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Help! How could determinism not also imply fatalism?
Posted: 14 September 2012 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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KOZ - 14 September 2012 11:44 AM
BernardoPinto - 14 September 2012 11:38 AM

Correct, although the ability to know all previous states of matter and future ones is only possible in theory, not in practice.

Thanks. Why isn’t it possible to know all previous states of matter and future ones in practice? I am thinking of an extreme intelligence resulting from the singularity.

That would have to be beyond extreme.
In order to know all future states of the universe you need to know the position of every sub-atomic particle in the universe and how it is going to behave next.

Doesn’t seem very likely…

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Posted: 14 September 2012 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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BernardoPinto - 14 September 2012 11:47 AM

That would have to be beyond extreme.
In order to know all future states of the universe you need to know the position of every sub-atomic particle in the universe and how it is going to behave next.
Doesn’t seem very likely…

Yep…. not easy… but… post singularity??? All bets are off.

I was hoping to get an argument relating to the impossibility of knowing the future (an epistemic horizon that Dennett refers to) rather than just the difficulty of it.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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KOZ - 14 September 2012 11:55 AM

I was hoping to get an argument relating to the impossibility of knowing the future (an epistemic horizon that Dennett refers to) rather than just the difficulty of it.

I’m not familiarized with Dennet’s work so I can’t comment on it.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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BernardoPinto - 14 September 2012 11:58 AM
KOZ - 14 September 2012 11:55 AM

I was hoping to get an argument relating to the impossibility of knowing the future (an epistemic horizon that Dennett refers to) rather than just the difficulty of it.

.

It is impossible to forecast even the weather for more than a few days.
There are just too many variables.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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KOZ - 14 September 2012 10:52 AM

there is evidence to support the existence of ‘spiritual’ experiences - aside from first person testimony there is also the god helmet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet). I believe the experiences occurred and felt ‘spiritual’ however I do not think they provide meaningful evidence for the spiritual itself - there is an important difference.

I will allow your refusal to back-up your claim about the illusory nature of free will to stand as exhibit 1.


However, before I proceed I require a clarification.  I’m a little confused by the last sentence in your quote above in so far as, in it, you appear to contradict yourself.  It isn’t clear whether you are convinced that there is good evidence to believe in a spiritual aspect to the human experience.  Are you saying that spiritual experience exists, but only so far as any aspect of an illusory phenomenon (the self) can be said to exist in the first place?


I could proceed as though my interpretation of your statement were factual, but I’m not a naturalist, so I’ll need you to confirm for me whether I have your meaning. 

 

 

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Posted: 14 September 2012 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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BernardoPinto - 14 September 2012 11:34 AM

What on earth are you talking about ?


My apologies.  I’ve been rude.  I have been discussing this topic in another thread in this forum: “Forum Home >  Politics, Religion, Philosophy, and Science >  Philosophy >  Sam’s new thoughts on free will” and I brought all of that baggage in here, which must seem like quite a non-sequitur. 


I’ve been looking for someone to explain 1) whether there is any convincing proof for either the premise that there is no free will or the premise that spiritual experience exists 2) any reason why Dr. Harris - otherwise a hero of mine - seems to proceed on these propositions in the absence of compelling evidence.  My search was in vein until you were kind enough to post those links to a naturalism website.  Those notions were advanced there in far too perfect agreement with Dr. Harris for the case to be a coincidence.  Sure enough, a quick look revealed that they list Dr. Harris in several places as a prominent supporter.  The symmetry of their beliefs is enough to allow me to take them at their word.  I find it unlikely that Dr.  Harris would object.


I can claim some familiarity with naturalism if you will concede that Dr. Harris’s arguments on free will and spiritualism are consistent with the philosophy.  Moreover, his views in their entirety seem to mirror naturalism perfectly based on the details I found at naturalism.org.  This makes naturalism a candidate for my favorite red-headed step child, since it is the acme of hypocrisy to state your commitment to skepticism and reason and then accept two radical propositions on faith in the same breath. 

 

[ Edited: 14 September 2012 09:47 PM by TheCoolinator]
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Posted: 14 September 2012 09:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 08:45 PM
BernardoPinto - 14 September 2012 11:34 AM

What on earth are you talking about ?


My apologies.  I’ve been rude.  I have been discussing this topic in another thread in this forum: “Forum Home >  Politics, Religion, Philosophy, and Science >  Philosophy >  Sam’s new thoughts on free will” and I brought all of that baggage in here, which must seem like quite a non-sequitur. 


