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#15040773
This has been a recurring thought through my adult life, as it feels like the real issue of free will in the decision making process where I might have influences intervene such that I do things that are in some sense no authentic.
http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Mail/xmcamail.2015-06.dir/pdf9UQ7dqv45X.pdf
In our common sense conception, will presents itself to us as a capacity, a power vested within ourselves. This power (located in the soul according to Descartes) is set apart from the world of matter upon which we act, as an independent force. Coupled to this everyday common-sense conception of freedom is the idea that free will is the unencumbered pursuit of the objects of desire – ‘free to consume what I like’. Presupposed here is that what-I-am is what-I-desire (my identity is an outcome of my consumption patterns). There is little thought that desires may not be genuinely my own, i.e. not my own in the sense that they determine me externally

The concern of external influences making me suspicious of my own desires, wondering to what extent can one choose their own desires rather than merely choose to fulfill them.
Where my desires are clearly tied to culture and is structured although it may feel quite private.
https://www.cla.purdue.edu/academic/english/theory/psychoanalysis/lacandesire.html
Desire, in other words, has little to do with material sexuality for Lacan; it is caught up, rather, in social structures and strictures, in the fantasy version of reality that forever dominated our lives after our entrance into language. For this reason, Lacan writes that "the unconscious is the discourse of the Other." Even our unconscious desires are, in other words, organized by the linguistic system that Lacan terms the symbolic order or "the big Other." In a sense, then, our desire is never properly our own, but is created through fantasies that are caught up in cultural ideologies rather than material sexuality. For this reason, according to Lacan, the command that the superego directs to the subject is, of all things, "Enjoy!" That which we may believe to be most private and rebellious (our desire) is, in fact, regulated, even commanded, by the superego.


In the Spinoza line of thought, it seems to be about being able to determine our selves rather than the absence of any external determinations.
Because a free will that is uninfluenced is clearly a false one that doesn't explain the nature of any real existing individual. But then we're also not strictly subject to the laws of matter and motion when we don't reduce the higher mental functions to lower ones, such that all of emotion becomes reduced to physiological descriptions or consciousness reduced to brain states.
So how do we determine our own desires, and how do we control ourselves such that we're not subject to the whims of the environmental pressures in any circumstance, such that I have a will to do things in spite of any distractions. And what is it should I desire? It seems in capitalism I should desire what ever I want freely as long as it doesn't in that direct instant pass some line of harm.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/macintyre2.pdf
In each of the historical settings that MacIntyre investigates, he is able to show that the type of justice and the type of rationality which appears to the philosophical spokespeople of the community to be necessary and universal, turns out to be a description of the type of citizens of the community in question. Accordingly, the justice of liberalism and the rationality of liberalism is simply that justice and that rationality of the “citizens of nowhere” (p. 388), the “outsiders,” people lacking in any social obligation or any reason for acting other than to satisfy their desires and to defend the conditions under which they are able to continue satisfying their desires. Their rationality is therefore that of the objects of their desire.

But if I make desire problematic by doubting it, I then pose the ranking of certain desires.
https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/v/i.htm#virtue
In ethics, virtue answers the question “What is the right sort of person to be?”, in contrast to duty, which answers the question “What is the right thing to do?”.

Bourgeois ethics is exclusively an ethics of duty. Problems of bourgeois ethics centre on moral dilemmas in which a person must determine the right course of action; but it is never asked whether it is right that someone should value this or that thing, whether they should want some particular thing in the first.

For example, utilitarianism, the dominant ethics of bourgeois society, takes for granted the lowest kind of selfishness and greed, and seeks to prove that the general good will arise from the ethical pursuit of selfish needs.

Socialist ethics, by contrast, are essentially an ethic of virtue, being primarily concerned with the kind of needs and the kind of desires which may lead to a better life and a better world.

https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/brenkert.htm
However, there is another understanding of morality which should not be forgotten. This is the sense of morality in which morality is linked with certain virtues, excellences, or flourishing ways of living. In this sense, morality is not primarily concerned with rules and principles, but with the cultivation of certain dispositions or traits of character. This view has been expressed in this way: ‘The moral law ... has to be expressed in the form, “be this”, not in the form, “do this” ... the true moral law says “hate not”, instead of “kill not”...... the only mode of stating the moral law must be a rule of character.’ [28]

Where we might judge my character if I didn't kill someone but I desired as much, I may not do anything that crosses a certain line but I perpetually spew hate on others.

