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Martian

Objectivism and determinism

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No, not yet, I'm afraid. You point to a process as a justification for "responsibility". You call the process reasoning, and say it is "self-aware", but you do not explain what self-awareness is, nor why it leads to responsibility.

I assumed that self-awareness would be understood, but if it's not clear, here's what I mean by it.

Self-awareness is when the process is taking information about its own actions and thoughts and using reason to make other actions. Now we are able to blame the process or give credit to it because it considered it's actions.

From what I can tell, your idea of self-awareness, is just a process of physical interaction, combined with some type of reaction in response. So, a ball that hits the ground and bounces up can be said to be self-aware; if not, I'm not sure what self-awareness really means. I'm not convinced that the process is different even in the rock example. After all, in order to demonstrate self-awareness you are arbitrarily defining your sub-system (i.e. the "self") as what we would call "human beings". Having done this, you point to your sub-system as being "self-aware". However, it seems arbitrary to look at the rock, and the rock alone as a sub-system, and leave out the forces that act on the rock. Surely, it is more consistent to consider the rock and the immediate forces that are "guiding it"as its rolls, and the obstacles that come in its way, as being a self-aware sub-system, just as is a human being.

No, a ball and a rock are not capable of logic or reasoning. Therefore it's silly to ascribe responsibility to them.

Self-awareness is not a subsystem of the self. It is what makes the self. Without it the self wouldn't exist.

By extension, wouldn't you say that the universe is self-aware and responsible for itself in exactly the same sense that a human being is responsible for himself? If not, then why not? Perhaps this distinction -- i.e. relative self-containment of the sub-system -- is not the only distinction you are drawing. If there is some other distinction, what is it?

The universe is everything. If everything is put together in a process where it is able to consider itself, then it would be able to be held responsible. But that obviously can't happen because there is nothing outside of everything (universe) to be held responsible to.

You know, I've been thinking about this discussion that we're having; and I have to say that most people don't seem to understand my idea and I'm repeating myself. Instead of me doing this, I would like everyone to try to describe how the brain would work when it's being affected by the Free Will force which hasn't been observed. Basically, make the argument for Free Will and describe how that would come into effect in reality.

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You know, I've been thinking about this discussion that we're having; and I have to say that most people don't seem to understand my idea and I'm repeating myself. Instead of me doing this, I would like everyone to try to describe how the brain would work when it's being affected by the Free Will force which hasn't been observed. Basically, make the argument for Free Will and describe how that would come into effect in reality.

Why? What you're demanding, in essence, is that members of an internet forum, posting in their spare time, produce a revolutionary scientific discovery on the fly.

We know we have free will. We know that from direct observation, much like we know about gravity - the only difference is that we know one introspectively and one extrospectively. If you take an average person with a high school education and ask them to explain in detail how gravity works, they won't be able to do it. Would you then say they have no business claiming that gravity is real?

We're in basically that position. We see free will. We experience it - hell, we *do* it. But, given how meager our knowledge (and here I speak of humanity in general, not just this forum) of the brain is, it shouldn't be surprising that we can't give you a description of its mechanics. In my view, we'll get there eventually.

So a couple of questions for you.

(1): Do you believe that introspection is less reliable than extrospection? If so, why?

(2) Many philosophers believe that consciousness itself is not predictable from the physical state of a brain. (Look up "Chalmers" and "zombie" online, and you'll see what I'm getting at.) Can you explain why we're not zombies? I assume you would deny being a non-conscious entity that just behaves like a conscious entity - you are, in fact, explanation available or not, aware. You know that because you *experience* it. So is that a double-standard, or is there a relevant difference between the two?

--SpiralTheorist--

Edited by SpiralTheorist

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Self-awareness is when the process is taking information about its own actions and thoughts and using reason to make other actions. Now we are able to blame the process or give credit to it because it considered it's actions.
One unclear idea simply leads to another: you say "information". However, I have no idea what that would mean in a deterministic world.

Take a cloud of gas that is in the process of seeping through a membrane, because it is less concentrated on the other side. This cloud does so because of some physical situation, and does so deterministically. If we want to use the term "information", we would have to say that the cloud of gas receives information about itself: e.g. the different concentrations, and is self-aware in much the same sense as a deterministic human being.

