Compatibilist views on free will: some apparent inconsistencies in approach

Discuss philosophical concepts and moral issues.
The AntiChris
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Post by The AntiChris » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:42 am

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
Hermit;672734 wrote:What is free about it?

As far as anyone can tell, nothing, not one single thing.[/QUOTE]if you mean free from deterministic causality then of course you're right.

But then using that specific meaning of free, the same objection ("what is free about it?") could be levelled against every single use of the word 'free' in the English language.

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:41 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
ruby sparks;672810 wrote:
subsymbolic;672808 wrote:Who cares if it means I definitely get to go left while Laplace goes right?
Sorry, I thought Laplace's demon was only predicting what YOU would do, not making its own choice.

If you don't mean 'goes right' but opts 'right' as its prediction for you, then, that wouldn't happen, if L's Demon could exist (AND the world is fully determined).
Sure, it goes right, because it opts right as its prediction for you. Maths, just like certain stances, isn't just emergent, once you take that stance, there are aspects that follow with their own necessity, which isn't physical but logical necessity. A necessity which is only apparent from a paricular stance. Laplace's demon isn't taking that stance, it's only tracking physical stuff following physical laws. As such it will be blind to any consequences of taking that stance.

Of course, following the laws of logic is no more free or mysterious than being knocked off course by a random event. However, it's another way that the demon is blinded and, I thought, it would be a clear and unambiguous example for a mathematician. I rather hoped that this insight could then be brought across to following the logic of a different stance, an intentional one, that opens the door to following the laws of logic in a more self controlling way...[/QUOTE]

I don't think the universe operates on logic.

I don't have a problem with the intentional stance as a model or description of something we can do. It's a useful capacity for a machine to have, even if it's all happening essentially automatically.
Last edited by ruby sparks on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:04 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:47 am

[quote=""The AntiChris""]
ruby sparks;672751 wrote:
Hermit;672734 wrote:What is free about it?

As far as anyone can tell, nothing, not one single thing.
if you mean free from deterministic causality then of course you're right.

But then using that specific meaning of free, the same objection ("what is free about it?") could be levelled against every single use of the word 'free' in the English language.[/QUOTE]

Possibly.

Note though that free and free will are different: ('The plant seeds floated freely in the air' and 'the plant seeds floated towards the meadow of their own free will').

But, more importantly, you would need to watch out, because you might have to give the parent plants free will.
Last edited by ruby sparks on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:05 am, edited 3 times in total.

The AntiChris
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Post by The AntiChris » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:00 am

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
The AntiChris;672850 wrote:
ruby sparks;672751 wrote:
Hermit;672734 wrote:What is free about it?

As far as anyone can tell, nothing, not one single thing.
if you mean free from deterministic causality then of course you're right.

But then using that specific meaning of free, the same objection ("what is free about it?") could be levelled against every single use of the word 'free' in the English language.
Possibly.

But you would need to watch out, because you might have to give plants free will.[/QUOTE]Why?

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ruby sparks
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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:06 am

It would follow.

ETA: It's where physicist David Deutsch ended up.

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Post by Hermit » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:08 am

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]
Hermit;672734 wrote:What is free about it?
The self is free to act within the map of the external world, which allows the body to be free to act within the external world.[/QUOTE]That would make for a non-oppressive environment rather than a free will of the sort Dennett conceives of. In post #1 he postulates that free will renders a person morally competent (2:57). I don't see that happening by virtue, so to speak, of a self being free to act within the map of the external world.

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Post by subsymbolic » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:22 am

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
subsymbolic;672848 wrote:
ruby sparks;672810 wrote:
subsymbolic;672808 wrote:Who cares if it means I definitely get to go left while Laplace goes right?
Sorry, I thought Laplace's demon was only predicting what YOU would do, not making its own choice.

If you don't mean 'goes right' but opts 'right' as its prediction for you, then, that wouldn't happen, if L's Demon could exist (AND the world is fully determined).
Sure, it goes right, because it opts right as its prediction for you. Maths, just like certain stances, isn't just emergent, once you take that stance, there are aspects that follow with their own necessity, which isn't physical but logical necessity. A necessity which is only apparent from a paricular stance. Laplace's demon isn't taking that stance, it's only tracking physical stuff following physical laws. As such it will be blind to any consequences of taking that stance.

