Philosophy 101 (philpapers induced) #7: Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?

Philosophy 101 (philpapers induced) #7: Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? April 6, 2015

Having posted the Philpapers survey results, the biggest ever survey of philosophers conducted in 2009, several readers were not aware of it (the reason for re-communicating it) and were unsure as to what some of the questions meant. I offered to do a series on them, so here it is – Philosophy 101 (Philpapers induced). I will go down the questions in order. I will explain the terms and the question, whilst also giving some context within the discipline of Philosophy of Religion.

This is the seventh post after

#1 – a priori

#2 – Abstract objects – Platonism or nominalism?

#3 – Aesthetic value: objective or subjective

#4 – Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

#5 – Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?

and having covered idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism in the last post; the next question in the survey is:

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?

Accept or lean toward: compatibilism 550 / 931 (59.1%)
Other 139 / 931 (14.9%)
Accept or lean toward: libertarianism 128 / 931 (13.7%)
Accept or lean toward: no free will 114 / 931 (12.2%)

Woo hoo! Here is my most written-about topic in the world of philosophy, being the topic of my first book Free Will? An investigation into whether we have free will, or whether I was always going to write this book. In fact, the book looks to answer this very philpapers question.

So, first of all, like all philosophers, we need to define out terms. Unfortunately, this is the nub of the problem, to the point where one could quite easily combine no free will and compatibilism in the stats above, depending on what definition is being used, and how we exemplify it.

Libertarian free will

If we step out of the world of academic philosophy and ask your average Joe what free will is, it would sound something like this (which is confirmed through my chats to non-philosophers and people at the talks I give on this subject):

The theoretical ability to do otherwise in a given situation. In other words, if a person did A in a situation C, then if we rewound back to C, she could do B in that same situation C, too.

I would refine this as: The theoretical, consciously controlled ability to do otherwise in a given situation.

I would do this because if these things are happening non-consciously, then notions of an agent and their control are stripped away to some important degree. More on this later.

This, then, is what is known as libertarian free will (LFW) or contra-causal free will.

Now, as mentioned, not everyone adheres to this as being the definition of the term. However, I prefer to go with what people generally understand. In some senses, this renders the stats to the question as problematic because some might answer it doesn’t exist, whilst others will answer it does, if defined in a particular way. Indeed, this is probably what is happening with regard to the results for compatibilism and no free will.

On the definition that I have given, this means that one could do A or B in exactly the same scenario (C). This means that if every prior piece of history, every variable at that moment (down to every individual atom), every piece of reasoning in the mind to that moment etc. was exactly the same, the person could still chose other than they did. This clearly opens up this theory to problems with grounding any given decision and thus action by an agent. For example, if I did A in C (decided to make a cup of tea at 6:15pm on Tuesday evening) and we went on for 10 minutes in this world and then rewound back to that exact moment (C – 6.15), then I could choose not A (eg B, or to not make a cup of tea). But what an earth could ground this “second” decision? Since everything, including my reasoning, would be absolutely identical, what could ground my decision to do otherwise than I did originally? Every available piece of reasoning, and indeed, my reasoning faculties as states in the brain and neurological structures, would be identical. There seems to be a problem for rationally grounding these two actions given identical scenarios.

Determinism

This is why this is called contra-causal free will, because it invalidates the notion of causality that we generally have. And this is why I reject this idea of free will (LFW). Before you even look at evidence, the logic and philosophy fail. This can be summed up like this:

Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.

Now, we can introduce a third factor here: random. The problem is (and this can take the shape of quantum indeterminacy, for example) that this does not help free will as generally understood where the agent has conscious control over their decision. If part of the variables which lead towards this decision are random, like a virtual die roll, then the agent is not consciously controlling and “owning” this decision making. This kind of indeterminacy is often invoked to get a sort of free version of the will, and I do not accept this move.

We seem to have two notions here which are in direct conflict: determinism and the will. Determinism is this idea that the world works to strict natural laws of cause and effect. This is something which science accepts quite generally, and thus we have methodological naturalism, which I have talked about before. With the idea of some kind of random in the world (e.g. quantum) this idea could be invalidated. However, there are two things to consider here. Many interpretations of quantum are deterministic (i.e. the random is illusory we just don’t know enough about the systems etc.) or that the random at microscopic level does not affect causality at macroscopic level. This is called adequate determinism as espoused by people like Stephen Hawking. As wiki states:

  • Adequate determinism is the idea that quantum indeterminacy can be ignored for most macroscopic events. This is because of quantum decoherence. Random quantum events “average out” in the limit of large numbers of particles (where the laws of quantum mechanics asymptotically approach the laws of classical mechanics).[23] Stephen Hawking explains a similar idea: he says that the microscopic world of quantum mechanics is one of determined probabilities. That is, quantum effects rarely alter the predictions of classical mechanics, which are quite accurate (albeit still not perfectly certain) at larger scales.[24] Something as large as an animal cell, then, would be “adequately determined” (even in light of quantum indeterminacy).

Without wanting to derail the discussion too much, I will disregard quantum indeterminacy as either not having the desired macroscopic effect, not existing, or simply not being able to be useful to a consciously willing being.

Which means we are back to things either being caused or not. If something which happens is uncaused, then it is effectively random anyway, and this brings us back to not being helpful to the conscious willing of an agent.

Which then brings us back to one option: things are caused. Whether they be brain states, other physical matter, or the will, things adhere to causality, a relationship between an effect and its causes. Some people talk about humans being influenced but not wholly caused. I call this the 80-20 Problem, which I have written about here where I state:

Which is all good and well, but what about the issue at hand? Well, when people claim we are, say. 80% determined, but that 20% of an action is still freely willed, we have EXACTLY the same problem – we have just moved that argument into a smaller paradigm, into the 20%. Assuming that we forget the 80% fraction which is determined so not being of interest to the LFWer, we are left with the 20%. But this is devoid of determining reasons. So what, then, is the basis of that 20% in making the decision? The agent cannot say, “Well  my genetically determined impulses urged me to A, my previous experience of this urged me towards A, but I was left with a 20% fraction which overcame these factors and made me do B” because he still needs to establish the decision as being reasonable.  OK, so if that 20% is not just random or unknown (but still grounded in something) and had any meaning, then it would be reasoned! The two horns of the Dilemma of Determinism raise their ugly heads again. We are left with reasoned actions or actions without reason, neither of which give the LFWer the moral responsibility that they are looking for.

As mentioned, science very much assumes and evidences determinism. Whether it be genetics, social science, neuroscience, physics, psychology or any other ology, science looks to hypothesise how and why things happen from a point of view of causality. For example, in Are We Free?, by Baer, Kaufman and Baumeister, which looks at free will and determinism from within the discipline of psychology, the introduction includes the sensible claim:

A psychology that doesn’t accept causes of behaviour or the possibility of prediction is no psychology at all.

You couldn’t step into a psychologist’s or psychiatrist’s office and ask “Why am I behaving like this?” and expect the expert to throw up their hands and say “Well, I’ll be blown if I know; you freely chose to…”. Indeed, they look for reasons for behaviour. As Schopenhauer once said:

Man can do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills.

Compatibilism

Which brings me on to the final piece of this jigsaw: compatibilism. This is the belief that determinism and free will both exist and are compatibile with each other. Whether or not we subscribe to fully blown determinism or adequate determinism (including quantum indeterminacy), one of them sits comfortably with this idea of free will. However, as philosophers like Ted Honderich have pointed out, free will (understood as LFW) seems to be a negation of determinism, so in some sense compatibilists are saying that free will and lack of free will coexist!

Compatibilists adhere to determinism so they are sometimes called soft determinists whilst those who adhere to determinism as being incompatible with free will, and thus free will does not exist are called hard determinists (and sometimes incompatibilists or hard incompatibilists). Compatibilists will generally admit that the agent is unable to do otherwise in a given scenario. In other words, they deny LFW for the basic reasons given above, together, perhaps, with empirical evidence. Instead, they see free will as being able to do what you desire to do. Thus if I wanted to make a cup of tea and made it, I did it freely, and therefore have free will, even if I was always going to do so.

Which is why Schopenhauer’s quote above is apt because, to me, internal causality is just as relevant as external causality. So if a person had a gun against their head or shackles around their ankles, they would not be behaving freely. But surely kleptomania and other internally caused dispositions have this same effect. Moreover, as I have pointed out here (“Whitman, tumours, the neurotypical and moral responsibility”), “normal” brain states are just as caused as “unwanted dispositions”. Our will, in other words, is itself victim to causality. Therefore, we may do want we want, but we cannot want what we want. The causal chain goes back and back and back to the beginning of the universe or similar. Causality works through us, and we are riding on its waves. We don’t consciously control that wave.

If you define free will, then, as the ability to do what you want, then I too would believe it existed and would be a compatibilist. The problem with the question is it uses the term libertarian free will as an understanding of free will, and so this invalidates compatibilism as a position (or indeed vice versa). Thus one or other should not be an option. It should either be: free will or no free will; or compaitbilism or incompatibilism, or something similar. If  you define free will in terms of LFW, I believe it does not exist. If you define it in terms of that generally accepted by most compatibilists, then I accept its existence! The question fails on this basis.

Now, I haven’t even looked at genetic, psychological or neuroscientific evidence to support positions in this article. You can check my category for free will and determinism here for some of that. I am perhaps biased because I am writing this from a position of thinking free will is an illusion to the mind (illusionism) and that our decisions are either caused by our non-conscious brain, and we attach intention to them afterwords (epiphenomenalism) or they are simply caused by brain states without us particularly thinking about it.

And religion?

The powerful ramifications of the free will debate with regard to religion couldn’t be more pronounced. The God question supervenes on this one, unless you are a theological determinist like a Calvinist, for example. This is because almost every major concept of God is a personal judgemental god who weighs up your life based on your decisions. If these decisions are invalidated by such philosophy, then that conception of God is wrong and that god does not exist.

If in any meaningful sense I could not have done otherwise, then God punishing me eternally is rendered utterly incoherent. Which is why crime and punishment is such a rich area for debate in this topic.

Each aspect of what I talk about here is a book on its own, so there is obviously a great deal of simplicity necessary for this piece. As ever, buy my book (which is a simple introduction to the topic)!perf6.000x9.000.indd

The concept of moral responsibility is really important to this topic, and I suggest further reading on this elsewhere on my free will and determinism category.

RELATED POSTS:

#1 – a priori

#2 – Abstract objects – Platonism or nominalism?

#3 – Aesthetic value: objective or subjective

#4 – Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

#5 – Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?

#6  – External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?

#7 – Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?

#8 – Belief in God: theism or atheism?


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  • Roger Cavanagh

    Jonathan,

    I haven’t fully read your article because I jumped across to Amazon to check out your book. As soon as I saw the infamous Clifford J Stevens railing against you I had to click buy. I would not have the knowledge, nor yet the patience, to debate the blinkered nitwit.

    Regards,

    Roger

    • Ack!

      You know of him? He literally online stalked me, bad reviewing every book I have written or edited and he hadn’t read, whilst spewing torrents of bile and nonsense.

      He has been banned from here. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2013/03/03/my-first-commenter-banned-and-he-is-an-ordained-priest/

      He is an ordained priest.

      He is a horrible human being.

      • Roger Cavanagh

        I know him only from Amazon reviews. You are not the only author who has been the target of his religious lunacy. The only name that immediately comes to mind is Richard Carrier, but I have seen his retarded polemic aimed at others.

        Anyone who becomes a target of CJS is all right in my book. :)

    • Thanks for getting the book!

  • Luke Breuer

    Can determinism be falsified, or is it necessarily metaphysical? It’s not clear that ‘random chance’ can be falsified either; see Phil.SE questions Are actually random events causeless? and Is there anything that is totally random?

    Determinism is this idea that the world works to strict natural laws of cause and effect.

    Have you read any of Gregory W. Dawes’ Theism and Explanation? Two relevant snippets:

    3.4.1 Intentional and Causal ExplanationsA first objection rests on the very character of intentional explanations. It suggests that a theistic explanation could not be both intentional and causal, since these represent distinct and mutually exclusive forms of explanation. No intentional explanation is a causal explanation. But I believe this claim to be wrong, for reasons I shall outline later (Appendix 1.1). I have no argument with the idea, defended by Donald Davidson, that intentions are causes and that intentional explanations are also causal explanations.[76] There is one issue that needs to be clarified here. I have suggested that intentional explanations are not nomological (3.2.1). They do, if you like, depend on something resembling a law, namely the rationality principle. But they do not depend on law-like generalisations linking particular intentions and particular actions. Does this mean that they cannot be regarded as causal explanations? Only if you believe that the citing of causal laws is a necessary condition of a causal explanation. But I shall argue later that it is not (Appendix 3.3.1), that causal explanations do not necessarily involve causal laws.[77] If this is true, then there is no difficulty with the idea that an intentional explanation is also a causal explanation. (51)

    A.3.3 Intentions and LawsThere is a second, and more serious objection to the idea that intentional explanations are testable. It arises from the claim that intentional explanations are “anomalous,” in the sense that they do not rely on laws. If there are no laws connecting intentions and behaviour, or if intentional explanations do not rely on laws, then on what basis could we use such explanations to make testable predictions? And if such explanations do not appeal to laws, can the causal thesis be defended? Can we have a causal explanation that does not appeal to causal laws?[58] (161)

    [58] At least some of those who reject Davidson’s causal thesis do so because they assume that there can be no causal explanation that does not cite causal laws (Thalberg and Levison, “Are There Non-Causal Explanations of Action?,” 84). It is this view that I am about to reject.

    Thalberg, Irving and Arnold B. Levison. “Are There Non-Causal Explanations of Action?” In Enigmas of Agency: Studies in the Philosophy of Human Action, by Irving Thalberg, 73–86. Muirhead Library of Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1972.
     
     
    Thoughts? Must all causation be “nomological”? I assume you know this is a tendentious issue in philosophy?

    • Roger Cavanagh

      Luke,

      I know this sound somewhat curt, but what’s your point?

      • Luke Breuer

        (1) One’s stance on free will may be 100% metaphysical and not at all evidence-based.

        (2) Thinking that causation must be nomological may likewise be 100% metaphysical and not at all evidence-based.

        • Roger Cavanagh

          Are you saying that being evidence-based is a bad thing? And you make it sound like metaphysical means you can spout any kind of shit. If so, maybe you are right. My dictionary defines metaphysics as “abstract theory with no basis in reality”.

          • Luke Breuer

            Are you saying that being evidence-based is a bad thing?

            No. Instead, I would be supporting the well-believed achievement of the philosophy of science that “all observations are theory-laden”. I think it’s important to note if (1) and (2) are instances of this theory-ladenness. In general, Jonathan Pearce seems to think they’re more evidence-based than they are. But perhaps I am wrong, and he can enlighten me.

            And you make it sound like metaphysical means you can spout any kind of shit.

            Shit like what? Gregory W. Dawes’ Theism and Explanation is serious scholarship, not “any kind of shit”.

            My dictionary defines metaphysics as “abstract theory with no basis in reality”.

            I suggest you examine the abject failure of [logical] positivism.

    • I do not know what randomness has to do with a discussion of free will. Behavior of humans and other animals is partly defined by its ordered, structured nature. We detect agency by evidence of things like intention, belief, and goals. These are the very opposite of random.

      • Luke Breuer

        A dichotomy I think is false is set up, between determinism and randomness. This dichotomy informs views on free will (or lack thereof).

        • I think that JP brings it up because some defenders of libertarian free will cite it to rescue the idea from the savages of causation. So, the argument must be answered. But the more important point, and the relevant answer to it, is that whether there is true randomness in the picture or not changes nothing about our conclusions of free will. A randomly-based will would not be free, it would be captive to the dictates of the randomness generator. Determined or not determined, the randomness has no power to rescue the nonsensical idea of libertarian free will.

          • Luke Breuer

            I’m arguing that we are not limited to:

                 (1) determinism
                 (2) randomness

            , nor:

                 (3) some combination of (1) and (2)

            Instead, I argue that there could be:

                 (4) something ¬((1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3))

            I say this because it seems that (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) is unfalsifiable. That is, it is not opposed to any alternative. So, what you have is an metaphysical claim that reality is only made up of (1) and (2). I question this; I think that mind may be an instance of (4). At the very least, it seems that rationality must be an instance of (4). And, as Dawes supposes, that may exhibit a different kind of causation than the kind associated with natural laws, with “nomological causation”.

          • Roger Cavanagh

            So you are arguing there is free will?

          • Luke Breuer

            I am arguing for the possibility of (4), which really isn’t an assertion of free will. It does seem to be a required foundation for anything ¬(CFW ∨ DW). I could elaborate and say that I’m arguing against the block universe and for something like the growing block universe. See a spiel on this which Jonathan posted: Time, Free Will and the Block Universe. Hmmm, perhaps what I am arguing for is a certain kind of causation, per Michael Tooley’s Time, Tense, and Causation:

                Of those two arguments, the more fundamental is the argument from causation. The thrust of this argument is that causation presupposes a dynamic world, and one, moreover, where the past and the present are real, but the future is not. If this conclusion is to be established, however, one cannot appeal to just any approach to the nature of causation: a quite specific account is required. In particular, the account that I shall employ is, first of all, a realist account, rather than a reductionist one. Secondly, it is a singularist account, according to which causal relations between events do not presuppose the existence of causal laws. Thirdly, it involves the claim that causal laws are connected with probabilities in certain ways. It is crucial, therefore, to offer support for this view of the nature of causation, and this I shall attempt to do in a detailed way. (3)

            Tooley is one of the proponents of the growing block universe; see his use of “dynamic world”. Perhaps the above, combined with the below, starts to give a clue as to what (4) might be. Note that I cannot describe it much better than I have, so far. Further discussion may help me better articulate my position.

                To sum up, then, the difference between a static conception of the world and a dynamic one comes to this. According to a static conception, what states of affairs there are does not depend upon what time it is. Change, consequently, cannot be a matter of a change, over time, in what states of affairs exist. It must be a matter simply of the possession, by an object or by the world as a whole, of different intrinsic properties at different times.
                According to a dynamic conception of the world, by contrast, what states of affairs exist does depend upon what time it is. As a consequence, the totality of monadic states of affairs which exist as of one time, and which involve a given object, may differ from the totality that exists as of some other time, and it is precisely such a difference that constitutes change in an object, rather than merely the possession by an object of different properties at different times. Similarly, change in the world as a whole is a matter of a difference in the totality of states of affairs that exist as of different times, and not merely a matter of the possession of different properties by different temporal slices of the world. (16)

          • And whose claim are you arguing against? I don’t think I saw JP say “determinism and randomness are the only thinkable possibilities” but please quote him if I missed something.

          • Luke Breuer

            I have discussed free will with Jonathan Pearce, Andy Schueler, and Void Walker (now “Tormented Wanderer”) extensively in the past. I’m pretty sure that Jonathan holds to “determinism and randomness are the only thinkable possibilities”, but as always, I am open to correction.

          • Perhaps he does. However, this particular post does not express or rely on that proposition. Therefore I must conclude you do not wish to restrict yourself to the ones that it does express, and your reply is not appropriate to this page.

          • Luke Breuer
          • My position would be this:

            Things are either caused or they are not.

            Something which is randomly caused is synonymous, in terms of free will, with uncaused. If there were random variables, say in my brain, which caused or partly caused my decision, then holding my conscious rational brain responsible for that is problematic.

            If they only partly caused the decision, then this leads the rest of the leftover to be victim to the above mentioned 80-20 problem.

            So this leaves us with caused.

            Things are caused.

            This is very much the understanding of methodological naturalism. Without the connection between cause and effect, the sense of the world around us suddenly decoheres.

            Everything you pragmatically do in your everyday life you no doubt ascribe causality to. There is a danger of over-academicising this to the point of abstract nonsense.

            For something to be uncaused, undetermined, in this world seems utterly nonsensical.

          • Luke Breuer

            Things are either caused or they are not.

            Oh c’mon, we’ve had Aristotle’s Four Causes for over 2000 years. Gregory Dawes argues for only two kinds:

                 (1) nomological, e.g. natural laws
                 (2) a-nomological, e.g. rationality

            Do you reject that (1) and (2) could coexist and codetermine reality?

          • I think Mr. Breuer is rude to comment in order to argue about a tangential topic he happens to prefer. It distracts from the actual content you were posting about, and I find it self-indulgent.

          • Luke Breuer

            Heh, “tangential”. You must be new around here.

          • That be your middle name…

          • Luke Breuer

            If I never went on ‘tangents’, I would be much less able to question the other person’s foundational presuppositions. Do you wish this?

          • I co-founded and produce this blog network. Additionally, I have written on the topic myself and had many conversations with JP and others on it. Your hobby horse of randomness & determinism is in fact tangential to this writing. Related, but tangential.

          • @LukeBreuer:disqus is a long time commenter here. Some of the threads have gone on. And on. And on!

            All good though.

          • Luke Breuer

            I co-founded and produce this blog network.

            Cool; thanks!

            Your hobby horse of randomness & determinism is in fact tangential to this writing. Related, but tangential.

            I disagree:

            LB: I suspect that symmetry splitting is actually required for new order to emerge. Whether that order emerges randomly or not-so-randomly (e.g. a (4)) is the very crux of the discussion.

            (I will add that if “reason” ≠ “adaptation to the environment”, then that ‘≠’ is a symmetry-splitting event and utterly critical to philosophy itself. It requires accounting for!)

            +

            JP: And this is the issue: you can apparently ground, rationally, a different outcome with only the same pieces of jigsaw arranged in exactly the same way.

            LB: So? This is tantamount to saying that the growing block universe grows in ways that aren’t just ‘chance’. And so, patterns can emerge which weren’t necessarily fated to occur.

          • You are linking comments after you had already instigated the discussion you wanted to have. JP is okay with that, but whether he is or not, your behavior is self-centered and inconsiderate.

          • Luke Breuer

            Need I draw out the connection between determinism vs. randomness and the following, which is a direct quotation from the OP?

            This is why this is called contra-causal free will, because it invalidates the notion of causality that we generally have. And this is why I reject this idea of free will (LFW). Before you even look at evidence, the logic and philosophy fail. This can be summed up like this:

            Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.

          • You can’t. The quoted bit does not mention randomness. When he does, it is not to juxtapose against determinism, but to recap a particular argument made by others that it can. This bit is just causality.
            When I asked you to quote JP on this, your reply to me was that you’d discussed it in the past, so you knew his position. But I did not ask about his position. I asked where he contradicted the thing you wrote in your first comment. And he did not (regardless of whether or not he has before or will in the future).
            JP writing something about free will is not an invitation for you, or whomever, to jump in and rehash your particular bone-picking with him on the subject if it is not directly relevant to what is here presented.

          • Luke Breuer

            The quoted bit does not mention randomness.

            Am I not allowed to dig into necessary presuppositions behind propositions claimed to be true?

            When I asked you to quote JP on this, your reply to me was that you’d discussed it in the past, so you knew his position.

            Yes: I know something of his presuppositions, which undergird his claims.

            JP writing something about free will is not an invitation for you, or whomever, to jump in and rehash your particular bone-picking with him on the subject if it is not directly relevant to what is here presented.

            This stance, if I’m right about targeting presuppositions behind things that JP did in fact state in this blog post, is an enemy to philosophy. The essence of philosophy is to dig into presuppositions.

          • Permissible only if it is necessary to engage with the presented material, not other-but-related material. But it wasn’t, nor did you attempt to engage. Your first remark was,

            Can determinism be falsified, or is it necessarily metaphysical?

            And on clarification, you told me,

            I’m arguing that we are not limited to:

            (1) determinism
            (2) randomness

            This argument you claim is necessary because it addresses a presupposition of something JP wrote in the OP. What thing is that? I do not see it. The only positions that I see JP advancing (as opposed to simply describing) are “under XYZ definitions, then I think A…; else B” where XYZ definitions are common/popular views not necessarily infinitely tenable philosophically-exacting views he is himself forwarding at this time. Unless you are arguing his representation or logic under the given constraints is incorrect, you are speaking tangentially. You may not like the constraints of “people look at these issues like this” but that is the topic.

            In your first comment you cite a wiki quote and use it as a jumping off point to disagree. But JP wasn’t advocating for that bit, it was just a bit of information to explain to the reader a relevant concept. The only thing he says about it is, if believed, a “pure” or “true” randomness does not salvage LFW as one particular argument (raised by others) would have it. This is not something you’ve disagreed with or much mentioned. So on the point JP was making, the two of you are either in agreement or you just have nothing to say about it. But you still used it as a jumping off point to argue about intention vs law, a totally separate argument.

            You guys are philosophers or philosophy types, so I guess you’re contractually obligated to argue everything into the ground. Go ahead, and after the last comments are posted, the last opinions tallied, you’ll still be a self-centered “this topic is all about what I want” actor.

          • Luke Breuer

            This argument you claim is necessary because it addresses a presupposition of something JP wrote in the OP. What thing is that? I do not see it.

            Suppose I draw out precisely how my comments attack presuppositions apparently required for Jonathan Pearce’s post to make sense. Suppose I write a scholarly level analysis, making all the requisite citations to make a firm case. Suppose I succeed. Will it really matter to you?

            As far as I can tell, Jonathan had no problem with my lack of doing the above, and you came in and started starting executing character assassination: “your behavior is self-centered and inconsiderate”. Do you have the right to say this, or is this in fact a thing between Jonathan and me, where we mutually determine, between the two of us, what kind of interaction is mutually beneficial?

          • Furthermore, if the physical structures in my brain which are responsible for rationslising and reasoning (which we can empirically isolate) and the whole universe including all the reasons to hand for my brain to compute, are identical, then there is nothing that can be reasonably seen to ground a different action in the identical scenario.

            For a start, this would break the law of non-contradiction, since A and ~A would be true in circumstance C. What could ground these differences that would give meaning to a consciously willed decision?

          • Luke Breuer

            Furthermore, if the physical structures in my brain which are responsible for rationslising and reasoning (which we can empirically isolate) and the whole universe including all the reasons to hand for my brain to compute, are identical, then there is nothing that can be reasonably seen to ground a different action in the identical scenario.

            Yes, it breaks down if you assume a one-to-one correspondence between brain state and mental state. And yet, this type physicalism has strong criticisms, e.g. multiple realizability. What would cause a sort of “symmetry splitting”? Here’s a candidate:

                Finally, consider the libertarian notion of dual rationality, a requirement whose importance to the libertarian I did not appreciate until I read Robert Kane’s Free Will and Values. As with dual control, the libertarian needs to claim that when agents make free choices, it would have been rational (reasonable, sensible) for them to have made a contradictory choice (e.g. chosen not A rather than A) under precisely the conditions that actually obtain. Otherwise, categorical freedom simply gives us the freedom to choose irrationally had we chosen otherwise, a less-than-entirely desirable state. Kane (1985) spends a great deal of effort in trying to show how libertarian choices can be dually rational, and I examine his efforts in Chapter 8. (The Non-Reality of Free Will, 16)

            One could argue that this involves the brain going through the equivalent of an unstable Lagrangian point, such that natural laws could evolve the system to A or not-A. What would then determine whether it evolves to A or not-A? One answer is randomness. But it is not the only answer! Perhaps what is tripping us up is the following, also from Double’s The Non-Reality of Free Will:

                In this book I shall argue that there can be no such thing as free will and moral responsibility. My argument is a metaphilosophical one that holds that neither concept can have discrete reference. Instead, these terms are merely honorific and subjective; they cannot be legitimized by appeal to the nature of extralinguistic reality. Free will and moral responsibility, as they are viewed in philosophical discourse and everyday life, are not to be counted as candidates among the class of real entities. (5)

            I would argue, along with Charles Taylor, that we are “language beings”, and thus Double’s “class of real entities” is like Horatio’s.

          • The symmetry splitting appears, if I understand it right, merely to be interested in theoretical possibilities.

            I am talking about a given moment when all my brain states, functions and structures are identical, where my previous learning and experience are, and where all the reasons I have for doing something, and the weighting they obtain, are al identical.

            This is what you must deal with.

          • Luke Breuer

            The symmetry splitting appears, if I understand it right, merely to be interested in theoretical possibilities.

            False. A friend of mine who is working at NASA JPL helped develop “spaghetti orbits” for spacecraft which are predicated upon unstable Lagrangian points which require only infinitessimal forces to choose trajectory A over trajectory B; see the Interplanetary Transport Network. Furthermore, Nobel laureate Robert B. Laughlin talks about a lot of actual symmetry splitting in A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down. This is real stuff. :-)

            I suspect that symmetry splitting is actually required for new order to emerge. Whether that order emerges randomly or not-so-randomly (e.g. a (4)) is the very crux of the discussion.

            I am talking about a given moment when all my brain states, functions and structures are identical, where my previous learning and experience are, and where all the reasons I have for doing something, and the weighting they obtain, are al identical.

            I’m sorry, but this only appears to make sense in a block universe, not necessarily in a growing block universe.

          • And this is the issue: you can apparently ground, rationally, a different outcome with only the same pieces of jigsaw arranged in exactly the same way.

            This is very similar to the grounding objection of Molinism.

          • Luke Breuer

            So? This is tantamount to saying that the growing block universe grows in ways that aren’t just ‘chance’. And so, patterns can emerge which weren’t necessarily fated to occur. A full explanation of why they emerged may never be available. To attempt to completely fill in this explanation with current notions of ‘determinism’ or ‘chance’, and nothing else, seems arrogant.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Yes, it breaks down if you assume a one-to-one correspondence between brain state and mental state.

            Nope. It would break down for a relationship of 1 physical state : 1 mental state, but it would also break down if we assume that multiple realizability holds and that the relationship is thus N physical states : 1 mental state.
            It would not break down if, and only if, the relationships would be 1 physical state : N mental states or an N:N relationship. However, assuming one of the latter two relationships has some rather absurd consequences – it would mean that it is absolutely possible that you start having the qualia of a snail or a dung beetle for example, immediately after reading this comment.

            One could argue that this involves the brain going through the equivalent of an unstable Lagrangian point, such that natural laws could evolve the system to A or not-A. What would then determine whether it evolves to A or not-A? One answer is randomness. But it is not the only answer!

            The other answers being….?

          • Luke Breuer

            LB: Yes, it breaks down if you assume a one-to-one correspondence between brain state and mental state.

            AS: Nope. It would break down for a relationship of 1 physical state : 1 mental state, but it would also break down if […]

            You have confused ‘if’ and ‘iff’. I said the former, not the latter.

            The other answers being….?

            (4). If I recall correctly, you say that you don’t know what is being asserted if nothing is being denied. Is this true? If so, then you cannot know what “reality is exclusively composed of (1), (2), and (3)” asserts, unless you know what it denies. What does it deny?

          • Andy_Schueler

            You have confused ‘if’ and ‘iff’. I said the former, not the latter.

            You raised the issue of multiple realizability, and I pointed out that it is irrelevant.

            (4).

            This is a completely ridiculous answer. You are responding to a question along the line of “how is x or ¬x not a true dichotomy?” by saying “well, something could be neither x nor ¬x!”

            If I recall correctly, you say that you don’t know what is being asserted if nothing is being denied. Is this true? If so, then you cannot know what “reality is exclusively composed of (1), (2), and (3)” asserts, unless you know what it denies. What does it deny?

            I´m not saying that “reality is exclusively composed…”, I´m saying that something either happens for a reason or doesn´t happen for a reason (or arbitrary combinations thereof) and I´m saying that this is a true dichotomy. You say that something can not happen for a reason AND also not happen for no reason, and I have asked you many times already – what the fuck does that even mean? What you are asserting is semantic nonsense – along the line of “x is not a circle, but x is also not NOT a circle”.

          • welcome back dude. So much more concise than me.

          • Luke Breuer

            You raised the issue of multiple realizability, and I pointed out that it is irrelevant.

            You might be right. If you are, then perhaps you can tell me how patterns could possibly come into existence in a growing block universe. To say that such patterns are random seems self-defeating, and yet the very notion of a growing block universe prevents one from employing block universe-type reasoning. Perhaps it is block universe-type thinking on your part, and growing block universe-type thinking on my part, which is responsible for my misunderstanding.

            I´m not saying that “reality is exclusively composed…”, I´m saying that something either happens for a reason or doesn´t happen for a reason […]

            I’m talking causation, not reasoning. Perhaps you can talk about the difference between ‘reason’ and ’cause’? It strikes me that reason is necessarily predicated upon causation. But perhaps reasons can somehow be prior to causes?

            You say that something can not happen for a reason AND also not happen for no reason […]

            Where did I say this? Quote & link, please.

          • Andy_Schueler

            – growing block universe or block universe has no relevance here whatsoever
            – you can use “reason” and “cause” interchangeably here. And it doesn´t matter what your notion of “causality” is – you can use whichever you want or make up a new one. “Something happens for a reason or does not happen for a reason” will stay a true dichotomy.
            – “Where did I say this? Quote & link, please.” – This is what your (4) means. I trust that you can find your (4) without yet another gratuitous hyperlink.

          • I cannot fathom any difference between the causality of a block universe and a growing block universe.

            Luke seems to want A and ~A to be true in any given situation. That could only be the case in random scenarios (which I deny exist anyway using a narrow frequency interpretation of random).

          • Luke Breuer

            True or false?: In a growing block universe, the emergence of a pattern in the ‘growing’ part is not random and neither is it caused by deterministic laws.

          • It is not uncaused.

          • Luke Breuer

            What causes a growing block universe to grow? (I don’t have an answer to this. You seem to have one.)

          • I am simply claiming “something caused it” because this is obviously evident in the world around us. For everything.

            I am saying “something causes the growing” as would science, I wager.

            You say, “something might, something might not” and then put your eggs into the might not basket without presenting how that basket could even be. It literally makes no sense. Even tough you would, I hope, admit that everything that happens in your life, in the world around you, has causal value.

          • Luke Breuer

            I am simply claiming “something caused it” because this is obviously evident in the world around us. For everything.

            Solidity is “obviously evident in the world around us”, and yet it doesn’t hold up as you examine further and further. Continuity (lack of quantization) was “obviously evident in the world around us”, until we came to understand the ultraviolet catastrophe, the apparent lack of luminiferous aether (hello spacetime?), and later, the photoelectric effect. These of course led to the quantum revolution. So I don’t see how your reasoning is possibly valid.

            Furthermore, if you really take your argument to its logical conclusion, you get an infinite regress. That is problematic as well.

            It literally makes no sense.

            Actually, what a growing block universe seems to represent is our epistemic horizon, and I am being very careful about how I extrapolate from what we know, to beyond that horizon. As I become increasingly aware of the philosophical tangle that is causation (and it isn’t just philosophical; it’s amusing to see Sean Carroll switch from ‘natural laws’ to ‘unbreakable patterns’), I become more cautious. See, if I assert that whatever it is beyond that epistemic horizon, it’s “causation”, then what I’m doing is extrapolating my current conception of “causation” out to infinity, saying that all of reality is like that. This appears to be an instance of “At the end of the day, looking down on things is pretty arrogant, and assumes that you know best.” at your Top Down or Bottom Up?!

            causal value

            What is “causal value”?

          • Andy_Schueler

            “…what I’m doing is extrapolating my current conception of “causation” out to infinity…”

            – So we assume that in 100 years we will have a different conception of “causation”, and a different one after that, and yet a different one at a later point and so on and so forth. How could this possibly ever render “something is caused or it isn´t” a false dichotomy? This dichotomy is completely independent of what conception of “causation” you use – your objection is invalid.

          • Luke Breuer

            As far as I can tell, you’re not taking seriously a growing block universe ‘growing’ patterns. FYI, something like this probably shows up in David Bohm’s Causality and Chance in Modern Physics. But until you’re actually committed to taking seriously an element I claim is crucial to my argument, we’ll probably stay at an impasse.

          • Andy_Schueler

            As far as I can tell, you’re not taking seriously a growing block universe ‘growing’ patterns.

            Why? And how exactly do these “growing” patterns contradict what I said?

          • I must concur. Your insistence on this growing block universe, which appers to be a new toy of your that was not in your arsenal when you were first touting your claims, appears not to be of any help.

          • Yo make this massive abstract and metaphysical claims an yet refuse to acknowledge how the world around you works and how you interpret it daily.

            Laws are not prescriptive, I wager (being a nominalist) since what could “enforce” such a thing. Laws are descriptive, so I think Carroll is bang on.

            But to break that relationship between cause and effect, even in very complex matrices of causality, seems rather incoherent. Do you not see this relationship between phenomena in the world around you?

          • Luke Breuer

            Laws are not prescriptive, I wager (being a nominalist) since what could “enforce” such a thing. Laws are descriptive, so I think Carroll is bang on.

            But to break that relationship between cause and effect, even in very complex matrices of causality, seems rather incoherent.

            I don’t see how you can say these two things with a straight face. Who interprets “cause and effect” as descriptive instead of prescriptive? And how does the prescriptive ’emerge’ from the merely descriptive? I have little to no idea how one could transition from one to the other.

            Do you not see this relationship between phenomena in the world around you?

            I am trying to be very careful of what I see, so that I am not merely seeing what I want to see. So for example, if there is no option to have chosen otherwise (no dual rationality, or no force applicable at Lagrangian points, etc.), then we must radically change our concept of ‘moral responsibility’, at least if Bruce Waller is sufficiently correct in Against Moral Responsibility. And yet, there seems to be much sense in ‘moral responsibility’, and eviscerating it because of a stance on free will like yours smells like the ludicrous thing that is eliminative materialism.

            Furthermore, I don’t know how you can possibly say what you are saying here, given how confused you think many people are about free will. Let’s be clear: causality and free will are intricately related. Mistakes about one could easily mean mistakes about the other.

          • Luke Breuer

            growing block universe or block universe has no relevance here whatsoever

            I disagree; the idea of a pattern emerging in a growing block universe is 100% conceivable and violates the “either it’s determinism or chance” dichotomy. A mysterious third option opens up. What exactly it is, I don’t know. But it’s a metaphysic which isn’t clearly contradictory with a phenomenon which is eminently imaginable.

            you can use “reason” and “cause” interchangeably here.

            I’m not at all convinced of this. It is not clear that your arguments go through when issued in terms of causation. I suspect this is why you chose to switch from ‘causation’ → ‘reason’ in your critiques.

            AS: You say that something can not happen for a reason AND also not happen for no reason […]

            LB: Where did I say this? Quote & link, please.

            AS: This is what your (4) means.

            I am not convinced, precisely on the basis of the growing block universe example. The focus on causation and not reason appears critical. You seem to have a point with ‘reason’, while I seem to have a point with ‘causation’.

            I trust that you can find your (4) without yet another gratuitous hyperlink.

            If this was meant to cause any change in my behavior, it will fail. Similar attempts in the future will probably fail. But perhaps you wrote it for people other than me, perhaps to start discrediting me rhetorically.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I disagree; the idea of a pattern emerging in a growing block universe is 100% conceivable and violates the “either it’s determinism or chance” dichotomy. A mysterious third option opens up. What exactly it is, I don’t know.

            It is “conceivable”, but you also have literally no idea whatsoever what it is. Bullshit. It is not “conceivable” for you – else you could at least provide a rough sketch of what this “conceivable” thing is supposed to be.

            I’m not at all convinced of this. It is not clear that your arguments go through when issued in terms of causation.