Why, one could say the same about a simple lever. One presses one end, and it receives information. The lever may not have nerves to communicate this information to the other end, but how is that of any relevance? It has other bonds, that (in a deterministic world) are just as relevant. One end of the lever thus gains an awareness that the other end is being pressed upon. And, it acts accordingly, according to its nature. In a world without free-will, this is no different from the way a man reacts. Clearly, we can therefore say that ever part of the lever is self-aware in this process of reacting to information. Thus, a lever, no less than a man, should take responsibility for its actions.

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What claim?

If I were able to rewind reality and look at an action that a person took, it would be the same as it occurred before it was rewound.

The bold part is a claim.

If you ran time back again to see if there would be a different action, there would be no difference in my action.

The bold part is a claim.

But if you were able to consider responsibility through the rational process which the brain goes through, than it is accountable.

You are making an evaluation that is not possible with determinism. If one is simply acting as one must act as a result of a series of ever increasing brain states, one's brain processes cannot be evaluated as rational or irrational. Said brain is simply processing as it must process; it could not process things any other way than the way the previous brain states determines it must process them. This is like saying the lungs can be rational or irrational.

The rational process considers option A and option B to set a course, so to speak.

Again, a deterministic brain cannot 'consider' anything. It can only act in accordance with how it must act based on the previous brain states that lead to the point where it takes the next action. As a simplistic example, a calculator does not 'consider' 2+2=4. If given the task of adding 2 and 2 together, it (like the deterministic brain) must output 4; it cannot choose a different response. Humans on the other can choose to answer 4 (the rational answer assuming base 10), can choose to answer with any number other than 4, (an irrational answer assuming base 10), or choose not to answer at all (the rationality of which depends on a larger context).

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And I tried to get someone to post a definition. What I got was that Free Will is not compatable with Determinism;
Maybe the problem is that you misunderstand determinism, i.e. causality. There is no contradiction between free will and determinism.
You've never heard of a hypothetical? I think you know what I meant.
I've heard of a hypotetical. You've made a scientific assertion that it is possible to "run time backwards", without realizing that that invalidates the physical basic of your no-free-will claim. In addition, you are pretending as though it is know for a fact that if you "run time backwards", all events will replay exactly the same way, and that has never beem proven.
Now, what's a man?
Look in the mirror. Are you incapable of identifying "man" as distinct from "watermelon"?
cannot have Free Will because it violates Determinism. That fact hasn't been shown to be false, ever.
It hasn't been shown to be true, ever. There's your problem -- you're arguing from the unproven. A proof based on nothing is not a proof. The fact that you don't understand how deerminism (causality) and free will are mutually compatible does not mean that they are incompatible, it means that you don't understand. And that lets you evade the plentiful evidence of your senses. There is no rational debate over whether man has free will -- clearly, he does. The interesting question is, what is the physical basis of that fact.

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The one about taking an exact replica of a person and puting it against the same stimuli as the other person and getting the same results.
I don't know how much physics you know, which is important in addressing this point. Do you know why there cannot be an "exact replica" (which trashes your hypothetical)?

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There are tons of things to be said here, but I don't have time. So I would be brief (or try to).

First some clarifications to help with discussion later:

Something deterministic can be brought down to a set of laws "if x then y". For example, if (there is) mass then (it generates) gravity. Given those laws and initial conditions of the deterministic entity, you can tell how it would act from that point on. Something non-deterministic cannot be brought down (described) with such laws.

There is a need to make a distinction here between a deterministic system which one cannot practically calculate its outcome (due to inaccessible data within the system or its input, or computers which are not powerful enough etc'): In this case we can only analyze this system using statistics and probability - however, this does not mean the system is random or non-deterministic. It simply means we cannot calculate the outcome, though it is possible (since we know all the laws that characterize its behavior).

On the other hand, a non-deterministic system is one in which you cannot predict its outcome, even given all the information in the world and the most powerful tool of computation. Why? Because, if you could calculate, and there would be only one outcome, this would mean it is deterministic. If some entity can react in several ways to a single input (all other influencing factors being equal) - it is random by definition.

