Friday, September 2, 2016

612: A conceptual hornet’s nest....

How did we happen to run into this conceptual hornet’s nest, while investigating the concept of free will?

Free will, determinism, indeterminism, causality, necessity

Let’s retrace our steps a little. Our primary question in this project was about this typical Western phenomenon Individualism.

So, we try to get clear what makes a person to an individual. One of the important observations was, that we can say,

that to be an individual at least means “Freedom from…” and “Freedom to…”

Freedom from means that we are free from any external constraint in our actions. We are free to go where we want.

Next to that the individual has the freedom to think and say, whatever he wants. Free to desire whatever he likes.

However, this freedom does not come alone. Every action we take has its consequences 

and since we do not life on an uninhabited island, our actions will affect other. These others could disagree with our actions.

Thence freedom inevitably implies responsibility, which means we have to justify our actions to others.

Within this context we are free in our actions. next question is, where do our actions come from? One answer could be:

they emerge from our emotions, our desires and fears or biological and physical needs. And here I get the feeling,

that motivations somewhere in the history of philosophical debate were subsumed in the term WILL.

Something like, whether it is emotion or physical need that drives you, you just WANT it, which means that as an individual you have a faculty to WANT = THE WILL.

So, the Will is the cause of our actions. Actually we run into a classic philosophical pattern. Like we have a question like “…and who created god?…”
We now have to face the question: what drives the Will, what makes the will want. Step two is then: is this Will FREE to want what it wants or not?

In this context the first paragraph of the article of Moritz Schlick (1936) is fascinating and motivating to continue this project:

-QUOTE- With hesitation and reluctance I prepare to add this chapter to the discussion of ethical problems. 

For in it I must speak of a matter which, even at present, is thought to be a fundamental ethical question, 

but which got into ethics and has become a much discussed problem only because of a misunderstanding. 

This is the so-called problem of the freedom of the will. Moreover, this pseudo-problem has long since been settled by the efforts of certain sensible persons; 

and, above all, the state of affairs just described has been often disclosed — with exceptional clarity by Hume. 

Hence it is really one of the greatest scandals of philosophy that again and again so much paper and printer's ink is devoted to this matter, 

to say nothing of the expenditure of thought, which could have been applied to more important problems (assuming that it would have sufficed for these). 

Thus I should truly be ashamed to write a chapter on "freedom." In the chapter heading, the word "responsible" indicates 

what concerns ethics, and designates the point at which misunderstanding arises. 

Therefore the concept of responsibility constitutes our theme, and if in the process of its clarification I also must speak of the concept of freedom 

I shall, of course, say only what others have already said better; 

consoling myself with the thought that in this way alone can anything be done to put an end at last to that scandal.-END QUOT-

