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Do animals have volition II?

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

To focus on it, yes.

For one thing, that would imply the identification has already taken place.

The "it" is attracting you. You know what "it" is.

Let us say you are focused on what is attractive. Are you in a sense pushing toward it, or is it pulling you?

The first person experience could be "I am being pulled", or "it is pulling me" or "I can't take my eyes off of it".

Taking ones focus off of something "in spite of" attraction, would definitively indicate choice.

Unless, focus is simply to "bring into focus" as in acting toward making everything identifiable. In this case the attraction  to the object is not involved as one cannot distinguish "the it" to be attracted or repulsed.

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

For one thing, that would imply the identification has already taken place.

The point of the choice to focus is that it is a necessary precondition to identification. It's necessary to be able to make comparisons. 

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Let us say you are focused on what is attractive. Are you in a sense pushing toward it, or is it pulling you?

It's both. I don't know what you're getting at.

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

In this case the attraction  to the object is not involved as one cannot distinguish "the it" to be attracted or repulsed.

That would only be true if you didn't have sense organs. For sense organs to work at all, they are directed at objects (and the objects themselves offer something to look at). And that's really the point. Sense organs imply the ability to focus. 

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9 minutes ago, Eiuol said:
1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Let us say you are focused on what is attractive. Are you in a sense pushing toward it, or is it pulling you?

It's both. I don't know what you're getting at.

Love, or the attachment/attraction/focus toward something is not always both. It can be considered caused by something else, (the object of love) not by choice. Love is a reaction, a response that can induce focus. In a sense, that kind of focus is not necessarily indicative of a conscious choice.

The point is that if something is "in focus", as distinguishable, identifiable, this state could have been created by a conscious act or by an automatic response to something else (other than self), or even it simply happened to be in focus, as in you have proper magnification without any effort on your part.

Therefore focus, or being focused, as a state, is not always/necessarily caused by choice. The state of "clarity of vision" can exist sometimes without one's effort.

Focus is the initiation of an act of volition. All acts of volition require focus, but not all instances of focus required volition.

38 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

That would only be true if you didn't have sense organs. For sense organs to work at all, they are directed at objects (and the objects themselves offer something to look at). And that's really the point. Sense organs imply the ability to focus. 

I think you made Greg's point:

7 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

The primary difference is that the ability to focus is not necessarily indicative of volition.

As in: The fact that you have sense organs does not necessarily mean you have volition.

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11 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

The primary difference is that the ability to focus is not necessarily indicative of volition.

Right, just as man's rational capacity is always present but can be and often is unutilized, dormant.

The animal doesn't, cannot focus. It can only operate at the level of sensory-perceptual associations which man by effort, raises above, through "focus".

"When man unfocuses his mind, he may be said to be conscious in a subhuman sense of the word, since he experiences sensations and perceptions. But..."

Edited by whYNOT
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22 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

I think of a whippoorwill using a broken wing act to distract attention from where its nest lay when it is approached. How many of the creatures observing the act are distracted from where the nest lay and follow the whippoorwill until it flies off. How many creatures see this 'ruse' for what it is?

Instinct. Not volitional nor "complex behavior".

It sees the intruder and automatically will and must go into its act. For which it is well known, i.e. an instinctive characteristic of a specific bird.

The watching human thinks - How clever! (Anthropomorphism).

Edited by whYNOT
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3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

In a sense, that kind of focus is not necessarily indicative of a conscious choice.

Is it a reaction, or type of focus? It can't be both.

3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

It can be considered caused by something else, (the object of love) not by choice.

Indeed they are not the same, but they are in the same process. They are both responsible for what occurs in reality. You just confirmed what I said by saying that something else can also be considered the cause.

3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

even it simply happened to be in focus, as in you have proper magnification without any effort on your part.

This is equivocation. We are talking about the focus possessed by animals. We've already ruled out any meaning of focus applied to inanimate objects. We aren't concerned with inanimate objects. The capacity of focus is functional for animals, but not for inanimate objects. 

3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Focus is the initiation of an act of volition.

Rand says that focus is volitional. She makes no claim or even suggestion that there is a such thing as non-volitional focus. 

3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

The state of "clarity of vision" can exist sometimes without one's effort.

Probably one of the most important things about Oism is that exactly this kind of focus requires a choice. You cannot maintain a state of clear vision without choosing to focus (no, I'm not claiming that animals possess that wider overarching vision). 

15 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

It sees the intruder and automatically will and must go into its act. For which it is well known, i.e. characteristic of the specific bird.

For a lot of you guys, I don't know if you're stupid, dogmatic, or both. Try listening and engaging with the ideas. I even gave you a lecture to talk about. You insist on repeating yourself, without realizing that the theory you are describing is dead because it doesn't work. Wrong, incorrect, better theories discovered, better theories demonstrated. It's like arguing against the miasma theory. There are even theories that are better that deny animals are volitional in the sense I am talking about! 

