Knowledge argument against Determinism

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AgnosticBoy
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Knowledge argument against Determinism

Post #1

Post by AgnosticBoy »

My position on free-will is that we possess it to some degree in that we can never be fully controlled or influenced. I believe our cognitive ability to know things and our wanting to be free all enables us to some free-will.

- Knowledge is power. Having knowledge of something gives you the ability or understanding to be able to do something.
- We have a natural instinct to want to be free or to not be under the control of some thing or someone (e.g. a dictator, etc.)

Given these two factors, how could I ever be fully controlled by something or someone?

Just to elaborate...

If I knew that someone or some thing was trying to control or influence me, then I would think my natural instinct would kick in. Knowing about the influence or control would make me want to do things differently or to at least make sure that the controlling factor (my parents said so) is not the only reason. Or I may even decide if I want to follow or give in to that influence or controlling factor since parental influence/control is sometimes a good thing.

Debate topic
Does our ability to know what controls or drives our decisions enable us to act contrary to or without said controls? If yes, is that proof against determinism?
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Re: Knowledge argument against Determinism

Post #21

Post by AgnosticBoy »

Miles wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:44 pm
AgnosticBoy wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:32 pm Sure, I accept that we're in a deterministic universe. My point was that there's still some liberty even within those constraints in that we are not bound to any one course or any particular controlling factor. We can choose what will control or influences us. For example, a person can choose to get out from under the control or influence of parents and be guided by other things (friends, a boyfriend, etc).
Breaking this down to its essential basics, why does a person choose X rather than Y? Is the "choosing" an absolutely random event, or is there some reason (cause) behind it?
If it's an absolutely random event then you have no control over it. It could just as well not happen as happen.

If there's some reason (cause) behind choosing X rather than Y then whence that cause? Assuming the nature of the cause is not absolutely random, then it too must have arisen for some reason (cause). which means it's turtles (causes) all the way down; none of which give credence to a free choice, an operation of a "free" will. If the will operates at the behest of some thought process then the question is; what brought that thought process to conclude what it did, that it should settle on directing the will to do X rather than directing it to do Y?

Thing is, one can't get away from the "why-this-rather-than-that," question behind every event, no matter how far back in mental processing it resides. Every event is the inevitable result of the causes that brought it into being. For an event to be other than what it is would require one or more of its causal factors to be different: 1 + 7 + 232 + 18 will always result in 258. To result in 254 one or more of the numbers have to be different.

Like freewill, there's no such a thing as choosing, or any of its cognates.


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Sorry, but besides being another good explanation from you on the subject, I'm not following how it addresses my comments. I assume you disagreed with my point but keep in mind that I'm not arguing against determinism. Instead, I'm bringing up a point about the nature of the things that control us or that cause us to act (i.e. biology, environment, etc). For instance, if my liking food a lot caused me to become overweight (and I'm sure there is an associated brain state) am I bound by that cause? Or can I get out from under that control?

I say yes, and that's done by using the process of determinism - changing your thinking that led to your liking food, which would eventually change your brain state, and which eventually would change your behavior. If I were arguing for free-will, then I would not be bringing up this chain of causes.

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Re: Knowledge argument against Determinism

Post #22

Post by Purple Knight »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 4:57 pmWhen people say they have no choice, then that makes it sounds like an overweight person is bound to stay in that condition but that's certainly not the case.
He might be. His drive to eat might be too strong to overcome.

And it might not be, in which case if he wants it enough, he will overcome it.

Either way we're still all meat robots.

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Re: Knowledge argument against Determinism

Post #23

Post by Miles »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 6:42 pm
Miles wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:44 pm
AgnosticBoy wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:32 pm Sure, I accept that we're in a deterministic universe. My point was that there's still some liberty even within those constraints in that we are not bound to any one course or any particular controlling factor. We can choose what will control or influences us. For example, a person can choose to get out from under the control or influence of parents and be guided by other things (friends, a boyfriend, etc).
Breaking this down to its essential basics, why does a person choose X rather than Y? Is the "choosing" an absolutely random event, or is there some reason (cause) behind it?
If it's an absolutely random event then you have no control over it. It could just as well not happen as happen.

If there's some reason (cause) behind choosing X rather than Y then whence that cause? Assuming the nature of the cause is not absolutely random, then it too must have arisen for some reason (cause). which means it's turtles (causes) all the way down; none of which give credence to a free choice, an operation of a "free" will. If the will operates at the behest of some thought process then the question is; what brought that thought process to conclude what it did, that it should settle on directing the will to do X rather than directing it to do Y?