What do you want and why?
#15040776
Wellsy wrote:What do you want and why?


I want a pastrami sandwich from Katz's Deli in New York City. Why? Because they're fuckin' great, that's why.

So, my girl and I are flying to New York tomorrow to get one...
#15040829
Wellsy wrote:In our common sense conception, will presents itself to us as a capacity, a power vested within ourselves. This power (located in the soul according to Descartes) is set apart from the world of matter upon which we act, as an independent force.


Since I reject the duality of body and mind, the entire construct based on its assumption is erroneous.
#15040830
Atlantis wrote:Since I reject the duality of body and mind, the entire construct based on its assumption is erroneous.

If you reject Cartesian duality and opt for some sort of monism, the problem of desires being externally determined or self-determined arises.
In the Cartesian duality, there is no question of your desires being your own as they are outside the influence of the external and finite, it simply is.
So the issue of desire as authentically one's own or not isn't based on a duality but in Spinoza's emphasis of the will not as outside determination (abstract/metaphysical) but that it is determined and the quality of it's determination is what is pivotal to a free or externally determined will.

Simply put, if you think the question is based on Descartes' ontological distinction between mind and matter, then you have misunderstood me/the subject.
#15040862
As usual, everything these thinkers say has to be tempered with reason. I like Jacques Lacan and many others that Marxists commonly refer to, but you've really got to be careful about not taking these things too far; when you try to explain everything through the lense of Lacanian psychoanalysis you will come to some weird and IMHO wrong conclusions.

Excellent post though nonetheless.

The answer to your question is..both and neither, even if that sounds illogical and crazy.

One examole of tempering things:

"For example, utilitarianism, the dominant ethics of bourgeois society, takes for granted the lowest kind of selfishness and greed, and seeks to prove that the general good will arise from the ethical pursuit of selfish needs.

Socialist ethics, by contrast, are essentially an ethic of virtue, being primarily concerned with the kind of needs and the kind of desires which may lead to a better life and a better world."

I've always argued that the needs of others should be primary. But we have (to try) and take care of ourselves before we can look after anyone else, so a degree of self preservation is required as well.

Just pointing this out... it's probably been covered a million times in a million different ways and I'm not communicating my point even 1/16th as eloquently as real thinkers.. :)
#15040864
Of course my desires are my own. Who else's would they be? :p

I desire a motorcycle ride... That's me. I am desiring something.
#15040865
Godstud wrote:Of course my desires are my own. Who else's would they be? :p

I desire a motorcycle ride... That's me. I am desiring something.


C'mon GS, you're a clever sort. You can do way better.

Don't you think you might just a teensy bit be subconsciously influenced by a wide variety of factors over your whole life?

EX: What made you get into motorbikes? Are you surrounded by them? Was such cultural phenomenon a big thung when you woz a wee nipper?

See?

Just like Big Steve is a new yoiker..it's part of da culture bruv, it's engrained, hence why he desires it (who wouldn't, it's delish..). 8)
#15040868
Our desires might be influenced by the subconscious, but they are our own. We're the one deciding to act on them, or are we discussing every whimsy that enters our head?
#15040873
Our desires and needs are determined by our environment, and interaction with it. Of course they are OURS, since we are the ones who will act to get them.
#15040874
Ok, what do you think of this then?

"However, there is another understanding of morality which should not be forgotten. This is the sense of morality in which morality is linked with certain virtues, excellences, or flourishing ways of living. In this sense, morality is not primarily concerned with rules and principles, but with the cultivation of certain dispositions or traits of character. This view has been expressed in this way: ‘The moral law ... has to be expressed in the form, “be this”, not in the form, “do this” ... the true moral law says “hate not”, instead of “kill not”...... the only mode of stating the moral law must be a rule of character.’ [28]"

Personally, it seems to me that both morals and the concrete result of actions should both matter equally; and both should be taken into account.

