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Questions about Free Will and Morality

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Determinism has two citations in the Ayn Rand Lexicon.

Determinism is the theory that everything that happens in the universe—including every thought, feeling, and action of man—is necessitated by previous factors, so that nothing could ever have happened differently from the way it did, and everything in the future is already pre-set and inevitable. Every aspect of man’s life and character, on this view, is merely a product of factors that are ultimately outside his control. Objectivism rejects this theory.

Leonard Peikoff,
The Philosophy of Objectivism lecture series, Lecture 1

Dictatorship and determinism are reciprocally reinforcing corollaries: if one seeks to enslave men, one has to destroy their reliance on the validity of their own judgments and choices—if one believes that reason and volition are impotent, one has to accept the rule of force.

“Representation Without Authorization,”
The Ayn Rand Letter, I, 21, 1

There is also an entry for Free Will there too.

Determinism is there in black and white. It's not new and profound, nor exclusively introduced via Objectivism. It was a position Epicurus sought to expunge via the epicurean swerve and persists implicitly or even explicitly in materialism.

Edited by dream_weaver

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Dream_weaver ... well said.

The simplest solution is often the best.

 

2046

I had hoped you would include something similar in your definition but I'll simply ask you directly, is it your position that men exhibit "free will" in their choices, such that:

"In regard to any man-made fact, it is valid to claim that man has chosen thus, but it was not inherent in the nature of existence for him to have done so: he could have chosen otherwise"

-Ayn Rand  (“The Metaphysical and the Man-Made,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 31)

??

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26 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

Determinism has two citations in the Ayn Rand Lexicon.

Determinism is the theory that everything that happens in the universe—including every thought, feeling, and action of man—is necessitated by previous factors, so that nothing could ever have happened differently from the way it did, and everything in the future is already pre-set and inevitable. Every aspect of man’s life and character, on this view, is merely a product of factors that are ultimately outside his control. Objectivism rejects this theory.

Leonard Peikoff,
The Philosophy of Objectivism lecture series, Lecture 1

Dictatorship and determinism are reciprocally reinforcing corollaries: if one seeks to enslave men, one has to destroy their reliance on the validity of their own judgments and choices—if one believes that reason and volition are impotent, one has to accept the rule of force.

“Representation Without Authorization,”
The Ayn Rand Letter, I, 21, 1

There is also an entry for Free Will there too.

Determinism is there in black and white. It's not new and profound, nor exclusively introduced via Objectivism. It was a position Epicurus sought to expunge via the epicurean swerve and persists implicitly or even explicitly in materialism.

So a couple of things. First well it's just there in black and white. Okay but does that prohibit us from processing the information? Of course not, so like Eiuol said, the kind of "hard determinism" or "psychological determinism," predestination, mechanism, reductionism, Calvinism and so forth, all this stuff is out.

But the OP was asking what about the law of identity, how to square this with freewill. When most normal philosophers use determinism or physical determinism they just mean broadly that things have causes and effects. It's clear that Rand isn't opposed to this kind of determinism, and thinks whatever it is we perceive through introspection, however it actually works biologically, is compatible with this broad sense of physical determinism. 

This can be incredibly helpful to people trying to understand freewill in objectivism. Most people, in my experience, seem to think freewill must be this magical thing, and indeed if you read an incompatibilist account, if not outright religious it'll sure sound like that. Determinists count on that, take for example Sam Harris' incredibly popular book Free Will, where he basically argues (poorly) that free will means denying causality, quotes a bunch of libertarians, and then says therefore either science or freewill. He even basically says yes, the epicurean swerve must be true, because it's inexplicable how people choose things. It's total rubbish. Anyways, you get my point, it's important to engage with the conceptual content and not just repeat quotes about how dictatorship leads to determinism, you're just going to confuse an otherwise curious person.

Edited by 2046

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2046

The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action. Free will is a sub-type of causality. There is nothing in the law of identity that prohibits an entity of a specific kind from having a specific nature.

I can agree that the Ayn Rand quote in the Lexicon isn't the best citation to the OP. Here's a more apt one from her 1955-1977 journal:

The "determinism" to look for in human psychology is logic. The logic of a man's basic premises determines his motivation and actions. (This is in regard to [the view] that the science of psychology cannot exist unless man is subject to determinism.)

