Tuesday, March 15, 2016

609: Free Will and christianity

The Ancient Greek were the first to debate about free will in our philosophical history and they already touched the sensitive nerves of the problem.

With the advent of monotheistic christianity, where a god became a personal and active creator of man, a new series of problems is added to the debate.

And the debate is still hot. This coming Friday, for instance,  there will be a debate between Daniel Dennett, Dick Swaab and  Victor Lamme in Haarlem.

That is a town only 12 km from where I live now. However, they asked 450 euro for a one day conference, so I won’t go :-)

But Swaab and Lamme are interesting because as neuroscientists  they deny the existence of free will and are on the philosophical villain list of Dennett.

We’ll talk about them later, however. Let’s first have a look how christian thinkers contributed to the debate.

The quintessential theme in relation to free will is the question of individual responsibility for one’s actions. If there does not exist free will there can not exist responsibility either.

For Saint Augustine (354–430 C.E.) there is no question that human beings have free will. Man is god’s creation and free will is a gift of god.  Human beings have been given free will so that they can do what is right.

So with the gift of free will god has given man the capacity not only to do good but also evil. 

In thinking of it as a gift of god Augustine is not taking free will for granted, but is grateful for it and for everything which having it presupposes: indeed for human life.

This is some gift, I’d say. It leads to the conclusion that god is responsible for the evil. that man does and hence for the evil in the world.

Augustine further holds that though men have the freedom to choose between good and evil, and so are responsible for their good deeds 

and wicked actions, nevertheless they cannot do right, follow goodness, without god’ s grace.

You may wonder, what in the world is god’s grace, but if that is needed to do right, where is the free will?

Another question Augustine feels he must answer concerns god’ s foreknowledge. God is omniscient and so knows everything, 

and that includes not only all that is in people’ s hearts, all that they desire, and their intentions, but also all that has happened, is happening and will happen.

His way out here is, starting a debate on the meaning of foreknowledge. I won’t bother you with that, but you can imagine, that according to Augustine foreknowledge of god and free will of the individual go together quite well.

While Swaab and Lamme state that their claims about free will are based on empirical evidence, Augustine has no empirical evidence for his claims.

Yet he tries to deal with the new problems in his book “ De Libero Arbitrio”  (circa 387, On Free Choice of the Will). But it is all just an intellectual debate.

You may agree or disagree with the neuroscientists, but they bring at least one thing to our attention: the absolute relation between mind and brain.

This makes a lot of philosophical debates just intellectual exercises, alienated from empirical reality, only based on unfounded assumptions,

or, in other words, based on beliefs for which is only a verbal justification without any empirical evidence.

In that way Augustine, unknowingly because he lived around 400 AD, created his own intellectual puzzles about free will.

Thank you….the floor is yours ^_^…….

