Justintruth wrote: ↑
Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:31 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: ↑
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:50 pm
In other words, to say that we cannot determine our circumstances is not to prove that we cannot determine our reaction to them.
It means that more is *necessary* for action to occur then our volition.
Well, sure. That's obviously true. But it's not really an observation helpful to the present case.
Certainly it's accepted by everyone that there is a physical component to action. A paralyzed man can't lift his foot, no matter how much volition he exercises in the effort. But equally, his foot is equally unlikely to rise if he has no volition, even if he could physically do it. So what we've established is only that both physical capacity AND volition are necessary.
The question, though, is this: what part of that necessary duo is volition
It's not that rationality proceeds from volition, but that action does. I was under the impression we were discussing whether or not volition can be dismissed as a mere epiphenomenon of physiology...
To me there are three possibilities all of them real possibilities not dismiss-able yet:
The third possibility is the epiphenomenal one. That there is no effect of our will at all there is just the belief that there is one created in us.
There's a fourth. It's the hypothesis that human will is a necessary-not-sufficient condition of volitional action, just as physiological capability is a necessary-not-sufficient condition of action.
It does seem strange to me though that there would be epiphenomenal in the way you mean it.
I'm not an epiphenomenalist, so I'm not sure how to respond to this assumption, I confess.
How could a volition that is no more than a product of the physiological actually be said to "exist" in its own right?
The point is that if it exists "in its own right" then it is a kind of ghost.
No, no...I didn't mean "exist in its own right" as meaning "exist entirely unattached to physiology." Not at all. What I meant was "be a real thing that exists," or "be a concept that refers to anything that actually exists." In other words, I meant, "not a mere delusion." My apologies for being ambiguous there.
It might not "exist in its own right" but rather be the result of assembling certain materials.
I see. You're taking for granted the reality of some kind of progressivist development of volition. But that has very serious problems, as a hypothesis.
Firstly, we can't describe it adequately. We can't even come close to saying how consciousness "emerges" from entirely non-conscious matter. Then secondly, we have Jaegwon Kim's "downward causality" problem, meaning that after it has mysteriously popped into existence, this "mind" thing starts dictating back to the physical matter from which it has been said to have "emerged," and thus is causing the materials to do things. But how does something that is said to be a product
of the material, or worse, merely a delusion projected from
the physical materials, end up being a cause
of things in the materials? That looks completely backwards. It's reverse (or "downward") causality.
It would be as absurd as saying, "I'm my own grandfather."
...it seems to have fewer posits than what you are advocating.
If you'll forgive me for saying so, I think this fascination with a misunderstanding of Ockham's Law is what's catching in your craw here. Ockham did not say, and it is not true, that the explanation with the fewest posits is always best. He said that the explanation with the fewest NECESSARY posits, that is, the fewest posits one simply cannot do without and still have an adequate explanation, is LIKELY to be the best. He did not say that we could get along with fewer posits than deal with all the observable phenomena, and he certainly did not say that monist explanations are inevitably the best explanations.
So the claim, "I have fewer posits than you do" is not an indicator of a better theory. It would only be, if the posits you had were known to be entirely sufficient to describe the phenomena in question (which they don't actually seem to be, honestly), AND even then, you could only say that your theory looked probably to be more plausible
, not that it was actually better
Whew. So much for Ockham here. He's not helpful, really, on this question. Here, we are dealing with a controversy between a monism and an explanation with only two interrelated posits. So there's not much to choose in pure number terms -- 1 versus 1-1/2 or 2 -- and monism does not seem adequate, so it doesn't seem to have met Ockham's requirement that we have all the necessary
posits in place.
You have not yet come up with an objection that I can find holds weight against the idea.
Okay, well, that's honest.
You can think that way. But you can't justify thinking that way. At least you haven't.
I think I have. We seem to be stuck on a point of interpretation. I would point out that all of us, including you, live and act as if volition is a real thing, with causal implications in the material world. Not a single human being acts otherwise. And I would suggest that fact needs good explanation.
