Posted: Aug 05, 2019 2:31 pm
by Cito di Pense
felltoearth wrote:
zoon wrote:
LucidFlight wrote:
romansh wrote:
Technically, I try to be agnostic about this too, The problem I can't see a rational argument for asserting.

The bonus is, the world makes so much more sense when we give up the notion of free will.

It can certainly be more relaxing. I can understand why people who believe in free will get so infuriated by the so-called denialists. It's as if people are choosing to be infuriating. Can you imagine such a thing? If you leave free will out of it, though, you simply realise that people are the way they are and they can't help it at some fundamental level of the universe's goings-on.

Addressing felltoearth, romansh and LucidFlight: Without blaming people at a fundamental level, do you think it also makes sense to continue using praise and blame much as before in order to control antisocial behaviour, while we still don’t understand brain mechanisms? This is controlling individuals with the threat of group sanctions.

I’ve been arguing that free will is still a useful concept, because we don’t want to blame or punish someone for an action they were coerced into doing. To blame somebody when they were coerced would not encourage them to change their behaviour, and would sent the wrong message to everyone else?

For this purpose, I’m defining someone with free will in a minimal way, as someone who is uncoerced and mentally capable. I’m also thinking this use of the concept of free will may fade away as brain mechanisms become better understood.

This sounds a bit like a repackaging of “I could have chosen differently.”
Humans do what they think works whether rationally or emotionally. The assumption is that the rational special sauce is what gives us free will. It’s one reason used for not giving woman voting rights or even control over their own sexual reproduction to this day. I see no evidence of a connection between our “rational” mind and free will. In all these pages no one has ever put anything forward. In fact, there is a lot of evidence against that notion which is why I haven’t given up determinism as a possibility.
Let me know if that doesn’t answer your question.

What if we did 'understand brain mechanisms'? Would we predict that somebody was going to do something we don't like and incarcerate him/her before that could happen? We'll need a nice track record of predictions of bad stuff, fulfilled. Who'd be in charge of that, you think? The scientific brain mechanics. I mean, couldn't we just program people to enjoy being programmed, once we work out all those brain mechanisms? Too much science fiction in there, for my taste.

Zoon's thinking about these matters is much more muddled than it appears at first glance (to some, at least). I think zoon is looking for science to step in where god used to be. Some people just still need some sort of god. It's got all the attributes, except, you know, for the supernatural part. How on earth does somebody end up worshiping rationality (i.e., "brain mechanics") quite that much? I'm far from saying "it can't be done", but what's going to matter is what people want. Unless we put something in the water, y'know. Wink-wink.

Some people should just go back to church, where everything works out, in the end. If the brain mechanics succeed, and it turns out to demonstrate deterministic behavior, who's going to stop there? It won't be the neuroscientists, and their erstwhile clients, the filosofeezers.