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Saturday, December 10, 2011

A New Theory of Epistemic Freewill

The two figures will be added later when I find a compatible way to add them.
         Because internalist (ITR) and externalist (ETR) theories of reference lead to mutually exclusive intuitions about freewill and ITR underlies the current understanding of epistemic freewill, ETR would yield a different account of epistemic freewill. Since the type of theory of reference inspires these intuitions about freewill, they are not intuitions in the proper sense (i.e. being pre-theoretical), so I refer to them as improper intuitions. ITR places the burden of correctly referring on adhering to a description, while ETR places the burden on something external to how the individual perceives the world like causal relations. Sometimes these different views are characterized as being the first-person and third person perspective respectively.
Origin of Metaphysical Freewill in Theories of Reference:
First is ITR and its notion of freewill. The internalist utilizes the mind's eye in referring to many phenomena directly relating to subjectivity. Since there are limits to introspection, it seems as if thoughts come out of the nether for internalists. It is impossible for the mind to have access to where thoughts come from. This leads to an absence of evidence of thoughts having origins. This does not mean there is evidence of absence, but the internalist is justified by their own theory that it seems to be the case that thoughts and intentions come from the nether of the self. This “nether” is well described by Nagel in his The Self as a Private Object:
The concept of the self seems suspiciously pure—too pure—when we look at it from inside. The self is the ultimate private object, apparently lacking logical connections to anything else, mental or physical.1
The “ultimate private object” view is the origin of the short-lived philosophy called Existentialism, which had many anti-extropection themes about questions about humanity and freewill. Sartre made the view that the self is nothing famous in his work Being and Nothingness. This is relevant because Sartre's extreme internalists views demonstrate who ITR's improper intuitions of this nothingness applies to many metaphysical phenomena, especially freewill.
When a person refers to freewill, ITR identifies freewill with this assumed metaphysical status of indeterminacy. This leads to the improper intuition that Metaphysical Freewill (f) is identical with being a Uncaused Thinking Being (-D). The underlying argument for this belief is:
There is an opening to question whether the transmission principle can logically apply to beliefs, but what is important that this is the underlying assumptions of the internalistic freewill. Since freewill is identified with indeterminism, the internalist is committed to the belief that if things are not as they seem and humans are completely determininistic beings, there is no freewill. In a way, the internalist puts an external condition on metaphysical freewill.
When a descriptor changes, the referent changes in ITR. For externalists, the metaphysical status of the referent does not change when its description changes. The focus is on underlying facts about the world of which a person may not be aware. In Self as a Private Object, Nagel defends the externalist approach:
I may understand and be able to apply the term “I” to myself without knowing what I really am. In Kripke's phrase, what I use to fix the reference of the term does not tell me everything about the nature of the referent.2
Nagel proceeds to argue that from the externalist position, when the word “I” is used, it refers to the rigid designator the brain. Following the same formula, the externalist fixes the referent of freewill to some activity in the brain without knowing precisely the nature of that activity.
Science is a major part of externalism, and the findings of science help in precision of what the referent is. Science has demonstrated that the universe is both materialistic and deterministic and that the referent for thought is rooted in the brain. Neuroscience has found many physical origins for human thought. These combined facts lead many externalists to identify freewill with a proper causal history rather than indeterminacy.3
While there are externalists who identify indeterminacy as part of their theory of freewill, their attempts to bring indeterminacy to the level of human cognition is unfounded. Robert Kane has one of the best arguments for naturalistic freewill based on indeterminacy:
There is a tension and uncertainty in our minds at such times of inner conflict which are reflected in appropriate regions of our brains by movement away from thermodynamic equilibrium—in short, a kind of stirring up of chaos in the brain that makes it sensitive to micro-indeterminacies at the neuronal level. As a result, the uncertainty and inner tension we feel at such sou-searching moments of self-formation is reflected in the indeterminacy of our neural processes themselves.4
While this is definitely externalist in language, the method is not. Kane does recognize that most of the time humans act deterministically, and there is evidence for this, but there is not enough evidence for this agency freewill that Kane proposes. Until there is evidence that micro-indeterminacies can bubble up to the cognitive level and be identified with the referent cognition for freewill, the externalist must restrict freewill to deterministic causal history.
Since the externalist identifies freewill with proper causation (i.e. particular cognitive activity correlating with consciousness), the externalist's improper intuitions lead to the conclusion that indeterminism would undermine freewill. As in Figure 1, external causal histories that lead to human actions like both a branch that causes a person to trip and indeterminism would not be proper causation, sothe externalist considers both unfree conditions. Indeterminism implies the Luck Principle, which Kane defines as:
If an is undetermined at a time t, then its happening rather than not happening at t would be a matter of chance or luck, and so it could not be free and responsible action.5
Figure 1

