MAR 17

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16: MAR 17


  • Dennett, Daniel. Chapter 4: "A Hearing for Libertarianism" Freedom Evolves. (300) (63-97)

Two arguments for resisting Dennett's view

  • Push back on idea that the determinism of the actual world is about causal sufficiency.
  • The possible worlds talk is all in your head. The actual world is the only one we have and everything in it happens from necessity. But note that might not be his problem and might still be compatible with FW.
  • Push back on idea that states of affairs (S(0) etc.) are not somehow causally related. Even if "state descriptions" aren't causal, it isn't false to say the each state of the universe produces the next.

Dennett, Daniel. Chapter 4: "A Hearing for Libertarianism" Freedom Evolves.

  • Characterizes the traditional argument motivating libertarianism:
  • If Det true, no FW. If no FW, no MR.
  • If we think of states of affairs as causing other states of affairs (something he argued against in C2), then we need a break in the causal matrix, a GAP, to own our action, saving FW and MR.
  • Mentions, but leaves aside "unrepentant dualists" (feel free to explore these), who try to give accounts of "agent causation" . By contrast Kane is a naturalist like Dennett.
  • Kane's goal. To show that we can be the "ultimate creator and sustainer of our ends and purposes"
  • Where should we put the gap?

  • i. desire
  • ii. rational will
  • iii. striving will
  • gap goes somewhere bt i and ii. Case of Business woman, two neural clouds around "stay" or "go".
  • 105: a little background on chaos. Old debate about AI. Are "hardware neural networks" (in which the indeterminacy is modelled physically v. virtually) non-algorithmic? Yes, but this feature of hardware neural nets doesn't explain their powers since they can also be modelled in a computer, which is algorithmic (computational) at the physical level.
  • Point: D is criticizing Kane for confusing chaos with indeterminism. The point about neural nets raises the question: Will the indeterminacy (non-computational moment) in Kane's theory really do any work?
  • Kane's Model of Indeterministic Decision-making

  • Basic model: If we can introduce a gap of quantum indeterminacy into your decision making than we can say about some of your acts that at some moment "t" you could have done otherwise. Moreover, in the context of practical reasoning, it is plausible to think that these acts are "self-forming acts" and yours.
  • 108: Input-Output model: "striving will" is a kind of "resistance". Look at cases. Clarify notion of "clutch". weakness of the will.
  • Do we put the clutch inside or outside? Memory inside or outside? Randomizer inside or outside? If these outside us, then the are part of the input (or after the output in the case of deciding right and not doing it) and 'determining' us. If inside, then they don't determine us? But we just moved the boundary.
  • You could "send out" for randomness, but that's like flipping a coin. Would that make it not "determining"you?
  • 115: Kane's model is focused on deliberative choice, but D raises questions about how to draw that line. A habit can be acquired deliberately. Case of strangling the dentist.
  • Kane allows for some determinism in his model, which helps account for the case of Martin Luther.
  • SFAs can enter into subsequent deterministic processes (such as one leading to Luther's statement) and still be "ours". (Note how far we are from Strawson at this point! Ultimate Responsibility is weaker here.)
  • Kane's principle of alternative possibilities. (AP) and discussion of "t" 118-121
  • Kane's ultimacy requirement. (U). You can only be MR for something, if you are MR for everything that was a sufficient condition for that. SFAs satisfy U. read at 122. (I still don't have a clear way to say this.)
  • If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything.

  • How do you get the indeterminacy to be "inside" us? Echoes of idea of "Cartesan theater" (wiki notefrom Consciousness Explained). Doesn't exist, but philosophers invoke it in discussion of consciousness.
  • Kane's solution: "plural rationality" Imagine two sets of reasons around a decision, both of which you "own" or endorse. (not sure about D's skepticism at 125). K's intuition: in such cases we are working with potential choices that are "ours". The indeterminancy doesn't imply that the outcome is a fluke.
  • 126: Big Criticism (made in next section): Kane's "incremental self-making" is a version of FW worth having, but you don't need indeterminacy to get it.
  • Beware of Prime Mammals
  • Point of fallacy: result of a desire for a regress stopper, but that is only needed because you assume essentialism. Kane thinks SFAs are regress stoppers because the gap breaks the chain of causation to the past. You could have done otherwise and it still would be you.
  • D: SFAs are prime mammals. The key to stopping the regress, but not discernable or discoverable, possibly because there is no such thing. 127: no way to tell a real SFA from pseudo. Oppenheimer: like speication events, only discernable retrospectively. Luther1 and Luther2.
  • Kane's defense might be that it is a problem in the world that it is hard to discern. But then: Why should metaphysically unknowable features count more than discernable ones (upbringing, abuse, etc.)?
  • As in the prime mammal fallacy, events in the distant past are not up to me, but events in the recent past might be and this gives me room to extend a self. (This would apply to Strawson as well, I think.)