In addition, I've pointed out above the terminal problems of coming up with an "emergence" explanation based on evolutionary progressivism of consciousness, and the absurdity of the "downward causality" conclusion. I think these are huge roadblocks to physicalist monism. But if you don't agree, I don't know what I can say more about that.
How could a thing like "being tickled," which is a subjective interpretation, be directly induced by a very different physiological phenomenon, like the scraping of a finger across skin, without first being meditatively interpreted by a consciousness? And if that mediative interpretation is key to the event of experiencing "being tickled," then how can we suggest that the physical stimulus is all it is?
Well let me just ask why you think it needs to be "meditatively" and not directly interpreted by a body?
"Mediatively," meaning, "through a medium," not "meditatively." (That maybe is the spelling-corrector going wrong?) I was trying to say that something mediates our interpretation of exactly the same physical stimulus. In other words, why is what it interpreted as a "tickle" by one person interpreted as a "poke" by another, or as an "attack" by a third? Some kind of mediating "interpreter" is deciding which explanation will count in each case. That is consciousness.
Why not just admit that bodies are capable of more than you previously conceived?
Because physical bodies, qua physical bodies, are not capable of interpretation. For by "physical bodies," we can only be referring to those non-conscious elements of human physiology, like carbon and oxygen, each of which has no more sentience in itself than a rock. Otherwise, we're begging the question of consciousness, by simply rhetorically "moving" the consciousness into the physical matter, or we're supposing some kind of Pantheistic mind-in-matter.
A person who had, for example, insensitive skin, could interpret the same action as a "poke," and a person with highly sensitive skin might interpret it as an "attack"...while it would be exactly the same action, with exactly the same real intensity. What is the role of the interpretation here...because clearly it has one.
Unless their are two identical bodies, and one experiences a poke and the other a tickle or even if the same body at two times achieved the exact same state and at one time remember a tickle and at another a poke then there is no problem.
I can't see that that is true. It looks like a very big problem, to me. There you have identical physical stimuli, on identical physiology, with two different outcomes. That doesn't look like normal causality at all. It looks like a personal interpretation, which requires consciousness and volition.
And it's a routine phenomenon, observable to all of us. So I think that looks hugely problematic for physicalist monism.
Frankly speaking, can you say what if any relationship exists between this issue and any religious beliefs you hold.
Is that a question? It could be a statement...I can't quite tell, because it ends with a period. I'm thinking maybe it's a question, though.
Do you think the same or is there some interest that keeps you clinging to the notion of a second entity over and above the brain.
Only the interest in consciousness as a phenomenon.
I don't find I have to "keep clinging" at all, though; I find it comes back inescapably as a problem, over and over again. As I said, we all act and live as if consciousness exists: that puts the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of someone who wants to say that what we are doing is somehow "not reality." That means the monist has work to do to show it.
But I find it quite inescapable, as a problem.
Well, the claim that all is composed of contingent facts without logical (or do you mean "rational") basis would be a metaphysical claim, not an obvious truism.
I never said "all was composed of contingent facts" and I don't think it is. The laws of mathematics are not contingent.
Perhaps. But they're also entirely immaterial. Numbers themselves have no physical existence. They're just a closed system of concepts, and as such, are "necessary on their own terms."
But the claim that material reality is composed of nothing but contingent facts is a metaphysical claim (and an irrational one too, since it would require an infinite regressive chain of contingent causes, which could never get going in the first place, because it has infinite prerequisites).
My view of the past is that it is no longer contingent.
"Contingent," though, doesn't merely mean "happened already." It means, "did not have to happen as it did," or "could have happened otherwise than it did." In other words, it means "not necessarily so."
I again, in my opinion, am being accused of beliefs that I do not hold and I do not think I have ever said that I did hold.
Not "accused," I hope. I'm not trying to misrepresent you, far less accuse you of something.
I'm finding you're misunderstanding some of what I'm saying, and I think I might be failing to grasp precisely some of what you're saying. So I'm trying to get clarity from what you say, so as to understand what you DO mean. I trust you don't experience that effort as if it were hostile. It's not intended to be.
Take it as an indicator of interest instead.