Often, when (most typically) defending criminal youth, their advocates will say something like, "This one mistake shouldn't affect the entire rest of his/her life."
What was the "mistake"? Often, it's something like one of these:

Armed robbery of a convenience store.
Assaulting a homeless person.
Driving way too fast and causing an accident.
Killing someone.
Stealing from his employer's inventory.

My problem is that none of these things are actual mistakes. A mistake is, literally, a missed take. A misunderstanding. Understood that way, none of the above crimes are mistakes.

One characteristic of a true mistake is that it involves, in part, a lack of intentionality. Consider some real mistakes:

I go around the house looking for my glasses until I realize to my chagrin that I'm already wearing them.
I ask someone how his father is doing, forgetting that his father had died.
I add 286+37,206 and come up with 37,493.
I show up at Josh's party in street clothes. It turns out to be a costume party.
I am wondering why my key isn't opening my car's door until I realize that it's not my car; it just looks like my car.

Have you ever thought about this? Do you agree with me?

Tags: mistakes

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De facto free will is to free will as "separate but equal" was to actual equality under the law.

Explaining 'why Hawking is wrong' is to 'repeated analogous proclamations that he is wrong' as 'intellectual honesty' is to 'intellectual dishonesty'.

I actually believe that the case for determinism is irrefutable and cancels out any hope for free will.

Hawking's position is not an attempted refutation of cause-and-effect (determinism). You only insist that it is.

I still don't understand you stance on hard determinism and "real choice". If I read your response correctly it seems as though having "real choice" depends on which "level" you are operating. I don't understand what you mean by which level. I'm not sure what level choosing between wine or beer is and if there are levels above or below this ... let alone why exactly this level involves "real choice" and the other(s?) don't. I'm sincerely interested in your theory. Could you explain it a little more clearly/precise?

Debates on free will are often "confused" because the arguments cross an important hierarchy without mention. This article explains.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/09/fr...

@Rogertpiano:

That is actually a decent article Roger, it approaches the subject from another POV.

Thanks for linking it.

Nice article, but it doesn't solve the problem satisfactorily from even an undergraduate term paper level.

We all experience agency as an experience. We experience making choices and feel free in that sense, though not just theory (the application of physical laws in analysis) but actual brain science is telling us that there are processes going on in the background of which we are unaware and also of which we are not in any control whatsoever which not only generate our actions but our experiences of those actions.

I find this explanation really vague. I don't understand what you mean by a "real choice".  At what point do internal processes that we have no control over generate a "real choice". Are we responsible for "real choices"? Could you give us a concrete example of a "real choice" and how it is generated from internal processes we don't control?

"Debates on free will are often "confused""

Yep.

[From the article above...]

"Arguments about free will are mostly semantic arguments about definitions."

... as are, in my opinion, most philosophical debates.

"Debates on free will are often "confused"" Yep. [From the article above...] "Arguments about free will are mostly semantic arguments about definitions." ... as are, in my opinion, most philosophical debates.

I agree. Most debates rooted in the philosophy of classical antiquity are mental masturbation. I mentioned it more than once along the way:

"We are specifically addressing physicist Steven Hawking's operational (empirical) test of human free will. Concepts of determinism and free will that have no empirical basis, no operational test, or no applicable use simply don't interest me. You might as well explore the concept that the solar system is just an atom in the fingernail of a giant."

I don't see much reason to examine 'free will' except on an empirical (scientific) basis. You can explain that to our dear friends who live and work in the land of 'life is but a dream', but be prepared for the standard wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Most debates rooted in the philosophy of classical antiquity are mental masturbation.

It's time for you to learn a different fallacy, and hopefully learn to use it better than the one you're obsessed with. Your new fallacy to look up is "poisoning the well."

I agree that the entire concept of free will is semantic, because people never bother to expose their definition of "will" to discussion. And that goes for the word "will" in "de facto free will." 

What does the word mean there?

Gallup: Most debates rooted in the philosophy of classical antiquity are mental masturbation.
Unseen: It's time for you to learn a different fallacy, and hopefully learn to use it better than the one you're obsessed with. Your new fallacy to look up is "poisoning the well."

You're being rather hard on yourself, Unseen. I don't think you poison the well that much.

Your schtick is the content-free proclamation, wrapped in exaggeration, fabrication and misrepresentation (strawmen) of the position you face. When this is demonstrated, you ignore it and issue another barrage of the same.

For instance, here your proclamation is that my dismantling of your strawmen is substandard ("learn to use it better") and your omitted content is the specifics of when, where, and how my "use" is faulty. Here, your wrappers are exaggeration and misrepresentation: that the high frequency with which I demonstrate your strawmen indicates a flaw on my part ("obsessed") rather than rampant intellectual dishonesty and fallacious reasoning on yours.

Define "will."

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream...

Can anyone recommend a book by a philosopher or scientist who doesn't believe free will exists ... who also goes into more detail than just superficial arguments? Sam Harris's book is nearly empty of deep explanation ... and I can't find anyone in person or online who will explain themselves beyond simple premises.

@ Davis Goodman:

You might get a bit of what you are looking for by acquainting yourself with Daniel Dennett.

He has tried to explain to Sam Harris the flaws in Sam's argument (with little effect).

Sam Harris lost my respect when he jump from the scientist pedestal to the celebrity pedestal. 

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