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Do animals have volition II?

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59 minutes ago, merjet said:

We get what you are saying, whYNOT. If Pierson and Trout say that consciousness precedes volition (according to you), you say that is false. If Ayn Rand said that consciousness precedes volition (according to you, since consciousness is axiomatic), you say that is true. You are oblivious to your own contradictions. 

 

Consciousness is the metaphysical given, and axiomatic. What one DOES with it is not "given".

I said a few posts ago, "Consciousness ...HAD to exist before volition". (In order for volition to be possible). You have disregarded that too.

My assumption was that every Objectivist understands and caters to primacy of existence, so I assumed that didn't need stressing; I should not assume..

BUT given a consciousness, the causative precursor to USING or activating that consciousness is up to one's free will, volitional.

No contradictions except what you read wrongly - volitionally, I might say..

 

59 minutes ago, merjet said:

So the most reasonable interpretation is Doug Morris' -- consciousness and volition arose at the same time. They evolved together.

 

Volition is an ACT of will (choice) by an individual's consciousness. An ACT cannot and obviously does not "evolve".

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1 hour ago, merjet said:

A course of action pursued in the physical world requires using muscles. You ignored that.

I won't bore anyone by repeating what I've said constantly. About physical actions being vital to life and them being the outcomes of what animals and humans 'know' (by conceptual means or by instinct) and must DO, the humans acting with integrity to what they 'know. Or that movement is automated and self-automated in the brain Etc.

That would disturb your dream that I "ignored that".

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Doug Morris: "Why couldn't consciousness and volition have arisen at the same time?"
whYNOT: "Because "a volitional consciousness" does not presuppose that an individual chooses to use it."

1 hour ago, whYNOT said:
2 hours ago, merjet said:

So the most reasonable interpretation is Doug Morris' -- consciousness and volition arose at the same time. They evolved together.

Volition is an ACT of will (choice) by an individual's consciousness. An ACT cannot and obviously does not "evolve".

Doug's statement and mine were about evolutionary history.

Neither of your replies was about evolutionary history. Context matters.

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1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

I won't bore anyone by repeating what I've said constantly. About physical actions being vital to life

I will repeat something I said earlier. "We are debating somebody [you] who chooses to sever volition from physical actions."  You do so contrary to what Ayn Rand wrote in The Romantic Manifesto: "The faculty of volition operates in regard to the two fundamental aspects of man’s 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."

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On 7/12/2021 at 10:29 PM, whYNOT said:

These proponents of *consciousness for volitional movement* will create mind-body dissonance. They trivialize the criticality of volition, yes.

An individual in advance has to know, to understand, WHY, for what purpose - he is going to "move". They are not random motions, their purpose is supplied by his consciousness, his concepts and values. (Directly). Which he first needed to *volitionally* activate.

His subsequent bodily movements themselves are the lesser part, once decided, keeping integrity with the man's goal, and largely self-programed by habit.

Like animals, I've been saying, the person ~has to~ act/move according to the limits of his knowledge (inc. morality). Unlike animals, he is able to have a clear purpose and a conception of the acts' consequences. That's what we'd call "mind-body integration".

These writers have artificially interfered with that integrity.

 

5 hours ago, merjet said:

sever volition from...

Well, merjet, nice try at misrepresentation and gotcha's again. You can read above what I did say, and have repeated in other ways.

Indicate where any of my remarks essentially differs from this -

Rand: "The faculty of volition operates in regard to two fundamental aspects of man's life ... and the course of action he pursues in the physical world".

"Goal-directed action", once more. My constant refrain has been towards fulfillment via action.

From Rand we know: It is BY WAY of a volitional mind that he gains his character virtues and his concepts, it is BY WAY of those two then, that he decides, chooses his values, plans - and acts - in the physical world.

Those *muscle-volitionists* are those who sever volition from physical acts -- because they don't answer WHY man acts. For what cause, by what means, to which ends?

By their theory, human volition DIRECTLY instructs one's muscles and movements. How, why?

Thought without action "is obviously impotent"; and action without thought is "amoral, unguided and perceptually-based" - I repeat from yesterday.