 

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So William O ... notwithstanding my hopes that my initial predictions would not prove prophetic... ironically it seems determinism has played its hand and it has all unfolded, unfortunately, as expected.  All I can say to you is I tried, and well, good luck.

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On 3/3/2018 at 8:58 PM, (MIKE) MichaleHansonBryan said:

1. I am sure Objectivists do not believe Humans have an Internal Soul. So without a Soul then how do Humans make the Concious choises that they make?

I will take your ominous capitalization to mean the invocation of something divine, supernatural. Objectivism rejects the supernatural in every conceivable manifestation. But Rand does speak of man's "soul" and this she identifies with his consciousness. Humans make conscious choices by selecting from alternatives they are conscious of. Mere motivation is not a cause and awareness alone is not sufficient to guarantee selection. Were this previous statement false we could have no concept of falsity for the possession of mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive items is indeed a plurality, and the possession of one must necessarily precede the other; we become aware of one alternative first. This is yet another consequence of volition's status as an epistemological primary.

On 3/3/2018 at 8:58 PM, (MIKE) MichaleHansonBryan said:

2. Wouldn't the Law of Identity disprove the Idea of Free Will? Since the Universe works Mechanically, this includes our Neurons.
I hear Determinists bring this up on Twitter and Youtube.

No. The idea of volition cannot be disproved because volition is one of the root concepts that makes the idea of proof possible (and necessary). Proof is a species of validation, and all validating acts are volitional ones. The universe does not work "mechanically". Mechanical things work mechanically. Existents simply acts as they do and we may formulate principles of mechanics describing observed regularities but the regularities are themselves a consequence of the identities of the existents involved and not some supranatural artifact or principle constraining action. Identity constrains actions, and in turn the content of human principles; epistemic artifacts do not cause or constrain existential action. There is as much basis for treating the principles describing the regularities of differing existents as interchangeable or all-consuming as there is for treating the identities of the existents themselves as interchangeable, i.e., no basis at all. Volition is not in neurons, but a power possible to and activity of the human neuronal system as a whole. The neuronal action which underscores reflexivity and conscious recursion is and should be recognized as just as complicated and subtle as that which underscores self-animated thought yet the existence of the former only is treated as uncontroversial. This is a consequence of people having understood volition throughout history to be a particularly alien phenomenon. It is a biological one same as the rest.

On 3/3/2018 at 8:58 PM, (MIKE) MichaleHansonBryan said:

3. Since there is No god, then how do we know if the Objective Morality of Objectivism is Objective?

This is actually is an epistemological question which merely assumes ethics as its content. The answer is in the provision of an epistemological method and its adherence. That method is inherently normative. Please see Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology 2nd ed. for an idea of what the normativity of its basic units - its concepts - consists in.

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19 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

So William O ... notwithstanding my hopes that my initial predictions would not prove prophetic... ironically it seems determinism has played its hand and it has all unfolded, unfortunately, as expected.  All I can say to you is I tried, and well, good luck.

Why are you treating this as if we're enemies? This is just a discussion. No one here disagrees that free will is real. If you don't want to engage the deeper distinctions among positions on free will, why are you even here? Kaladin's post is a good example of expanding on the discussion. 

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Why are you treating this as if we're enemies? This is just a discussion.

I'm not.  There is only so much intellectual evasion and intellectual dishonesty I can tolerate.  In the end, after Dream_weaver showed the elegance of simplicity I decided to ask the direct question.

 

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

No one here disagrees that free will is real.

 

Don't be too sure about that. 

2046 has evaded the essentials of free will in his definition, he got defensive when I called him out on it, and he remains silent in the face of a simple question asking whether he agrees with Rand's statement regarding that particular essential aspect of free will.

His silence speaks volumes... only of course until he breaks it.

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27 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

There is only so much intellectual evasion and intellectual dishonesty I can tolerate.

There's nothing to evade. You might not see it, but you aren't the clearest writer. If people aren't "getting it", or people don't see the issue you want to point out, it might not be them. Oftentimes, it's your own writing that doesn't make sense. That goes for anyone. I'm not sure what it is you disagree with.

28 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

he remains silent in the face of a simple question asking whether he agrees with Rand's statement regarding that particular essential aspect of free will.

