Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Topics for Exam 2 (Summer B)

Chapter 3

Causal Determinism (every event has a cause that makes it happen + laws of nature) and
Hard determinism (the doctrine that there are no free actions). Hard determinism assumes that if CD is true, then there are no free actions because as our bodies made up of matter, we must be subjects to the same laws of causation. In class we discussed an argument to problematize HD. If HD is true, then there is no human responsibility: i.e., if we are not free, we cannot be responsible for our actions (since one is responsible if and only if one can make choices). 

Indeterminism: Is the view that certain events are not caused deterministically. That is, since the advent of quantum mechanics and according to the Copenhagen interpretation, the most basic constituents of matter can behave indeterministically. But if that was the case, there is not freedom either, that is, if my brain event is caused by a probabilistic event, and not my own causing it.

Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are not mutually exclusive.
Soft determinism: Determined actions can nevertheless be free. 

1- Traditional Compatibilism (Free actions are 1- caused by one's will and 2- not externally constrained). The reasoning is this:

Principle of alternative possibilities:  one can be held responsible for doing something only if one could have done otherwise. "could have done otherwise" means "if you had chosen otherwise, then you would have done otherwise." Think of our "fork-example" of a student being late for class. He chooses ( A) "having coffee with lots of traffic," instead of (B) "not having coffee and no traffic." For Traditional Compatibilism the student is responsible for being late since "if he had choosen (B) instead of (A), he would have been on time for class. 

C/E "Taylor's Ingenious Physiologist. In class we discussed how TV can "plant" desires. So in a way is a kind of ingenious physiologist.

2- "Hierarchical Compatibilism: First and Second Order Desires; Second Order Volitions. Remember: A first order desire is directed to an object or state of affairs, a second order desire is a desire about a desire, a second order volition is a second order desire on which wants to act. 

Harry Frankfurt's three drug addicts: Let's call a first order desire: FOD, a second order desire: SOD, a second order volition: SOV. So we get the following:  

Wanton addict: FOD, not SOD, not SOV, not free. 
Happy Addict: FOD, SOD, SOV, free.
Unwilling Addict: FOD, SOD (only this desire is against his taking the drug), SOV, but now he cannot act on these SOV, so he's not free). Remember, to be free one has to either formulate a SOV or be able to act on it. 

C/E to Hierarchical Compatibilism: Slote's Hypnotized patient and The Willing Bank Teller. One proves that SOV can be manipulated from the inside. The other shows rthat SOV can be manipulated beyond our control. 

Punishment: How do compatibilists see punishment? p. 203. Punishment cannot be  retributive (eye-for-an-eye). The only legitimate way of punishment is rehabilitation and deterrence. Criminal actions are dictated by genes and habits (nature and nurture). Retributive punishment makes sense if it's deserved. But nothing people do is up to them.

Event and Agent Causation. Event---> event or Agent---> event.

Libertarianism holds that agents can cause events. How? Remember we talked about the possibility that the mind causes the brain. There are two arguments:

Argument from Experience. Argument from deliberation.

Libet's Neurophysiological challenge: it seems to show that consciousness of a decision arises only after the decision has already been made (the 300 millisecond gap between the decision to press the button and the brain signal). Rebuttal by libertarians: There's a difference between making a "conscious decision" and a "meta-conscious decision" (meta-conscious awareness is second order). For the libertarian, the subject in Libet's report is not having a "conscious" but a "meta-conscious" decision. So it's no surprise that it happens "after" the conscious decision was made.


Radical Libertarianism (Existentialism): Jean-Paul Sartre's kind of libertarianism (known as Existentialism) holds that the self is essentially free. His analysis is ontological. Let's begin with this point about essence & existence: 

"l'existence précède l'essence," i.e., existence precedes essence

We exist first, and are "defined" later. This happens because the self (l'être) is in a constant state of becoming (devenir).

For the purpose of the analysis, there are two kinds of being:

being-for-itself: l'être-pour-soi. main property: being for itself, which is essentially "a freedom that chooses" (une liberté qui choisit).  
being in itself: l'être-en-soi, which is fundamentally without qualification (sans nuance).