Ok, after clarifying that, I would like to point to the problem with regarding man's will (which no doubt exists) as "free" (non-deterministic). Follow the stages:

If Brain and mind are inseparable, then the brain has to change simultaneously with the content of the mind. If it doesn't: if a man can change his thoughts, and at the same time nothing would change in his brain, it meas that his mind has some independence from brain. I suppose someone can say that there is a need for a brain to exist in order for a mind to exist, but then after there is a brain, the mind is free to change regardless of what happens in the brain. I personally find it ridiculous in light of evidence. So let's assume that the brain does change with perfect time correlation to the mental changes a person experiences, and go back to review this assumption later.

So under this assumption, every change in the mind, is accompanied by a change in the brain* (explanation at bottom of post).

Now the brain is physical, but under this assumption it has perfect correlation to the mind. This means that if you know the state of the brain at a given point in time, you also know the mental content of a person. (this comes from the assumption that brain and mind are inseparable).

So therefor, if mind is "free" so must the brain be, due to this connection. This means, that it is impossible ever to describe the brain in terms of "if x then y". If you could, then the system would be deterministic.

So the brain, a physical object, is indescribable by a set of laws (not entirely anyway).

Well, what bothers me about this (other than the fact that the brain is non-deterministic) is: if causality is derived from the law of identity, and there is something for which you cannot describe its behavior in terms of "this entity is such that input x causes output y", how can you describe it, if at all? maybe "input x causes output y z or w", but that would be random.

Or how about: there is a will, that just happens. And given this will the brain will act in a way that matches this will. The entire chemistry of the brain, the electric force and all the rest align themselves to match this will. (coughs and says to myself: ridiculous).

OK, this is one thing. On the other side of the court, Olex has asked a good question (though I personally only got what he was asking after reading some OPAR). So here is the quote from OPAR that helped me understand his question:

Since one precondition of epistemology is the fact that the conceptual level is not automatic, this fact, too, must be established at the outset. Before undertaking to offer cognitive guidance, a philosopher must define and establish man's power of volition. If man has no choice in regard to the use of his consciousness, then there can be no discussion of how he should use his mind; no norms would be applicable.

I need to think some more how to answer this. (I hope you see what needs to be answered here).

In essence, my answer would be that a deterministic learning machine, which is able to revise its own algorithm of acquiring knowledge, and change its own method based on input and its own inner-working - such a deterministic machine would also be in need of a good input, because such input could make it change its own working into a better one. The fact it is deterministic matters not.

* every change in the mind, is accompanied by a change in the brain - the two states, of the brain and of the mind match, the change is not random. i.e. activity in visual cortex is accompanied by visual perception. If it changes to activity in auditory cortex, then the experience changes to auditory perception. The connection is not random, but meaningful.

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If there is no formal definition, then the idea isn't complete. I don't know how I can work with that; I need time to ponder these things.

That's not it at all. You have to realize that not every concept can have a definition, in particular definitions of the senses and of axioms are simply restatements. This is precisely what Thomas M. Miovas Jr. was talking about when he said we have to start with the observed.

Would you say that "sight" has a definition? Not really: it's merely a restatement of what sight is, something like "an instance of visual perception." What about existence? Again, no: it's simply defined as "being" or the "sum of all existence."

Objectivists are only asserting that the same applies to free will; we learn about free will by the same means we learn about consciousness, by introspection [my thinking is that extrospection is involved in understanding consciousness, but one has to introspect to fully grasp what consciousness is]. Regarding consciousness, we introspect and realize that in order to do many of the actions we do in reality, and even to think of such things introspectively, we have to be conscious, that is, aware of reality. Regarding free will, we introspect and realize that some of the actions we perform, like thinking or having fun with friends, are freely chosen by us when other alternatives were possible; we make the choice for things to happen and for other things to not happen.

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I am the brain process that makes the action.

I don't see why you make a distinction between calling yourself "I" and "brain process." On your theory, they are one and the same. Is there a deterministic need for using two words for the same fact (in your argument, at least)?

I can't make it work.

