest bit unpredictable. Predicting the future with perfect accuracy may be a practical impossibility, but this is due to the limitations of the predictor, not to any inherent stochastic quality of the universe itself.

4. Nothing happens which is not the only possible result of its necessary and sufficient causes.

New-Fashioned Scientific Determinism
All behavior of the universe can be described with a certain finite set of mathematical equations. Some of the equations have not yet been discovered. Moreover, some of the predictions made using these equations are predictions of the probability of certain outcomes. Everything that happens is determined--just not with perfect precision. For an illustration of this idea see
http://groups.google.com/group/sci.physics.research/browse_thread/thread/7f3fb461ca837319/1e3c6235b8e2c833


Free Will
I have free will if, at least sometimes, I can choose between more than one possible course of action. Choose here means to perform a cognitive activity which is not predetermined according to any variety of determinism (not even, so-called, psychological determinism), and which is not the result of a "random" or "stochastic" process.


Determinism does indeed, I think, make free will impossible, but the converse is not true. If my will is free, it's free not because it's out of control, but because it's under the control of my mind, and not under the control of something else. Of course, my will may be neither entirely free or unfree, in this sense.


Questions for You, Ms. Rafael
I'll understand if you're not interested in defending or explicating the work of someone else, but if you are....

1. Do I live in a deterministic universe, as defined above? If so, which kind?
2. Do I have free will, as I defined it above?
3. What, in your long text, do you consider to be a new discovery? In other words, what parts of it are in the nature of a discovery (as opposed to invention, opinion, etc.) that are also new?
4. Your text refers to "God." What exactly is that (i.e., what do you think the author meant by it)?

Hume defined free will as "a power of acting or of not acting, according to the determination of the will." This seems beside the point to me. Free will is freedom of the will, not freedom of action.

Others have defined free will as freedom from animal appetitites, i.e., as the freedom to choose right conduct. That muddies the waters. The question that concerns believers in free will is, "Is my will free?" That is, is that cognitive activity, or is it not, controlled by something other than the mind in which it occurs?


Any discussion of free will and determinism requires, I would think, some account of causation. These are deep waters, but what else is philosophy for but to plumb them?

David
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  1:01:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Your introduction, it seems to me, wrongly equates determinism with a lack of free will.

PG: These two words are interchangable in this book. But the definition of determinism, according to this author, does not negate being able to choose between alternatives and in this sense we can accurately say 'of my own free will' or 'of my own desire.' #65279;He write:

Let’s proceed to the next step and prove
conclusively, beyond a shadow of doubt, that what we do of our own free
will (of our own desire because we want to) is done absolutely and
positively not of our own free will. Remember, by proving that
determinism, as the opposite of free will, is true, we also establish
undeniable proof that free will is false.


Yes, this is an argument about semantics, but in an academic forum belonging to the philosophy department of a university, precise definition of terms ought to be a highly valued virtue. To be fair, the work you edited may have written for those not interested in academic philosophy, but here we are on the philosophy department's forum. So....

In defining determinism, I'm not sure I can do better than I did before in another thread here. I'll throw in the definition of free will that I included with it for good measure.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Determinism
Theistic Determinism
If it happens, God made it happen; if it doesn't happen, God made it not happen.

PG: Actually, this definition has truth to it because God (however you define God) gave us no free will so whatever happened had to happen, and whatever didn't happen, couldn't have happened.

Old-Fashioned Scientific Determinism
There is more than one useful definition.
1. The future state of the universe at any instant in time is, in every detail, precisely determined by the state of the universe at every previous instant in time.

PG: This is also a true statement, but there is a problem with this definition as it relates to the word 'cause'. Obviously, if will is not free the state of our universe at any instant and in every detail is determined, but there is a misunderstanding with the definition of determinism that creates conflict between these two oopposing ideas, where there really isn't any.

2. If it happened, it was inevitable; if it didn't happen it was impossible. If a person rolls a pair of dice, she may believe that the dice can land with any total from two to twelve, but, in fact, for any given roll of the dice, only one of these outcomes is possible, and all the others are impossible. The same is true of any experiment of this general form.

