Friday, September 2, 2016

611: A cancellled Lecture...

Last Thursday I have done something, I never have done in all these years and hundred of lectures: I canceled a lecture.
I did not just cancel a lecture due to RL obligations. 
That has happened before. No, I canceled the lecture, because I really had nothing to tell you.

Let me explain. I had planned to discuss the ideas of Descartes and perhaps Spinoza too on free will in that Thursday lecture.

But while studying the literature I began to feel uneasy. What I was reading was so hollow, just words.
And when I read the words of John Locke I realised what was bothering me.

Locke says in “Essay Concerning Human Understanding”, Book II, Chapter XXI,Section 21 Of Power 

”To return, then, to the inquiry about liberty, I think the question is not proper, whether the will be free, but whether a man be free."

And Locke knew that language like "free will is incompatible with determinism" was itself the source of philosophical errors. 

”This way of talking, nevertheless, has prevailed, and, as I guess, produced great confusion." -end quote-

And the final confirmation came, when I discovered that Moritz Schlick in 1936 wrote an essay with the title “The Pseudo-Problem of Freedom of Will”.

We take words so easily for granted and then we start playing with them and press them in the maze of Logic.

Let me give you an example. So far we have seen that we love the dichotomy of determinism / indeterminism.

Logically there is no third option: something is determined by whatever you like, laws of physics, circumstances, restrains,

or something is undetermined, which means it has to be totally random and unpredictable. 

Once we have developed these two concepts we go and apply them to everything. That is what philosophers like to do.

Newton concluded that the way a stone falls is not something random. You can definitely predict is speed of falling and the location where it will hit the ground.

Very deterministic world. Thus we developed physical science by assuming this determinism in physical events.

Of course a philosopher will wonder: is maybe everything determined in this world ……. me too, I mean whatever I do?

And here it begins. We are immediately hit by huge concepts like causality and necessity and with the question what determinism actually means.

This question looks simple. Answer: Determinism is the philosophical position that for every event, including human interactions, there exist conditions that could cause no other event.

But then this quote: "There are many determinisms, depending on what pre-conditions are considered to be determinative of an event or action."

Ok! The source of this quote is even more telling: “Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy” by Bob Doyle (2011)
As you see, it isn’t surprising at all that I have gotten serious doubts about this whole Free Will debate. We certainly have to dig deeper into the matter.

Ludwig Wittgenstein had convinced Schlick and his Vienna Circle of logical positivists/empiricists that philosophical problems could not be solved, only dis-solved, by careful attention to the use of language.

So, following John Locke’s observation, we first have to clear up the “great confusion” which I ran into during my research on this subject  of Free Will.

