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Is volition a prerequisite for error?

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Guest Eric Lanser

Is volition a prerequisitite for the possibility of error? The explanation would go: abstraction allows an entity with consciousness to omit certain aspects of an object. By ignoring those aspects, mistakes are possible.

In fact, this seems to be precisely what we mean by "error" as opposed to ignorance. If we go near some radioactive substance and harm ourselves, we don't call this an error. We didn't misuse information but simply lacked it (in this case, we had no organ or instruments to detect radioactivity). Words (that I can think of at this hour) that capture parts of this meaning are: "accident," "detriment," etc.

According to this theory, then, animals not possessing free will would not be capable of error. Actions that detriment them are simply a matter of ignorance or bad programming of one sort or another.

Is this the proper meaning of what is commonly called "error?" If so, is this a valid distinction to draw within the realm of epistemological failures: volitional error vs. non-volitional ignorance?

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Guest Michael M

"... is this a valid distinction to draw within the realm of epistemological failures: volitional error vs. non-volitional ignorance?"

While agreeing with your recognition that error does not apply to non-volitional actions, I am not fully comfortable with the distinction as expressed.

How about this version:

volitional ignorance that results from an epistemelogical failure, vs. non-volitional ignorance that results from an epistemelogical insufficiency.

And, there are two types of epistemelogical failure: erroneous choices in the process of thinking and the erroneous choice not to think at all.

Michael M

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