I also remarked above, "his subsequent bodily movements are ... largely self-programed...".

That is regarding only bodily movements, not any more.

When Rand talks about "course of actions", its plain she doesn't mean literally, relating to simple or even difficult muscular motions. E.g., he climbed out of bed, she walked to the kitchen. she combs her hair, he lifted his briefcase - etc. Those locomotive acts are presumed upon, the feature of being a biological entity.

Instead, Rand certainly means the complex actions, further abstract thought and further choices one has to take to reach one's goals.

For that I called the theory by P and T, concretist, concerning 'volition' over the mechanical bodily movements themselves, nothing to do with volition and "formation of character" nor the "fundamental aspects of man's life" and so on.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

By their theory, human volition DIRECTLY instructs one's muscles and movements. How, why?

You mean you aren't aware of any instance of controlling your own muscles directly? Separate from that, do you think that the theory is that volition is only related to muscle motion?

 

Edited by Eiuol
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For those who have a searchable CD, the term "volitional" brought to light the following passage from Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology in the Appendix—Abstraction as Measurement-Omission:

[A]lthough I hesitate to talk about volition on the preconceptual level—because the subject isn't aware of it in those terms—even a preconceptual infant has the power to look around or not look, to listen or not listen. He has a certain minimal, primitive form of volition over the function of his senses. But volition in the full sense of a conscious choice, and a choice which he can observe by introspection, begins when he forms concepts—at the stage where he has a sufficient conceptual vocabulary to begin to form sentences and draw conclusions, when he can say consciously, in effect, "This table is larger than that one"—that he has to do volitionally. If he doesn't want to, he can skip that necessity, and you can observe empirically that too many people do, on too wide a scale.
 
I would contend, per the Salmieri lecture referenced earlier, that certain "low hanging fruit" of causal connections are likely provided for by instinctive means.
 
You might find an interesting introduction into a genetic approach to the domestication of animals in this link.
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Some personal notes from the following recording

https://youtu.be/HtXQTVYrBuQ

State of awareness, Faculty of awareness.
Form/Object distinction

19:00 Awareness in terms of concepts is volitional.
"Awareness as volitional at the conceptual level."

50:00 Perception as distinct from visualization (visualization, which unlike perception, is fallible)
This point is not addressed by Ayn (Alissa) Rand (Rosenbaum) (1905-1982), but is by Greg Salmieri and Aristotle of Stagira, Greece (384BC-322BC).

What perception is and isn't, and why perception cannot be wrong.
Visualization is the perceptual projecting of how an object will act or respond based on prior perceptual knowledge of it or similar objects.
Visualization is the perceptual projection of how an object will act or respond which is based on one's prior perceptual knowledge of it or like objects.


An animal which jumps around in trees, say a chipmunk, has landed on branches of various sizes before throughout its life. In each case they perceived how they supported him. This is an example of perceiving causality. The animal jumps, it lands, the branch, the branch bows, it feels it bow, and it feels the rush of the wind in its face, it feels it spring back: and what it is doing is perceiving the branch supporting it.

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10 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Indicate where any of my remarks essentially differs from this -

Rand: "The faculty of volition operates in regard to two fundamental aspects of man's life ... and the course of action he pursues in the physical world".

You made it so easy. 

1. "Debating Objectivists who can't accept a critical difference between voluntary/involuntary movement and volitional cognition. Between the physical and the mental actions" (link).
2. "Notice any reference to muscle volition in there?" (link)

You are oblivious to your contradictions.

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9 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

For those who have a searchable CD, the term "volitional" brought to light the following passage from Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology in the Appendix—Abstraction as Measurement-Omission:

[A]lthough I hesitate to talk about volition on the preconceptual level—because the subject isn't aware of it in those terms—even a preconceptual infant has the power to look around or not look, to listen or not listen. He has a certain minimal, primitive form of volition over the function of his senses.

Thank you. The quote shows that Rand attributed some level of volition to (1) a pre-conceptual consciousness and (2) a being less than fully self-aware and unable to think "I." 

Both are contrary to what whYNOT has asserted. 