Of course, following the laws of logic is no more free or mysterious than being knocked off course by a random event. However, it's another way that the demon is blinded and, I thought, it would be a clear and unambiguous example for a mathematician. I rather hoped that this insight could then be brought across to following the logic of a different stance, an intentional one, that opens the door to following the laws of logic in a more self controlling way...
I don't think the universe operates on logic.
Nor do I and it's not remotely what I'm claiming
I don't have a problem with the intentional stance as a model or description of something we can do. It's a useful capacity for a machine to have, even if it's all happening essentially automatically.
I think you are underestimating quite how profound a difference taking this particular stance using that particular logical tool can have.

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:24 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]I think you are underestimating quite how profound a difference taking this particular stance using that particular logical tool can have.[/quote]

I am? :)

Whoops sorry, I misread. Thought you said understanding (not underestimating)

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ruby sparks
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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:28 am

It's certainly very sophisticated.

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Post by subsymbolic » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:40 am

[quote=""Hermit""]
Koyaanisqatsi;672773 wrote:
Hermit;672734 wrote:What is free about it?
The self is free to act within the map of the external world, which allows the body to be free to act within the external world.
That would make for a non-oppressive environment rather than a free will of the sort Dennett conceives of. In post #1 he postulates that free will renders a person morally competent (2:57). I don't see that happening by virtue, so to speak, of a self being free to act within the map of the external world.[/QUOTE]

You need to listen more carefully.
'By telling him he didn't have freewill, she pretty much turned his freewill off and turned him into a morally incompetent person'
He's not claiming that free will renders a person morally competent. He's claiming that convincing a person they are not free willed causes them to be less likely to exercise those parts of themselves that are freewilled and thus turns off their moral competence. This is because he thinks what you believe changes how you act. If you have been convinced that you are morally responsible for your actions then why bother trying to control what you do?

Then there's a logical problem: he's talking about a negation. You seem to derive the obverse case. Perhaps you can explain how you achieved that?

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:44 am

It turns off their.... what?

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:00 am

[quote=""ruby sparks""]Sure, it goes right, because it opts right as its prediction for you.[/quote]

Ok, but in that case you don't go left. L's D is just an assumed perfect predictor.

What you do may in fact just be unpredictable. It could still be fully determined (and/or random).

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Post by Hermit » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:00 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
Hermit;672860 wrote:
Koyaanisqatsi;672773 wrote:
Hermit;672734 wrote:What is free about it?
The self is free to act within the map of the external world, which allows the body to be free to act within the external world.
That would make for a non-oppressive environment rather than a free will of the sort Dennett conceives of. In post #1 he postulates that free will renders a person morally competent (2:57). I don't see that happening by virtue, so to speak, of a self being free to act within the map of the external world.
You need to listen more carefully.

[quote=""Hermit""]'By telling him he didn't have freewill, she pretty much turned his freewill off and turned him into a morally incompetent person'[/quote]
He's not claiming that free will renders a person morally competent. He's claiming that convincing a person they are not free willed causes them to be less likely to exercise those parts of themselves that are freewilled and thus turns off their moral competence. This is because he thinks what you believe changes how you act. If you have been convinced that you are morally responsible for your actions then why bother trying to control what you do?

Then there's a logical problem: he's talking about a negation. You seem to derive the obverse case. Perhaps you can explain how you achieved that?[/QUOTE]Um, yeah. "By telling him he didn't have free will she pretty much turned his free will off and turned him into a morally incompetent person" in no way implies that free will enables moral competence. For your next trick I expect you to argue that the obverse of night is not day.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:53 am

[quote=""Hermit""]
Koyaanisqatsi;672773 wrote:
Hermit;672734 wrote:What is free about it?
The self is free to act within the map of the external world, which allows the body to be free to act within the external world.
That would make for a non-oppressive environment rather than a free will of the sort Dennett conceives of. In post #1 he postulates that free will renders a person morally competent (2:57). I don't see that happening by virtue, so to speak, of a self being free to act within the map of the external world.[/QUOTE]

Morality is the judgement of one's actions by the community and/or the individual. If one isn't free to choose their actions, then it's not possible to pass judgment upon them (or the individual committing them), so free will/free agency instantiates the conditions for moral competency axiomatically. Choosing to be morally competent (or not) is then an option for the individual (assuming certain optimal conditions).
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Post by Hermit » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:21 pm