The only route left for externalist after accepting the intuition of proper causation is a deterministic story of how causes in the brain lead to free and responsible action. The matter of how external causes conspired to bring about that particular brain state is irrelevant to the degree that it does not undermine the rationality and responsibility of the agent.
There is an internalist improper intuition that critiques this aspect of determinism. How can one be free if events before his or her birth decided what he or she does now? The internalist sees this as obvious objection because the internalist places a condition on freewill on when the choice is made rather then how it comes about. Since a choice seems to originate within the self, the internalist identifies freewill with this act of choice. The externalist does not have this strict notion of when the choice becomes set, so this objection does not undermine externalist freewill.
A similar objection to determinism is that it takes away agency in the process of developing ones beliefs. If determinism is true, unintelligent forces have brought the agent to his or her beliefs. These beliefs cannot be considered reliable because they were not arrived to by reason. This objection contains the internalist improper intuition of how reasoning works. The internalist identifies reliable beliefs as coming through a process of consideration of possible beliefs. The externalist may make an analogy here to computers. We do not consider computers to have counter-causal freewill but often think that a computer's calculations are reliable. Though brains are not the same as computers, if thinking follows logical rules, its conclusions should be considered valid. Since the externalist can identify the Law of Non-contradiction in human cognition, the internalist would have to reject this law if he or she completely rejects the foundation of deterministic human thought.
The point here is not to prove internalism or externalism but to demonstrate that the both views have very different understandings freewill and the issues surrounding it. Some have attempted to demonstrate that these differences between the two views reveal a underlying metaphysics, especially concerning property dualism. The basic argument is that not only are internalist and externalist accounts have irreducible differences but actually these differences indicate that there are phenomena only discoverable in one of the two views. Before I can move forward with my thesis that internalism and externalism have different intuitions about the same phenomenon because these intuitions are improper, I must prove that using both a internalist and externalist theories of reference does not justify positing two phenomena.
Dualism and adopting both theories of reference:
There are three major arguments that stem from the combination of internalism and externalism, and they end up advocating metaphysical positions, most notably for property dualism. First, in What Is It Like to Be a Bat?, Thomas Nagel presents a novel Modal argument, which attempts to demonstrate that the truth-makers for the mind and brain are different and the difference is non-physical. Second, in Epiphenomenal Qualia, Frank Jackson presents the classic Knowledge argument which also carries the name Mary argument because of his essay. Jackson attempts to demonstrate that there are two real kinds of truth-makers because some facts cannot be accounted for in a strictly externalist approach. Third, John Searle, in Reductionism and the Irreducibility of Consciousness, and Nagel, in What Is It Like to Be a Bat, present irreducibility arguments. While the first two arguments attempt to demonstrate the need to adopt both theories of reference by finding a limit in externalism, this last argument is the most relevant for it directly utilizes both theories of reference to come to the same conclusion.
In his Modal argument, Thomas Nagel argues that since it is conceivable that a brain without a mid could exist with all the same external (that is, physical) facts as a brain with a mind, the mind is not identical with external references. In other words, the mind has more truth conditions than the brain since the brain is not sufficient for a mind. This argument translates:
  1. m=>B
  2. B>m
      3. B+x=>m
      B+x=>m implies that there is something more (x) to the mind (m) than the brain (B), which is the point of Nagel's model argument. The internal account has a reference to this x which the external does not, and according to Nagel, this demonstrates metaphysical reality.
Patricia Churchland has an excellent externalist argument against this. Since the externalist does not have the improper intuition that the mind has these private objects, externalists like Churchland have arguments against any commitment to non-externalist definitions. She asserts that “what neurophilophy is really interested in is the actual empirical world,” so “a proper explanation must foreclose logical possibilities.6 Churchland demonstrates that since externalists attempt to fix the reference in the actual empirical world, that arguments like Nagel's modal argument are irrelevant to metaphysical conclusions. Churchland proves this point by using the same logic of Nagel's modal argument to reach an absurd conclusion. She imagines another world where the speed of particles increase but temperature does not.7 Does this justify believing that temperature and kinetic motion are not identical in this universe? “No,” says the externalist.
Second, in the Knowledge argument (aka the Mary argument), Frank Jackson argues there are propositions that have first-person truth-conditions. Jackson provides a thought expierment of a person named Mary who knows all the physical facts about what happens in the brain when red is experienced.8 She has never actually experienced the color red, but when she does, she learns the color red. Since she learns a new fact that she did not have before and she had all the physical facts, she must have learned a non-physical fact.
Paul Churchland's argument against Jackson's Knowledge argument is neither convincing nor actually defending physicalism. Paul Churchland argues that if Mary new all the physical facts, she could visualize the color red.9 It seems very unlikely that Mary could visualize the color red if she had no impression of that part of the spectrum. Churchland's claim that Mary could somehow cause “spiking frequencies in the nth layer of [her] occipital cortex (or whatever)” through the imagining of a the proper brain state is ludicrous.10
A better argument against Jackson comes from John Perry in his Time, Consciousness and the Knowledge Argument paper. In that, Perry argues that if the truth-makers for the proposition “Mary has seen red” are physical, Mary has not learned a non-physical fact. Perry uses an example of a man named Larry who does knows all the relevant facts about an Interstate Road Map but does not know where he is.11 When Larry learns his location on the map, he is not learning a non-spatial fact even though he knew the road map, rather he learned an additional physical fact (i.e. his physical location). Perry relates this to Mary, claiming in typical externalist fashion, that though Mary has the road map to the mind, Mary's new knowledge of red is only the universal external fact “A person named Mary had brain state A”.12 Since the externalist has a method of finding externalist truth-makers for internalist propositions, arguments like Jackson's cannot demonstrate that there are two real kinds of truth-makers.
The last argument appears in both Nagel's What Is It Like to Be a Bat? and Searle's Reductionism and the Irreducibility of Consciousness and deals with properties. If extropection comes to one set of properties and introspection comes to another set, Nagel and Searle believe that this is grounds for claiming a form of property dualism. Paul Churchland originally breaks down Nagel's version argument in two forms.13
First as:
  1. The qualia of my sensations are directly known by me, by introspection, as elements of my conscious self.
  2. The properties of my brain states are not directly known to me, by introspection, as elements of my conscious self.
  3. The qualia of my sensationsthe properties of my brain states
              Second as:
              1. Fa
              2. -Fb
              3. a≠b14
              This argument most directly addresses the issue of using introspection and extrospection to arrive at the conclusion that there are two unidentical phenomena. Nagel concludes that a objective phenomenology is only possible for those with a similar brain as humans which integrates the subjective and the objective.15 Searle concludes with a form of Emergentism.16 Both conclude that objective cannot contain all the facts alone and that the subjective adds something to the story that is also real.
This form, according to Paul Churchland, commits the intensional fallacy.17 The intensional fallacy occurs when the difference between two ways one thing is recognized, perceived, or known under some specific description is used to conclude that there are in fact two things.18 A classic of this is as follows:
  1. Lois Lane believes that Superman can fly.
  2. Lois Lane does not believe that Clark Kent can fly.
  3. Therefore Superman and Clark Kent are not the same person.
The problem with intensional fallacy critique is that it exists only in externalism because in internalism description distinguishes referents. Something very much like the intensional fallacy is committed. In this case, the very theories of references is where the disagreement occurs.
While I used the first two arguments to demonstrate that it is not necessary to adopt both theories of reference in order account for supposed gaps in externalist account of phenomena, this third argument is a direct result of adopting both theories. Is it fallicous to utilize two opposing theories to make a metaphysical conclusion? Here, it is important to recognize that internalism and externalism could be made one theory if one assumes that they are compatible, so this formation of the question (i.e. “opposing theories”) is premature.
The best way usually to demonstrate any theory is false is that it is either self-contradicting or leads to absurdities. In the case of this combination approach, it leads to an infinite regress. Take the internalist and externalist stories about the stars the internalist calls the Morning Star and Evening Star and what the externalist calls Venus. Here, the internalist seems to come upon knowledge of two phenomena that externalists do not have (two stars instead of one). The fact that there are two stars becomes non-physical while the fact that there is one star becomes physical because of the irreducible conflict between the two kinds of reference. This process of dividing reality into objects of experience and objects beyond experience eventually leads to two distinct metaphysical realms.
While the Kantians may not be as disturbed by this division as its so far been described, the division starts leading to absurdities and impossibilities. A whole host of important metaphysical concepts get doubled. Since the externalist and internalist have two different accounts of the self, two selves exist (the object of experience self and the physical self). This means the idea of one-to-one identity must be thrown out if this is all within the same reality and there is come connection between the two selves. The combination must claim that the selves exist in one reality or the presumption that there are one distinct thing could not be used to two demonstrate two things.
The internalist self gets doubled again. Since the externalism can give account of objects of experience, the internalist self now has externalized internalist self.19 The externalization of internal phenomena does not rereference the internal phenomena but create a new phenomena, so this process continues create new phenomena ad infitum. This infinite regress is the absurd by product of the commitment to both views.20 Since it would be better not to combine externalism and internalism, it should be considered that the difference between externalism and internalism is not a by-product of a metaphysical difference but the theories themselves. This is not to say that there must be one phenomena behind any disagreement between the two theories, but only that the disagreement does not entail dualism. Dualism will have to proven another way other than simply from theories of reference. Back to the thesis, this means the intuitions used on the concept of freewill can be improper since they are from the theory of reference.
Epistemic Freewill:
Any theory of freewill that places emphasis on the metaphysical consequences of knowledge is an epistemic theory of freewill. The regular theory of epistemic freewill has internalist improper intuitions, so it parallels the idea of not having causes with no having knowledge. This is parallel is not intuited but based on the resultant behavior. In Figure 2, the resultant behavior for not having knowledge of one's determinacy is the same as if one was indeterminant, so the internalist concludes that Behavior B is what it means to be free.
Figure 2