There's a lot of intriguing stuff in his post don't you think?
#15040875
You can't really police morality(thought), whereas you can police action.

When there's a crime, it's a concrete result of an action. You can't know the thinking unless you go very much deeper, and we can't police thought.

They often do take into account morality in how society makes its rules. We say that certain actions are not "moral" and thus illegal. The resulting action is more important to prevent, than the thinking behind it.

Yes, it's definitely food for thought.
#15040988
Presvias wrote:As usual, everything these thinkers say has to be tempered with reason. I like Jacques Lacan and many others that Marxists commonly refer to, but you've really got to be careful about not taking these things too far; when you try to explain everything through the lense of Lacanian psychoanalysis you will come to some weird and IMHO wrong conclusions.

I certainly don't understand Lacan's framework, but am using some of the points about desire being structured by ideology instead of it being a direct relationship to reality as ours is mediated by a consciousness filled with concepts.
This is a point against those that tend to reduce all human consciousness to phyiological tendencies alone and don't qualitatively distinguish between lower and higher mental functions.
https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/chat/index.htm
Higher Mental Function (Psychology)

A Higher Mental Function (HMF), or Higher Psychological Function, is a psychological function organised by social cultural mediation.
...
Explanation
The topological significance of “higher” in the term “higher mental function” denotes the genesis of psychological functions that come to reorganise pre-existing functions on the basis of social cultural mediation.

This emphasizes the mediation of consciousness of humans as opposed to a behaviorist input-output box.
An sexuality is a good example to emphasize that the sexual drive whilst universal in human beings, the form it takes is socially determined and isn't something purely natural.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/needs.htm
This is less obvious in the case of the prostitute, but the fact is that the sexuality of her customers is produced by modern society, particularly its movies and advertising in combination with the general sexual mores of society and she must adapt herself to this sexuality if she is to labour successfully.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/zetkin/1920/lenin/zetkin1.htm
Of course, thirst must be satisfied. But will the normal person in normal circumstances lie down in the gutter and drink out of a puddle, or out of a glass with a rim greasy from many lips? But the social aspect is most important of all.


There is a tendency to only view humans as a merely complex animal able to be explained by the purely physiological but this is a science and crude materialism that largely ignores an earnest attempt to consider consciousness/psychology as a legitimate part of science.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/determinism.htm
Vygotsky has provided this link without recourse to any conception of an extramundane ‘spirit’ acting on the body from outside the material world. It has to be said though that no trend in modern science postulates any such spiritualistic theory. Other currents either avoid the mind-body problem altogether, concerning themselves only with neurological phenomena for which thinking is merely taken as a symptom of organic (mal)functioning, or conversely describe the neurological activity accompanying thinking with only pseudoscientific explanatory force, or alternatively, like Spinoza, ascribe to theories of mind-matter parallelism, or the supervention of thought on material processes or see consciousness as an epiphenomenon of nervous processes. Making one’s protagonist ‘spiritualism’ and one’s solution causal determinism is misconceived.

Excellent post though nonetheless.

The answer to your question is..both and neither, even if that sounds illogical and crazy.

One example of tempering things:

"For example, utilitarianism, the dominant ethics of bourgeois society, takes for granted the lowest kind of selfishness and greed, and seeks to prove that the general good will arise from the ethical pursuit of selfish needs.

Socialist ethics, by contrast, are essentially an ethic of virtue, being primarily concerned with the kind of needs and the kind of desires which may lead to a better life and a better world."

I've always argued that the needs of others should be primary. But we have (to try) and take care of ourselves before we can look after anyone else, so a degree of self preservation is required as well.