To cope with this heavy "weight" of our own FREEDOM we come up with a sort of justification which Sartre calls "bad faith" or mauvaise foi. However, since not choosing is choosing, in the end we remain responsible for our actions. 

The only possible constraint to our freedom is our facticity (the stuff we don't choose, like being born and having a certain name and parents).

Chapter 4

Numerical identity: Two objects are identical if they are one and the same.  
Qualitative Identity: Two objects are qualitatively identical if they share the same properties (qualities).
Accidental property:  a property a thing can lose without ceasing to exist (losing one's hair).
Essential property: A property a thing cannot lose without ceasing to exist (losing one's mind).

Is numerical identity a necessary condition for qualitative identity? Read p. 246.
The answer is  NO.

personp= a being with 1. reason, 2. sentience, 3. autonomy, 4. free will?
if so, then a human being (hb)  is neither a necessary, nor a sufficient condition for a person. a hb with severe hydrocephanlia may not be a person, a brain-dead hb is not a person. on the other hand, there are non-human persons, ex. dolphins, or aliens (aliens are causally possible persons). 
transgender logic:

gender (self, socially-constructed)  ≠ sex (biological)

so, a bioman can be a female (or genderqueer) and a biowoman can be a male (or genderqueer

Animalism: Identical persons are those with identical human bodies (i,e., "I'm my body").
Problems: two-in-one, (Hensel sisters), the "transgender issue".
C/E: Locke's tale of the prince and the cobbler (as the cobbler and the prince trade souls, their bodies become redundant).

Soul Theory: Identical persons are those who share the same soul. ("I'm my soul"). C/E: The main argument against the soul theory is that there is nothing about the soul theory that one cannot already explain much better by referring to people's behaviors (or character).

2. Locke's Memory Theory of Personal Identity: (I am my memories and my memories are the result of my experiences). Problem: What if one forgets? Is that forgotten part still a part of my identity? Reid’s Tale of the Brave Officer reveals the following: Direct memory: A memory that a person can consciously recall. Indirect memory: A memory that an earlier stage of that person can consciously recall. 

Real memory: A memory of an event that was experienced by the person remembering it and that was caused by the event it records. Apparent memory: A memory of an event that either didn't happen or was not caused by the event it records.

C/E The main objection against Locke's memory theory is that Locke's Memory Theory is circular. Why? It defines memories in terms of the self and the self in terms of its memories.

3. Psychological Continuity Theory: Identical persons are those who are psychologically continuous to one another. That is to say, two people are psychologically continuous if they form part of an overlapping series of persons that quasi-remember and quasi desire the same things. 

See it as a sausage-like figure representing one's overlapping series of persons:

                                                       past             now          future

A note about the relationship between q-memories and personal identity:

What  is the difference between quasi-memory and real memory? Take a look at p. 297 (4th Ed) and p. 275 (5th Ed) : A q-memory is an apparent memory caused in the right way by an actual experience. 
Remember, an apparent memory is the memory of an event that either didn't happen, or was not caused by the event it records.

Parfit defines q-memory as follows: I have an accurate quasi-memory of a past experience if
(1) I seem to remember having an experience,
(2)someone did have this experience, and
(3) my apparent memory is causally dependent, in the right kind of way, on that past experience.

Can I have a memory of someone else's experience? The answer seems to be yes. 

So, all real memories are q-memories but not all q-memories are real memories, because people can have q-memories of experiences they didn't actually have. Why is it so important that q-memories are caused in the right way?  Because q-memories ground personal identity, though not every way of causing memories is identity preserving. Take hypnosis: the hypnotists may give you a memory that happened to someone else. That doesn't make you identical to that person.  