I call this Negative Epistemic Freewill because it is based on the absence of knowledge.
There are powerful improper intuition pumps at work under this version of freewill. Many distopias have been imagined to articulate the unfreedom being predestined through a perfected science of genetics, neuroscience, and psychology, but one does not even have to go that far. The internalist need only bring up the affect of knowing ones future. The individual no longer has any chaos in his or her life and in a sense become trapped by the future. Take a roulette. It is completely determined, but the players do not know its determined future. Without the epistemic chance that one might win, the roulette wheel loses its attraction. The same could be said for life when it loses its epistemic possibilities. The result is that people become robots following a script. This roboticness is the resultant behavior of knowing ones determined future.
The new theory from the externalist position I call a Positive Epistemic Freewill because it depends on a proper positive knowledge of ones causation. In this case, Behavior B is associated with being unfree, while Behavior A is associated with freewill. For Positive Epistemic Freewill, it is not enough to be properly caused, but one must also know about this causation.
Powerful improper intuition pumps exist in this version as well. The externalist argues that if one does not know what will happen when they act, it is indistinguishable from erratic, irresponsible behavior. Take a button that makes hot chocolate. One person knows what it does, the other does not. The first does not press the button because she does not want that drink now, but the second not knowing what it does presses it guessing it might give him tea. For the second, the result could just have been any drink because he did not know what the button did. There was epistemic chance involved. With epistemic chance comes an epistemic Luck Principle.
A strong criticism of the positive account can be articulated in the form of John Locke's thought experiment of a man locked in a room. In one case, the man does not know he is locked in the room but he wants to be in the room nonetheless so does not check. In another case, the man knows he is locked, and despite wanting to be in the room, he no longer acts as if he had a choice to be in the room. If knowledge of ones determinism works like this, how does the positive account provide a sense of freewill?
The way a defender of the positive account can defend this position against the negative's critiques is by flipping it around a bit. Go back to the room again, but this time, the man who does not know tries to open the door only to frustrate himself. The one who does know instead optimizes his time doing what he wants (i.e. staying in that room). A person who knew everything would simply accomplish more of what he or she wants, and his or her knowledge would be part of the causal chain of completing those tasks. Understood like this, the positive account has a sense of freewill as anyone who is competent at what he or she does has.
While both theories do not disprove each other, they evade each others criticisms by not having the improper intuitions that drive them. There might be intuitions about freewill that both theories of reference share, but those will not be the source of conflict for any theory that is completely consistent with those intuitions. Positive Epistemic Freewill will have benefits in addressing some of the conservative arguments against transhumanism and the like so will become a valued member of the group of freewill theories that philosophers will use to construct arguments as humanity gathers more and more knowledge of its own determinism.
1The Self as a Private Object 201
2Self as a Private Object 207
3This only applies to externalist who do not think that freewill is merely a folk psychological construct of internalism.
4Responsibility, Luck and Chance: Reflection on Free Will and Indeterminism 419
5Responsibility, Luck, and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and Indeterminism 415
6Dualism and the Arguments against Neuroscientific Progress 324
7Ibid. 325
8Epiphenomenal Qualia 295
9Reduction, Qualia, and the Direct Introspection of the Brain 310
10Ibid. 310
11Time, Consciousness and the Knowledge Argument 78
12Ibid. 78-79, 81-82
13Nagel claims that the version of the argument he is defending is the modalized version. The reason for bringing up this formulation is not to address Nagel but Searle. Since this formation has deeper consequences to my thesis, I will not address the other version.
14Reduction, Qualia, and the Direct Introspection of the Brain 307
15What Is It Like to Be a Bat​? 291
16Reductionism and the Irreducibility of Consciousness 317
17Reduction, Qualia, and the Direct Introspection of the Brain 307
19Kantians will not have this problem because they do not combined externalism and internalism, though recognizing the possibility of external reference called the noumenon.
20Nagel uses what he calls his Dual Aspect Theory differently for identity than for the mind-body issue. Nagel would probably object to claim that this theory always entails two metaphysical phenomena, but as far as I can tell, the theory would be inconsistent if conflicts between extrospection and introspection did not always entail two distinct phenomena accessible each of the methods respectively.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Skepticism of Principle of Sufficient Reason

The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) has neither been proven nor disproved. Rowe's analysis of the Cosmological argument covers some of the deductive reasons for this position, but there are also arguments from science and quantum mechanics to take in consideration. As long as neither side can have a justified gnostic position on PSR, the truth-value of the Cosmological argument is also indeterminate.