Thank you…the floor is yours… ^_^

The discussion

[13:20] Velvet (velvet.braham): I think the definition of "scandal" in the philosophy world is verrrrry different.
[13:20] Velvet (velvet.braham): lol
[13:20] CB Axel: I think there can be something between determinism and outright random indeterminism.
[13:21] herman Bergson: Yes CB, but first we have to decide on WHAT determinism means
[13:21] herman Bergson: to what it applies...
[13:21] herman Bergson: and why...
[13:21] Velvet (velvet.braham): there is no way an outcome is totally random or totally controlled.
[13:21] Velvet (velvet.braham): it's both
[13:21] herman Bergson: Oh don't say that Velvet....
[13:22] CB Axel: Well, the laws of physics determine many things.
[13:22] Velvet (velvet.braham): why not?
[13:22] herman Bergson: They willslap you with big words like Quantum Mechanics...:-)
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:22] Velvet (velvet.braham): There is real time and there is jazz time
[13:22] CB Axel: °͜°
[13:22] Velvet (velvet.braham): and both are valid
[13:22] herman Bergson: and Quantum time!
[13:22] Velvet (velvet.braham): and yet they conflict
[13:23] Velvet (velvet.braham): there ya go!
[13:23] herman Bergson: Well...what happened to me was ...
[13:23] herman Bergson: that I was thrown back into my philosophical cradle :-)
[13:24] herman Bergson: Analytical philosophy....philosophy of language....
[13:24] herman Bergson: I was reading some literature and thought...what do all these words MEAN!
[13:25] herman Bergson: determinism, causality...necessity....
[13:25] herman Bergson: just take the word WILL
[13:25] herman Bergson: We all seem to have a WILL.....
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep
[13:25] Velvet (velvet.braham): maybe probability is a better word
[13:25] herman Bergson: We have a mind, feelings and a will too...
[13:26] herman Bergson: But what is that will? A thing? a force an kind of mental muscle
[13:26] herman Bergson: something that has a will of its own?
[13:26] herman Bergson: Can a will will something for instance
[13:27] herman Bergson: or can a will only will other things?
[13:27] herman Bergson: or is it a nonsense word.....
[13:27] Velvet (velvet.braham): that sounds like the same thing
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): will is not an entity, its just what you want to do
[13:28] herman Bergson: A complete wrong description of the functioning of our mind?
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and you tend to do what you want most
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for example today i felt for playing floor-ball with some friends, so i went and did that for some hours
[13:28] Velvet (velvet.braham): no, it's a great description. We will things into being all the time.
[13:28] herman Bergson: But in that way we do not need that word at all Bejiita
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:29] herman Bergson: We can just talk about what we are determined to do
[13:29] herman Bergson: and analyze what causes our determination
[13:29] Velvet (velvet.braham): If you believe in determinism.
[13:30] herman Bergson: That's the next station Velvet...
[13:30] Velvet (velvet.braham): then you have limited the discussion by your belief.
[13:30] herman Bergson: Where does determinism come from.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: it is the basis of materialist thinking....
[13:31] herman Bergson: if there is only matter ...only the laws of physics apply...which are fixed in their workings
[13:31] herman Bergson: and in my opinion here it goes wrong philosophically
[13:32] herman Bergson: they claim that in fact everything is caused.....
[13:32] herman Bergson: and they point at the material world....
[13:32] herman Bergson: and there it seems to be the cas eindeed....
[13:33] herman Bergson: then they say....our body....brain is matter there everything has a physical cause...
[13:33] Velvet (velvet.braham): that seems to only delineate boundaries, not outcomes
[13:33] herman Bergson: is determined by laws of nature.....
[13:34] herman Bergson: but what is constantly overlook is that we havent the slightest idea where our mind comes from....except that it can not exist without the brain
[13:34] herman Bergson: I am not pleading for Cartesian dualism here....
[13:35] CB Axel: If mind cannot exist without a brain, explain American politicians to me. °͜°
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hahaha true!
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:35] Velvet (velvet.braham): Axel for the win.
[13:35] herman Bergson: on the contrary...the brain in some way generates  , makes the mind emerge
[13:35] CB Axel: So I am because I think?
[13:35] herman Bergson: ahh American politicians.....
[13:36] Velvet (velvet.braham): reverse Descartes
[13:36] CB Axel: Or I am therefore I think.
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aka sewage pipes, at least some of them
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like Trump
[13:36] herman Bergson: I think the answer is quite simple CB.....they have no brains
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he is a no brainer for sure
[13:36] CB Axel: I'm sorry I brought it up. °͜°
[13:36] Velvet (velvet.braham): amen.
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:36] Velvet (velvet.braham): let's call American politics an outlier
[13:36] herman Bergson: Just as a sidetrack.....
[13:36] Velvet (velvet.braham): outlier