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]
Hermit;672860 wrote:
Koyaanisqatsi;672773 wrote:
Hermit;672734 wrote:What is free about it?
The self is free to act within the map of the external world, which allows the body to be free to act within the external world.
That would make for a non-oppressive environment rather than a free will of the sort Dennett conceives of. In post #1 he postulates that free will renders a person morally competent (2:57). I don't see that happening by virtue, so to speak, of a self being free to act within the map of the external world.
Morality is the judgement of one's actions by the community and/or the individual. If one isn't free to choose their actions, then it's not possible to pass judgment upon them (or the individual committing them)[/QUOTE]Quite so, but
[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]so free will/free agency instantiates the conditions for moral competency axiomatically.[/quote]how does the ability to freely act within the map of the external world imply moral culpability unless free will is presupposed? Doesn't it require the assumption of an agent who could have autonomously chosen to act one way rather than another? To me at least that seems a prerequisite for praise or blame on moral grounds.

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Post by subsymbolic » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:40 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
ruby sparks;672856 wrote:Sure, it goes right, because it opts right as its prediction for you.
Ok, but in that case you don't go left. L's D is just an assumed perfect predictor.

What you do may in fact just be unpredictable. It could still be fully determined (and/or random).[/QUOTE]

No the demon is not. It's assumed that it applies the physical stance such that it knows the state of the universe at T and is able to derive all future states from the physical stance.

Now, where you believe that there is unproblematic reduction and that the level of description is merely a convenience then the demon will be able to predict.

However, where reduction isn't possible, and Banach Tarski is indeed a case like that, then the demon will be blind. The demon doesn't have God like powers, it only knows all the rules of physics and the state of the universe at T from which it is supposed to be able to generate all future states.

Now I completely agree that to the demon and indeed to anyone else, this doesn't make us any more free than randomness does. It just blinds the demon.

That wasn't my point. My point was to use a mathematical example of irreducibility as you find the philosophical ones unpalatable. However, I deliberately used an example based in set theory because this is common to maths and logic.

Now, if taking the intentional stance was also something that followed laws that are not the laws of physics and I rather think it is, then that puts the logical work in exactly the right place, because irrespective of mechanism, Intentional System Theory allows us to predict our own behaviour, in complete ignorance of the processes that make us tick, and then act on those predictions. We act, rationally, that is logically, on our beliefs to bring about our desires. Meanwhile our biology does the same, predictably, based on non conceptualised and entirely predictable physical processes. What we actually do is a fusion of the two. Biology and intentionality. This explains why we have akrasia - our biology pulls in one way, our intentionality in another. You want the sugars and fats in yummy chocolate and yet you also want to conform with the current beauty myth, health advice and so on. Do you really think the word 'want' is being used in the same way here?

So the self is a bicameral synthesis of the two aspects one nomological, the other normative. Now go back and look at your list of what you want from freewill...

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:45 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
ruby sparks;672866 wrote:
ruby sparks;672856 wrote:Sure, it goes right, because it opts right as its prediction for you.
Ok, but in that case you don't go left. L's D is just an assumed perfect predictor.

What you do may in fact just be unpredictable. It could still be fully determined (and/or random).
No the demon is not. It's assumed that it applies the physical stance such that it knows the state of the universe at T and is able to derive all future states from the physical stance.

Now, where you believe that there is unproblematic reduction and that the level of description is merely a convenience then the demon will be able to predict.

However, where reduction isn't possible, and Banach Tarski is indeed a case like that, then the demon will be blind. The demon doesn't have God like powers, it only knows all the rules of physics and the state of the universe at T from which it is supposed to be able to generate all future states.

Now I completely agree that to the demon and indeed to anyone else, this doesn't make us any more free than randomness does. It just blinds the demon.

That wasn't my point. My point was to use a mathematical example of irreducibility as you find the philosophical ones unpalatable. However, I deliberately used an example based in set theory because this is common to maths and logic.

Now, if taking the intentional stance was also something that followed laws that are not the laws of physics and I rather think it is, then that puts the logical work in exactly the right place, because irrespective of mechanism, Intentional System Theory allows us to predict our own behaviour, in complete ignorance of the processes that make us tick, and then act on those predictions. We act, rationally, that is logically, on our beliefs to bring about our desires. Meanwhile our biology does the same, predictably, based on non conceptualised and entirely predictable physical processes. What we actually do is a fusion of the two. Biology and intentionality. This explains why we have akrasia - our biology pulls in one way, our intentionality in another. You want the sugars and fats in yummy chocolate and yet you also want to conform with the current beauty myth, health advice and so on. Do you really think the word 'want' is being used in the same way here? [/quote]

That all sounds fine.