The Cosmological argument sometimes is formulated to prove a first uncaused cause; however, Rowe avoids this by using a formulation that accommodates the possibility of an infinite series, which is as follows:

Every being that has existed or exists is either dependent or self-explained.
Not every being can be dependent
A self-explained being must exist. (Rowe 488)
[Originally, I had a critique of Rowe's use of being. The word being suggests autonomous existence, which is inaccurate. More accurate terms would be matter and structure. Different kinds of structures are instantiated in matter, and through processes of replication inherent in the structures (my essentialism speaking here), one structure causes another. If one assumes the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy (LCME), matter can be conceived as independent and structures dependent; however, it is possible to dismiss LCME, considering modern findings in physics. The debate over LCME would distract from the one over PSR, so I avoided this correction of terms.]

While the Cosmological Argument falls apart if PSR is false, assuming it is true, the second premise must also be true. Rowe critically analyzes several arguments against “Not every being can be dependent,” and rightfully concludes that they fail to undermine this premise (490-91). The most substantial argument against the second premise that Rowe analyzes is the argument from the possibility of an infinite series. Rowe has a definitional division of PSR which prepares him for the Infinite Series objection. He states that PSR demands a sufficient explanation for (a) every being that exists and (b) any positive fact (Rowe 489).

The most important argument that Rowe has is that the truth-value of the first premise is unknowable. One of the a prioiri reasons for believing PSR is that it is a necessary presumption. Rowe counters this with the fact that not everyone people's intuitions point to the same position on PSR (494). Some actually think that there is a third category besides dependent and self-explaining. This would be the explained by nothing or brute facts (Rowe 488). If PSR is just a presumption, experience rather than reason will have to settle the debate.

What Rowe does not take into consideration are the empirical arguments for and against PSR. The argument from science for PSR attempts to demonstrate from the success of the presumption of PSR that PSR is true. For instance, when humans used to not know the laws of nature that caused lightning. Of course, superstition was used to fill the gaps in human knowledge, but with science, lightning was explained with naturalistic causes. As each gap is successfully filled, the induction for PSR becomes stronger. The word gap even implies PSR in our language about scientific progress.

Non-mathematical, scientific explanations are not sufficient explanation. All dependent causes have contingent effects. For instance, two billiard balls coming into contact with each other may bounce off each other in this universe, but there are alternative possibilities. They might pass through each other, annihilate each other, fuse together, or, even more imaginatively, they might transform into pretty, little flowers. As long as the explanation does not show why these causal relationships necessary, the explanation is not sufficient. No scientific explanations (other than pure mathematical ones) reach this level of necessity because of the inability of the human to know the essence of subjects of experience which might contain the sufficient explanation for causal relations. In conclusion, all the argument from science can hope to prove is a Principle of Insufficient Reason, or in other words, that there is always an explanation but never enough explanation.

The Argument from Quantum Mechanics against PSR attempts to demonstrate that there is a category of “explained by nothing.” Quantum mechanics seems to show that there is probability, and that implies indeterminate causal relations. The assumption that there must be a hidden factor is misguided because events on the quantum level might be the white raven exception to the induction that all causal relations are determinate. Indeterminacy is incompatible with PSR because it precisely implies this “explained by nothing” category.

It is also an unjustified assumption that determinacy implies lawful relations between event and the next. Take an irrational number like pi. Pi equals 3.1415926535897932384626433. While there there are some rules in irrational numbers like “never will one digit repeat three times in a row,” these rules are not determinate. Despite this, every digit in pi is determinate, or we could not calculate it. This is because the sequence of its digits are determined not by rules but by a ratio. Applying this to quantum probabilities, the unlawful movement of subatomic particles may be simply irrational determinations. Because this would seem the same as an indeterminate physic, we cannot know either way assuming there is no hidden lawful cause.1

The strongest argument that Rowe analyzes against the second premise is the infinite series objection. Rowe demonstrates that an infinite series would satisfy PSRa but not PSRb. It has to furfill both (a) and (b) if the argument is going undermine the second premise while maintaining PSR. In an infinite series, every dependent being has an explanation. Since there is no beginning, no being in the series has to be self-explaining to begin it as in the first cause formulation (Rowe 492). This argument against premise two does require the assumption that infinite regresses are possible. Even with that assumption, Rowe rightly argues that it falls short of disproving premise two within the confines of PSR. The infinite series does explain every dependent being's existence in its series (PSRa), but it does not explain the positive fact that dependent beings exist at all (PSRb) (Rowe 492). At least one self-explaining being is required to explain the positive facts about this kind of universe.
1One might bring up the objection that we could discover the hidden “ratio” that determines irrational behavior of subatomic particles. This is impossible, however, because of the major practical limitations. First, there are endless variations of irrational sequences to attempt. Second, sub-atomic particles might have many different irrational sequences. Third, one cannot get close to knowing what “ratio” the subatomic particle is using unless one knows how it began. Fourth, even if we knew how it began, there is the problem of overdetermination in which the “ratio” that we use to guess the next in the series must be infinitely adjust because two ratios might have their first million digits the same but then begin to diverge. Finally, even if we somehow knew what the ratio was, we would not know where the subatomic particle is on the sequence when observing it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pessimism and Self-Annhilation


By refining Rousseau’s and Nietzsche’s pessimistic account of human development, a deeper and more disturbing pessimism can emerge with a haunting prediction of human self-annihilation.  There is much to criticize in how both characterize civilizing forces. For instance, human evolution is not a zero-sum game as Rousseau suggests. The simplicity of their pessimistic remarks on the human condition draws first from value judgments about the human being. Both Rousseau and Nietzsche judge a human in its unmodified state to compare it to an earlier human being. This places false boundaries on the human. My goal is to treat technology as an extension of the human being and society as humanity becoming part of a larger more powerful organism.[1]


Section I: Rousseau's Pessimism

            Rousseau images that man began in an uncivilized state in which he was completely independence and happy. The man in the state of nature was strong enough to get its own food and fend off against predators. The civilizing process according to Rousseau has many consequences for man’s virtue.