I agree… thank you for your attention…the floor is yours… ^_^

The discussion

[13:21] Zevio Droz: we can speak?
[13:21] herman Bergson: as I said :-)
[13:22] Zevio Droz: ok
[13:22] herman Bergson: the floor is yours now :-)
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm interesting ideas there indeed
[13:22] Zevio Droz: Within this context we are free in our actions. next question is, where do our actions come from? One answer could be:
[13:15] .: .
[13:15] .: they emerge from our emotions, our desires and fears or biological and physical needs. And here I get the feeling,
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): need o absorb his meaning
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I do anyway
[13:23] Zevio Droz: are those the only options?
[13:23] herman Bergson: You always may suggest other sources Zevio
[13:24] Zevio Droz: ok
[13:24] Zevio Droz: well the question is "where does thought come from?"
[13:24] Zevio Droz: because they are our signals about what we desire
[13:24] herman Bergson: from the working of the brain....I'd say
[13:24] Zevio Droz: how do you know?
[13:25] herman Bergson: simple...knock out the brain and there are no thoughts
[13:25] herman Bergson: empirical finding
[13:25] Zevio Droz: not always the case
[13:25] herman Bergson: I have no data on that Zevio
[13:26] Zevio Droz: there have been many cases of people who have had a malfunctioning brain upon cardiac arrest
[13:26] Zevio Droz: and have had thoughts but we don’t have proof when the thoughts came
[13:26] Zevio Droz: before or after the brain malfunctions
[13:26] Zevio Droz: if you research NDE or near death experiences there's more information on that
[13:26] Zevio Droz: there was a guy named eben alexander
[13:27] herman Bergson: I don't think that doesn't change the picture, for such people only talked about thought after their recovery
[13:27] herman Bergson: So no proof where the thoughts came from
[13:27] Zevio Droz: i agree
[13:27] Zevio Droz: only speculation
[13:27] herman Bergson: In philosophy we do not speculate...we try to analyse and understand
[13:27] Zevio Droz: yes
[13:28] Zevio Droz: but at this point we don’t know where thoughts come from
[13:28] Zevio Droz: we are speculating based on inference that they come from the brain
[13:28] herman Bergson: we do...the brain....
[13:28] herman Bergson: no brain thoughts..simple as that
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that part is certainly so
[13:28] herman Bergson: not a single dead person ever has told us his thoughts
[13:29] herman Bergson: But we are discussing here free will :-)
[13:29] herman Bergson: and the question now whether it is a pseudo-concept...
[13:29] Zevio Droz: well if we go on the vein that thoughts are certainly generated from the brain the question is is that an act of will or not?
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): interesting
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:30] herman Bergson: I showed in this lecture :-)
[13:30] herman Bergson: The will might be a pseudo concept
[13:31] herman Bergson: hijacked by philosophers because of its simplicity
[13:31] Zevio Droz: well if you say to yourself with your conscience "i'm going to think this thought 'my name is _____"
[13:31] Zevio Droz: we have the will to do that
[13:31] herman Bergson: no...we have the desire to do that for some reason :-)
[13:32] herman Bergson: or the emotional need to do so...
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we are affected by our interests and external inputs
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): which affect what we want
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): id say it works some think like that
[13:32] herman Bergson: for instance, Bejiita
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it is hard for me to see free will as a pseudo concept after having been taught about it very differently all my life
[13:32] herman Bergson: we do not need the concept of Will at all
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i will have to consider that
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it changes a whole way of thinking doesn’t it
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): basically
[13:33] Zevio Droz: would you say herman that there is a difference between lifting your arm as an act resulting from a desire and having your arm lift up as a twitch like reaction?
[13:33] herman Bergson: In a way Gemma.....
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i would say yes zevio
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): or having a muscle spasm
[13:34] herman Bergson: The problem is that this Will is almost a kind of homunculus inside you what directs your actions....
[13:34] herman Bergson: Of course there is a physiological difference Zevio...
[13:35] herman Bergson: the use of voluntary muscles and the action of involuntary nerve action
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you cant control the later one
[13:35] Zevio Droz: so where do our actions come from then herman? what is the cause of them in your view?
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but you can the first
[13:35] herman Bergson: as I said.....
[13:36] herman Bergson: from things we call emotions, desires, fears , biological needs
[13:37] Zevio Droz: so these things control us and there is an illusion that we're creating actions
[13:37] Zevio Droz: what is your proof for that statement though?
[13:37] herman Bergson: the whole determinism/indeterminism debate might show eventually to be just a debate on words
[13:37] herman Bergson: My proof...?
[13:37] herman Bergson: Simple.....
[13:38] herman Bergson: I can hold a glowing piece of iron in front of your face and close in on your eyes....
[13:38] herman Bergson: Just imagine what would drive you to act?
[13:38] herman Bergson: the emotion of fear
[13:38] Zevio Droz: impulse because of perceived danger
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:39] herman Bergson: other way of saying the same thing
[13:39] Zevio Droz: how do you know that there isn't a self that operates in the unconscious as opposed to the emotions and such themselves being the prime controller?
[13:40] herman Bergson: Hold on....!
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like an entity in the brain?
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:40] herman Bergson: Here is introduced a concept invented by Freud...the unconscious.....
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like an operator in a control room to LHC or a nuclear plant where we are LHC or the nuclear plant?
[13:40] herman Bergson: this moves the discussion to a whole other chapter...
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and that operator then decide our action?
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:41] herman Bergson: that track :-))
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): dont think we are remote controlled