            Use any notion of causality you want, or make up a new one – I´ll grant you EVERYTHING wrt causality you want. Now demonstrate how this would invalidate any of Jonathan´s or mine arguments against LFW. If you cannot do that, then all this talk about causality is nothing but an attempt at obfuscating the issue.

            I am not convinced, precisely on the basis of the growing block universe example. The focus on causation and not reason appears critical. You seem to have a point with ‘reason’, while I seem to have a point with ‘causation’.

            You have nothing but hot air. Forget “reason”, use whatever notion of “causality” you want instead, and then show how this changes ANYTHING wrt the argument against LFW.

          • i generally agree with Andy here. (By generally, I mean totally).

          • Luke Breuer

            It is “conceivable”, but you also have literally no idea whatsoever what it is. Bullshit. It is not “conceivable” for you – else you could at least provide a rough sketch of what this “conceivable” thing is supposed to be.

            I can give you the phenomena which would be perceived, but not the undergirding ontology, the generative mechanism. Hopefully you acknowledge a difference between appearance and reality?

            Use any notion of causality you want, or make up a new one – I´ll grant you EVERYTHING wrt causality you want.

            That’s not good enough; there is possibly a deep contradiction between the following brewing:

            LB:
                 (A) laws of matter–energy
                 (B) laws of rationality

            If (B) reduces to (A), then I want a description of the laws of matter–energy which describe when human thinking is rational and when it is not. After all, the distinction between rational thinking and irrational thinking would necessarily be reducible to (A), if (B) is reducible to (A). So, there seems to be something deeply problematic in this picture. It is encouraging that Thomas Nagel also sees deep problems in this realm; it helps me think that far from being crazy, I may be thinking quite validly.

            But if the word ‘reason’ is meant to cover both (A) and (B) in “Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.”, then it could be that ‘reason’ is as-unconstructable as LFW. That is, ‘reason’ is supposed to refer to something and yet we cannot precisely define what it is. Indeed, there seems to me to be a kind of contradiction if we require (B) to reduce to (A). When LFW had this problem, you rightly argued I should not be using the term ‘LFW’ as if it has meaning. Well, perhaps I ought to argue the same to you, about the term ‘reason’.

            Forget “reason”, use whatever notion of “causality” you want instead, and then show how this changes ANYTHING wrt the argument against LFW.

            No, I don’t think I’m going to do that at this point. You intentionally chose ‘reason’ instead of ’cause’ in critiquing my argument, even though I used ’cause’ instead of ‘reason’. Now I want to pursue that use of ‘reason’, to see if it was ever coherent.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I can give you the phenomena which would be perceived, but not the undergirding ontology, the generative mechanism. Hopefully you acknowledge a difference between appearance and reality?

            Something either happens for a reason or not / something is either caused or not. If you think that these “phenomena” in a growing block universe change anything about this being a true dichotomy, then spell it out, if you cannot do that – this is a complete red herring.

            If (B) reduces to (A), then I want a description of the laws of matter–energy which describe when human thinking is rational and when it is not. After all, the distinction between rational thinking and irrational thinking would necessarily be reducible to (A), if (B) is reducible to (A). So, there seems to be something deeply problematic in this picture. It is encouraging that Thomas Nagel also sees deep problems in this realm; it helps me think that far from being crazy, I may be thinking quite validly.

            But if the word ‘reason’ is meant to cover both (A) and (B) in “Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.”, then it could be that ‘reason’ is as-unconstructable as LFW. That is, ‘reason’ is supposed to refer to something and yet we cannotprecisely define what it is. Indeed, there seems to me to be a kind of contradiction if we require (B) to reduce to (A). When LFW had this problem, you rightly argued I should not be using the term ‘LFW’ as if it has meaning. Well, perhaps I ought to argue the same to you, about the term ‘reason’.

            Wtf? So your entire case boils down to “well, if you guys are right, then we would not just have to get rid of the concept of LFW, but also have to get rid of the concept of “reason”, but I like the concept!”
            Even if you were right here (and I´m not saying that you are) – this is just an argument from desire, x cannot be true because you don´t want it to be true. This does precisely nothing to counter Jonathan´s argument.

          • Which is Lewis/Reppert’s Argument from Reason.

          • Luke Breuer

            If you think that these “phenomena” in a growing block universe change anything about this being a true dichotomy, then spell it out, if you cannot do that – this is a complete red herring.

            A pattern emerging at the ‘growth’ part of a growing block universe is not determined, nor is it random. In other words, such a pattern would be an instance of (4).

            Wtf? So your entire case boils down to “well, if you guys are right, then we would not just have to get rid of the concept of LFW, but also have to get rid of the concept of “reason”, but I like the concept!”

            I have no idea where “but I like the concept!” came from. If I can eviscerate ‘reason’ of meaning, at least meaning distinct from “laws of nature”, then this may reduces the following statement to incoherence:

            JP: Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.

            This may also reduce the following response of yours to incoherence:

            LB: … there are multiple forms of causation

            AS: None of which would render this statement:

            JP: Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.

            false.

            It is important to have enough precision behind the concepts being discussed. If your ontology, your metaphysic, cannot undergird the word ‘reason’ such that it means what most people think they mean by it, that should be recognized and dealt with. Clearly you think ‘reason’ means something.

          • Andy_Schueler

            A pattern emerging at the ‘growth’ part of a growing block universe is not determined, nor is it random.

            So you know that it is neither determined, nor random, nor a combination of the two. You said so many times. How do you know this to be true?

            If I can eviscerate ‘reason’ of meaning, at least meaning distinct from “laws of nature”, then this may reduces the following statement to incoherence:

            Equivocation fallacy. The meaning of “reason” in “something happens for a reason” is not the same as the one in “this is reasonable”.
            This really should have been obvious – you cannot possibly have been thinking that when we say “something happens for a reason”, we meant “something happens for sound judgement; fair and sensible.”

            The “reason” in “something happens for a reason” is basically synonymous to “cause”.

          • Luke Breuer

            So you know that it is neither determined, nor random, nor a combination of the two. You said so many times. How do you know this to be true?

            Because a growing block universe is the presupposed metaphysic. There’s a lot you’ve just got to presuppose. For example, determinism itself is unfalsifiable. Nevertheless it has meaning. So under this interpretation of reality, something can be conceivably observed which is neither determined nor random. Now, you are welcome to critique the growing block universe and show not only that it has problems, but that it has more problems, or more severe problems, than the block universe.

            The meaning of “reason” in “something happens for a reason” is not the same as the one in “this is reasonable”.

            Then define ‘reason’ in your usage. Or:

            The “reason” in “something happens for a reason” is basically synonymous to “cause”.

            Then define ’cause’. Don’t tell me to define it for you; if you’re going to claim something is meaningful, then you define the terms to guarantee that it is meaningful and not just a mirage.

            You did this to me with LFW; now I do it to you with ’cause’. I actually surmise that the two are intricately linked. Let’s see how you do when you’re on the “have to come up with a generative model” side of the discussion. It’s a lot easier to critique and tear down than it is to build up.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Because a growing block universe is the presupposed metaphysic.

            So you do in fact not know at all that the “growing” part of a growing block universe does not boil down to deterministic factors, or random ones, or a mixture of the two – you just presuppose that there is an alternative. Awesome, then I just say that someone can simultaneously be a bachelor and be married, and if someone asks me how this is not a contradiction, I just say that I presuppose that he can be both.
            This is ridiculous.

            Now, you are welcome to critique the growing block universe

            Point me to a scholarly source that makes the claim about growing block universes that their growth is not due to either deterministic factors or random ones or a mixture of the two. If you cannot, then I am not critiquing growing block universes, I am rather critiquing you trying to weasel yourself out of a blatant contradiction by playing word games.

            Then define ’cause’.

            cause, noun,
            thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.

          • Luke Breuer

            So you do in fact not know at all that the “growing” part of a growing block universe does not boil down to deterministic factors, or random ones, or a mixture of the two – you just presuppose that there is an alternative. Awesome, then I just say that someone can simultaneously be a bachelor and be married, and if someone asks me how this is not a contradiction, I just say that I presuppose that he can be both.

            Feel free to draw out an actual contradiction involving:

                 (1) growing block universe
                 (2) ‘growth’ of a pattern

            I don’t see it. So your “simultaneously be a bachelor and be married” appears to be logic-free rhetoric. Furthermore, you never answered the “deny” question I asked:

            LB: If I recall correctly, you say that you don’t know what is being asserted if nothing is being denied. Is this true? If so, then you cannot know what “reality is exclusively composed of (1), (2), and (3)” asserts, unless you know what it denies. What does it deny?

            So, I would like to know if you do indeed hold to that principle, and if so, what is denied by (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3). This is another way to establish the logical possibility of un-caused emergence of patterns.

            Point me to a scholarly source that makes the claim about growing block universes that their growth is not due to either deterministic factors or random ones or a mixture of the two.

            I haven’t finished Michael Tooley’s Time, Tense, and Causation, but the following might suffice, not so much because it bears directly on the growth of a growing block universe, but because it threatens this comment of Jonathan’s.

                First, then, the distinction between realism and reductionism with respect to causal relations. Reductionism comes in two forms, depending upon what the reduction base is claimed to be:

                I. Strong Reductionism with Respect to Causal Relations Any two worlds that agree with respect to all of the non-causal properties of, and relations between, particular events or states of affairs must also agree with respect to all of the causal relations between states of affairs. Causal relations are, in short, logically supervenient upon non-causal properties and relations.

                II. Weak Reductionism with Respect to Causal Relations Any two worlds that agree both with respect to all of the non-causal properties of, and relations between, particular events or states of affairs, and with respect to all causal laws, must also agree with respect to all of the causal relations between states of affairs.

                Realism with regard to causal relations, then, consists in the rejection of these two reductionist theses. (85)

            If you want something closer, it may take a while, as Tooley’s work is dense reading. I could also review David Bohm’s Causality and Chance in Modern Physics to see if his “qualitative infinity of nature” is close enough. I do like revisiting/reading further in books with new interesting questions to ask.

            cause, noun,thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.

            Oh c’mon, show how you haven’t got circularity with “cause” and “gives rise to”.

          • Andy_Schueler

            So, I would like to know if you do indeed hold to that principle, and if so, what is denied by (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3).

            Add a not symbol in front of it and then you have the negation.

            This is another way to establish the logical possibility of un-caused emergence of patterns.

            Irrelevant. No one is denying that patterns could conceivably emerge “uncaused”. What I deny is that a pattern could emerge in a way that is neither “uncaused” NOR “caused”. And unless you can show that this is not self-refuting, your objection to Jonathan´s argument here is completely baseless.

            I haven’t finished Michael Tooley’sTime, Tense, and Causation, but the following might suffice

            No, it does not. It´s not even relevant, your claim about growing block universes has nothing what-so-ever to do with the section you quote.This is unbelievable, you don´t have any source that actually makes the claim that you are making about growing block universes, but you “could review” something. Why the fuck don´t you review the literature first, before making stuff up? I´d actually be willing to bet that there is in fact no source that makes the claim that you are making here.

            Oh c’mon, show how you haven’t got circularity with “cause” and “gives rise to”.

            That is the dictionary definition and it is as general as possible, which is precisely what I want to have here because the argument against LFW is completely independent of how causality actually works.

          • Luke Breuer

            Add a not symbol in front of it and then you have the negation.

            Ummmm, your response to my “(4) something ¬((1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3))”:

            AS: You say that something can not happen for a reason AND also not happen for no reason […]

            LB: Where did I say this? Quote & link, please.

            AS: This is what your (4) means.

            So according to you, the thing that (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) denies is a violation of the law of non-contradiction. And yet, I am almost sure that if “you say that you don’t know what is being asserted if nothing is being denied.”, you meant that something coherent had to be denied. So, it would appear that either (i) you reject that principle, or (ii) it is not the case that (4) means what you claim. Care to clarify?

            Irrelevant. No one is denying that patterns could conceivably emerge “uncaused”. What I deny is that a pattern could emerge in a way that is neither “uncaused” NOR “caused”. And unless you can show that this is not self-refuting, your objection to Jonathan´s argument here is completely baseless.

            You have to provide a coherent definition of ’caused’ before this means anything. So far, all you’ve done is provide a circular definition.

            No, it does not. It´s not even relevant, your claim about growing block universes has nothing what-so-ever to do with the section you quote.This is unbelievable, you don´t have any source that actually makes the claim that you are making about growing block universes, but you “could review” something. Why the fuck don´t you review the literature first, before making stuff up? I´d actually be willing to bet that there is in fact no source that makes the claim that you are making here.

            Because I’ve gotten good enough at predicting valid arguments that I don’t only parrot what I’ve read. For example, I just started reading William C. Wimsatt’s Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality, and already knew a remarkable amount. Repeated instances of this kind of “already knew” makes me think I’m building up competence in these areas.

            I want an answer to the question you asked myself, although how quickly I can find it depends on my upcoming schedule. I don’t know if you realized this, and I hesitate to say it but what the hell: what we’re discussing is SELO. A growing block universe ‘growing’ a pattern is SELO, or at least SEO. (Spontaneous Eruption of Local Order) Gregory W. Dawes speaks of sui generis phenomena in Theism and Explanation which reminded me of SELO as well. It appears that the concept may not as stupid as you and others made it out to be.

            That is the dictionary definition and it is as general as possible, which is precisely what I want to have here because the argument against LFW is completely independent of how causality actually works.

            Circular definitions don’t mean anything. So your definition is so general as to be meaningless. Try again, or admit you cannot define a key term.

          • I think I can speak for @Andy_Schueler:disqus in saying that it was pretty obvious you were talking about that!

          • Luke Breuer

            What has me surprised is that I don’t seem to have come up with the idea. Now I haven’t found enough to guarantee that what I generally meant by SELO (after some clarification due to the critiques of others) is “out there” in the scholarly literature. But if it is, I’m going to count that as an epic win, and laugh at those who laughed at me. I mean c’mon, I had done very little scholarly reading when I came up with SELO. I’ve done a crapton more, now.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Because I’ve gotten good enough at predicting valid arguments that I don’t only parrot what I’ve read.

            Unbelievable. Un-fucking-believable. So after all this talk about growing block universes and how Jonathan is totally wrong if we have a growing block universe and about how we do not understand or don´t grant you block universes – we now arrive at two conclusions.

            1. When you say stuff like:

            I disagree; the idea of a pattern emerging in a growing block universe is 100% conceivable and violates the “either it’s determinism or chance” dichotomy. A mysterious third option opens up. What exactly it is, I don’t know. But it’s a metaphysic which isn’t clearly contradictory with a phenomenon which is eminently imaginable.

            – you actually have no fucking clue what this totally “conceivable” and “imaginable” thing is supposed to be. Literally, no fucking clue. None what-so-ever. You can´t even provide the vaguest of hints as to what this totally “conceivable” and “imaginable” thing could be. Somehow, I doubt that you understand what the words “conceivable” and “imaginable” mean.

            2. More importantly, when you make bold assertions like:

            A pattern emerging at the ‘growth’ part of a growing block universe is not determined, nor is it random.

            – you do not have a scholarly source for it. You don´t have a source that explicitly says it. You don´t have a source that implies it. You don´t even have a source that provides a vague hint at it. You only have one source: Luke Breuer´s psychic powers of “predicting” arguments Luke Breuer´s ass. When I asked you “how do you know this to be true” – the only honest thing to answer would have been “I don´t know it, sorry for asserting it as if I knew”, but no, you just have to waste everyone´s time.

            Anything else to address… oh right:

            Circular definitions don’t mean anything. So your definition is so general as to be meaningless.

            You might first want to check what “circular definition” means. It means A circular definition is one that uses the term(s) being defined as a part of the definition or assumes a prior understanding of the term being defined.. And the dictionary definition I provided is most emphatically not an instance of this. It is general indeed, and I deliberately chose the most general definition I could find. Because my psychic powers tell me that you realized that your initial obfuscation strategy didn´t work, so you want to try something new – get me to specify my favorite account of how causality works so that you can take it apart, as if that would have ANY relevance for the OP. It doesn´t. An effect either a) has causes, or b) doesn´t have causes or c) a mixture of a+b. This exhausts all possibilities completely independent of what conception of “causality” you use, even if you make up a completely new one!

            Sorry, but I´m not letting you play silly buggers again, you have to find something else to try to obfuscate the issue.

          • Luke Breuer

            Unbelievable. Un-fucking-believable.

            Was I supposed to care? I’m happy to suspend the conversation of growing block universes, with you, if and until I find something closer in the text. I will bet that there is a way to connect the passage I did excerpt, to the idea, but it was close to 4a and I wanted to go to sleep.

            LB: Then define ’cause’.

            AS: cause, noun,thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.

            LB: Oh c’mon, show how you haven’t got circularity with “cause” and “gives rise to”.

            AS: That is the dictionary definition and it is as general as possible, […]

            LB: Circular definitions don’t mean anything. So your definition is so general as to be meaningless. Try again, or admit you cannot define a key term.

            AS: And the dictionary definition I provided is most emphatically not an instance of [circular definition].

            Then define ‘give rise to’, without referencing ’cause’ or any cognate thereof.

            An effect either a) has causes, or b) doesn´t have causes or c) a mixture of a+b.

            We can resume this once you’ve meaningfully defined ’cause’, which means defining ‘give rise to’. After you define ‘give rise to’, we’ll see if you play the shell game again.

            This exhausts all possibilities completely independent of what conception of “causality” you use, even if you make up a completely new one!

            By that logic, I can say that LFW allows you to have chosen differently and then refuse to articulate any further. After all, this is all that is required for popular conceptions of ‘moral responsibility’. Who cares if the conceptual foundations are iffy if even extant? I could throw some “completely independent” gibberish at you. But I’m not going to. I’ll see if you can define your terms rigorously, and if you cannot, I’ll suspect you cannot talk about things at the technical level required to unveil problematic concepts.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I will bet that there is a way to connect the passage I did excerpt, to the idea, but it was close to 4a and I wanted to go to sleep.

            No, it´s not “close to 4”, it´s not even in any way relevant for it. And no one gives a fuck about your “bet” – put up or shut up. And frankly, it might have been a wise choice to think this through before making all these bold assertions about what a growing block universe allegedly entails.

            Then define ‘give rise to’, without referencing ’cause’ or any cognate thereof.

            And now you are being deliberately obtuse. Semantically, a valid definition necessarily has the exact same meaning as the thing it defines. Criticizing this for being “circular” is idiotic and simply means that you have no clue what a “circular definition” is (hint: try actually reading this) and no idea what a “definition” is in general.

            You cannot be that dense, so the conclusion that your obtuseness here is deliberate seems warranted.

            By that logic, I can say that LFW allows you to have chosen differently and then refuse to articulate any further.

            Hint: “By that logic” does not mean “I´ll ignore your argument and pull some completely unrelated bullshit out of my ass”

          • Luke Breuer

            No, it´s not “close to 4”, it´s not even in any way relevant for it.

            “4a” ≠ “4”. “4a” = “4am” = “04:00”

            And no one gives a fuck about your “bet” – put up or shut up.

            No. I’m willing to not talk about the matter with you before I have direct scholarly support, but that is all.

            And now you are being deliberately obtuse. Semantically, a valid definition necessarily has the exact same meaning as the thing it defines.

            So are you saying that ’cause’ is atomic, that it isn’t composed of parts? Everyone knows that definitions have to stop somewhere.

            Criticizing this for being “circular” is idiotic […]

            No it is not; according to Agrippa’s trilemma, the circular argument is one option. There is obvious circularity if you can only define “cause” by “give rise to”, and “give rise to” by “cause”. But I’m pretty sure we know that language does indeed have circular qualities to it. I’m pretty sure I’ve played precisely that game with words, with friends, in the past. But I could check in David Braine’s Language and Human Understanding: The Roots of Creativity in Speech and Thought and see if it shows up there. This does seem related to Quine’s web of belief and coherency stuff, which is explicitly circular reasoning over infinite regress or axiomatic argument (i.e. foundationalism).

            Hint: “By that logic” does not mean “I´ll ignore your argument and pull some completely unrelated bullshit out of my ass”

            I think they’re connected. Frequently you do this to me, and I don’t think the two items are connected when you do it. So, we can claim the God-perspective of “completely unrelated” (instead of “seems completely unrelated”), or we can try a more effective approach. I’m up for either option; I’ll let you choose.

          • Andy_Schueler

            No. I’m willing to not talk about the matter with you before I have direct scholarly support, but that is all.

            Right, while you totally are willing to dishonestly pretend that you have any fucking clue about what a growing block universe does or does not entail, with everyone but me.

            No it is not; according to Agrippa’s trilemma, the circular argument is one option. There is obvious circularity if you can only define “cause” by “give rise to”, and “give rise to” by “cause”.

            Interesting, so you really are that dense. Maybe this will help:
            “Spoon” : “an implement consisting of a small, shallow oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring, and serving food”
            Now, please go ahead and define “an implement consisting of a small, shallow oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring, and serving food” without referencing either “spoons” or ANY word, phrase or sentence that is semantically equivalent to “spoon”.
            After you have thought about this for a while, you might realize (but I´m not certain that you will) that the task is impossible. And if you wonder why it is impossible – it is because x and the definition of x are NECESSARILY semantically equivalent if the definition is a valid one.

            I think they’re connected. Frequently you do this to me, and I don’t think the two items are connected when you do it.

            Character assassination!!11! Link to >4 instances of me doing this!!!!

          • I a quick google, I could not find any, nor any particularly interested in GBU and the nature of causality.

          • Luke Breuer

            Did you totally miss Michael Tooley’s Time, Tense, and Causation?

          • I have not read it and you have yet to provide a clear cut quote which defends your thesis.

            I do, however, like the hopefulness of you leaving a comment a month ago on the review to a person who reviewed 7 years ago!

          • Luke Breuer

            Did you see these quotations? As to the thread resurrection, hell yeah! Truth doesn’t die, it just lies dormant at times.

          • I can see no application of a different type of causality to a growing block universe (although there are some serious criticisms of the now, and knowing we are in it.)

          • Luke Breuer

            I’m not immediately fazed by “serious criticisms”, because Tooley offers some serious criticisms of the block universe idea. In philosophy, it seems like you get to choose which serious criticisms you are willing to endure, not which system of thought is pristine and free of problem.

          • A reason is a cause in this context. This is famously the equivocation seen in Lewis’ formulation of the Argument from Reason which Beversluis so wonderfully critiqued in his second edition (that point based on Anscombe’s original critique). Anscombe defined four types of explanation, one of which was causal explanations, which is what I think we are dealing with here.

            Reasoning, and reasons for doing something, are conceptual abstractions, which can be reduced to the former. They are just logic, essentially, where deliberation is merely inefficient logical deduction or induction.

          • Luke Breuer

            Oooh, thanks for the link to John Beversluis’ C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion! I wonder why it isn’t included other than a bare citation in WP: Argument from reason. I wonder why [athiest] Erik Wielenberg doesn’t seem to think Beversluis’ account is a defeater[1]. Indeed, he thinks that problem may be on par with the problem of evil for the theist: both permanently insoluble.

            [1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB_uOXkH7lE#t=1300

            Reasoning, and reasons for doing something, are conceptual abstractions, which can be reduced to the former. They are just logic, essentially, where deliberation is merely inefficient logical deduction or induction.

            How do you use logic to chop things up into pieces? Logic is very good at combining already-chopped-up-pieces according to rules, but what logic chops things up? One possible candidate is organic logic, which I don’t understand very well at all. Indeed, that guy seems a bit odd. And yet, picking the right decomposition is crucial. (I can quote some neat bits from Paul E. Griffiths’ What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories, if you’d like.)

          • I personally know the author and he was upset that in going through all the work of updating it (hugely so) hardly any marketing and royalties have been forthcoming from Proometheus.

          • Luke Breuer

            It sounds like a great opportunity for you to do him a favor if you feel like spending some more time on the argument from reason. Erik Wielenberg may also want to find out about Beversluis’ account, if he doesn’t know about it. The argument from reason seems like a Big Deal to him.

            My own interest in the matter: I’d like to further develop my (1) and (2), (A) and (B), “reason” ≠ “adaptation to the environment” comment. That is inspired by both Gregory Dawes’ Theism and Explanation and the following, which sparked a discussion with The Thinker (you’ve at least skimmed it):

            LB:
            1. Premise: brain states map to physical states.
            2. Premise: causation in physical correlates to the mental
            3. Premise: some mental states are true and some are false
            4. Premise: all that is physical is the result of law + randomness + time
            5. Corollary: all mental states are the result of law + randomness + time
            6. Corollary: law + randomness + time can lead to true mental states
            7. Corollary: law + randomness + time can lead to false mental states
            8. Problem: what possible law could distinguish 6. from 7.?

            Now, typically I think one wishes to use ‘reason’ to do the distinguishing in 8. But the problem is that ‘reason’, to be causally efficacious, must reduce to 1. + 2. And yet, we have that 2. + 3. leads to 6. + 7. So it doesn’t seem like law + randomness + time has the resources to distinguish between true and false beliefs.

            Therefore, it doesn’t seem like ‘reason’ could possibly be causally efficacious. But this is a severe problem! We want ‘reason’ to help us sort between what is true and false, right?

            I’m not at all certain this argument is valid, but The Thinker wasn’t able to point out any errors I saw as fatal.

          • Do you want to email me that and some commentary and I’ll post it for fear of derailing this thread?

          • turbopro10

            good luck with that.

            LB is a tangentialist par excellence.

            by now, i’ve lost the thread of your OP

          • Yes, it’s rather non-linear and all over the shop…

          • Andy_Schueler

            What annoys me is that he starts going of a tangent – like the growing block universe stuff, makes all kinds of bold assertions about it and about how it allegededly has relevance for the OP, but then it turns out that it´s all based on nothing but a hunch and that he actually has nothing at all to back up all his assertions.

          • Email is fine, but perhaps you could send the first volley, critiquing what I have so far or asking clarifying questions?

          • Luke Breuer

            A reason is a cause in this context.

            Please define ’cause’. Andy tried, and it ended up being circular.

          • Relata between events such that one (ie some) necessitates the other.

            In fact, i don’t think binary causation makes any sense. I believe in one temporal notion of causality – it’s a big matrix (so the block universe makes good sense of this, growing or not). It is immanent (in the causal sense).

            See pieces like this to get a sense:

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2014/04/28/have-i-killed-someone/

            (although in some sense primitivism and thus eliminativism are interesting)

          • Luke Breuer

            Relata between events such that one (ie some) necessitates the other.

            I now have several books I can use to look at this, chief among them Evan Fales’ Divine Intervention: Metaphysical and Epistemological Puzzles. Can you give me any other search terms for your conception, here? Necessitation is a big one, so I do have something to start with. Can you provide more?

            In fact, i don’t think binary causation makes any sense. I believe in one temporal notion of causality – it’s a big matrix (so the block universe makes good sense of this, growing or not).

            When you say “binary causation”, do you mean mechanistic causation? I am reminded of the following in David Bohm’s Causality and Chance in Modern Physics:

                The first important step in this development was to study in more detail just what is implied in the suggested new interpretation of the quantum theory, beginning with the one-body system[1] and going into the many-body system.[2][3] In these studies (especially those involving the working out of detailed trajectories) it became clear that even the one-body system has a basically non-mechanical feature, in the sense that it and its environment have to be understood as an undivided whole, in which the usual classical analysis into system plus environment, considered as separately external, is no longer applicable. This wholeness becomes even more evident in the many-body system, in which there is, in general, a non-local interaction between all the constituent particles, which does not necessarily fall off when these particles are distant from each other. What is yet more striking is that the inter-relationships of the parts (or sub-wholes) within a system depends crucially on the state of the whole, in a way that is not expressible in terms of properties of the parts alone.[4] Indeed, the parts are organized in ways that flow out of the whole. The usual mechanistic notion that the organization, and indeed, the entire behaviour, of the whole derives solely from the parts and their predetermined inter-relationships thus breaks down.
                The law of the whole can be shown to imply that at the ordinary level of experience (as well as at that covered by classical physics), the whole falls approximately into a structure of relatively independent sub-wholes, interacting more or less externally and mechanically. Nevertheless, in a more accurate and more fundamental description, quantum wholeness and non-locality are seen to be the major factors. This is brought out especially in the experiment of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen, which emphasizes these features in a very clear way. Various refinements and modifications of this experiment have been developed, and with the aid of the well-known Bell Inequality, a very accurate test for non-locality has been made possible. A number of experiments, leading to the latest one by Aspect,[5] strongly confirm the predictions of the quantum theory, and indicate that classical notions of locality and analysability have broken down. The new interpretation of the quantum theory gives a clear and simple intuitively understandable account of how a quantum system can be an undivided whole, in which non-local connections of the kind described above may take place. (preface to new edition, before xi)

                Indeed, when this interpretation is extended to field theories,[7] not only the inter-relationships of the parts, but also their very existence is seen to flow out of the law of the whole. There is therefore nothing left of the classical scheme, in which the whole is derived from pre-existent parts related in pre-determined ways. Rather, what we have is reminiscent of the relationship of whole and parts in an organism, in which each organ grows and sustains itself in a way that depends crucially on the whole. (xi)

            Key phrases:

            • “a basically non-mechanical feature, in the sense that it and its environment have to be understood as an undivided whole
            • “the whole falls approximately into a structure of relatively independent sub-wholes”
            • “each organ grows and sustains itself in a way that depends crucially on the whole”

            From your Have I Killed Someone?, which I believe you more recently discussed, it seems like you should find the above more immediately comprehensible than most? Related to that post, do you know if there’s a concept of “dilution of responsibility”, which isn’t really diffusion of responsibility? It’d be more like mob mentality, such that each person shares so little responsibility that one is likely to get off relatively consequence-free (at least in some countries).

          • Just rejoining here. On the latter, it sounds like deindividuation which I talk about a little in my free will book. rg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deindividuation

            On causation, first port of call is always the SEP, eg http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/causation-metaphysics/

          • On the latter, it sounds like deindividuation which I talk about a little in my free will book.

            Sweet, that appears to be a much better term than “diffusion of responsibility”. Unfortunately, your free will book is not at the top of my reading list these days. :-/ I’m currently working on William C. Wimsatt’s Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality, John Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason, and Timothy McGrew’s and Lydia McGrew’s Internalism and Epistemology: The Architecture of Reason, to just name a few books.

            On causation, first port of call is always the SEP

            Okay, but surely there are some keywords that could help me zero in on your conception of causation? I have read a bit about it already, in Gregory W. Dawes’ Theism and Explanation, Evan Fales’ Divine Intervention: Metaphysical and Epistemological Puzzles, Rom Harré’s Causal Powers: Theory of Natural Necessity, Chaos and Complexity: Scientific Perspectives On Divine Action, Charles Taylor’s Human Agency and Language, and obliquely in Christian Smith’s Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture. (I realize that what typically goes by ‘human agency’ and ‘causation’ aren’t identical.)

          • In some sense, what it is, mechanically or ontologically, is less important here than what it does, or represents.

          • Luke Breuer

            This sounds like a very contestable philosophical stance. :-p Is there a name for it? It sounds vaguely positivistic and behavioristic, but those terms don’t really seem to fit. This seems to indicate a dislike of metaphysics, but it could just be trying to keep metaphysics from getting cancerous. Pragmatism also kind of matches, but kind of doesn’t.

          • Luke, I cannot fathom any difference between the causality of a block universe and a growing block universe.

          • Michael Tooley’s Time, Tense, and Causation is all about that. Do you find these excerpts uninteresting, in terms of your “cannot fathom any difference”?

          • josh

            In a situation like this, where (1) and (2) cover the whole range of possibilities they aren’t falsifiable because ‘ not (1) and/or (2)’ is tautologically false. We cannot conceive of what it would look like if ‘not (1) and/or (2)’ was true so we can’t specify a condition under which (1) and/or (2) is falsified by experiment.

            If you don’t agree with this it is up to you to present a coherent third option. Incidentally, rationality would have to be an instance of (1).

          • In a situation like this, where (1) and (2) cover the whole range of possibilities they aren’t falsifiable because ‘ not (1) and/or (2)’ is tautologically false.

            Do you accept, or reject, the following “principle of denial”:

            LB: If I recall correctly, you say that you don’t know what is being asserted if nothing is being denied. Is this true? If so, then you cannot know what “reality is exclusively composed of (1), (2), and (3)” asserts, unless you know what it denies. What does it deny?

            ? It would appear that you are in danger of committing a type-II error, per my Intersubjectivity is Key: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”. Now, you’re in good company:

            History of the Free Will Problem[…]Hume said “’tis impossible to admit of any medium betwixt chance and an absolute necessity.”

            In other words, metaxy is being denied by you and Hume. I’m just not convinced that you’re right; your argument would appear to depend on ‘determinism’ and ‘chance’ being each other’s opposite, such that:

                 (a) determinism = ¬chance
                 (b) chance = ¬determinism

            This lets you deploy the law of excluded middle:

            WP: In logic, the law of excluded middle (or the principle of excluded middle) is the third of the three classic laws of thought. It states that for any proposition, either that proposition is true, or its negation is true.

            However, I don’t see why I am forced to accept (a) and/or (b). Indeed, it seems very clear to me that patterns could emerge ex nihilo, with no epistemically accessible cause, such that neither ‘determinism’ nor ‘chance’ are good explanations for why that pattern emerged.

            If you don’t agree with this it is up to you to present a coherent third option.

            Only if you deny the principle of denial. (Feel free to suggest a better name.)

            Incidentally, rationality would have to be an instance of (1).

            Not clear; see also “intentional explanations are not nomological”. Furthermore, I suspect that Gödel’s incompleteness theorems push toward rationality being unformalizable, on pain of rationality being composed of recursively enumerable axioms.

          • Andy_Schueler

            In other words, metaxy is being denied by you…

            This lets you deploy the law of excluded middle…

            Bullshit. A third possibility – a middle ground – has always been allowed. In this thread and in every other thread where people have talked about on this blog. What you deny is that this third option, this middle ground, would be option c) a combination of a+b. And you have never answered the question – how the fuck could the middle ground possibly be anything other than a combination of a+b? If you think there is a fourth option, as you have claimed over and over and over and over again in many threads, then what is it?

          • Do you accept, or reject, the following “principle of denial” (better name welcome):

            LB: If I recall correctly, you say that you don’t know what is being asserted if nothing is being denied. Is this true? If so, then you cannot know what “reality is exclusively composed of (1), (2), and (3)” asserts, unless you know what it denies. What does it deny?

            ? I did allow a+b: (3). See:

            LB: I’m arguing that we are not limited to:

                 (1) determinism
                 (2) randomness

            , nor:

                 (3) some combination of (1) and (2)

            Instead, I argue that there could be:

                 (4) something ¬((1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3))

            I say this because it seems that (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) is unfalsifiable. That is, it is not opposed to any alternative.

            (4) is required by the principle of denial. You are welcome to reject it, in which case the following is binding on me, from your point of view:

            And you have never answered the question – how the fuck could the middle ground possibly be anything other than a combination of a+b?

            However, if you accept the principle of denial, I’m not on the hook for answering the question, you are, if you say that (3), or in your parlance a+b, is all that reality is/could be. From my point of view, I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”. It would appear that the principle of denial is what keeps us from getting locked inside a philosophical dome. It is, as it were, the metaphysical equivalent of the scientific doctrine of falsifiability.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Alright Ladies and Gentleman, we´ve now reached the final stage of a typical Breuerian Bullshit round: radical skepticism.
            Hey Luke, did you know that the prophet Muhammad, Jesus of Nazareth and Satan could totally have been the exact same person, and that the earth could totally be actually flat and spherical at the same time? If you are not considering those to be serious possibilities, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

          • I do like that (i) I recall you first asserting the principle of denial; (ii) you now refuse to state a position on the principle of denial. Now, of course I could be wrong about (i), but I don’t think I am. But if you admitted that you hold to it, you would be forced to admit that (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) doesn’t capture all that could be. That would undermine your assertion that I’m a looney and am talking nonsense. And so you veil your position so that your probably-nonsense critique appears sensible. This is cowardly behavior.

          • Andy_Schueler

            “I do like that (i) I recall you first asserting the principle of denial”
            – If you assert that this is true, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

            “(ii) you now refuse to state a position on the principle of denial.”
            – If you assert that this is true, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

            “But if you admitted that you hold to it, you would be forced to admit that (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) doesn’t capture all that could be.”
            – If you assert that this is true, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

            “That would undermine your assertion that I’m a looney and am talking nonsense.”
            – If you assert that this is true, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

            “This is cowardly behavior.”
            – If you assert that this is true, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

          • AS: Alright Ladies and Gentleman, we´ve now reached the final stage of a typical Breuerian Schuelerian Bullshit round: radical skepticism stupid parroting.

            Irony intended.

          • Andy_Schueler

            If you are asserting that I am parroting you, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

            What´s wrong Luke? Do you like radical skepticism only when it´s applied to claims about which you feel really strongly that they should be false?

          • I’m happy for people to see that you won’t say whether you accept or reject the principle of denial. They can judge our interchange based on that and I will be happy with whatever result they come to.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Oh, I did say whether I accept or reject it, and if you claim I didn´t, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

          • AS: Oh, I did say whether I accept or reject [the principle of denial], and if you claim I didn´t, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

            Quoting this for posterity. Also saving it.

          • Andy_Schueler

            “Quoting this for posterity.”
            – If you assert that you in fact did quote this, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

            “Also saving it.”
            – If you assert that you did in fact save this, then I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

          • josh

            “Do you accept, or reject, the following “principle of denial”:…”

            You are attempting to deny (1) and/or (2). If I assert that (1) and/or (2) can’t be falsified because we can’t even conceive of what it’s being false would look like, then I am denying that you can come up with something which isn’t covered by (1) and (2) which we can experience. So far my prediction is looking pretty good.

            There is no ‘Type II’ error here, I’m not rejecting or accepting that the universe is deterministic or random (nor have I specified one as the null hypothesis, nor am I doing a statistical test). Nor am I claiming to understand all or reality. I’m just pointing out that we can’t conceive of any other options, which is how we normally use logic.

            You are right, that randomness as I am using it is the negation of determinism. Whatever isn’t random is determined and vice versa. This says nothing about whether patterns are epistemically evident or not. It’s saying that patterns exist or they don’t.

            Godel’s work relies on rationality and determinism. True statements in a Godelian analysis are deterministically true, even if they can’t be proven in a finite number of steps within a particular system. (Otherwise we wouldn’t call Godels conclusions a valid proof.)

          • You are attempting to deny (1) and/or (2). If I assert that (1) and/or (2) can’t be falsified because we can’t even conceive of what it’s being false would look like, then I am denying that you can come up with something which isn’t covered by (1) and (2) which we can experience.

            The statement,

                 (F) (1) and/or (2) can’t be falsified.

            cannot be justified. Go ahead, try it. Produce an epistemic justification for (F).

            There is no ‘Type II’ error here, […]

            Yes, there is. You are saying that:

                 (C) Reality is constructed of (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) and nothing more.

            You cannot show this. Go ahead and try, but unless you are using unformalizable rationality, or otherwise don’t satisfy Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem, you cannot establish the truth-condition of (C). If you do go for the option of unformalizable rationality, then I claim you cannot found that notion within naturalism. (Here, we head toward Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos.)

            You are right, that randomness as I am using it is the negation of determinism. Whatever isn’t random is determined and vice versa.

            I reject this; I reject (a) and (b).