On your theory, it wouldn't matter if we could give you a complete account of free will, citing both introspective evidence, and scientific data linking the exact relationship between the mind and the brain. You knowing all these facts would not suddenly make you "free"; you would simply be determined and somehow know that humans possess free will.

That's why I don't see the point in a Determinist asking for a proof of free will; it's not like they can somehow change their position if it's shown that they're wrong. The result, at best, would be a determined man who believed he was free. That is, unless the Determinist completely rejected his entire system, including his view of cause-and-effect. But even this assumes that he actually possesses free will.

Martian, you should consider this: your whole point in bringing up this issue was to find out why Determinism and Objectivism were incompatible ideas. Others and myself have provided what I think is sufficient evidence for why it is so. Even if you could formulate a complete and true theory on Determinism, it still wouldn't be compatible with Objectivism. Arguing that free will doesn't exist is a position contra to Objectivism, not a position that will lead you to uniting Objectivism and Determinism. Really, I don't see the point in continuing this, unless it is to become a general Free Will/Determinism thread.

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Well, what bothers me about this (other than the fact that the brain is non-deterministic) is: if causality is derived from the law of identity, and there is something for which you cannot describe its behavior in terms of "this entity is such that input x causes output y", how can you describe it, if at all? maybe "input x causes output y z or w", but that would be random.

Or how about: there is a will, that just happens. And given this will the brain will act in a way that matches this will. The entire chemistry of the brain, the electric force and all the rest align themselves to match this will. (coughs and says to myself: ridiculous).

But that isn't what the law of causality states: that it allows us to make predictions as you are positing. I'll take a few quotes from OPAR to get my point across:

The law of causality is an abstract principle: it does not by itself enable us to predict specific occurrences; it does not provide us with a knowledge of particular causes or measurements.

Rather, it states that there is a necessary connection between an entity and its actions, and the action will be an expression of the entity's identity.

If Determinism posits that given certain factors, only one specific action is possible, but there are examples of that not being the case (such as free will), then the problem isn't with free will: the problem is with Determinism making declarations to the universe, arbitrarily casting aside other possibilities when they arise, as illusions or as "random."

The law of causality by itself, therefore, does not affirm or deny the reality of an irreducible choice. It says only this much: if such a choice exist, then it, too, as a form of action, is performed and necessitated by an entity of a specific nature.

...

[T]he choice to focus could have been the choice not to focus, and vice versa. But the action itself, the fact of choosing as such, in one direction or the other, is unavoidable. Since man is an entity of a certain kind, since his brain and consciousness possess a certain identity, he must act in a certain way. He must continuously choose between focus and nonfocus. Given a certain kind of cause, in other words, a certain kind of effect must follow. This is not a violation of the law of causality, but an instance of it.

In other words, regardless of what "input" or circumstance a human is in, if he is alive and other bodily/mental conditions being equal, then he must perform a specific action, the action expressive of his identity: he must choose focus or non-focus. This is all the law of causality states regarding humans and the primary choice.

Edited by Acount Overdrawn

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If Determinism posits that given certain factors, only one specific action is possible, but there are examples of that not being the case (such as free will), then the problem isn't with free will: the problem is with Determinism making declarations to the universe, arbitrarily casting aside other possibilities when they arise, as illusions or as "random."
Bolding is mine.

Give an example of free will.

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Bolding is mine.

Give an example of free will.

I could give plenty of examples.

Let's say you're getting ready for school, and you're making a decision about what you want to wear. You decide you'll wear jeans today, and there are several pair in your closet. You don't particularly care which brand or color you pick, so you simply grab one of them. It was possible to pick the other jeans (or even put two or three on at once), but you chose one specific one, and that wasn't determined by any "antecedent factors" or biology or whatever.

There's the example of me evidently wasting my time posting examples of free will as opposed to studying for my logic exam this upcoming Wednesday.

I could also show you that I'm not determined to post on this thread by not posting anymore. That's always fun.

Good luck with debating the merits of Free Will and Determinism.

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Good luck with debating the merits of Free Will and Determinism.

That was a really bad question for me to ask, because duh, you already assume that free will exists before anything else.