PG: True

3. Neither the universe as a whole, nor any part of it (including a human organism) is the slightest bit unpredictable. Predicting the future with perfect accuracy may be a practical impossibility, but this is due to the limitations of the predictor, not to any inherent stochastic quality of the universe itself.

PG: This is where the confusion begins. You are using the definition of determinism that does not apply. In other words, you are defining determinism as an antecedent event(whether hereditary or environment) that acts upon the organism and causes him to do what he does. The word cause is very misleading. Once again, did you read the first chapter of the book I posted?

4. Nothing happens which is not the only possible result of its necessary and sufficient causes.

PG: It is the only possible result once a choice is made, but nothing 'causes' one to do what he does. He does it because he wants to do it. You can't say something made me do it, which is an inaccuracy. Nothing can make someone do anything against his will, but this does not make his will free.

New-Fashioned Scientific Determinism
All behavior of the universe can be described with a certain finite set of mathematical equations. Some of the equations have not yet been discovered. Moreover, some of the predictions made using these equations are predictions of the probability of certain outcomes. Everything that happens is determined--just not with perfect precision. For an illustration of this idea see
http://groups.google.com/group/sci.physics.research/browse_thread/thread/7f3fb461ca837319/1e3c6235b8e2c833

PG: Actually, everything is determined with precision even if we don't understand the factors involved in achieving a particular outcome.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Free Will
I have free will if, at least sometimes, I can choose between more than one possible course of action. Choose here means to perform a cognitive activity which is not predetermined according to any variety of determinism (not even, so-called, psychological determinism), and which is not the result of a "random" or "stochastic" process.

PG: The word 'choice' is very misleading for it assumes man has two or more possibilities, but in reality he has only one. We have the ability to compare alternatives to decide which is preferable, and make a choice accordingly, but once a choice is made it could never have been otherwise. You really need to read the first two chapters. I really hope you do.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Determinism does indeed, I think, make free will impossible, but the converse is not true. If my will is free, it's free not because it's out of control, but because it's under the control of my mind, and not under the control of something else. Of course, my will may be neither entirely free or unfree, in this sense.

PG: You are right. You have the ability to choose not to do something; nothing can make you do it if you don't want to which only means you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. But your choice not to do it is not a free one which renders any other choice, at that moment, impossible.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Questions for You, Ms. Rafael
I'll understand if you're not interested in defending or explicating the work of someone else, but if you are....

1. Do I live in a deterministic universe, as defined above? If so, which kind?

PG: Man's will is not free and it never was, but we needed to believe in free will in order to develop. Knowing the truth that man's will is not free allows us to open up a storehouse of knowledge that was hidden until now. Remember, this does not mean, according to this author's definition, that we are robots who have no say in the choices we make.

2. Do I have free will, as I defined it above?

PG: We don't have free will, but we have the control to make choices; it's not under the control of something else which is where there is lot of confusion.

3. What, in your long text, do you consider to be a new discovery? In other words, what parts of it are in the nature of a discovery (as opposed to invention, opinion, etc.) that are also new?

PG: This knowledge is not logic or opinion, it is purely factual. His definition of determinism is correct because it cannot be denied if understood. The knowledge that man's will is not free is not the discovery itself. It is the gateway to his discovery which is the two-sided equation. This is what I am referring to when I say he made a discovery. No one else to my knowledge has made this observation, but eventually someone else will because it's part of the real world.

4. Your text refers to "God." What exactly is that (i.e., what do you think the author meant by it)?

PG: He uses the word God throughout the book which only means the laws of our nature and the fact that there is an intelligence that is guiding the universe. The word God in this context is not referring to a supernatural being. This is not a religious work.

Hume defined free will as "a power of acting or of not acting, according to the determination of the will." This seems beside the point to me. Free will is freedom of the will, not freedom of action.

PG: Once again, there is no contradiction in the sense that we have the will to make a choice to do something or not to do something, to act or not to act; but this DOES NOT MAKE WILL FREE since the choice, once it is made, could never have been otherwise. You must read the first chapter to understand this more fully.

