Joined: Sep. 2007
|Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 18 2010,09:54)|
|The argument over free will assumes there is an agent separate from the physical body (brain/mind).|
Any system, whether human or animal, mechanical or biological, whose behavioral tendencies are modified by experience could be said to have free will.
If you analyze less stupid cases than the baby in the microwave, the issues can be made clearer. Suppose the decision is whether to eat a second donut.
The decision rests on the consequences, pleasure vs weight gain. Humans seem to have the ability to observe themselves weighing the consequences, so we "feel" like we are making a decision.
But many animals can be observed weighing consequences. Cats or dogs deciding whether to approach a strange human, for example.
The weighing of consequences is a major part of what brains do. The ability to weigh consequences obviously exists on a continuum, correlated with brain size and structure.
Morality is not a special case. It merely invokes its own set of consequences, some learned through socialization and some hard wired as a result of evolution.
I suspect the hard wired part varies from individual to individual, just like other traits. We have laws because some people lack compassion and empathy. Most people would gain no pleasure from microwaving a baby, and considerable pain. For those who lack this internal compass, we have laws and all-seeing sky-daddies.
I don't understand--are you saying there is free will or not? I'm saying there is and have offered a model. It may be a crappy model, but people should say, a la Provine, that there is no free will, or they should say there is, and offer a model for how it operates. If they are pure naturalists, their model, obviously, must have only natural causes.
I don't think your example was "less stupid" than the baby in the microwave, which was to demonstrate moral inability not free will (perhaps I wasn't clear) and I don't think your example of the donut makes anything clearer.
Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not. The mystic has recognized something about the nature of consciousness prior to thought, and this recognition is susceptible to rational discussion. The mystic has reason for what he believes, and these reasons are empirical. --Sam Harris