Edited by merjet
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17 hours ago, Eiuol said:

 

You mean you aren't aware of any instance of controlling your own muscles directly? Separate from that, do you think that the theory is that volition is only related to muscle motion?

 

But of course. Very much like switching modes from Auto to Manual over-ride. Seems the way the brain has evolved in its elegant economy has been to self-program and self-automatize one's most regular, practiced or learned  muscular actions, allowing full awareness to be transferred to other things.  Many activities, like walking and running and learning a sport or operating machinery will be self-programed by regular repetitions, ALSO can be consciously over-ridden when necessary: when confronted with risky and unfamiliar situations. e.g. walking over rocky terrain, needing to pay attention to one's footing. Identify, assess and act accordingly.

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20 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

In that case, a lot of what we've been referring to as "volition" should be referred to as "the capacity for volition".

Yes, although capacity speaks more of a 'state' (of consciousness). The "faculty of volition" is more like it, inferring 'action' and actions. 

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2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

But of course.

Jeez, so you aren't even aware that you have free will over your own body to some extent. Now it makes sense why you think that volition couldn't have to do with locomotion. No, you don't control each muscle for each step, but I never considered that somebody would think that they don't control any of their muscles. 

 

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6 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Jeez, so you aren't even aware that you have free will over your own body to some extent. Now it makes sense why you think that volition couldn't have to do with locomotion. No, you don't control each muscle for each step, but I never considered that somebody would think that they don't control any of their muscles. 

 

Jeez. That is of course exactly what I said and implied. I don't have control over my body!

What an insight and how smart you are!

Is anyone so self-unaware that they don't believe they have control over their body?

"But of course"  I said, in reply. I AM "aware of any instance of controlling [my] own muscles directly". (Not only to "some extent", but majorly).

And also went onto how much of one's muscle actions, skills etc., are self-automated although able to instantly over ride, which bears on this issue and is interesting anyhow..

But you two are not the people for honest exchanges; all you do are 'gotchas'.

 

 

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15 hours ago, merjet said:

Thank you. The quote shows that Rand attributed some level of volition to (1) a pre-conceptual consciousness and (2) a being less than fully self-aware and unable to think "I." 

Both are contrary to what whYNOT has asserted. 

Talk about grasping at straws. Heh.

You may call on Rand, selectively, while knowing from her writing she would not consider the contradictory hypothesis you are presenting.

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On 7/15/2021 at 12:23 AM, merjet said:

I will repeat something I said earlier. "We are debating somebody [you] who chooses to sever volition from physical actions".

Priceless. merjet is covering up his severance of volitional MENTAL actions.

I've constantly stressed both: mental actions and their active consequences.

Unsurprising, that the volitional theory by P and T, the "muscle-volitionists", exhibits concrete-boundedness.

 

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1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

I AM "aware of any instance of controlling [my] own muscles directly". (Not only to "some extent", but majorly).

I hope you realize it looks like you answered the wrong question. I said "you aren't aware" and you said "but of course". Anyway... 

Basically, please stop. Stop. You aren't trying to find a charitable interpretation or have a careful and rational dispute. You keep needling and needling. You post 3 times in a row. I'd really rather keep it on topic with DW's new thoughts than you popping back in every few posts almost to repeat what you already said. 

 

Edited by Eiuol
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49 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I hope you realize it looks like you answered the wrong question. I said "you aren't aware" and you said "but of course". Anyway... 

Basically, please stop. Stop. You aren't trying to find a charitable interpretation or have a careful and rational dispute. You keep needling and needling. You post 3 times in a row. I'd really rather keep it on topic with DW's new thoughts that you popping back in every few posts almost to repeat what you already said. 

 

For which minor error and uncharitable interpretation you could have simply apologized. It's a measure of the lack of good will and candor in this discussion that you would presume I am not looking for a charitable 'read' nor want a rational debate. Both assumptions are unjust.

Seems you haven't heard it takes two to tango, or three. Look to merjet's and your confrontational behavior here, too.

The effects of some of these arguments about physical volition are *only* compromising to man's volitional consciousness, the mainstay of reason and Objectivism - and therefore it is not a non-sequitur for me to assert that universal determinism/skepticism is the biggest problem faced today. Those are only what matters to me, not anyone's opinion of me.