The Discussion

[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): mulling over ....
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): This is some gift, I’d say. It leads to the conclusion that god is responsible for the evil. that man does and hence for the evil in the world.
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i disagree with this
[13:26] herman Bergson: You know Gemma...
[13:26] CB Axel: Just because God knows what you are going to do before you do it doesn't mean you don't have free will.
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Augustine took his own sins as his own free will
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and boy he has a lot
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and that is why the church created confession
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): as a remedy for sin
[13:28] herman Bergson: The reasoning often is that those who are controlled by greed and lust have no free will in it....
[13:28] herman Bergson: the Platonist idea....
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the  foreknowledge of god is just to scare people
[13:28] CB Axel: Greed and lust are just instincts?
[13:28] CB Axel: The whole idea of God is just to scare people.
[13:28] herman Bergson: WellCB...the funny thing is...n all those philosophyies...
[13:29] herman Bergson: the lust, greed, viciousness and so on are all 100% human, beyond the grasp of god...
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there you go
[13:29] herman Bergson: and all virtue is the work of god in man
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): if we choose to be virtuous
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): (i feel only greed when I see chocolat)
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehehe
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:30] CB Axel: hehehe
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sorry! I have already eaten everything!
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): MUAHAHAHAH"
[13:30] herman Bergson: I only fel greed when I see..... ^_^
[13:30] herman Bergson: whatever :-)
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hahahahah
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cant help being saiyan
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:31] CB Axel: I'm willing to share my chocolate, but if you reach for more than your share you'll pull back a bloody stump.
[13:31] herman Bergson: Bu there si a kind of pattern in this way of thinking....
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): auw CB
[13:31] herman Bergson: when it is about all kinds of bad behavior the philosopher blames man himself....
[13:32] CB Axel: A pattern in blaming evil on man and good on God?
[13:32] CB Axel: Oh. Yes.
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): So god does already know that I long for chocolate, I can't hel p that I'm greedy , I just respond to his will?
[13:33] CB Axel: No, Beertje. He just knows already how your free will will respond to chocolate.
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): he knows you love chocolate andn made it for you
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well the cocoa
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:34] herman Bergson: No free will regarding consuming chocolate here, Beertje
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that he made for everyone i think cause EVERYONE loves chocolate
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): including me
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako) whispers: yummy!
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that counts for everything people like i presume?
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): eating, loving, even killing?
[13:35] herman Bergson: To be honest....
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): now we get to evil against society
[13:35] herman Bergson: this debate on free will is becoming a bit boring....
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there is no end
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): heheh
[13:35] herman Bergson: I mean in the historical perspective...
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:36] herman Bergson: the real debate of today is between philosophers and neuroscientists...
[13:36] herman Bergson: between Dennett and Swaab...
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Swaab says : we are our brain
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): will the conference be filmed??
[13:36] herman Bergson: Don't know Gemma, but I guess they'll do that...
[13:36] CB Axel: The neuroscientists don't believe in free will?
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): then you can tell us
[13:37] CB Axel: Do they blame the Big Bang like I do? °͜°
[13:37] herman Bergson: No CB....Swaab doesnt...neither does Victor Lamme
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe we can see that on YouTube?
[13:37] herman Bergson: Denntt however does...:-)
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): maybe
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): should be really interesting meeting then
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): if they charge 450 euro to go there question is if they will let the movie out free for everyone but everything find its way to youtube, at least almost
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): even if some are deleted by copyright guys
[13:39] herman Bergson: Oh yes...I am sure it will Gemma...but I don't want to pay 500 US$ for it to attend it
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats lot for 1 person
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it really is a lot
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): insane
[13:39] CB Axel: That is a bit steep when we can debate the issue right here for free. °͜°
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): coffee is free
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehehe
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): pay them in LD Herman
[13:40] herman Bergson: So true, CB :-))
[13:40] CB Axel: Yeah. For that kind of money they should at least have an open bar. °͜°
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:41] herman Bergson: Anyway...I gonna rethink how to continue this project :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: I mean...all thes useless thoughts about gods and their foreknowledge as affecting free will...
[13:41] herman Bergson: waste if time
[13:41] herman Bergson: of
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): since it i still so much of a question  yes
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it goes in a circle sort of
