Emergence (Evolution)

by romansh ⌂ @, Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 18:12 (92 days ago) @ dhw

dhw You raised the subject of emergence in the context of free will, under the title “Emergence: not understood”. Free will would be impossible without consciousness, and I have tried to explain what I understand by consciousness emerging from the cells. I still don’t see what this has to do with the existence or otherwise of free will.

If I raised the free will subject in this thread it was just the link in my argument for "emergence" not being understood.

dhw Atheism: the belief that God does not exist. Theism: belief in the existence of God or gods. (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English) I have neither belief. What is your point?

Yes that is a definition ... but perhaps this wiki article might help.
Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.
And if you recall this this was part of the discussion of how lacking a belief in free will is similar to lacking a belief in god. We nevertheless go about behaving as these things are true of false (as the case maybe).

dhw I do not pray or give thanks to any deity. I simply do not know if there is such a thing. If there is, it may well be blind and uncaring. What is your point?

My point is by some common uses of the word you behave as an atheist. ie lack belief in a god.

dhw I still don’t know what is your point!

I don't know which horse is going to win a race but I have been known to make a bet.
Are you seriously telling me if someone but a gun to your head and said make bet or else you would not come down on one side or the other?

dhw So you want to define free will out of existence and stop the debate!

And that is like saying you just want to continue the debate. Really dhw?

dhw You have indeed defined free will out of existence.

Only if that were true ... there is the god given free will that people believe in and the libertarian free will ... eg Kant and James. Incidentally Kant described compatibilism as "word jugglery" and a "a wretched subterfuge" and James thought of it as "quagmire of evasion".

dhw You might as well say that if we had never existed (no universe, no life), or if there was nothing to choose from (no environment), we could not have had free will, and so free will does not exist. And yet you claim that compatibilists “change the definition” as if your definition was “the” definition.

Your rhetoric escapes me here.

dhw The basic premise before we even begin such a discussion is that we do exist and there are choices.

Yes and its the nature of our existence and choices that is under discussion.

dhw ... so it is “I” and no one and nothing else that makes the choice.

I don't think this bit necessarily follows. Where do you draw a line around yourself? When you say "I" what exactly do you mean by that? Is it some ephemeral soul, is it the bacteria speaking to you from your stomach?

dhw The issue is controversial, and a definition should not exclude one side or the other.

In what way is it controversial? Most people seem to believe that at least in part they can exist outside of the causal mesh. Even though they believe they can use the very same mesh to get things done. If we believe we are immersed in the causal mesh, then we have to come to the conclusion that our thoughts and actions are a product of that mesh. Unless of course we believe we are are somehow separate from that mesh.


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