Because the way you ask is irritating, so he didn't really want to answer. Seriously, it's annoying if you ask a trivial question like "do you agree with Rand's definition?" On a forum like this, people agree on those basics. His silence goes to show how you aren't contributing anything new. Not to mention he already went over a lot and answered your other questions before. I'm only posting so you'd hopefully stop blaming us, and perhaps note that your approach here is poor for a discussion.

You might find that you don't disagree about much. This is a difficult topic. DWs post adds to the discussion, sure, but on the other hand, it doesn't get into the nuances that people talk about nowadays.

 

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18 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

There's nothing to evade. You might not see it, but you aren't the clearest writer. If people aren't "getting it", or people don't see the issue you want to point out, it might not be them. Oftentimes, it's your own writing that doesn't make sense. That goes for anyone. I'm not sure what it is you disagree with.

Because the way you ask is irritating, so he didn't really want to answer. Seriously, it's annoying if you ask a trivial question like "do you agree with Rand's definition?" On a forum like this, people agree on those basics. His silence goes to show how you aren't contributing anything new. Not to mention he already went over a lot and answered your other questions before. I'm only posting so you'd hopefully stop blaming us, and perhaps note that your approach here is poor for a discussion.

You might find that you don't disagree about much. This is a difficult topic. DWs post adds to the discussion, sure, but on the other hand, it doesn't get into the nuances that people talk about nowadays.

 

I disagree.

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Somewhere on 24.3 gigabyte of audio talks was eloquently put that disagreement was evidence of free will. Conjuring some form of a vision of an exchange between a determinist and an advocate of free will could have generated comic relief in the hands of a George Carlin while he was on stage. He could open with:

So the Determinist said: So, you think there is free will? Ha! Let me convince you otherwise . . .

and ad lib from there.

In the first essay of her book carrying as its title like a badge, For The New Intellectual, straddling pages 14 & 15:

Man's consciousness shares with animals the first two stages of its development: sensations and perceptions; but it is the third state, conceptions, that makes him man. Sensations are integrated into perceptions automatically, by the brain of a man or of an animal. But to integrate perceptions into conceptions by a process of abstraction, is a feat that man alone has the power to perform—he has to perform it by choice. The process of abstraction, and of concept-formation is a process of reason, of thought; it is not automatic nor instinctive nor involuntary nor infallible. Man has to initiate it, to sustain it and to bear responsibility for its results. The pre-conceptual level of consciousness is nonvolitional; volition begins with the first syllogism.

Identity is the perceived. Identification is the conceived. Free will is the one of the materials "bridges" were fabricated from between their various identities and their respective identifications.

Edited by dream_weaver

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On 3/7/2018 at 3:08 PM, Eiuol said:

My position, probably similar to 2046, is that the word determinism is pretty loaded. I would rather throw out the term entirely then try to qualify if Objectivism accepts or denies determinism.

 

2046 didn't throw out the term determinism, he explicitly said that Rand was a physical determinist and a compatibilist, without explanation. That is not an objective way of communicating, because any reader who is even slightly familiar with the academic debate will take that to mean that Rand does not think we could have chosen to do otherwise than we did in any situation. Heck, I've been reading Objectivist literature on and off for years, and even I took it that way.

 

Quote

Certainly, it would reject "hard" determinism that you mentioned.

The position I mentioned wasn't hard determinism, it was just determinism. Hard determinism is determinism plus the assertion that there is no free will, as opposed to compatibilism, which asserts that determinism is true but we have free will anyway.

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52 minutes ago, William O said:

compatibilism, which asserts that determinism is true but we have free will anyway.

Have you been able to figure out in what sense these compatibilists take human will to be "free"?  Do they identify this "freedom" (in whatever form they believe it takes) explicitly?

 

PS: Found the answers!

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/

 

Seems like these guys are interested in showing "compatibility between moral responsibility and determinism", the general position does not advocate a weak determinism.  These guys believe "the facts of the past, in conjunction with the laws of nature, entail every truth about the future".

 

A very good read.  Should be clear for all to see whether Rand would agree with "compatibilism" ... or not.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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10 hours ago, William O said:

2046 didn't throw out the term determinism, he explicitly said that Rand was a physical determinist and a compatibilist, without explanation.