            Godel’s work relies on rationality and determinism. True statements in a Godelian analysis are deterministically true, even if they can’t be proven in a finite number of steps within a particular system.

            Nobody cares if they are “deterministically true” (whatever that means), if you cannot show that they are, if your epistemology is too weak to demonstrate them.

          • Andy_Schueler

            “… but unless you are using unformalizable rationality, or otherwise don’t satisfy Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem…”
            – Ah, you are still using that particular bullshit? Well, I´m not surprised, it´s not as if you ever let go of shitty arguments.

          • See the following from Gregory W. Dawes’ Theism and Explanation, with underlining added:

            3.4.1 Intentional and Causal ExplanationsA first objection rests on the very character of intentional explanations. It suggests that a theistic explanation could not be both intentional and causal, since these represent distinct and mutually exclusive forms of explanation. No intentional explanation is a causal explanation. But I believe this claim to be wrong, for reasons I shall outline later (Appendix 1.1). I have no argument with the idea, defended by Donald Davidson, that intentions are causes and that intentional explanations are also causal explanations.[76] There is one issue that needs to be clarified here. I have suggested that intentional explanations are not nomological (3.2.1). They do, if you like, depend on something resembling a law, namely the rationality principle. But they do not depend on law-like generalisations linking particular intentions and particular actions. Does this mean that they cannot be regarded as causal explanations? Only if you believe that the citing of causal laws is a necessary condition of a causal explanation. But I shall argue later that it is not (Appendix 3.3.1), that causal explanations do not necessarily involve causal laws.[77] If this is true, then there is no difficulty with the idea that an intentional explanation is also a causal explanation. (51)

            A.3.3 Intentions and LawsThere is a second, and more serious objection to the idea that intentional explanations are testable. It arises from the claim that intentional explanations are “anomalous,” in the sense that they do not rely on laws. If there are no laws connecting intentions and behaviour, or if intentional explanations do not rely on laws, then on what basis could we use such explanations to make testable predictions? And if such explanations do not appeal to laws, can the causal thesis be defended? Can we have a causal explanation that does not appeal to causal laws?[58] (161)

            [58] At least some of those who reject Davidson’s causal thesis do so because they assume that there can be no causal explanation that does not cite causal laws (Thalberg and Levison, “Are There Non-Causal Explanations of Action?,” 84). It is this view that I am about to reject.

            Thalberg, Irving and Arnold B. Levison. “Are There Non-Causal Explanations of Action?” In Enigmas of Agency: Studies in the Philosophy of Human Action, by Irving Thalberg, 73–86. Muirhead Library of Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1972.

            ———

            “not nomological” ⇒ “unformalizable”
            “do not rely on laws” ⇒ “unformalizable”

          • Andy_Schueler

            Which of course makes your Gödel bullshit totally not idiotic!

          • WP: Gödel’s incompleteness theorems § Background: A formal theory is said to be effectively generated if its set of axioms is a recursively enumerable set. This means that there is a computer program that, in principle, could enumerate all the axioms of the theory without listing any statements that are not axioms.

            Combine that with:

            JP: Reasoning, and reasons for doing something, are conceptual abstractions, which can be reduced to the former. They are just logic, essentially, where deliberation is merely inefficient logical deduction or induction.

            Something which is “just logic” is something which can be formalized and computed, thus making it vulnerable to Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem,

            WP: Gödel’s incompleteness theorems § Second incompleteness theorem: For any formal effectively generated theory T including basic arithmetical truths and also certain truths about formal provability, if T includes a statement of its own consistency then T is inconsistent.

            , iff by “logic” he means to include not just an RE formal system simpliciter, but one which also:

                 (i) includes basic arithmetical truths
                (ii) includes certain truths about formal provability

            , then we have the problem of not being able to prove that the system (= “reasoning”, per JP) is complete, on pain of it being inconsistent. What that means is that such a system cannot be known to capture “all that there is”, meaning one cannot know—cannot know—whether or not one is committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be”.

            Do feel free to find the error. For completeness:

               (iii) is composed of recursively enumerable axioms

            That is, if “reason” has the properties (i), (ii), and (iii), Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem applies to it. Do feel free to point out the logical failure in this argument, if there is one.

          • Andy_Schueler

            It is indeed absolutely true that you cannot possibly know that “you understand all of reality that could be” – even if you in fact do understand it all, you cannot, by definition, know that there are no “unknown unknowns” outside of your understanding. Not even an omniscient “God”, if there is such a thing, could know that he does in fact know everything that is knowable.
            However:
            a) This has nothing whatsoever to do with Gödel´s incompleteness theorems. For many, many reasons. Reasons like for example the obvious fact that Gödel´s second incompleteness theorem doesn´t actually make consistency proofs impossible (which would you know if you would for once actually carefully read and study the stuff you link to). Or like there being no reason whatsoever for why a full description of *physical* reality would require a proof that all formal systems that are used for this description are consistent.
            b) calling this a type II error is just stupid.

          • It is indeed absolutely true that you cannot possibly know that “you understand all of reality that could be” […]

            Yep, but I went beyond this by arguing that, to say that reality is constructed of (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) and nothing more, is to violate this maxim.

            a) This has nothing whatsoever to do with Gödel´s incompleteness theorems.

            True or false?: JP’s “reasoning” satisfies (i), (ii), and (iii).

            Reasons like for example the obvious fact that Gödel´s second incompleteness theorem doesn´t actually make consistency proofs impossible […]

            It makes them impossible iff the postulates of the theorem are fulfilled. Are you trying to refer to something like Genzen’s consistency proof? That is different from what Gödel’s theorems talk about. Furthermore, you are conflating consistency with completeness; I was focusing on completeness. But perhaps you missed this, because of your “b) calling this a type II error is just stupid.”; type-II errors are incompleteness errors.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Yep, but I went beyond this by arguing that, to say that reality is constructed of (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) and nothing more, is to violate this maxim.

            Of course! Just like arguing that I and Jesus of Nazareth are definitely not the exact same person is to violate this maxim.

            It makes them impossible iff the postulates of the theorem are fulfilled.

            And only if you try to prove their consistency within themselves. Some formal systems that do fall under the theorem cannot be proven to be consistent within themselves but they are provably consistent within other formal systems. And that is also completely irrelevant, because you have no reason what-so-ever for why a full description of physical reality would require consistency proofs for the formal systems that are used for such a description.

            Furthermore, you are conflating consistency with completeness

            And that is also bullshit for the exact same reason as the previous one – you have no reason what-so-ever for why a full description of physical reality would require completeness proofs of the formal systems used for such a description.
            Edit: Oh, and it is still stupid to call this “type II errors”.

          • And only if you try to prove their consistency within themselves.

            So are you going to use something other than JP-reasoning to prove that JP-reasoning is consistent and complete? If so, what reasoning would that be?

            And that is also completely irrelevant, because you have no reason what-so-ever for why a full description of physical reality would require consistency proofs for the formal systems that are used for such a description.

            Most scientists who know about GR and QFT producing different predictions near black holes consider this inconsistency a problem. Maybe you don’t. Furthermore, not even being able to know that such an inconsistency exists would be terrible. That would appear to raise the specter of new mysterianism or something like that. We generally want to believe that our way of understanding reality is consistent.

            And that is also bullshit for the exact same reason as the previous one – you have no reason what-so-ever for why a full description of physical reality would require completeness proofs of the formal systems used for such a description.

            Yeah, it’s not like I would want to know whether or not there’s more reality to explore than I’ve explored, and if so, how to go about exploring it. No, nobody would ever want to to do that. Silly me!

            Edit: Oh, and it is still stupid to call this “type II errors”.

            You say this as if I care.

          • Andy_Schueler

            So are you going to use something other than JP-reasoning to prove that JP-reasoning is consistent and complete?

            Show that Gödel´s incompleteness theorems a) apply to anything other than formal systems or show b) that a full description of physical reality requires consistency and completeness proofs for the formal systems that are used in such a description. You never did and you cannot. And that is why it is stupid for you to keep bringing this shit up as if it had anything to do with why it is impossible to know that you “understand all of reality”.

            Most scientists who know about GR and QFT producing different predictions near black holes consider this inconsistency a problem.

            Has literally nothing to do with Gödel´s incompleteness theorems. Nothing what-so-ever.

            Yeah, it’s not like I would want to know whether or not there’s more reality to explore than I’ve explored, and if so, how to go about exploring it. No, nobody would ever want to to do that. Silly me!

            Has literally nothing to do with Gödel´s incompleteness theorems.

            Also, funny that you don´t reply to this:

            Of course! Just like arguing that I and Jesus of Nazareth are definitely not the exact same person is to violate this maxim.

            Your selective radical skepticism is the most ridiculous thing I have seen in my entire life. Seriously, I´ve never seen someone as intellectually inconsistent as you are.

          • I think there is a good point there. @LukeBreuer:disqus – I wonder if you ever apply such radical skepticism to those (religious) things you already accept? ie is this a selective, rather convenient use of such skepticism?

          • Nobody has convinced me that I am exposing Christianity to any less skepticism than I am exposing other things. Instead, what I recognize is that every way of looking at reality has problems, and therefore I am not looking for something with no problems, but with the problems I can most tolerate.

            The only valid way I see of testing the above is for me to be rigorously skeptical of my interlocutor’s belief system†, in a way that matches his/her level of skepticism of my belief system. Rarely do I find such a person, willing to do this. Almost universally, the person wishes to examine me more fully and intricately than he/she wishes to be examined himself/​herself. Can you see how this is problematic?

            † Or metaphysic, or foundational assumptions, or plausibility framework, or universal prior probability, or whatever you want to call it.

            FYI, the @ mechanism isn’t actually notifying me of jack shit. Fucking Disqus!

          • Andy_Schueler

            Nobody has convinced me that I am exposing Christianity to any less skepticism than I am exposing other things.

            :-D :-D :-D
            Ok, lets try this out. I will now state a belief that relates to Christianity:
            “I believe that Jesus of Nazareth, Satan and the prophet Muhammad are all the exact same person, those are just three different names for one and the same person, but Muhammad is a much better poker player than Jesus”.
            Now, do you or do you not consider this belief to be knowably false? If you don´t consider it to be knowably false – congratulations, you are probably one of the most radical skeptics the world has ever seen. If you do consider it to be knowably false however, then please explain why you consider it to be false.
            And after you have done that, I will give your explanation the Luke Breuer treatment and we will see how consistent you really are.

          • Ok, lets try this out. I will now state a belief that relates to Christianity:

            I believe that Jesus of Nazareth, Satan and the prophet Muhammad are all the exact same person, those are just three different names for one and the same person, but Muhammad is a much better poker player than Jesus”.

            Now, do you or do you not consider this belief to be knowably false?

            For standard conceptions of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Muhammad’, it would be a contradiction to say that they are two names for the same person. This doesn’t map nicely to the Trinity though; it is composed of three hypostases and one ousia. Typically:

                 hypostasis: person
                 ousia: substance

            So, we have “three persons, one substance”. Contrast this to your “three different names for one and the same person”. More explicitly:

                 Andy Schueler: “same person”
                 Trinity: “three persons”

            That was easy. But perhaps you want me to establish hypostasisousia, for some interesting value of ‘≠’?

          • Andy_Schueler

            Thanks for your answer. And now, let me give it the Luke Breuer treatment:

            For standard conceptions of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Muhammad’, it would be a contradiction to say….

            Which system of logic are you using? There are many. Have you tried analyzing this within the framework of paraconsistent logic? Also, you are surely not saying that something cannot be true just because it is currently not logically constructable?

            Also, and most importantly, you didn´t actually answer my question – is the belief I have stated in the comment that you replied to “knowably false”? Yes or no? And if “yes”, what are your reasons for considering it to be false?

          • Which system of logic are you using? There are many. Have you tried analyzing this within the framework of paraconsistent logic? Also, you are surely not saying that something cannot be true just because it is currently not logically constructable?

            It’s like you see me doing these things and think that anything can be arbitrarily targeted by them, instead of supposing that I have reasons for when I apply one or another. For example, “Which system of logic are you using?” is helpful for knowing, among other things, whether the system of logic is vulnerable to Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

            Also, and most importantly, you didn´t actually answer my question – is the belief I have stated in the comment that you replied to “knowably false”? Yes or no? And if “yes”, what are your reasons for considering it to be false?

            I hold that sets of statements which are mutually contradictory contain at least one falsehood. Here what counts as “contradictory” is indeed important; e.g. from Jon Agar’s Science in the Twentieth Century and Beyond:

                The new quantum theory would result form the merger of two quite distinct, seemingly contradictory streams of work. The first, as we have seen, was the abstract matrix theory, built by Heisenberg, Born, Jordan, and Dirac, which had been a leap away from familiar, visualizable mechanics. The second, known as wave mechanics, which often bears Erwin Schrödinger’s name, was a reflection on continuing experimental work on the statistical thermodynamics of gases and careful measurements of radiation. A good place to start to trace the emergence of wave mechanics is in Paris, where since the end of the Great War the aristocrat Maurice de Broglie had built up a lavish laboratory for X-ray spectroscopy. Maurice’s younger brother Louis—or, to give him his full name, Prince Louis-Victor de Broglie—had followed him into physics. In 1922, the pair were arguing about X-rays, about how sometimes they appeared as particles and sometimes as waves. Louis, with the independence that aristocratic leisure can bring, pushed the argument as far as it could seemingly go. Having written out equations describing material ‘corpuscles’, he found a wave-like component and, rather than dismiss these as theoretical figments, held out that, if matter was accurately represented, mathematically as waves, then matter could indeed be waves. But surely ‘matter waves’ were madness? (123)

            We know that ‘matter waves’ are not ‘madness’. That’s because in our conceptual framework, we understand that e.g. photons propagate as waves and interact as particles. No contradiction. But if one merely says ‘matter waves’, that seems contradictory. So, not all apparent contradictions are actual contradictions. Sometimes your conceptual framework isn’t big enough to account for actual phenomena, or perhaps, actual ontology.

          • Andy_Schueler

            You still have not answered my question. Is the belief I have stated “knowably false”? Yes or no? And if yes, what are your reasons for considering it to be false?

          • Hmmmm, I wonder who cannot read:

            AS: Ok, lets try this out. I will now state a belief that relates to Christianity:

            I believe that Jesus of Nazareth, Satan and the prophet Muhammad are all the exact same person, those are just three different names for one and the same person, but Muhammad is a much better poker player than Jesus”.

            Now, do you or do you not consider this belief to be knowably false?

            LB: For standard conceptions of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Muhammad’, it would be a contradiction to say that they are two names for the same person.

            LB: I hold that sets of statements which are mutually contradictory contain at least one falsehood.

            If you cannot figure out the answer to your question based on the above, what else could I say? However, I will try to hold your hand:

            (1) You appear to be using standard conceptions of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Muhammad’.
            (2) It is a contradiction to say that they are the same person.
            (3) Sets of statements which are mutually contradictory contain falsehood.
            (4) Your set of statements are mutually contradictory.
            (5) Your set of statements contain falsehood.
            (6) Your ‘statement’, which is that set, is false.

            Why you couldn’t manage that on your own, I don’t know. Actually, I do:

            AS: You are a remarkably stupid person.

            AS: Moron.

            AS: Idiot.

            AS: […] it´s not as if you ever let go of shitty arguments.

            AS: typical Breuerian Bullshit round

            LB: When there’s a sane person and an insane person, sometimes each thinks the other is insane.

            What is a bit odd is that an insane person telling others not to trust him actually makes sense, and requires a shred of self-understanding on the part of the insane person:

            AS: If anything, I´d prefer you not trusting me.

            So, every one of those statements is really f(Andy Schueler, Luke Breuer) = X, where X can be 0–100% true of Andy Schueler and 100–0% true of Luke Breuer, with the total percentage being between 100% and 200%. Jesus for the win:

            Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Mt 7:3–5)

            Right now, “Moron.” and “Idiot.” seem to describe your behavior pretty well. Good thing you told me not to trust you.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Wait…. So you do consider the belief I described to be knowably false and the only reason you have for this, is that I cannot currently logically construct it.
            But…. that cannot be! That would mean that when you said this:

            Nobody has convinced me that I am exposing Christianity to any less skepticism than I am exposing other things.

            You were either lying or displaying a spectacular lack of self-awareness. In discussions about LFW for example, you were not bothered by contradictions at all, all that contradictions meant to you were that you “cannot currently logically construct it” – no reason to consider the belief to be false. But here, a contradiction magically does turn into a reason to consider a belief to be false. You evidently apply little to no skepticism to things you want to be true, while simultaneously applying radical skepticism to things you want to be false.

            Right now, “Moron.” and “Idiot.” seem to describe your behavior pretty well.

            Aww, look who is “tearing people down to make himself feel better” :-)
            Seriously though, congrats on finally letting it out – your passive-aggressive bitching is much less tolerable than you finally saying what you actually think.

          • Wait…. So you do consider the belief I described to be knowably false and the only reason you have for this, is that I cannot currently logically construct it.

            Did you derive this exclusively from (1)–(6)?

            But…. that cannot be! That would mean that when you said this:

            LB: Nobody has convinced me that I am exposing Christianity to any less skepticism than I am exposing other things.

            You were either lying or displaying a spectacular lack of self-awareness. In discussions about LFW for example, you were not bothered by contradictions at all, all that contradictions meant to you were that you “cannot currently logically construct it” – no reason to consider the belief to be false.

            You curiously left out the full context:

            LB: Nobody has convinced me that I am exposing Christianity to any less skepticism than I am exposing other things. Instead, what I recognize is that every way of looking at reality has problems, and therefore I am not looking for something with no problems, but with the problems I can most tolerate.

            This casts your “not bothered by contradictions at all”, specifically the part I underlined. If I were not bothered at all, I would not have strenuously discussed LFW with you. On the contrary, I see it as a serious problem that LFW cannot be given an ontology. However, as I have said before, that is because it does not seem like ‘moral responsibility’ can be grounded without something close to LFW. Perhaps you have found a way to ground it other than LFW, given your recent “I actually consider it more likely than not that you do have “the option to act otherwise””. Now, it seems a little dishonest that ‘moral responsibility’ depends on people having “the option to act otherwise” (or more precisely, “had the option to act otherwise”), you knew I was more concerned with maintaining an ontology for ‘moral responsibility’ than LFW, and didn’t say anything about this.

            But here, a contradiction magically does turn into a reason to consider a belief to be false.

            That a belief is false does not mean it is useless, and does not mean one ought not act on it in lieu of better beliefs. In control theory, ‘false’ models are used all the time in order to e.g. make the cruise control on your car work sufficiently well. Now, mathematical singularities are ugly, making one want to e.g. use quaternions instead of Euler angles when doing attitude state estimation for quadcopters. Otherwise, one gets funny behavior at the poles that could end up in a crash. However, quaternions have their own problem: which sign to choose.

            You evidently apply little to no skepticism to things you want to be true, while simultaneously applying radical skepticism to things you want to be false.

            The falsity of this should now be evident.

            Aww, look who is “tearing people down to make himself feel better” :-)

            What would falsify your imputation of motive?

            Seriously though, congrats on finally letting it out – your passive-aggressive bitching is much less tolerable than you finally saying what you actually think.

            What was it that I was keeping in? I’m just pointing out that when one calls another person ‘idiot’, all that is really known is that there exists idiocy. Whether the idiot is the person who did the calling, or the person being called, or both, is yet to be determined. I’m working entirely off of your claims of ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’. I personally don’t think you are an idiot, or I am an idiot, except perhaps for your attribution of ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’. You are extremely frustrating, but I would not call you an ‘idiot’. If you were truly an idiot and/or a moron, I would be crazy to spend so much time talking to you.

          • Andy_Schueler

            This casts your “not bothered by contradictions at all”, specifically the part I underlined. If I were not bothered at all, I would not have strenuously discussed LFW with you.

            You didn´t “strenously discuss” it with me or anyone else. You looked at demonstrations for why LFW is logically incoherent, and then you mantra-like asserted that you “cannot currently logically construct it”. So, how about you stop the word games and just give a straight answer:

            Do you consider the belief (re Jesus, Muhammad and Satan…) to be knowably false? Yes or no? And if “yes”, why do you consider it to be knowably false?
            Please try for once to just give a straight answer to this, don´t go off on annother 2000 word tangent – just ANSWER it.

            However, as I have said before, that is because it does not seem like ‘moral responsibility’ can be grounded without something close to LFW.

            For the sake of the argument, I will just grant you this. So – what the fuck is your point here? If your point is “I want moral responsibility to be meaningful, and for it to be meaningful, I need LFW” – then you are proving my point, you are applying radical skepticism to claims you want to be false, and you accept claims you want to be true even if you know them to be logically incoherent!
            If that wasn´t your point – then you will have to rephrase what you said here.

            What would falsify your imputation of motive?

            Oh, sorry! What I meant was of course:
            “Aww, look whose behavior is well modelled by “tearing people down to make himself feel better” :-)”

            I’m just pointing out that when one calls another person ‘idiot’, all that is really known is that there exists idiocy. Whether the idiot is the person who did the calling, or the person being called, or both, is yet to be determined. I’m working entirely off of your claims of ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’. I personally don’t think you are an idiot, or I am an idiot, except perhaps for your attribution of ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’.

            There a) “exists idiocy” and b) either you, or me, or both of us are idiots and c) you don´t believe that either one of us is an idiot.
            It is quite hilarious to see such an idiotic statement about idiocy.

          • You didn´t “strenously discuss” it with me or anyone else.

            This is a flagrant abuse of language. (yes, you will ditto this with different referent)

            For the sake of the argument, I will just grant you this. So – what the fuck is your point here? If your point is “I want moral responsibility to be meaningful, and for it to be meaningful, I need LFW” – then you are proving my point, you are applying radical skepticism to claims you want to be false, and you accept claims you want to be true even if you know them to be logically incoherent!

            My point is that moral responsibility seems valid, and thus it seems that there out to be an ontology which can ground it.

            (a) “seems valid” ≠ “want to be true”
            (b) “accept claims… to be true” ≠ “accept a model build on said claims as useful, for now”

            Then again, perhaps ‘moral responsibility’ isn’t valid. Whether Bruce Waller asserts this invalidity in Against Moral Responsibility is unclear, for he argues from the position of CFW, or at least, whatever he means by “naturalistic-scientific system” (vii). What one takes as more fundamental (e.g. fundamental physics or observed social reality) matters quite a lot. Given that we (human nature, humans in society) are the instruments with which we explore reality, it may be dangerous to assert fundamental physics as being more fundamental than observed social reality. Hume may have agreed; for more see Yoram Hazony’s Newtonian Explanatory Reduction and Hume’s System of the Sciences.

            N.B. For (b), see “That a belief is false does not mean it is useless…”.

            Oh, sorry! What I meant was of course:”Aww, look whose behavior is well modelled by “tearing people down to make himself feel better” :-)”

            What would demonstrate that it is actually not “well modelled” in this way?

            There a) “exists idiocy” and b) either you, or me, or both of us are idiots and c) you don´t believe that either one of us is an idiot.

            It’s as if I didn’t say:

            LB: I’m just pointing out that when one calls another person ‘idiot’, all that is really known is that there exists idiocy. Whether the idiot is the person who did the calling, or the person being called, or both, is yet to be determined. I’m working entirely off of your claims of ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’. I personally don’t think you are an idiot, or I am an idiot, except perhaps for your attribution of ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’. You are extremely frustrating, but I would not call you an ‘idiot’. If you were truly an idiot and/or a moron, I would be crazy to spend so much time talking to you.

            Oh wait, I did. Edit: To be clear, I wouldn’t call that level of idiocy sufficient in order to “call you an ‘idiot'”. Some can be idiotic without being an idiot.

            It is quite hilarious to see such an idiotic statement about idiocy.

            Agreed.

          • Andy_Schueler

            My point is that …moral responsibility seems valid, and thus it seems that there out to be an ontology which can ground it.

            (a) “seems valid” ≠ “want to be true”
            (b) “accept claims… to be true” ≠ “accept a model build on said claims as useful, for now”

            If you are right that “moral responsibility” requires LFW, and it can be shown that LFW is incoherent, then moral responsibility does not “seem valid” at all – quite the opposite, moral responsibility would then be demonstrably invalid. This is obvious, if x logically requires y, then an argument that explicitly invalidates y would automatically invalidate x as well (just implicitly instead of explicitly).
            So, moral responsibility being “seemingly valid” cannot be the reason for the blatant double standard you apply. Do you have any actual justification for the double standard?

            Oh wait, I did. Edit: To be clear…

            :-D

          • If you are right that “moral responsibility” requires LFW, and it can be shown that LFW is incoherent, then moral responsibility does not “seem valid” at all – quite the opposite, moral responsibility would then be demonstrably invalid.

            LB: However, as I have said before, that is because it does not seem like ‘moral responsibility’ can be grounded without something close to LFW.

            “LFW” ≠ “something close to LFW”. What would something close be? Well, I should think that’s obvious: “the option to act otherwise”.

            :-D

            I predict that many people would see my clarification as unnecessary, and thus that you were needlessly nitpicking. But perhaps you need everything ultra-logical?

          • Andy_Schueler

            “LFW” ≠ “something close to LFW”. What would something close be? Well, I should think that’s obvious:”the option to act otherwise”.

            And that is just dishonest. If you grant that libertarian freedom is logically incoherent – then we are done here, you DO – NOT – DISAGREE with Jonathan or me on this issue. If however you do think that libertarian freedom is possible, then we do disagree, and then we have shown your belief to be logically incoherent, and you are being dishonest and inconsistent by saying shit like “I just can´t logically construct it” and “ok, so not LFW, but maybe something LFW-ish”.

            I predict that many people would see my clarification as unnecessary

            And I predict a) that many people would be as amused as I was by you announcement “to be clear…”, b) that it won´t actually be “many” people who will read this, not even “a lot”, actually very few, and c) that you will keep writing as if you had a large audience of people reading your words which I will continue to find equally amusing and annoying.

          • And that is just dishonest.

            I don’t see how it’s dishonest. I thought that “the option to act otherwise” ⇒ LFW, or something so close to LFW that we could talk about LFW and the resultant discussion would bear on “the option to act otherwise”. I operate on the principle that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” and “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”, the latter of which was told to me in person by David Politzer, who later that year won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovery of asymptotic freedom. The connection is brilliant, for asymptotic freedom is the opposite of your typical “force dies of with distance” idea, an idea that was probably deeply ingrained in people’s heads at the time. Apparently contradictory, but not actually contradictory.

            b) that it won´t actually be “many” people who will read this, not even “a lot”, actually very few

            100% irrelevant to:

            LB: I predict that many people would see my clarification as unnecessary

            Perhaps you mistook ‘would’ for ‘will’.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I don’t see how it’s dishonest. I thought that “the option to act otherwise” ⇒ LFW

            Nope, the “option” to act otherwise is given by indeterminism. The ability to not just choose among options, but have libertarian freedom for this choice, is logically incoherent – if you agree, then we are done here, if you disagree, then you are being both dishonest and inconsistent.

            I operate on the principle that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

            No, you don´t. You explicitly say here that you do not.

          • Nope, the “option” to act otherwise is given by indeterminism.

            Ummmm, it has long been held that indeterminism doesn’t help when it comes to free will, has it not?

            No, you don´t. You explicitly say here that you do not.

            Tell me if you understand what this means:

            LB:
            (b) “accept claims… to be true” ≠ “accept a model build on said claims as useful, for now”

            I can attempt to articulate it further, if necessary. I actually already did, but perhaps it wasn’t enough:

            LB: That a belief is false does not mean it is useless, and does not mean one ought not act on it in lieu of better beliefs. In control theory, ‘false’ models are used all the time in order to e.g. make the cruise control on your car work sufficiently well. Now, mathematical singularities are ugly, making one want to e.g. use quaternions instead of Euler angles when doing attitude state estimation for quadcopters. Otherwise, one gets funny behavior at the poles that could end up in a crash. However, quaternions have their own problem: which sign to choose.

            In other words, I am under no delusion that my belief system contains contradictions. What this means is that not all my beliefs are knowledge. Both of these facts have, IIRC, been long understood by scholars. What I take from Emerson and Fitzgerald is that the bare existence of a contradiction in one’s belief system does not require one to immediately alter one’s belief system so that the contradiction disappears. Instead, my guess is that when both sides of an apparent contradiction seem to have truth, one needs to ‘de-atomize’ one’s beliefs:

            LB: So in Islam, a given belief is an atom. Or is it composed of multiple sub-beliefs? I actually believe it’s turtles all the way down, terminating in an unarticulated background. And so, let’s suppose we have a belief B, which is actually the conjunction of the beliefs, { B1, B2, ¬B3 }. Suppose that in actuality, B1, B2, and B3 are true. Then B is part true, part false.

            I think it’s possible to benefit from beliefs like B, even when it has a component which is false. I do think that the falsities do show up eventually, and furthermore that people of all belief systems or lack thereof are good at ignoring such indications. Nevertheless, the above allows ¬(Ã) to probabilistically lead to goodness.

            Perhaps I’ve mentioned this to you before; I cannot be certain. Anyhow, realize the difference between ‘belief’ and ‘knowledge’. That should solve the apparent contradiction you see. If it does not, please restate given what I just said.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Ummmm, it has long been held that indeterminism doesn’t help when it comes to free will, has it not?

            Absolutely.

            What I take from Emerson and Fitzgerald is that the bare existence of a contradiction in one’s belief system does not require one to immediately alter one’s belief system so that the contradiction disappears. Instead, my guess is that when both sides of an apparent contradiction seem to have truth, one needs to ‘de-atomize’ one’s beliefs

            That has nothing to do with your approach. You don´t look at a demonstration for how LFW is logically incoherent and respond by showing “truth on both sides of an apparent contradiction” or “atomizing beliefs” – you just handwave the contradiction away by saying “I cannot currently logically construct it”. You have nothing constructive to offer – you literally just handwave the contradiction away. And you are being incredibly inconsistent about this because you do not accept such handwaving from others.

          • Absolutely.

            How does indeterminism change

                 (1) you could not have chosen otherwise

            to

                 (2) you could not have chosen otherwise

            ? It would appear that equivocation on ‘you’ is why (2) appears to be true, on indeterminism. Therefore, I don’t see how this helps the desired sense behind “the option to act otherwise”. As far as I can tell, on indeterminism, we have instead:

                 (3) you could have been different

            Is this the case? If so, then if we’re talking about choosing A vs. ¬A, then you_1 would chose A, and you_2 would choose ¬A. This would appear to deny (2).

            You don´t look at a demonstration for how LFW is logically incoherent and respond by showing “truth on both sides of an apparent contradiction” or “atomizing beliefs” – you just handwave the contradiction away by saying “I cannot currently logically construct it”.

            This is irrelevant, if after that point I do not use LFW in my reasoning. That is precisely what you will find in my posting history. I have switched to saying stuff like “LFWish”, or “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW”.

            And you are being incredibly inconsistent about this because you do not accept such handwaving from others.

            I do not allow you to use concepts which seem meaningless or contradictory as premises in any argument. Where are you allowing me to do this? I don’t see it. Where am I using LFW as a premise in an argument?

          • Andy_Schueler

            Therefore, I don’t see how this helps the desired sense behind “the option to act otherwise”.

            And I didn´t mean to “help” your “desired sense”.

            If so, then if we’re talking about choosing A vs. ¬A, then you_1 would chose A, and you_2 would choose ¬A. This would appear to deny (2).

            No, it doesn´t deny 2. Because you literally could have chosen otherwise – the outcome was not determined by factors outside to “you” but rather by factors internal to “you”. This might not be your “desired sense” because you have never chosen to be “you” instead of being someone else, but it is still true.

            This is irrelevant, if after that point I do not use LFW in my reasoning. That is precisely what you will find in my posting history. I have switched to saying stuff like “LFWish”, or “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW”.

            Which is nothing but a dishonest word game. You still keep posting your nonsensical objections in threads like this one here (why the fuck do you comment here if you agree with Jonathan that LFW is false?). And you cannot even say what “LFW-ish” means – if it doesn´t contain libertarian free choices, then it is positively misleading to call it LFW-ish because there is NOTHING “libertarian” about it, and if it does contain libertarian free choices, then it is incoherent and you are merely trying to protect LFW from refutation by giving it a new label.

          • LB: Therefore, I don’t see how this helps the desired sense behind “the option to act otherwise”.

            AS: No, it doesn´t deny 2. Because you literally could have chosen otherwise – the outcome was not determined by factors outside to “you” but rather by factors internal to “you”. This might be not your “desired sense” because you have never chosen to be “you” instead of being someone else, but it is still true.

            My point was predicated precisely on “by factors internal to “you””:

            LB: Is this the case? If so, then if we’re talking about choosing A vs. ¬A, then you_1 would chose A, and you_2 would choose ¬A. This would appear to deny (2).

            If “factors internal to “you”” are different, “you” are different. And thus, a you_1 and you_2. You are equivocating with “you”, in (2). It was never the case that you_1 could have chosen what you_2 chose. It is simply the case that you do not know whether you were you_1 or you_2 until you choose A or ¬A. You have conflated epistemology with ontology.

            Which is nothing but a dishonest word game.

            Since you say this, it must be true.

            And you cannot even say what “LFW-ish” means […]

            Yes I can:

                 (i) “had the option to act otherwise”
                (ii) “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW”

            Why are these invalid, for defining what “LFWish” is?

            […] then it is positively misleading to call it LFW-ish because there is NOTHING “libertarian” about it […]

            Given that many people think that libertarian free will is required for ‘moral responsibility’, I think it is fair to assume that whatever it is that is required for ‘moral responsibility’ is what many people think of, when they think of libertarian free will. The function fulfilled by that word (remember your spoon) is what matters in usage. Definitions are but aids.

          • Andy_Schueler

            If “factors internal to “you”” are different, “you” are different. And thus, a you_1 and you_2. You are equivocating with “you”, in (2). It was never the case that you_1 could have chosen what you_2 chose. It is simply the case that you do not know whether you were you_1 or you_2 until you choose A or ¬A. You have conflated epistemology with ontology.

            No. You are confusing “could” and “would”. Given indeterminism you “could” have chosen differently, but you “would” not have chosen differently. And this is not nitpicking, this is being precise – and the difference matters.

            Yes I can:

            (i) “had the option to act otherwise”
            (ii) “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW”

            Why are these invalid, for defining what “LFWish” is?

            You might as well say “LFWish is defined as FOVN§UI)PRHBUB GVIZ§GRF(OB N(OR”§G(RU”. Does your LFWish contain libertarian free choices?
            If yes, it is incoherent.
            If no, it is stupid to call it LFWish.
            Period. Shit like “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW” is nothing but a smokescreen.

            Given that many people think that libertarian free will is required for ‘moral responsibility’, I think it is fair to assume that whatever it is that is required for ‘moral responsibility’ is what many people think of, when they think of libertarian free will.

            If those “many people” are right, then moral responsibility is incoherent and what they think of as the “requirement for moral responsibility” is also incoherent.

          • No. You are confusing “could” and “would”. Given indeterminism you “could” have chosen differently, but you “would” not have chosen differently. And this is not nitpicking, this is being precise – and the difference matters.

            Let’s see:

                 (2) you could have chosen otherwise
                 (2′) you could have been you_2 instead of you_1

            Is it the case that (2′) ⇒ (2)?

            As to ‘could’ vs. ‘would’, I would simply assert:

                 (a) ‘could’ = epistemological veil
                 (b) ‘would’ = ontological fact

            All indeterminism is, is the setting of part of the boundary condition in-time, vs. all at the beginning of time. True, or false?

            You might as well say “LFWish is defined as FOVN§UI)PRHBUB GVIZ§GRF(OB N(OR”§G(RU”.

            That all depends on how others use “LFW”, or more likely, a folk conception of “free will”.

            Shit like “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW” is nothing but a smokescreen.

            I disagree, and if all you’re going to do is make a bare assertion, then this is an impasse.

            If those “many people” are right, then moral responsibility is incoherent and what they think of as the “requirement for moral responsibility” is also incoherent.

            Or, those people attach a different concept to LFW than you do. C’mon, you’re a fucking nominalist. Different people can easily mean different things by the same terms, under nominalism.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Is it the case that (2′) ⇒ (2)?

            Nope.

            As to ‘could’ vs. ‘would’, I would simply assert:

            (a) ‘could’ = epistemological veil
            (b) ‘would’ = ontological fact

            That you “could” have chosen different becomes an ontological fact if indeterminism is true.

            All indeterminism is, is the setting of part of the boundary condition in-time, vs. all at the beginning of time. True, or false?

            ????

            I disagree, and if all you’re going to do is make a bare assertion, then this is an impasse.

            Yes. But since you would be lying if you say that I made a bare assertion, this is not an impasse:
            “Does your LFWish contain libertarian free choices? If yes, it is incoherent.
            If no, it is stupid to call it LFWish.”

            Or, those people attach a different concept to LFW than you do. C’mon, you’re a fucking nominalist. Different people can easily mean different things by the same terms, under nominalism.

            Different people can mean different things by the same word, period – that has nothing to do with nominalism. And nominalism doesn´t mean that everybody gets to be Humpty Dumpty and let every word mean whatever the fuck they want it to mean. At a given moment in a given context – words can have an established meaning. And the established meaning of “libertarian free will” is self-refuting. And if moral responsibility requires the established meaning of “libertarian free will”, then this requirement of moral responsibility is also incoherent.

          • Nope.

            I don’t understand why not.

            That you “could” have chosen different becomes an ontological fact if indeterminism is true.

            I don’t understand why so.

            ????

            I give up.

            AS: Shit like “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW” is nothing but a smokescreen.

            LB: I disagree, and if all you’re going to do is make a bare assertion, then this is an impasse.

            AS: Yes. But since you would be lying if you say that I made a bare assertion, this is not an impasse:”Does your LFWish contain libertarian free choices? If yes, it is incoherent.If no, it is stupid to call it LFWish.”

            Are you saying that “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW” is meaningless, or that it should be attached to something other than “LFWish”? Your “nothing but a smokescreen” made that ambiguous.

            And nominalism doesn´t mean that everybody gets to be Humpty Dumpty and let every word mean whatever the fuck they want it to mean.

            Stop pretending that the world works like you want it to.

            And the established meaning of “libertarian free will” is self-refuting.

            Yeah, like the majority of people who talk about free will, who never have read a scholarly book in their lives, mean “the established meaning”. What I’m pretty sure is many of them don’t mean compatibilist free will, when they talk about “free will”. My own concept of free will was largely built up on such conversations and that concept is awfully sticky, even now, even despite our conversations, despite reading bits of Richard Double’s The Non-Reality of Free Will and bits of Bruce Waller’s Against Moral Responsibility.

            But do continue raging that the world is not like you want it to be. Surely [virtually] all the inconsistency and incoherency must be outside you.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I don’t understand why not.

            And I don´t understand why you don´t understand it.

            I don’t understand why so.

            A choice is being made. The outcome of the choice is not pre-determined. Ergo, the choice could have been different.

            Are you saying that “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW” is meaningless, or that it should be attached to something other than “LFWish”? Your “nothing but a smokescreen” made that ambiguous.

            What is unclear about:
            “Does your LFWish contain libertarian free choices? If yes, it is incoherent.
            If no, it is stupid to call it LFWish.”
            ?