Others have defined free will as freedom from animal appetitites, i.e., as the freedom to choose right conduct. That muddies the waters. The question that concerns believers in free will is, "Is my will free?" That is, is that cognitive activity, or is it not, controlled by something other than the mind in which it occurs?

PG: As you further your reading you will understand that this author is not setting up standards as to right conduct. Under the changed conditions, there is no wrong conduct. In the sense that nothing other than you is doing the choosing, you are the one in control. Nothing other than you is making the choice for you. It is you who is doing the choosing, even though there are many factors that 'cause' you to choose one thing over another.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Any discussion of free will and determinism requires, I would think, some account of causation. These are deep waters, but what else is philosophy for but to plumb them?

PG: I like your questions and I hope they keep coming, but to truly make this discussion productive, you will need to read the first three chapters. Once the word determinism is shown to be misleading as it is defined in the literature, you will begin to see how the word 'cause' has also been misleading. This stems from the idea of opposites, so if free will is uncaused, then determinism must be caused. This began the debate that is still going on today and has not been resolved until now.
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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  1:31:27 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
In reading back through this text, It seems to me to argue for what I've called "psychological determinism," the idea that the mind is to be understood pychologically (in terms of drives, motives, etc.) and that the science of psychology can account for human behavior (at least in principle) just as accurately as the science of chemistry accounts for what happens in the test tube.

Is this the way you read it, Ms. Rafael?

Is my will (thought by your author) to be under the control of my mind, but my mind (in principle, at least) perfectly predictable?

quote:
Imagine that you were taken prisoner in war time for espionage and condemned to death, but mercifully given a choice between two exits: A is the painless hemlock of Socrates, while B is death by having your head held under water. The letters A and B, representing small or large differences, are compared. The comparison is absolutely necessary to know which is preferable. The difference which is considered favorable, regardless of the reason, is the compulsion of greater satisfaction desire is forced to take which makes one of them an impossible choice in this comparison simply because it gives less satisfaction under the circumstances. Consequently, since B is an impossible choice, man is not free to choose A. Is it humanly possible, providing no other conditions are introduced to affect your decision, to prefer exit B if A is offered as an alternative?

Does the author consider people to be typically rational?

If we are irresistably complelled to do what we do, are we also irresistably compelled to think what we think?

Why do different people under that same circumstances often make different choices?

David
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  2:29:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In reading back through this text, It seems to me to argue for what I've called "psychological determinism," the idea that the mind is to be understood pychologically (in terms of drives, motives, etc.) and that the science of psychology can account for human behavior (at least in principle) just as accurately as the science of chemistry accounts for what happens in the test tube.

Is this the way you read it, Ms. Rafael?

Janis: There are many reasons for what motivates us to do what we do, but what makes our will free not free is what is under scrutiny. This is a psychological law of man's nature, and it is just as undeniable and scientific as the laws of physics, although it does not deal with the 'exact sciences' in the sense of numbers.

Is my will (thought by your author) to be under the control of my mind, but my mind (in principle, at least) perfectly predictable?

Janis: Everything is predetermined because we can only go in one direction, but the prediction as to which direction a person will go is not always predictable in advance, even to the person who is doing the choosing. This in no way takes away from the fact that man's will is not free. We don't have to predict every outcome in order to prove that man's will is not free, which relates to the definition of determinism the author has offered.
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Imagine that you were taken prisoner in war time for espionage and condemned to death, but mercifully given a choice between two exits: A is the painless hemlock of Socrates, while B is death by having your head held under water. The letters A and B, representing small or large differences, are compared. The comparison is absolutely necessary to know which is preferable. The difference which is considered favorable, regardless of the reason, is the compulsion of greater satisfaction desire is forced to take which makes one of them an impossible choice in this comparison simply because it gives less satisfaction under the circumstances. Consequently, since B is an impossible choice, man is not free to choose A. Is it humanly possible, providing no other conditions are introduced to affect your decision, to prefer exit B if A is offered as an alternative?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Does the author consider people to be typically rational?

Janis: We are a rational species. But many of our decisions come from our emotions as well. This does not negate the accuracy of his definition that everything we choose, regardless of the reason, is in the direction of greater satisfaction even if the choice appears irrational or based on emotion.