15 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

Not volitional nor "complex behavior".

Well, it's obvious you think that being able to explain behavior makes it simple and therefore not volitional. The corollary would be that if you can't explain it (through a series of principles or metaphysical facts), it's volitional. Therefore, it would stand to reason under your view that when I say animals are volitional it's because I cannot explain their behavior, except to say "they chose it". 

Edited by Eiuol
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29 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

For a lot of you guys, I don't know if you're stupid, dogmatic, or both. Try listening and engaging with the ideas. I even gave you a lecture to talk about. You insist on repeating yourself, without realizing that the theory you are describing is dead because it doesn't work. Wrong, incorrect, better theories discovered, better theories demonstrated. It's like arguing against the miasma theory. There are even theories that are better that deny animals are volitional in the sense I am talking about! 

Well, it's obvious you think that being able to explain behavior makes it simple and therefore not volitional. The corollary would be that if you can't explain it (through a series of principles or metaphysical facts), it's volitional. Therefore, it would stand to reason under your view that when I say animals are volitional it's because I cannot explain their behavior, except to say "they chose it". 

Fear of the "dogmatic" turns to philosophical skepticism/subjectivity.

Objectivism deals with fundamentals, life, organisms, and so on. With which any decent theory of science should integrate, and be integrated. 

If instinct - among other animal traits and animal/human traits -  is something you think can be replaced with volition I don't think you understand volition.

Try "engaging" with the ideas of Objectivism. If you have a better philosophy, I'm all ears.

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23 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

 

Well, it's obvious you think that being able to explain behavior makes it simple and therefore not volitional. The corollary would be that if you can't explain it (through a series of principles or metaphysical facts), it's volitional. Therefore, it would stand to reason under your view that when I say animals are volitional it's because I cannot explain their behavior, except to say "they chose it". 

"Better theories". Let's start simple. I want a better explanation for a whippoorwill's behavior.

Why this breed of bird has always acted so and will always as long as it is what it is.

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14 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Instinct. Not volitional nor "complex behavior".

It sees the intruder and automatically will and must go into its act. For which it is well known, i.e. an instinctive characteristic of a specific bird.

The watching human thinks - How clever! (Anthropomorphism).

It took a few times approaching an area from different angles to triangulate the nests position, though I had not learned the conceptual term for triangulate then.

One year at summer camp, the canteen room had put a bee colony housed in a clear plexiglas case with the egress set at one of the windows.

One of the themes that week of camp dealt with the dance of the honey bee. Robert Sapolsky added some detail I don't recollect from the educational films about the bees shown at that camp close to 50 years ago. Rotating the hive to glean insight to the instinctive 'language' of the bees does not document the compulsory education system imposed on the larva by the queens edict to inculcate the impressionable youngsters. 

Even if the young are 'taught' lessons by the parent or other members of the tribe, such 'teaching' is repeated generation after generation without expanding on the 'knowledge' passed on. 

Man's ability to decipher the 'nectar dance' speaks more highly of man's reasoning capacity than to the bees caste social structure.

 

Edited by dream_weaver
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Ah, one of those "you wouldn't understand if I explained to you, so I won't bother" outs.

I call your bluff. Whatever the behavioral theory for the smart little whipoorwill's actions is, explain it for the smart posters here.

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7 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

It took a few times approaching an area from different angles to triangulate the nests position, though I had not learned the conceptual term for triangulate then.

One year at summer camp, the canteen room had put a bee colony housed in a clear plexiglas case with the egress set at one of the windows.

One of the themes that week of camp dealt with the dance of the honey bee. Robert Sapolsky added some detail I don't recollect from the educational films about the bees shown at that camp close to 50 years ago. Rotating the hive to glean insight to the instinctive 'language' of the bees does not document the compulsory education system imposed on the larva by the queens edict to inculcate the impressionable youngsters. 

Even if the young are 'taught' lessons by the parent or other members of the tribe, such 'teaching' is repeated generation after generation without expanding on the 'knowledge' passed on. 

Man's ability to decipher the 'nectar dance' speaks more highly of man's reasoning capacity than to the bees caste social structure.

 

Part-recalled: in close proximity bees' bodies vibrate communication to one another, what one could call data-information - "pass it on" - in a perceived "dance", en masse. Which does make sense - with human observation aided by empathic understanding.

'Knowledge' which could be about the direction and distance to flowers, and many things one can infer, about the state of their queen and hive, warnings of intruders approaching, and what work actions they must make for the good of the colony. Along with specialized senses of smell and vision, their delicate touch and body language conducts those variable messages, I guess.  Each bee is observably a minute part of the whole body, subservient to the queen and ultimate collective, (and are cited sometimes as the ideal model by altruist-collectivists).