            Yeah, like the majority of people who talk about free will, who never have read a scholarly book in their lives, mean “the established meaning”. What I’m pretty sure is many of them don’t mean compatibilist free will, when they talk about “free will”. My own concept of free will was largely built up on such conversations and that concept is awfully sticky, even now, even despite our conversations, despite reading bits of Richard Double’s The Non-Reality of Free Will and bits of Bruce Waller’s Against Moral Responsibility.

            But do continue raging that the world is not like you want it to be. Surely [virtually] all the inconsistency and incoherency must be outside you.

            Are you saying that the concept cannot be self-refuting because many people presuppose it? If so, this (= what you say here) is stupid. If not, you would have to rephrase what you said here.

          • A choice is being made. The outcome of the choice is not pre-determined. Ergo, the choice could have been different.

            “the choice could have been different” ⇏ “you could have chosen otherwise”

            That is, unless you start equivocating about ‘you’, instead of properly breaking it out into ‘you_1’, ‘you_2’, etc.

            What is unclear about: […]

            Answer my question or this tangent dies.

            Are you saying that the concept cannot be self-refuting because many people presuppose it?

            No. I am saying that the concept tied to the term likely has a lot of validity, even if there is confusion, under such circumstances. That is, the concept works well enough in real life, when one acts as if it is true. Whether the concept matches what you think the concept should match is irrelevant to the vast majority of the human race.

          • Andy_Schueler

            “the choice could have been different” ⇏ “you could have chosen otherwise”

            That is, unless you start equivocating about ‘you’, instead of properly breaking it out into ‘you_1’, ‘you_2’, etc.

            The choice could have been different. “You” are making the choice. Ergo, “you” could have chosen different. That is not equivocating, that is simply factually true. Your “‘you_1’, ‘you_2’, etc.” bullshit has nothing to do with this – “you_1” COULD have chosen different. But he WOULD not have chosen different. The problem is not me equivocating, the problem is you not understanding the difference between could and would.

            Answer my question or this tangent dies.

            If your question was:
            “Are you saying that “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW” is meaningless”
            then yes, this is a completely useless definition. You cannot define something by exclusively saying what it is NOT, especially if you cannot even show that your list of “nots” does not result in an empty set.

            No. I am saying that the concept tied to the term likely has a lot of validity, even if there is confusion, under such circumstances. That is, the concept works well enough in real life, when one acts as if it is true. Whether the concept matches what you think the concept should match is irrelevant to the vast majority of the human race.

            For the vast majority of people, this concept is actually completely irrelevant, because they never reflect on what a “will” might actually be, what it actually means to “choose” something and so on and so forth. In “real life”, people virtually never think about this – the concept thus doesn´t “work well” for most people, it is rather not even on the radar for most people.

          • Your “‘you_1’, ‘you_2’, etc.” bullshit has nothing to do with this – “you_1” COULD have chosen different. But he WOULD not have chosen different.

            This seems like nonsense: if A could do X but never does X, it is not at all clear that A could in fact do X.

            The problem is not me equivocating, the problem is you not understanding the difference between could and would.

            I’m not sure you’ve established that ‘could’ ≠ ‘would’, in this case. You seem to be making a metaphysical distinction which could never possibly be empirically detected.

            You cannot define something by exclusively saying what it is NOT, especially if you cannot even show that your list of “nots” does not result in an empty set.

            Curious, so some popular definitions of ‘atheism’ are meaningless and useless?

            For the vast majority of people, this concept is actually completely irrelevant, because they never reflect on what a “will” might actually be, what it actually means to “choose” something and so on and so forth. In “real life”, people virtually never think about this – the concept thus doesn´t “work well” for most people, it is rather not even on the radar for most people.

            People surely think about moral responsibility, and that a person should be punished if he/she could have made a better choice. And I’m pretty sure that ‘could’ ≠ ‘would’, in some sort of empirically detectable way. But perhaps this intuition of mine is wrong. Perhaps I am mistaking that, for the idea that what you believe with respect to freedom of the will can affect how you behave.

          • Andy_Schueler

            This seems like nonsense: if A could do X but never does X, it is not at all clear that A could in fact do X.

            Whether it seems like nonsense to you is irrelevant, it is factually true that people could have chosen different under determinism.

            I’m not sure you’ve established that ‘could’ ≠ ‘would’, in this case.

            “could, kəd,kʊd, verb:
            – used to indicate possibility.”
            And given indeterminism, an actor “could” have chosen differently. It is the actor who makes the choice, the outcome of the choice is not pre-determined, and that means that he “could” have chosen differently. Period.

            Curious, so some popular definitions of ‘atheism’ are meaningless and useless?

            Dunno, maybe there is an idiot who would define “atheism” as ¬(“believing in god(s)” ∨ “not believing in god(s)”) for example, and then yes, his definition could not be any more useless.

            People surely think about moral responsibility, and that a person should be punished if he/she could have made a better choice.

            They sure do. And they also surely overwhelmingly don´t think about what a “will” and a “choice” actually is. You are saying that the concept has some validity because it “works well” for most people – but most people actually never even think about the concept at all.

          • And given indeterminism, an actor “could” have chosen differently. It is the actor who makes the choice, the outcome of the choice is not pre-determined, and that means that he “could” have chosen differently.

            That’s bullshit. The same actor will do the same thing, unless you’re saying that indeterminism actively adds to the identity of the actor. And I recall you mocking me for suggesting such a thing in the past, which makes me think you don’t actually believe this. But perhaps my memory is wrong, or perhaps you believe this regardless of any suck mockery.

            AS: You cannot define something by exclusively saying what it is NOT, especially if you cannot even show that your list of “nots” does not result in an empty set.

            LB: Curious, so some popular definitions of ‘atheism’ are meaningless and useless?

            AS: Dunno, maybe there is an idiot who would define “atheism” as ¬(“believing in god(s)” ∨ “not believing in god(s)”) for example, and then yes, his definition could not be any more useless.

            Your “especially” would lead to ¬(“believing in god(s)” ∨ “not believing in god(s)”). But without your “especially”, we could just have ¬(“believing in god(s)”). Or do you disagree?

            They sure do. And they also surely overwhelmingly don´t think about what a “will” and a “choice” actually is.

            Irrelevant; people use concepts before they can think articulately about them.

          • Andy_Schueler

            That’s bullshit. The same actor will do the same thing, unless you’re saying that indeterminism actively adds to the identity of the actor.

            You are saying this as if it would contradict me. But I actually said “you_1 COULD have chosen different. But he WOULD not have chosen different.” just two comments ago. So whatever you are refering to with the “That´s Bullshit” – it is not my position.

            Your “especially” would lead to ¬(“believing in god(s)” ∨ “not believing in god(s)”). But without your “especially”, we could just have ¬(“believing in god(s)”). Or do you disagree?

            Oh for fucks sake – if you would be standing next to me, I would have punched you in the face for this. So you can transform a) “not believing in god(s)” to b) ¬(“believing in god(s)”).
            Terrific!
            And now you just have to tell me what a) is if b) is “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW”.

            Irrelevant; people use concepts before they can think articulately about them.

            Irrelevant, people overwhelmingly don´t think about the concept at all. And the handful of people who do think about it are invariably completely and utterly unable to make any sense of it.

          • But I actually said “you_1 COULD have chosen different. But he WOULD not have chosen different.” just two comments ago. So whatever you are refering to with the “That´s Bullshit” – it is not my position.

            Let’s try again. What you’re sketching sounds vaguely many-words-like. At time step t + 1, you(t) splits into you_1 and you_2. The indeterminism is responsible for the splitting. Only one of you_1 or you_2 is actualized, or at the very least, only one of you_1 or you_2 is epistemically accessible in any given world. Is this in any way correct?

            What would come next is whether the ‘splitting’ is something done to ‘you’, or whether it is something ‘you’ do. Each depends on a different model of causality. The latter, it would appear, requires something like Rom Harré’s “powerful particular”, in Causal Powers: Theory of Natural Necessity. To illustrate, suppose I alter a computer program as it’s running. (Let’s say I’m using Erlang.) Surely the program is making no choices, even if my alterations are purely random. It is merely being acted on, from the outside. The difference between these two models is nicely captured by Charles Taylor:

            The basic idea is that Baroque culture is a kind of synthesis of the modern understanding of agency as inward and poietic, constructing orders in the world, and the older understanding of the world as cosmos, shaped by Form. (A Secular Age, 795)

            Perhaps you can see how this maps onto the discussion at hand. Taylor is drawing on Louis Dupré’s Passage to Modernity, of which I have read most. Therefore, I can articulate the very succinct quotation if desired.

            AS: You cannot define something by exclusively saying what it is NOT, especially if you cannot even show that your list of “nots” does not result in an empty set.

            LB: Curious, so some popular definitions of ‘atheism’ are meaningless and useless?

            AS: Dunno, maybe there is an idiot who would define “atheism” as ¬(“believing in god(s)” ∨ “not believing in god(s)”) for example, and then yes, his definition could not be any more useless.

            LB: Your “especially” would lead to ¬(“believing in god(s)” ∨ “not believing in god(s)”). But without your “especially”, we could just have ¬(“believing in god(s)”). Or do you disagree?

            AS: Oh for fucks sake – if you would be standing next to me, I would have punched you in the face for this. So you can transform a) “not believing in god(s)” to b) ¬(“believing in god(s)”).

            I would have to bulk up before meeting you in person, I see. I don’t see what the “transform” you mention has to do with the conversation. You said, “You cannot define something by exclusively saying what it is NOT”. This seemed like a weird statement, unless the next clause is required instead of optional. So I am testing it to figure out what it means. And you blow up. Well, we can kill this tangent too, if you want.

            And now you just have to tell me what a) is if b) is “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW”.

            All “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW” says is that { DW, CFW, LFW } do not exhaust the possibilities. I find that important to note, because I frequently something like the following implied: ¬LFW ⇒ (DW ∨ CFW). I am pretty sure that is false.

            Irrelevant, people overwhelmingly don´t think about the concept at all.

            My point is really that whatever it is these many of these people are using as the concept, it probably isn’t (DW ∨ CFW). When I say that, I get accused of holding to LFW. And so, I claim ¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Let’s try again. What you’re sketching sounds vaguely many-words-like. At time step t + 1, you(t) splits into you_1 and you_2. The indeterminism is responsible for the splitting. Only one of you_1 or you_2 is actualized, or at the very least, only one of you_1 or you_2 is epistemically accessible in any given world. Is this in any way correct?

            Nope.

            I would have to bulk up before meeting you in person, I see. I don’t see what the “transform” you mention has to do with the conversation

            And I don´t believe that you are that stupid.

            All “¬(DW ∨ CFW) ⇏ LFW” says is that { DW, CFW, LFW } do not exhaust the possibilities. I find that important to note, because I frequently something like the following implied: ¬LFW ⇒ (DW ∨ CFW). I am pretty sure that is false.

            Fuck that noise. Do you agree that libertarian freedom is a self-refuting idea? If yes -we are done here. If no – try to dismantle the arguments that show libertarian freedom to be self-refuting or STFU.

            My point is really that whatever it is these many of these people are using as the concept, it probably isn’t ….

            Emphasis mine. What I keep pointing out is, that people are NOT using such a concept at all – virtually no one ever thinks about what a “will” actually is and how a “choice” is actually made and what “freedom” could or could not mean in this context etc.pp.

          • I’m not interested in continuing this dicussion until you can show that you understand more about causation than as evidenced so far. After all, the terms ‘choose’ and ’cause’ are very closely related when it comes to agent causation. And no, I don’t mean the extreme you mockingly described earlier:

            AS: Ah, Luke Breuer “consistency” at work again. So a “cause” of x being that which makes x happen, doesn´t “make sense”, we first have to discuss the metaphysics of causality and understand what a cause really is, ontologically, how the word “cause” actually relates to reality. We obviously did all that for “spoon”. No wait… We didn´t actually! Where is the full metaphysical account of what it means for an object to be “spoon”?

            Never did I ask you for “the full metaphysical account of what it means for an object to be “spoon” causation”. Here’s the standard I actually set:

            LB: What has happened with ‘spoon’, but not with ’cause’, is that from your definition I can construct an idea of what this ‘spoon’ thing is doing, how it interacts with the other entities in a way that makes sense. You haven’t done this with ’cause’. You haven’t shown how it logically functions, and importantly, functions as a reference to ultimate reality, instead of some approximation which might look shockingly like The Emperor’s New Clothes when examined closely.

            To dismiss that this might be a reasonable request, you exaggerated my request from:

            LB: […] from your definition I can construct an idea of what this ‘spoon’ thing is doing, how it interacts with the other entities in a way that makes sense.

            to

            AS: Where is the full metaphysical account of what it means for an object to be “spoon”?

            It’s like you use Microsoft’s embrace, extend, and extinguish methodology. Were our positions switched, you would likely accuse me of “not being able to read” had I exaggerated something you had said in this way. However, it is of course acceptable to do when Andy Schueler does it, but unacceptable if and when Luke Breuer does it.

            Regardless of whether the MWI analogy worked, you could have actually responded to the below, and it would have exposed some of what you think about causation:

            LB: What would come next is whether the ‘splitting’ is something done to ‘you’, or whether it is something ‘you’ do. Each depends on a different model of causality. The latter, it would appear, requires something like Rom Harré’s “powerful particular”, in Causal Powers: Theory of Natural Necessity. To illustrate, suppose I alter a computer program as it’s running. (Let’s say I’m using Erlang.) Surely the program is making no choices, even if my alterations are purely random. It is merely being acted on, from the outside.

            Unless you admit that the computer is ‘choosing’, then I challenge you to show how a human ‘chooses’. For example, does a computer magically start ‘choosing’ if one feeds it randomness? If so, what happens if it is merely pseudorandomness? If your account turns on whether the randonmness is actual or pseudo, I would like to know that. Epistemically, we cannot know whether the randomness is actual or pseudo. I want to know the reason that you choose actual randomness.

            If you’re not interested in fully engaging the above, I think it would be best if we took a break from responding to each other.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I’m not interested in continuing this dicussion until you can show that you understand more about causation than as evidenced so far.

            Translation: you got your ass handed to you and because you are too proud and too dishonest to admit that, you desperately try to derail the discussion to a different topic.

            To dismiss that this might be a reasonable request, you exaggerated my request

            No, I didn´t exaggerate anything. The definition of “spoon” we have so far is completely useless. Give me an actual definition that allows me to infer how a “spoon” logically functions, and importantly, functions as a reference to ultimate reality, instead of some approximation which might look shockingly like The Emperor’s New Clothes when examined closely.
            Seriously – is it that hard for you to define “spoon”?

            you would likely accuse me of “not being able to read” had I exaggerated something you had said in this way.

            Bullshit. I am not exaggerating anything – I pull the exact same stunt for “spoon” as you do for causality. The definition I provided is completely sufficient, your only criticism against it so far (it being circular) was completely idiotic, and you cannot provide anything even remotely resembling a reason for why the definition I gave lacks anything what-so-ever that would be necessary FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISCUSSING THE OP.

            If you’re not interested in fully engaging the above…

            Sounds great! And then you´ll just change the subject again as soon as you run out of arguments. No wait – fuck that shit. We can change the subject as soon as you either a) admit that your objections to the OP failed or b) come up with actual objections to the OP that do not fail.

          • The OP is meaningless without some model of causality. The terms don’t mean anything without an undergirding ontology. If I say the world is either X or ¬X, I haven’t actually said anything until what X is, is filled in. And yet, I have zero reason to think that you know what X means when it is ‘reason’ or ’cause’. More precisely, I suspect you equivocate between universal, timeless, omnipresent causal laws and point-in-spacetime causes that are nothing but ostensibly purely random bits coming into existence, or something like that (e.g. collapses of a wavefunction or measurements made by an observer or entanglements formed). Furthermore, I suspect you equivocate on whether the cause is ‘inside’ or ‘outside’, as my example of altering a computer program articulates, not to mention the quotation from Charles Taylor drawing on Louis Dupré.

            Jonathan has provided more than you, but only a tad. So far he hasn’t given me keywords for looking for his particular view in the literature on metaphysics of causality, which makes me think he doesn’t have a very solid view on the matter either. That’s ok, but not having a solid view of the terms ‘reason’ and ’cause’ greatly weakens any argument which is critically predicated upon the terms ‘reason’ and ’cause’.

            Now, Jonathan looks like he’s actually willing to dig into the issue in a civilized manner, unlike you. So, I suggest I talk to him instead of you. As it turns out, I’ve had some very relevant things to say, in email with Jonathan, about some of the stuff he’s been emailing about with another guy—related to his You’re Wrong about Hillsborough; Thinking Critically about Causality. So you can go on being a giant ass, bandying about character assassination attempts left and right, and I think I’ll talk to Jonathan, until you regain some sanity and emotional control.

            So, continue blathering as you were. Italics are good, bold is better, but both are best!

          • Andy_Schueler

            The OP is meaningless without some model of causality.

            Wrong. The OP is completely independent of which model of causality is the correct one, it is even independent of whether causality exists or not! It only depends on things either having or not having cause(s) being a true dichotomy.

            This has been pointed out to you over and over and over and over and over again. You keep ignoring it – and you cannot provide any reason for why it plays ANY role which model of causality we would use here.

            You are simply derailing – you got your ass handed to you wrt the issue of the OP, so you try to change the subject to the nature of causality. And the precise nature of causality is completely and utterly irrelevant for the OP – you can presume whatever model you want for the OP, you can even make up a new model of causality from scratch, it doesn´t matter at all.

            More precisely, I suspect you equivocate between universal, timeless, omnipresent causal laws and point-in-spacetime causes that are nothing but ostensibly purely random bits coming into existence, or something like that (e.g. collapses of a wavefunction or measurements made by an observer or entanglements formed).

            No. I am not “equivocating between” those – I point out that it doesn´t fucking matter which one of those is the correct view and it doesn´t even matter if ANY of the views that have been put forth so far is mostly correct.

            So you can go on being a giant ass, bandying about character assassination attempts left and right, and I think I’ll talk to Jonathan, until you regain some sanity and emotional control.

            Lying scumbag.

          • AS: Wrong. The OP is completely independent of which model of causality is the correct one, it is even independent of whether causality exists or not! It only depends on things either having or not having cause(s) being a true dichotomy.

            This simply does not mean the same thing as:

            AS‘: Wrong. The OP is completely independent of which model of X is the correct one, it is even independent of whether X exists or not! It only depends on things either having or not having x(s) being a true dichotomy.

            Why? Because in understanding AS, one is employing a model of causality. If one had no model of causality, then AS = AS’. But clearly any sane person would say that AS ≠ AS’. Why? Because X and x have meanings which are at least partially filled-in by all people understanding that AS ≠ AS’.

            This has been pointed out to you over and over and over and over and over again. You keep ignoring it – and you cannot provide any reason for why it plays ANY role which model of causality we would use here.

            That’s because without some conception of causality, the very idea cannot be gotten off of the ground. Furthermore, when you say “either something has a cause or doesn’t”, there is zero guarantee that what you mean by ’cause’ exhausts every possibility that someone in the future will mean by ’cause’. The same problem occurred before Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: many scientists thought they knew what science was and always would be. So according to them, “either this is ‘science’ or it isn’t”. However, they were wrong, for scientists and philosophers of science later on learned to slice up the world differently, so that the concept attached to ‘science’ was different.

            What you’re trying to do is say that “for all time, ‘either something is caused or it isn’t’ will have the same meaning”. At least, I don’t know how to interpret what you’re saying in any other way, without it reducing to the very-much-less-meaningful “for all time, ‘either X or ¬X'”. A sentence is not the same if the meaning changes! New things that used to not be called ‘science’ became called ‘science’. Applied to randomness, this says that maybe any and all randomness is actually order. And yet that can’t be unless everything is necessarily true in the modal sense. There is something deeply mysterious and problematic here, which you pretend away when you talk about LFW like you do. It’s a philosophical shell game that you play.

            You are simply derailing – you got your ass handed to you wrt the issue of the OP, so you try to change the subject to the nature of causality.

            Keep telling yourself this bedtime story.

            Lying scumbag.

            Says the person who supported the claim “you just love to whine about your terrible childhood” with this evidence. Says the person who exaggerates in this way (more). Or how about you make shit up about what I said? Yeah, I’d like to see more of that. Insert “rapidly” somewhere and impute that sentence to me, please. You can then explain how this isn’t “lying”, or at least having a really shitty memory (such that your claim that I’m a “Lying scumbag” is qualified by said shitty memory).

          • Andy_Schueler

            That’s because without someconception of causality, the very idea cannot be gotten off of the ground. Furthermore, when you say “either something has a cause or doesn’t”, there is zero guarantee that what you mean by ’cause’ exhausts every possibility that someone in the future will mean by ’cause’.

            That has already been addressed you fucking idiot. You could make up a new definition of “cause” right now – that still would not change anything wrt the OP, because it would still be exactly as true that something either has cause(s) or does not have them, as it is now.

            Applied to randomness, this says that maybe any and all randomness is actually order.

            Great! And this would change literally nothing wrt to the OP. Nothing what-so-ever.

            Says the person who supported the claim “you just love to whine about your terrible childhood” with this evidence. Says the person who exaggerates in this way (more). Or how about you make shit up about what I said? Yeah, I’d like to see more of that. Insert “rapidly” somewhere and impute that sentence to me, please.

            I don´t give a fuck what your diseased mind makes of this. It is evidently impossible to reason with you anyway.

          • You could make up a new definition of “cause” right now – that still would not change anything wrt the OP, because it would still be exactly as true that something either has cause(s) or does not have them, as it is now.

            All that the OP would say, if I define ’cause’ = ‘bacon’, is that X ≠ ¬X.

            I don´t give a fuck what your diseased mind makes of this. It is evidently impossible to reason with you anyway.

            No, it’s evidently impossible for you to reason with me. Insane people do have trouble reasoning with sane people.

          • Andy_Schueler

            All that the OP would say, if I define ’cause’ = ‘bacon’

            You are really one of the stupidest online debaters I have seen in my entire life (seriously, with that statement, you´ve made it into the top 5).
            I have provided a definition that is maximally general – how you fill in the details, is irrelevant. I expected that to be obvious, but I probably overestimated your mental capacities when I thought you to be just a mere idiot.

            No, it’s evidently impossible for youto reason with me. Insane people do have trouble reasoning with sane people.

            Keep telling yourself that you are sane (no, actually, better get help before you harm yourself or someone close to you).

          • AS: You could make up a new definition of “cause” right now – that still would not change anything wrt the OP, […]

            LB: All that the OP would say, if I define ’cause’ = ‘bacon’, is that X ≠ ¬X.

            AS: You are really one of the stupidest online debaters I have seen in my entire life (seriously, with that statement, you´ve made it into the top 5).I have provided a definition that is maximally general – how you fill in the details, is irrelevant. I expected that to be obvious, but I probably overestimated your mental capacities when I thought you to be just a mere idiot.

            Translation:

                 AS: You can pick any definition you want.
                 LB: *picks definition*
                 AS: No, you did it wrong; you can’t pick any definition.

            Oh and that “definition that is maximally general”? Yeah:

            AS: Alright. Let me define it now “gives rise to” means, “makes it happen”.

            LB:
                 cause: “a gives rise to b”
                 gives rise to: “makes it happen”
                 makes it happen: ?

            Shell game for the win! You pretend you’re actually talking about something, but when pressed to demonstrate that you’re wearing clothes, you blather like The Emperor. I hope it’s not cold where you are.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Shell game for the win! You pretend you’re actually talking about something, but when pressed to demonstrate that you’re wearing clothes, you blather like The Emperor. I hope it’s not cold where you are.

            Yawn, I have already handed your ass to you by showing that you yourself cannot even “define” the word “spoon”. If “define” means not what people usually understand “define” to mean, but rather the trolling tactic of Luke Breuer.
            Define “spoon” or STFU.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Keep telling yourself this bedtime story.

            You did already admit that you want to derail / troll and that you want to talk about something that is completely irrelevant for the OP. What you want to talk about is this:

            More precisely, I suspect you equivocate between universal, timeless, omnipresent causal laws and point-in-spacetime causes that are nothing but ostensibly purely random bits coming into existence, or something like that (e.g. collapses of a wavefunction or measurements made by an observer or entanglements formed).

            – and it is completely fucking irrelevant. How exactly causes relate to effects is not relevant – the only thing that matters is that there either is some lawful relation between such “causes” and “effects” (and it is completely irrelevant how it works) or there is not. You can try to derail from this as much as you want, it won´t magically become relevant.

          • […] the only thing that matters is that there either is some lawful relation between such “causes” and “effects” (and it is completely irrelevant how it works) or there is not.

            Oh really:

            LB: Have you read any of Gregory W. Dawes’ Theism and Explanation? Two relevant snippets:

            3.4.1 Intentional and Causal ExplanationsA first objection rests on the very character of intentional explanations. It suggests that a theistic explanation could not be both intentional and causal, since these represent distinct and mutually exclusive forms of explanation. No intentional explanation is a causal explanation. But I believe this claim to be wrong, for reasons I shall outline later (Appendix 1.1). I have no argument with the idea, defended by Donald Davidson, that intentions are causes and that intentional explanations are also causal explanations.[76] There is one issue that needs to be clarified here. I have suggested that intentional explanations are not nomological (3.2.1). They do, if you like, depend on something resembling a law, namely the rationality principle. But they do not depend on law-like generalisations linking particular intentions and particular actions. Does this mean that they cannot be regarded as causal explanations? Only if you believe that the citing of causal laws is a necessary condition of a causal explanation. But I shall argue later that it is not (Appendix 3.3.1), that causal explanations do not necessarily involve causal laws.[77] If this is true, then there is no difficulty with the idea that an intentional explanation is also a causal explanation. (51)

            A.3.3 Intentions and LawsThere is a second, and more serious objection to the idea that intentional explanations are testable. It arises from the claim that intentional explanations are “anomalous,” in the sense that they do not rely on laws. If there are no laws connecting intentions and behaviour, or if intentional explanations do not rely on laws, then on what basis could we use such explanations to make testable predictions? And if such explanations do not appeal to laws, can the causal thesis be defended? Can we have a causal explanation that does not appeal to causal laws?[58] (161)

            [58] At least some of those who reject Davidson’s causal thesis do so because they assume that there can be no causal explanation that does not cite causal laws (Thalberg and Levison, “Are There Non-Causal Explanations of Action?,” 84). It is this view that I am about to reject.Thalberg, Irving and Arnold B. Levison. “Are There Non-Causal Explanations of Action?” In Enigmas of Agency: Studies in the Philosophy of Human Action, by Irving Thalberg, 73–86. Muirhead Library of Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1972.Thoughts? Must all causation be “nomological”? I assume you know this is a tendentious issue in philosophy?

            Maybe you need to learn what ‘nomological’ means.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Awesome! More books you haven´t read!
            If you could now explain just what the fuck this has to do with the OP you insufferable trolling P.o.S.

          • If you could now explain just what the fuck this has to do with the OP you insufferable trolling P.o.S.

            Rationality isn’t necessarily ‘nomological’, by which Dawes means that rationality may not work via “some lawful relation between such “causes” and “effects””.

                 nomos: law
                 logos: principle of order and knowledge

            nomoslogical: ‘nomological’

            Once again, for someone who spends more time accusing others of not being able to read, than he spends reading what they have said:

            A.3.3 Intentions and LawsThere is a second, and more serious objection to the idea that intentional explanations are testable. It arises from the claim that intentional explanations are “anomalous,” in the sense that they do not rely on laws. (Theism and Explanation, 161)

            If you can’t see why that is relevant to the OP, then apparently you think ‘intentionality‘ has nothing to do with ‘rationality’. That would be very interesting, because we generally want to think that we are being rational and lawlike, and yet if your flavor of ‘rationality’ adheres to your “some lawful relation between such “causes” and “effects””, apparently we aren’t actually talking about anything. But maybe that would make sense. Maybe you are just a giant windbag, talking about nothing for hours on end. That would explain your shell game. It would also explain what is meant when you insinuate I am talking about nothing:

            LB: So, every one of those statements is really f(Andy Schueler, Luke Breuer) = X, where X can be 0–100% true of Andy Schueler and 100–0% true of Luke Breuer, with the total percentage being between 100% and 200%. Jesus for the win:

            Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Mt 7:3–5)

            Right now, “Moron.” and “Idiot.” seem to describe your behavior pretty well. Good thing you told me not to trust you.

            So, at least one of us:

                 • is a moron
                 • is an idiot
                 • cannot read
                 • is a windbag
                 • is a troll

            Keep adding; this is fun!

          • Andy_Schueler

            Rationality isn’t necessarily ‘nomological’, by which Dawes means that rationality may not work via “some lawful relation between such “causes” and “effects””.

            Great! Now what the fuck has this to do with the OP you trolling P.o.S?

          • If rationality isn’t nomological, then is it caused or not caused?

          • Andy_Schueler

            Maybe, maybe not. Now what the fuck has this to do with the OP you trolling P.o.S?

          • Wow:

            LB: If rationality isn’t nomological, then is it caused or not caused?

            AS: Maybe, maybe not.

            You won’t even say whether rationality is caused. So, in an OP which contains:

            JP: There seems to be a problem for rationally grounding these two actions given identical scenarios.

            , I’m just supposed to accept that ‘rationally grounded’ is “either caused or not caused”, instead of knowing which. Even though the whole topic is about “caused or not caused”. No, I demand that words be defined. I think it’s reasonable to want to know whether rationality is caused or not caused. If you don’t, well ok that says something about you.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Cute. Let me try that:

            You won’t….

            “You”? What does “you” mean? How do you know that there is an “I” referring to yourself? Surely you don´t just naively rely on something like “cogito ergo sum” or “si enim fallor, sum” for this or do you? (if you do, you should educate yourself by reading Kierkegaard, Søren. Philosophical Fragments. Trans. Hong, Princeton, 1985. p. 38-42). Also, how do you deal with the possibility of me being a philosophical zombie? And after we establish that there is an “I” and a “you” – what does that really mean – functionally. I want to know how exactly this “you”, that you are speaking of relates to reality.
            Please write up essays on all of those questions, and then, if your answers is satisfactory we might proceed to define the word “won´t”. Until then, we will just assume that you have no idea what you are talking about.

          • Derk Pereboom’s Living Without Free Will espouses a view in which: “[He] defends the view that morality, meaning, and value remain intact even if we lack moral responsibility, and moreover, he argues that adopting his position could even be significantly beneficial for our lives.”

            “The problem about moral responsibility arises from a conflict
            between two powerful considerations. On the one hand, we human beings feel that we are the source of our actions in a particularly weighty sense.We feel that the way in which we are the source of our actions is very different from the way a machine is the source of what it produces.We express this sense of difference by attributing moral responsibility to human beings but not to machines. Traditionally, it has been assumed that moral responsibility requires us to have some type of free will in producing our actions, and hence we assume that human beings, but not machines, have this sort of free will. At the same time, there are reasons for regarding human beings as more like machines than we ordinarily suppose. These reasons stem from various sources: most prominently, from scientific views that consider human beings to be parts of nature and therefore governed by natural laws, and from theological concerns that require everything that happens to be causally determind by God. For many contemporary philosophers, the first of these is especially compelling, and as a result, they accept determinism or claims about the universe that are similarly threatening to moral responsibility.”

            Etc

            Well worth a read.

          • Traditionally, it has been assumed that moral responsibility requires us to have some type of free will in producing our actions, and hence we assume that human beings, but not machines, have this sort of free will. At the same time, there are reasons for regarding human beings as more like machines than we ordinarily suppose. These reasons stem from various sources: most prominently, from scientific views that consider human beings to be parts of nature and therefore governed by natural laws, and from theological concerns that require everything that happens to be causally determind by God.

            This has me worried; see what Paul Rabinow has to say in Interpretive Social Science: A Second Look (1007 ‘citations’):

                The time seems ripe, even overdue, to announce that there is not going to be an age of paradigm in the social sciences. We contend that the failure to achieve paradigm takeoff is not merely the result of methodological immaturity, but reflects something fundamental about the human world. If we are correct, the crisis of social science concerns the nature of social investigation itself. The conception of the human sciences as somehow necessarily destined to follow the path of the modern investigation of nature is at the root of this crisis. Preoccupation with that ruling expectation is chronic in social science; that idée fixe has often driven investigators away from a serious concern with the human world into the sterility of purely formal argument and debate. As in development theory, one can only wait so long for the takeoff. The cargo-cult view of the “about to arrive science” just won’t do. (5)

            Curiously enough, an idea like that expressed by Derk Pereboom is possibly unfalsifiable [by evidence]; see Charles Taylor’s 1971 Interpretation and the Sciences of Man (1870 ‘citations’):

                In other words, in a hermeneutical science, a certain measure of insight is indispensable, and this insight cannot be communicated by the gathering of brute data, or initiation in modes of formal reasoning or some combination of these. It is unformalizable. But this is a scandalous result according to the authoritative conception of science in our tradition, which is shared even by many of those who are highly critical of the approach of mainstream psychology, or sociology, or political science. For it means that this is not a study in which anyone can engage, regardless of their level of insight; that some claims of the form: “if you don’t understand, then your intuitions are at fault, are blind or inadequate,” some claims of this form will be justified; that some differences will be nonarbitrable by further evidence, but that each side can only make appeal to deeper insight on the part of the other. The superiority of one position over another will thus consist in this, that from the more adequate position one can understand one’s own stand and that of one’s opponent, but not the other way around. It goes without saying that this argument can only have weight for those in the superior position. (46–47)

            There’s this huge, huge problem in the human sciences, well-expressed by From Douglas and Ney in Missing Persons: A Critique of the Personhood in the Social Sciences (269 ‘citations’):

                There are several reasons why the contemporary social sciences make the idea of the person stand on its own, without social attributes or moral principles. Emptying the theoretical person of values and emotions is an atheoretical move. We shall see how it is a strategy to avoid threats to objectivity. But in effect it creates an unarticulated space whence theorizing is expelled and there are no words for saying what is going on. No wonder it is difficult for anthropologists to say what they know about other ideas on the nature of persons and other definitions of well-being and poverty. The path of their argument is closed. No one wants to hear about alternative theories of the person, because a theory of persons tends to be heavily prejudiced. It is insulting to be told that your idea about persons is flawed. It is like begin told you have misunderstood human beings and morality, too. The context of this argument is always adversarial. (10)

            One maintains a veil of objectivity by refusing to advance a contentious ontology of human being. Charles Taylor articulates the problem in Sources of the Self (8030 ‘citations’):

                So our moral reactions in this domain have two facets, as it were. On the one side, they are almost like instincts, comparable to our love of sweet things, or our aversion to nauseous substances, or our fear of falling; on the other, they seem to involve claims, implicit or explicit, about the nature and status of human beings. From this second side, a moral reaction is an assent to, an affirmation of, a given ontology of the human.
                An important strand of modern naturalist consciousness has tried to hive this second side off and declare it dispensable or irrelevant to morality. The motives are multiple: partly distrust of all such ontological accounts because of the use to which some of them have been put, e.g., justifying restrictions or exclusions of heretics or allegedly lower beings. And this distrust is strengthened where a primitivist sense that unspoiled human nature respects life by instinct reigns. But it is partly also the great epistemological cloud under which all such accounts lie for those who have followed empiricist or rationalist theories of knowledge, inspired by the success of modern natural science. (5)

            Therefore, I’m not sure the book is worth my read unless you think the views expressed above (with which I agree pretty strongly at this point) will be sufficiently challenged.

          • Worth a read for a variety of reasons.

            But first, one would have to define moral responsibility.

          • Worth a read for a variety of reasons.

            So are, unfortunately, many books on my list. :-/ I’ve gotta be pretty selective these days.

            But first, one would have to define moral responsibility.

            Yep; I’d probably draw on Bruce Waller’s Against Moral Responsibility as a first cut. I might also draw on Emil Brunner’s Man in Revolt; he talks a lot about responsibility, and has this interesting thing to say:

            The moral is the substitute for the loss of responsibility, in the meaning both of existence and of knowledge. The moral is the misunderstanding of responsibility which arises when the meaning of responsibility has been lost, and when one does not live in a truly responsible manner. True responsibility is the same as true humanity; the moral, however, which would preserve the human character of existence by setting up dykes to check the inrush of the flood of the sub-human, actually has something sub-human about it. The existence of the moral behind these dykes is the human life which has already lost its truly human character; human existence, that is, which has lost the knowledge of its origin and of its meaning. (51)

            The idea, I think, is that you can act towards people in a certain way because you want to, or because you will suffer consequences otherwise. There might be something vaguely Kantian here, about treating people as means vs. ends. There’s also Cook (NAS member), Hardin, and Levi’s Cooperation Without Trust?:

            Some social theorists claim that trust is necessary for the smooth functioning of a democratic society. Yet many recent surveys suggest that trust is on the wane in the United States. Does this foreshadow trouble for the nation? In “Cooperation Without Trust?” Karen Cook, Russell Hardin, and Margaret Levi argue that a society can function well in the absence of trust. Though trust is a useful element in many kinds of relationships, they contend that mutually beneficial cooperative relationships can take place without it.

            A world without trust is a world of coercion. Obviously one can switch between the two; it isn’t either/or, but how much of one vs. how much of the other. So I do have some resources to draw on for a working definition. :-)

          • Andy_Schueler

            You keep recommending Waller´s “Against Moral Responsibility” all over the place. Which just seems strange, because according to the Amazon description:

            Waller argues that moral responsibility in all its forms — including criminal justice, distributive justice, and all claims of just deserts — is fundamentally unfair and harmful and that its abolition will be liberating and beneficial. What we really want — natural human free will, moral judgments, meaningful human relationships, creative abilities — would survive and flourish without moral responsibility

            Given that… I can´t help but wonder:
            1. Have you actually read Waller´s book?
            2. Are you now pro- or anti- moral responsibility? Because you sound as if you are pro- but you keep recommending a book that is as anti- as it gets.
            3. What makes you think that Pereboom (the author of the book that Jonathan recommends) and Waller have any substantial disagreements on this issue? Based on their Amazon descriptions, they seem to be pretty much on the exact same page.

          • I’ll answer your questions if you are actually willing to share your own views on moral responsibility (noting that there appear to be two very different conceptions at play), but not if all that’s going to happen is that my views get put under the microscope. Your choice.

          • Andy_Schueler

            So you still haven´t actually read the book (you´ve already admitted to that many months ago on a different blog, I was merely curious if you had read it in the meantime) and your abundant links serve no purpose beyond allowing you to pretend that you have at least some fucking clue about the issue at hand. Exactly what happened with the issue of a growing block universe.

            Hint: it is customary to actually read books before either recommending them or citing them as support for your position. It is actually quite dangerous to not do that because accidentally citing a book (not just once but rather all over the place) that actually completely contradicts your point of view, is extremely embarrassing.

          • So you still haven´t actually read the book (you´ve already admitted to that many months ago on a different blog, I was merely curious if you had read it in the meantime)

            Who’s the one with reading comprehension problems? I said the following to you yesterday:

            LB: My own concept of free will was largely built up on such conversations and that concept is awfully sticky, even now, even despite our conversations, despite reading bits of Richard Double’s The Non-Reality of Free Will and bits of Bruce Waller’s Against Moral Responsibility.

            Well, it looks like I was quite right:

            LB: So, every one of those statements is really f(Andy Schueler, Luke Breuer) = X, where X can be 0–100% true of Andy Schueler and 100–0% true of Luke Breuer, with the total percentage being between 100% and 200%. Jesus for the win:

            Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Mt 7:3–5)

            Right now, “Moron.” and “Idiot.” seem to describe your behavior pretty well. Good thing you told me not to trust you.