[13:42] herman Bergson: We should move to the debate with the neuroscientists...
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:43] CB Axel: I'd like to hear what they have to say.
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): god is just mans idea of how to control other people and gain power and greed for themselves, have been for very long
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita and let me tell you this....
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): will there be a report from the debate in some journal?
[13:44] herman Bergson: homo sapiens was a hunter - gatherer....
[13:44] herman Bergson: inthat state of being there was no room for gods...
[13:44] herman Bergson: ok...for animism....
[13:45] CB Axel: There was no god of the hunt?
[13:45] herman Bergson: but god was invented when homo sapiens became a settler...a farmer....
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:45] herman Bergson: groups became larger.....villages....so control over a group became more complicated too...
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:46] herman Bergson: thence there emerged rules and regulations....
[13:47] herman Bergson: and to impose them on the growing population in stationary places you need a transcedent authority...
[13:47] herman Bergson: so only when you live in villages you also have a stationary location where you can build temples and so on...
[13:48] herman Bergson: tottally alien to the hunter-gatherer...
[13:48] herman Bergson: that is when god was invented.....to control the group...just as you said Bjiita
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): seems like a probable idea
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): in that day people were afraid of everything
[13:49] CB Axel: The monotheistic god or gods in general?
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the sun
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the  storms
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): eclipse
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): who to blame
[13:49] CB Axel: Because I can imagine gods before civilization.
[13:50] herman Bergson: the misbehavior of the people, Gemma....
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): some even believe aliens came and they were the gods
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and on to the greek mythology
[13:51] herman Bergson: that is only an invention of our times, Gemma...
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): today we have science and stuff but basically what they do in middle east for example is trying to hold time still in the middle ages era even its 2016 so the people will still believe in these gods
[13:51] herman Bergson: in those early days of mankind they even didn’t know they lived on a planet
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): was no pictures from space then
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): showing what a planet is
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and that the earth is round
[13:52] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...that is  quite a problem....
[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right but they knew is creature s came out of the sky
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the crazy thing is some still believe the earth is flat!
[13:52] herman Bergson: I mean th eMiddle East and its attitude towards modern society
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): winder if they believe the Discworld series is the bible?
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): wonder
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:52] CB Axel: lol
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what has this to do with free will Bejiita?
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then they have got it all wrong
[13:53] herman Bergson: Simply nothing Beeertje :-)
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well belief affect free will u can say in a way
[13:53] herman Bergson: We just sometimes digress a little here :-)
[13:53] CB Axel: They are free to believe in a flat earth.
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes i guess they are
[13:54] herman Bergson: No they are not CB....:-)
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its complex indeed this
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am not sure many believed in a flat earth anyway
[13:54] CB Axel: They are free to be completely wrong, but they are free.
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think that is partially myth
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that so many did
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): one at my work even told me about it
[13:54] herman Bergson: Depends on what you mean by "FREE"
[13:55] herman Bergson: So you can say that they are free to believe that there is no gravity....
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a sect or cult of kind of many thinking earth is flat and nasa pics and moon landings are just artwork and fake
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sounds crazy indeed
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): where
[13:55] CB Axel: Of course they're free to believe there is no gravity.
[13:55] herman Bergson: you put them on a high buiding and say...plese...walk on...go ahead...no gravity is your belief...
[13:56] CB Axel: And if we're lucky, they'll all float the hell away.
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:56] herman Bergson: and the funny thing is...they wont step over the edge of the roof....:-))
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well the thing is they believe if you walk to far out you will fall off earth and into nothingness
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so gravity they believe in I guess
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least the concept
[13:57] CB Axel: Maybe they don't believe in gravity and just believe that the world sucks. °͜°
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i need to go now
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): another appointment in sl
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its crazy however
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu Gemma
[13:57] CB Axel: Bye, Gemma.
[13:57] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): tuy
[13:57] herman Bergson: ohh wow...Gemma :-))
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:57] CB Axel: See ya.
[13:57] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hope to try for tuesday
[13:57] herman Bergson: Have fun...:-)
[13:58] herman Bergson: Thank you alll again for your participation...:-)
[13:58] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ..:-)