(1)               Body: Responding to contemporary arguments that technology has benefitted mankind, Rousseau argues that on the contrary, technology has weakened humanity. Take medicine. The man in the state of nature must fight every illness with his own immune system (Rousseau 109). The civilized man has medicine to do the work for the immune system. As a consequence, the civilized man’s body adapts to the benefit of having medicine and no longer has as strong an immune system as a result (Rousseau 109-10). Because the civilized man is so much weaker, he no longer can return to the state of nature (Rousseau 106). One needs the strength to fight off illness, so he will just die. Of course, Rousseau’s criticism is wide ranging, applying to tools like hatchets to luxuries like umbrellas (Rousseau 106). Tools weaken what man can do with just their body and luxuries reduce man’s ability to tolerate natural conditions like rain.

(2)               Dependence: Since civilized man’s body is no longer capable of providing for itself, he depends on others to provide for him. Those controls over resources have power by virtue that they can make civilized man (3) miserable by depriving him of what he needs (Rousseau 127). By miserable, Rousseau means painful privation and the suffering of the body or soul, which he thinks could not reasonably apply to the savage who is a free being with a heart a peace and a healthy body (127). This power implies artificial (4) inequality that goes beyond the natural inequalities such as height (Rousseau 101). While all men in the state of nature are naturally equal, civilization has actually made man unequal despite popular opinion.

(5)               Morality: The most virtuous and most truly sympathetic is the man in nature because he least resists the impulses of nature which tell him what harm is (Rousseau 128-30). By sympathetic, I am referring to Rousseau’s claim that the primitive man’s ability to feel pity when he sees another suffer (Rousseau 130). While the primitive man does not know good from evil, he is not subject to universal dependence and obligations to receive everything from those who do not obligate themselves to give him anything in return (Rousseau 128). This natural pity cannot actually be destroyed by even the most depraved morals, but as civilize man created morality that went further and further from principles of harm, he became to justify harm and subjection of his fellowman (Rousseau 131). Rousseau claims civilized man has weakened this feeling of pity and divided it into the virtues (132). Virtues like generosity, clemency, and humanity are in fact just particular applications of the feeling of pity (Rousseau 131).

(6)               Ability: Another force contributing to this dependence and inequality is division of labor. Through the industrialization process, man more and more is made to do only one thing. This results in man becoming less capable at doing everything else. The savage must be able to do many things in order to be self-sufficient, which is another reason civilized man cannot return to nature and the happiness it offers.

(7)               Fear of Death: The primitive man gains nothing so loses nothing when it dies (Rousseau 115). Since humans have consciousness of their freedom to deviate from natures commands, their instinct of what Rousseau calls Perfectibility causes them to become tyrants over nature (115). This means that man deviates from his natural apish state when it seeks enlightenment, and when death comes it has to deal with the loss of all that he has gained (Rousseau 114-5). This is the source of civilized man’s fear of death.

(8)               Freedom: Because man has this instinct of perfectibility, he exercises his will on all of nature. This includes himself and other man. Rousseau considers this will over nature tyranny because Rousseau considers nature’s commands as constituting autonomy as an organism (Rousseau 113-5). When man dominates his or another’s nature, he is forcing that organism to do what it does not naturally want to do, thus slavery.

(9)               Domestication: Animals in the wild are strong, naturally brave, and resourceful, but domesticated animals are weak, fearful, and servile (Rousseau 111). Rousseau thinks that since we are not all that different from other animals, the same civilization has made man weak, fearful and servile as well in the same matter as domestication has made dumb housecats out of resourceful felines (110-11). Man is now weak (1 and 5), fearful (6), and servile (2, 4, and 7). This is a response to Hobbes who thought that the man in the state of nature was fearful of every slightest sound, as an extension a natural fear of death (Rousseau 107).

Section II: Nietzsche’s Pessimism

While criticizing morality from a different angle, Nietzsche surprisingly has many similar things to say about how society has become weak. For the sake of supplementing Rousseau rather than contradicting, I will focus only a few major points in Nietzsche’s criticism of modern society.

(1)               Slave Morality: During the time of ancient Greece, there was only a value system. These values were between good and bad. Good was life-affirming like strength, health, and beauty, and bad was life-denying like weakness, sickness, and ugliness. By virtue of being strong, the good were the masters. It was their natural position. This value system is what Nietzsche calls Master morality, but this morality should not be confused with the modern concept of morality which has concepts like evil and blame.

The weak also had a value system that is equally natural to them. Like the masters, the weak see themselves as the good, but they make the opposite of them evil because they blame the strong for their strength. Nietzsche uses the parable of the birds of prey and lambs. The birds prey on the little lambs, and the lambs naturally resent that the birds can prey on them (Nietzsche 44-5). The lambs believe that the less one is like a bird of prey and the more like a little lamb, the more virtuous one is (Nietzsche 44). On the other side, the birds do not hate the lambs, for nothing is tastier than a little lamb (This is a joke in the parable, but Nietzsche has a point) (45). As Nietzsche argues, we all are little lambs, except for perhaps a handful of Overmen. We are a society of the weak. This change from a society with both weak and strong to a society of only the weak began with the slave revolt.

(2)               Slave Revolt: Nietzsche argues that slave morality was a “most spiritual revenge,” where the weak[2] reevaluate the values of their enemies (34). Through the cunny that the weak has, they convinced the strong of these values of values, the evidence being that this is the morality of today. In this morality,

“‘The wretched are alone the good; the poor, impotent, lowly are alone the good; the suffering, deprived, sick, ugly alone are the pious, alone are blessed by God, blessedness is for them alone—and [the aristocrats], the powerful and noble, anre on the contrary the evil, the cruel, the lustful, insatiable, the godless to all eternity; and [the aristocracts] shall be in all eternity the unblessed, accursed, and damned.’” (Nietzsche 34).

The impetus for this slave revolt is the “venomous eye of ressentiment” (40). Ressentiment is a psychological condition that arises from an unconscious that cannot regulate itself in the normal way (Nietzsche 39). The normal regulation is immediate discharge of will, but being weak and unhealthy, the slaves fail to regulate this. In other words, frustration, anger, and envy grow when the slave wants to do something but cannot because she is a slave. The unconscious finds another way to regulate this ressentiment, and in this case, it was inversion of morality. This inversion was so successful that now there is almost nothing but weak and weak-worshipping people on the planet.

Section III: Refining

            As I stated in the introduction, one of the big problems with Rousseau’s formulation is that it posits zero-sum game where all advancements have had a near equal drop in human strength. The flaw both have is that just because humans are physically weak does not mean the morality is merely a weak morality. Most importantly, both judge the human merely by his unmodified state. Humans have risen despite their birth bodies’ degeneration. The Perfectibility instinct of humanity has allowed humans to go beyond their mere bodies into new forms.