Just pointing this out... it's probably been covered a million times in a million different ways and I'm not communicating my point even 1/16th as eloquently as real thinkers.. :)

But what if our needs are necessarily bound up in others.
Of course self preservation is important, but it need not be dichotomous with others because are needs are in fact reliant on others.
Despite any illusions of self-sufficiency that arne't qualified.
Spoiler: show
http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf
The relevance of Marx's earlier study of Greek atomistics to his conception of human individuality is clarified by a passage in The Holy Family, in which Marx criticizes the view that the role of the modern state is to “hold together the individual self-seeking atoms.” Marx writes, and it is worth quoting the passage at some length:

Speaking exactly and in the prosaic sense, the members of civil society are not atoms. The specific property of the atom is that it has no properties and is therefore not connected with beings outside it by any relationship determined by its own natural necessity. The atom has no needs, it is selfsufficient; the world outside it is an absolute vacuum, i.e., it is contentless, senseless, meaningless, just because the atom has all fullness in itself. The egoistic individual in civil society may in his non-sensuous imagination and lifeless abstraction inflate himself into an atom, i.e., into an unrelated, self-sufficient, wantless, absolutely full, blessed being. Unblessed sensuous reality does not bother about his imagination, each of his senses compels him to believe in the existence of the world and of individuals outside him, and even his profane stomach reminds him every day that the world outside him is not empty, but is what really fills. Every activity and property of his being, every one of his vital urges, becomes a need, a necessity, which his self-seeking transforms into seeking for other things and human beings outside him. […] It is therefore not the state that holds the atoms of civil society together, but the fact that they are atoms only in imagination, in the heaven of their fancy, but in reality beings tremendously different from atoms, in other words, not divine egoists, but egoistic human beings. (The Holy Family, MECW 4:120-1)

Marx's study of the atom, though too-often ignored, figures importantly in his philosophical development. Marx draws upon it here precisely because classical liberal political philosophy relies so heavily on the conception of the human being as an isolated being, who needs little from other human beings and from society except perhaps to be left alone to pursue its own happiness. Human beings are individuals, yes, but real, concrete individuals with needs that impel them constantly to seek out other human individuals and maintain relationships with them, and to make use of the natural world, metabolizing it as what Marx calls their “inorganic body.” For individual human persons to flourish, develop, and maintain a continued existence, they must make their needs effective in the world outside themselves and realize themselves in and through their connections with the outside world. It is in this way that an individual person's “selfseeking” can be transformed “into seeking for other things and human beings outside him.”

It's just a sad state that one's individual self interest narrowly conceived is counter posed in a dichtonomous way with the possibility of shared interests with others.
Marx distances himself from the issuance of moral injunctions as a way, in and of itself, to close the gap between what “is” and what “ought” to be. Because scientific communism is not opposed to the needs of individuals, but rather is theorized as a means of recognizing and satisfying those needs, and because it identifies as the revolutionary class the class that, because of its position in production, is already brought into conflict with the forces of capitalism through its struggle for its own continued existence, it does not share the same difficulties as “true” or utopian socialism when it comes to the question of rational motivation. This further informs Marx's hostility to calls for sacrifice. Calls for sacrifice become necessary for a political theory when the link between rational self-interest and the prescribed ends can no longer be demonstrated through reason.
...
Thus, while Marx's philosophy proceeds from individuals and their life-activity, and his critique of capitalism is based on its inability to permit individuals to flourish and develop their personalities, his concern with individuals should not be confused with an abstract egoism that opposes self-interest to the interests of society.
...
In capitalist society, the interests of individuals regularly conflict with one another and with society as a whole. Any attempt to pursue social goods within a capitalist society must therefore involve limitations on the capacity of individuals to pursue their self-interest. (The particulars of what limitations ought to be placed and how they ought to be enforced is the stuff that mainstream political philosophy is made of.) Marx argues that this conflict and competition among individuals is an artifact of the specific features of class society, and not a necessary and ineliminable feature of human social interaction. His argument is not that the interests of individuals must be set aside while persons altruistically pursue “the common good,” but rather that for the vast majority of people, their material interests point to the need for an economic system in which society's productive capacity is organized and implemented for the benefit of human beings, and points away from the capitalist system that heads into ever-deepening crises, constantly plunging new layers of individual persons into dehumanizing poverty and despair. Capitalist society is so very far from valuing and meeting the needs of individual human beings that while “individualism” as a credo or buzzword holds great ideological sway, a mix of economic, political, and environmental crises present a very real ontic threat to the continued existence and development of concrete, empirical, individual human beings.
...
On the model of human beings as essentially competitive atoms, personal freedom is, first and foremost, having relations in which the influence of society upon the individual is as attenuated as possible. (Think here of Isaiah Berlin's identification of purely negative freedom as the only politically or morally valuable freedom, a freedom from the influence or the claims of other individuals who likewise pursue their own narrow self-interest49. But as Marx argues in the passage from The Holy Family which I cited earlier in this chapter, “Every activity and property of his being, every one of his vital urges, becomes a need, a necessity, which his selfseeking transforms into seeking for other things and human beings outside him” (The Holy Family, MECW 4:120). The desire for self-realization and for the satisfying of one's own needs is not a desire for fewer or less significant relationships to other human beings. In practice, it is rather a desire for more and richer connections and interactions with the world outside of oneself, including with other individuals. As we will see throughout this study and especially in later chapters, one of Marx's most trenchant critiques of class society and of capitalism in particular is that human beings are actually much less able to satisfy their needs and to freely direct their lives than they would be in a society in which decisions about how society is to be arranged and how its resources are to be used were made socially and democratically, and in a conscious and planned manner. Indeed, a real development of human individuality, according to Marx, can only be made possible through massive encroachments on the “individual rights” of bourgeois property owners to direct social resources according to their own private, egoistic needs and free from social interference.

