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We can easily observe the fact that we can consider different factors, evaluate different possibilities and come up with original choices and decisions. Unlike inanimate objects, human actions have both a purpose and a goal, and unlike an animals actions, they arise from the choice to pursue certain goals and values, rather than the automatic guidance of instinct. The result the creation of human civilization and peaceful interaction between individuals in society stands as a testament to human originality, creativity, and more fundamentally, the choice of some values over others.
A better understanding of the distinction between human choice and the interaction of non-volitional matter can be gained my examining the fundamental requirements for an intelligence. Suppose that a human brain or a sentient mind was somehow transferred onto a computer. Would that very complex computer program have free will? It would not base its decisions on randomness or act without a cause, but if it were able to conceptualize and independently choose between different ideas and decisions, it would in fact have free will.
Free will then, is not dependent on random neurons or some other otherworldly trait of the human brain, but the ability to independently consider and choose between different alternatives. An intelligent computer may think by varying the charges on electrical circuits while humans think by firing electrical charges between axons and dendrites, but they will both be able to conceive of the concept of a thunderstorm and decide that it is better not to be outside or on a non-grounded line when lighting strikes.
In both cases, they will use their particular means of thought to reach decisions about which alternative scenario (golf course or inside, non-grounded line or a heavy-duty surge protector) will provide the most desirable outcome. Thus, the ability of both sentient computer programs and sentient human beings to create original ideas rests in the (so far) uniquely human ability to create concepts out of sensory inputs, relate the concepts to one another, and reach the conclusions about the nature of reality that are necessary for our survival.
While the decisions reached by the human mind and the artificial intelligence are limited by their particular hardware, the software program and the human mind can function independently of hardware they run on. By independent, I do not mean independent of causality, but rather able to perform conceptual analysis that is not strictly limited to the hardware it runs on. For example, I cannot multiply large numbers in my head any more than a computer can feel tired or excited, but I can write out the solution on paper, and a computer can emulate the biological influences of a human.
The function of ones mind is not limited to the particular nature of the brain, giving humans the ability to discover new relationships and understanding among old concepts. Objections to volition often rely on downplaying the difference between human volition and other organic and inorganic matter. Some determinists argue that humans are no different from animals they act on whatever goals they believe necessary for their survival. However, man is unique in his ability to choose the values he lives by if he decides to live at all.
Animals do not have such a choice: their actions are automatic and governed by instinct. When we interact with animals, we do so only by force or reward, not by reason, and when we punish them, it is only to alter their behavior, not to carry out justice. For example, when a dog misbehaves, we punish it not because we hold it responsible but to change its habit, but when a human acts in an immoral way, we hold the person as morally responsible: as culpable for their basic choice: to think or not.
Humans can choose what to live for, how to live, and even whether they should live at all. A more basic argument against free will is the comparison of a human mind to inanimate matter, such as a car. After all, we turn a key and the car either starts or not, depending on whether reality is such that the process of causation leads to an engine starting or to the battery being dead. In the same way, the determinist will claim, the human mind will either make the right or wrong choices, depending on what prior state it is in.
However, a car and a human mind are fundamentally different: the ignition process is a rigid mechanical chain, whereas human thought (when one chooses to think) involves a process of evaluation and conceptualization, which considers multiple possible avenues of action and allows for an evaluation of the consequences of each choice. A car that could think would be able to evaluate whether it is low on gas, and then decide to start or not depending on a variety of such factors. Of course, a human may design such a car, but the evaluation to include such a feature still rests with the human, not the car.
While the determinist position generally accepts the possibility of thought, it rejects the possibility of true choice, negating the possibility of more responsibility. However, the determinist position is itself contradictory. By saying that humans should pretend to have free will the determinist accepts that all human thought requires choices to be made between various choices. By arguing that his position is a true statement about reality rather than simply the product of various influences, he implicitly accepts the correct definition of volition while rejecting its logical consequences.
The determinist cannot argue that he knows his position is true after all, he is only arguing for it because of prior environmental factors, not because it is independently true or false. In short, in arguing for determinism, the determinist implicitly accepts the opposite of his position.
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This document was downloaded from Coursework. Info – The UK’s Coursework Database – http://www. coursework. info/ This document was downloaded from Coursework. Info – The UK’s Coursework Database – http://www. coursework. info/ This document was downloaded from Coursework. Info – The UK’s Coursework Database – http://www. coursework. info.