Sure, 2046 wasn't as precise as he should've been. That's why I first posted and stated my position.

But as the OP suggests as well, there is a seeming conflict between Objectivism's strong and rigid causal nature of reality that is determinate (i.e. there is no simultaneous A and ~A in any context) and comprehendable, and its strong sense of free will that we are in control over our thoughts and behaviors. The solution here is that volition in some sense is self-evident, that we don't need to hem and haw over if it is an illusion or not. We can take for granted that we are volitional beings in a determinate universe. Even more, we aren't reducible to mere neurons. This approach is how Rand deals with volition. There isn't anything else to say on this theory - the only thing "left" to do is look into the scientific details of how it is volition operates. This neither is determinism nor non-determinism per se. As usual, Objectivism does not neatly fit into any category except a very general term as Aristotelian. In this case, Objectivism is more compatibilist than not.

10 hours ago, William O said:

The position I mentioned wasn't hard determinism, it was just determinism.

Right, and furthermore, I find that your explanation does not at show what weak determinism is besides compatibilism. If that is all you mean, then I'd say Rand's form of compatibilism doesn't don't entail -that- notion of determinism. But as I said before, its simpler to throw out the word "determinism". We should go to pre-modern (as in the ancients) ways of doing philosophy about free will.

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Currently playing in the mobile library (a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado) is the History of Philosophy, Volume 2 - Modern Philosophy Kant to Present.

In lecture 7, Leonard Peikoff presents how pragmatism can be derived from elements of Immanuel Kant or David Hume (among others). It's 2018. It must be time to google "pragmatism on free will". The lead paragraph returned is:

The idea that the truth of a belief can be judged by its consequences is the hallmark of pragmatism. But even William James, the consummate pragmatist, justified free will only tongue in cheek. ... There are important asymmetries between the doctrines of determinism and free will that favor the former. Feb 16, 2009

Wait. It looks like a link from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pragmatism/

So [William] James offers his pragmatism as a technique for clarifying concepts and hypotheses. He proposed that if we do this, metaphysical disputes that appear to be irresoluble will be dissolved. When philosophers suppose that free will and determinism are in conflict, James responds that once we compare the practical consequences of determinism being true with the practical consequences of our possessing freedom of the will, we find that there is no conflict.

Is Mr. William James sacrificing the question of "which is right?" on the alter of "practical consequences" here?

Dr. Peikoff's point was that pragmatism can graft itself onto any philosophic system in order to attempt to dissolve it. If the term "determinism" is unpalatable, should we just dilute it, or better yet, toss it out. If volition is too volatile a term, should we substitute a more compatible term to take its place. Which science studies how volition operates? Does this science answer, or leave unanswered, the question of "Which science studies the methods of the science that studies how volition operates?"

The law of excluded middle states that volition either is, or is not, a type of causality. If volition is a type of causality,  then it is the rest of the story. If volition is not a type of causality, then bring back a Paul Harvey type to tell the rest of the story. 

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On 3/9/2018 at 5:50 PM, Eiuol said:

But as the OP suggests as well, there is a seeming conflict between Objectivism's strong and rigid causal nature of reality that is determinate (i.e. there is no simultaneous A and ~A in any context) and comprehendable, and its strong sense of free will that we are in control over our thoughts and behaviors. The solution here is that volition in some sense is self-evident, that we don't need to hem and haw over if it is an illusion or not. We can take for granted that we are volitional beings in a determinate universe. Even more, we aren't reducible to mere neurons. This approach is how Rand deals with volition. There isn't anything else to say on this theory - the only thing "left" to do is look into the scientific details of how it is volition operates. This neither is determinism nor non-determinism per se. As usual, Objectivism does not neatly fit into any category except a very general term as Aristotelian. In this case, Objectivism is more compatibilist than not.

2

The problem is that the terms you and 2046 are using - primarily "determinism" and "compatibilism" - already have perfectly clear meanings in academic philosophy (and even in the Objectivist literature, which to my knowledge always uses them the same way academics do). As they are traditionally defined, neither of those terms are consistent with Objectivism. If you continue to describe Objectivism as a deterministic / compatibilist philosophy, you will mislead and confuse people about what Objectivism says.