Assuming Free Will is like assuming that spirits control nature. How can one argue against the stoneage man who can get his mind around the fact that nature has an order that is obeyed? Even after you explain that the laws of nature have never been violated, they still hold their assumption in the supernatural drives it.

Good luck dealing with science.

Edited by Martian

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Good luck dealing with science.

This is a rather pointed and insulting post considering according to your belief he could have responded no other way. According to you, he was determined to post the post you maligned.

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This is a rather pointed and insulting post considering according to your belief he could have responded no other way. According to you, he was determined to post the post you maligned.

Yes, his post was determined, but it was by his brain process that is able to take into account what he was doing.

That was a really bad question for me to ask, because duh, you already assume that free will exists before anything else.

Assuming Free Will is like assuming that spirits control nature. How can one argue against the stoneage man who can't get his mind around the fact that nature has an order that is obeyed? Even after you explain that the laws of nature have never been violated, they still hold their assumption in the supernatural drives it.

Good luck dealing with science.

*can't

Edited by Martian

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Yes, his post was determined, but it was by his brain process that is able to take into account what he was doing.

It doesn't matter how aware he was if he had no freedom to choose between alternate courses of action. Awareness is not legitimately subject to moral evaluation. That is unless you are trying to sneakily substitute the term 'awareness' for 'free will'.

I'm freely choosing to discontinue this discussion at this point.

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Assuming Free Will is like assuming that spirits control nature. How can one argue against the stoneage man who [can't] get his mind around the fact that nature has an order that is obeyed? Even after you explain that the laws of nature have never been violated, they still hold their assumption in the supernatural drives it.

You are basically calling us primitive savages.

It kind of reminds me of the other person arguing for strict determinism claiming that her stance was one that required mountains of integrity. I pointed out to her that there is no such thing as virtue for something that has no free will, but I see that didn't convince her. Also you say good luck with science; well science is based on that which is observed, it is not based on floating abstractions that you haven't bothered to ground to reality. In other words, your position, that man has no free will, is ignoring a fundamental fact about man's nature, which is not exactly a scientific approach. It would be like trying to have a science of orbits of the planets with no observation of gravity.

I have to say that it is very difficult for me to assess whether you and Ifatart are being grossly evasive or grossly rationalistic or grossly misintegrated. I can see that you are both trying to integrate your knowledge of man with the rest of your knowledge about the nature of the universe; you are trying to tie it all together into one conception. But, past a certain point of your pseudo-integration not matching reality and the nature of man, and you continuing to deny a fact, I'm beginning to agree with David Oden that you are being evasive. And just to clarify what that means, it means that you are being immoral. In Objectivism, the moral means the rational, and the rational is based upon the facts. And it is a fact that you wrote what you wrote of your own free will -- unless you want to say that you are psychotic or just a computer program made to mimic human responses.

I don't know. Maybe there is a segment of the population that has not developed the ability to introspect. If so, then you are subhuman. If you are not aware of your own consciousness and that you have free will, then you are not human. You might have arms and legs and fingers to do your typing, but if you are not doing it of your own free will, then you are not human, or at least not fully developed as a human.

And I'm not saying that to be sarcastic or to be insulting. If you truly don't have free will--as you two insist, and no doubt will continue to insist -- then you are not among the human.

Besides, if you think we don't have free will, then why are you trying to convince us of anything? I don't go around trying to convince my computer. I just reprogram it.

Well, certainly someone programmed you to believe that you don't have free will.

Get over it and join the humans.

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That was a really bad question for me to ask, because duh, you already assume that free will exists before anything else.

Assuming Free Will is like assuming that spirits control nature. How can one argue against the stoneage[sic] man who can get his mind around the fact that nature has an order that is obeyed? Even after you explain that the laws of nature have never been violated, they still hold their assumption in the supernatural drives it.

Good luck dealing with science.

Don't bother RationalBiker; his insult was intended for someone who assumes free will; I do not assume free will, and have never said I do in my posts on this thread. Also, my "Good luck" was genuine; the Free Will/Determinism issue is one of the hardest in philosophy in my opinion. Seeing your "Good luck," I could see how mine could be construed as an insult.

I thought I made my non-assumption of free will clear when I said:

we learn about free will by the same means we learn about consciousness, by introspection
.