            Rousseau argues that humans are so much the weaker for their technology, but while this is the common case, a good number of humans have been able to go beyond the primitive man various respects. What Rousseau misses out that human strength in nature is not the maximum but merely sufficient for survival. Effort is what makes humans stronger, and civilized man is capable and does create obstacles that do not exist in nature in order to gain more strength. One could think of the weight lifter, but this most notably applies to the mind, which as a slavish people, we value as a generally non-endangering capacity.[3] While modern humans generally expend a far less effort than the savage, it is important to recognize that this degeneration is not a product of a zero-sum game.

            Morality is not merely value-orient but rather has a future component as well. The primitive man and the slave both only see the world in its present qualities. Since the weak have to think in order to accomplish something which they cannot immediately do, there is a need to teleological philosophy. Goals and hopes have allowed humankind to work together in a way that creates higher level of organization. Teleological thinking also transforms the body into a tool to be changed to fit the ends the human seeks. While the old value-oriented morality still exists, it is diminishing as society becomes more and more technological or rather transformative. Rousseau does not make a connection with the instinct of perfectibility with morality, and Nietzsche does not make this distinction between the old weak and the new weak. If they had, I think they might have created an even dark story of the direction humanity is going.

            Since the human body is but a tool on which the will acts upon, the will is not limited to itself. Rousseau gets near this when he discusses how humans dominate each other by forcing a deviation from nature, but he misses the present consequences of a will beyond the unmodified organization. It is not actually a distinction between natural and artificial but between organizational levels that Rousseau is actually referring to when he speaks of deviating from nature. Organizational levels like molecular, cellular, multicellular, intelligent, and societal are all natural. The civilized man operates on both the intelligent and societal level. The intelligent level organizes how the multicellular body parts operate, and it create and modify those body parts beyond the self-regulation of the multicellular level. To make a long discussion short, nothing is unnatural about what humans do to themselves because nature does not stop existing at an arbitrary organizational level. This taken into consideration, the will of modern man can increasingly enlarge itself through incorporation of tools, and while the unmodified body might be weak, even the couch potato has access to more power and strength than the primitive man could ever be capable of. Take the atomic bomb as the pinnacle of modern man’s might. No savage could destroy the world.

Section IV: The Ultimate Man

            In a refined pessimism, there is the story of our future, of our becoming the Ultimate man. Unlike Nietzsche’s Ultimate Man, this one cannot exist. By this I mean that to achieve the ultimate state is self-annihilation. There are two ways the ultimate stops existing.

First, the man achieves pure ego. This is obvious when considering the modern intellectual. They are basically heads with legs, where the only purpose of the body is to move their head to conferences. Ancient Greek intellectuals were far different. Take Socrates and Plato, both fought in wars. How many modern intellectuals could lay claim of having the constitution of a soldier. As technology improves, humans need less and less of their bodies. In the case of humanity’s future, computer technology may finally free humans from the limits of embodiment. Even now, it is not unheard of to have someone spend ninety percent of their time on the internet. This person has become an internet being through the will’s power of extension. It is important to note, that by becoming information on the internet, the will has become subject to all that entails. One, all information on the internet is delocalized and constantly moving. Second, this information is constantly cut, altered, and pasted as it transverses across cyberspace. In the anime Serial Experiments Lain, the main character, Lain, is being from the internet who asks the existential question, “If I am nowhere, who am I?”(Prevost 186). This is half of the destruction of humankind.

The other half lies in the opposite, egolessness. This state occurs often during times of societal duress in which everyone drops their individual projects to join in a societal effort. This is the evolution into a societal being. The process towards a complete organization of humanity into society has been going on for thousands of years. First, humans subsumed their will into tribes. Next, they subsumed into towns with their professionalization. Later they subsumed into city-states and empires which gave the evolving societal organisms military power. Nations arrived much later but with them a truer organization towards society. Unlike a monarchy in which subjects are loyal to a human individual or family, loyalty towards a nation is importantly different. While nationalism is close to the transcendence of the teleological will to the societal level, humanity is still divided. The true ultimate evolution lies in globalization and world peace. It is only matter of time before the embryo of society finally becomes ready to be born, and with it, all divisions between humans will disappear, destroying individuality. The Ultimate man puts these two halves together and completely cancels himself out.

Works Cited:

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Genealogy of Morals. Translated by Walter Kaufmann and RJ Hollingdale. Vintage Books: New York, 1967.

Prevost, Adele-Elise. “The signal of Noise.” Mechademia 3: Limits of the Human. Edited by Frenchy Lunning. University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, 2008.

Rousseau, Jean Jacques. The First and Second Discourses. Edited by Roger D. Masters. Translated by Roger D. and Judith R. Masters. St. Martin’s Press: Boston, 1964.

[1] From the word organism, I am focusing on the aspect of natural organization and self-preservation.
[2] To avoid culture specific nature of Nietzsche’s criticism, I am generalizing Jews and the Priestly caste with “weak.”
[3] There are, of course, many cases in slavish religion in which thinking freely was considered dangerous, but to an ever greater degree since the Enlightenment that assumption has been challenge for a new value of intellectual achievement.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kane's Lucky Self