[13:58] herman Bergson whispers: But stay if you like :-)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

608: Plato and Free Will

The options regarding free will are actually rather limited. They lie between absolute indeterminism and absolute determinism.

And in-between these two extremes we have at least 50 shades of grey, which are named compatibilism.

Compatibilism is the theory, that in a world of natural laws and causal necessity there still is room for free will in this deterministic environment.

How does Plato (427 – 348  BC) fit into this picture and what does he have to say about it?

His view is that if one lacks moral knowledge or wisdom one will be inevitably subject to evil; 

and evil then, in the form of the ruthless exercise of power, insatiable greed, malice, envy, an obsession for revenge for some harm suffered, etc., becomes a form of necessity. 

Such a man, he argues, does not act with intent, and voluntarily, and so is a slave to the form of evil which has taken hold of his soul. 

When someone is at one with the good, in the moral necessity that informs his actions such a person is free: his actions come from him and he does what he wills. 

In contrast, when he is at one with evil or, at any rate, makes concessions to it he is in bondage: his actions do not come from him, for his will does not belong to him, it belongs to the evil that is in him.

Plato creates in fact a kind of dualism. In line with Sophocles Plato too thinks that freedom lies in knowledge, moral knowledge.

This moral knowledge is the love of the good. It is not just some knowledge, but more a mode of being. It refers to virtue.

This is a often recurring one of thinking: the idea, that you only become free, when you reach a certain level of (moral) insight.

In Plato’s terms it means, when you become a virtuous man. This is the ideal state, in which we are able to act on free will.

The opposite is that we are controlled by evil.  By evil Plato means putting oneself first, thinking only of one’s pleasure and gratification – the gratification of one’s sensuality and of the ego.

The nearer a person is to goodness the greater his inner unity, the unity in what he wants, the direction in which he moves and the way he lives. 

The nearer he is to goodness the deeper his contact with others, the greater his recognition of their existence in its own right. 