I’ve been looking for someone to explain 1) whether there is any convincing proof for the premise that there is either free will or spiritual experience 2) any reason why Dr. Harris - otherwise a hero of mine - seems to proceed on these propositions in the absence of compelling evidence.  My search was in vein until you were kind enough to post those links to a naturalism website.  Those notions were advanced there in far to perfect agreement with Dr. Harris for the case to be a coincidence.  Sure enough, a quick look revealed that they list Dr. Harris as in several places as a prominent supporter.  The symmetry of their beliefs is enough to allow me to take them at their word.  I find it unlikely that Dr.  Harris would object.


I can claim some familiarity with naturalism if you will concede that Dr. Harris’s arguments on free will and spiritualism are consistent with the philosophy.  Moreover, his views in their entirety seem to mirror naturalism perfectly based on the details I found at naturalism.org.  This makes naturalism a candidate for my favorite red-headed step child, since it is the acme of hypocrisy to state your commitment to skepticism and reason and then accept two radical propositions on faith in the same breath.

 

How about adopting Uber-Naturtalism in which no philosophical blueprint is required?

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Posted: 14 September 2012 09:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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BernardoPinto - 14 September 2012 11:40 AM
TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 07:37 AM

This is an unsubstantiated, faith-based claim.

Hmm, no.

Contrary to popular belief, faith is not necessary to reject something for which there is no evidence in the first place.

That’s also why atheism is not faith based.

You’ve made a logical error here; a fairly common one if this forum is any indicator.  You are right about God, but the analogy to free will is false.  Naturalists are not claiming that there is no ‘self’ in a literal sense - that is absurd.  If there were literally no ‘self’ there would be no book, no web site, and no forum in which to discuss the topic.  Communication would be impossible.  Instead you are offering an explanation for the phenomenon of ‘self’ which we universally experience.  Your explanation (that it is an illusion) is a reasonable one, and it may turn out to be correct.  You have that in common with string theory.  Luckily for us, most string theorists are honest enough about the current state of evidence supporting their theory to admit that it might be wrong.  Naturalists, on far less evidence, obstinately refuse to join them in honesty. 


By asserting that free will doesn’t exist (a semantic twist on your reasonable hypothesis) you attempt to gain the ground of the skeptic, which you abandoned when you accepted your proposition on insufficient evidence in the first place.  Thus, you come full circle and place yourself alongside the atheist as one who is merely “rejecting something for which there is no evidence in the first place.” 


Consciousness is a phenomenon for which we need a hypothesis.  I think most people agree that it is among the most interesting things about which we still know next to nothing.  Further, we have only just developed the tools which will allow us to explore it empirically and the data are pouring in, so the need for good hypotheses is pressing.  By claiming to know the answer at the outset, you can only discourage people from being curious on the subject - or worse, to join the theists in cherry picking only those data which support your proposition and to ignore the rest.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 09:35 PM
BernardoPinto - 14 September 2012 11:40 AM
TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 07:37 AM

This is an unsubstantiated, faith-based claim.

Hmm, no.

Contrary to popular belief, faith is not necessary to reject something for which there is no evidence in the first place.

That’s also why atheism is not faith based.

You’ve made a logical error here; a fairly common one if this forum is any indicator.  You are right about God, but the analogy to free will is false.  Naturalists are not claiming that there is no ‘self’ in a literal sense - that is absurd.  If there were literally no ‘self’ there would be no book, no web site, and no forum in which to discuss the topic.  Communication would be impossible.  Instead you are offering an explanation for the phenomenon of ‘self’ which we universally experience.  Your explanation (that it is an illusion) is a reasonable one, and it may turn out to be correct.  You have that in common with string theory.  Luckily for us, most string theorists are honest enough about the current state of evidence supporting their theory to admit that it might be wrong.  Naturalists, on far less evidence, obstinately refuse to join them in honesty. 


By asserting that free will doesn’t exist (a semantic twist on your reasonable hypothesis) you attempt to gain the ground of the skeptic, which you abandoned when you accepted your proposition on insufficient evidence in the first place.  Thus, you come full circle and place yourself alongside the atheist as one who is merely “rejecting something for which there is no evidence in the first place.” 


Consciousness is a phenomenon for which we need a hypothesis.  I think most people agree that it is among the most interesting things about which we still know next to nothing.  Further, we have only just developed the tools which will allow us to explore it empirically and the data are pouring in, so the need for good hypotheses is pressing.  By claiming to know the answer at the outset, you can only discourage people from being curious on the subject - or worse, to join the theists in cherry picking only those data which support your proposition and to ignore the rest.

