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Do animals have volition II?

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8 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

attention IS their consciousness.

Yeah, which has some degree of choice...

Anyway, you don't know how to construct a proper deduction. You don't realize that you made an error that leads to absurd conclusions that even you disagree with. So even if I read what you say logically, it still won't mean what you want it to mean. This is why it is impossible to have a conversation with you.

1 hour ago, merjet said:

In other words, you admit you mangled what they said. What you concocted and claimed they said is wrong. You are wrong, not them.

He said that he was fixing their error which said that "the purpose of consciousness is volition" so he was disagreeing with the paper. The mangled concoction is his poorly constructed argument and awkward grammar and denial of logical implications.

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:
1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Yeah, which has some degree of choice...

 

 

Some degree of choice...In other words, you don't know why an animal acts.

What's "choice"?

"I want this; I want this over that. I don't want that".

Those presuppose 1. "I" know my identity and the nature of other entities AND 2. I know what's good for my life and am able to place good/better/worse in a value hierarchy

Does an animal know what its nature is? Does it know good from bad (e.g. which food to eat and when and from what it's in danger?)

Without such knowledge, the ability for "choice", the animal instinct for self-preservation is its biggest motivator - after biological urges/drives and pain avoidance. Everything it does and doesn't do is geared around this, its innate, automatic, default code of behavior. "Attention", etc. is INNATE knowledge: the survival instinct.

 

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What looks like "choice" by an animal, is humans imposing their version of consciousness, causality, attributes, needs/wants - volition - etc., ONTO animals.

Exactly because a human hasn't any built-in knowledge for survival, is the reason he cannot understand what it is to have instincts. Rationalization follows.

Therefore, either animal behavior gets popularly mystified and humanized - or animals are reduced by scientists to the sum of their (biological) parts. Wrong approach, both ways.

 

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Yeah, which has some degree of choice...

Anyway, you don't know how to construct a proper deduction. You don't realize that you made an error that leads to absurd conclusions that even you disagree with. So even if I read what you say logically, it still won't mean what you want it to mean. This is why it is impossible to have a conversation with you.

 

Nope, the trouble is rationalism; you ¬deduce reality¬ from various theories produced by scientists .

Since this concerns animal existence, observation/induction of animal nature, in themselves, informed by the over-arching metaphysical nature of *all* life - takes top priority, long before making deductions.

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19 hours ago, whYNOT said:

"...that consciousness itself [and there's no clue whether animal or human, so one supposes, both]  - has any direct causal efficacy other than volition..."

No valid...evidence...(What!)

If you have any such evidence, then what is it? 
 

19 hours ago, whYNOT said:

This is the authors' order of priority and causation: consciousness ->volition -> movement. A false presumption, for humans - and - animals.

1. What makes it false for humans?  

2. What makes it false for animals? 

3. What is your supposedly true presumption for humans?  

4. What is your supposedly true presumption for animals?
 

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In the context, the two authors, when they say "consciousness", actually should be saying "brain". When, "volition", they really indicate "voluntarism". So *the brain* of all animals/humans regulates, senses and controls a thousand things per minute - and self-automatizes new physical (and mental) activities. Nothing new. So the physical actions the animal/human makes, are often voluntary and many times, involuntary. What of it?

One learns to walk (or a cheetah to run, an eagle to swoop, etc.) and thereafter never has to command oneself: "now - carefully put one foot ahead of the other" ... self-automatized actions. (And P and T note that, in learning to drive a car, by the usual example - or it could be developing a new sporting activity and new interests and studying philosophy, etc.)

This self-automatizing  is certainly the province of brain science - of neural pathways, continuously forging new synaptic connections, neuro-plasticity, and the like, when new activity is learned or trained - it seems to my layman's knowledge.

By making the ("evolved", right) 'consciousness' (of humans and animals) altogether the means to physical ends i.e. our 'volitional' action, they have trivialized consciousness AND volition of man. If they'd stuck with "brain" and "voluntary" motion for all we biological animals, I'd have few objections.