The opposite or antithesis of this is a life of impulse or of expediency, a life in which the direction of a person’s actions is contingent on changing circumstances. 

It is an ego-centric life in which the person’s gratification and his interests are paramount. Not a person with  a free will, but a constant victim of impulses and circumstances.

This creates an interesting situation. An enlightened person, one who knows the good, can such a person do evil?

If he is totally good,  you’d say NO, but this again would mean the end of free will. A paradox, I would say.

According to Plato the virtuous person will have achieved autonomy : what he does will be what he wants to do, 

not what he is forced to do, and he will be wholly behind it. This is Plato’s description of how, inevitably living in a world of natural necessity, a man can be nevertheless free.

This way of reasoning looks very like the way of thinking you see in many religions. Is it a kind of moral determinism?

Thank you….if you have any questions or remarks…the floor is yours….. ^_^

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995

Free Will, Ilham Dilham, 1999
On Free will, J.J.C.Smart, Mind 1961
Of Liberty and Necessity, James A. Harris, 2005
Free Will, A very short Introduction, Thomas Pink, 2003

The Discussion

[13:22] CB Axel: It seems to me to be the opposite of most religions.
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sort of
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): maybe
[13:22] CB Axel: In religion doing good is doing the will of God.
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes...
[13:22] herman Bergson: so no free will there either
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): guess not
[13:23] CB Axel: We do evil when we exercise our free will and go against God's will.
[13:23] herman Bergson: what puzzled me was the idea..
[13:23] herman Bergson: that when someone has seen the "Light" he can only act according to it....
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes, CB but a saint doesn't :-)
[13:24] herman Bergson: and that we can do evil....yes that is the confusing part of the story
[13:24] CB Axel: A saint doesn't what?
[13:24] herman Bergson: do evil
[13:25] CB Axel: Saints don't have free will. They are just doing the will of their God.
[13:25] herman Bergson: the basic problem here is that Plato is no materialist...
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes CB...that is the paradox...
[13:26] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): I think also when human kind can see "the light" and want to do nly good, they have still to struggle with their human problems, like being lazy or greed
[13:26] herman Bergson: Plato says that who has the wisdom to know the good, will act accordingly....
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then come the puzzling thing, extremists like IS for example i guess they believe they do good when they wage war and terror on all others then them since they are against gods will to them
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): however they are indeed 100 % evil
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): since harming others like then that cant be anything else
[13:26] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): being good is to forgive
[13:27] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): thats the hardest thing to learn
[13:27] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): and humans will never learn that^^^
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a true nice god would be like this indeed
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its tricky
[13:27] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): just training^^
[13:27] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): and the ill to be like that
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but i believe being good is live in happines, dont hurt others and make others happy and well being
[13:27] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): will
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that kind of thing is good in general
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and also don’t be greedy
[13:28] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): yes and to understand other people. its not always happines in life
[13:28] herman Bergson: yes....that was Plato's idea too Bejiita
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:28] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): when a problem arises you have to handle this also in the same ay of beeing happy
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I like Plato
[13:29] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): and thats the point
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:29] herman Bergson: But in the dialog Gorgias Socrates discusses this matter with Callicles...
[13:29] herman Bergson: and Callicles sees free will is doing just whatever you want....no restraints
[13:30] CB Axel: So Donald Trump has no free will.
[13:30] CB Axel: That will be news to him.
[13:30] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): so also being greedy^^^
[13:30] herman Bergson: While Socrates pleads for virtue first...and act then
[13:31] herman Bergson: DT is a phenomenon...
[13:31] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): ahha
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:31] herman Bergson: and the Amercans who support him, too :-)))
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): how can a wide open sewage pipe at full flow be liked by so many?
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I don’t get it
[13:31] CB Axel: Not this American. °͜°
[13:32] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): lol
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he says things that shocks me
[13:32] herman Bergson: the interesting thing is that there is no free will there....
[13:32] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): he wants to shock
[[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well that seems indeed to be true
[13:32] CB Axel: Let's forget him and get back to Plato.
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hee
[13:32] herman Bergson: Those who support him are what Plato would call people possesed by evil...they just follow primary emotions
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Plato is more my taste 
[13:32] CB Axel: Exactly.
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): plato
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I’d say same Herman
[13:33] herman Bergson: I have been thinking about that actually....
[13:33] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): but evil and primary emotions are not the same in my thinking
[13:33] herman Bergson: From Plato's perspective  there has to be moral wisdom first....virtue....
[13:34] herman Bergson: No Daruma...but unthinkingly letting yourself be controlled by your fears and greed and egocentrism is
[13:35] CB Axel: It's like our instincts are to be greedy, fearful, and egoistic.
[13:35] herman Bergson: When you see respect for others as a basic value , you don't want to build a wall along your border....
[13:35] CB Axel: Self serving.
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least for many
[13:36] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): yes, I guess that weakness. Being evil is really wanting e.g. someone to kil or to do bad by will.
[13:36] herman Bergson: True CB.....
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when all you think is MORE MORE MORE!
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats not good
[13:36] herman Bergson: Just look at Plato's everyday situation...
[13:36] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): yes but wanting more is normal today.
[13:36] herman Bergson: Athens...
[13:36] CB Axel: Or thinking ME, ME, ME.
[13:36] herman Bergson: a democracy...
[13:36] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): just have a look around. we want it all cheap and fast
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): exactly
[13:37] herman Bergson: all depending on cooperation...mutual agreement
[13:37] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): and children rase today like being a princess or prince
[13:37] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): i am the best and my parents adore only me
[13:37] herman Bergson: and the bad guys there too were the greedy and egocentric ones...
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I use to think, if i was the other person, how would I like me ( the real me) to act toward me
[13:38] herman Bergson: a threat to this democratic cooperation
[13:38] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): when you don’t question yourself, your behaviour and life, i guess thats the problem
[13:38] herman Bergson: it is indeed, Daruma...
[13:38] CB Axel: And that's why democracy is so difficult. Too many people caring only for themselves.
[13:39] herman Bergson: We all have to face the basic question: Who Am I?
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:39] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): yes and it the hardest thing in life "to find yourself" and to see yourelf alone in the mirror
[13:39] herman Bergson: YEs CB..but so far we achieved yet quite something :-)
[13:40] CB Axel: It's too easy for a demagogue to come along and sweep up the masses into a mindset of fear and greed.
[13:41] herman Bergson: yes....amazing....but of all times...
[13:41] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): i guess also seeing no future. and these days we do not learn those things n school or from our parents. its a mess...
[13:42] herman Bergson: Don’t be too pessimistic Daruma....
[13:42] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): ja sometimes it is like that^^^
[13:42] CB Axel: I'm with Daruma on that.
[13:42] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): please stop the world. i want to go off....
[13:42] CB Axel: LOL
[13:42] CB Axel: Me, too!
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I’ve played that theatre once in here
[13:43] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): ok, i take you with me
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): really good
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and fun
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:43] herman Bergson: The problem is...you'll go to another world...:-)
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and will that world be better?
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats the question
[13:43] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): i stay in second life
[13:43] herman Bergson: I wonder, Bejiita :-)
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): where ever you go, you have to take yourself with you
[13:44] herman Bergson: Yes..I stay here too :-)
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats kind of logical
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:44] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): ;)
[13:44] herman Bergson: Indeed, Beertje!
[13:44] herman Bergson: SO ..I suggest, we all stay here in SL :-)
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:45] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): can be better for us all
[13:45] herman Bergson: And I thank you again for your participation:-)
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:45] CB Axel: Meh. People are still people here in SL.
[13:45] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma) claps
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:45] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): yes cb, thats true
[13:45] herman Bergson: ANd I hope to see you again next Thursday..:-)
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we do
[13:45] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): i hope thi too^^
[13:45] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman. As usual, you have given me a lot to think about.
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu then
[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:46] CB Axel: See you all Thursday. °͜°
[13:46] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma): see u all soon and make everyone happy until we meet again^^
[13:46] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[13:46] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty herman & class:-)
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:46] herman Bergson: Yes indeed Daruma..:-)
[13:46] Daruma Chu Ann (daruma) waves
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): zwaait terug
[13:47] Zinzi Serevi: dank je wel
[13:47] Zinzi Serevi: ..:)