            One of us cannot read.

            Hint: it is customary to actually read books before either recommending them or citing them as support for your position.

            What you think is ‘customary’ is irrelevant to me. There are many people with whom I can have excellent discussions without having read every single page of every book I cite. If you’re not one of those people, I think I might just not give a shit. But do continue whining.

            It is actually quite dangerous to not do that because accidentally citing a book (not just once but rather all over the place) that actually completely contradicts your point of view, is extremely embarrassing.

            Oh, I agree. It’s just that you haven’t established any embarrassment, you’ve just waved your hands vigorously. It is obviously the case that humans are hugely conditioned by society. This means one has to be very careful to take into account the kind of Jonathan mentioned when he made his last causation post. The key question is whether the individual has any agency left whatsoever, or whether he/she is 100% “socially constructed”. Apparently, sociologists (and perhaps other human science scientists) have had a habit of assuming either the Enlightenment ideal of the autonomous individual, or the 100% socially constructed self. People haven’t wanted to merge them. One sees the same oscillation in discussions about the Volkgeist, the construction of ‘race’, UNESCO, etc. in Alain Finkielkraut’s The Defeat of the Mind, of which I’ve read 101 of 135 pages. Another evidence of this oscillation and failure to obey Eccl 7:15–18 (esp. v18) can be found in Christian Smith’s Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture:

                Finally, the previous chapter suggested that in recent sociological theorizing about culture something seems to be missing. Something that was lost in the rejection of structural functionalism— however problematic that approach was—remains lost, not only in the many uncultural theoretical approaches that followed in functionalism’s wake but also in much recent sociological work in culture. What is missing, I have suggested, is a convincing account of human motivation. One reads the culture literature to try to discover a renewed and deepened appreciation and understanding of the influence of culture in human social life, a thickly culturalist account of the patterns of motivation in social action and relations. But much in contemporary cultural theory in sociology actually seems to be grounded on essentially rational choice assumptions about human motives and action . And other works in culture that are not seem reluctant or unable to offer accounts of human action that fit and justify their own theoretical and empirical arguments. Thus we find there approaches in which culture does not explain action, or assumptions about human motivations and action that are not shaped by culture, or simply nothing said about human motives, purposes, or actions at all. All of this, I have claimed, is inadequate. For it is impossible for a cultural sociology worth pursuing to avoid entirely articulating a model of human person-hood, motivation, and action in decidedly cultural terms. The moral, believing, narrating animals view advanced in this essay, I suggest, offers an alternative approach to address this challenge. (Kindle Locations 2718–2720)

            It’s always either there is no true individual or an individual is purely a product of society. Fortunately, Christian Smith understands the importance of both–and. I as I believe I already indicated, I asked a prominent academic who specializes in race about this “dual causation” matter and she acknowledged it, which is good news. The above book was written in 2003; maybe people are becoming less dumb on this matter. Waller surely picks on this phenomenon; how explicit he is I don’t yet know.

          • Andy_Schueler

            What you think is ‘customary’ is irrelevant to me.

            I know. You´d much rather spam the www with the always same set of amazon links instead of actually reading something.

            There are many people with whom I can have excellent discussions without having read every single page of every book I cite.

            Yeah! “Excellent discussions” like you making all kinds of bold assertions about what a growing block universe entails and linking to really thick books that allegedly support you – and when one asks you to quote anything that *actually* supports you, it turns out that you cannot even quote anything that so much as hints at what you were claiming. Or “excellent discussions” where you blather about the importance of moral responsibility and how we need LFW for moral responsiblity and then you link to a book that argues for the diametrically opposed position of that without even being aware of it.
            People could have such “excellent discussions” with a spambot that links to random amazon books.

          • Yeah! “Excellent discussions” like you making all kinds of bold assertions about what a growing block universe entails […]

            Suppose I show you that my suspicion of where Tooley goes with the growing block universe is correct. What will you do in response? Give me a good enough reason and I’ll change my priorities and start really digging into Time, Tense, and Causation. I might even email him. I’m calling your bluff: your play. What will you do/say if I’m right?

          • Andy_Schueler

            Suppose I show you that my suspicion of where Tooley goes with the growing block universe is correct. What will you do in response? Give me a good enough reason and I’ll change my priorities and start really digging into Time, Tense, and Causation. I might even email him. I’m calling your bluff

            Bluff?? You did just flat out admit that I was right – you have no fucking clue about what the book does or does not say here, you just made shit up based on nothing but a hunch, and you explicitly admit it!

          • Bluff?? You did just flat out admit that I was right – you have no fucking clue about what the book does or does not say here, you just made shit up based on nothing but a hunch, and you explicitly admit it!

            I never claimed to know perfectly what the book said. What I claimed was that my reasoning about growing block universes was sufficiently likely to be correct. You have yet to show that this claim is wrong (“made shit up”). Instead you are vigorously waving your hands. Don’t they get tired after a while?

            What’s hilarious is that you are so scared that the “shit” I “made…up” might be valid, that you won’t commit to any sort of “oops, I was stupid and shouldn’t think Luke is so stupid” admission, in the event I can show Tooley arguing what I was arguing, or email him and get him to verify that the question I asked was meaningful and a good one. Well done. You even made it look like what I meant by ‘bluff’ is what you meant by ‘bluff’, so it looks like that claim of mine has been addressed, when no such thing happened.

            You really are good with words.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I never claimed to know perfectly what the book said. What I claimed was that my reasoning about growing block universes was sufficiently likely to be correct.

            A claim that you have not been able to support by anything other then what you have been able to pull out of your ass so far. Also, since you are a lying scumbag, you only started to admit that your claims are sufficiently likely to be correct based on nothing but a hunch, after I kept asking you to actually provide quotes that support your claims.

            You have yet to show that this claim is wrong (“made shit up”).

            :-D So you get to make shit up and cite books that you haven´t read, and then others have to actually read those books to look whether they contain anything that supports your claims? Let me think about that… Done – fuck you.

          • So I think it can be summed up as:

            @LukeBreuer:disqus has these choices:

            1) Accept that “cause” means something, that it references accurately some concept (which it is not necessary to utterly define here). Thus to comply with the Law of non-contradiction, everything must either be caused or uncaused

            2) Deny that cause makes any sense at all and thus the term simply cannot be used.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I would say that wrt the issue of the OP, the dictionary definition is entirely sufficient because, conceptually, all that matters is that there either is something that gives rise to an effect (and wrt free will, it is irrelevant how exactly that works) or there is not.

            And Luke has made abundantly clear that he does not want to talk about free will, he wants to derail the thread into a discussion about the nature of rationality or about the metaphysics of causation. And he is completely unable to explain how any of this has any relevance for the OP whatsoever. He just says shit like:
            “What you’re trying to do is say that “for all time, ‘either something is caused or it isn’t’ will have the same meaning”.
            ….
            New things that used to not be called ‘science’ became called ‘science’. Applied to randomness, this says that maybe any and all randomness is actually order.

            – and if someone points out to him that IF that would happen in the future, the argument against LFW would not be affected in ANY way, he just ignores it.
            And if derailing doesn´t work, he´ll just throw smokescreens by making shit up about a random physics / or philosophy concept (like the growing block universe in this thread) and cites books that he didn´t read and that he cannot quote as providing anything even remotely resembling support for his made up shit. And if smokescreens do not work, he´ll just try the radical skepticism card and accuses us of “making a type II error: understanding all of reality as it really is.” And if that doesn´t work, he just lies and says that the claims in the OP are not clear enough to be intelligible and requests more exhaustive definitions (while he himself is curiously unwilling to even just define simple words like “spoon” or “you” ).

            Luke Breuer is a troll and proud of it, he practically admits it in quotes like:
            “And yet, I have zero reason to think that you know what X means when it is ‘reason’ or ’cause’. More precisely, I suspect you equivocate between universal, timeless, omnipresent causal laws and point-in-spacetime causes that are nothing but ostensibly purely random bits coming into existence, or something like that (e.g. collapses of a wavefunction or measurements made by an observer or entanglements formed). Furthermore, I suspect you equivocate on whether the cause is ‘inside’ or ‘outside’, as my example of altering a computer program articulates, not to mention the quotation from Charles Taylor drawing on Louis Dupré.”
            – he´s not interested in discussing the OP because he has no counter-arguments. What he wants to do instead is to lure people into disagreeing with him about unrelated issues for which he thinks he has good arguments.

          • turbopro10

            agreed.

            eg. Blog Article: “The Evidential Problem of Evil may have new legs…”

            “After going back and forth over e-mail with another Process Theology apologist on the problem of evil, both of us agreed that Swinburne’s apologetic fails, whereas van Inwagen’s most recent discussion with Plantinga on the issue raised a few good points. My take was that …

            Thus, in summary, perhaps the logical argument from evil remains unanswered, and, the evidential argument from evil, though understood as being based on probabilities is …”

            LB comes rushing in:

            “Though the logical argument from evil appears to be unanswered to atheists/naturalists, which i see is your new hobby horse, my take is that this ancient argument was based on pre-Socratic philosophy–if we can call it philosophy–that had little metaphysical grounding: see this link –> [link to book/article/blog about pre-Socratic philosophy and the development of what became the study of mathematics(i read the front and back covers)]. blah, blah, blah, blaze, see [unrelated book/author/article(i read both covers, and almost all of page 22)]. blah, blah, blah, and more blah, see yet another irrelevant[book/article/author(i read a blog that mentioned this article/book/author)].

            so, please define your terms because i see a problem with trying to postulate that genetic variance may be explained by Godel’s IT(my hobby horse). In particular, it depends on ‘what your definition of is is…’

            so there :-) :-( :-// :-p :-h :-000”

          • Not clear. Prior to Thomas Kuhn, fewer things were called ‘science’ than after Thomas Kuhn. So, you had items taken out of the category ¬’science’, and placed into the category ‘science’. What this means is that prior to Kuhn, people erred in what they thought ‘science’ was. And thus, someone who said that everything is “either ‘science’ or ¬’science'” meant something different before Kuhn, than after Kuhn. Why? Because the meaning behind the terms changed.

            Before Kuhn, the term ‘science’ had a partial grasp on the Platonic Form we now think it [better] references. But to call that “references accurately” is erroneous. No, the concept in people’s minds before Kuhn was further away from the Form of ‘Science’ than it was after. There was inaccuracy. I claim this matters in a way Andy claims it doesn’t. See over here, where I say that “X or ¬X” has less meaning than “caused or ¬caused”. What I criticize is whatever residual meaning ’caused’ has, as well as criticize Andy’s “maximally general” definition as utterly meaningless.

            Perhaps it would be helpful to use another analogy: naturalism. See Randal Rauser’s Not even wrong: The many problems with Naturalism. The problem here is that the word ‘natural’ keeps getting bigger. What won’t be subsumed by it? And so when different people talk about naturalism in different decades, their sentences can mean different things. For some data on this, listen to Randal’s podcast, 64. Michael Rea on Naturalism. Critically, it is not clear that the uses of ‘naturalism’ are converging upon a Platonic Form of ‘Naturalism’. I would argue same for the Form ‘Cause’. I claim you need this kind of convergence for your argument to work.

            Finally, perhaps you would tackle the following conundrum about whether ‘rationality’ is caused or uncaused. I think it’s important and elucidates my contention; Andy gave up:

            AS: How exactly causes relate to effects is not relevant – the only thing that matters is that there either is some lawful relation between such “causes” and “effects” (and it is completely irrelevant how it works) or there is not.

            LB: Rationality isn’t necessarily ‘nomological’, by which Dawes means that rationality may not work via “some lawful relation between such “causes” and “effects””.

                 nomos: law
                 logos: principle of order and knowledge

            nomoslogical: ‘nomological’
            […]
            If you can’t see why that is relevant to the OP, then apparently you think ‘intentionality‘ has nothing to do with ‘rationality’. That would be very interesting, because we generally want to think that we are being rational and lawlike, and yet if your flavor of ‘rationality’ adheres to your “some lawful relation between such “causes” and “effects””, apparently we aren’t actually talking about anything. But maybe that would make sense. Maybe you are just a giant windbag, talking about nothing for hours on end.

            AS: Great! Now what the fuck has this to do with the OP you trolling P.o.S?

            LB: If rationality isn’t nomological, then is it caused or not caused?

            AS: Maybe, maybe not.

            LB: You won’t even say whether rationality is caused.

            AS: [nonsense]

          • Andy_Schueler

            I claim this matters in a way Andy claims it doesn’t

            No one gives a fuck about your stupid claims. Present an argument for this claim or STFU. Every example you could think of (like “Applied to randomness, this says that maybe any and all randomness is actually order.”) would be completely and utterly irrelevant. Don´t just assert this shit – try to argue for once. You say that the metaphysics of causation matters – then present an argument that shows that the OP actually depends on how exactly causes would give rise to effects, instead of being completely agnostic about the model of causality because all that the argument in the OP requires is that there either are such things that give rise to effects OR NOT.

            Andy gave up

            No, Andy did not “give up” you lying scumbag. Andy rather didn´t start going down the rabbit hole you tried to lure him in.
            Fucking troll.

          • Let’s see if Jonathan agrees with your assessment, shall we? It’s his blog, after all. If you want to make the rules, start your own. I will abide by Jonathan’s wishes, not yours.

          • Andy_Schueler

            @Jonathan MS Pearce

            Have a look at my earlier comment – I say at the end that Luke: “[is] not interested in discussing the OP because he has no counter-arguments. What he wants to do instead is to lure people into disagreeing with him about unrelated issues for which he thinks he has good arguments.”

            And in his recent comment here, we see why:

            Finally, perhaps you would tackle the following conundrum about whether ‘rationality’ is caused or uncaused. I think it’s important and elucidates my contention; Andy gave up:

            Luke has a pathological need to have the last word and to “win” a discussion he enters. And since he has nothing even remotely resembling a counterargument for what is discussed in the OP, he desperately tries to change the subject and to lure someone into disagreeing with him about an issue where he thinks he has good arguments – all so that he can dump his canned responses on the thread and gleefully assert his “victory”.

          • I would have to admit that I am not a mind reader. I could only cast an opinion based on the evidence as to what @LukeBreuer:disqus’s intentions were.

            However, looking at what he has written, it would seem that he is trying to ad hoc evade the reality of what he is faced with.

            Above, he has evaded the issue by again calling into question the meaning of cause. OK, fine. If you think cause is utterly erroneous, then go to option 2). But if you think it has meaning, then things are either caused or uncaused (or a mix), no matter what that exact meaning is. In other words, we have a meta-dichotomy here.

            1) accept cause means something coherent
            2) do not accept 1)

            If 1) then
            A) Something is either caused or
            B) uncaused

            (or perhaps a combination of the both).

            But he still seems to obfuscate here.

            I think once we get this cleared up, we can move on to asking what his definition of the term then is, and ours, and see if we actually agree or not.

          • turbopro10

            LB: “There are many people with whom I can have excellent discussions without having read every single page of every book I cite”

            That’s ok.

            But, perhaps then you should let your interlocutor know that you are citing a supposedly competent authority based on an incomplete read/analysis of the cited work.

            In the course of scholastic exchange, an understanding is maintained that one is thorough and rigourous in citing references.

            With your submission here, I now appreciate why you sound a little cacophonous and jarring to my ears when you reply–oftentimes tangentially–to simple questions by referencing a work you consider to be a competent authority, when, indeed, you have not given the reference work a rigourous analysis.

            So, from now on, we’ll be sure to take your references and citations accordingly. Unless, of course, you let us know that your citation is valid–meaning, you read the work in its entirety.

          • But, perhaps then you should let your interlocutor know that you are citing a supposedly competent authority based on an incomplete read/analysis of the cited work.

            You mean like this:

            LB:

            LB: My own concept of free will was largely built up on such conversations and that concept is awfully sticky, even now, even despite our conversations, despite reading bits of Richard Double’s The Non-Reality of Free Will and bits of Bruce Waller’s Against Moral Responsibility.

            ?

            […] by referencing a work you consider to be a competent authority […]

            False, unless you mean something different by ‘authority’ than I do. Bruce Waller could be quite wrong, but still so wonderfully consistent that one can learn tremendously from him.

            […] when, indeed, you have not given the reference work a rigourous analysis.

            This would only seem to matter if I were a competent authority, and by doing said “rigourous analysis”, establish Bruce Waller’s ‘competent authority’ by my own. But I am not a credentialed scholar, nor do I do research for a living. Therefore, why did you say what you did?

            Unless, of course, you let us know that your citation is valid–meaning, you read the work in its entirety.

            I reject this standard. Authors frequently sketch what they claim to have proven, in the beginning of the book. It is useful to refer to said sketches, not as if they are true, but to say that the view probably deserves serious consideration, whether true or false.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I reject this standard. Authors frequently sketch what they claim to have proven, in the beginning of the book. It is useful to refer to said sketches, not as if they are true, but to say that the view probably deserves serious consideration, whether true or false.

            Right! Like talking about how your motivation for sticking to LFW is that you need it to ground moral responsibility, and then citing a book for which this “sketch” looks like this:

            Waller argues that moral responsibility in all its forms — including criminal justice, distributive justice, and all claims of just deserts — is fundamentally unfair and harmful and that its abolition will be liberating and beneficial. What we really want — natural human free will, moral judgments, meaningful human relationships, creative abilities — would survive and flourish without moral responsibility. In the course of his argument, Waller examines the origins of the basic belief in moral responsibility, proposes a naturalistic understanding of free will, offers a detailed argument against moral responsibility and critiques arguments in favor of it, gives a general account of what a world without moral responsibility would look like, and examines the social and psychological aspects of abolishing moral responsibility. Waller not only mounts a vigorous, and philosophically rigorous, attack on the moral responsibility system, but also celebrates the benefits that would result from its total abolition.

            You linked to Waller´s book all over the place on many threads in at least three different blogs and not once did you say that the book actually completely contradicts your position. Normally, a citation without any further comment is meant to be a citation that supports the claims that precede it, but for Luke Breuer, it seems to be the other way around.

          • You linked to Waller´s book all over the place on many threads in at least three different blogs and not once did you say that the book actually completely contradicts your position.

            You are welcome to justify your vigorous hand-waving with actual evidence. There is an apparent contradiction at hand, and I explained why: people have screwed-up conceptions of causality, making an either/or out of a both/and. As it stands, I accuse you of bullshitting, or to use the wisdom of someone who made it through Nazi Germany with his name on an “enemy of the people” list, I accuse you of the Abuse of Language ~~ Abuse of Power.

          • Andy_Schueler

            As it stands, I accuse you of bullshitting

            :-D :-D :-D

          • Andy_Schueler

            I accuse you of bullshitting

            I really love this, because it comes right after a link to one of your patented Breuerian hyperverbose bullshit bombs.

          • Andy_Schueler

            And finally, this:

            You are welcome to justify your vigorous hand-waving with actual evidence.

            is the ultimate proof that you are a troll and that it is impossible to reason with you. Which is why I will flag your comment.

          • The theist asking for evidence of a character assassination attempt is “trolling” according to the atheist. Who would have thunk?

          • Andy_Schueler
          • I do like your self-portraits.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I do like your self-portraits.

            If you assert that to be true, I accuse you of making a type II error: knowing all of reality as it actually is.

          • Which is why I will flag your comment.

            That’s fine; I have this:

          • Your debates with Andy are hilarious, especially in how he points fun at your tendencies. He has the same problems with you as I do: you use links ad nauseum that do not always clearly enhance your point, and comment in a rambling way that avoids direct answers.

          • I do argue highly intuitively. It is always fun when something I somewhat mysteriously said earlier ends up as a crucial argument, later on. Sometimes those intuitions don’t work (even professional basketball players don’t always make their free-throws), but they are right an awful lot of the time.

            But perhaps I should not discuss with those who find this behavior irritating, or only discuss things I am an expert on, with them. I’m happy to do that. Shall we only discuss the things, you and I, on which I consider myself sufficiently ‘expert’?

          • Or, as Andy so bluntly put it, you can instead try the following behavior in the future:

            Please try for once to just give a straight answer to this, don´t go off on annother 2000 word tangent – just ANSWER it.

          • Yes, yes, I know: you want me to be more like you. But there is a problem: not all questions can be answered that way. Example: “Have you stopped beating your wife, yet?” See, questions presuppose things. If I disagree with what is presupposed, I need to critique the presupposition, not answer the question and thereby validate the presupposition.

            You don’t seem to understand this; why not? Do you think I’m wrong, about how questions can presuppose things? Perhaps you think I should be more straightforward about questioning the presuppositions. The problem is, I don’t always see clearly what the presuppositions are, until later. Instead, I just know that “something is probably not quite right here”, and a question pops into my mind of how to tease out that vague “something”, to make it more concrete.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I´m only speaking for myself now, but everytime you said “Have you stopped beating your wife, yet?” to me – I didn´t ask you a loaded question, I just asked you a question that was inconvenient to you and you used this stunt as an escape hatch. Similarly for the “presuppositions” BS – at least with me, this was always just an escape hatch for you, you never managed to actually find any relevant presupposition that explained our disagreement.

          • […] everytime you said “Have you stopped beating your wife, yet?” to me – I didn´t ask you a loaded question, I just asked you a question that was inconvenient to you […]

            How do you know that you’re right, that your perspective is more correct than mine?

            Similarly for the “presuppositions” BS – at least with me, this was always just an escape hatch for you, you never managed to actually find any relevant presupposition that explained our disagreement.

            It’s not at all clear to me that your “never” is true. But I sense that frustration, and I think the problem is that you frequently make it extremely hard to figure out those presuppositions, by constantly refusing to try very hard (in any way I can perceive) to see why I said what I said. Instead, I model you as constantly applying the “idiot filter” to what I’ve said: finding some way that what I said is incredibly dumb. Well, when you do this, when you refuse (again, as far as I can perceive) to get into my head, it makes it much harder to tease out said presuppositions. Or so I claim.

          • Andy_Schueler

            How do you know that you’re right, that your perspective is more correct than mine?

            Because everytime you accused me of asking you a loaded question – I pointed out that it isn´t one and that if you disagree, you should point out which controversial or unjustified assumption was included in my question (i.e. – in what sense was my question in any way analogous to “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”). And you never even tried to show that I actually asked a loaded question. And that´s why I think that I am well justified in claiming that the “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” schtick was just an escape hatch for you – you just used it to avoid giving straight answers to inconvenient questions, even if those questions were perfectly legitimate and not loaded.

            It’s not at all clear to me that your “never” is true. But I sense that frustration, and I think the problem is that you frequently make it extremely hard to figure out those presuppositions, by constantly refusing to try very hard (in any way I can perceive) to see why I said what I said. Instead, I model you as constantly applying the “idiot filter” to what I’ve said: finding some way that what I said is incredibly dumb. Well, when you do this, when you refuse (again, as far as I can perceive) to get into my head, it makes it much harder to tease out said presuppositions. Or so I claim.

            You cannot name a single presupposition that I make but you do not. Not a single one (you tried before and failed). And my presuppositions are easy to figure out, I give straight answers to straight questions.

          • You cannot name a single presupposition that I make but you do not.

            I think agent causation [metaphysically] exists, and is qualitatively different from the kind of causation associated with the laws of nature. If you believe that the only [metaphysical] kind of causation which happens is the kind associated with the laws of nature, then I have an example for you.

            I can elaborate on what I mean by “[metaphysical]”, if you wish.

            And my presuppositions are easy to figure out, I give straight answers to straight questions.

            I do not recall giving you a good answer to my questioning about your metaphysics of causation, but (i) perhaps my question was not “straight” according to your meaning of that word; (ii) my memory is failing me.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I think agent causation [metaphysically] exists, and is qualitatively different from the kind of causation associated with the laws of nature. If you believe that the only [metaphysical] kind of causation which happens is the kind associated with the laws of nature, then I have an example for you.

            I have literally no idea whatsoever what “agent causation” is even supposed to mean. But you still have zero examples in any case because I don´t make any presupposition along the line of “the only kind of causation…” .

            I do not recall giving you a good answer to my questioning about your metaphysics of causation

            You never actually did ask me a straight question about this. You rather casually dismissed arguments of mine because you allegedly “cannot make sense of them without a clearly spelled out metaphysics of causation”. Which was clearly a lie because the complete absence of a discussion about the metaphysics of causation magically and completely ceases to bother you when it is, say, Kenny Pearce talking about miracles and you agreeing with the conclusion, instead of me talking about miracles and you disagreeing with the conclusion.

          • I have literally no idea whatsoever what “agent causation” is even supposed to mean (or rather, what you mean by it).

            It’s fascinating you say that, since you seem to like The Information Philosopher, and there is an article there titled, Agent-Causality. Now, you didn’t know that I would mean enough of the same thing that there is sufficient overlap to mention the article, but I find it interesting that you say “have literally no idea”, when I thought you were fairly well-acquainted with that site. Is this because I severely disagreed with the author on some point?

            The most abstract way to think of agent causation is to say that a person is merely a causal nexus, through which chains of causation travel, but from which zero chains of causation originate. I would add to that the importance of ‘intentional explanations’ and the ‘not nomological’ restriction which Gregory W. Dawes advances:

            3.4.1 Intentional and Causal ExplanationsA first objection rests on the very character of intentional explanations. It suggests that a theistic explanation could not be both intentional and causal, since these represent distinct and mutually exclusive forms of explanation. No intentional explanation is a causal explanation. But I believe this claim to be wrong, for reasons I shall outline later (Appendix 1.1). I have no argument with the idea, defended by Donald Davidson, that intentions are causes and that intentional explanations are also causal explanations.[76] There is one issue that needs to be clarified here. I have suggested that intentional explanations are not nomological (3.2.1). They do, if you like, depend on something resembling a law, namely the rationality principle. But they do not depend on law-like generalisations linking particular intentions and particular actions. Does this mean that they cannot be regarded as causal explanations? Only if you believe that the citing of causal laws is a necessary condition of a causal explanation. But I shall argue later that it is not (Appendix 3.3.1), that causal explanations do not necessarily involve causal laws.[77] If this is true, then there is no difficulty with the idea that an intentional explanation is also a causal explanation. (Theism and Explanation, 51)

            I would also add that some of the intuitions behind ‘moral responsibility’ seem to require something like what I have (in this comment) described as ‘agent causation’. Without that, it would seem that Bruce Waller is right to say in Against Moral Responsibility:

                The basic claim of this book is that—all the extraordinary and creative efforts of contemporary philosophers notwithstanding—moral responsibility cannot survive in our naturalistic-scientific system. Moral responsibility was a comfortable fit among gods and miracles and mysteries, but the deeper scientific understanding of human behavior and the causes shaping human character leaves no room for moral responsibility. (vii)

            The moral responsibility that is my target is the moral responsibility that justifies special reward and punishment. (1–2)

            No one is morally responsible for being bad or behaving badly—but this does not mean that no one has a character with profound moral flaws. (5)

            Now of course these ideas need explicating. From just this, perhaps Waller is saying that too much praise or too much blame is bad. But the general idea is that the more strongly you hold to CFW, the more traditional conceptions of ‘moral responsibility’ seem to erode. It is as if sans appropriate metaphysics, the things we’ve built upon them are eroding.

            You never actually did ask me a straight question about this.

            Did it ever cross your mind that what you consider “a straight question” may differ, with what I consider “a straight question”?

            You rather casually dismissed arguments of mine because you allegedly “cannot make sense of them without a clearly spelled out metaphysics of causation”.

            I am not convinced that ‘dismissed’ is the most accurate way to capture my response. Perhaps I did that (I would want evidence); as far as my thoughts on the matter now—which have developed significantly, since we last talked about this matter—I imagine myself saying that the particular topic being discussed would have to be put on hold until either (i) you and I talked more about the metaphysics of causation; (ii) I learned more about the metaphysics of causation, myself. As it turns out, I have learned more, from Gregory W. Dawes, from Christian Smith’s Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture and What is a Person?, and from other sources, as well.

            Which was clearly a lie because the complete absence of a discussion about the metaphysics of causation magically and completely ceases to bother you when it is, say, Kenny Pearce talking about miracles and you agreeing with the conclusion, instead of me talking about miracles and you disagreeing with the conclusion.

            Why jump to ‘lie’ instead of start at ‘misunderstanding’? For example, Kenny Pearce’s Leibniz’s theistic case against Humean miracles and Christian Naturalism are much more explicit about their metaphysics of causation than I ever recall you being. This doesn’t mean they state a metaphysics of causation, but it does mean that it is much easier to derive a plausible metaphysics of causation from those. In contrast, I find it remarkably hard to derive your metaphysical framework, from your speech. I don’t know why, but I do find it remarkably hard. So hard, that perhaps the questions I ask you fail to appear “straight”, from your perspective!

          • @Andy_Schueler:disqus – agent causalists are essentially people who deny that decisions (qua free will) are events (qua brain states in tandem with the universe); that agents can defy causality. It’s nothing particularly special other than to say agents can be prime movers (like God) in a causal chain. Roderick Chisholm and Robert Kane are famous examples. They just fail to have any coherent mechanism or explanation as to how it works.

            I agree with Pereboom, Caruso and Waller that we don’t have moral responsibility in any strict sense other than commonsense illusory ways.

            I have set this out here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2014/04/28/have-i-killed-someone/

            In “Have i killed someone?”

            I pretty much think that is the same conclusion that Waller comes to, as seen by this review:

            http://naturalism.org/resources/book-reviews/singling-out-the-agent

            In that to single out the agent in the whole causal chain is actually pretty arbitrary.

          • Hold on a second, Mr. Metaphysical Imperialist. :-p The following is long because I don’t yet have a good grasp on this stuff. Continue at your own peril.

            agent causalists are essentially people who deny that decisions (qua free will) are events (qua brain states in tandem with the universe); that agents can defy causality.

            You said, “events” and “brain states”. I want to problematize those words. From David Braine:

                But secondly, we have to observe that the task of setting this holistic perspective on a firm footing is constantly subverted by approaches which make the mental essentially inner, and therefore end up making it localizable in soul or brain—analysing the human being into parts, whether into a soul and a body or into the brain and then his other bodily parts. In order to avoid this subversion, we have to pursue a task of relentless analysis, in this taking advantage of the attempts at precision in the Anglo-Saxon tradition. We need to trace all the different kinds of argument and preconception which support the idea of the mental as inner, and painstakingly trace them right back to their roots. This is indeed the pain of this book, for if we relent in this task of analysis in all the detail it requires, it is inevitable that on some excuse the dualistic perspective, diving the inner and the outer, will creep back again. And this analysis must be carried through to a consideration of explanation and causation, neglect of which has been the main weakness of earlier twentieth century critiques of dualism. It will need to be made clear first that causation cannot be reduced to a relation between events but essentially involves agents, whether inanimate or animate, and second that not all causation is physical causation. Rather, some causation can be understood only in psychophysical terms. But without painstaking analysis and argument none of this can be established in a way which will hold up against the person who dissolves human being or animal into mind and body or brain and body. (The Human Person, 21–22)

            The beginning of the section on events:

            VI. The Primacy of the Agent over the Event in Causation”
                Here, when we come to examine modern views, we find that the focal role for the agent is repudiated. Instead it is alleged that all agent-causality is to be explained away in terms of event-causality. And this suggestion is the natural effect of a dualistic account of human or animal action. Once the outward act has been separated in conception from the context of the unitary intentional human act, the question arises as to its causes, and these causes are thought of as in the brain or the soul. Dualists and materialists agree in the picture of states and events as causes, inner causing outer in intentional action and outer causing inner in perception, inner and outer logically independent of each other. For the dualist, the inner states and events are states and events in the soul which cause or are caused by states and events in the brain, and of the materialist, the inners states and events are simply states and goings on in the brain, describable in two different ways, psychological and physical.
                From within the framework of a view which regards agent-causality as primary and not reducible to event-causality, it is not difficult to explain how a human action can be both responsible and free. It is only required that one’s action should not have been caused by some thing or someone other than oneself, e.g. by misinforming one or subjecting one to force, and that one’s action should have been intentional and not by mistake or accidental. It does not make a man’s action in choosing to become a monk or choosing to go to the cinema unfree or ‘not from himself’ or unexplained just because (let us suppose) there is no explanation beyond the fact of his choice for his not going back on his ideas of possible monastic vocation or of going out.
                However, if it is required that agent-causality be reducible to event-causality, the situation is quite otherwise. Within this different framework, the only sense in which a person’s actions, intentions, emotions, or character can be causally ‘from’ the person is by their being determined by his or her previous beliefs and experiences, intentions, emotions and character. There seems to be no way of escaping the dilemma, ‘either determined or by chance’, and no way of combining the denial of determinism with responsibility. (Whether or not it be deemed ‘from’ the person for some legal or other practical purpose is beside the point.) But, if one’s actions, intentions, emotions, and character are only ‘from’ oneself in the case that they are determined by one’s previous states, then one seems to have become just as much the plaything of circumstance (one’s genes or whatever) as if they were due to chance. (201–203)

            We see “primacy of the event” in physics, per quantum physicist-turned-philosopher Bernard d’Espagnat:

                As here specified, the realism of the accidents (alias objectivist realism) seems to have been Galileo’s position and it also seems to b the one most present-day scientists more or less instinctively take up. This, incidentally, remains true even though, along the liens of relativity theory, the notion of events should be considered more basic than that of objects. The realism of the events, which better fits relativity theory, may be held to be but a refined version of the realism of accidents. (On Physics and Philosophy, 27)

                4. It is not infrequently (and quite rightly) stressed that the (orthodox) quantum formalism is predictive rather than descriptive. But an additional point should be stated. As the analysis of the Young slit experiment makes clear, the formalism in question is not predictive (probabilitywise) of events. It is predictive (probabilitywise) of observations.[10] Correlatively, its main innovation with respect to classical mechanics does not lie in the fact that it calls in intrinsic probabilities but in the fact that its probabilistic statements are but weakly objective. This point is all the more to be stressed as commentators, including most competent ones, seldom even mention it. The question is to be considered again in section 14-5. (99–100)

            I could also bring in arguments from theoretical biologist Robert Rosen’s Life Itself, where he disagrees with carving up reality into ‘states’ and the ‘environment’, as if that is the only [fundamental] way. One could describe the insistence on carving up reality in that way as a ‘mathematical straightjacket’. It is why I called you “Mr. Metaphysical Imperialist”, in the beginning. :-p

          • I think much of this comes down to naturalism and dualism. Look, to me it is obvious that the mind supervenes on the physical brain. The brain, and thus brain states, have primacy in that chain, for all the usual reasons you have no doubt read elsewhere.

            So, to me, intentional causality from the mind, especially within a closed system, makes no sense and would appear to break thermodynamics and conservation of energy rules.

          • I think much of this comes down to naturalism and dualism.

            You realize David Braine 100% rejects dualism, right? He goes further than this: he says that the very term “brain state” is crypto-dualism. To see how the term “brain state” can screw us over:

            WP: The Extended Mind: The paper: The Extended Mind by Andy Clark and David Chalmers (1998).[1] is a seminal work in the field of extended cognition. In this paper, Clark and Chalmers present the idea of active externalism (similar to semantic or “content” externalism), in which objects within the environment function as a part of the mind. They argue that it is arbitrary to say that the mind is contained only within the boundaries of the skull. The separation between the mind, the body, and the environment is seen as an unprincipled distinction. Because external objects play a significant role in aiding cognitive processes, the mind and the environment act as a “coupled system”.

            Theoretical biologist Robert Rosen helps us understand more of the technicalities of what is going on, here:

                The partition of ambience into system and environment, and even more, the imputation of that partition to the ambience itself as an inherent property thereof, is a basic although fateful step for science. For once the distinction is made, attention focuses on system. Systems and environment are thenceforth perceived in entirely different ways, represented and described in fundamentally different terms. To anticipate somewhat, system gets described by states, which are determined by observation; environment is characterized rather by its effects on system. Indeed, it is precisely at this point that, as we shall see, fundamental trouble begins to creep in; already here.    The growth of science, as a tool for dealing with the ambience, can be seen as a search for special classes of systems into which the ambience may be partitioned, such that (1) the systems in the special class are more directly apprehensible than others, and (2) everything in the ambience, any other way of partitioning it into systems, is generated by, or reducible to, what happens in that fundamental class. Newtonian mechanics, for instance, thought it had found such a class; so, today, does quantum theory. But it is above all, a special class, embodying an equally special way of coping with the system-environment dualism itself. Whether this is enough is, at root, the basic question. (Life Itself, 42)

            Basically, the very use of “brain state” implies a certain mathematical formalism, one which presupposes separability (compare: Holism and Nonseparability in Physics) of brain mind and environment. (@disqus_The_Thinker:disqus will be pissed, that there are people working in philosophy of mind, who are hostile to religion, who believe that ‘mind’ ≠ ‘brain’!) And yet, we have empirical evidence that nonseparability exists outside of entangled particles:

                Is this difficulty merely a practical one? Yes, if we consider that trajectories have now become uncomputable. But there is more: Probability distribution permits us to incorporate within the framework of the dynamical description the complex microstructure of the phase space. It therefore contains additional information that is lacking at the level of individual trajectories. As we shall see in Chapter 4, this has fundamental consequences. At the level of distribution functions ρ, we obtain a new dynamical description that permits us to predict the future evolution of the ensemble, including characteristic time scales. (The End of Certainty, 37)

            Key is “additional information”. The book is written by Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine, and the subtitle is: “Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature”. That is, Prigogine has suggested a different mathematical formalism for modeling causation in reality. I don’t know whether he knew of Robert Rosen’s work (1991 vs. 1997), but Rosen does a great job explaining just what mathematical straightjacket was in place, using rigorous maths (category theory) to show how there are different ways of thinking about how reality works, ways which he thinks are necessary for distinguishing ‘life’ from ‘non-life’ (hence the title of his book).

          • Chalmers being a proponent of naturalistic dualism.

            The key is to recognise the primacy, the supervenience which goes on here. i suggest sticking a fork into your brain to experience this!

          • Chalmers being a proponent of naturalistic dualism.

            Doh, I got him confused with an eliminative materialist. Ahh, the Churchlands are the eliminative materialists. Anyhow, The Extended Mind seems connectable to ecological psychology, which seems possibly to work in this domain, but in psychology and not physics:

                Is this difficulty merely a practical one? Yes, if we consider that trajectories have now become uncomputable. But there is more: Probability distribution permits us to incorporate within the framework of the dynamical description the complex microstructure of the phase space. It therefore contains additional information that is lacking at the level of individual trajectories. As we shall see in Chapter 4, this has fundamental consequences. At the level of distribution functions ρ, we obtain a new dynamical description that permits us to predict the future evolution of the ensemble, including characteristic time scales. (The End of Certainty, 37)

            The key is to recognise the primacy, the supervenience which goes on here. i suggest sticking a fork into your brain to experience this!

            What are the best arguments you know against this particular supervenience you are advancing? (You can still think they fail.)

          • Good question. The basic ones FOR the idea that the mind supervenes on the physical and that the physical operates to cause and effect (unless you can show me otherwise) are:

            1)The evolution of species demonstrates that development of brain correlates to mental development

            eg “We find that the greater the size of the brain and its cerebral cortex in relation to the animal body and the greater their complexity, the higher and more versatile the form of life” (Lamont 63). Lamont, Corliss. The Illusion of Immortality. 5th ed. New York: Unger/Continuum, 1990.