And this perhaps also situates the tendency for the metaphysical free will as undetermined because in abstract individualist outlook, one imagines one's self purely self-directed because they automatically feel that the desires they have a authentically their own in origin.
Marx's second argument against Kantian morality is that its focus on the free will belies the extent to which the will is itself determined by material conditions and material interests. The abstraction of the “free will” is illegitimate according to Marx because it attempts to prize apart the intellectual life of individuals from their economic, social, and historical context. A person with a will that is “wholly independent of foreign causes determining it,” to adopt Kant's phrase, simply does not exist in reality, and therefore such a subject makes a rather poor starting point for moral theory. (Later, in 1853, Marx writes, there critiquing Hegel, “Is it not a delusion to substitute for the individual with his real motives, with multifarious social circumstances pressing upon him, the abstraction of “free-will” — one among the many qualities of man for man himself”74!)


Although I'm making an larger point in regards to self-interest and get what you're saying which is a good principle to practice moderation such that certain ideas aren't necessarily taken as absolute or can be clarified in terms of how true something is up to a limit and thus making it an absolute truth within those valid limits.
#15040990
Now you know why Pragmatists want to make philosophical points without using the language, and baggage, of philosophy.

Loved the bit about the second oldest profession...
#15040995
Wellsy wrote:I certainly don't understand Lacan's framework, but am using some of the points about desire being structured by ideology instead of it being a direct relationship to reality as ours is mediated by a consciousness filled with concepts.
This is a point against those that tend to reduce all human consciousness to phyiological tendencies alone and don't qualitatively distinguish between lower and higher mental functions.


https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/chat/index.htm

This emphasizes the mediation of consciousness of humans as opposed to a behaviorist input-output box.
An sexuality is a good example to emphasize that the sexual drive whilst universal in human beings, the form it takes is socially determined and isn't something purely natural.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/needs.htm

https://www.marxists.org/archive/zetkin/1920/lenin/zetkin1.htm


There is a tendency to only view humans as a merely complex animal able to be explained by the purely physiological but this is a science and crude materialism that largely ignores an earnest attempt to consider consciousness/psychology as a legitimate part of science.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/determinism.htm
[/quote]

If you're passing comment on my earlier posts, they were a way of trying to stimulate the conversation into more than "I desire a sandwich". ;) No serious thought went into any of them let's say.

As an aside.. was a Marxist myself back around 09-10, I am very familiar with what you're talking about. Like I said, and as you acknwoledge, just be careful when you use 'some of the points' of these thinkers. That's all. (shrug)

:)


But what if our needs are necessarily bound up in others.
Of course self preservation is important, but it need not be dichotomous with others because are needs are in fact reliant on others.
Despite any illusions of self-sufficiency that arne't qualified.
Spoiler: show
http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf

It's just a sad state that one's individual self interest narrowly conceived is counter posed in a dichtonomous way with the possibility of shared interests with others.