Other than that I think the intentional stance does follow the laws of physics, because there isn't, as far as we know, anything in the real world that isn't constrained to do that.

[quote=""subsymbolic""]So the self is a bicameral synthesis of the two aspects one nomological, the other normative. Now go back and look at your list of what you want from freewill...[/quote]

But what I want from free will is sort of irrelevant. Maybe I want something I can't have. That would certainly seem to be a common want.

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Post by subsymbolic » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:49 pm

[quote=""Hermit""]
subsymbolic;672864 wrote:
Hermit;672860 wrote:
Koyaanisqatsi;672773 wrote: The self is free to act within the map of the external world, which allows the body to be free to act within the external world.
That would make for a non-oppressive environment rather than a free will of the sort Dennett conceives of. In post #1 he postulates that free will renders a person morally competent (2:57). I don't see that happening by virtue, so to speak, of a self being free to act within the map of the external world.
You need to listen more carefully.

[quote=""Hermit""]'By telling him he didn't have freewill, she pretty much turned his freewill off and turned him into a morally incompetent person'
He's not claiming that free will renders a person morally competent. He's claiming that convincing a person they are not free willed causes them to be less likely to exercise those parts of themselves that are freewilled and thus turns off their moral competence. This is because he thinks what you believe changes how you act. If you have been convinced that you are morally responsible for your actions then why bother trying to control what you do?

Then there's a logical problem: he's talking about a negation. You seem to derive the obverse case. Perhaps you can explain how you achieved that?[/QUOTE]Um, yeah. "By telling him he didn't have free will she pretty much turned his free will off and turned him into a morally incompetent person" in no way implies that free will enables moral competence. For your next trick I expect you to argue that the obverse of night is not day.[/QUOTE]

I guess that night and day exhausts the dilemma. Dennett states that:
By telling him he didn't have freewill, she pretty much turned his freewill off and turned him into a morally incompetent person
which is a long way from the claim you make:
he postulates that free will renders a person morally competent
Do you think that exhausts all the possibilities? Is freewill the sufficient condition for being moral? It's certainly necessary, but sufficient. I don't think so.

It's more like:

he removed all of his blood making him dead

and

he postulates that blood renders a person alive.

It's necessary, but not sufficient. Get it?

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Post by subsymbolic » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:54 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
subsymbolic;672874 wrote:
ruby sparks;672866 wrote:
ruby sparks;672856 wrote:Sure, it goes right, because it opts right as its prediction for you.
Ok, but in that case you don't go left. L's D is just an assumed perfect predictor.

What you do may in fact just be unpredictable. It could still be fully determined (and/or random).
No the demon is not. It's assumed that it applies the physical stance such that it knows the state of the universe at T and is able to derive all future states from the physical stance.

Now, where you believe that there is unproblematic reduction and that the level of description is merely a convenience then the demon will be able to predict.

However, where reduction isn't possible, and Banach Tarski is indeed a case like that, then the demon will be blind. The demon doesn't have God like powers, it only knows all the rules of physics and the state of the universe at T from which it is supposed to be able to generate all future states.

Now I completely agree that to the demon and indeed to anyone else, this doesn't make us any more free than randomness does. It just blinds the demon.

That wasn't my point. My point was to use a mathematical example of irreducibility as you find the philosophical ones unpalatable. However, I deliberately used an example based in set theory because this is common to maths and logic.

Now, if taking the intentional stance was also something that followed laws that are not the laws of physics and I rather think it is, then that puts the logical work in exactly the right place, because irrespective of mechanism, Intentional System Theory allows us to predict our own behaviour, in complete ignorance of the processes that make us tick, and then act on those predictions. We act, rationally, that is logically, on our beliefs to bring about our desires. Meanwhile our biology does the same, predictably, based on non conceptualised and entirely predictable physical processes. What we actually do is a fusion of the two. Biology and intentionality. This explains why we have akrasia - our biology pulls in one way, our intentionality in another. You want the sugars and fats in yummy chocolate and yet you also want to conform with the current beauty myth, health advice and so on. Do you really think the word 'want' is being used in the same way here?
That all sounds fine.

Other than that I think the intentional stance does follow the laws of physics, because there isn't, as far as we know, anything in the real world that isn't constrained to do that.