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a special case where normal physical and chemical laws dont apply
[13:37] herman Bergson: Trump has reached place 10 on the list of possible threats to this world
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i heard 6 before
[13:37] Velvet (velvet.braham): and I'm American. It's ridiculous.
[13:37] herman Bergson: Global warming is one of them too...
[13:37] CB Axel: So instead of Descartes, we should be saying because I exist and have a brain, I think. Thinking doesn't make me so. Existence as a human being makes me think.
[13:38] Velvet (velvet.braham): I'm with Axel on this one.
[13:38] herman Bergson: Sounds correct, CB
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:38] Velvet (velvet.braham): Why try to separate the two?
[13:38] herman Bergson: I exist as homo sapiens so I think
[13:39] Velvet (velvet.braham): some of us are better at thinking than others,  but we all think.
[13:39] herman Bergson: like I walk, eat, dance and sing...I also think
[13:39] CB Axel is waiting to hear Herman sing. °͜°
[13:39] herman Bergson: some are better in running Daphne Schippers :-)
[13:39] herman Bergson smiles
[13:40] herman Bergson: When the moonlight is right I'll sing for you CB :-)
[13:40] CB Axel: I bet I sing like Dapphne Schippers. LOL
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:40] Velvet (velvet.braham): I love this class.
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): me too
[13:40] herman Bergson: I love Beertje :-)))
[13:40] herman Bergson: Love you too Bejiita :-))
[13:41] herman Bergson: and all of you :-)
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:41] herman Bergson: Looks like a Flower Power ending of our session today :-)
[13:41] CB Axel: LOL
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:41] Velvet (velvet.braham): yes, but has it been determined that we love each other?
[13:41] herman Bergson: so thank you all for participating again ...:-)
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we need it today
[13:41] Velvet (velvet.braham): or have we chosen to love each other?
[13:42] herman Bergson: It was an act of free will Velvet...:-))
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well thats a nice choice indeed
[13:42] Velvet (velvet.braham): I agree
[13:42] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-))
[13:42] CB Axel: Sometimes love, like shit, happens. °͜°
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:42] Velvet (velvet.braham): Axel for the win, again!
[13:42] herman Bergson: so true CB :-)
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a sparkel of sun
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it was a dark black day today, we needed a bit of sun
[13:43] Velvet (velvet.braham): indeed.
[13:43] CB Axel nods
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:43] herman Bergson: was Beertje....
[13:44] herman Bergson: What is the score? 34 killed and 220 wounded?
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): these maniacs have to be stopped!
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): 230 wounded so far
[13:44] CB Axel: Jeesh
[13:44] herman Bergson: And allthis in the name of a god....
[13:44] Velvet (velvet.braham): That I really don't understand.
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's coming closer and closer
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Anhilate all life in the name of god OOO YES THAT IS REALLY GOOD!  
[13:45] herman Bergson: If I knew where that god lives I'd pay him a visit
[13:45] CB Axel: I vote for free will. I don't want to believe that the terrorism is pre-determined.
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but that seem to be what they think in some way
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they are brainwashed
[13:45] Velvet (velvet.braham): OMG CB. YES/
[13:45] CB Axel: If it's pre-determined, then we have no way to stop them unless that has been determined, too.
[13:45] Velvet (velvet.braham): No, they must choose such a path
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Brussel is nearer than Amsterdam for me
[13:46] Velvet (velvet.braham): you're not born that way
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you are not born a monster
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): something make u one
[13:46] herman Bergson: Sheads an interesting light on the concept of determinism
[13:46] herman Bergson: I only can add one thing to it...
[13:46] herman Bergson: it was US who invented this concept....
[13:47] Velvet (velvet.braham): I think we've already formed an opinion of determinism.
[13:47] herman Bergson: ahh good Velvet....:-)
[13:48] herman Bergson: SO we can take a leave for the rest of...whatever time? :-)
[13:48] Velvet (velvet.braham): ....or maybe that's just me!
[13:48] herman Bergson smiles
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:48] herman Bergson: Let's discuss that the next time Velvet :-)
[13:49] Velvet (velvet.braham): Makes you think. That's for sure.
[13:49] CB Axel: I think I'll exercise my free will by going to hear Caasi Ansar sing. °͜°
[13:49] herman Bergson: You should  CB :-)
[13:49] Velvet (velvet.braham): excellent use of free will!
[13:49] CB Axel: I'll see you all on Thursday! Unless Herman is rendered speechless again. °͜°
[13:49] CB Axel: Bye, bye
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu
[13:49] herman Bergson: I'll let you know in time CB :-))

[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye CB

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