If we are irresistably complelled to do what we do, are we also irresistably compelled to think what we think?

Janis: There is no free will whether it's what we think or what we do. Even when we 'choose' to think certain things, we don't have a choice to think otherwise. And when thoughts come into our mind without invitation, it is easy to see in these instances that there is no choice involved.

Why do different people under that same circumstances often make different choices?

Janis: People make different choices because of hereditary and environmental differences. The juxtaposition of differences in each case present alternatives that affect choice therefore what one person chooses in the direction of greater satisfaction might not be what another chooses in the same direction.
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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  2:43:54 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Your reply implies that my disagreement with the author is the result of my not reading what he wrote or of my not understanding it.

I find this patronizing and insulting. I expect an apology.

I am entitled to define determinism just as much as your author is entitled to do so.


The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.


Notice determinism is not defined as the absense of free will. Free will is not even mentioned in the definition.

The question of whether or not events occur that are neither inevitible or impossible is important not just to the question of free will and ethics.

I'll have more to write shortly.

David
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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  2:51:51 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Janis Rafael

In reading back through this text, It seems to me to argue for what I've called "psychological determinism," the idea that the mind is to be understood pychologically (in terms of drives, motives, etc.) and that the science of psychology can account for human behavior (at least in principle) just as accurately as the science of chemistry accounts for what happens in the test tube.

Is this the way you read it, Ms. Rafael?

Janis: There are many reasons for what motivates us to do what we do, but what makes our will free not free is what is under scrutiny. This is a psychological law of man's nature, and it is just as undeniable and scientific as the laws of physics, although it does not deal with the 'exact sciences' in the sense of numbers.

And if I choose to deny it and demand a logical demonstration of its truth, what then? Are you prepared to argue for it without reference to the writing of others? You have declared your position "undeniable." I have not made a similar claim for my position. In fact, I've stated no position on the existence or non-existence of free will in this thread.

David
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  3:08:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Your reply implies that my disagreement with the author is the result of my not reading what he wrote or of my not understanding it.

I find this patronizing and insulting. I expect an apology.

Janis: I will not apologize because there is nothing to apologize for. I don't believe you understood his definition which is not meant to be patronizing. That's in your head, not mine. I respect everyone, at least I try my best to. If you disagree with the author David, specify what it is you disagree with? That way I can more easily pinpoint where there is confusion.

I am entitled to define determinism just as much as your author is entitled to do so.

Janis: It's not about entitlement. You are entitled to do and think whatever you want. Do you think I'm here to argue whether your definition is better than mine? No, I am here to share a discovery and you are entitled to understand it or not. It's up to you.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.


Janis: That is accurate because the world is fixed but not before something is done, only after. In other words, we can't predict how someone will respond before he does it. We can approximate, but we can't know for sure. This is not a prerequisite for determinism to be true.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notice determinism is not defined as the absense of free will. Free will is not even mentioned in the definition.

The question of whether or not events occur that are neither inevitible or impossible is important not just to the question of free will and ethics.

Janis: Definitions mean nothing unless they define what is reflective of the real world. We can't have our cake and eat it too; in other words, we can't have determinism and free will at the same time even though some people believe we can. We can't have a round world and a flat world either, but some people believe we can. All I am asking you to please try to grasp the definition of determinism as is giving so that we have a basis for communication. That doesn't mean you have to agree or you can't go back to your previous understanding of determinism when we are finished the discussion. It's just that I can't communicate with you if you have one definition and I have another. You have yet to indicate by anything you have written so far that you do understand what he is saying. We are talking parallel to each other because of these different definitions and that is what I am trying to prevent.

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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  3:20:04 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Janis Rafael

Your reply implies that my disagreement with the author is the result of my not reading what he wrote or of my not understanding it.

I find this patronizing and insulting. I expect an apology.

Janis: I will not apologize because there is nothing to apologize for. I don't believe you understood his definition which is not meant to be patronizing. That's in your head, not mine. I respect everyone, at least I try my best to. If you disagree with the author David, specify what it is you disagree with? That way I can more easily pinpoint where there is confusion.