            2) Brain growth in individual organisms:

            “Secondly, the developmental evidence for mind-brain dependence is that mental abilities emerge with the development of the brain; failure in brain development prevents mental development (Beyerstein 45). Beyerstein, Barry L. “The Brain and Consciousness: Implications for Psi Phenomena.” In The Hundredth Monkey. Edited Kendrick Frazier. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1991: 43-53.

            3) Brain damage destroys mental capacities:

            “Third, clinical evidence consists of cases of brain damage that result from accidents, toxins, diseases, and malnutrition that often result in irreversible losses of mental functioning (45). If the mind could exist independently of the brain, why couldn’t the mind compensate for lost faculties when brain cells die after brain damage? (46).” Ibid

            4) EEG and similar mechanisms used in experiments and measurements on the brain indicate a correspondence between brain activity and mental activity:

            “Fourth, the strongest empirical evidence for mind-brain dependence is derived from experiments in neuroscience. Mental states are correlated with brain states; electrical or chemical stimulation of the human brain invokes perceptions, memories, desires, and other mental states (45).”

            5) The effects of drugs have clear physical >>> mental causation

            As Dennett superbly opines (and this quote is very relevant to your position, Luke):

            It continues to amaze me how attractive this position still is to many people. I would have thought a historical perspective alone would make this view seem ludicrous: over the centuries, every other phenomenon of initially “supernatural” mysteriousness has succumbed to an uncontroversial explanation within the commodious folds of physical science… The “miracles” of life itself, and of reproduction, are now analyzed into the well-known intricacies of molecular biology. Why should consciousness be any exception? Why should the brain be the only complex physical object in the universe to have an interface with another realm of being? Besides, the notorious problems with the supposed transactions at that dualistic interface are as good as a reductio ad absurdum of the view. The phenomena of consciousness are an admittedly dazzling lot, but I suspect that dualism would never be seriously considered if there weren’t such a strong undercurrent of desire to protect the mind from science, by supposing it composed of a stuff that is in principle uninvestigatable by the methods of the physical sciences. (Original italics)

            Daniel C. Dennett, “Consciousness in Human and Robot Minds,”

            Again, as the great Michael Tooley puts it:

            (1) When an individual’s brain is directly stimulated and put into a certain physical state, this causes the person to have a corresponding experience.

            (2) Certain injuries to the brain make it impossible for a person to have any mental states at all.

            (3) Other injuries to the brain destroy various mental capacities. Which capacity is destroyed is tied directly to the particular region of the brain that was damaged.

            (4) When we examine the mental capacities of animals, they become more complex as their brains become more complex.

            (5) Within any given species, the development of mental capacities is correlated with the development of neurons in the brain

            Michael Tooley, “Opening Statement” in William Lane Craig and Michael Tooley debate, “Does God Exist?”

          • Make sure you read the edited version of that previous one, @@LukeBreuer:disqus

          • Hmmm, how about applying this reasoning to language? I know his book is dated (1967), but I wonder if the following from Mortimer Adler’s The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes is still relevant:

                And by far the greater part of animal communication—outside of laboratories and apart from human tutelage—is instinctive rather than learned. Konrad Lorenz stresses this point.

                Animals do not possess a language in the true sense of the word. in the higher vertebrates, as also in the insects, particularly in the socially living species of both great groups, every individual has a certain number of innate movements and sounds for expressing feelings. It has also innate ways of reacting to these signals whenever it sees or hears them in a fellow-member of the species. The highly social species of birds such as the jackdaw or the greylag goose, have a complicated code of such signals which are uttered and understood by every bird without any previous experience. The perfect coordination of social behavior which is brought about by these actions conveys to the human observer the impression that the birds are talking and understanding a language of their own. Of course, this purely innate signal code of an animal species differs fundamentally from human language, every word of which must be learned laboriously by the human child. Moreover, being a genetically fixed character of the species—just as much as any bodily character—this so-called language is, for every individual animal species, ubiquitous in its distribution.[5]

                Lest there be any quibbling about the words “innate” and “instinct,” concerning the meaning of which American behavioristic psychologists do not see eye to eye with such European ethologists such as Tinbergen, Thorpe, or Lorenz, let us adopt as the minimum meaning that can be agreed to by all parties, the formula proposed by Donald Hebb: namely, that a pattern of behavior can be called innate or instinctive insofar and only insofar as it is “species-predictable,” which is to say, in Lorenz’ words, “ubiquitous in its distribution” among all members of the species without exception.[6] (115–116)

            [5] King Solomon’s Ring, pp. 76-77.
            [6] See Donald Hebb, A Textbook of Psychology, pp. 123–126, and 129–130, esp. p. 126. With regard to the differentiation between innate and learned behavior, see N. Tinbergen, The Study of Instinct, Konrad Lorenz, Evolution and Modification of Behavior, Adolf Portmann, op. cit. [Animals as Social Beings], Chapter 5; Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, “Experimental Criteria for Distinguishing Innate from Culturally Conditioned Behavior,” in Cross-Cultural Understanding, ed. by F. C. S. Northrop and H. H. Livingstone, 1964, pp. 297–307.

            The question is: Are all the explanations and defeaters valid when it comes to the human use of language, some of them valid, or none of them valid? I think it will be important to take into account Wittgenstein’s private language argument. What Adler is constantly concerned about is whether the difference between (i) human use of language and (ii) any other creaturely use of anything that could possibly be called language, is quantitative, or qualitative. If qualitative, then one must account for the emergence of it. One cannot just say ’emergence’; the word is not a magical incantation.

          • This is definitely a well written response. Dualism and libertarian free will are completely without rational justification. The question is, whether traditional theism and the religions that are based off belief in such a deity can make any rational sense given the falsity of those two beliefs.

          • Just before I hit the hay, some points are brought up here: http://www.iep.utm.edu/supermin/#H4

          • So, to me, intentional causality from the mind, especially within a closed system, makes no sense and would appear to break thermodynamics and conservation of energy rules.

            In orbital mechanics, there are these things called Lagrangian points, some of which have a peculiar property: if your trajectory goes through it in certain ways, where you will end up can be changed with an infinitesimal (= 0) force. These are the “unstable” Lagrangian points. The trick is that all the forces exactly cancel. A quantum fluctuation could make the difference.

            I see no reason that other systems in reality could have the same property. For example, maybe your brain could evolve in one way or another, with zero energy difference. The “push”, toward one direction or another, would require zero energy. If you remember your calculus, dx = 0. What I frequently call a “small ∆v model of free will”, modeling it after the limited thruster fuel of spacecraft navigating the solar system (and beyond!), could actually be called “a dv model of free will”.

            Note, by the way, that if quantum fluctuations are “lawless” (= not based on a law of nature), they line up perfectly with:

            3.4.1 Intentional and Causal ExplanationsA first objection rests on the very character of intentional explanations. It suggests that a theistic explanation could not be both intentional and causal, since these represent distinct and mutually exclusive forms of explanation. No intentional explanation is a causal explanation. But I believe this claim to be wrong, for reasons I shall outline later (Appendix 1.1). I have no argument with the idea, defended by Donald Davidson, that intentions are causes and that intentional explanations are also causal explanations.[76] There is one issue that needs to be clarified here. I have suggested that intentional explanations are not nomological (3.2.1). They do, if you like, depend on something resembling a law, namely the rationality principle. But they do not depend on law-like generalisations linking particular intentions and particular actions. Does this mean that they cannot be regarded as causal explanations? Only if you believe that the citing of causal laws is a necessary condition of a causal explanation. But I shall argue later that it is not (Appendix 3.3.1), that causal explanations do not necessarily involve causal laws.[77] If this is true, then there is no difficulty with the idea that an intentional explanation is also a causal explanation. (Theism and Explanation, 51)

            But who says that the laws of nature are the only causal forces in existence??

          • Are you arguing that intentions just poof into existence? That they are not themselves caused? (Schopenhauer – man can do what he wills but cannot will what he wills)

            That desires come out of nothing?

          • Well, quantum fluctuations poof into existence. Are they caused, or uncaused? Can you distinguish between the two possibilities, empirically? (Can physicists?) Is it an empirical question, or a philosophical one? From David Bohm:

                The assumption that any particular kind of fluctuations are arbitrary and lawless relative to all possible contexts, like the similar assumption that there exists an absolute and final determinate law, is therefore evidently not capable of being based on any experimental or theoretical developments arising out of specific scientific problems, but it is instead a purely philosophical assumption. (Causality and Chance in Modern Physics, 44)

            If you don’t have good answers to these questions, then I’m not sure you are justified in asking me to have good answers for your questions. :-p

          • AS one commenter has stated it:

            “What is really being said is that it is not an uncaused event in the vacuum, but in simplistic terms, it could be said to be more a property of the vacuum. No event is taking place as such. Describing it as an event is trying to put it in simplistic terms, which while it may help in understanding to some degree, is not an exact description. You could equally well (and again not with accuracy, but as another way of trying to describe it in a word) call it the texture of a vacuum rather than an ‘event’ – looking at it like that means you don’t need a cause.”

            That said, it all depends on your QM interpretations.

          • Yep, and predicating too much philosophy on a QM interpretation which heretofore has not been empirically distinguished from other QM interpretations seems like it should be done very, very carefully. Otherwise, you veer off into dogma and away from science! (Unless you happened to guess right. But you still wouldn’t have been doing science!)

          • Which, going back to what we are talking about, looks rather like you are basing your free will on random.

          • Are you aware of Dewey’s complaints against bad dualisms, which carve up reality in bad ways?

          • Andy_Schueler

            The most abstract way to think of agent causation is to say that a person is merely a causal nexus, through which chains of causation travel, but from which zero chains of causation originate.

            I suppose that you made a mistake by leaving out some negation here – because I´m very sure that you meant to say the precise opposite of what you are saying here, that persons can start new causal chains that are not predetermined by external causes. And I could happily grant you that this is true (I in fact did so several times) – it doesn´t help your position (which you do not call “libertarian free will” but which seems to be in literally every single way indistinguishable from it) in any way at all.

            I would also add that some of the intuitions behind ‘moral responsibility’ seem to require something like what I have (in this comment) described as ‘agent causation’. Without that, it would seem that Bruce Waller is right to say in Against Moral Responsibility

            1. Since you didn´t read that book, you are in no position to claim something like “it would seem that Bruce Waller is right…” – because you don´t even know how he argues for his case.
            2. If we assume that Waller is correct, why exactly would that be bad or undesirable? Especially given that:
            “Waller argues that moral responsibility in all its forms — including criminal justice, distributive justice, and all claims of just deserts — is fundamentally unfair and harmful and that its abolition will be liberating and beneficial. What we really want — natural human free will, moral judgments, meaningful human relationships, creative abilities — would survive and flourish without moral responsibility.”

            Why jump to ‘lie’ instead of start at ‘misunderstanding’? For example, Kenny Pearce’s Leibniz’s theistic case against Humean miracles and Christian Naturalism are much more explicit about their metaphysics of causation than I ever recall you being. This doesn’t mean they state a metaphysics of causation…

            You are bullshitting here. “Kenny is explicit about x but Kenny doesn´t state something about x” – is a contradiction, if Kenny doesn´t state anything about x, he cannot possibly be explicit about x, he could at most be implicit about x.

            Whether you do it on purpose or not, you are abusing the “metaphysics of causation” as a rethorical escape hatch – when a discussion doesn´t go well for you, you just assert that it is a draw as long as your interlocutor doesn´t write up an essay about the metaphysics of causation (and you can be reasonably certain that no interlocutor will actually do that). You did that with me in many discussions – be it about free will or miracles or divine hiddenness or whatever, when it doesn´t go well for you, you drop the metaphysics of causation bomb and the discussion is over. And this is completely dishonest because you never even try to demonstrate just how the fuck the metaphysics of causation is even relevant in the first place! And this despite me asking you every single time to spell out just what exactly the relevance of the metaphysics of causation is supposed to be – questions which you just ignore (most recent example)

          • Thanks for the correction; I’ve added “[edit: not]”. Aside from that, it seems that we so fundamentally disagree that I don’t think it’s worth it for me to try to reply. Perhaps @johnnyp76:disqus could help, but I know he’s busy.

          • I only want you to respond like me. I don’t expect all your beliefs to be like mine. As far as presuppositions, you can still point out any you think exist from your interlocutor as precise and more importantly as concise as possible. Instead, all too often you ramble on and link a dozen books and websites that sometimes don’t clearly elaborate your point of view and unnecessarily drown the dialogue in confusion – which often results in taking even more time for us to find out what the hell you even mean. And then when we finally get your point such that it becomes apparent after this sometimes painstaking process, we often wonder why you didn’t just say that in the first place and save us all that time.

          • So, I understand some of your frustrations. And I’m willing to work on making them less intense. But here’s my problem. You seem to largely pay lip service to my frustrations, or change your behavior for 1–2 comments before you go back to the behavior which frustrates me. What’s up with this asymmetry?

          • Getting straight to the point when commenting and focusing on making clear, unambiguous, direct answers, as precise and concise as you can, will make me and others misconstrue you less, which will result in less misunderstandings and back-and-forth bickering that neither of us like. When you are communicating in an obfuscating way I end up having no clear idea what you are talking about and often you leave the door open to so much potential absurdity. It forces me to guess, and I don’t like that. I shouldn’t have to guess what your view on a matter is when I asked you a direct question. Stick to the KISS principle when dealing with complex, esoteric subject matter: Keep it simple, stupid. It saves all of us time.

          • Oh, I’m well aware that you wish me to become more like you. You want to alter my personality, or at least my behavior, to suit your desires. And Andy’s desires. And perhaps some others’ desires, as well. The thing is, you really suck at giving me reasons to do this. You are an absolutely obnoxious discussion partner. For example, it is still not clear whether you are willing to admit that “Logic: No. QM: Yes.” is 100% wrong, that instead you can at best say: “Logic: No. QM: Possibly Yes.”, as I suggested seven days ago.

            But when you 100% ignore stuff like you did—

            LB: So, I understand some of your frustrations. And I’m willing to work on making them less intense. But here’s my problem. You seem to largely pay lip service to my frustrations, or change your behavior for 1–2 comments before you go back to the behavior which frustrates me. What’s up with this asymmetry?

            —it makes me think that you really don’t give a shit, and this is all about you. You want me to serve you:

            TT: Stick to the KISS principle when dealing with complex, esoteric subject matter: Keep it simple, stupid. It saves all of us time.

            You don’t give a shit if it serves me or not. You will claim it does, but you don’t actually care. Alternatively, you care and 100% override what I say serves me. Your subjective preferences are projected onto me. But that’s a dick move itself.

          • Ok, so basically instead of taking my advice, you decide to blame your interlocutor for all of your problems regarding commenting. Has nothing I wrote gotten to your head? Apparently. I’ve just given you several reasons why you should alter your behavior. I have little time for your emotional outbursts.

          • Ok, so basically instead of taking my advice, you decide to blame your interlocutor for all of your problems regarding commenting.

            This is a lie.

          • It’s not a lie. I want you to change your behavior to make communication easier for me and for others. It is not to suit some evil or selfish desire I have. It’s for the benefit of all communication.

            The thing is, you really suck at giving me reasons to do this.

            This is a lie:

            “Getting straight to the point when commenting and focusing on making clear, unambiguous, direct answers, as precise and concise as you can, will make me and others misconstrue you less, which will result in less misunderstandings and back-and-forth bickering that neither of us like.”

            “Instead, all too often you ramble on and link a dozen books and websites that sometimes don’t clearly elaborate your point of view and unnecessarily drown the dialogue in confusion – which often results in taking even more time for us to find out what the hell you even mean.”

            “And then when we finally get your point such that it becomes apparent after this sometimes painstaking process, we often wonder why you didn’t just say that in the first place and save us all that time.”

            Those are some good fucking reasons.

          • TT: Ok, so basically instead of taking my advice, you decide to blame your interlocutor for all of your problems regarding commenting.

            LB: This is a lie.

            TT: It’s not a lie.

            Many times, I have spoken of how I will accept some of the responsibility for conversations proceeding sub-optimally, but not 90–99% of the responsibility. That stance is 100% consonant with:

            LB: So, I understand some of your frustrations. And I’m willing to work on making them less intense. But here’s my problem. You seem to largely pay lip service to my frustrations, or change your behavior for 1–2 comments before you go back to the behavior which frustrates me. What’s up with this asymmetry?

            Note the claim of “asymmetry”, combined with your 100% ignoring of it. Instead your response constitutes placing 100% of the blame on me, implicitly, via acknowledging no blame yourself, when the very comment to which you were responding was asking us to share blame, and share working toward a better mode of discussion.

            As long as you believe this—

            TT: Ok, so basically instead of taking my advice, you decide to blame your interlocutor for all of your problems regarding commenting.

            —I will never again reply to one of your comments in order to engage you. At best, I will remind you of this exchange, here, or warn others of your shenanigans. My promise to write a “how to infer ontology” argument is also suspended; I do not continue to engage people who unrepentantly lie about me, or prove that what I see as a lie is not actually a lie. I’m inclined to let someone like @johnnyp76:disqus adjudicate, if that person cares to, and is willing characterize the situation, right now, in a way that seems reasonable to me.

          • When you respond like this:

            Oh, I’m well aware that you wish me to become more like you. You want to alter my personality, or at least my behavior, to suit your desires. And Andy’s desires. And perhaps some others’ desires, as well. The thing is, you really suck at giving me reasons to do this.

            —to a simple comment where I outline some really good fucking reasons why you should change your behavior and clearly indicate why I’m asking you to do it that has nothing to do with a hidden agenda, you’ve lost the ability to rationally respond. Everything with you is emotional outbursts.

          • TT: Everything with you is emotional outbursts.

            I quote this to keeping a record of this as an example of an additional lie. Or at least, it is a gross exaggeration which acts to assassinate my character (moral and/or intellectual). I see zero meaningful difference between:

                 (A) a lie
                 (B) a gross exaggeration which assassinates a person’s character

            I recognize that:

                 (A) has intentionality
                 (B) does not require intentionality

            Sometimes, intention matters. But sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, I’m going with “doesn’t”.

          • Dude, grow up you emotional little prick. I’m pretty much done wasting time with you. You were most likely never going to write your intentionality argument anyway, and you certainly were never ever going to make a positive argument for the Christian god. You backed out of your deal with me, while I’ve been keeping mine with yours (reading and reviewing Feser’s book). I knew you weren’t going to keep your word all along, and now its been verified.

          • Do not mistake this as a “reply to one of your comments in order to engage you”. I write this for historical purposes, so that when others see you claiming this or that about me, I will have something to point them to for explanation. It’s always easier to write things up close to the event, than further away.

            Dude, grow up you emotional little prick.

            Added!

            You were most likely never going to write your intentionality argument anyway, and you certainly were never ever going to make a positive argument for the Christian god.

            It was a “how to infer ontology” argument (although I do suspect intentionality will play a part), and as I have noted to TT multiple times so far, it turned out to be much harder than I initially estimated, especially given how much TT bitches and moans about my being ‘vague’, where ‘vague’ apparently means:

            TT: I guess that I’m just so used to dealing with theists who think they’ve all got it figured out that the vagueness I sometimes get from you is a bit off putting.

            LB: Note the peculiar definition:     vagueness: ¬”got it all figured out”

            And so, because his bitching and moaning about ‘vagueness’ is so obnoxious, I wanted to make a “how to infer ontology” argument which would not fall prey to it. However, as it turns out, doing that is quite difficult—which I told TT. In my opinion, his standards for the rigor, succinctness, and articulateness of others’ arguments far surpasses the standards to which his writing adheres. An excellent example of this would be the conversation revolving around TT’s “Logic: No. QM: Yes.” The key is that TT’s “QM: Yes” depends on certain interpretations of quantum mechanics being false. While TT has said “I’m aware of the problems of the MWI. All interpretations have problems.”, he clearly things that some interpretations, like de Broglie–Bohm, are false—based entirely on his intuitions of quantum physics, intuitions which seem to me to be rather undisciplined and error-prone. It would appear that TT believes what he desires (see (3)), in this domain. That is, intuitions are no better than desires, epistemically, until one has tested them in ways that TT has clearly not.

            For the record, I am going to work on that “how to infer ontology” argument, although it might be better titled, “How to articulate the unarticulated background“, or “Always another substructure”. As I’ve said in reply to TT within the last thirty days:

            TT: This whole topic is one that would be central to your inferring ontology argument.

            LB: Yep, and the more I work on that argument, the more complex it is turning out to be. I’m thinking that the way I am understanding it, given that I reject foundationalism, is basically the question: “How does creativity work?” After all, I have characterized one’s metaphysic as the source of one’s tentative hypotheses. My argument will have to talk about how the a priori and a posteriori interact with and influence each other, and I’m only in the beginning of understanding that interaction. Most people I talk to don’t seem to acknowledge such an interaction at all. Naive evidentialists think that one can start with a simple, non-tendentious a priori and then basically do Bayesian inference forever after. I think this is hilariously false. Presuppositionalists think that one’s a priori is never impacted after-the-fact, except perhaps by “irresistible grace” from God. I think that’s also false; whether ‘hilariously false’, I don’t yet know. And so, I feel like I’m moving into somewhat uncharted territory, although I am quite familiar with Francis Schaeffer’s work, where he at least presupposes this dynamic. Now, one big boon has been Roy A. Clouser’s The Myth of Religious Neutrality, but things are still tricky.

            +

            LB: Indeed, this is one of the most interesting areas of my personal research these days: how does fuzzy/​intuitive thinking interface with analytical/​formal thinking? You’re a terrible, terrible interlocutor for this research, because you bitch and moan at vagueness whenever you get the opportunity. But you could decide to change your attitude on this; I think it would be a very interesting area to explore. It would seem to be a pretty big change for you, and I know you have other priorities. It might interest you to know that there is the SEP article Vagueness, which seems to be a field of philosophy which was suppressed by modern philosophy (now, postmodernism has considerable influence in philosophy, although it is important to distinguish the philosophical form from the vulgar form).

            +

            LB: I would say that the ontological claims of Christianity are fuzzy, not formally precise. For example, consider how the concept of ‘justice’ has content, but is not explicable in a formal system like ZFC set theory can be. God himself is seen as ‘unrepresentable’ in a crucial sense; see Ex 20:4–6, which I take in the spirit of Ceci n’est pas une pipe. Christianity definitely sketches out claims of ontological reality, but they are very different from something like the block universe. Perhaps a helpful science analogy is Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg’s comments on developing a sense of beauty, which one can find in Robert Koons’ The incompatibility of naturalism and scientific realism. This thing, ‘beauty’, is not a formal system which can be explicated. It’s more amorphous. It is still very important, it still guides human theorizing, but it doesn’t have a sort of rigid entailment structure which can be programmed into a computer like e.g. theorem provers can be programmed. I take Christianity to be making these kinds of claims about reality.

            The above seems required if reality is truly infinitely complex. Any finite approximation (e.g. [RE] formal system) will not perfectly match reality; it will work in some domains, for some purposes. The other mode of connection to reality (other than finite approximation) would have to be very different in quality than pure logic and rigorous maths. It would have to be crucially fuzzy. This fuzziness does not prohibit it from being terribly helpful, but it establishes fuzziness (e.g. intuition) as a required aspect of understanding reality, not something that can be ultimately banished.

            Furthermore, in an infinitely complex reality, what was fuzzy can become concrete, but then you get new fuzziness. There is always a ‘frontier’. Truth claims can be made about the shape of the frontier; they will be informed by fuzzy faculties, such as a sense of aesthetic, beliefs about reductionism vs. holism, etc.

            The reader can judge whether I have been dutifully working on such an argument. Anyone interested in where I’m currently working can see Roy A. Clouser’s The Myth of Religious Neutrality, as well as his article A New Philosophical Guide for the Sciences: Ontology without Reduction. I also just started reading Charles Taylor’s essay “To Follow a Rule” in Philosophical Arguments and it is fantastic. So I have lots of good material to go on! It’s just a really, really, really big task. I was a fool to think I could do it so quickly and easily. Oh well, you live and you learn. Some people forgive, and some don’t. Which TT is, only time will tell.

          • It was a “how to infer ontology” argument (although I do suspect intentionality will play a part), and as I have noted to TT multiple times so far, it turned out to be much harder than I initially estimated, especially given how much TT bitches and moans about my being ‘vague’, where ‘vague’ apparently means:

            That was a mistake on my part. I meant ontology.

            And so, because his bitching and moaning about ‘vagueness’ is so obnoxious, I wanted to make a “how to infer ontology” argument which would not fall prey to it.

            Yeah, I guess that dealing with internet apologists who vigorously defend and promote a religion and deity and who seem to barely have a fucking clue about what they’re religious beliefs are based on can get kinda annoying. If you spend many years devoutly believing and promoting a deity and religion, I don’t expect vagueness when I challenge you to provide evidence and reasons why you believe. I expect you to have already done the homework work on this, as I have for my worldview. So far, the only arguments I have that you’ve given me for why your religion and god are true basically amounts to the absurdity of this: “I think Christianity is closer to the truth than anything else out there. Powerful signs of this have come from thinking about why Milgram experiment § Results are so bad.

            In my opinion, his standards for the rigor, succinctness, and articulateness of others’ arguments far surpasses the standards to which his writing adheres. An excellent example of this would be the conversation revolving around TT’s “Logic: No. QM: Yes.” The key is that TT’s “QM: Yes” depends on certain interpretations of quantum mechanics being false. While TT has said “I’m aware of the problems of the MWI. All interpretations have problems.”, he clearly things that some interpretations, like de Broglie–Bohm, are false—based entirely on his intuitions of quantum physics, intuitions which seem to me to be rather undisciplined and error-prone. It would appear that TT believes what he desires (see (3)), in this domain. That is, intuitions are no better than desires, epistemically, until one has tested them in ways that TT has clearly not.

            I guess providing peer-reviewed empirical evidence for your views is “based entirely on…intuitions of quantum physics”. You dismissed this outright but you accept empirical evidence for quantum entanglement, even though you never articulated why the probability calculations that underlie both are any different.

            The reader can judge whether I have been dutifully working on such an argument.

            The world will have to see that. What many people want from you is to finally have you provide some good evidence/reasons why any of us should take your religious views seriously that aren’t laughable.

            I was a fool to think I could do it so quickly and easily. Oh well, you live and you learn. Some people forgive, and some don’t. Which TT is, only time will tell.

            I too was incredibly naive in initially thinking that I could read and review Feser’s book The Last Superstition in 2 months, as I had thought. Each page is so dense with arguments that I could write a whole response on it. It’s taken much longer than expected but I will get through it.

          • I guess providing peer-reviewed empirical evidence for your views is “based entirely on…intuitions of quantum physics”. You dismissed this outright but you accept empirical evidence for quantum entanglement, even though you never articulated why the probability calculations that underlie both are any different.

            There are three ways to understand the underlined bit of TT’s. As:

                 (1) a lie     (2) a horrible failure to charitably interpret     (3) a terrible understanding of quantum physics

            To elaborate on (3), the paper TT referenced is Ideal Negative Measurements in Quantum Walks Disprove Theories Based on Classical Trajectories. TT is so ignorant of QM, that he does not understand how de Broglie–Bohm trajectories are not classical. I’m pretty sure I explained this to him, but his skull is quite thick. For example, he seems to think one can simply ignore the following from quantum physicist David Bohm, who probably should have gotten a Nobel Prize for the Aharonov–Bohm effect:

                The assumption that any particular kind of fluctuations are arbitrary and lawless relative to all possible contexts, like the similar assumption that there exists an absolute and final determinate law, is therefore evidently not capable of being based on any experimental or theoretical developments arising out of specific scientific problems, but it is instead a purely philosophical assumption. (Causality and Chance in Modern Physics, 44)

            Or, perhaps he doesn’t seem to understand the difference between:

                 (I) deterministic trajectories    (II) classical trajectories

            If he did, then he would appreciate the following from Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine:

                Is this difficulty merely a practical one? Yes, if we consider that trajectories have now become uncomputable. But there is more: Probability distribution permits us to incorporate within the framework of the dynamical description the complex microstructure of the phase space. It therefore contains additional information that is lacking at the level of individual trajectories. As we shall see in Chapter 4, this has fundamental consequences. At the level of distribution functions ρ, we obtain a new dynamical description that permits us to predict the future evolution of the ensemble, including characteristic time scales. (The End of Certainty, 37)

            However, he has never appreciated this such that he could understand that (I) ≠ (II). Too bad. If he did, he would see wonderful new physics, which expands nonlocality well beyond particle entanglement. Alas, he sees himself as a better interpreter of QM than I—or else, I suck at explaining QM to him—and thus, he treats me as if I am an idiot in such matters. I have grown too tired of this to continue discussing such matters with him. I will not be his tutor, and I will accept no more insolence from him.

          • There are three ways to understand the underlined bit of TT’s. As:

            (1) a lie
            (2) a horrible failure to charitably interpret
            (3) a terrible understanding of quantum physics

            The issue we were debating was the reality of the superposition, of which the link I provided gives evidence for. The Bohmian interpretation denies this. If the superposition is real, then the Bohmian interpretation is a lot less plausible, if not false. But it doesn’t seem as if the Bohmian interpretation is falsifiable. Either way, the original point was of course was that logic not based on the best available scientific evidence, and that uses intuition and non-scientific empirical evidence, is simply not reliable to create a metaphysical principle out of, as A-T metaphysics does. And that’s why no one should think A-T metaphysics proves classical theism to be true.

            For example, he seems to think one can simply ignore the following from quantum physicist David Bohm, who probably should have gotten a Nobel Prize for the Aharonov–Bohm effect:

            The assumption that any particular kind of fluctuations are arbitrary and lawless relative to all possible contexts, like the similar assumption that there exists an absolute and final determinate law, is therefore evidently not capable of being based on any experimental or theoretical developments arising out of specific scientific problems, but it is instead a purely philosophical assumption. (Causality and Chance in Modern Physics, 44)

            It’s funny how when I used Richard Feynman as an example of a Nobel prize winning physicist’s views on QM interpretations you complained that I was using data that was too old to be relevant, and yet you’re now quoting from a book originally written in 1957 to make your point. We’ve come a long way since 1957 and we have a much greater understanding of physics and we have experiments that can falsify certain interpretations to narrow the field of potential candidates.

            Alas, he sees himself as a better interpreter of QM than I—or else, I suck at explaining QM to him—and thus, he treats me as if I am an idiot in such matters.

            Maybe both. As it appears now you’re leaning towards the Bohmian view to keep the idea that the superposition is a mathematical probability, and not a reality. What boggles me is how someone who is apparently intelligent can hold to ridiculous religious views and justify then with such nonsense as, “I think Christianity is closer to the truth than anything else out there. Powerful signs of this have come from thinking about why Milgram experiment § Results are so bad, Steven Pinker’s claims that scientists went all tabula rasa around the beginning of the twentieth century, and Donald E. Polkinghorne’s Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences, in which he exposes the epic failures of the mechanistic model of humans to help psychology and sociology (and perhaps even economics) past a certain point. (Google books preface)

          • Andy_Schueler

            “I think Christianity is closer to the truth than anything else out there. Powerful signs of this have come from thinking about why Milgram experiment § Results are so bad….

            I think that this is one of the worst arguments for Christianity ever put forth – not as terrible as “if God doesn´t exist, who wrote the Bible?!”, but close. What Luke says here boils down to “People, including Christians, didn´t expect the results of the Milgram experiment. But with hindsight, I can cherry pick Bible verses that imply that people want authorities over them and ignore all the verses that imply that humans are naturally rebellious, and then claim that Christianity totally predicted that result!”

          • LOL. You are spot on Andy. It is the most ridiculous “argument” – if you can even call it that – in favor of Christianity. Interestingly this kind of argument is pretty much all I’ve ever received from 2 years of debating and interacting with Luke. He’s literally never offered me anything else that would come close to a real argument for Christianity. Everything he produces comes down to something like: social consequences ⇒ Christianity is true.

            For example: “As to whether I “believe in the resurrection based solely on stories told by men”: no. Whether or not the resurrection happened has implications for how one acts in reality. One can look at those who act in reality as if it happened, and those who act in reality as if it did not happen. If the resurrection did not happen, acting according to the non-coercive model of power set out in Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20 is ridiculously stupid. Belief in or lack of belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ has empirically measurable results.

            And here is Luke’s “falsification” standard for how Christianity can be falsified given these arguments: “I’ve told you what would falsify Christianity: Christians failing to show any special talents for doing what they say God really wants: taking care of the poor, the oppressed, the orphan, the widow, the foreigner.

            Is that not the most ridiculous thing ever?

          • You may wish to know that I add historical examples to this comment. Or, you may not care. Anyhow, I thought it was only fair to notify you.

          • Thanks, you have just reminded me that I need to continue this series!

          • Note that I no longer subscribe to your RSS feed, because too low a percentage of your posts are interesting to me and I am going to have even less time than ever to comment on blogs, soon. So, if there is a blog post you think is especially up my alley, feel free to somehow notify me about it. I do like the free will stuff! :-)

            P.S. I’d love to go through Bruce Waller’s Against Moral Responsibility with someone…

          • I really want to get hold of the book as Gregg Caruso sang its praises to me. However, it ain’t cheap. That said, Tom Clark has reviewed it in detail, so perhaps that suffices?

            http://naturalism.org/resources/book-reviews/singling-out-the-agent

          • Since your problem here is solved, I will suggest that these two articles from Tomkow.com may be of help on this topic:

                 • The Simple Theory of Counterfactuals
                 • Counterfactuals: The Short Course

            My suspicion is that how one thinks of counterfactuals will impact how one thinks about moral responsibility. Furthermore, I do not think it is a mistake that there is a “small miracles” theory of counterfactuals (see first link). Bruce Waller, of course, argues against what he calls “miracles”. See:

                It may be tempting to say that everyone can always try harder and that therefore it is Louise’s own fault that she exerted less effort toward cognitive self-improvement, so—when she does something bad because of her inferior critical thinking abilities—she justly deserves opprobrium. But that is to push this account over into the miracle-working model: it detaches effort-making from any causal or conditioning history, so that in the area of effort-making we are first causes or unmoved movers. When we think carefully about it, few of us imagine that our capacities to exert effort and show fortitude are under our pure volitional control: if we have great fortitude, it is because that fortitude was shaped and strengthened over a long and fortunate history (had we spent our younger years in circumstances in which all our efforts were failures that produced nothing of benefit—and perhaps even brought punitive responses, possibly in the form of ridicule—then we would not have the degree of fortitude we now fortunately enjoy: we can no more choose to exert effective sustained efforts than we can choose—at this point, with no training—to be an effective marathoner). If we refrain from appeals to miraculous powers—whether they are powers of sustained effort-making or rational deliberation—then careful comparison of the acts of Karen and Louise leaves no room to justify claims of significant differences in their just deserts. (Against Moral Responsibility, 26)

            That review 100% glosses over this point, or at least it does not talk about “miracle”†, and I think that misses the huge connection to counterfactual thinking.

            † There is only one instance of the root “mirac”: “actions in the miraculous, god-like way”.

          • Will have to return to this tomorrow as am just out to watch Spectre with the missus.

          • Incidentally, there is a strong connection between Bruce Waller and Charles Taylor:

                It may be tempting to say that everyone can always try harder and that therefore it is Louise’s own fault that she exerted less effort toward cognitive self-improvement, so—when she does something bad because of her inferior critical thinking abilities—she justly deserves opprobrium. But that is to push this account over into the miracle-working model: it detaches effort-making from any causal or conditioning history, so that in the area of effort-making we are first causes or unmoved movers. When we think carefully about it, few of us imagine that our capacities to exert effort and show fortitude are under our pure volitional control: if we have great fortitude, it is because that fortitude was shaped and strengthened over a long and fortunate history (had we spent our younger years in circumstances in which all our efforts were failures that produced nothing of benefit—and perhaps even brought punitive responses, possibly in the form of ridicule—then we would not have the degree of fortitude we now fortunately enjoy: we can no more choose to exert effective sustained efforts than we can choose—at this point, with no training—to be an effective marathoner). If we refrain from appeals to miraculous powers—whether they are powers of sustained effort-making or rational deliberation—then careful comparison of the acts of Karen and Louise leaves no room to justify claims of significant differences in their just deserts. (Against Moral Responsibility, 26)

            (Other location of the above quote; different underlining.)

            Much contemporary moral philosophy, particularly but not only in the English-speaking world, has given such a narrow focus to morality that some of the crucial connections I want to draw here are incomprehensible in its terms. This moral philosophy has tended to focus on what it is right to do rather than on what it is good to be, on defining the content of obligation rather than the nature of the good life; and it has no conceptual place left for a notion of the good as the object of our love or allegiance or, as Iris Murdoch portrayed it in her work, as the privileged focus of attention or will.[1] This philosophy has accredited a cramped and truncated view of morality in a narrow sense as well as of the whole range of issues involved in the attempt to live the best possible life and this not only among professional philosophers, but with a wider public. (Sources of the Self, 3)

            So, it is possible that Waller is running afoul of this:

                There are several reasons why the contemporary social sciences make the idea of the person stand on its own, without social attributes or moral principles. Emptying the theoretical person of values and emotions is an atheoretical move. We shall see how it is a strategy to avoid threats to objectivity. But in effect it creates an unarticulated space whence theorizing is expelled and there are no words for saying what is going on. No wonder it is difficult for anthropologists to say what they know about other ideas on the nature of persons and other definitions of well-being and poverty. The path of their argument is closed. No one wants to hear about alternative theories of the person, because a theory of persons tends to be heavily prejudiced. It is insulting to be told that your idea about persons is flawed. It is like being told you have misunderstood human beings and morality, too. The context of this argument is always adversarial. (Missing Persons: A Critique of the Personhood in the Social Sciences, 10)

            Evidence of this claim—especially the “No one wants to hear about alternative theories of the person”—is provided by the above Sources of the Self quotation; note that Taylor’s book has 8600 ‘citations’. Oh, and fun fact. I only found Taylor because I was looking at “how identity is constructed”, in response to your “discontinuous ‘I'”. I am enormously indebted to you for that, because Charles Taylor has made me much more of a scholar than I possibly would have been, without him. So thank you very much!

          • Andy_Schueler

            Also:
            “Do you consider the belief (re Jesus, Muhammad and Satan…) to be knowably false? Yes or no? And if “yes”, why do you consider it to be knowably false?
            Please try for once to just give a straight answer to this, don´t go off on annother 2000 word tangent – just ANSWER it.”

          • See my (1)–(6), especially (6). If that’s not an answer, I don’t know what is. Here, I’ll help you:

            LB: (6) Your ‘statement’, which is that set, is false.

          • Andy_Schueler

            So you say:
            “Your ‘statement’, which is that set, is false.”
            And your reason for this is:
            “Your set of statements are mutually contradictory.”

            Alright. But how do you know that this is an actual contradiction and not just an apparent one?
            After all:
            “We know that ‘matter waves’ are not ‘madness’. That’s because in our conceptual framework, we understand that e.g. photonspropagate as waves and interact as particles. No contradiction. But if one merely says ‘matter waves’, that seems contradictory. So, not all apparent contradictions are actual contradictions.”

            So, if you claim that the belief I earlier described is “knowably false”, then “I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be””.

