Absolutely. Human beings, even when they use science, do not have "for sure" knowledge. They have high-probability expectations, which are, for most purposes, almost as good as having "for sure" knowledge. But there is something Kierkegaardian in even the most "for sure" things we think we know.
Most of life, anyway, is not fortified with precise scientific experiments. For most of what we do, we take our knowledge as good enough to get us through, and act on faith in it.
Yes, that's the right question.Then the part where "for all practical purposes" those who lead successful, accomplished lives insist that it is all of their own doing, while those who lead lives that are anything but can think to themselves "well, it's all 'beyond my control' anyway".That's always the part that I tend to focus on. Especially in regard to "moral responsibility". Since my main interest in philosophy revolves around the question, "how ought one to live in a world bursting at the seams with both conflicting goods and contingency, chance and change?", I can't help but wonder if I have any actual capacity to either ask or to answer the question...freely?Immanuel Can wrote: ↑Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:27 pmYes, you've got it. And this brings us to the point where the ethicists become involved. For it's a matter of what they call "praise" and "blame."
To illustrate, if I win the Academy Award for best picture...do I deserve it? I'd like to think, yes. But if my production was merely the cumulation of previous inevitable forces, why am I on the podium, taking the award and smiling? Should not every Academy Award simply be given to "the Universe"?
Believing in Determinism turns out to have a sort of "Russian doll" type structure: solve one question, and there's another inside it. So, for example, I decide that I believe in Materialism. But is that "belief" a rational one, or is it, like everything else, a product of prior causal-material forces that are inherently, of course, indifferent to truth? And what about the question I'm asking about my belief? Is that also just a product of some other prior causal-material inducements? And what about the question about the question about my belief...? And so on.
I think it doesn't take us anywhere at all. We can't keep up our actions to fit with that belief for even ten seconds.Back to Leopold and Loeb and just how far one does take determinism in our lives.Immanuel Can wrote: ↑Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:27 pmAnd on the other hand, if I am caught standing over a body, with a bloody knife in my hands, and I say, "Well, her death was inevitable, given the previous causal-material chains in play," is that an excuse for my actions? Should the only entity in jail actually be "the Universe," too?
It takes some careful thought. It did for me, too, when I first saw the problem.If, an hour ago, God knows I am going to be typing these words, how could I not be typing them?
This distinction may be clear to you but it is not to me.Immanuel Can wrote: ↑Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:27 pmYou obviously ARE going to be typing them, then. But again, we need to realize what the shape of the problem really is: it's not with God's foreknowledge, or "omniscience," but only with the conjunction of omniscience with some sort of divine action of compulsion or force.
To say again: "knowing" is not "making." For you see, I did anticipate that you would, in some form, respond to this message. You might say I knew you would respond -- and as it turns out, it seems that my knowledge of that fact was correct, too. You might say I had "perfect foreknowledge" that you would respond.
Of course, my knowledge is never "perfect." Still, in this case, it was verifiably correct, and we cannot now doubt it, can we?
The obvious mistake, the one everybody makes instantly, is to imagine that foreknowledge and predetermination are the same. But whereas the latter may, arguably, include the former, there's actually no reason the former has to imply the latter.
If I'm a very good sports prognosticator, may know that the LA Rams will win the Superbowl this year: but if they do, that does not mean I had to put on a uniform and play quarterback. God help them, if I did.
I think the problem is that Determinism gives us a one-track model of the universe. And we think that any mind God has must also be one-track: there's only that which will happen, and that which will not.My thinking and my acting would seem seamlessly intertwined in God's all-knowing vantage point. Otherwise it's "all knowing" with an asterisk.
But this is not the only model possible, and it's not the Biblical model, actually. The model of the universe that is revealed in the Bible is of a place in which there are some "fixed" things, like material laws, and some things that involve possibilities...especially where volition, whether divine or human, is the chief causal agency.
So God knows all possible outcomes of a human decision. He does not have a one-track mind. He sees the universe as laid out before him, if we might picture it thus, as a sort of "map" or "web" of the possible and the actual. He knows what routes could be taken, and what routes we will take. But at no point does He need to intervene to force us down one route more than another, because he knows what's going on on the total "map" at all times.