What I don't experience in my introspections is being determined in any way.

I've got a better approach to this; it just came to me.

Rand’s razor, which is directed at anyone who enters philosophy, states simply: “name your primaries. Identify your starting points, including the concepts you take to be irreducible, and then establish that these are objective axioms.” [OPAR, p. 139]

Before engaging with me any further, would you please identify your theory's axioms?

Edited by Acount Overdrawn

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Before engaging with me any further, would you please identify your theory's axioms?

Axiom of Existence

Axiom of Identity

I must say, I don't know the idea of introspection. My understanding, from its usage here, is that it uses subjective feelings to make conclusions about the self. And it is further used to come to the conclusion that Free Will feels like it exists. What I don't understand is why subjective feelings are used in a philosophy about being objective?

Edited by Martian

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Axiom of Existence

Axiom of Identity

I must say, I don't know the idea of introspection.

That is the crux of your problem, because you did not include consciousness as one of your axioms. In Objectivism, existence, identity, and consciousness are the fundamental axioms.

I'm not trying to be flippant here, but animals are not aware of their own consciousness; humans are.

Are you aware of your own awareness of existence? If so, then you are beginning to be aware of your own consciousness. It is the beginning point of any discussion of man, because to treat man as if he doesn't have a consciousness is to treat him as less than an animal. Animals have a consciousness, but they are not aware of that.

Are you aware at all of your thoughts, emotions, imaginations, and ponderings? If so, these are taking place due to your consciousness. Can you self-direct your thoughts; that is can you begin to think about this essay and then begin to think about something else? If so, then you have free will. If you say it is all only an illusion, that your thoughts are not your own and not under your direct control, then you have a problem, because that is the definition of being psychotic; which is a state of mind that you ascribe to all humans; which is not true.

But, I have decided that I am not going to discuss this with you any further, because we are not getting anywhere and if you truly don't have the ability to introspect, then we will not get anywhere at all.

I have known people who insist that they don't have free will coming at the question form a different perspective and then they suddenly "get it." One person realized that bats have sonar while we don't, and realized that free will was an attribute of man just as sonar is an attribute of the bat. One other person read a pamphlet by Harry Binswanger called Volition as Cognitive Self-regulation and that convinced him. But I am not going to argue with you and Ifatart about this issue, because I have no idea what it is going to take to get you to realize that you have a mind and that with it you are able to choose it's operation and to choose your actions based upon that choice of thinking. I just don't have a clue where to go from here.

So, until you discover introspection and that you have free will by whatever twisted and contorted means you get there, then what is the point?

If I am arguing with an automaton, well that's rather silly; and if I am arguing with someone who has not yet discovered his own mind, then we are not going to be getting anywhere until you stumble across that somehow.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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Axiom of Existence

Axiom of Identity

I must say, I don't know the idea of introspection. My understanding, from its usage here, is that it uses subjective feelings to make conclusions about the self. And it is further used to come to the conclusion that Free Will feels like it exists. What I don't understand is why subjective feelings are used in a philosophy about being objective?

My my, this is quite funny. How exactly did you know things exist, or that they possess identities, unless you also possessed consciousness? Consciousness is also an axiom; it is implicit in every awareness, just as existence and identity are. It is not reducible to just existence; all things exist, strictly speaking (as in the only "things" I'm talking about are the things which exist), but not all things are conscious. You can also only define it as a restatement: consciousness is simply the awareness of reality.

To suggest that introspection is necessarily subjective is to accept a premise from Immanuel Kant--that consciousness is inherently an agent of distortion and cannot reach objective truth. From my reading of Critique of Pure Reason he never proves this assertion, he just states it as a fact that's supposed to be unquestioned, much in the same way you seemed to [you did say "from your understanding" though, so I'll assume I can convince you otherwise. Of course, this means I think you possess free will, so take that for what it's worth].

Introspection is not subjective, just as extrospection is not subjective; both are actions possible due to the identity of the entity acting, both are instances of causality, of lawfulness, not arbitrary subjectivity. Introspection is the active observation of one's own mental contents, whether thoughts, emotions, memories, imaginations, or anything else that applies.