 

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19 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

How can a "survival instinct" work without knowledge of what works for survival, what works against it, and to what extent?

Isn't that begging the question? "Instinct" means or implies "without knowledge" - or innate 'knowledge' accurately inherited through succeeding generations of animals.

To take survival instinct further, I think it's a ~predetermined~ code of action; if it somehow weren't 'obeyed' by a particular species, that species would die out. Not that it's a certainty of success for each ~individual~ animal, each could and still dies prematurely from many causes (nature is careless and wasteful).

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So by "survival instinct" you do not mean an instinct directly to survive, nor any awareness of the issue of survival on the part of the animal.  Rather, you mean an instinct to perform certain particular actions, actions which in fact improve the animal's prospects of survival.

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1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

So the physical actions the animal/human makes, are often voluntary and many times, involuntary. What of it?

...................wow.

 

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2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

So the physical actions the animal/human makes, are often voluntary and many times, involuntary. What of it?

To echo Eiuol, stunning! According to Tony (whYNOT) an animal's actions can be voluntary yet automatic, instinctual, and non-volitional. To quote from Galt's speech again: "The law of identity does not permit you to have your cake and eat it, too." 

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2 hours ago, merjet said:

To echo Eiuol, stunning! According to Tony (whYNOT) an animal's actions can be voluntary yet automatic, instinctual, and non-volitional. To quote from Galt's speech again: "The law of identity does not permit you to have your cake and eat it, too." 

Amazing. Debating Objectivists who can't accept a critical difference between voluntary/involuntary movement and volitional cognition. Between the physical and the mental actions.

The former, undertaken by every creature alive ("goal-directed action"), apparently also grants 'volition' to animals - I suppose. No cake for you fellows.

Refresh your memories:

Volition - exercise of the will; power of willing (C.O.D)

And:

Free Will/Volition

That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call “free will” is your mind’s freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character. Galt's speech

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3 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

So by "survival instinct" you do not mean an instinct directly to survive, nor any awareness of the issue of survival on the part of the animal.  Rather, you mean an instinct to perform certain particular actions, actions which in fact improve the animal's prospects of survival.

Better put, is the instinct of self-preservation. Without "awareness of the issue of survival", true.

But for one thing, an animal's pain-pleasure capacity: the pain felt being a direct and unmistakable sensory signal of something to avoid.

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Voluntary actions are type of choice, we have been saying how animals have some degree of choice. Therefore, you agree that animals have some degree of choice.

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On 7/9/2021 at 10:11 AM, merjet said:

I partly agree with the highlighted sentence in your post. What an animal or human perceives via its sensory nerves is nonvolitional. However, not everything about sensory nerves applies to motor nerves. So your by extension argument doesn't work. Also, the quote from FTNI says nothing about using the results of perception for bodily movements absent a conceptual consciousness.  

Clearly animals use the results of perception for bodily movements. 

 

On 7/9/2021 at 10:11 AM, merjet said:

Ayn Rand many years later in The Romantic Manifesto reformulated her view of volition: “The faculty of volition operates in regard to the two fundamental aspects of life: consciousness and existence, i.e. his psychological action and his existential action, i.e., the formation of his own character and the course of action he pursues in the physical world.”

A reformulation, or a supplement?

 

On 7/9/2021 at 10:11 AM, merjet said:

First, consciousness is not merely conceptual. Attention and perception are part of consciousness. Second, her existential action component of volition is absent from FTNI and VoS. Animals perform existential actions, too. They are not prohibited from doing so simply because they lack a conceptual faculty.

Again, no disagreement here.

On 7/9/2021 at 10:11 AM, merjet said:

Explaining an animal's or human's actions in the physical world needs the help of physiology, including the nervous system, and affordances. These concepts are missing from both her descriptions of volition.  