[quote=""subsymbolic""]So the self is a bicameral synthesis of the two aspects one nomological, the other normative. Now go back and look at your list of what you want from freewill...[/quote]

But what I want from free will is sort of irrelevant. Maybe I want something I can't have. That would certainly seem to be a common want.[/QUOTE]

The latter point is certainly true.

The intentional stance clearly follows the laws of logic. Now that you presumably see the force of Banach Tarski, go have another look at anomalous monism. Same 'problem'.

Emergent, irreducible property dualism. It's a thing.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:56 pm

[quote=""Hermit""]
Koyaanisqatsi;672870 wrote:
Hermit;672860 wrote:
Koyaanisqatsi;672773 wrote: The self is free to act within the map of the external world, which allows the body to be free to act within the external world.
That would make for a non-oppressive environment rather than a free will of the sort Dennett conceives of. In post #1 he postulates that free will renders a person morally competent (2:57). I don't see that happening by virtue, so to speak, of a self being free to act within the map of the external world.
Morality is the judgement of one's actions by the community and/or the individual. If one isn't free to choose their actions, then it's not possible to pass judgment upon them (or the individual committing them)
Quite so, but
[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]so free will/free agency instantiates the conditions for moral competency axiomatically.[/quote]how does the ability to freely act within the map of the external world imply moral culpability unless free will is presupposed?[/quote]

Before we had the capacity for abstract thought, there would have obviously been no questions of morality. Our ancestors just shat and fucked (and raped) and killed as a matter of survival/course. The second my fifth-in-line coward picked up that pebble and said, "this me" however would be the second that the concept of morality--choosing one's actions and therefore being responsible for them--would have been instantiated.

Not in any directly applicable sense; just in the laying of the groundwork sense.
Doesn't it require the assumption of an agent who could have autonomously chosen to act one way rather than another?
It doesn't require the assumption of an agent; it merely requires the ability to abstract. We already had the ability to make maps of the external world. All that was missing was the ability to make a map of the individual and impose that map into the maps of the external, but once that ability formed the brain would simply keep using that tool over and over again until it evidently became a primary "user illusion" (and Pinocchio started thinking it was a real boy). A simple layer becomes more and more complex, like the difference between the graphics and interaction in Pong and Halo, but the fundamental principles are the same.

The agent is both the brain (in the sense that it creates the analogues and uses them in its calculations) and the analogues of the individual (in the sense that they are free to act within the maps). So there are effectively two agents, both with purpose, it's just that their respective purposes are different. And because they are ultimately one we get shit like the Trinity. :D
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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:59 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]The latter point is certainly true.

The intentional stance clearly follows the laws of logic. Now that you presumably see the force of Banach Tarski, go have another look at anomalous monism. Same 'problem'.

Emergent, irreducible property dualism. It's a thing.[/quote]

I'm not sure what problem you think I have with that.




ps The first part is arguably true too. :)

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:04 pm

Whoops. dp.

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:05 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]The intentional stance clearly follows the laws of logic. [/quote]

Does it? In what ways? What sort of logic? Surely you're not saying it's infallible?

To me it's a decent strategy. Perhaps better to say 'pretty useful capacity'. Can go awry. Can logic go awry?

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:18 pm

Sub,

perhaps I need to add that I don't feel I need to (or can) accept one form of monism (or dualism or pluralism for that matter) over another. They all probably have their advantages and disadvantages as explanatory models and I don't think any of them is necessarily the right one, as in the one that describes the actual state of affairs in the universe.

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Post by subsymbolic » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:23 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
ruby sparks;672879 wrote:The intentional stance clearly follows the laws of logic.
Does it? In what ways? What sort of logic? Surely you're not saying it's infallible?

To me it's a decent strategy. Perhaps better to say 'pretty useful capacity'. Can go awry.[/QUOTE]

What job do you think rationality is doing in the theory. I don't deny that we can screw up in applying it, but the whole point is that assumes rationality - that we act, on our beliefs to bring about our desires. For IS 'the laws of logic are the laws of thought.

I'm also clear that rationality is physically impossible, but that is what is assumed to apply the IS. You don't assume rationality then the IS fails.

I'll say it again, you will not find any beliefs in the brain and the brain certainly doesn't use any conceptualised processing strategies. It's non conceptual content all the way through.

You say it's a pretty useful strategy, now try to predict or explain behaviour in real time using any other available strategy. I think you are taking the only game in town for granted.

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