I agree with this. That wasn't my intention in what I posted, but if it came across that way, then it's wrong.


And this perhaps also situates the tendency for the metaphysical free will as undetermined because in abstract individualist outlook, one imagines one's self purely self-directed because they automatically feel that the desires they have a authentically their own in origin.


Although I'm making an larger point in regards to self-interest and get what you're saying which is a good principle to practice moderation such that certain ideas aren't necessarily taken as absolute or can be clarified in terms of how true something is up to a limit and thus making it an absolute truth within those valid limits.


That's right. And I do generally tend to agree with your post. Please try not to categorize others so quickly by passing thoughts they happen to note down, though. ;) That's all I ask.

As an aside, while I understand what you're saying, it's hard for me to make a comprehensive reply. It's akin to someone who can understand a language but can't reply with the level of complexity required. :) I hope you get what I mean.. it's been a long long time since I've looked at this stuff.
#15040996
Godstud wrote:Our desires and needs are determined by our environment, and interaction with it. Of course they are OURS, since we are the ones who will act to get them.

Then how can you say they are your own, in that it seems here you make no real distinction in regards to your desires in that they sound like they're all externally determined, just the result of affects on your mind/body.
Then it makes it difficult to think of your actions as truly your own because they aren't determined by you, you're subject to those external forces primarily, there seems to be little of you in the decision making.
http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Mail/xmcamail.2015-06.dir/pdf9UQ7dqv45X.pdf
The Hegel scholar, Robert Pippin, took up this question of ‘desires being my own’ in an address to new undergraduates starting their degrees at Chicago: he called upon his audience to consider on what basis they might be sitting in front of him at that moment. He asked them to dwell on why they had come to study. A free choice – he reflected - or a more guarded decision following parental pressure? He proceeded to ask them to consider what being free might mean in such an educational context. He suggested that unless they have a better idea of why they might be listening to him then they had not come ‘freely’. More provocatively, he suggested that the reason to come to Princeton might be to find out their reason to come.
His point was that his audience may not have made a free decision in this sense but experience instead a degree of alienation where the decision to come is ‘part of your life, [yet] while it was in fact produced by you, does not truly reflect the "you" that you understand yourself to be and identify with, and so this decision cannot in the deepest sense be yours’ (Pippin, 2000).

With Spinoza, he makes a distinction in the quality of action, where to be determined externally is to be passive and driven by inadequate ideas, to be self-determining requires adequate ideas such that we understand the reasons why we do something, we understand the essential causes of a thing and so we don't mistake the illusion of thinking affects are causes.
In such a scenario we would not be familiar with the reasons for our actions and judgments and therefore we would be subject to them rather than in control of them: ‘[A] better form of self-understanding might make it possible to say that you led a life more "your own."’ (Pippin, R. 2000.) It is in this sense that education is a freedom-enhancing process: to put the point simplistically in Spinozist terms, to know the reasons why I act is to be a cause of myself (causa sui) rather than to be the subject of extraneous determinations. The responsibility of a scholar to interrogate and attempt to understand the reasons for a belief or perspective is developmental to both mind and free will:

One way of understanding the possibility of a free life - "your own life" - is to consider which of your past decisions you could truly be said to be able to "stand behind," where that means being able to defend or justify them when challenged, or even which you could claim to understand. "Having reasons" in this sense for what you did, having something to say about "why," is a general condition for some event being considered an action of yours at all, and not having any reasons means it is very hard to understand any link between you and what conduct you engage in. (Pippin, 2000)

I think this is pivotal in that in leaving desire as necessarily your own even whilst it may be describe purely in external determinations, where my suspicion over my own desires in asking what causes them and from where they originate is propelled by a point of how elaborate advertising and the cultivation of desire is. Such that through social mechanisms, one can make people purchase certain products, instead of advertising crudely as hey you should want this, today's advertising is about making the consumer want to desire a thing and if one has enough resources and sway to propel people's desires to certain things then it seems quite concerning and difficult to assert such desires as strictly one's own as much as imputed to people from the intent of another.
But having our desires determined doesn't seem to be the problem in regards to having freedom, in that we necessarily have many different things affecting our motives.
Bruner notes that far more is implied in Vygotsky’s work than might appear evident on an initial reading. One of these implications relates to the idea of freedom, that is freedom as selfdetermination rather than simply absence of constraint.

