I know this has been discussed before, but I have read Sam Harris' book Free Will and Michael Shermer's book The Believing Brain, and I must say that I agree with both authors. Studies show that our brains make a decision on an unconscious level three tenths of a second and sometimes more before we even consciously know we're going to act. To take a short quote from Shermer's book: "The neural activity that precedes the intention to act is inaccessible to our conscious mind, so we experience a sense of free will. But it is an illusion, caused by the fact that we cannot identify the cause of the awareness of our intention to act".

Tags: Free, Harris, Michael, Sam, Shermer, Will

Views: 2499

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Do you find debating about semantics as boring as I do? Basically this discussion boils down to "I disagree with your semantic of exist and you disagree with mine"...and never the two shall meet.

As long as it is simply disagreement, arguing about words is of little value. There is, another viewpoint, that of the analytical philosophers. It holds that language introduces confusions into philosophy that need to be removed for clear understanding.

physics does not show that "roundness" exists.

Yes it indeed does.

This is what Whitehead called the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness." Due to the way we use language there is always a temptation to reify objects of thought, but it is a mistake to do so because it introduces confusion between what is real and what is  imagined. It converts properties into objects. It is tempting to pass from the statement a ball is round to the notion that roundness is a thing that has existence just like a ball, when it is merely an abstraction.

Existence as a predicate was rejected by Kant and most modern philosophers have followed, especially those who subscribe to the correspondence theory of truth. The idea is that when we say that something exists, such as asserting for example that black swans exist we are not saying that black swans enjoy the property of existing, but that there is an object in the material world which simultaneously instantiates blackness and swanness. Blackness and swanness are not themselves components of the material world.

I hope  you two  call a truce soon.....I am getting  a headache  trying to follow  all of  this back and forth......Agree to disagree., sounds  good to me....just saying    :)

Now if you had free will, you could choose to ignore the whole thing.

touche'

I hope  you two  call a truce soon.....I am getting  a headache  trying to follow  all of  this back and forth......Agree to disagree., sounds  good to me....just saying    :)

I'm impressed that you are bothering to try to follow it. We've gone off way too many tangents for it to be of any use.I'm just not the type that can let things go when I think another person is making some really big mistakes. Saying something like "properties don't exist" has huge philosophical implications, and rejects mainstream understandings of emergence and ontology. It detaches the properties that make up an object from the object, when the two are not mutually exclusive. It also detaches relationships from the object when most large scale objects are made up of trillions of relationships they depend on. To say these things don't exist or are "imagined" takes a whole lot of (not so good) imagination. ;-)

Hi Trick.......I always  try  to learn new things....I admire  how  the two of you go at it, you both  are  quite  knowledgeable on this subject.........However  it  seems  to be a dead end, but I may be wrong.......If I gain even the smallest  insight in all of this  it will be worth it.....Keep up the good work.....

LOL...90% of the debates I have online end up being deadends. The productive 10% make it somehow worth it for me. Also, the process of debating in itself is one I use to get the brain going and perhaps think new thoughts (even if debates can get frustrating when repetition happen). ;-)

Hi again Trick,  I respect  anyone  who fights  for what they believe....You  have a great attitude and I agree,  if you just  win 10% of  your  debates it  is worth  the  effort...  I wish you well....

Not win, but feel it was "productive".  That me, the person I'm debating, or some other person (e.g. a reader) is getting something out of it (or will). To me philosophy isn't about winning or losing, it's about causally interacting and creating appropriate output of thought (even if the thought happens a year after the debate by some other re-enforcing factor).

see I just  learned  something....Thanks   Trick....

but it is a mistake to do so because it introduces confusion between what is real and what is  imagined.

Properties aren't "imagined", they are "real". It's the reason particles end up at the bottom of a hill due to the properties of a ball (roundness), hill (angle), and gravity (space-time curvature). Without these properties "existing" the object we label a "ball" would not end up at the location it does. Ball is an "abstraction" of a "1 inch diameter rubber ball". Abstraction doesn't mean "imagined" or "unreal". The removal of the properties from the object is also an "abstraction".

Even if we don't accept "existence" itself as a property (like I said, some do and some do not- e.g. Kant - this has been debated much and to say that most modern philosophers align with Kant on this is a claim needs more evidence than a statement), that does not mean we don't except "properties as existing". Most analytic philosophers do. In fact Kant says a contradiction arises when you assert the existence of a subject without one or more of its essential properties.

Blackness is a component of the material world. It means that it absorbs all light in the spectrum and is the absence of such. It also has various effects including heat buildup. There is a reason solar panels aren't white, as white reflects all light from the spectrum.

"Swan" is a categorization of an object, so "swanness" just is a repeat of that category. If we define "swanness" as all of the essential properties that make up a swan, then yes, those properties "exist" before we can even use the word "swan" to categorize the "object".

The illusion that properties exist is fostered by the habit of mistaking syntax as a reliable guide to ontology. When you repeatedly make statements such as John has courage you come to believe that courage has the same type of reality as the individual alleged to have it, and that somehow the thing courage adheres to the individual.

If we define "swanness" as all of the essential properties that make up a swan, then yes, those properties "exist" before we can even use the word "swan" to categorize the "object".

If you have to define swanness, then it is clearly a mental construct, something imagined. Swans are real, but swanness is an idealization.

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

AJY

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service