 Kane attempts to construct a naturalistic account of freewill compatible with indeterminacy by positing what he calls Self-Forming Actions, but Kane's theory is undermined by a lack of a natural self that can act freely and responsibly. The goal of Kane's theory is to refute of the Luck Principle (LP) which is: “If an action is undetermined at a time t, then its happening rather than not happening is a matter of chance or luck, and so it could not be a free and responsible action” (Kane 415). In order to refute LP, Kane argues that the self has control over the outcome of a personal indeterminacy. The resolution of a personal indeterminacy is what Kane calls self-forming actions (SFAs). Despite Kane's convictions, his narrative about the nature of human indeterminacy and self-forming actions undermine freewill and responsibility because the inability of the natural self to resolve a quantum indeterminacy in the brain.
Kane attempts to give a naturalistic narrative about human indeterminacy which takes place in the brain. By indeterminacy, Kane does not mean constant transcendence like in dualism but rather a supervening natural self resolves an indeterminacy when it occurs. There are times during humans' lives in which they become conflicted between two or more choices. Kane argues that there is legitimate indeterminacy when brain is in this state of conflict. According to Kane, the conflict between two or more neural pathways, each representing one desire or choice, creates chaos in which the self has an opportunity to exercise freewill.
Kane uses the Assassin trying to kill the prime minister in order to demonstrate that indeterminacy does not undermine freewill and responsibility (420). The assassin tries to kill the prime minister but an indeterminacy in his nervous system causes his arm to waver. If he does hit the prime minister, Kane believes that the assassin is to be held responsible despite indeterminacy in his arm because he “succeeded in doing what he was trying to do” (420). In other words, the assassin is not “lucky” in the irresponsible sense, but Kane does admit that indeterminacy does act as an obstacle. In the case in which the indeterminacy is in the brain, the individual overcomes the obstacle of indeterminacy “nevertheless by [his or her] own effort” (420). Because Kane posits that this effort is involved in the resolution of the indeterminacy, Kane believes that SFAs are “genuine exercises of freewill” (421).
Kane characterizes self-forming actions with mixture of folk psychological concepts and neurobiology. Kane believes that there is a robust self that resolves indeterminacy through an act of will. Kane identifies the self with the brain and identifies each side of a conflicting neural battle in the brain with a neural pathway. Take Jane who could choose a vacation in Hawaii or Colorado. In other words, she has a conscious neural conflict. Since the self does not determined path corresponding to its form, the self must choose. Kane believes that Jane chooses the vacation spot that she wills or wants more (426). When Jane's self chooses, it forms her self, changing her dispositions and desires for the future. This is what Kane means by self-forming.
Kane demonstrates that he identifies the self with the brain when refutes the criticism that his theory of indeterminacy divides the self. The objection goes: 1) Each self has one will. 2) Kane posits two conflicting wills in brain fighting to direct the body towards their respective goals. 3) Since Kane posits two wills at times of conflict, he implies that there are two selves in the brain during that conflict. This is to suggest that Kane's theory is counter-intuitive, since it undermines individuality, so Kane appeals to parallel processing to show that his theory is neither radical nor implies two selves. Just like a single computer can have two processes running simultaneously, a single self can have internal conflict without becoming two separate beings. Since Kane does not identify the self with specific parts of the brain, he must identify it with the whole. This notion of the self, however, is incompatible, as I will discuss further later, robust freewill because the brain lacks the ability to resolve a quantum indeterminacy.
Kane revises LP, but by doing so, he presents the main problem with his theory. The LP argues indeterminacy implies that what one does is involuntary and unintentional. Kane's theory, however, makes the indeterminacy between two things one could voluntarily and intentionally do. Kane revises the LP for the incompatibilists, calling it LP*, which argues that since one could do A voluntarily and intentionally and do B voluntarily and intentionally, what one ultimately voluntarily and intentionally does is a matter of luck or chance (422). In order to refute this new version, Kane posits a robust kind of control.
Kane's theory of control is in response to the claim that indeterminacy is a hindrance to the will. Since in his model there are two efforts which create a struggle within the self, each side makes it harder to will the other side of the conflict. This means that this indeterminacy hinders, but as Kane argues, the hindrance exists when each effort is considered separately. As an extension of Kane's theory of identity and parallel processing, Kane believes the humans have plural voluntary control (426). The self has power to bring about whichever option it wills or wants most (426). This means that the self still has robust control even when there is indeterminacy. Where is this control, though? This seems impossible given the nature of the brain which lacks what Dennett calls a single decision maker (443).
In Dennett's strongest criticism of Kane's theory, he demonstrates the flaws of his concept of SFAs. Dennett uses a thought experiment of how Kane's indeterminacy actually undermines human freedom and autonomy. There is no single decision maker in the brain, no button which the self can push to solve quantum fluctuations in the brain. Another factor must be the cause for the resolution of an indeterminacy (Dennett 443). To provide a possibility, Dennett uses a needle quivering up and down, to represent the chaos between two decisions (442).
If this accurately reflects how the conflict works in human brains, the resolution has everything to do with when it occurs. Since humans are in environments that often force them to act immediately, the environment is what stops the needle on one decision or the other. While danger very obviously forces humans to act, Kane might argue that this is a form of coercion; however, Dennett's argument does not only undermine freewill during times of duress but also during calm. The environment can subtly influence the needle. This is obvious to advertisers who put ideas in people's heads all the time, so that when they think they chose to have a soft drink, a poster during the time of indeterminacy formed the will to that direction. In other words, there is no robust control given Kane's naturalistic narrative of human indeterminacy. Without this control, Kane cannot refute LP*; therefore, it is a matter of luck what humans intend. This leads to deep consequences to freewill and responsibility.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Apathy the Postmodern Condition .

Why do people value nonsense, waste, and stupidity? When did life become a joke? This is the question I am attemption to answer, and in order to do that, some history is necessary.

In the nineteenth century, European philosophers, now called modernists, saw the industrial revolution, the power of their mighty nations, and the progress that these nations have achieved and created a story about the future. The communists told of a nation in which everyone gets along and there is no government and no property.

Universality of these grand narratives drove these nations to attempt to 'spread civilization' which increased local development of some of these Western nations' colonies. This universalism and rapid progress from the industrial revolution led to a manifest destiny over the world. This can be seen in Nazism, Soviet communism, and Japanese Imperialism.

Modernism and its belief in Utopia derives a morality from those in power. In Western terms, morality was a reflection of white heterosexual adult males. Theologically speaking, it is the white man that was made in God's (aka perfection's) image. Women and all other races are less in God's image, and early justifications for heirarchy stem from this morality.
While there was a lot of debate about the nature of morality during this period, the ideas came from this theological humanism and Enlightment ideas of autonomous individuals.

The next generation faced the world wars and the contradictions it posed to stories of progress and greater peace. The devastation of lives many people feel like humanity had failed. For instance, many Japanese hated surrender and living under a flag that was not their freedom (the occupation of the US). They blamed society for cowardice for not dying for their ideals. The philosophy that grew out of this disillusionment were absurdism and existentialism which in part tried to understand humanity in an indifferent world, a world without a guiding narrative or god leading humanity to its bright deserve future.

Though only a bit later, the postmodernists came, and existentialism became known as the shortest lived philosophical periods. Postmodernists were not merely skeptical but pessimistic about the power of modernists narratives like that of communism. They saw Stalinism, sexism, racism, and colonialism and argued that Utopia is impossible and that these narratives only make things worse. The common critique of Communism is that it does not take in account for human nature, which is summarized by John Acton's famous quote: "power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

While postmodernism displaced the narratives, morality, and ideals of modernism, this philosophy slowly fed into culture. The rise of a new age of satire and parody, both of which seek to deconstruct all ideals. Around the nineties, the truely postmodern culture arose around entertaining nonsense. Because the need for a narrative was thrown out, nonsense became acceptable. This is most obvious in internet culture, especially in regards of internet memes and 4chan.