Which is aptly summed up in Marx's quote
Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.

And this I think is what is concerning, how and can one even determine one's own desires or be said to actually choose them in the sense that they are responsible rather than have all of human behaviour undifferentiated from an automaton.

A good quote to exemplify my concern is how against the metaphysical free will, Schopenhauer says
'A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants'

Sure you do what you want but why do you want those things and do you have any say in those desires? In the decisions you make.
One of the linked articles seems to emphasize the intellect, knowing one's reasons for doing a thing, a real understanding, adequate ideas are necesary to act as the cause of ourselves rather than merely be subject to external influences. Which isn't that we're outside influence, because only an abstraction which doesn't exist is outside influence, but as real beings we have influences but if we're not merely to be subject to the whims of things how do we master ourselves, the necessity of our circumstances to ends that aren't simply the dominant ideas we've taken as true but ones based in real understanding.
In many cases one can see people talk about things they have inadequate understanding about, they argue about things which they couldn't even tell you the reasons why they think what they think, they do what they do.
But it is only once we learn things, we know it and able to critically see the limits of a thing and it's nature that we are the master of it rather than those ideas over us. It's no longer an arbitrary choice between multiple options but we can question the very coordinates of options themselves.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/sen-critical-voice.pdf
This concept of critical voice is thus the fifth in a series of determinations of advantage: wealth, functioning, capability, voice and finally, critical voice. Critical voice is the capacity of a person living “inside” a society to form views available from a position “outside” that society:

“... virtually every society tends to have dissenters, and even the most repressive fundamentalist regimes can ‒ and typically do ‒ have dissenters .... Even if the perspective of the dissenters is influenced by their reading of foreign authors, the viewpoints and critical perspectives of these members are still ‘internal’ to the society.” (Sen 2002a, p. 476-77.)

Critical agency is thus “not only to the freedom to act but also to the freedom to question and reassess.”

If we act with inadequate ideas, then we are merely subject to other forces and can't be said to determine anything in our own lives, as much as we are then merely pushed around by forces larger than ourselves.
Which is itself a concern in regards to free will, because it's straight forward that when you want to raise your arm you simply do.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/searle.pdf
The point (for me) is that we gain this freedom to control our own bodies only mediately via other people and the products of the culture around us. The question is: are we exercising genuinely free self-determination, or are we simply acting in a way that is determined by the means that the culture places at our disposal.

And that is a question which is not so easily answered. Perhaps Nature will trump Culture in the end, but it is not a trivial question.

This is the other level in regards to free will in that how much are we subject to the forces larger than ourselves and how much can subjects intervene into their own history within those limits.
Godstud wrote:You can't really police morality(thought), whereas you can police action.

When there's a crime, it's a concrete result of an action. You can't know the thinking unless you go very much deeper, and we can't police thought.

They often do take into account morality in how society makes its rules. We say that certain actions are not "moral" and thus illegal. The resulting action is more important to prevent, than the thinking behind it.

Yes, it's definitely food for thought.

Indeed, ideas that are left only in the mind are insignificant. |
Which speaks to the impotence of those who think their best of intentions matter when the intent inferred from the nature of their actions trumps their whimsy. Which is also why there isn't much concern for pure fantasy and likely one can't even really determine the nature of what is left purely in the mind and not put into some kind of action.