Actually, your inference about introspection being subjective, and free will subsequently becoming an unjustified subjective conclusion, reminds me of a point Leonard Peikoff made very early in Objecivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, about how one should avoid asking questions at random on philosophical issues, since you'll have no way of answering them. His conclusion was:

For a philosophic idea to function properly as a guide, one must know the full system to which it belongs. An idea plucked from the middle is of no value, cannot be validated, and will not work. One must know the idea's relationship to all the other ideas that give it context, definition, application, proof.

OPAR

This invaluable knowledge applies to your limited knowledge of introspection; evidently you do not know what ideas give it context, definition, application, or validation. It would do you well to learn such things, since I would think introspection's very important for your life.

Regarding "objective/subjective," did you ever think that maybe Objectivism's definition of "objective" might differ a bit from how it's used in mainstream philosophy and in modern language?

Within Objectivism, I think there are three criteria for being "objective" in one's activities:

-the entity doing the action must possess a volitional, conceptual consciousness. Animals on the perceptual level act neither "objectively" nor "non-objectively," they simply act as the given environment and their biology dictate.

-it must adhere to reality. One's thoughts, to be objective, must deal with the facts; there's no "objective" method of ignoring or evading facts.

-It must employ the method of logic. Facts can only be dealt with on the understanding that contradictions do not exist; to identify and deal with facts is to deal with them logically.

As far as axioms go, free will is an axiomatic concept; it is an implication of the consciousness axiom. Not all conscious beings possess free will; those with the conceptual faculty, however, do.

Unfortunately, Thomas M. Miovas Jr. has convinced me to not post anymore after reading his last post. If you think that we don't have introspective capabilities, or that it is subjective, or that you yourself have it but refuse to engage in it in an attempt to act on your definition of introspection, then discussion really is pointless with you. If an action is capable to a certain entity, then to suggest that the action is subjective or baseless is itself a baseless claim, a claim made by someone assuming he's omniscient and simply "knows" what actions a given thing has "grounds" to do and which don't. This same knowledge applies to introspection and to those who claim it is subjective.

Now, I would continue the discussion if you accepted that consciousness is an axiom, and that introspection is not subjective.

Edited by Acount Overdrawn

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But that isn't what the law of causality states: that it allows us to make predictions as you are positing. I'll take a few quotes from OPAR to get my point across:

...

Rather, it states that there is a necessary connection between an entity and its actions, and the action will be an expression of the entity's identity.

Very well; According to your understanding of Objectivism (directed at anyone reading this), can an identity of something be random?

i.e. the identity of this object is that it reacts in one of 3 ways, such that there is no external factor influencing it to react in any one of those ways?

If Determinism posits that given certain factors, only one specific action is possible, but there are examples of that not being the case (such as free will),

But that is exactly the problem, that we disagree that there are examples that this is not the case. I disagree that you have any evidence that your ability to think, learn, decide and choose is "free". I don't disagree that you can think, learn, decide, and choose. Just with your additional interpretation of what you observe.

(continuation from last post)... then the problem isn't with free will: the problem is with Determinism making declarations to the universe, arbitrarily casting aside other possibilities when they arise, as illusions or as "random."

Your conclusion that your observations (both from introspection and from observing other people) suggest that human will is non-deterministic is the arbitrary one, from my point of view.

I disagree there is anything in your observations that suggests human will is "free".

I agree your observations show that there is a will.

So if the debate is to continue, I ask you to show me how what you observe (from introspection etc') shows that it could have happened differently.

If you drop a rock and it falls to the ground, and someone comes and tells you "a different outcome could have happened, under exact same circumstances", you would ask him to explain how come the rock could have reacted differently under exact same circumstances, right?

So this is what I ask you now.

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Very well; According to your understanding of Objectivism (directed at anyone reading this), can an identity of something be random?

i.e. the identity of this object is that it reacts in one of 3 ways, such that there is no external factor influencing it to react in any one of those ways?

Actually, this is not what Law of Identity means.

Law of identity means the object acts according to its nature. That's all. It doesn't say anything about a single outcome at any given moment.

So, if an object has nature such that it can have 3 outcomes, then that's how it will behave. And none of this will go against Law of Identity.

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