I don't understand why the 'free will' thing keeps popping back up again and again. Either you don't have it or you do and it will not change the way you behave. If you suddenly learned that you do not possess 'free will' will you just out of a window???? Are you not going to put bad people in prison????? Or are you going to just continue doing what you have been doing???? What would the universe look like if it was not predictable or only predictable to a variable degree? Can you imagine such a universe? 

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Free will doesn't appear real to me. I believe it's simply another ploy of the ego to prop up the illusion of its existence. However, I pretend I have it as I don't know how to live without it.

You don't know how to live without believing in it. This is true of all of us, I think. But it's one of the many illusions we live with. People who can give up the notion of a magical sorcerer (God) find it hard to give up the notion of free will—a religious idea, meant to allow for blame and praise, sin and sainthood, concepts which are hard for even atheists to give up. And of course, being a determinist, I know that atheists will give them according to conditions in their brain.

The only escape from believing that we are subject to the laws of the physical universe is to go back to believing in a spiritual (and religious) entitity: the soul.

Until someone actually presented the term to me, I never even considered the existence of such nonsense. If the whole notion went away I would nor miss it. How would I live without it? The same way I live without a "god" - just the same. :)

Yes, freedom from the physical laws of nature and belief in God are both illusions or myths.

Philosophers don't do science. Scientists do.  And if in the heart of a scientists lurks a philosopher then that is all just peaches and cream.  But they aren't practicing philosophy and they are not making important discoveries using philosophy.  They are doing this all using science.

Take an example: Is string theory science or not? Once you ask that question, science is helpless. This question goes into the ballpark of the very healthy branch of philosophy called the philosophy of science.

You see, philosophy doesn't only discuss the existence of God, whether we have free will, whether matters like goodness and beauty really mean anything, it also examines the principles of science which, perhaps strangely, is not a field in science. Scientists just have science dropped in their laps, and only the best scientists take time off from practicing science to try to understand the principles underlying science. This is where the philosopher of science comes in.

Whenever you examine a field's basic principles, you leave that field and enter philosophy, which is why philosophy is well and good, thank you. You strike me as someone who dismisses philosophy a priori, without even becoming terribly familiar with it.

That's piss-poor epistemology, if you ask me.

Take an example: Is string theory science or not? Once you ask that question, science is helpless. This question goes into the ballpark of the very healthy branch of philosophy called the philosophy of science.

 

Bullshit.  Science is not "helpless".  We know what science is and what it is not.  How absurd.  As far as the question itself?  That depends on who you ask.  Since it never gets past mathematical speculation, many I agree with would say no.  Doing science requires working through the scientific method.  String Theory can't do that. And furthermore, the basis of the speculation for it is dodgy at best.  You can ruminate about Russell's teapot all you want, but you are not doing cosmology.

 

Scientists just have science dropped in their laps, and only the best scientists take time off from practicing science to try to understand the principles underlying science. This is where the philosopher of science comes in.


More bollocks.  Are you really suggesting that scientists don't know or take the time to understand the underlying principles in their field of study?  Or in science in general? Are you serious? Do you even know how much foundational work and education they must achieve before they ever even begin to specialize?  And guess what?  Philosophy courses are not required at all! 

 

That's piss-poor epistemology, if you ask me.

 

How ironic.


It sounds like you really want philosophy to be something more than what it is.  But, again, I reiterate, as a method for discovery about the universe, it is no longer useful. If it were, you would have had more to offer than string theory as something philosophy has brought to the scientific table, which was actually developed by theoretical physicists and not philosophers.

Bullshit.  Science is not "helpless".  We know what science is and what it is not.

And yet, as you admit, string theory has both proponents and detractors. It's helpless to get past this impasse in which some scientists see it as scientific and others do not.
 

Are you really suggesting that scientists don't know or take the time to understand the underlying principles in their field of study?  Or in science in general? Are you serious? Do you even know how much foundational work and education they must achieve before they ever even begin to specialize?  And guess what?  Philosophy courses are not required at all!

Having taken a post graduate philosophy of science course audited by several post graduate science and engineering students, I can tell you that they learned that they had very poor backgrounds in the evolution of scientific methods and the principles underlying science such that they started out as skeptics and by the end were asking their respective departments to give them credit for the course. Most scientists, I have learned, pick up scientific method and logic by the seat of the pants along the way. They absorb it.


It sounds like you really want philosophy to be something more than what it is.  But, again, I reiterate, as a method for discovery about the universe, it is no longer useful. If it were, you would have had more to offer than string theory as something philosophy has brought to the scientific table, which was actually developed by theoretical physicists and not philosophers.

Actually, you won't admit that philosophy is more than the straw man you portray. As I've said, I maintain that theoretical scientists are doing philosophy. Not ancient philosophy or renaissance philosophy or 19th century philosophy. They are doing philosophy as its done in the 20th/21st century world. When a scientist speculates about possibilities (brainstorms), he's doing philosophy. It's only when he turns to proving his conclusions that he drops the cloak of the philosopher and takes on the cloak of the pure scientist.

But even then, he's using logic, which is a branch of philosophy. And mathematics, which is a subset of logic.

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