[13:47] bergfrau Apfelbaum: see you soon:-) good night

607: The first Materialists

A lot of thinking about ourselves begins historically with creation myths. Creation myths address questions deeply meaningful to the society that shares them, 
revealing their central worldview and the framework for the self-identity of the culture and individual in a universal context. 
Homer and Sophocles showed us a situation, where man has a great deal of freedom of action, 
however, there are limitations, either created by himself like by going to war or by an unavoidable fate due to a prediction of a god.
Yet, there is freedom within this frame of fate and prediction, thinks Sophocles, but then you need wisdom to make the right choices.
Oedipus  could not.  Paradoxically he cannot escape the fate the gods have predicted for him because he thinks he can escape it. 
His fate thus is the outcome of the interaction between his character and inexorable laws which for Sophocles characterize human life.
Due to the specific way the Greek treated religion and their relations with their gods there developed another line of thinking.
On the one hand man began to wonder about his relation with fate and on the other hand he began to wonder about his relation with nature and the universe.
To mention a name: Anaximander (c. 610 – c. 546 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus, a city of Ionia in modern-day Turkey.
He was an early proponent of science and tried to observe and explain different aspects of the universe, with a particular interest in its origins, 
claiming that nature is ruled by laws, just like human societies, and anything that disturbs the balance of nature does not last long.
Most essential here is the consciousness of the existence of natural laws, some order in the universe and thence necessary causal relations.
It meant, that man was not only subjected to a fate but also part of a physical world which is ruled by a given order, a LOGOS.
The materialist philosophers Democritus (c. 460 – c. 370 BC) and Leucippus (5th century BC) , again with extraordinary prescience, claimed that all things, including humans, 
were made of atoms in a void, with individual atomic motions strictly controlled by causal laws. 
He and Leucippus originated two of the great dogmas of determinism, physical determinism and logical necessity, which lead directly to the modern problem of free will and determinism.
Democritus conceived of the soul as consisting of spherical atoms, this being the shape best adapted to penetrate and move things.
Yet the picture of determinism is incomplete here. There is little known of ideas, that can be attributed to Democritus, which talk about a behavioural causality based on physical causality.
So, though he was a materialist he did not develop a well defined view on the logical consequences of his materialism with respect to free will.
For an elaborate analysis of this issue we have to wait till Plato and Aristotle, which will be our guests of our next lecture on Tuesday, March 8.
Till then you can find me on the beaches of the smallest inhabited island in the Netherlands.
Thank you…the floor is yours … :-)

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995

Free Will, Ilham Dilham, 1999
On Free will, J.J.C.Smart, Mind 1961
Of Liberty and Necessity, James A. Harris, 2005
Free Will, A very short Introduction, Thomas Pink, 2003