What science guides physiology in drawing their conclusions? What state is that science currently in?

On 7/9/2021 at 10:11 AM, merjet said:

Are you suggesting that selective perceptual attention and physical actions are irrelevant to volition? Are you suggesting that volition is only about the choice to think or not? I don't buy either suggestion and again refer you to Scope of Volition

Are those the only suggested alternatives? 

On 7/9/2021 at 10:11 AM, merjet said:

Rand said in FTNI after the excerpt you quoted: "An animal's consciousness functions automatically." That's merely a bold assertion that it does so, somehow. How? She gave no answer. She gave no evidence from animal ethology, physiology or neurophysiology that even tries to explain how.

Perception is automatic. I have no issue with an animal having the capacity to automatically act on its perception. It acts within the scope of its instincts, and each successive generation has continued to bear this out. I'm more inclined to wonder about the physiologist's epistemic justification for his conclusions, especially with the weight volition provides to the morality inferred on being right or wrong on the matter. 

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4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Voluntary actions are type of choice, we have been saying how animals have some degree of choice. Therefore, you agree that animals have some degree of choice.

Good, so "volition" is now off the table.

"Voluntary": 1. Done, acting, able to act, of one's own free will, not constrained; purposed, intentional.

One could accept - acting, able to act, not constrained. Not the rest. That section corresponds best to self-generated, self-directed action - for animals - as in freedom of their movement, simply. Albeit, movement without conscious design, purpose nor intention.

There's the problem you have faced all along. All these word-concepts: choice, focus, volition, purpose, intentional, voluntary; they are man-made words dedicated exclusively to man-activity. There is no word for the cause of animals' motions, from urges, instinct, etc,etc. - part of the reason I'm certain, why humans have bestowed them onto animals. ANY actions with observable results, by animals, will always SEEM to be chosen and purposeful, by humans, but wrongly.  Think beaver building and completing a dam. A lioness mating (eventually giving birth to her cubs), unplanned and unknown to her what the results would be, her unchosen offspring. 

But choice and purpose can only be attributed to humans who know what they want and need, how to go about it, and who can anticipate the expected results, and so on. The animal exists in the moment and location - with very short term attention.

 

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14 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Now you defined voluntary as involuntary. 

Correct, I guess I did.

Look, an animal can only and must react to what it - 'knows'. In the present and the place.

When one can accept that its over-riding ("macro") code of behavior, its morality so to speak, is its instinctual 'knowledge', many instincts subsumed under the primary instinct, self-preservation; and that its - micro- responses to random sense-perceptions (with higher mammals) and simple senses (with other species) about the reality existing around it at the time - along with its biological drives and needs ...

then it becomes apparent that every action by an animal is "involuntary". "Self-directed" -and- involuntary.

That is not contradicted by a mammal's "perceptual integration and retention" (memories, if you prefer) from experience: The imitated, adapted, painful, pleasurable experiences, all and any falling under its 'knowledge' and which shape its involuntary behavior.

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On 7/10/2021 at 9:11 AM, whYNOT said:

One learns to walk (or a cheetah to run, an eagle to swoop, etc.) and thereafter never has to command oneself: "now - carefully put one foot ahead of the other"

Whoop-de-do. Can a cheetah choose where to run? Can an eagle choose where to swoop or the target of its swooping? By the way, what is it about a cheetah's or eagle's physiology, especially its nervous system, that makes all of its actions fully automatic, instinctual, and non-volitional?

20 hours ago, whYNOT said:

it becomes apparent that every action by an animal is "involuntary". "Self-directed" -and- involuntary.

Are you saying that no organisms except humans have a voluntary nervous system?  What is apparent to you isn't reality. Check your premises. "Skeletal muscle contraction is voluntary and under the regulation of the somatic nervous system" (link).

 

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On 7/10/2021 at 2:02 PM, whYNOT said:

Debating Objectivists who can't accept a critical difference between voluntary/involuntary movement and volitional cognition. Between the physical and the mental actions.