There is a sense in which thought or more specifically intent, which is what informs the nature of the action is policed.
One could attempt to murder someone and fail, the punishment is equal to as if they had actually killed someone.
The action can leave traces that show it's failure but is still punished. This of course being the extreme where such intent is so morally problematic that it's punishable.
The point above being just to clarify against the sort of consequential view that might arise in emphasizing action. In that unlike behaviour (what we objectively do not considered in regards to our mental states/intentions), actions are a unity where we infer the nature of one's mind based on their actions because the two are necessarily presupposed.
#15041014
A higher understanding of human freedom, however, is inseparable from a definition of human nature. To be free is to be able to flourish as the kind of being one is, and so to attain the ontological good toward which one's nature is oriented; freedom is the unhindered realization of a complex nature in its proper end (natural and supernatural), and this is consummate liberty and happiness. The will that chooses poorly, then - through ignorance, maleficence, or corrupt desire - has not thereby become freer, but has further enslaved itself to those forces that prevent it from achieving its full expression. And it is this richer understanding of human freedom that provides us some analogy to the freedom of God. For God is infinite actuality, the source and end of all being, the eternally good, for whom mere arbitrary 'choice' - as among possibilities that somehow exceed his 'present' actuality - would be a deficiency, a limitation placed upon his infinite power to be God. His freedom is the impossibility of any force, pathos, or potentiality interrupting the perfection of his nature or hindering him in the realization of his own illimitable goodness, in himself and in his creatures. To be 'capable' of evil - to be able to do evil or to be affected by an encounter with it - would in fact be an incapacity in God; and to require evil to bring about his good ends would make him less than the God he is. The object of God's will is his own infinite goodness, and it is an object perfectly realized, and so he is FREE.
David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea
#15041018
Presvias wrote:If you're passing comment on my earlier posts, they were a way of trying to stimulate the conversation into more than "I desire a sandwich". ;) No serious thought went into any of them let's say.

As an aside.. was a Marxist myself back around 09-10, I am very familiar with what you're talking about. Like I said, and as you acknwoledge, just be careful when you use 'some of the points' of these thinkers. That's all. (shrug)

:)

haha I get ya, I sometimes attempt to do as much where a question that can be loaded/one sided or the discussion seems to be narrow can be pressed to go in different directions and isn't just condemned as crap or not.

Well a part that I came reckless to is the specific ideas of consciousness from different thinkers.
There are certain concepts developed in Lacan from Freud which for example might not be amicable to ideas of the psyche I wish to develop from studying lev Vygotsky for example. But he does seem to be much an improvement in moving away from Freud's ambivalent position in which sexual drives underpin/explain the unconscious which he desires to be explained by physiological processes but yet doesn't exist.
But Lacan shifts things in emphasizing consciousness in relation to language and I think this is a positive development as language is an integral part of development of consciousness although thought isn't synonymous with it.

But yes, it is the case, that to haphazardly take an eclectic approach on things can lead to problems of their incompatibility and error for transcribing ideas from their original systematic context. But I think as a means of illustrating a tendency or point, things can be useful as long as such musings aren't taken to be a coherent and consistent theory between the thinkers.
I agree with this. That wasn't my intention in what I posted, but if it came across that way, then it's wrong.

That's right. And I do generally tend to agree with your post. Please try not to categorize others so quickly by passing thoughts they happen to note down, though. ;) That's all I ask.

As an aside, while I understand what you're saying, it's hard for me to make a comprehensive reply. It's akin to someone who can understand a language but can't reply with the level of complexity required. :) I hope you get what I mean.. it's been a long long time since I've looked at this stuff.

Well I can't say I categorized you in that I have little impressions of what you think and believe to have much of a concept of your position on things.
And I don't mistake the ideas and thinkers I use as synonymous with that of an individual person and even in mentioning a certain coherent system of thought, one might only partially adopt positions from it but this is just a difficulty in trying to discuss some ideas until they're fleshed out to their more essential positions, using certain notions to grasp at things and then further clarify.

Of course, I find that my thoughts on these things are rather messy because of various tangents that arise in reaction to preceding thoughts and to be clearer actually requires a lot of prior thought/reflection and discussion to clarify things for myself and then to others. But because that can take so much time and effort, I post things that aren't at their best to get things out and moving. To have some material and discussion to propel a discussion rather than just reflecting as sometimes unexpected things pop up in the interaction that can help.

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