Thing is, one can't get away from the "why-this-rather-than-that," question behind every event, no matter how far back in mental processing it resides. Every event is the inevitable result of the causes that brought it into being. For an event to be other than what it is would require one or more of its causal factors to be different: 1 + 7 + 232 + 18 will always result in 258. To result in 254 one or more of the numbers have to be different.

Like freewill, there's no such a thing as choosing, or any of its cognates.


.
Sorry, but besides being another good explanation from you on the subject, I'm not following how it addresses my comments. I assume you disagreed with my point but keep in mind that I'm not arguing against determinism. Instead, I'm bringing up a point about the nature of the things that control us or that cause us to act (i.e. biology, environment, etc). For instance, if my liking food a lot caused me to become overweight (and I'm sure there is an associated brain state) am I bound by that cause? Or can I get out from under that control?

I say yes, and that's done by using the process of determinism - changing your thinking that led to your liking food, which would eventually change your brain state, and which eventually would change your behavior. If I were arguing for free-will, then I would not be bringing up this chain of causes.
I was only addressing your comment that I highlighted: "We can choose what will control or influences us.," pointing out that one cannot choose anything.

choose verb
chose\ ˈchōz
\; chosen\ ˈchō-​zᵊn
\; choosing\ ˈchü-​ziŋ
\
Definition of choose
transitive verb
1a : to select freely and after consideration
Source:Merriam Webster Dictionary


So if you aren't arguing against determinism I fail to see why you say one can choose (select freely and after consideration) what will control or influences us."

Choosing, or selecting freely, implies an act of a free will. "I can just as easily do this as that," when, in fact, you had to do "this" and could never do "that" at this point in time.


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Re: Knowledge argument against Determinism

Post #24

Post by AgnosticBoy »

Miles wrote: Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:12 pm I was only addressing your comment that I highlighted: "We can choose what will control or influences us.," pointing out that one cannot choose anything.

choose verb
chose\ ˈchōz
\; chosen\ ˈchō-​zᵊn
\; choosing\ ˈchü-​ziŋ
\
Definition of choose
transitive verb
1a : to select freely and after consideration
Source:Merriam Webster Dictionary


So if you aren't arguing against determinism I fail to see why you say one can choose (select freely and after consideration) what will control or influences us."

Choosing, or selecting freely, implies an act of a free will. "I can just as easily do this as that," when, in fact, you had to do "this" and could never do "that" at this point in time.


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To be fair, not all dictionaries nor meanings use the word "free" when defining choice. I would have only expected for a philosophical based dictionary to be that nuanced. Either way, it is unreasonable to argue as if there is only one meaning when in fact there's more than one, and then to use the meaning that I didn't refer to. I was clear on my meaning based on the context and my descriptions across multiple replies.

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Re: Knowledge argument against Determinism

Post #25

Post by The Tanager »

Miles wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:44 pmThing is, one can't get away from the "why-this-rather-than-that," question behind every event, no matter how far back in mental processing it resides. Every event is the inevitable result of the causes that brought it into being. For an event to be other than what it is would require one or more of its causal factors to be different: 1 + 7 + 232 + 18 will always result in 258. To result in 254 one or more of the numbers have to be different.

Like freewill, there's no such a thing as choosing, or any of its cognates.
The "why-this-rather-than-that" doesn't settle the issue at all. Libertarians aren't arguing that they didn't side with a this rather than a that, they are arguing that their will freely chose what to side with. Libertarians believe the ultimate cause is personal agency. Libertarians think we are choosing (at least some of) the numbers that are being added up.

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Re: Knowledge argument against Determinism

Post #26

Post by Miles »

The Tanager wrote: Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:51 am
Miles wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:44 pmThing is, one can't get away from the "why-this-rather-than-that," question behind every event, no matter how far back in mental processing it resides. Every event is the inevitable result of the causes that brought it into being. For an event to be other than what it is would require one or more of its causal factors to be different: 1 + 7 + 232 + 18 will always result in 258. To result in 254 one or more of the numbers have to be different.

Like freewill, there's no such a thing as choosing, or any of its cognates.
The "why-this-rather-than-that" doesn't settle the issue at all. Libertarians aren't arguing that they didn't side with a this rather than a that, they are arguing that their will freely chose what to side with. Libertarians believe the ultimate cause is personal agency. Libertarians think we are choosing (at least some of) the numbers that are being added up.
Not trying to settle any issue at all. Just pointing out a fact many free willers are unaware of or avoid.



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Re: Knowledge argument against Determinism

Post #27

Post by The Tanager »

[Replying to Miles in post #27]

Okay, but do you think this fact fits within libertarian free will? You definitely seemed to think it's support for determinism being true and contradicts libertarian free will.

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