You claim that there isn't anything else to say and that Objectivism is neither determinist nor non-determinist, but this is simply incorrect. There is something more to say - that Objectivism accepts agent causal free will - and Objectivism is a non-determinist philosophy. If you deny this, I refer you to my previous posts in this thread.

Quote

Right, and furthermore, I find that your explanation does not at show what weak determinism is besides compatibilism. If that is all you mean, then I'd say Rand's form of compatibilism doesn't don't entail -that- notion of determinism. But as I said before, its simpler to throw out the word "determinism". We should go to pre-modern (as in the ancients) ways of doing philosophy about free will.

3

"Weak determinism" isn't a term that is used in academia or in the Objectivist literature, to my knowledge.

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25 minutes ago, William O said:

The problem is that the terms you and 2046 are using - primarily "determinism" and "compatibilism" - already have perfectly clear meanings in academic philosophy (and even in the Objectivist literature, which to my knowledge always uses them the same way academics do). As they are traditionally defined, neither of those terms are consistent with Objectivism. If you continue to describe Objectivism as a deterministic / compatibilist philosophy, you will mislead and confuse people about what Objectivism says.

You claim that there isn't anything else to say and that Objectivism is neither determinist nor non-determinist, but this is simply incorrect. There is something more to say - that Objectivism accepts agent causal free will - and Objectivism is a non-determinist philosophy. If you deny this, I refer you to my previous posts in this thread.

"Weak determinism" isn't a term that is used in academia or in the Objectivist literature, to my knowledge.

Some people need a bit more courage to admit, rather than evade or deny, that they simply disagree with Rand.

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2 hours ago, William O said:

The problem is that the terms you and 2046 are using - primarily "determinism" and "compatibilism" - already have perfectly clear meanings in academic philosophy (and even in the Objectivist literature, which to my knowledge always uses them the same way academics do). As they are traditionally defined, neither of those terms are consistent with Objectivism. If you continue to describe Objectivism as a deterministic / compatibilist philosophy, you will mislead and confuse people about what Objectivism says.

You claim that there isn't anything else to say and that Objectivism is neither determinist nor non-determinist, but this is simply incorrect. There is something more to say - that Objectivism accepts agent causal free will - and Objectivism is a non-determinist philosophy. If you deny this, I refer you to my previous posts in this thread.

"Weak determinism" isn't a term that is used in academia or in the Objectivist literature, to my knowledge.

Well, that's not exactly true. Determinism and free will are notoriously hard to debate about because different philosophers do use the terms differently and add different elements to them. Some use it to mean all events have causes, which would seem vital to Rand's conception. Some then add "that you can't have acted otherwise," some add a time-element and use it as synonymous with predestination, some take it to mean mechanism and reductionism, some don't, some mean strictly biological causes, some mean environmental causes only. I mean to say that all philosophers have the same concept of determinism is fantastic. That's why you define your terms and use clear language.

And even if they did have meanings "as traditionally defined," well so does "selfishness" and "capitalism," and yet Rand would acknowledge the meaning she wants to use is different from the meanings popularly ascribed precisely in order to change people's minds about what the true meaning of the concepts actual are. So we can replace your criticisms as the following:

The problem is that the terms you are using - primarily "selfishness" and "capitalism" - already have perfectly clear meanings in academic philosophy (and even in the Objectivist literature, which to my knowledge always uses them the same way academics do [do they????]). As they are traditionally defined, neither of those terms are consistent with Objectivism. If you continue to describe Objectivism as a selfish/capitalist philosophy, you will mislead and confuse people about what Objectivism says.

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1 hour ago, 2046 said:

Well, that's not exactly true. Determinism and free will are notoriously hard to debate about because different philosophers do use the terms differently and add different elements to them. Some use it to mean all events have causes, which would seem vital to Rand's conception. Some then add "that you can't have acted otherwise," some add a time-element and use it as synonymous with predestination, some take it to mean mechanism and reductionism, some don't, some mean strictly biological causes, some mean environmental causes only. I mean to say that all philosophers have the same concept of determinism is fantastic. That's why you define your terms and use clear language.