The attraction of this nonsense is all in the affect, which is a technical term for a subjective response. For instance, a girl running to school with a piee of toast in her mouth. This is in the last episode of the Japanese anime Neon Genesis Evagelion (literally, the Gospel of the New Genesis) and is sometimes refered to as the beginning of the turn to nonsense. The idea is that this is completely non-deconstructable. In other words, one cannot critize what it is saying about humanity if it says nothing. (An earlier example that is more global is Dada in art.)

This leads to a culture that values something that in the past would seem to be without value or actually gross. While postmodernism has rejected the evil of modernism, it has left the world without a future to tell itself. Though there are still politicians who claim things that fall under the modernist tradition, the old ideals compete in contemporary consumerism with the ever enticing nonsense. The deepest questions is what kind of people are we now, when we breadth nonsense everyday. Will we not ourselves become nonsense?
The manifestation of the postmodern Zeitgeist is not simple or the same in each place. The important thing is that it will be hard to create a new spirit with hope for progress. I am a Nietzschean in that I believe a great person is required to create new values. This position is dangerous, for value creators can easily become dictators. I suggest a wise person, a philosopher president of sorts to lead society on a nuanced path. The values created from knowing what is worth dying for, what is worth fighting for, and what is worth protecting

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Moral responsibility and Freewill for Moore and Chisholm

The Western tradition has tied moral responsibility and freewill together. Contrary to popular opinion, I would like to divide these two concepts from each other because the truth conditions for both are different. For moral responsibility, the truth conditions for morality do not exist in the world since being cannot justify an ought; as a result, the methodology for creating a moral theory is not as clear as in an empirically informed metaphysics. A philosopher can in this vagueness define moral responsibility without necessarily appealing to a fact about freewill. Freewill on the other hand is an metaphysical issue which has all the same requirements for proof that comes with that field. With this distinction in mind, Moore and Chisholm both successfully create a means of thinking about moral responsibility but fail to provide a convincing case for their respective account of freewill. Moore's freewill lacks the actual ability to do otherwise which is necessary for freewill, and Chisholm freewill lacks facts.

Moore argues for compatibility by making a distinction between to senses of could. Could1 is the strict metaphysical sense (Moore 397). Could2 is a vague sense which Moore defends as allowing for both a sense of freedom and moral responsibility compatible with determinism (397). In other words, one could1 not do otherwise, but one could2 do otherwise.

Could2 depends on a division of a subjects abilities from their expressions. Moore sees an agent as having many logically possible actions for any given situation. These logical possibilities depend on the abilities of the subject. While an agent could1 only express itself one way, the agent had the power to act differently. For instance, a murderer was causally determined to pull the trigger, but his or her body has the capacity not to pull the trigger. This commonsense language formulation of the word could allows Moore to bring in moral responsibility into his theory.

While this provides a commonsense way of assigning blame in a society which recognizes determinism, Chisholm is justified in critiquing Moore's more radical argument for calling this could2 freedom. Morality is a pragmatic construct that helps keep society stable and self-justified, but freedom is an issue of fact. Chisholm demonstrates that one of Moore's formulations of freedom reveals its self-defeating nature. Moore's goal with the two senses of could is in order to reach a commonsense reformulation of the following premise: One could2 do otherwise (Moore 397). Moore claims in that this formulation is equivalent to: If one had chosen, one would have done otherwise (Moore 399). As Chisholm argues, the second formulation has no bearing on the first because the second can be true while the first false. Since this is true, Moore unsuccessfully reformulated the first statement. Chisholm further demonstrates this point by providing another reformulation: One could2 have chosen to do otherwise. If determinism is true, this third formulation also deserves to be rejected because one does not have the ability to choose. If the third is rejected, what Moore cannot achieve any meaningful notion of freewill in the first formulation. Since formulation two is separable from any meaningful definition of freewill, one can accept a principle of blame and reject freewill.
Chisholm also defends a radical notion of freedom, which he believes does not have the faults of the indeterminist and determinist position. Chisholm's issue with both determinist and indeterminist positions is that both assume that there is only transuent causation (from one state of affairs to another) (404). The indeterminist believes that one could1 do otherwise, but this does not mean an agent actually chooses, rather from a purely transeunt perspective this means that the actions are random. Since Hume demolished any chance of ever knowing something actually causes another, Chisholm feels as if he can provide a solution to the freewill debate by positing a rehashed medieval concept of immanent causation (404). Instead of only positing God as a primemover, human agents become primemovers as well for Chisholm (404). This simultaneously explains where transeunt causation comes from since a transeunt cause always requires another cause before it and how to place blame upon human subjects.

There are two objections against transeunt causation which Chisholm addresses, and the first he dismisses far too quickly. The first objection is that the self doing something to the brain is just another transeunt cause. Chisholm's response is to say that immanent causation is not about doing but about making something happen (405). This is unsatisfying. My intuitions tell me that while I may indirectly make something happen by doing something, I cannot make something happen without doing something. In other words, the brain event that supposedly I make happen requires something to directly cause it to happen. Chisholm might mean however that this make something happen that the self controls physics. This again baffles the determinist mindset, for how does willing bring about changes in physics (I avoid “laws of” to be charitable to a Humean critique)? Because Chisholm's notions of causation are so counter-intuitive, his early dismissal of the first objection is unjustified.

Another reason why the first objection cannot be easily dismissed is that the solution implies the second objection. In order to answer why this is not only transeunt causation, Chisholm introduced a distinction between making A happen and doing A (404). Objection two is attack on the conceivability of this seemingly indirect form of causation, which I already applied in the criticism of his answer to objection one.

Despite this, Chisholm's opinion about how causation should be thought about in the vacuum left by Hume is conceivable. It is an opinion because since causation and the self have become free to be reinterpreted, there are several equally counter-intuitive ways to salvage moral responsibility, which many value more than the truth. It is conceivable because if one shares in the Humean skepticism, causation could work radically differently than that of the regular naturalistic notion. One can still believe emotively in Chisholm's answer in order to salvage morality, but until freewill is verified, one ought to remain skeptical in regards to his or her metaphysical position.