 

You are thinking that thinking can think its way through thinking and I am thinking that thinking will never be able to do that.
For one very good reason.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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toombaru - 14 September 2012 10:18 PM

You are thinking that thinking can think its way through thinking and I am thinking that thinking will never be able to do that.
For one very good reason.

When I die and go to my Mormon heaven wherein I am to be made a God, I will strike you of your ability to use the words ‘think’ and ‘reason’ so that your language matches your cognition even more closely.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 10:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 10:33 PM
toombaru - 14 September 2012 10:18 PM

You are thinking that thinking can think its way through thinking and I am thinking that thinking will never be able to do that.
For one very good reason.

When I die and go to my Mormon heaven wherein I am to be made a God, I will strike you of your ability to use the words ‘think’ and ‘reason’ so that your language matches your cognition even more closely.


I hope I get a planet that has more fossil fuel than yours.
And more gold.

 

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Posted: 15 September 2012 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 08:28 PM
KOZ - 14 September 2012 10:52 AM

there is evidence to support the existence of ‘spiritual’ experiences - aside from first person testimony there is also the god helmet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet). I believe the experiences occurred and felt ‘spiritual’ however I do not think they provide meaningful evidence for the spiritual itself - there is an important difference.

I will allow your refusal to back-up your claim about the illusory nature of free will to stand as exhibit 1.
However, before I proceed I require a clarification.  I’m a little confused by the last sentence in your quote above in so far as, in it, you appear to contradict yourself.  It isn’t clear whether you are convinced that there is good evidence to believe in a spiritual aspect to the human experience.  Are you saying that spiritual experience exists, but only so far as any aspect of an illusory phenomenon (the self) can be said to exist in the first place?
I could proceed as though my interpretation of your statement were factual, but I’m not a naturalist, so I’ll need you to confirm for me whether I have your meaning.

It is hilarious (the most amazing irony) when people that have faith based beliefs try to engage in reasoned debate. Anyway, I can’t be bothered with where you plan to take this. Ciao, I’m out.

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Posted: 15 September 2012 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 08:45 PM

I’ve been looking for someone to explain 1) whether there is any convincing proof for either the premise that there is no free will or the premise that spiritual experience exists 2) any reason why Dr. Harris - otherwise a hero of mine - seems to proceed on these propositions in the absence of compelling evidence.

Listen, I could give you a number of reasons and point to several experiments that show that free will is at the very best highly unlikely however, given that there is no solid evidence in favor of its existence in the first place, what you’re asking is akin to asking me to disprove god.

Also, have you read his book, free will ?

Regarding spiritual experiences, yes they exist but there’s nothing “spiritual” or “supernatural” about them. They are part of the natural world. If you want evidence just some take some acid or dmt. It’s that simple.  Harris took quite a few drugs when was younger and studied with several mystics, he knows what he’s talking about. Having said that, these so called “spiritual” experiences fall completely under the purview of science.

TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 08:45 PM

  My search was in vein until you were kind enough to post those links to a naturalism website

Those links I posted have nothing to do with free will or spiritual experiences.  I posted them because they talk about determinism and how it differs from fatalism.

 

 

 

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Posted: 15 September 2012 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 09:35 PM

You’ve made a logical error here; a fairly common one if this forum is any indicator.  You are right about God, but the analogy to free will is false.  Naturalists are not claiming that there is no ‘self’ in a literal sense - that is absurd.

I’m not 100 % sure about what naturalists say about the self. But I do agree with Harris when he says that the self is an illusion both objectively and subjectively, And no, communication would still be possible. But hey, Harris is currently writing a book on this very topic so..


 

 

 

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Posted: 15 September 2012 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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BernardoPinto - 15 September 2012 07:06 AM
TheCoolinator - 14 September 2012 09:35 PM

You’ve made a logical error here; a fairly common one if this forum is any indicator.  You are right about God, but the analogy to free will is false.  Naturalists are not claiming that there is no ‘self’ in a literal sense - that is absurd.

I’m not 100 % sure about what naturalists say about the self. But I do agree with Harris when he says that the self is an illusion both objectively and subjectively, And no, communication would still be possible. But hey, Harris is currently writing a book on this very topic so..


 

 

When the brain installs the little emperor, it mistakes its own creation as the psychological center of the consensus conceptual overlay.
The sense of self is simply not programmed to see its own essential emptiness.
Actually there is no way for that to occur.
It is not a tool that can be used to determine its own reality.
It is not the self that understands, it is the brain.
The apperception that the self does not exist has no apparent survival benefit to the organism other that a profound sense of sublime openness.
When the brain grasps that its sense of self is imaginary the feeling is like being released from the confines of a tiny bottle and breathing fresh air for the first time.

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