            You are not being consistent. You are being very, very inconsistent – more intellectually inconsistent than anyone else I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a lot in this respect.

          • But how do you know that this is an actual contradiction and not just an apparent one?

            LB:
            (1) You appear to be using standard conceptions of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Muhammad’.
            (2) It is a contradiction to say that they are the same person.

            What normal person would require me to say more than (1) and (2)? Tell me what you’re getting at; I’m tired of this game.

            You are not being consistent. You are being very, very inconsistent – more intellectually inconsistent than anyone else I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a lot in this respect.

            I have no idea what you’re talking about. Why don’t you stop the indirection and link this back to the other instances to which you are clearly referring? If you aren’t going to be sufficiently clear, I’m going to drop this tangent, because it’s increasingly looking like you are arguing merely for the sake of arguing, and not to actually discover what is true and what is false, or help me better discover what is true and what is false.

          • Andy_Schueler

            What normal person would require me to say more than (1) and (2)? Tell me what you’re getting at; I’m tired of this game.

            You are saying that there is a contradiction. How can you possibly know that it is an actual contradiction and not just an apparent one?

          • We don’t have direct access to reality. We can dig and dig, but that is all. And so, in some critical sense, everything is always only ‘apparent’. That includes the contents of your own mind: The Unreliability of Naive Introspection. This is why I am very careful about asserting ‘knowledge’.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Good! So you actually do not consider my earlier statement to be knowably false. And I will remind you of this every time I see you making any knowledge claim.

          • Fallibilism:

            Fallibilism is the epistemological thesis that no belief (theory, view, thesis, and so on) can ever be rationally supported or justified in a conclusive way. Always, there remains a possible doubt as to the truth of the belief. Fallibilism applies that assessment even to science’s best-entrenched claims and to people’s best-loved commonsense views. Some epistemologists have taken fallibilism to imply skepticism, according to which none of those claims or views are ever well justified or knowledge. In fact, though, it is fallibilist epistemologists (which is to say, the majority of epistemologists) who tend not to be skeptics about the existence of knowledge or justified belief. Generally, those epistemologists see themselves as thinking about knowledge and justification in a comparatively realistic way — by recognizing the fallibilist realities of human cognitive capacities, even while accommodating those fallibilities within a theory that allows perpetually fallible people to have knowledge and justified beliefs. Still, although that is the aim of most epistemologists, the question arises of whether it is a coherent aim. Are they pursuing a coherent way of thinking about knowledge and justification? Much current philosophical debate is centered upon that question. Epistemologists generally seek to understand knowledge and justification in a way that permits fallibilism to be describing a benign truth about how we can gain knowledge and justified beliefs. One way of encapsulating that project is by asking whether it is possible for a person ever to have fallible knowledge and justification.

            When a fallibilist says “I know”, he/she means it in a fallibilist sense when that is demanded by Fallibilism. It is clunky to always say, “To the best of my knowledge, I think X…”, or “I cannot be 100% certain about X, but I will wager my company that X is true.” When the matter is a mathematical one, I can say “I know that 1 ≠ 2”, because there is a formal system I could articulate which establishes that this is true.

            Don’t expect me to use the long forms with anyone but you. If you want, I can use the long forms instead of “I know”, with you. Do you make this request of me?

          • Andy_Schueler

            I know what fallibilism means. I also already explained it to you before you knew what it means. I also already told you that I am a fallibilist.

            It´s all completely beside the point though, because a fallibilist is not a radical skeptic, fallibilism doesn´t deny the possibility of knowledge. You do however. No matter how well something can be established, no matter how bullet-proof an argument is, you still come up with shit like: “I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be””.

            And now you will feel how inconvenient this radical skepticism is if you are forced to apply it consistently. I already managed to get you to admit that you cannot know this statement to be false:
            “I believe that Jesus of Nazareth, Satan and the prophet Muhammad are all the exact same person, those are just three different names for one and the same person, but Muhammad is a much better poker player than Jesus”.

            To me, this statement is knowably false – I´m not being inconsistent if I claim to know it to be false. You would be. And I will continue to remind you of this every time you assert anything to be true.

          • As far as I’m concerned, you’re largely making shit up here, and bandying about “radical skeptic” because it’s rhetorically powerful. I claim that what matters is not what you assert to know, but what your actions demonstrate you believe. The sensation of certainty is likely an emotion; see Robert Burton’s On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not, which I found via John Loftus’ The Outsider Test for Faith.

            You’re welcome to show where this actually matters:

            To me, this statement is knowably false – I´m not being inconsistent if I claim to know it to be false. You would be. And I will continue to remind you of this every time you assert anything to be true.

            So far, I don’t see it. As best I can see, you’re just playing with words.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I claim that what matters is not what you assert to know, but what your actions demonstrate you believe

            So you do not care what people assert, you only care about what they do and what those actions demonstrate about their beliefs.
            I laughed hard while reading this because it comes from a person that seems to spend almost every wake moment with online debates.

            So far, I don’t see it. As best I can see, you’re just playing with words

            It´s called “consistency” – you don´t seem to like it very much.

          • So you do not care what people assert, you only care about what they do and what those actions demonstrate about their beliefs.

            Good lord, you really need everything spelled out to a fucking T, don’t you? Here:

            LB: I claim that what matters most is not what you assert to know, but what your actions demonstrate you believe.

            That’s a very common use of language. The “most” is clearly implied by the very fact that without it, the following would indeed be ludicrous:

            I laughed hard while reading this because it comes from a person that seems to spend almost every wake moment with online debates.

            Why do I state the “most”? Because of Wittgenstinian “language as use”, Eric Schwitzgebel’s The Unreliability of Naive Introspection, and:

            The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language.
                        — Emerson

            It´s called “consistency” – you don´t seem to like it very much.

            You’ve not convinced me of this. You keep pulling out ludicrous examples which are supposed to be applications of what I do back at me. When I do this to you:

            LB: By that logic, I can say that LFW allows you to have chosen differently and then refuse to articulate any further.

            AS: Hint: “By that logic” does not mean “I´ll ignore your argument and pull some completely unrelated bullshit out of my ass”

            LB: I think they’re connected. Frequently you do this to me, and I don’t think the two items are connected when you do it.

            AS: Character assassination!!11! Link to >4 instances of me doing this!!!!

            So unless you actually show the various instances of me doing X, all nicely together, it is very hard for me to understand what you even mean by X. Once in a while you do collect instances; you did this recently. There, it became very obvious to me that the pattern was not your claim of “you just love to whine about your terrible childhood”. Now, ostensibly you just disagree with me, and we have Jonathan’s “Guys, let’s move away from whining about whining and back to causality please.” which keeps us from reopening that chestnut, but the general idea is the same: you claim that I keep doing X, but I cannot collect more than maybe one example under the term X. At this point, you can either collect multiple examples like you did before, or give up.

          • Andy_Schueler

            You’ve not convinced me of this. You keep pulling out ludicrous examples which are supposed to be applications of what I do back at me.

            There is nothing ludicrous about it. In this thread for example, a position you disagreed with has been established – you had NOTHING to object, no actual counterargument what-so-ever, but you still come up with shit like “I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be””.
            And this is not the first time that you have been doing it – you do it in practically every thread about LFW and you´ve also done it in threads about the trinity. As soon as you are intellectually outgunned, you come up with shit like: “I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be””

            And from now on, we will be consistent about this. That means that if you, say, present a case against the conflic thesis (that there is an intrinsic intellectual conflict between religion and science) and your interlocutor has not a single actual counterargument, he still can just casually dismiss your case by saying “I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be””

            Consistency can be a bitch.

          • There is nothing ludicrous about it. In this thread for example, a position you disagreed with has been established – you had NOTHING to object […]

            If I think words are being used without meanings sufficient for the task, I have something to which I am philosophically obliged to object.

            As soon as you are intellectually outgunned, you come up with shit like: “I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be””

            Well this “As soon as you are intellectually outgunned” is your X; you are now welcome to establish enough instances to show this pattern you claim exists. Or we can be done with this charade.

            And from now on, we will be consistent about this. That means that if you, say, present a case against the conflic thesis (that there is an intrinsic intellectual conflict between religion and science) and your interlocutor has not a single actual counterargument, he still can just casually dismiss your case by saying “I accuse you of committing a type-II error: “thinking that you understand all of reality that could be””

            What that looks like to me is the following:

            LB: By that logic, I can say […]

            AS: Hint: “By that logic” does not mean “I´ll ignore your argument and pull some completely unrelated bullshit out of my ass”

            Except the ‘LB’ and ‘AS’ are switched, in this case.

          • Andy_Schueler

            If I think words are being used without meanings sufficient for the task, I have something to which I am philosophically obliged to object.

            What you refer to here is not an instance of you objecting to something, it is rather an instance of you derailing from something. And deliberately so (i.e. an instance of trolling).

            What that looks like to me is the following:

            Then you are an idiot.

          • What you refer to here is not an instance of you objecting to something, it is rather an instance of you derailing from something.

            I disagree. Jonathan Pearce, owner of this blog, is welcome to say that my disagreement does not matter. You are not.

            And deliberately so (i.e. an instance of trolling).

            You and I appear to have a very different conception of ‘trolling’.

            Then you are an idiot.

            You are welcome to have that opinion. If you want to show it is more than an opinion, you are welcome to do so.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I disagree.

            Of course you do.

            You and I appear to have a very different conception of ‘trolling’.

            I am not surprised that you do not see deliberately derailing a comment thread as trolling, given that this seems to be your favorite pastime. It is commonly considered to be trolling however.

          • I think Andy is right here, @LukeBreuer:disqus, because you could use your “don’t understand all of reality” approach to the law of the excluded middle to apply to anything. It seems particularly odd to this to proper dichotomies:

            X is either A or ~A

            Is always conceptually false to you. This invalidates any claims you could ever make and renders discussion pointless. You are almost calling logic into question by saying there might be some aspect of logic we don’t understand or haven’t yet realised which could render a scenario where there is some third option other than A and ~A…

          • Show that Gödel´s incompleteness theorems a) apply to anything other than formal systems or show b) that a full description of physical reality requires consistency and completeness proofs for the formal systems that are used in such a description.

            I have never argued a), as my (i)–(iii) demonstrate quite clearly. To successfully argue a) may net one a Field’s medal. As to b):

            (1) I’ve never seen inconsistency as being considered allowable, other than in a temporary sense as with GR + QFT, in my copious discussion with atheists on the internet. Any time I have seen inconsistency in a model of reality, it has been considered a bad thing. I am working off of this trend, but don’t have a proof that “physical reality requires consistency”. I will say that anyone who claims that a model of God must be consistent is basically making the assumption that consistency is required.

            (2) I claim that lack of completeness means you cannot know that you’ve captured all of reality in your model. Perhaps you will not like this level of argument; if so, then we will have to talk about how a model of reality actually models reality. That is, do we think that reality itself is a formal system? I will point out that the relation between model and reality, which shows up quite poignantly in The Correspondence Theory of Truth, appears to be very poorly understood; see for example Michael Lynch’s What ever happened to the correspondence theory of truth?. I have also read multiple places that the CTT is going out of favor. I’m not sure how well one can sustain “model of reality” if the CTT is sufficiently bad, but we could try.

            Has literally nothing to do with Gödel´s incompleteness theorems. Nothing what-so-ever.

            Ok, whether or not inconsistency is a problem is not a position articulated by Gödel’s incompleteness theorems because that’s a value and the incompleteness theorems are merely mathematics. But I would argue that inconsistency is a sign that one’s model is not complete (assuming (ii), (iii)), because we (most of us?) hold that reality is ultimately rational, and the best models of it will share that characteristic. The pattern certainly seems to match Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem, to me!

            Has literally nothing to do with Gödel´s incompleteness theorems.

            I guess my assumptions about reality are different than yours. Specifically:

                 (A) Reality is ultimately rational.
                 (B) Models of reality will reflect this rationality.

            Now, whether or not that rationality satisfies (i)–(iii) is an open question. There does seem to be the possibility that reality is only so complex and no more; the resultant model would then not be incomplete, but no truth in reality would be unprovable within the system. I am not convinced of this, for various reasons.

            Also, funny that you don´t reply to this:

            AS: Of course! Just like arguing that I and Jesus of Nazareth are definitely not the exact same person is to violate this maxim.

            Reminds me of this exchange:

            LB: By that logic, I can say that LFW allows you to have chosen differently and then refuse to articulate any further.

            AS: Hint: “By that logic” does not mean “I´ll ignore your argument and pull some completely unrelated bullshit out of my ass”

            LB: I think they’re connected. Frequently you do this to me, and I don’t think the two items are connected when you do it.

            AS: Character assassination!!11! Link to >4 instances of me doing this!!!!

            Consider this the first of those >4 instances.

            Your selective radical skepticism is the most ridiculous thing I have seen in my entire life. Seriously, I´ve never seen someone as intellectually inconsistent as you are.

            Get out more, or look in a mirror.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I have never argued a)…

            (1) I’ve never seen inconsistency as being considered allowable, other than in a temporary sense as with GR + QFT, in my copious discussion with atheists on the internet. Any time I have seen inconsistency in a model of reality, it has been considered a bad thing.

            Since you didn´t argue a) and have no plans of doing so, bringing up anything related to physics is stupid.

            (2) I claim that lack of completeness means you cannot know that you’ve captured all of reality in your model.

            Indeed. This is obviously true. And, when you are talking about physical reality, it also has obviously nothing to do with Gödel´s incompleteness theorems and it is stupid for you to keep bringing it up.

            Ok, whether or not inconsistency is a problem is not a position articulated by Gödel’s incompleteness theorems because that’s a value and the incompleteness theorems are merely mathematics. But I would argue that inconsistency is a sign…

            Missing the mark again by several lightyears. A full and consistent description of physical reality DOES NOT require that the formal systems used for such a description are provably consistent – it´s a completely different ballpark.
            Man are you dense.

            Consider this the first of those >4 instances.

            You are a remarkably stupid person.

            Get out more

            I´ve seen quite a lot of idiocy and quite a lot of intellectual inconsistency. Wrt inconsistency, you take the cake – no one else comes even close to you, Sye Ten Fucking Bruggencate is a paragon of intellectual consistency compared to you.

          • Since you didn´t argue a) and have no plans of doing so, bringing up anything related to physics is stupid.

            Do explain why, and justify your reasoning.

            A full and consistent description of physical reality DOES NOT require that the formal systems used for such a description are provably consistent – it´s a completely different ballpark.

            Why do you say this? And if this is true, why do people throw such hissy fits about models of God being apparently inconsistent? (Perhaps you think those people are wrong?)

            You are a remarkably stupid person.

            When there’s a sane person and an insane person, sometimes each thinks the other is insane.

            I´ve seen quite a lot of idiocy […]

            I don’t believe you.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Do explain why, and justify your reasoning.

            Because Gödel´s incompleteness theorems do not apply to science. They apply to some formal systems that are used in science – and if some of those systems would not be provably consistent and complete, then this still has nothing what-so-ever to do with whether a full, complete and consistent description of physical reality is possible with them or not because physical “reality” is not mathematical “reality”.
            You cannot even show that it is impossible to have a full, complete and consistent description of physical reality that uses only mathematical frameworks that have been proven to be consistent and complete (not within themselves but within larger mathematical frameworks that themselves might not be provably consistent and complete).

            Why do you say this? And if this is true, why do people throw such hissy fits about models of God being apparently inconsistent? (Perhaps you think those people are wrong?)

            I´ve already explained it to you but I honestly think that you are too stupid to understand the difference between a) “inconsistencies are irrelevant” and b) “that a mathematical system is not provably consistent does NOT mean that it cannot be used as part of a full and consistent description of physical reality”.
            You keep reading b) as a), and the only thing I can say to this is that it is a very stupid misreading and you should maybe look for easier topics to discuss.

            I don’t believe you.

            And since you are both dishonest and also not very bright, I consider that to be reassuring.

          • […] because physical “reality” is not mathematical “reality”.

            How do you know this? Furthermore, can something be ‘rational’ but not ‘mathematical’? I wonder if your statement implicitly denies that reality is rational.

            You cannot even show that it is impossible to have a full, complete and consistent description of physical reality that uses only mathematical frameworks that have been proven to be consistent and complete (not within themselves but within larger mathematical frameworks that themselves might not be provably consistent and complete).

            Proving consistency with an inconsistent framework seems invalid. Proving consistency with an unknown-whether-it’s-complete framework can be done, but one is always left wondering whether the power of the framework being proven is limited by the power of the proving framework.

            The scariest situation, to me, would be if we came up with an apparently-full model of reality that doesn’t have any contradictions. As I’ve said, type-II errors are harder to detect than type-I errors. But hey, perhaps this stance of mine is idiosyncratic.

            I´ve already explained it to you but I honestly think that you are to stupid to understand the difference between a) “inconsistencies are irrelevant” and b) “that a mathematical system is not provably consistent does NOT mean that it cannot be used as part of a full and consistent description of physical reality”.

            How does b) not excuse models of God that are incoherent, on the basis that God himself is coherent?

            AS: I´ve seen quite a lot of idiocy […]

            LB: I don’t believe you.

            AS: And since you are both dishonest and also not very bright, I consider that to be reassuring.

            Says the person who also said:

            LB: Why ought I trust your word, given that twice now, you have (i) claimed you would never respond to me again†; (ii) requested I never respond to you?

            AS: I don´t care if you do. If anything, I´d prefer you not trusting me.

            So I do what you request—don’t trust you—and then you get pissy. Okay.

          • Andy_Schueler

            How do you know this? Furthermore, can something be ‘rational’ but not ‘mathematical’? I wonder if your statement implicitly denies that reality is rational.

            This is what I mean by you not being very bright. Even if your beliefs about ultimate reality align with those of people like Max Tegmark and you think that mathematical objects are the building blocks of all reality, even then it would still be obvious that physical reality and mathematical reality are not one and the same. For the main reason that we live in one physical reality but we can make up as many mathematical realities as we want to. And those different mathematical realities are different because they follow from different axioms, they fundamentally contradict each other. So, for mathematical reality and physical reality to be one and the same, you would have to explain how it can be that my mind can access just one physical reality but as many different mathematical realities as I have time to make up new ones.

            Proving consistency with an inconsistent framework seems invalid.

            It might seem that way to you because you have no idea what you are talking about here. You apparently seriously think that if a formal system is not provably consistent and complete, that it must therefore also be impossible to proof ANY statement to be true within it. That´s false. It´s spectacularly false. It´s so incredibly obviously false that I truly wonder just what the fuck you have actually been reading about the incompleteness theorems. For fucks sake, read the stuff you link to and THINK about it.

            How does b) not excuse models of God that are incoherent, on the basis that God himself is coherent?

            How about show that it does excuse that instead of asking me why it should not excuse it? I have no answer here other than “it doesn´t and what the fuck made you believe that it could?”

            So I do what you request—don’t trust you—and then you get pissy

            Seriously, how stupid are you? I didn´t “get pissy”, I pointed out that you not trusting me is “reassuring”, maybe you have never heard the word “reassuring” before – but people actually tend to like stuff that is “reassuring”.

          • For the main reason that we live in one physical reality but we can make up as many mathematical realities as we want to.

            This is a terrible reason to think that the ultimate structure of reality is not mathematical. I suggest you read up on Structural Realism; what I’m talking about is not nonsense. Furthermore, it is deeply problematic if some consistent subset† of mathematics does not describe reality arbitrarily well. That would seem to leave us without tools to understand reality past some point.

            † And yes, anyone with a brain would understand that one would have to pick a consistent subset of all mathematics. Or to switch to modal logic, one would say that only one possible world is actual.

            It might seem that way to you because you have no idea what you are talking about here.

            Oh I see, it couldn’t possibly be that when it comes to Gentzen’s consistency proof, it doesn’t matter if “the base theory of primitive recursive arithmetic with the additional principle of quantifier-free transfinite induction up to the ordinal ε0.” is inconsistent, the proof would still work. I call bullshit.

            You apparently seriously think that if a formal system is not provably consistent and complete, that it must therefore also be impossible to proof ANY statement to be true within it.

            If a formal system is inconsistent, you don’t know whether what you’ve proved with it is valid or whether you employed inconsistencies to obtain that proof. What you can do is find out that the elements of the formal system required for a given proof are smaller than that formal system, and then try and construct a new formal system with just those elements, to gain higher confidence that the resultant proof is valid.

            That´s false. It´s spectacularly false. It´s so incredibly obviously false that I truly wonder just what the fuck you have actually been reading about the incompleteness theorems. For fucks sake, read the stuff you link to and THINK about it.

            You’ve said nothing to convince me that you’re correct. You’re throwing out tons of bare assertions and expecting them to just be accepted. No, I don’t trust you and you prefer it that way.

            AS: I´ve already explained it to you but I honestly think that you are to stupid to understand the difference between a) “inconsistencies are irrelevant” and b) “that a mathematical system is not provably consistent does NOT mean that it cannot be used as part of a full and consistent description of physical reality”.

            LB: How does b) not excuse models of God that are incoherent, on the basis that God himself is coherent?

            AS: How about show that it does excuse that instead of asking me why it should not excuse it? I have no answer here other than “it doesn´t and what the fuck made you believe that it could?”

            What is the difference between:

            (A) “that a mathematical system is not provably consistent does NOT mean that it cannot be used as part of a full and consistent description of physical reality”

            (B) “that a mathematical theological system is not provably consistent does NOT mean that it cannot be used as part of a full and consistent description of physical reality God”

            ?

            Seriously, how stupid are you?

            The last time I got a check-up, I was a 6.

            I didn´t “get pissy”

            Whatever you say; it must be correct because you said it.

          • Andy_Schueler

            This is a terrible reason to think that the ultimate structure of reality is not mathematical.

            Your reading comprehension is abysmal. I didn´t argue against the position that “the ultimate structure of reality is not mathematical”. I could not have been more explicit about not arguing against this, I said: “Even if your beliefs about ultimate reality align with those of people like Max Tegmark and you think that mathematical objects are the building blocks of all reality…”
            Learn how to read you idiot.

            Oh I see, it couldn’t possibly be that when it comes to Gentzen’s consistency proof, it doesn’t matter if “the base theory of primitive recursive arithmetic with the additional principle of quantifier-free transfinite induction up to the ordinal ε0.” is inconsistent, the proof would still work. I call bullshit.

            What you did here is select the first wiki page you could find that has something to do with Gödel´s theorems. And then you sarcastically quoted something from it that looked incomprehensible to you – hoping that it would also be incomprehensible to me and that I would therefore believe it to be a potential refutation for what I said previously.
            I was about to say nice try but after reflection, it wasn´t really a “nice try”, it was quite pathetic, even for you.

            If a formal system is inconsistent, you don’t know whether what you’ve proved with it is valid or whether you employed inconsistencies to obtain that proof.

            This tangent should run under the headline “an idiot tries to explain Gödel”.

            (B) “that a mathematical theological system is not provably consistent does NOT mean that it cannot be used as part of a full and consistent description of physical reality God”

            Ah, so now “not provably consistent” and “incoherent” are the same thing?

            Moron.

          • Learn how to read you idiot.

            I’m sorry, I thought you actually mean to communicate something meaningful with:

            AS: […] it would still be obvious that physical reality and mathematical reality are not one and the same.

            In the future, I will be more open to the idea that your words and sentences might not mean anything. I already knew that sometimes you insert frivolous words that some people would think meant something:

            AS: While my omission (if it was one, because I don´t trust you for a second that you didn´t use the sentence with “rapidly” as well) does not change the meaning at all and that I´d change no of comments even if I knew that you never used the word “rapidly” – omitting that word doesn´t change anything whatsoever and you are simply being dishonest here.

            Technically, this ups us to frivolous fragments of sentences; let’s see if it moves onto full sentences, full paragraphs, full comments, or even further.

            What you did here is select the first wiki page you could find that has something to do with Gödel´s theorems. And then you sarcastically quoted something from it that looked incomprehensible to you – hoping that it would also be incomprehensible to me and that I would therefore believe it to be a potential refutation for what I said previously.

            When you cannot argue against a point, make shit up!

            AS: You apparently seriously think that if a formal system is not provably consistent and complete, that it must therefore also be impossible to proof ANY statement to be true within it.

            LB: If a formal system is inconsistent, you don’t know whether what you’ve proved with it is valid or whether you employed inconsistencies to obtain that proof.

            AS: This tangent should run under the headline “an idiot tries to explain Gödel”.

            How this is a response, I don’t know. I guess you just don’t give a shit if the proving system you use is inconsistent or not (and being able to know this). If you did, I would expect an actual response.

            Ah, so now “not provably consistent” and “incoherent” are the same thing?

            incoherent: “not logical or well-organized : not easy to understand”

            “not provably consistent” ⇒ “I cannot know it is consistent” ⇒ “I cannot know it is coherent”

            Moron.

            Hey, whatever makes you feel better to say it—say it! Get it all out. Better the bullshit comes out of you than stays in, eh?

          • Andy_Schueler

            I’m sorry, I thought you actually mean to communicate something meaningful with:

            AS: […] it would still be obvious that physical reality and mathematical reality are not one and the same.

            I did communicate something meaningful with it. You didn´t understand it because you cannot comprehend the difference between a) “mathematical objects are the building blocks of all reality” and b) “our physical reality is identical to all humanly conceivable mathematical realities simultaneously”.
            It really wasn´t a very difficult point but you are also not a very bright person.

            When you cannot argue against a point, make shit up!

            You had no “point” beyond quoting a random sentence from a random wiki article that didn´t contradict anything I said in any way, shape or form.

            Hey, whatever makes you feel better to say it—say it! Get it all out.

            I always do. That´s why I don´t have to be a passive-aggressive douchebag like you.

          • I did communicate something meaningful with it. You didn´t understand it because you cannot comprehend the difference between a) “mathematical objects are the building blocks of all reality” and b) “our physical reality is identical to all humanly conceivable mathematical realities simultaneously”.

            Where was b) possibly asserted or implied? That just seemed like a red herring. I really have no idea why you brought it up. We obviously exist in only one possible world. This doesn’t mean that the best description of our world is ¬consistent or ¬complete. The two matters seem utterly orthogonal.

            You had no “point” beyond quoting a random sentence from a random wiki article that didn´t contradict anything I said in any way, shape or form.

            Whatever you say, it must be right.

            I always do. That´s why I don´t have to be a passive-aggressive douchebag like you.

            Alternatively, I’m not like you, and don’t need to constantly tear people down in order to feel good about myself. No, that couldn’t possibly be true.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Where was b) possibly asserted or implied? That just seemed like a red herring. I really have no idea why you brought it up. We obviously exist in only one possible world. This doesn’t mean that the best description of our world is ¬consistent or ¬complete. The two matters seem utterly orthogonal.

            Go back a few comments and learn how to read.

            Alternatively, I’m not like you, and don’t need to constantly tear people down in order to feel good about myself.

            You still think that your way of tearing people down is superior because you don´t use naughty words? Cute.

          • Go back a few comments and learn how to read.

            I suspect it’s actually you who know how to read.

            You still think that your way of tearing people down is superior because you don´t use naughty words? Cute.

            It is fascinating that both explanations seem to fit the evidence. It’s almost like “dual rationality” is true:

                Finally, consider the libertarian notion of dual rationality, a requirement whose importance to the libertarian I did not appreciate until I read Robert Kane’s Free Will and Values. As with dual control, the libertarian needs to claim that when agents make free choices, it would have been rational (reasonable, sensible) for them to have made a contradictory choice (e.g. chosen not A rather than A) under precisely the conditions that actually obtain. Otherwise, categorical freedom simply gives us the freedom to choose irrationally had we chosen otherwise, a less-than-entirely desirable state. Kane (1985) spends a great deal of effort in trying to show how libertarian choices can be dually rational, and I examine his efforts in Chapter 8. (The Non-Reality of Free Will, 16)

            You appear to be predicating your understanding on a belief in psychological egoism; if so, I think that framework is unfalsifiable. You literally cannot escape it, if you truly believe it. You would need to acquire not new beliefs, but new intuitions, to escape it, as Charles Taylor explains in his 1971 Interpretation and the Sciences of Man (1870 ‘citations’):

                In other words, in a hermeneutical science, a certain measure of insight is indispensable, and this insight cannot be communicated by the gathering of brute data, or initiation in modes of formal reasoning or some combination of these. It is unformalizable. But this is a scandalous result according to the authoritative conception of science in our tradition, which is shared even by many of those who are highly critical of the approach of mainstream psychology, or sociology, or political science. For it means that this is not a study in which anyone can engage, regardless of their level of insight; that some claims of the form: “if you don’t understand, then your intuitions are at fault, are blind or inadequate,” some claims of this form will be justified; that some differences will be nonarbitrable by further evidence, but that each side can only make appeal to deeper insight on the part of the other. The superiority of one position over another will thus consist in this, that from the more adequate position one can understand one’s own stand and that of one’s opponent, but not the other way around. It goes without saying that this argument can only have weight for those in the superior position. (46–47)

            Perhaps this is a “scandalous result” to you, as well? Perhaps you retch at the idea that this is one of those “differences [which are] nonarbitrable by further evidence”? My prediction is that you don’t answer these questions head-on, but I would love to be pleasantly surprised.

          • Andy_Schueler

            The main theme of de Selby’s[1] essay on the neocapitalist paradigm of expression is a mythopoetical whole. Therefore, in Amarcord, Fellini denies conceptual feminism; in La Dolce Vita, however, he deconstructs socialist realism. Abian[2] implies that we have to choose between conceptual feminism and the postcapitalist paradigm of consensus.

            But the characteristic theme of the works of Fellini is the common ground between sexual identity and society. The failure, and subsequent economy, of postcapitalist materialist theory depicted in Fellini’s Satyricon is also evident in La Dolce Vita.

            Thus, the subject is interpolated into a modern deappropriation that includes language as a totality. Several discourses concerning postcapitalist materialist theory may be found.

            2. Conceptual feminism and predeconstructivist Marxism

            In the works of Fellini, a predominant concept is the concept of capitalist culture. In a sense, if postcapitalist materialist theory holds, we have to choose between Foucaultist power relations and the subdialectic paradigm of narrative. An abundance of narratives concerning the rubicon of capitalist sexual identity exist.

            “Class is part of the paradigm of consciousness,” says Lyotard. However, the primary theme of Drucker’s[3] critique of socialist realism is a precapitalist reality. Predeconstructivist Marxism suggests that discourse is a product of the masses.

            Thus, Baudrillard suggests the use of textual feminism to challenge sexism. Lacan uses the term ‘predeconstructivist Marxism’ to denote the role of the writer as poet.

            Therefore, the main theme of the works of Fellini is not, in fact, desituationism, but neodesituationism. The subject is contextualised into a postcapitalist materialist theory that includes sexuality as a totality.

            However, Bataille promotes the use of predeconstructivist Marxism to analyse and read truth. The primary theme of Hubbard’s[4] analysis of postcapitalist materialist theory is the defining characteristic, and some would say the dialectic, of subdeconstructive class.

            3. Eco and socialist realism

            In the works of Eco, a predominant concept is the distinction between feminine and masculine. Therefore, Sartre uses the term ‘postcapitalist materialist theory’ to denote not materialism per se, but neomaterialism. Hamburger[5] states that we have to choose between predeconstructivist Marxism and postcultural rationalism.

            “Sexual identity is fundamentally impossible,” says Marx. It could be said that the main theme of the works of Eco is a self-supporting whole. The subject is interpolated into a socialist realism that includes art as a totality.

            If one examines postcapitalist materialist theory, one is faced with a choice: either accept the structuralist paradigm of expression or conclude that the raison d’etre of the artist is deconstruction, but only if sexuality is interchangeable with truth; otherwise, we can assume that the law is capable of significance. Therefore, if predeconstructivist Marxism holds, we have to choose between Derridaist reading and pretextual cultural theory. The subject is contextualised into a socialist realism that includes language as a reality.

            In a sense, the characteristic theme of Brophy’s[6] model of predeconstructivist Marxism is the bridge between class and society. A number of discourses concerning socialist realism may be discovered.

            Therefore, in The Limits of Interpretation (Advances in Semiotics), Eco denies predeconstructivist Marxism; in The Island of the Day Before he affirms postcapitalist materialist theory. Bataille’s critique of predeconstructivist Marxism holds that culture is used to reinforce hierarchy.

            Thus, Baudrillard uses the term ‘cultural semanticism’ to denote not theory, but posttheory. Scuglia[7] implies that we have to choose between predeconstructivist Marxism and Sontagist camp.

            In a sense, Lacan uses the term ‘subcapitalist narrative’ to denote the role of the writer as participant. Sontag suggests the use of postcapitalist materialist theory to attack class divisions.

            4. Contexts of economy

            The main theme of the works of Tarantino is the defining characteristic, and thus the failure, of deconstructive class. However, Foucault uses the term ‘socialist realism’ to denote a postmaterialist paradox. Any number of theories concerning the role of the writer as observer exist.

            Therefore, the masculine/feminine distinction intrinsic to Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogsemerges again in Jackie Brown, although in a more mythopoetical sense. Lacan promotes the use of dialectic deconstruction to challenge sexual identity.

            But if postcapitalist materialist theory holds, we have to choose between socialist realism and prepatriarchialist objectivism. Abian[8] holds that the works of Tarantino are empowering.

            Thus, many theories concerning Baudrillardist simulation may be revealed. In Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino denies predeconstructivist Marxism; in Jackie Brown, however, he examines socialist realism.

            1. de Selby, D. E. (1982) Neodeconstructive Sublimations: Postcapitalist materialist theory and socialist realism. Harvard University Press

            2. Abian, S. ed. (1977) Socialist realism in the works of Gibson. And/Or Press

            3. Drucker, W. V. Z. (1989) The Forgotten House: Socialist realism and postcapitalist materialist theory. University of North Carolina Press

            4. Hubbard, D. ed. (1976) Postcapitalist materialist theory in the works of Eco. Panic Button Books

            5. Hamburger, N. F. I. (1989) Reading Bataille: Postcapitalist materialist theory and socialist realism. And/Or Press

            6. Brophy, Z. ed. (1978) Socialist realism and postcapitalist materialist theory. Panic Button Books

            7. Scuglia, J. U. (1992) The Failure of Expression: Socialist realism in the works of Tarantino.And/Or Press

            8. Abian, O. J. R. ed. (1979) Postcapitalist materialist theory and socialist realism. O’Reilly & Associates

          • Irony of ironies, I don’t know whether this is mockery or a mistake.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Irony of ironies? No, it´s actually not ironic at all. Maybe “farcical”, but certainly not “ironic”.

          • Easy on the rhetoric, Andy. Let’s keep it civil, despite obvious frustrations!

            @LukeBreuer:disqus

          • OK. apologies as I am super busy at the mo having just found out I am definitely being shipped up to York by the BBC for a TV debate on Sunday (The Big Questions) – a full hour on free will, and I will be on the front bench!

            On maths: I would ascribe to maths being descriptive, some kind of nominalism or formalism where maths is the description of reality. Don’t confuse the map with the terrain, as James Lindsay brilliantly points out in Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly – available from the sidebar there>>>>.

            On my book on free will – there is nothing in there that you won’t already know, so no loss. It’s more of an introductory text, with some interesting studies and psychology etc.

          • OK. apologies as I am super busy at the mo having just found out I am definitely being shipped up to York by the BBC for a TV debate on Sunday (The Big Questions) – a full hour on free will, and I will be on the front bench!

            That is the worst reason ever for not having more time to argue on the internet with a random person. I expected better of you, Jonathan!

            On maths: I would ascribe to maths being descriptive, some kind of nominalism or formalism where maths is the description of reality. Don’t confuse the map with the terrain, as James Lindsay brilliantly points out in Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly – available from the sidebar there>>>>.

            There’s a difference between thinking the picture of the thing is the thing, and saying that the picture and the thing are such fundamentally different types that you cannot predicate the same term of both in a deeply meaningful manner. The term I’m thinking of is “rational”. It is actually deeply problematic if reality is not fundamentally mathematical, because it means one of our primary tools—mathematics—will run out of gas at some point during our endeavor to understand reality ever-more-fully. Are you with me on this?

            On my book on free will – there is nothing in there that you won’t already know, so no loss. It’s more of an introductory text, with some interesting studies and psychology etc.

            Roger that. Do you have a bibliography somewhere? I only made it a bit into Richard Double’s The Non-Reality of Free Will before I had to return it to the library, but I found what I read pretty neat. Especially interesting was the idea of LFW only able to exist at the linguistic level, since I combine that with Charles Taylor’s “language being”, as well as David Braine’s work[1]. You also expressed an interest, a long time ago, in the idea of freedom to choose story A vs. story B. I connect that to Kane’s “dual rationality”, which I found via Double’s book. I’ve yet to read Kane’s Free Will and Values. I’ve read more of Bruce Waller’s Against Moral Responsibility (Daniel Dennett’s review) and it looks pretty neat.

            [1] books by David Braine I’ve read part of
            The Human Person
            Language and Human Understanding: The Roots of Creativity in Speech and Thought

          • Though /i touch a little on liguistics, very simply, I do not go into the sort of detail you would like. Again, you are now several levels above the intention of the book.

