By HonestDiscussioner

Religion, Philosophy, Politics, and anything else I'd like to talk about


Monday, February 4, 2013

Not Assuming Why

So I am here to accept a criticism. AngryDrunkenTheist, or ADT, argues what I am guilty of the "wife beating" fallacy when I ask why we choose things.

You see, ADT believes in a form of agent causation, that causation flows one way from our conscious minds. And so I asked, "why did they choose that". ADT argues that my questions assumes his premise is false, just like asking "are you still beating your wife" assumes that the individual has beat their wife in the past.

So this is a valid criticism and I withdraw the question.

However . . .

I will be replacing the question with, "Is there a reason for the choice"? Now I am no longer assuming there is a "why", I am merely asking if there is one. The answer, I submit to you, is yes, there is a why and thus no such thing as agent causation. ADT even illustrates some of his own "whys". This is why I brought up the "multiple goals". Agent causation proponents will cite actions that run contrary to goals as evidence for their position, since supposedly only through freedom of will could one do such a thing. What this neglects is that people only act against their own goals when in pursuit of a more important goal. Sometimes it is protecting a loved one, or protecting their code, or even just wanting to try something new. When someone does act against their entire self interest, we generally refer to that individual as clinically insane.

As for the study, ADT asks for it but I did link the study. In both my blog and video. To be fair, I could only find the follow-up study, but it actually wound up being better than the original. What the studies did was look at MRI's while people decided whether to lift their left or right hand. This is the perfect thing, for it does not require any pesky reason, but a true choice of will. If anything would flow from agent causation, it would be this. Now it is true that they didn't get it right 100% of the time, mind you we're basically just monitoring bloodflow, but what the follow-up study showed was that the prediction became more accurate the closer to the decision it was made. Cross this with the Libet study that also showed unconscious precursors that initiated so-called free decisions and we have empirical evidence that what appears to be free choices are in fact determined and even initiated by unconscious processes. Thus there is no such thing as agent causation, your actions are just as caused as the rotations of the planets.


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