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I don’t feel like that anyway
[13:42] herman Bergson: what we are discussing is the question whether the concept of The WIll  is referring to some empirical quality of th individual or whether it is  a pseudo concept
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I think its my inside interests and personality together with input through my senses that control my will in total
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a sum of those factors
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it will take me a while to go with that theory
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita ..another way you follow your desires and needs
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): exactly
[13:44] herman Bergson: Sounds like a good conclusion for today ^_^
[13:44] Zevio Droz: what if your brain isn’t the generator of thoughts but an instrument of which thoughts communicate with the body?
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for ex i decide now that during easter i will eat LOT of eggs
[13:44] Zevio Droz: kk
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): are there many others that agree with Hume??
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but thats something i always want every easter
[13:44] herman Bergson: Ahhh Zevio...nice one...:-)
[13:44] herman Bergson: and where do these thought then come from?
[13:44] CB Axel: If the brain doesn't generate thoughts, what does? Aliens?
[13:45] Zevio Droz: science hasn't discovered it yet perhaps
[13:45] CB Axel: Some god?
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): medical issues seem to show that
[13:45] herman Bergson: Same question here Gemma :-))
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh ok
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm this gets complex!
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): very
[13:46] herman Bergson: Such arguments are not valid in a philosophy class Zevio....speculation
[13:46] Zevio Droz: its also speculation that the brain generates thought
[13:46] Zevio Droz: they havent found the modules that do so
[13:46] Zevio Droz: have they?
[13:46] herman Bergson: No it is is an empirical fact
[13:46] Zevio Droz: so how does it do it?
[13:47] herman Bergson: Oh they have found a lot of correlations between brain activity and certain emotions, motoric action, visual perception....a lot
[13:47] herman Bergson: neuroscience is highly developed these days
[13:48] herman Bergson: but I say....correlations....
[13:48] Zevio Droz: yes but the immaterial voice in our minds is not a physical thing and is unaccounted for
[13:48] Zevio Droz: they don’t know how the conscience exists
[13:48] herman Bergson: they do not indeed Zevio...
[13:48] herman Bergson: It is one of the great mysteries indeed
[13:49] herman Bergson: but WHAT we know bran consciousness...simple as that
[13:49] herman Bergson: and that is a good start to begin the research :-)
[13:49] Zevio Droz: look up near death experiences if you want to see a challenge to that view
[13:49] Zevio Droz: it's a phenomenon recognised by science
[13:50] herman Bergson: Yes and also explained and oxygen deprivation of the brain
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes true
[13:50] Zevio Droz: no, they have studied brains and oxygen levels are not lower
[13:50] CB Axel: Yes. A hallucination brought on by hypoxia.
[13:50] Zevio Droz: but you can get hypoxia
[13:50] herman Bergson: nothing mystical about that phenomenon at all
[13:50] Zevio Droz: and it does cause hallucination
[13:50] Zevio Droz: NDE isn’t explained by hypoxia though
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): science has lots of work ahead of it
[13:51] Zevio Droz: yes
[13:51] herman Bergson: oh yes....but that is not so impressive...just a physiological consequence of the condition of the person
[13:51] Zevio Droz: i've yet to see a physical explanation that can account for an NDE, the most convincing one I’ve read is rem intrusion
[13:52] Zevio Droz: which is that your dreaming brain is asleep and awake at the same time at the moment of death
[13:52] CB Axel: That's an interesting explanation.
[13:52] Zevio Droz: but science hasn't discovered the true cause yet and proven it.  if it has, i haven't come across it
[13:52] herman Bergson: And what does this condition tell us?
[13:53] herman Bergson: What is the big deal here?
[13:53] Zevio Droz: it tells us that people have experiences seemingly while pronounced clinically dead
[13:53] Zevio Droz: and we don’t know why yet
[13:53] herman Bergson: We have animals who make one half of their brain asleep while the other half is awake, for instance
[13:54] herman Bergson: mean the Locked  - in syndrome?
[13:54] herman Bergson: coma patients that are yet still aware of what is going around , hear and understand people at their bedside?
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: my free will is to come back next week :-) thank you herman & class
[13:55] herman Bergson: Must be horrible indeed, but it happens
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok bergie
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Gute Nacht Bergie
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu Bergie
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :)
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: .... i have to go :-/ .....byebye´s see you next week
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i have to go very  soon too
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes I ve heard about that too
[13:55] Zevio Droz: thanks herman
[13:55] Zevio Droz: it was enjoyable
[13:55] CB Axel: Saying that this happens to the clinically dead depends on your definition of death. The brain can live for a few minutes after the heart stops.
[13:55] herman Bergson: Ok friends....:-)
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:56] herman Bergson: Was a great discussion again.....
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: and happy easter:-)
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :)
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same
[13:56] herman Bergson: Thank you Zevio for your stimulating input too :-)
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): eat LOTS of eggs now!
[13:56] CB Axel: OK. I need to eat something, or my brain will get angry. °͜°
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not that
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hope to be here tuesday
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu all
[13:56] herman Bergson: SO ...again thank you all....class dismissed...^_^
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :)
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): if possible
[13:56] CB Axel: Bye, all. See you next week.

[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye

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