Simple: don't read me. Someone else may gain some value.

 

 

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7 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Priceless. merjet is covering up his severance of volitional MENTAL actions.

Priceless and utter nonsense. I have emphasized attention as a big component of volition. Attention is the control of access to conscious awareness. Moreover, to focus one's mind is to direct one's attention. Tony (whYNOT) is very good at not paying attention.

On 7/14/2021 at 8:43 PM, whYNOT said:

Those *muscle-volitionists* are those who sever volition from physical acts

This is more of his contradictory nonsense. Here he implies A is not-A.

He says: "Simple: don't read me."

Why don't you follow your own advice? Don't read anything I post nor respond to it.  

Edited by merjet
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Another paragraph relevant to the one posted from the appendix to ITOE earlier.

This is from The Ayn Rand Letter, Vol. II, No. 17  May 21, 1973, The Missing Link--Part II

I am not a student of the theory of evolution and, therefore, I am neither its supporter nor its opponent. But a certain hypothesis has haunted me for years; I want to stress that it is only a hypothesis. There is an enormous breach of continuity between man and all the other living species. The difference lies in the nature of man's consciousness, in its distinctive characteristic: his conceptual faculty. It is as if, after aeons of physiological development, the evolutionary process altered its course, and the higher stages of development focused primarily on the consciousness of living species, not their bodies. But the development of a man's consciousness is volitional: no matter what the innate degree of his intelligence, he must develop it, he must learn how to use it, he must become a human being by choice. What if he does not choose to? Then he becomes a transitional phenomenon—a desperate creature that struggles frantically against his own nature, longing for the effortless "safety" of an animal's consciousness, which he cannot recapture, and rebelling against a human consciousness, which he is afraid to achieve.

For years, scientists have been looking for a "missing link" between man and animals. Perhaps that missing link is the anti-conceptual mentality.

I note the preface of hesitancy to discuss volition on the preconceptual level in the ITOE reference. Why the need to qualify the second preconceptual reference with infant? Surly it is not to segregate infants from adult chimpanzees. Why the hesitancy to discuss volition on the preconceptual level at all?

The minimal, primitive form of volition over the function of [a human infant's] senses - as in contrast with what extemporaneously omitted delivery?

An animal has no conceptual consciousness that has been demonstrated except for perhaps a couple of extreme borderline cases. Borderline cases are generally exceptions to the rule and indicators of some deeper underlying factor.

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12 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

I note the preface of hesitancy to discuss volition on the preconceptual level in the ITOE reference. Why the need to qualify the second preconceptual reference with infant? Surly it is not to segregate infants from adult chimpanzees. Why the hesitancy to discuss volition on the preconceptual level at all?

I think her hesitancy is understandable considering the lack of access to what takes place in the infant's mind, its lack of self-awareness, its inability to introspect, and its inability to express itself in words. The same barriers exist when considering volition in other species.

Notice she said, "even a preconceptual infant has the power to look around or not look, to listen or not listen. He has a certain minimal, primitive form of volition over the function of his senses." In different words, that is the selective attention part of volition that I have often emphasized in this thread.

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So both uses of preconceptual  in that passage are referencing human preconceptualness. In other species, there appears no conceptual realm. So to extend a minimal, primitive form of volition over the function of an animals senses, that is going to result in the perception that is automatically provided by them. An animal sees, hears, tastes, smells and feels the immediacy of the moment. It is an integrated cognition that can provide it the awareness of entities, without the awareness that it is entities of which it is aware of. The extent of what can be done with such cognition is delimited to the nature of the particular animal at that point. The self-generated motion, without a sense of self has to be based on the environment. The power to alter the environment is limited to its particular nature.

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To elaborate more on the choices available, when nature presents it with prey, it can pursue it or not. If it pursues it, it can select from the "arsenal in its toolbox". Drawing upon episodic recollection may guide it in its selection. Presented with two or more prey to "select" from, episodic recollection may provide guidance, in both cases provided it is part of the cognitive package nature provided the always what has remained a hunter-gatherer lifestyle it has not been able to alter generation after generation.

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