By this you seem to mean that my disagreement must be caused by my confusion. I won't expect an apology for this either.

I haven't yet indicated that I disagree with your author about anything but the usefulness of defining determinism as nothing but the absence of free will.
quote:
I am entitled to define determinism just as much as your author is entitled to do so.

Janis: It's not about entitlement. You are entitled to do and think whatever you want. Do you think I'm here to argue whether your definition is better than mine? No, I am here to share a discovery and you are entitled to understand it or not. It's up to you.

Am I entitled to understand and disagree?
quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.


Janis: That is accurate because the world is fixed but not before something is done, only after. In other words, we can't predict how someone will respond before he does it. We can approximate, but we can't know for sure. This is not a prerequisite for determinism to be true.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notice determinism is not defined as the absense of free will. Free will is not even mentioned in the definition.

The question of whether or not events occur that are neither inevitible or impossible is important not just to the question of free will and ethics.

Janis: Definitions mean nothing unless they define what is reflective of the real world. We can't have our cake and eat it too; in other words, we can't have determinism and free will at the same time even though some people believe we can. We can't have a round world and a flat world either, but some people believe we can. All I am asking you to please try to grasp the definition of determinism as is giving so that we have a basis for communication. That doesn't mean you have to agree or you can't go back to your previous understanding of determinism when we are finished the discussion. It's just that I can't communicate with you if you have one definition and I have another. You have yet to indicate by anything you have written so far that you do understand what he is saying. We are talking parallel to each other because of these different definitions and that is what I am trying to prevent.

Then have the courtesy to treat me with same respect that you treat the author whose writing you edited.

David
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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  3:30:33 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Janis: There are many reasons for what motivates us to do what we do, but what makes our will free not free is what is under scrutiny. This is a psychological law of man's nature, and it is just as undeniable and scientific as the laws of physics, although it does not deal with the 'exact sciences' in the sense of numbers.


I challenge you once again. You, not I, claim to hold a philosophical position that is "undeniable." Present a proof of your own. Prove with your own argument that my will is not free.

Notice, I still haven't told you whether or not I believe in free will.

David
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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  3:48:37 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Ms Rafael,

If you did apologize, and if you admitted that neither you nor I nor the writer hold positions that are undeniable until demonstrated to be so, we might have a more fruitful discussion.

You might even ask me if I do or don't disagree with you or the writer whose work you posted (about something other than the definition of one very important philosophical term).

David
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  4:05:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Janis Rafael

Your reply implies that my disagreement with the author is the result of my not reading what he wrote or of my not understanding it.

I find this patronizing and insulting. I expect an apology.

Janis: I will not apologize because there is nothing to apologize for. I don't believe you understood his definition which is not meant to be patronizing. That's in your head, not mine. I respect everyone, at least I try my best to. If you disagree with the author David, specify what it is you disagree with? That way I can more easily pinpoint where there is confusion.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By this you seem to mean that my disagreement must be caused by my confusion. I won't expect an apology for this either.

I haven't yet indicated that I disagree with your author about anything but the usefulness of defining determinism as nothing but the absence of free will.

Janis: I think this is just semantics. Whether I say determinism is the absense of free will, or man does not have free will, doesn't change anything. I think you are trying to define determinism and no free will as if they are not mutually exclusive. If the author explains why determinism is synonomous with 'no free will' according to the definition he is using, there is no chance for confusion. We are talking about man's nature. That is what I want to concentrate on because in trying to understand this law of our nature we are able to veer in a different direction preventing the conditions that lead to hurt and retaliation in human relations.quote:
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I am entitled to define determinism just as much as your author is entitled to do so.

Janis: It's not about entitlement. You are entitled to do and think whatever you want. Do you think I'm here to argue whether your definition is better than mine? No, I am here to share a discovery and you are entitled to understand it or not. It's up to you.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Am I entitled to understand and disagree?

Janis: You are free to do anything you want. But just because you are free to disagree does not make your will free.
quote:
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The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Determinism: The world is governed by (or is under the sway of) determinism if and only if, given a specified way things are at a time t, the way things go thereafter is fixed as a matter of natural law.


