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Old 08-12-2019, 04:11 AM
Max S. is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
Let's posit for a moment that Joe Blow, individual, at the moment of behavior-selecting, is "determined by the previous state of the universe" as Max S so eloquently expressed it above. And yet there's a consciousness that experiences emotional intensities, the desire for certain outcomes, as monstro in turn describes, also above.
Depending on definition, consciousness may or may not be incompatible with determinism. For instance, the definition I would associate with "consciousness" is incompatible with physicalism (and by extension, physicalist determinism).

Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
We do experience ourselves as thinking, feeling, choosing. We are not an illlusion to ourselves. But perhaps our individual personhood is the illusion.
I am having trouble understanding you from here on. Are you rejecting the existence of other minds - is this a form of solipsism?

But then you get into consciousness as a species in a sociological sense. It is true that we personify groups of people as if the group were one person; I might say Britain eats Dutch bacon, or Britain can't make up her mind about Brexit, as if Britain was a person. I think this is a feature of human thought and language, not evidence that Britain is a person. To say Britain "eats" bacon is to use an entirely different definition than one would use when talking about people.

Perhaps you could say the human race has a consciousness, but it would be a very different kind of consciousness than what I have in mind. Even using a more 'scientific' definition of consciousness, I just don't see the patterns and structure necessary to compare humans/the human race with neurons/the human brain, which is to my knowledge the only reference on consciousness available. There are certainly patterns, as predicted and documented in the social sciences, but these patterns do not hold the confidence necessary for me to say it is a definite thing. Indeed, I think all laws of the social sciences to be heuristics.

But then you must realize that if the behavior of humans is deterministic, the behavior of the human race is also deterministic. That puts us back at square one for the free will question. You seem to recognize this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
Well, perhaps when you extend the question to the whole gamut of universal physical determinism, which could be used to argue that the entire freaking species doesn't have free will either since it's being acted on by the surrounding universe etc, the self is actually present in the whole situation, being purposeful and not merely passively reacting to something non-Self that constitutes an externalia.
But the bolded section makes no sense to me. You are saying the self is present in the whole situation, and I believe "self" in this sentence means the unitary consciousness of the collective human race. But what situation are you talking about? Does the "whole situation" mean 'when the self is being acted on by the surrounding universe etc'? What does it mean for the self to be purposeful and not merely passively reacting, wouldn't that be a rejection of determinism?

This is what I've tried to gleam from your final paragraph:
'When assuming causal predeterminism, it can be argued that the unitary consciousness of the collective human race is without free will. The argument might go: if the individual human self has no free will because its actions are determined by circumstances in the immediate past, then the collective human self has no free will because its actions are determined by circumstances in the immediate past.'
~Max