And even if they did have meanings "as traditionally defined," well so does "selfishness" and "capitalism," and yet Rand would acknowledge the meaning she wants to use is different from the meanings popularly ascribed precisely in order to change people's minds about what the true meaning of the concepts actual are. So we can replace your criticisms as the following:

The problem is that the terms you are using - primarily "selfishness" and "capitalism" - already have perfectly clear meanings in academic philosophy (and even in the Objectivist literature, which to my knowledge always uses them the same way academics do [do they????]). As they are traditionally defined, neither of those terms are consistent with Objectivism. If you continue to describe Objectivism as a selfish/capitalist philosophy, you will mislead and confuse people about what Objectivism says.

2046

Is it your position that men exhibit "free will" in their choices, such that:

"In regard to any man-made fact, it is valid to claim that man has chosen thus, but it was not inherent in the nature of existence for him to have done so: he could have chosen otherwise"

-Ayn Rand  (“The Metaphysical and the Man-Made,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 31)

??

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2 hours ago, 2046 said:

Well, that's not exactly true. Determinism and free will are notoriously hard to debate about because different philosophers do use the terms differently and add different elements to them. Some use it to mean all events have causes, which would seem vital to Rand's conception. Some then add "that you can't have acted otherwise," some add a time-element and use it as synonymous with predestination, some take it to mean mechanism and reductionism, some don't, some mean strictly biological causes, some mean environmental causes only. I mean to say that all philosophers have the same concept of determinism is fantastic. That's why you define your terms and use clear language.

 

You are simply incorrect here. The definitions of determinism and compatibilism are nowhere near as controversial as you suggest. I have given authoritative definitions for these terms previously. Nobody, or almost nobody, takes determinism or compatibilism to include agent causality. A philosopher might distinguish between different types of determinism, but if so he would use appropriate labels, like "logical determinism" or "physical determinism." Determinism simpliciter is not used in a whole bunch of mutually exclusive ways like you're claiming.

Quote

And even if they did have meanings "as traditionally defined," well so does "selfishness" and "capitalism," and yet Rand would acknowledge the meaning she wants to use is different from the meanings popularly ascribed precisely in order to change people's minds about what the true meaning of the concepts actual are.

1

First of all, Rand was very clear about the fact that she was redefining those terms. From what I've seen, you are content to describe the Objectivist position as "determinist" and "compatibilist" with no further explanation, which is not an objective way of communicating. Someone who reads your posts will come away with the wrong idea about what Objectivism says about free will - that's not really debatable.

Second, Rand's goal in redefining those concepts was to clarify their meanings and separate out the respective package deals that they were involved in. The concept of determinism is clear, and there is no package deal involved. I cannot see that your redefinition clarifies Rand's position on free will - as StrictlyLogical points out, I still don't know what your position on free will is, really.

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12 hours ago, William O said:

You claim that there isn't anything else to say and that Objectivism is neither determinist nor non-determinist, but this is simply incorrect. There is something more to say - that Objectivism accepts agent causal free will - and Objectivism is a non-determinist philosophy. If you deny this, I refer you to my previous posts in this thread.

IEP and SEP are nice sources. But unless any of us have a PhD in philosophy, or a Masters degree, we can't treat these as the be all and all source. I don't think it would make sense to present an argument about Rand's position based on the meanings implied and agreed upon in modern philosophy, that's not where her thinking stems from. We can point to Nietzsche, and Russian philosophers when she was in college, and Aristotle for her influences, and how she then formed a philosophy. What is implied and discussed in the free will debate isn't really about the things she said were important. So, I think you're trying to fit Rand into a modern philosophy category when basically anything she did was against the grain and controversial. This is part of why I said determinism is a distinction we should abandon. Because I think Rand is correct and not building on modern philosophy, the traditional definitions within this debate just don't cut it.

I think that Rand is closer to compatibilism than not, but she still isn't. If this is confusing, it's only because there is no view like hers. When we introduce terms like determinism or compatibilism or the libertarian notion of free will, then we would only mislead people more.

12 hours ago, William O said:

Weak determinism" isn't a term that is used in academia or in the Objectivist literature, to my knowledge.

I don't think so either, I was introducing a distinction to help the discussion. I was trying to frame things with terminology you prefer. Otherwise, we'd be talking past each other. I'm making the more controversial claim here, the onus is on me to clarify my thoughts. If you want, cite a specific philosopher that you think Rand is most like with regard to free will and is active within academic philosophy. I'm open to being wrong, but that's really the only kind of evidence that would change my mind much right now. I want something more than SEP or IEP.