Janis: That is accurate because the world is fixed but not before something is done, only after. In other words, we can't predict how someone will respond before he does it. We can approximate, but we can't know for sure. This is not a prerequisite for determinism to be true.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notice determinism is not defined as the absense of free will. Free will is not even mentioned in the definition.

The question of whether or not events occur that are neither inevitible or impossible is important not just to the question of free will and ethics.

Janis: Definitions mean nothing unless they define what is reflective of the real world. We can't have our cake and eat it too; in other words, we can't have determinism and free will at the same time even though some people believe we can. We can't have a round world and a flat world either, but some people believe we can. All I am asking you to please try to grasp the definition of determinism as is giving so that we have a basis for communication. That doesn't mean you have to agree or you can't go back to your previous understanding of determinism when we are finished the discussion. It's just that I can't communicate with you if you have one definition and I have another. You have yet to indicate by anything you have written so far that you do understand what he is saying. We are talking parallel to each other because of these different definitions and that is what I am trying to prevent.
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Then have the courtesy to treat me with same respect that you treat the author whose writing you edited.

Janis: I have never treated you with disrespect.
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  4:11:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ms Rafael,

Janis: You can call me Janis.

If you did apologize, and if you admitted that neither you nor I nor the writer hold positions that are undeniable until demonstrated to be so, we might have a more fruitful discussion.

Janis: I didn't apologize. For what? I hold a position that this author has proven that man's will is not free and he has demonstrated this in a very straightforward fashion. I'm sorry if you are not use to people making large claims like I am, and I wouldn't do this unless I was absolutely sure of what I'm talking about.

You might even ask me if I do or don't disagree with you or the writer whose work you posted (about something other than the definition of one very important philosophical term).

Janis: I want to have a fruitful discussion but I can't if you haven't read his work. This term is very important and is the foundation for the rest of the book. Can you at least explain why man's will is not free, according to this author? If you can, then we can move forward. This is not even the discovery; it is only the gateway in.
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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  4:15:24 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
David: Determinism does indeed, I think, make free will impossible, but the converse is not true. If my will is free, it's free not because it's out of control, but because it's under the control of my mind, and not under the control of something else. Of course, my will may be neither entirely free or unfree, in this sense.

Janis: Definitions mean nothing unless they define what is reflective of the real world. We can't have our cake and eat it too; in other words, we can't have determinism and free will at the same time even though some people believe we can. We can't have a round world and a flat world either, but some people believe we can. All I am asking you to please try to grasp the definition of determinism as is giving so that we have a basis for communication.

Do we really have no common ground for discussion?

David
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Janis Rafael
Journeyman

72 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  4:15:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Janis: There are many reasons for what motivates us to do what we do, but what makes our will free not free is what is under scrutiny. This is a psychological law of man's nature, and it is just as undeniable and scientific as the laws of physics, although it does not deal with the 'exact sciences' in the sense of numbers.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I challenge you once again. You, not I, claim to hold a philosophical position that is "undeniable." Present a proof of your own. Prove with your own argument that my will is not free.

Janis: Read chapter one. It is clearly demonstrated as to why man's will is not free. The proof is there, I took the time to paste it, now it's up to you to read it carefully.

Notice, I still haven't told you whether or not I believe in free will.

Janis: That's okay. I hope by the time you read this work, you will know that man's will is not free. But we are not robots or automatons, so don't worry that you are going to have less freedom; the very opposite is true. This knowledge can only help mankind, not hurt him.
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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  4:20:41 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
I did read it. Did you not notice that I quoted from it? As far as I can see, your assumption that I didn't read it is based on nothing but my disagreement with the usefulness of defining determinism as nothing but the absence of free will.

David
quote:
Originally posted by Janis Rafael

Ms Rafael,

Janis: You can call me Janis.

If you did apologize, and if you admitted that neither you nor I nor the writer hold positions that are undeniable until demonstrated to be so, we might have a more fruitful discussion.