            I also use some footnoted references not included here, but this is the basic bibliography (remember, an introduction for the layman). Interestingly, I would like to substantially rewrite it for a second edition, I just don’t have time:

            Books:

            Armstrong, K. (2002),
            ‘ISLAM: A Short History’, London ; Phoenix

            Armstrong. K. (2008),
            ‘The Bible: The Biography’, London ; Atlantic Books

            Ashton, J. (2006), ‘The Big Argument: Twenty-Four Scholars
            Explore How Science, Archaeology, and Philosophy Have Proven the Existence of
            God’, Green Forest, AR ; Master Books

            Audi, R. (Ed.)(1999 2nd
            edition), ‘The Cambridge
            Dictionary Of Philosophy’, Cambridge
            ; Cambridge University Press

            Baggini, J. (2006), ‘The Pig that Wants to be Eaten’, London ; Granta

            Barrow, J. D. (1998),
            ‘Impossibility’, London ; Vintage

            Belby, J. K. and
            Eddy, P. R. (2001), ‘Divine
            Foreknowledge: Four Views’, Westmont,
            IL ; InterVarsity Press

            Blackburn, S.
            (1994;2008), ‘Oxford
            Dictionary of Philosophy’, Oxford ; Oxford University
            Press

            Blackburn, S. (1999),
            ‘Think’, Oxford
            ; Oxford University Press

            Boa, K. and Bowman,
            R. M. (2002), ‘20 Compelling Evidences
            That God Exists: Discover Why Believing in God Makes So Much Sense’, Colorado Springs ;
            RiverOak Publishing

            Callahan, T. (2002), ‘Secret Origins of the Bible’, California ; Millennium
            Press

            Carducci, A. (2009 ;
            2nd edition), ‘The Psychology
            of Personality: Viewpoints, Research, and Applications’, Chichester
            ; John Wiley and Sons (now Wiley-Blackwell)

            Carson, D. A. (2000),
            ‘The Difficult Doctrine Of The Love Of
            God’, UK
            ; Intervarsity Press

            Dawkins, R. (2006), ‘The God Delusion’, London ; Bantam Press

            Dennett, D. C. (2004),
            Freedom Evolves’, London ; Penguin

            Drescher, G. (1991),
            ‘Made-Up Minds: A Constructivist Approach to Artificial Intelligence’, Cambridge, MA
            ; MIT Press

            Everett, D. (2008),
            ‘Don’t Sleep, There are Snakes : Life and
            Language in the Amazonian Jungle’, New
            York ; Pantheon Books

            Geivett, R. D. and
            Habermas, G. (Eds) (1997), ‘In Defense of
            Miracles’, Westmont, IL ; InterVarsity Press

            Hitchens, C. (2007),
            ‘The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever’, London ; Da Capo Press

            Honderich, T. (2002,
            2nd edition), ‘How Free Are
            You?’, Oxford
            ; Oxford University Press

            Hume, D. (Edited by
            L. A. Selby-Bigge) (1975), ‘Enquiries
            concerning Human Understanding and concerning the Principles of Morals’, Oxford ; Clarendon Press

            Hume, D. (Edited by
            L. A. Selby-Bigge) (1975), ‘A Treatise of Human Nature’, Oxford
            ; Clarendon Press

            Kane, R. (1996), ‘The Significance of Free Will’, New York : Oxford
            University Press

            Kane, R. (2001), ‘Free Will’, Malden, Mass.
            ; Wiley-Blackwell

            Kane, R. (2002), ‘The Oxford
            Handbook of Free Will’, Oxford ; Oxford University
            Press

            Kolazowski, L. (2008),
            ‘Why Is There Something Rather Than
            Nothing?’, London
            ; Penguin

            Loftus, J. W.,
            (2008), ‘Why I Became An Atheist: A
            Former Preacher Rejects Christianity’, New York ; Prometheus Books

            Long, Dr. J. (2005), ‘Biblical Nonsense’, Lincoln, NE
            ; iUniverse

            Luria, A. R. (1961),
            ‘The role of private speech in the
            regulation of normal and abnormal behaviour’, London ; Pergamaon

            Moll, A. (1889), ‘Hynoptism’, London ; Walter Scott

            Russell, B. (1961, 2nd
            edition), ‘The History Of Western
            Philosophy’, London
            ; Routledge

            Ruthven, M. (1997), ‘Islam: A Very Short Introduction’, Oxford ; Oxford
            University Press

            Schlink, B. (2008), ‘The Reader”, London
            ; Phoenix

            Schwartz, B. (2004), ‘The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less’,
            New York ; HarperCollins

            Tabensky, T. A.
            (2006), ‘Judging and Understanding:
            Essays on Free Will, Justice, Forgiveness and Love’, Farbham ; Ashgate

            Thompson, M.
            (1995;2006), ‘Teach Yourself Philosophy’,
            London
            ; Hachette Livre UK

            Vivekananda, S. (1977), ‘Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda Vol. 1’, Calcutta ; Advaita Ashrama

            Vygotsky, L. S.
            (1934), ‘Thought and language’, ed.
            And translated E. Hanfmann and G. Vakar, Cambridge,
            MA ; MIT Press (1962)

            Wegner, D. M. (2002),
            ‘The Illusion of Conscious Will’’ Cambridge, Mass. ; MIT
            Press / Bradford Books

            Wright, R. (2009), ‘The Evolution of God’, New York ; Little, Brown
            and Company

            Papers:

            Amici,
            F., Call, J., Aureli, F. (2009), ‘Variation in withholding of information in
            three monkey species’, Proceedings of the
            Royal Society, Volume 276: no. 1671,
            3311-3318 (22 September)

            Barash, D. P. (2003), ‘Dennett and the
            Darwinizing of Free Will’, Human Nature
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            (retrieved 08/2009)

            Bargh, J. A.,
            M. Chen and L. Burrows (1996), ‘Automaticity of social behavior : Direct
            effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action’, Journal of Personality and Social
            Psychology, 71: 230-244

            Craig, W. L. (1998), ‘Divine Timelessness and
            Personhood’, International Journal for
            Philosophy of Religion, Volume 43, Number 2 / April, 1998 : 109-124

            Dennett, Daniel (2006), ‘Knowledge Argument’,
            in Alter, Torin, Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge, Oxford
            Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press,
            http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/RoboMaryfinal.htm#_ftn1 (retrieved 11/2009)

            Dijksterhuis, A. and A. van Knippenberg (1998),
            ‘The relation between perception and behavior, or how to win a game of Trivial
            Pursuit’, Journal of Personality and
            Social Psychology, 74: 865-877

            Gazzaniga, M.S. (1983), ‘Right hemisphere
            language following brain bisection: A 20-year perspective’, American Psychologist, 38:525-537

            Gao, Y., Raine, A., Venables, P.H., Dawson, M.E.
            and Sarnoff Mednick, A. (2009), ‘Association of Poor Childhood Fear
            Conditioning and Adult Crime’ , The
            American Journal of Psychiatry, Nov 16, 2009 as doi: doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09040499

            Gilman, R. W., (2004), ‘Daniel Dennett’s
            Choice’, http://www.logosjournal.com/gilman.htm (retrieved 09/2009)

            Gopnik, A., and
            Astington, J. W. (1988) ‘Children’s understanding of representational change
            and its relation to the understanding of false belief and the
            appearance-reality distinction’. Child
            Development, 48: 26-37

            Hamilton,
            R. L. (2002), ‘Philosophical Reflections on Free Will’,
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            (retrieved 08/2009)

            Haruno, M. and Frith,
            C. (2009), ‘Activity in the amygdala
            elicited by unfair divisions predicts social value orientation’, Nature Neuroscience, 13 (160-161),
            journal published 2010; Published online: 20 December 2009 | doi:10.1038/nn.2468

            Jacobson, E. (1932),
            ‘The electrophysiology of mental activities’, American Journal of Psychology, 44: 677-694

            Kapogiannisa, D.,
            Barbeya, A. K., Sua, M., Zambonia, G., Kruegera, F. and Grafmana, J. (2009),
            ‘Cognitive and neural foundations of religious belief’, Proceedings
            of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, March 24, 2009 vol. 106 no. 12 4876-4881

            Keller, J. (1995), ‘A
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            Lhermitte,
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            lobes’, Brain, 106: 237-255

            Lhermitte, F. (1986), ‘Human anatomy and the
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            Linder, D.E., Cooper, J. and Jones, E.E.
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            in attitude change’, Journal of
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            Logan, G. D., and W. Cowan (1984), ‘On the
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            Mozes,
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            (retrieved 09/2009)

            Newman, R. C. (1997),
            ‘Fulfilled Prophecy as Miracle’, Ín
            Defense of Miracles, p.214-225

            Perner, J., Leekam,
            S. R. and Wimmer, H. (1987), ‘Three-year0olds’ difficulty with false belief’, British Journal of Developmental Psychology,
            5:125-137

            Peterson,
            B. (added 2009), ‘Augustine: Advocate of
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            (retrieved 08/2009)

            M. Reuter, C.
            Frenzel, N. T. Walter, S. Markett, C. Montag. (2010), ‘Investigating the genetic basis of altruism: the role of the COMT
            Val158Met polymorphism.’ Social Cognitive and Affective
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            Soon,
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            Weisberger, A. (1995),
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          • Though /i touch a little on liguistics, very simply, I do not go into the sort of detail you would like. Again, you are now several levels above the intention of the book.

            Oh, I understand. But that doesn’t mean that the less-detailed version is bad or indeed not fantastically useful. I’m beginning to think that more and more errors in thinking about philosophical matters actually start at the simple level. The deeper levels are almost useful merely because they can expose those errors. Digging shows when appearances of consistency and/or completeness are deceiving!

            I also use some footnoted references not included here, but this is the basic bibliography (remember, an introduction for the layman). Interestingly, I would like to substantially rewrite it for a second edition, I just don’t have time:

            Sweet; thanks! I hear you on not having enough time. I may have to radically dial back all of my discussions online sometime soon. :-/ Although, I have hope that Paul Rabinow, sociology faculty at UC Berkeley, CA, may be onto something better than currently available online discussion options:

            PR: My work has consistently confronted the challenge of inventing and practicing new forms of inquiry, writing, and ethics for the human sciences. I argue that currently the dominant knowledge production practices, institutions, and venues for understanding things human in the 21st century are inadequate institutionally and epistemologically. In response, I have designed modes of experimentation and collaboration consisting in focused concept work and the explorations of new forms of case-based inquiry. The equipment for such inquiry is presented at: http://www.bios-technika.net.

            I have also devoted a great deal of energy to the invention of new venues, adjacent to the existing university structures, diagnosing the university_s disciplinary organization and career patterns as among the major impediment to 21st century thought. We need venues that are adjacent to, but more flexible than, the university and the existing disciplinary structure. The Anthropology Research on the Contemporary (ARC), http://www.anthropos-lab.net (ARC) was founded by as part of an effort to create new forms of inquiry in the human sciences. Its aspiration is to create models for new infrastructures, tools of collaboration, and practices of inquiry.

            From Rabinow’s Anthropos Today: Reflections on Modern Equipment:

                A central purpose of the book is to assemble a toolkit of concepts. The goal of such a toolkit is to advance inquiry. The currently reigning modes of research in the human sciences are, it seems to me, deficient in vital respects. Those deficiencies are especially marked in the strained relations between an ever-accumulating body of information, the ways that information is given narrative and conceptual form, and how this knowledge fits into a conduct of life. No doubt all of this demands further elaboration, and this book attempts to respond to that demand. (2)

            I just emailed him today, including links to my thoughts on forums and adaptive content. If that goes somewhere, I will largely disappear from Disqus and WordPress.

          • I’ll have to read that at more focus – looks interesting.

            Your first point reminds me of this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2014/07/25/top-down-or-bottom-up/

          • Heh, that reminds me of my comment, to which you responded. I’m not sure you’ve actually established that (a) you’re doing ‘bottom-up’; (b) your method is “the most coherent, pragmatically useful, but above all, accurate”. But perhaps that is a discussion for another day, month, year, or lifetime. :-p

          • Andy_Schueler

            ….having just found out I am definitely being shipped up to York by the BBC for a TV debate on Sunday (The Big Questions) – a full hour on free will, and I will be on the front bench!

            Congrats mate!

          • josh

            The statement,

            (F) (1) and/or (2) can’t be falsified.

            cannot be justified. Go ahead, try it. Produce an epistemic justification for (F).

            I already did. (1) is equivalent to ‘not (2)’, it is tautologically true, therefore no realization of events can falsify it. That’s a fully valid justification. You wish to dispute than (1) and (2) span the range of possibilities, that’s fine, it is incumbent on you to provide a counterexample. Do that, don’t argue this nonsense about falsifiability and Godel. Just explain a hypothetical state of affairs that is neither determined nor random.

            There is no ‘Type II’ error here, […]

            Yes, there is. You are saying that:

            What null hypothesis am I failing to reject?

            (C) Reality is constructed of (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) and nothing more.

          • I already did. (1) is equivalent to ‘not (2)’, it is tautologically true, therefore no realization of events can falsify it.

            I don’t understand this reasoning. Perhaps this is because it depends on your modified version of (C), immediately below? Let’s call that (C’).

            I’m not telling you ‘what reality is constructed of’. I’m telling you the two exclusive classes into which we can group states of affairs.

            How is this, which I will call (C’), different from (C)? And how does (C’) avoid violating the principle of denial?

            What null hypothesis am I failing to reject?

            This was an unexpected question; might you be able to re-phrase it given this response of mine?

            Justify your rejection. You might want to note that if you don’t accept the law of the excluded middle then Godels work goes right out the window.

            Nothing forces me to say that (a) or (b) is true, and only then does the law of the excluded middle apply. Some things appear random. Some things appear determined. But I could see order spontaneously erupting from chaos without ever finding out how it erupted. Such a phenomenon, with resultant investigation, violates the (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) schema.

            Godel cared enough to show that they are.

            What does “deterministically true” mean?

            Give an example of something, it doesn’t have to actually exist, that we would consider neither random nor determined.

            Consciousness. Note that:

                 (i) ¬determined ⇏ ¬influence-able
                (ii) influence-able ⇏ determined

            If one’s percepts 100% control one’s consciousness, then one is a slave to one’s environment and one cannot “dig below it” to ultimate reality. So, you can either accept underdetermination of consciousness by percepts, or no real form of epistemically accessible ‘truth’. It would become true that “reason” = “adaptation to the environment”.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Some things appear random. Some things appear determined. But I could see order spontaneously erupting from chaos without ever finding out how it erupted. Such a phenomenon, with resultant investigation, violates the (1) ∨ (2) ∨ (3) schema.

            No. It does not. For fucks sake, look up what the word “spontaneous” means – this would, by definition, correspond to (2).

            Idiot.

          • Randomness, in human experience, does not spontaneously issue any sort of pattern whatsoever. It issues only certain patterns, others of which require explanations other than randomness.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Randomness, in human experience, does not spontaneously issue any sort of pattern whatsoever.

            This is first of all completely false because you will be able to find every pattern you want to see in a random sequence – you can even precisely calculate how long you have to wait, on average, until you see it.
            But, more importantly, what happens in human experience or not is completely irrelevant – even if this never did happen in human experience, when you say that this shit happens “spontaneously”, then it is BY DEFINITION covered by (2) and if it turns out that this shit wasn´t actually spontaneous at all or only partly spontaenous, then it would be covered by (1) or (3). 1-3 are exhaustive, it is inconceivable that anything is not covered by it, and by “inconceivable” I mean that not even someone who desperately wants this to be false and who prides himself for being creative, is able to come up with any hypothetical scenario that would not be covered by 1-3.

          • But, more importantly, what happens in human experience or not is completely irrelevant – even if this never did happen in human experience, when you say that this shit happens “spontaneously”, then it is BY DEFINITION covered by (2) […]

            You forget that I’m not a nominalist; I require my words to be natural kinds whenever possible, and this would be a radical break of the kind that is ‘randomness’. Oh, and I don’t see the words ‘random’ and ‘spontaneous’ as perfect synonyms. If you do, at least in this domain, please say so.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Nominalism has absolutely nothing to do with. You say that some shit happens “spontaneously” which would mean that it is covered by (2). Period. As I said, not even someone who desperately wants 1-3 to not be exhaustive is able to conceive any scenario that would not be covered by 1-3.

            Regarding synonyms – I would prefer to talk about something either happening for a reason or not happening for a reason because that is the phrasing that I consider to be least susceptible for misinterpretation. But it´s irrelevant, you can play word games all day long and try to obfuscate as much as you like, you still will never find anything that would not be covered by 1-3.

          • You say that some shit happens “spontaneously” which would mean that it is covered by (2). Period.

            I disagree. ‘spontaneous’ ≠ ‘random’. Stated more precisley:

                 (‘random’ ⇒ ‘spontaneous’) ⇏ (‘spontaneous’ ⇒ ‘random’)

            Regarding synonyms – I would prefer to talk about something either happening for a reason or not happening for a reason because that is the phrasing that I consider to be least susceptible for misinterpretation.

            If you can define ‘reason’ sufficiently well, I would be happy with this. As it is, you cannot even define ’cause’ sufficiently well. That’s fine; I’ll work with Jonathan’s position, given that he actually has a clue of what he’s talking about and demonstrates it.

          • Andy_Schueler

            If you can define ‘reason’ sufficiently well, I would be happy with this. As it is, you cannot even define ’cause’ sufficiently well

            False. You didn´t criticize my definition for not being sufficient, you criticized it for being “circular”. And I pointed out that you are a moron because a valid definitions needs to be “circular” in the sense that you criticized, it cannot NOT be “circular” in the sense that you criticized.
            It´s par for the course – when you see a conclusion about which you feel really strongly that it should not be true, you lie, you make shit up out of thin air (and link to countless books as if you had read them and as if they would actually support the shit you´ve made up), you misrepresent, you play word games, you go off on countless tangents and so on and so forth – the only thing you don´t do is try to have a rational discussion.

          • False. You didn´t criticize my definition for not being sufficient, you criticized it for being “circular”.

            Certain kinds of “circular” are indeed insufficient. For example:

                 cause: “a gives rise to b”
                 gives rise to: “a causes b”

            This would be a bad kind of “circular”. Now, you’ve never actually defined “gives rise to”, despite my requests:

            LB: Oh c’mon, show how you haven’t got circularity with “cause” and “gives rise to”.

            LB: Then define ‘give rise to’, without referencing ’cause’ or any cognate thereof.

            Your response was useless:

            AS: And now you are being deliberately obtuse. Semantically, a valid definition necessarily has the exact same meaning as the thing it defines. Criticizing this for being “circular” is idiotic and simply means that you have no clue what a “circular definition” is (hint: try actually reading this) and no idea what a “definition” is in general.

            See, anyone who encounters the following,

                 cause: “a gives rise to b”
                 gives rise to: “a causes b”

            , would rightly complain that this doesn’t actually define ’cause’. Anyone, that is, apart from you it seems. Perhaps you’re saying that if one were to spell out all definitions of words, one would have this circularity, just with a lot more terms in between? If so, then we need to start talking about how words connect to reality, and how you connect ’cause’ to reality that doesn’t ultimately reduce to non-cause, e.g. Sean Carroll’s “unbreakable patterns”. That is, I want to know whether ’cause’ refers to something actual and true, or merely an approximation of what is actually ¬’cause’. I want to see if the emperor has no clothes.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Now, you’ve never actually defined “gives rise to”, despite my requests:

            Alright. Let me define it now “gives rise to” means, “makes it happen”.
            Now, could you please extend me the same courtesy and answer this:

            “Spoon” : “an implement consisting of a small, shallow oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring, and serving food”
            Now, please go ahead and define “an implement consisting of a small, shallow oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring, and serving food” without referencing either “spoons” or ANY word, phrase or sentence that is semantically equivalent to “spoon”.

            ——-

            That is, I want to know whether ’cause’ refers to something actual and true

            I love how you basically admit that you are trolling here. The argument that Jonathan used only depends on the fact that something either has causes / reasons or doesn´t have them. And you try to distract from that by starting of on an epic tangent of what “cause” really means and whether they refer to “something actual and true”, which is surely an extremely interesting issue but it is irrelevant for “something either has causes or doesn´t have causes” being a true dichotomy. You are trolling and you admit it here, you try to distract from an inconvenient truth by starting a tangent that has nothing to do with said truth.

          • Alright. Let me define it now “gives rise to” means, “makes it happen”.

                 cause: “a gives rise to b”
                 gives rise to: “makes it happen”
                 makes it happen: ?

            AS: Interesting, so you really are that dense. Maybe this will help:”Spoon” : “an implement consisting of a small, shallow oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring, and serving food”Now, please go ahead and define “an implement consisting of a small, shallow oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring, and serving food” without referencing either “spoons” or ANY word, phrase or sentence that is semantically equivalent tospoon“.After you have thought about this for a while, you might realize (but I´m not certain that you will) that the task is impossible. And if you wonder why it is impossible – it is because x and the definition of x are NECESSARILY semantically equivalent if the definition is a valid one.

            There are two ways ‘spoon’ is different from ’cause’:

                 (1) a spoon has constituent properties
                 (2) the spoon definition contains a purpose clause

            In other words, the definition of “spoon” is “properties A, B, C used for purposes X, Y, Z”. Now, it’s not always the case that a word will have multiple properties. However, I think it is always the case that a word is used for certain purposes. I am reminded that Wittgenstein said something like a word being defined by use, and not just by words.

            What has happened with ‘spoon’, but not with ’cause’, is that from your definition I can construct an idea of what this ‘spoon’ thing is doing, how it interacts with the other entities in a way that makes sense. You haven’t done this with ’cause’. You haven’t shown how it logically functions, and importantly, functions as a reference to ultimate reality, instead of some approximation which might look shockingly like The Emperor’s New Clothes when examined closely.

            Any rational person will see a strong difference between your ‘spoon’ definition and your ’cause’ definition. Perhaps with this explanation, you will see it as well.

            The argument that Jonathan used only depends on the fact that something either has causes / reasons or doesn´t have them.

            Yes, and I claim that to be arguing about something instead of nothing, I need to know what words mean, which means having a solid grasp of the concepts to which they refer. Otherwise the concept you attach to a given word may be very different from the concept I attach to a given word. Indeed, I suspect there may be contradictions lurking in your conception of ’cause’, and that this may be responsible for disagreements and talking past each other that has occurred in the past and is occurring elsewhere in this comment page.

            You have no ground to stand on, for you refused to let me do anything with LFW at the level of “had the option to act otherwise”. How did you do this? By digging into how it could possibly be the case that someone “had the option to act otherwise”. You refused to let me argue merely on the level of “had the option to act otherwise”. Well, I extend the same rigor to you, when it comes to ’cause’. Stop bitching and moaning and take your own medicine.

          • Andy_Schueler

            What has happened with ‘spoon’, but not with ’cause’, is that from your definition I can construct an idea of what this ‘spoon’ thing is doing, how it interacts with the other entities in a way that makes sense. You haven’t done this with ’cause’. You haven’t shown how it logically functions, and importantly, functions as a reference to ultimate reality

            Ah, Luke Breuer “consistency” at work again. So a “cause” of x being that which makes x happen doesn´t “make sense”, we first have to discuss the metaphysics of causality and understand what a cause really is, ontologically, how the word “cause” actually relates to reality. We obviously did all that for “spoon”. No wait… We didn´t actually! Where is the full metaphysical account of what it means for an object to be “spoon”? What “properties” does it really have? Is it composed out of mental stuff or physical stuff or both? Does the “spoon” even exist independently of your mind? And if it does exist independently of your mind, does it really serve a “purpose”? And what is a “purpose” actually? Can a purpose be intrinsic to the “spoon” or can it only be imposed on it from the outside?

            Where are all your answers to those questions? Surely you are able to define a simple word such as “spoon”, so why don´t you just do it?

            Yes, and I claim that to be arguing about something instead of nothing, I need to know what words mean…

            What happens is, that someone makes an argument along the line “something is either x or not x” and uses this as a basis to argue his main point. What the exact and true ontological status of x is, is not relevant to the main point, not at all, it only matters that something either IS or IS NOT x.

            You feel really strongly about the main point however and desperately want it to be false. So you start an epic tangent about what “x really is”, how a complete metaphysical description of x would look like, how x actually works in physical reality, and so on and so forth – and you admit that this is what you want to talk about. But this is irrelevant for the main point. You are derailing from the main point, and you admit, you confess to be a troll.

            You have no ground to stand on, for you refused to let me do anything with LFW at the level of “had the option to act otherwise”. How did you do this? By digging into how it could possibly be the case that someone “had the option to act otherwise”. You refused to let me argue merelyon the level of “had the option to act otherwise”.

            That is completely false, I don´t even believe that, I actually consider it more likely than not that you do have “the option to act otherwise” and have said so many times in the past.
            Again, your reading comprehension is abysmal.

          • Which is interesting, because the point would clearly reduce to an account of conceptual nominalism, because that spoon woul donly be a spoon to the minds which had that idea. In fact, their would be variations of that definition.

            The only other way of making sense of these variations between, people, animals and other sentient creatures (aliens etc) is that every instantiation of abstracta in individual minds itself becomes Platonically real – zapped into ontic reality

            Of course, that is nonsense I would wager.

            Thus the reality of a spoon is whatever we want to and can agree on ascribing to it.

            That would be the same for a cause.

            But obviously there is something ontic going on between cause and effect. How that works isn’t so easy to define, mechanistically or ontologically, but there are good accounts, which would take quite a long time to express, having to go through probability theories (don’t really buy into that since I don’t necessarily buy into the reality of such probability under determinism), immanence, transcendence etc.

            Suffice to say that you account, Andy, is simplistically apt and is understandable. How the metaphysics of it works is less important, I wager.

            Unless you outright deny causation, which is possible, @LukeBreuer:disqus, then it is hard to see how you can have a third/fourth option in our causality range.ie, caused or uncaused.

          • Andy_Schueler

            But obviously there is something ontic going on between cause and effect. How that works isn’t so easy to define, mechanistically or ontologically, but there are good accounts, which would take quite a long time to express, having to go through probability theories (don’t really buy into that since I don’t necessarily buy into the reality of such probability under determinism), immanence, transcendence etc.

            It seems as if this is what Luke really wants to discuss, but he simply doesn´t understand that it is irrelevant for the issue discussed in the OP.

          • Indeed, as I pointed out elsewhere.

          • turbopro10

            i’ll say it again Andy, you have the patience of a saint.

            “xon-xoff” here from the goode olde days discussing on lotharson’s blog.

          • I didn’t know that saints called other people ‘moron’ and ‘idiot’ so much. But perhaps you just meant one aspect of sainthood. :-p

          • turbopro10

            “Ok, Thrasymachus…” please allow me to follow in your footsteps:

            did i call AS a saint?

            what do you mean by sainthood?
            what do you mean by aspect?
            what do you mean by saint?
            what do you mean?

            and while you’re at it, check this link –> http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/25/sainthood-explained/

            and this link –> http://www.theuselessweb.com/

          • tp: did i call AS a saint?

            LB: But perhaps you just meant one aspect of sainthood. :-p

          • Andy_Schueler

            Oh, hi there! Long time no see – hope you are doing well.

          • turbopro10

            am doing good. thx.

            i see you contribute here to JP’s blog. i just found it, and i’ll be catching up over the next few weeks.

            thx JP.

            cheers

          • Welcome – please hang out. There is an awful lot of content on here now, so take your time to sift through! The category dropdown there>>>>>> is useful.

          • Also, @LukeBreuer:disqus, it’s not so important how it works or what its ontology is, as opposed to THAT it works/exists etc. In every other aspect of reality, you assume strict causal relations between events. The suddenly for the mind/will you shoe horn in radical skepticism. You still have not answered this.

          • josh

            I don’t understand this reasoning.

            Clearly. Falsifiability applies to predictions from theories to observations. If my theory makes no predictions which differ from the absence or negation of the theory, then it can’t be falsified and I have no basis to assert it is true. However, if I’m not advancing a theory but pointing out two logical options A or not A then I’m not making a prediction or trying to explain anything. Either one or the other obtains so no observation could falsify the truth of ‘A or not A’. If a particular theory is compatible with both A or not A then it can’t be falsified on that basis, but that doesn’t mean there is a third option to A and not A. This is logical rather than empirical, so, if you like, you may chalk it up to the way in which humans think rather than necessarily a fact about reality in itself. But you’re still stuck with it. Now this could mean that you need to think very carefully about what defines A.

            This was an unexpected question; might you be able to re-phrase it given this response of mine?

            You mentioned a Type-II error. A Type-II error is failing to reject the null hypothesis, i.e. a false negative. For instance, it might be the case that men are on average taller than women, but due to your unlucky sampling of Danny Devito as the only man in your small sample you couldn’t statistically reject the null hypothesis that men aren’t taller on average. So, what null hypothesis am I failing to reject?

            But I could see order spontaneously erupting from chaos without ever finding out how it erupted.

            There is no spontaneous eruption here, there is order in one part and ‘chaos’ in another. If the ordered part can be predicted from the chaotic part, or vice versa, then it isn’t really chaotic and everything is deterministic. Otherwise, the chaotic part is random and its relation to the ordered part is random. Whether you ever ‘find out’ which case applies doesn’t change the fact that those are your two options.

            What does “deterministically true” mean?

            The truth value of a statement is not randomly related to the truth of other statements in the system. It’s truth is determined by its relation to other truths in the system.

            If one’s percepts 100% control one’s consciousness, then one is a slave
            to one’s environment and one cannot “dig below it” to ultimate reality.

            One is part of the environment and the laws of that environment control your percepts and consciousness and unconsciousness, etc. It is possible then that you think you understand the environment and you don’t if the laws allow that state of consciousness. It is possible that you think you understand the environment and you do. Only if your consciousness is deterministically related to the larger environment around you could you have any hope of reliably understanding it. If it is randomly related then you could at best get lucky.

          • Spot on, @Skeptic_Ink:disqus

          • Spot on @Skeptic_Ink:disqus

          • Luke Breuer

            So Jonathan, you have no intention to defend your claim, below?

            This is why this is called contra-causal free will, because it invalidates the notion of causality that we generally have. And this is why I reject this idea of free will (LFW). Before you even look at evidence, the logic and philosophy fail. This can be summed up like this:

            Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.

            As I pointed out by quoting and explicating Gregory W. Dawes’ Theism and Explanation, there are multiple forms of causation. I accuse you of equivocating.

          • Andy_Schueler

            … there are multiple forms of causation

            None of which would render this statement:
            “Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.”
            false. No matter what conception of causality you would substitute for “reason” in this claim, it would always be a true dichotomy.

          • Luke Breuer

            You said this on October 15, 2014:

            AS: I will no longer initiate any dialogue with you and I am kindly asking you to stop replying to my comments.

            Are you breaking your oath? That was the second time you’ve stated you will no longer reply to me. Will there be a third? Furthermore, I will remind you of other things you’ve said:

            AS: I stopped reading your comment after that and frankly, I am no longer interested in what you have to say.

            AS: Whether you respect my wish or not, I will refrain from arguing with you – it is completely pointless anyway and you leave me little choice here since I do not want to share any responsibility for your suicide or whatever other exit plans you might be contemplating.

            The “responsibility for your suicide” was a wonderful attempt at character assassination. This is who you are, Andy Schueler. But you could become someone different. Until you do, I have no interest in dialogging with you.

          • Andy_Schueler

            The “responsibility for your suicide” was a wonderful attempt at character assassination.

            You don´t seem to know what “character assassination” means. If someone calls you out on your defamatory lies, and you start whining about said someone “fully participating in a terrible spirit” that “wreaks havoc on people, going as far as to make them want to kill themselves”, then you shouldn´t be too surprised if people think that you are a nutjob and a potential danger to yourself and to others. But if it makes you feel better, I don´t really think that you are suicidal – the explanation that you just love to whine about your terrible childhood and about how everyone is ever so mean to poor little you, seems to be more plausible.

            Until you do, I have no interest in dialogging with you.

            Excellent! In fact, just demonstrating how you are wrong without having to deal with the usual Breuerian hyperverbose Bullshit-bombs afterwards, is an outcome I find much more to my liking.

          • Luke Breuer

            LB: Are you breaking your oath?

          • Andy_Schueler

            LB: Are you breaking your oath?

            Maybe some people have told you that there are no stupid questions. These people are wrong. This right here for example, is a stupid question.

            And if I would have replied to your comment here by first quoting your earlier statement:
            “Until you do, I have no interest in dialogging with you.”
            – and then proceed to ask “are you breaking your oath?”
            that would be exactly as stupid.

          • Luke Breuer

            Why ought I trust your word, given that twice now, you have (i) claimed you would never respond to me again†; (ii) requested I never respond to you?

            The reason I am pressing the issue slightly is the hope that perhaps there is something I did not see or have not properly understood. However, if you have nothing to offer that militates against you having broken your oath twice for no reason other than your passionate nature, then it would be foolish for me to expend significant effort building up dialog with you again, only for another meltdown and long silence to result.

            † I allow exceptions for correcting any misrepresentation of your positions which I may do; you did this 1–4 times when I was talking to The Thinker.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Why ought I trust your word…

            I don´t care if you do. If anything, I´d prefer you not trusting me.

            ….it would be foolish for me to expend significant effort building up dialog with you again….

            “Excellent! In fact, just demonstrating how you are wrong without having to deal with the usual Breuerian hyperverbose Bullshit-bombs afterwards, is an outcome I find much more to my liking.”

          • Luke Breuer

            Oh, I see. Well then, you won’t get that outcome. With your oath broken, my part of the deal is off as well. I will respond to you at-will.

          • Luke Breuer

            You don´t seem to know what “character assassination” means.

            I will let the reader judge that based on our conversation in this thread, and other conversations I can produce on request (but probably not your request).

            If someone calls you out on your defamatory lies […]

            Nice spin. It would appear that you yourself are applying the principle you claim I apply:

            AS: That is not surprising given that in your universe, english sentences are apparently infinitely malleable and can mean whatever you want them to mean.

            However, you are welcome to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that I am indeed engaged in “defamatory lies”. Oh, and someone should find a rusty fork:

            AS: I´d honestly rather stab myself in the eye with a rusty fork than be forced into another “dialog” with Luke Breuer.

            ———

            But if it makes you feel better, I don´t really think that you are suicidal – the explanation that you just love to whine about your terrible childhood and about how everyone is ever so mean to poor little you, seems to be more plausible.

            Hmmm, so if I mention X 1–4 times, I “just love to do X”? The way you use words is very curious, very curious indeed. Or do you think that for X = “whine about [my] terrible childhood”, X > 4? If so, I challenge you to provide evidence for your assertion. Otherwise that really is character assassination, and baseless character assassination at that.

          • Andy_Schueler

            However, you are welcome to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that I am indeed engaged in “defamatory lies”.

            And I did exactly that in the thread that you linked to:
            https://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/out-of-eden-are-we-approaching-a-golden-era/

            Hmmm, so if I mention X 1–4 times, I “just love to do X”? The way you use words is very curious, very curious indeed. Or do you think that for X = “whine about [my] terrible childhood”, X > 4? If so, I challenge you to provide evidence for your assertion.

            I just googled the first thing that came to mind in this context: “luke breuer” + “I had no true friends for the first 21 years of my life”, which already yielded four hits alone. Together with the several variations of this statement (like “virtually zero friends growing up”), you whining about having no friends in your childhood alone already amounts to >4. And that is just one of the things you were whining about…

          • Luke Breuer

            I just googled the first thing that came to mind in this context: “luke breuer” + “I had no true friends for the first 21 years of my life”, which already yielded four hits alone.

            LOL, list them. I got 2 when I “included omitted results” one http:// and one https:// , both to the following interchange:

            TW: Knowing, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the author of the universe cares about you and has reserved a spot in eternal paradise somehow isn’t cathartic?

            LB: But I don’t know this “beyond the shadow of a doubt”. And what does it mean for “the author of the universe” to care about me? In my own ways, I have had quite the hard life. I had no true friends for the first 21 years of my life. I’ve walked very dark paths. The only “comfort” I can really say I have is that God has given me tasks to do in life that will ultimately be worth the effort, pain and suffering involved. And I often doubt that sufficient reason exists to push forward. I often doubt that anyone will care, that what I build will be of any value to anyone but me. So what is this of “eternal paradise”?

            I doubt many rational people would construe the above as support for “you just love to whine about your terrible childhood”. So, try again.

          • Andy_Schueler
          • Luke Breuer

            TW: Regardless of whether any pain could be redeemed or not (please elaborate on that….)

            LB: I was mocked relentlessly in middle school and high school. I didn’t have a single true friend until I was 21. Life sucked royally and not infrequently, I wanted to just die.

            Ahh yes, someone asks me to articulate on how one can make good come out of pain, and that causes me to talk about pain I experienced and how it turned to good. Surely that is an example of “you just love to whine about your terrible childhood”!

            DR: You are welcome to your heaven. It likely gives Christian’s great joy anticipating this eternal life.

            LB: Thinking about heaven does not give me “great joy”.

            Do you believe me when I say this?

            DR: Hmmm. Sure, I’ll believe you, but it’s kind of hard to imagine. But then the point of this thread is the failure of atheists (who claim not to desire immortality) to imagine{:

            LB: I am an outsider, D Rizdek. I was ostracized by my peers in K–12, I was barely tolerated by the majority of children at the churches I went to, and I had nobody I would really call a “friend” until I was 21. For me, the whole way that “joy” works is, I think, very different from most people. What I long for is very different.

            It couldn’t possibly be the case that I was attempting to help D Rizdek imagine that which he had a hard time imagining. No, instead the best description is: “you just love to whine about your terrible childhood”.

            RR: Niebuhr’s serenity prayer is apropos here:

            LB: I’ve seen that prayer before, and I just took issue with it for the first time. […]

            […]That I may be reasonably happy in this life

            […]Finally, the “reasonably happy”. I’ve had extremely dark times in life. I had zero solid friends for the first 21 years of my life; I was alone for most of it.

            Ahh yes, evidence which challenges the idea that Neibuhr’s serenity prayer is valid. Curiously enough, Randal’s own words challenge the bit I criticized: “We can’t choose what to believe.” But there’s nothing like actual evidence. But no, I couldn’t possibly be engaging in critical discussion about issues that matter; instead the best model is: “you just love to whine about your terrible childhood”.

            How many more do you need?

            I’m not sure I need any more; the pattern you helpful established is any time I say that life sucked, that surely must be an instance of “you just love to whine about your terrible childhood”. There is no possible alternative explanation in your head, as far as I can tell. This little discussion gives good reason to dismiss your imputations of intention and desire. I can make that adjustment.

          • Guys, let’s move away from whining about whining and back to causality please.

          • Luke Breuer

            Does this include denying me the right to defend myself against perceived attempts at character assassination? I will abide by what you command, but I am interested in where you stand on this.

          • I have not really read the interplay on this topic between the two of you: my comment was to both!

          • Luke Breuer

            There is no single “notion of causality that we generally have”. Indeed, there are at least two ways of slicing up notions of causality:

                 (1) omnipresent, timeless laws of nature
                 (2) agents who/which act singularly

            Many scientists of course think (2) reduces to (1). Much turns on what population Jonathan’s “we” (in this quote) draws upon. Next, we have:

                 (A) laws of matter–energy
                 (B) laws of rationality

            Both of these are generally held to have causal force; a simple reduction of (B) to (A) is quite tendentious. People generally want to hold that “reason” ≠ “adaptation to the environment”, for an interesting value of ‘≠’. Thomas Nagel nails it in Mind and Cosmos: the difference is between appearance and reality (75).

            To conflate (1) & (2) and (A) & (B) does a grave disservice to readers. To lump them together with zero acknowledgment this is being done obscures crucial distinctions. So yes, technically Jonathan was correct, but one needs to be more than technically correct in order to communicate enlightening truth. Otherwise all you’re doing is combining symbols in logically valid ways.

          • Andy_Schueler

            There is no single “notion of causality that we generally have”. Indeed, there are at least two ways of slicing up notions of causality

            Doesn´t render this claim:
            “Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.”
            false.

          • Luke Breuer

            JP: This is why this is called contra-causal free will, because it invalidates {the notion of causality that we generally have}[1]. And this is why I reject this idea of free will (LFW). Before you even look at evidence, the logic and philosophy fail. This can be summed up like this:

            {Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.}[2]

            I was focusing on [1]:

            LB: As I pointed out by quoting and explicating Gregory W. Dawes’ Theism and Explanation, there are multiple forms of causation. I accuse you of equivocating.

            You are focusing on [2]:

            LB: … there are multiple forms of causation

            AS: None of which would render this statement:

            JP: Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.

            false. No matter what conception of causality you would substitute for “reason” in this claim, it would always be a true dichotomy.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Then you are just nitpicking / wasting time. Jonathan´s point re LFW remains true no matter which conception of causality you use.

          • Luke Breuer

            Can you define ‘reason’ without including the notion of ’cause’? If you cannot, then I see [1] as absolutely required for [2].

          • Andy_Schueler

            You can use whatever notion of “cause” you want, you can even make up a new one – still won´t change the fact that this:
            “Either something happens for a reason, or it does not.”
            – is a true dichotomy.

          • Right, so whether these reasons and causes are abstract of physical is neither here nor there. All variables are identical and yet @LukeBreuer:disqus believes that that such a scenario can not only give two outcomes, but both can be grounded, AND grounded consciously rationally by the agent.

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  • Elliot George

    What if the ‘die’ was ‘rolling’ in the brain? That is, it was a random nerve impulse. Wouldn’t that confer ‘ownership’?