The same applies to desires, so, in the same way we have apparent desires, q-desires and actual desires:

Problems with duplication:C/E: William’s Reincarnation of Guy Fawkes; Williams' Reduplication Argument. The conclusion from this experiment is that psychological continuity is one-to-many, not one-to-one. That is to say, one can be psychologically continuous to many people at once. C/E Parfit Teletransporter Mind Experiment. Recall that in the second teleporter Po (on earth) and Pc (in Mars) are psychologically continuous, physically identical, but they cannot be the same person (it violates the principle of numeric identity: one person cannot be in two places at the same time). It also suggests that (as when Po dies of cardiac arrest, the Pc survives, which seems to suggest that identity is not necessary for survival.

4. Brain Theory: Identical persons are those who are psychologically continuous with one another and whose psychology is caused by and realized in the same brain. C/E: Parfit’s Division. Triplets, A,B,C. A's brain is transplanted into B & C and A dies. The surviving brothers (A and B) are now physically identical and psychologically continuous with one another. So, if your brain can be divided, the brain theory is flawed.

5. Two different narratives of the self

1- diachronic: The diachronic presents the different stages of the life as part of a continuous series.
2- episodic. The episodic sees the different stages as discontinuous series.

This doesn't mean that the episodic narrative cannot make sense of one's whole life. 

Take a look at the example of Robert and Frank (p. 265, 4th Ed., p. 246 5th Ed.). If Frank and Robert are different persons it would be wrong to punish a person for what another person did. Some in the class affirmed they are the same, but that's what we needed to prove. In any case, the Frank-Robert case points to the self as a process.

Lucifer and Satan case. Are Lucifer and Satan they the same? Qualitatively speaking no (one is good, the other evil), however, they are numerically identical. Plus, Satan has quasi-memories and quasi desires of Lucifer. So, it's possible that another person (let's call it "X") in the future of Satan could repent of Satan's sins. "X" could do it since "X" would be psychologically connected to both Satan and Lucifer.

The same way that a the mind is a property that emerges from a physical thing when it reaches a certain degree of complexity, similarly, the self can be seen as emerging from the mind when it reaches a certain degree of complexity. Not everything that has a mind has a self because not everything that is conscious is self-conscious. And not everything that is self-conscious is self-conscious to the same degree. So, Having a self is not an all-or-nothing affair.  

The self seems to be self-organizing. What does that mean? A self-generating process.

6. Self as PROCESS.

What does it mean to say that the self is "a process." Let's recall Sartre's motto: l'pour soi n'est pas ce qu'il est, il est ce qu'il n'est pas ("identity is not what it is and it is what it is not"). The self is in constant  de-venir (or be-coming). We are never fully "realized" as self. You constantly find out more of yourself as you live. That "void" is constantly filled, according to Sartre by your freedom.

To exist is to be free,  in constant negation of your past and future self. 

7. Relationship between identity and responsibility.

Is personal identity a necessary condition for responsibility? No. Why? 

We have to talk about character, which is a function of our beliefs, desires, values, etc. 
Can a person change his/ her character? Remember the differences between Frank and Robert. Though Frank and Robert are numerically identical, they don't have the same character (they are qualitatively different). Yes, they are numerically identical, but their degrees of responsibility have to be taken into consideration. This is the idea behind rehabilitation. Parole boards take into account that if the character of a person changes for the better, the individual's so-called righting the wrong. 

What matters for responsibility is character. Character being a function of our beliefs, desires, values, etc and our actions being a function of our character. So numeric identity seems to be neither a necessary condition nor sufficient condition for responsibility. What matters is sameness of character.  

What is character?

1- since it's observed behavior, character is public.
2- character can change, but it's more a persistent trait.
3- character is a negotiation between witnesses.  people may agree or disagree about a person's character or aspects of her character.
4- character can change (slowly).

Unity of the self

8- Though having a unified self may be a necessary condition for being a moral agent, it may not be a necessary condition for being a person. Why? Take for instance, multiple personality disorder individuals. they are persons. however their selves are far from being unified.

So, though all moral agents may be persons, not all persons may be moral agents (and here I'm thinking not only of certain human persons, but also non-human persons, i.e., dolphins and apes).    

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