I think it means, "Talking about the Supreme Being makes human heads hurt." But what would we expect? We're finite, limited beings.Though I'm the first to admit I may well not be thinking this through correctly. But what does that even mean in discussions of God?
I'll go a different way. I would say that any theodicy owes us those two answers, and isn't allowed to "punt to mystery." But I think that there are, at the very least, plausible and reasonable explanations as to why evil exists. And even if we have a struggle to decide which explanation we personally believe, perhaps, it's heartening that such things are clearly possible.Same thing with regard to theodicy. Theodicy and so-called "acts of God". Natural disasters here on planet Earth that have destroyed the lives of millions. If God was only able to create planet Earth in accordance with the laws of matter then He is not really responsible for the natural disasters themselves.True. Unless in a way that goes back to what we don't know -- can't know? -- about existence itself the laws of matter themselves were responsibile for the existence of God. Or, we can go the route of Harold Kushner: God set into motion the laws of matter that resulted in "natural disasters" [or covid viruses] on planet Earth but He is not omnipotent.
Yes. But the Materialist or Physicalist worldviews are going to rule beforehand against any such explanation. They won't have a reason, other than that it would defeat their own basic premises to accept such a possibility, but they'll insist on it. They have to.What is really going on chemically and neurologically in the brain that makes "I" different internally? The part where mind matter becomes willful. If it does.
Oh, I agree. I think Compatibilism is inevitably just "Determinism in new shoes." And since that's all it is, it's contributing nothing to the field of knowledge in this area.Though to me, compatibilism itself is still beyond my capacity to really grasp. Especially in regard to moral responsibility.
Okay, maybe so. But there's a problem: how do we know what the yet-to-be-knowns are? Do we just pull up at the first sign of a confusion or problem, and say, "Aha -- that must be something we can never know"? If we did, how are we to learn anything?This and Donald Rumsfeld's contribution:
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."
Especially in regard to the Big Questions in philosophy.
So we can't just stop there, can we?
It's worse than even that, I think.Yes, and this would be the case in regard to "I" in the is/ought world as well. Human moral and political and spiritual value judgments would seem entriely interchangable in the only possible world.Immanuel Can wrote: ↑Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:27 pmAh, yes...this is a major, major problem.
If my knowledge is actualy reporting to me not on the basis of things true but on the basis of whatever previous material-physical chains caused me to think, why should I trust the pronouncements of my own brain?
This is a very serious, but little realized, critique of the Materialist or Physicalists worldviews: if Materialism is true, then science is not a matter of truths being discovered; rather, its products are simply whatever the material-physical causes dumped into my material-physical brain. How should I privilege scientific "dumpings" of that kind above any regular "dumpings" of ordinary events?
It's like we would have to say, "The reason Galileo knew the Earth moved is because the material-physical causes of the universe made him think so," instead of, "Galileo knew the Earth moved because he had observed and calculated it." We would have to say it was material happenstance, not scientific knowledge, that was behind his discovery.
And, of course, the same would be true for all science. None of it would be anything other than material-causal phenomena. And material-casual phenomena do not, themselves have any view of whether it's better for us to see truth or delusions.
The moral world, the world of the "ought" has to be entirely illusory. And all our moral judgments, like our cognitions, identity, reasons, and science itself, have to be nothing other than the outcomes of physical-material causes.
So, for example, the only reason we can believe slavery/rape/pedophelia/axe murder are wrong is that the physical-material forces of the universe have caused there to be a chemical in our brain that jolts us in a particular way when one of these things is implicated. But that jolt does not indicate anything, except that physical-material forces are doing what they do.
There is no actual "wrongness" that is being detected or signalled by the jolt. The jolt is just jolting. It's what jolts do.
Right. And that's one reason why.Only, for me, even given some measure of free will, "I" seems no less unable to establish objective moral truths in the absence of God.
If Physicalism or Materialism is true, and if Determinism is true, then we might have the fact of our feeling moral, but we do not have any fact of X or Y action or impulse being moral.
It's then a fact that human beings (silly little accidents of nature as they supposedly are) are caused to imagine that there's a thing called "morals"; but there is not such a thing in the universe. All there really is are physcial-material causal chains, some of which, for no particular reason, produce these silly feelings. That's it.