Posted: Jun 27, 2021 10:14 pm
by Hermit
zoon wrote:This evolved method of prediction gives us a somewhat indirect method of partial control: if an action is followed by a consequence that person doesn’t want (that is, punishing them), then they are less likely to repeat the action.

It's called operant conditioning, and it works with reinforcing stimuli as well as aversion.

zoon wrote:This control by consequences is only going to work if the person’s action was in fact chosen and neither forced nor the result of mental illness, i.e. only if it was “free willed”. There is no point in punishing someone, or otherwise holding them responsible, unless the action they are being punished for was “free willed” in that limited sense.

If that were the case we could conclude that dogs have free will. Cats not so much.