Janis: I didn't apologize. For what? I hold a position that this author has proven that man's will is not free and he has demonstrated this in a very straightforward fashion. I'm sorry if you are not use to people making large claims like I am, and I wouldn't do this unless I was absolutely sure of what I'm talking about.

You might even ask me if I do or don't disagree with you or the writer whose work you posted (about something other than the definition of one very important philosophical term).

Janis: I want to have a fruitful discussion but I can't if you haven't read his work. This term is very important and is the foundation for the rest of the book. Can you at least explain why man's will is not free, according to this author? If you can, then we can move forward. This is not even the discovery; it is only the gateway in.


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Da5id
Journeyman

52 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2007 :  5:01:40 PM  Show Profile  Send Da5id a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Janis Rafael

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Janis: There are many reasons for what motivates us to do what we do, but what makes our will free not free is what is under scrutiny. This is a psychological law of man's nature, and it is just as undeniable and scientific as the laws of physics, although it does not deal with the 'exact sciences' in the sense of numbers.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I challenge you once again. You, not I, claim to hold a philosophical position that is "undeniable." Present a proof of your own. Prove with your own argument that my will is not free.

Janis: Read chapter one. It is clearly demonstrated as to why man's will is not free. The proof is there, I took the time to paste it, now it's up to you to read it carefully.

Notice, I still haven't told you whether or not I believe in free will.

Janis: That's okay. I hope by the time you read this work, you will know that man's will is not free. But we are not robots or automatons, so don't worry that you are going to have less freedom; the very opposite is true. This knowledge can only help mankind, not hurt him.



I see an argument against Durant. Lessans tells me that Durant argued that our experience of choosing is the most direct experience possible. If belief is proportional to evidence, the most direct evidence must be the most convincing. In other words, that the mental act of choosing takes place is backed up by the most compelling evidence possible.

Lessans's reply is
quote:
Because Durant started off with a false premise, his conclusion was equally false. He begins with the assumption that direct perception (which are words that symbolize what he cannot possibly understand) is superior to reasoning in understanding the truth which made a syllogistic equation necessary to prove the validity of an inaccurate perception. Thusly, he reasons in his minor premise: “Free will is not a matter of reasoning, like determinism, but is the result of direct perception, therefore”…and here is his fallacious conclusion, “since philosophies of free will employ direct perception which cannot be beaten down by the reasoning of determinism, the belief in free will must eternally recur.” He knew that free will was a theory, but as long as proof was not necessary when it could be seen with the direct perception of our common sense that it was impossible to turn the other cheek (the corollary thrown up by determinism), he was compelled to write – “Let the determinist honestly envisage the implications of his philosophy.” This indicates that all his reasoning in favor of free will was the result of inferences derived from the inability to accept the implications.
Durant is anything but a scientist and an accurate thinker.

Notice the phrase, "which are words that symbolize what he cannot possibly understand." Why can't Durand possibly understand? Durand's argument from direct experience stands unrefuted. I have no more direct evidence for anything than the direct evidence of my own free will. Less direct evidence, like the evidence of my senses, must be given less credence.

Later Lessans writes:
quote:
Supposing you wanted very much of two alternatives A, which we shall designate something considered evil by society, instead of B, the humdrum of your regular routine; could you possibly pick B at that particular moment of time if A is preferred as a better alternative when nothing could sway you from your decision, not even the threat of the law? What if the clergy, given two alternatives, choose A, which shall now represent something considered good, instead of B, that which is judged evil; would it be possible for them to prefer the latter when the former is available as an alternative? If it is utterly impossible to choose B in this comparison, are they not compelled by their very nature to prefer A; and how can they be free when the favorable difference between A and B is the compulsion of their choice and the motion of life in the direction of greater satisfaction? To be free, according to the definition of free will, man would be able to prefer of two alternatives, either the one he wants or the one he doesn’t want, which is an absolute impossibility because selecting what he doesn’t want when what he does want is available as an alternative is a motion in the direction of dissatisfaction.

I and many others act "in the direction of dissatisfaction" often. Not only is it not obviously impossible to do so, it's obviously (judging from my own experience) common. Am I supposed to take Lessans's word that it's impossible, rather than believe the evidence of my own experience?

More to follow.

David
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