11 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Some people need a bit more courage to admit, rather than evade or deny, that they simply disagree with Rand.

Or as I said, people don't like to interact with you. I mean, I think it is clear that we want to get the view right, and we have no qualms about saying when we do in fact disagree with Rand. There's no need to argue about who "really" understands. You have some peculiar ideas about free will that I don't think make any sense (not what you're saying here, things you said about indeterminism actually), but I don't see this as any sign of evasion.

Edited by Eiuol

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52 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I mean, I think it is clear that we want to get the view right, and we have no qualms about saying when we do in fact disagree with Rand.

Fact of the matter is 2046 has NOT given William O a straight answer and rather than admit he simply disagrees with Rand he tries to warp Objectivism into a form he likes better. 

It is acceptable to have views which conflict with Objectivism, it is not acceptable to pretend you are talking about Objectivism when you are actually mischaracterizing it, and talking about your own reworked philosophy which you wish Objectivism was.

 

53 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

There's no need to argue about who "really" understands. You have some peculiar ideas about free will that I don't think make any sense (not what you're saying here, things you said about indeterminism actually), but I don't see this as any sign of evasion.

The above is a pointless non sequitur.... laced with a personal attack

like the following. 

52 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Or as I said, people don't like to interact with you.

Feel free to disagree with what I have said with rational argument, or resort to your usual infantile personal attacks, if that makes you feel better about yourself.

 

 

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This points to a problem Wittgenstein talked about, that is imprecise language and its effects on philosophical conversation. "Connotation" is an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its primary or intended meaning. In addition to things like synonym and homonym, equivocation, undertone, implications and so forth, almost like Rand's conception of anticoncepts as package deals, all helps to obscure conversation. Anyways the point is taking an argument involving differing interpretations, saying something like "if what you mean by..." can help, like I said, that's why you define your terms. If there's a package deal, you seek to remove the meaning you don't want.

So William, would you accept a framework involving something like "If what you mean by S is P, and Q entails P, then Q can be seen as a species of S." Keep in mind, the entire issue was raised in response to the OP asking about how free will was supposed to square with cause and effect.

But Eiuol raises a good point, one that questions whether free will/determinism is a good distinction. Rand sought to eliminate many dualities, why not this one. It isn't just as simple as "because one side is correct" because, as we have seen, if what you mean by determinism is simply "all causes have effects," then it's not as if every deal in the package is bad, and furthermore not every deal in the "free will" package is good (in fact most conceptions of free will are rationalist and acausal.) So sometimes Rand wants to jettison a package deal like "isolationism" or "meritocracy" but wants to keep ones like "selfishness" and "capitalism" and "radical." She never really provides a criteria as to how to know what ones to keep and what ones to jettison, I suspect it largely depends on culture context. But anyways, just a side observation, and the "if what you mean by..." can be seen as a strategy for overcoming package deals.

Edited by 2046

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24 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The above is a pointless non sequitur.... laced with a personal attack

We went over this, sometimes the reason people don't interact is that maybe they don't like interacting with you. There was no question left for 2046 to respond to except yours. It isn't a personal attack to say that some people don't like talking to you. I have offered arguments, but without arguing against them, the response was that "I still didn't get it". So that was the end of the discussion.

I wrote a personal criticism, not an attack.

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3 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

We went over this, sometimes the reason people don't interact is that maybe they don't like interacting with you. There was no question left for 2046 to respond to except yours. It isn't a personal attack to say that some people don't like talking to you. I have offered arguments, but without arguing against them, the response was that "I still didn't get it". So that was the end of the discussion.

I wrote a personal criticism, not an attack.

When it is irrelevant it is an attack.  I think William O has been too patient with the both of you and he deserves better.  Taking a swipe at me or my style as some kind of diversion in your inept response to him is just sad.  

2046's and your unwillingness, in your conversation with William O, to DIRECTLY address the basic essential tenet of the OBJECTIVIST conception of free will, namely, that a man "could have chosen otherwise" IS cowardly.

and THAT, my friend, is not a personal attack.

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