Most importantly: "...teaching is repeated generation after generation without expanding on the 'knowledge'... "

That's clear evidence of instinctualism for any species, non- mankind. With the science of genetics, I haven't a clue why animal behaviorists would resist/delimit a theory of animal instincts, if they do.

The birds and now bees, d_w? Some "association" going on. ;)

 

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6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

I call your bluff. Whatever the behavioral theory for the smart little whipoorwill's actions is, explain it for the smart posters here.

I mean, I did, you just don't understand. You literally don't get it. The behavior is possible because of some basic social awareness. I've gone pessimistic that most posters here are smart enough. It's about intellectual curiosity. 

6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

That's clear evidence of instinctualism for any species, non- mankind

By definition, learning is not instinct. Instinct is innate, learning is not. 

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And when the parrot learns "Polly wants a cracker." because the bird wasn't innately endowed with it at birth, it learned it? What, precisely, did it learn? What if it acquired the capacity to parrot Gandolf's line from Lord of the Rings, "Tell me, "friend", when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?"

Why is it important to accept that animals learn rather than have the innate capacity to imitate or interact with the world in ways that some men can't accept as natural except in an anthropomorphic way?

Edited by dream_weaver
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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

 

By definition, learning is not instinct. Instinct is innate, learning is not. 

Learning, the capacity and grasp of an ¬active¬ consciousness (which knows purposefully what it's learning and so, volitionally goal-directed).

Imitation and mimicry isn't learning.

A passage I quoted before, Rand's footnote is core imo to understanding where she's coming from:

"When applied to physical phenomena, such as the automatic functions of an organism, the term “goal-directed” is not to be taken to mean “purposive” (a concept applicable only to the actions of a consciousness) and is not to imply the existence of any teleological principle operating in insentient nature. I use the term “goal-directed,” in this context, to designate the fact that the automatic functions of living organisms are actions whose nature is such that they ¬result¬ in the preservation of an organism’s life". p16 vos

¬Such that they, automatic functions, RESULT in the preservation of an organism's life¬

An effect without conscious intent - non-purposiveness - by animal 'teacher' or 'a pupil'.  A beneficial behavior specific to them is passed along through generations of a specific species.

(Some times a man comes along and purposefully teaches/trains the dog or horse or bird "new tricks", according to their natural aptitude, which reinforces the fact of that automatic function of animals).

 

 

Edited by whYNOT
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1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

And when the parrot learns "Polly wants a cracker." because the bird wasn't innately endowed with it at birth, it learned it?

Precisely. That's what it means. It's the technical definition. It doesn't refer to conceptual integration.

1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

Why is it important to accept that animals learn rather than have the innate capacity to imitate or interact with the world in ways that some men can't accept as natural except in an anthropomorphic way?

Because innate capacities and learned behaviors are completely distinct. You need both concepts to understand behavior. Reason for example is an innate capacity, even though it cannot operate without volition. Learned behaviors can be relatively automatic, the most extreme view being that consciousness is irrelevant to this process.

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58 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

 

Because innate capacities and learned behaviors are completely distinct.

Certainly not, even allowing metaphorically for your "learned" they are inseparable.

The instinct IS to 'learn' (copy, mimic, etc.)

No choice nor free will ¬but¬ to imitate. 'Learning' behavior is an innate capacity.

Which is evidently how and why that behavior is accurately sustained, unchanged, over generations of a species.

 

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58 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

Certainly not, even allowing metaphorically for your "learned" they are inseparable.

Seriously, just stop. I'm telling you the basic definition of the field. It's like arguing that F = ma.

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3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

And when the parrot learns "Polly wants a cracker." because the bird wasn't innately endowed with it at birth, it learned it? What, precisely, did it learn? What if it acquired the capacity to parrot Gandolf's line from Lord of the Rings, "Tell me, "friend", when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?"

 

What if a parrot is given a cracker whenever it parrots Gandalf's line from Lord of the Rings, "Tell me, "friend", when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?"

What if an animal with parrot-like mimicry ability and an extremely discriminating sense of smell is trained to say "Polly wants a cracker." whenever it smells a brain tumor?  (Assume this animal is an obligate carnivore.)

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On 5/8/2021 at 5:27 PM, Easy Truth said:

The lion acts like it knows that it should go left to get the water. Somewhat like a human would (purposefully).

Having found a source of water on the left, wouldn't it be more "purposeful" for the human to explore the right path for an additional source of water as the measure of volition?

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3 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

What if a parrot is given a cracker whenever it parrots Gandalf's line from Lord of the Rings, "Tell me, "friend", when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?"

I've been giving the cat a treat when it uses the scratch post. Now it uses that post just about every time we are both in that same room. It hasn't mastered Gandolf's line yet. Fortunately it only weighs 18 pounds (a bit over 1.28 stone.) 

Spoiler

 

 

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