The discussion

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa there
[13:18] herman Bergson: As you see, the debate on free will and determinism is as old as the Greek...
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): It seems so
[13:19] herman Bergson: the interesting part is that there is a a kind of juxtapostion of fate and physical laws as limitations of our free will
[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did they know what atoms were in those days?
[13:20] herman Bergson: That is one of the amazing things Beertje....
[13:20] CB Axel: I'm sorry, but I have to go. Family emergency. I'll see you on the 8th.
[13:20] herman Bergson: The pre-socratics first thought of 4 elelments as basis of the universe...
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu Cb
[13:21] herman Bergson: and Democritus thought of small particles.....
[13:21] herman Bergson: why?
[13:21] herman Bergson: nobody knows....
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sort of like EInstein, ahead of their time but right on the spot still
[13:22] herman Bergson: that is one option....
[13:22] herman Bergson: on theother hand it can be the proces of abstraction....
[13:22] herman Bergson: leave out all qualities of an object....
[13:23] herman Bergson: in fact you end up where Descartes ended up...
[13:23] herman Bergson: what is left of matter is only extension...
[13:23] herman Bergson: it takes space to exist...at least that
[13:23] druth Vlodovic: perhaps extrapolation, very big things are made of smaller things, so maybe everything is made of even smaller things
[13:23] herman Bergson: SO maybe Democritus and Earlier Leucippus performed the same thought proces
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:24] herman Bergson: indeed Druth....
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): however not even the LHC have been able to divide quarks and electrons, however it have produced much heavier versions of these
[13:24] herman Bergson: So, it is highly improbable that they had any idea of nuclear physics :-)
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed, those things, accelerators and nuclear reactors as well as the neccessary computer power needed to be able to see and analyse everything was not invented yet
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): first now we are able to study these things at these details
[13:26] druth Vlodovic: as far as applying it to free will, you can see that a person acts a certain way when alone,a different way around specific small groups, and very differently when gathered into nations and mobs
[13:26] herman Bergson: I think the Ancient Greek would not have much use for them:-)
[13:26] herman Bergson: No electricity :-)
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but the theory have been around very long
[13:27] herman Bergson: that Democritus must have had some nuclear knowledge?
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least a hint of something
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it seems
[13:28] herman Bergson: I think that the extrapolation idea and the attribute reduction method are more probable explanations
[13:28] druth Vlodovic: actually I think the biggest advance is the concept that things have to act a certain way due to "natural laws" or "this own nature"
[13:28] druth Vlodovic: without that you can't have science
[13:28] herman Bergson: Indeed Druth...
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did he calle it 'atoms'or did we translate his writings?
[13:29] herman Bergson: But in fact that also can be result of extrapolation...
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Atom means individable I think in greek or something
[13:29] druth Vlodovic: so we used the greek word,rather than the other way around
[13:29] herman Bergson: For centuries man knew already astronomy....
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): because the name was couned before we discovered radioactive decay or started to build particle smashers
[13:30] herman Bergson: the sky was predictable....
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): coined
[13:30] herman Bergson: so there have to be  kind of rules up there
[13:30] druth Vlodovic: the sky was so predictable that they were willing to base their economies and food supplies on it
[13:30] herman Bergson: and by observing WE can discover these rules
[13:31] druth Vlodovic: which is where (I suspect) we get the idea of the heavens ordering the world
[13:31] herman Bergson: indeed....
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:31] herman Bergson: so in general this all doesn't sound that strange....
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): are we as humans acting according these rules?
[13:32] herman Bergson: The "strange" thing here is that this line of thinking only evolved in Europe into real science and individualism
[13:33] druth Vlodovic: but humans must have an instinct of predictability, infants like repetitive things (like movies), and we don't act randomly even when we don't know the rules
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes the explenaition for the existence of the natural laws can be questionable
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:34] druth Vlodovic: take any "pre-scientific" culture and you don't find people planting out of season because "something may happen"
[13:35] herman Bergson: That leads to a typical phenomenon: experimenting
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): to try find out how it really works
[13:35] druth Vlodovic: most animals will also prefer a routine,suggesting that the prediction that the universe is guided by laws ought to be the rule rather than the exception
[13:35] herman Bergson: in a number of cultures experiments are even forbidden....
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: well, information becomes the purview of a ruling class "knowledge is power"
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: unless you have a different take on why that happens?
[13:36] herman Bergson: in relation to free will the concept of "law" is interesting....
[13:37] herman Bergson: a universe guided by laws...
[13:37] herman Bergson: what is meant by law here....do these laws influence my freedom directly?
[13:37] herman Bergson: questions like that
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): physical laws I guess
[13:38] herman Bergson: Good for next lectures :-)
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and physical laws can NEVER be broken
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its impossible
[13:38] herman Bergson: Shouldnt I yell now ...Quantum Mechanics, Bejiita? :-)))
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well thats an odd thing indeed but also very interesting
[13:39] herman Bergson: we'll get to that subject definitely :-)
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:40] herman Bergson: let's enjoy now first a short vacation however :-)
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): walk on a snowy beach.....brrrrr
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:41] herman Bergson: May I thank you all again for yoru participation and interest
[13:41] herman Bergson: I did in 2010 Beerje
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): great as always
[13:41] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....^_^
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes me too..there was ice on the sea then
[13:41] druth Vlodovic: fate is a peculiar method of laws,
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): fijne vakantie:)
[13:41] herman Bergson: there was !
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): have a nice vaccation now
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: rather than saying how something will happen it says what will happen, then the how is almost random
[13:42] herman Bergson: Sophocles would agree with you Druth :-)
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: maybe that is where quantum string theory comes in
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): maybee, its a such complex theory
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it just can work
[13:43] herman Bergson: I leave that to Bejiita to comment on, Druth :-)
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:43] druth Vlodovic: lol
[13:43] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you herman & class :-)
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): have a nice vaccation now Herman
[13:43] herman Bergson: thnx Bejiita:-)
[13:43] druth Vlodovic: yes,have fun on your vacay herman
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu then
[13:44] herman Bergson: I will Druth :-)
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Goodnight everyone:)
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Gute Nacht
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Welterusten
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:45] druth Vlodovic: 'night all
[13:45] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye´s:-)
[13:45] herman Bergson: Bye Druth, bergie