LOL. We are debating somebody who chooses to sever volition from physical actions. A volition without a physical body able to interact with the external world is useless. It's also a contradiction in terms like Ayn Rand said about a consciousness aware only of itself.  

Two definitions

volitional
1. done of one’s own will or choosing; deliberately decided or chosen
2. under conscious control
voluntary
1. done, made, brought about, undertaken, etc., of one's own accord or by free choice
2. of, relating to, or acting in accord with the will

Note that both definitions say nothing about "done" being done mentally or physically. It covers both implicitly.

Etymology

Both volitional and voluntary derive from the Latin verb velle, meaning "to will" or "to wish." https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volition

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On 7/10/2021 at 9:11 AM, whYNOT said:

By making the ("evolved", right) 'consciousness' (of humans and animals) altogether the means to physical ends i.e. our 'volitional' action, they have trivialized consciousness AND volition of man.

Altogether, i.e. completely? Clearly not. 

1. Pierson and Trout: "The ultimate adaptive function of consciousness is to make volitional movement possible." Ultimate means most important, not only. Volitional movement is only one function of consciousness. Clearly consciousness has many more functions -- attention, awareness, perception, learning, etc. If anybody is trivializing, it's you. You trivialize their article in order to defend your notion that an animal's actions are fully automatic, instinctual, and non-volitional (yet some were voluntary until yesterday! :lol:). Animal volition or an animal choosing repulses Tony like a crucifix repulses Count Dracula. :lol:

2. Obtaining physical ends requires using physical means, i.e. bodily movements. You trivialize bodily movements. A volition without a physical body able to interact with the external world is useless. It's also a contradiction in terms like Ayn Rand said about a consciousness aware only of itself. That's how you trivialize volition.

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6 hours ago, merjet said:

 

Are you saying that no organisms except humans have a voluntary nervous system?  What is apparent to you isn't reality. Check your premises. "Skeletal muscle contraction is voluntary and under the regulation of the somatic nervous system" (link).

 

 Must I repeat for the zillionth time that we are all biological creatures? Brains, nervous systems ...

Go in deeper than a VNS, animals/humans jointly have cells, have DNA. In further, we are composed of molecules, etc. ... such reductionism is CONTRA-consciousness.

"Reductive materialism (Identity theory) claims that there is no independent, autonomous level of phenomena in the world that would correspond to the level of conscious mental states. It also states that the level of conscious phenomena is identical with some level of purely neurological description".

---

Clinging to a conveniently named "voluntary" nervous system, for proof, is not going to work,.you see. Naturally - "voluntary"- from a biological-neurological perspective, "a brain" orders it into action.

The question is not by which biological means do we contract muscles and move, it is what is the initial - first - cause of motion? The brain-consciousness. Evidently. Okay, what is there in an animal's brain w.r.t its immediate reality that impels the brain to command nerves and muscles to act and  react?

Innate, automatic and self-automatized responses to its situation.

An animal lacks the capacity (and self-knowledge and self-value and of course, conceptual knowledge, btw) to over-ride or disobey its instincts and 'learned behavior', and its bodily functions and urges, I argued in the previous post.

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34 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

I argued in the previous post.

The form of your premises entail that animals are not conscious, so there is really no point in saying anything until you can recognize that.

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

The form of your premises entail that animals are not conscious, so there is really no point in saying anything until you can recognize that.

More sophistry. I am getting tired of these stupid and dishonest remarks from the Mutt and Jeff duo. I repeatedly affirmed that mammals, in particular, have a consciousness.

Senses, perceptions, perceptual retention, perceptual associations, pain-pleasure - even - simple emotions, automated from their pain-pleasure experiences. What do those comprise but consciousness? And - the animals all have instinctual 'knowledge'.

A direct question: Do animals have instincts? Do they have the instinct for self-preservation?

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