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The idea that free will is an illusion does not originate with Sam Harris, but is around since, at least, Spinoza (Ethics book 2 proposition 35: men are mistaken in thinking themselves free ; their opinion is made up of consciousness of their own actions, and ignorance of the causes by which they are conditioned. Their idea of freedom, therefore, is simply ...


6

If all we perceive is the sensible world, how can we ensure that something like matter exists? Even if we could make sure that matter exists, what would it be? I take the example of the matrix film, they live in a virtual world, where stimuli are controlled by machines, that is, true reality exists but all the stimuli that come to us of "real objects&...


5

The position is that of eliminative materialism, or of delusionism, relative to consciousness. The two are somewhat different. Qualia are often cited by non-physicalists as direct evidence against physicalism. Many physicalists try to accommodate qualia and physicalism, and argue that the reasoning from qualia to non-physicalism is in error. For a ...


4

Another approach is semantic externalism: "meanings aren't in the head". Hilary Putnam argued for it: Imagine a planet mostly the same as Earth, but with no H2O, only a alternative substance (say XYZ) that's a biologically adequate substitute. The humans living there even call it water. But on the planet, water doesn't mean what it means here; it ...


4

Short answer: We can't know that something like matter exists. You are perfectly right, we only experience our sensible world, and there is nothing to prove that there is more behind our perception than that we perceive it. Long answer: We should still accept the fact that matter exists as our working hypothesis. Simply because of Occam's Razor: It is the ...


4

Berkeley's immaterialist arguments are quite interesting. And since philosophy does not defer entirely to experimental "proof," metaphysical arguments can't be flat out "proven" or "disproven" in that sense. One must examine the coherence and assumptions in the argument. First, Berkeley is not arguing for a Matrix-type ...


4

Assuming you believe that perception requires a material substrate (just how we think perceiving requires the brain, or a computer), then you can reason as in Descartes and say that the fact you perceive something (or appear to) is proof that there is something doing the perceiving. If you don't believe that perception requires some material substrate, then ...


4

There's an implicit assumption in this question which can be challenged. Do we in fact understand good and evil - or, perhaps more accurately, what sort of thing is the "good/evil" distinction we understand? There's a purely naturalist account of this: (tendencies towards) certain social behaviors can be evolutionarily selected for or against. ...


3

When Sam Harris talks of free will being an illusion, he is not referring to the idea that our minds are subject to the laws of physics (either mechanistic laws or laws involving randomness). He is referring to a basic, and easily verifiable, Buddhist principle. It is easy to prove to yourself that you have no free will by trying to meditate (you do not have ...


2

As the term 'idealism' is used in epistemology and metaphysics there is nothing common and distinctive to all forms of idealism except the claim that reality is non-physical. This accommodates Berkeleley's view that all that exist are immaterial minds and their ideas. It also fits with Plato's theory of Forms, where the Forms are pure essences (e.g. the Form ...


2

Science can, in fact, provide strong evidence for that. We have a lot of very good information that shows very strong correlation between physical processes in the brain and how the mind works, but even more importantly, we have a lot of information showing causal relationship between physical processes and in the brain and how the mind doesn't work. For the ...


2

From Russia I am not aware of any English translation of Materialism and Empirio-criticism later than the Moscow: Progress Publishing, 1964; 4th revised edition, 1967. As to the accuracy of the translation I can make only two points. The first is that the general level of Progress Publishers translations is respectably scholarly; secondly, on a spot check ...


2

The profound implication is: are you a free-acting person or a marionette of cause and effect. If nothing can be truly random as in a universally deterministic world there is only one fatalistic outcome. Nothing you can do will change it because you will always act according to your 'programming' of experience and personal reasoning. It's really just a ...


2

It's not a proof of god. Your question about why we acquire concepts of morality could equally be applied to how any being acquires any concepts at all. Your question is really about rationalism vs empiricism I think. How can we acquire moral concepts empirically when we're just talking about physical events... But the same can be said about all our concepts....


2

If you're interested in this, Searle has a book Freedom and Neurobiology about these topics, and gave a quick presentation to Google about this book in a Talks@Google from 2007. Like you’re making the case, he points out that it can be very difficult to isolate the philosophical problem of free will when the scientific problems of how we obtain a notion of ...


2

Saying that free will is an illusion is profound only because it contradicts religion. The argument presented in the OP, that if all initial conditions are know then free will is impossible, is not a profound conclusion. It is not even a new idea, and it pre-dates Sam Harris and Spinoza. Maimonides deals with a different form of the argument; that is, if God ...


2

Is the mere people's understanding of the concept of good and evil a proof of god? In order to give an answer to that question, one must first define what is meant by the term "god", and possibly "exist", since one is generally asking about a possible proof of the "existence" of a "god". When those terms are left ...


2

The sensible world indicates that something (call it physical reality) exists outside my mind because my perceptions, when analyzed critically, exhibit enormous coherence far beyond that of my purely internal thoughts. In principle, a simulation or virtual reality could be indistinguishable from a "true" reality. However, in practice, each layer of ...


2

From my philosophical understanding regarding the ontological world (ie, your definition of matter in your question), so far no metaphysical theories can prove its existence or not. Though all natural sciences are dealing with the relations between seemingly all "material" stuffs, but actually sciences are dealing with the relations of all the ...


2

You mention seeing in the title question, generalize to perceiving in the body, so I suggest that the impression of solidity in haptic perception supports the belief in "matter." It might be objected that "science says" that solid objects are "made up of" a lot of "empty space," that solidity comes from ...


2

Since you are talking about "prove", I'll take a materialistic standpoint in my answer. If all we perceive is the sensible world, how can we ensure that something like matter exists? We cannot. That is the age old argument of Plato's Cave. It is fundamentally impossible. Even if we could make sure that matter exists, what would it be? We cannot ...


2

Free will is a vague and difficult notion, requiring at least, I believe, a working definition of time. Good luck with that! But while I'm not sure I follow your argument, it seems to me that neither case is a promising description of free will. Free will requires purposes and limits for "traction." Chess has a purpose and subsidiary purposes ...


1

If all we see is the sensible world, what are the proofs to affirm that matter exists? Call an "ontological set" for a given person, the set of all things which that person asserts exist, (or alternatively the set of all things which that person asserts are real or which that person asserts are actual or some other similar term). Suppose a given ...


1

There is no sufficient way to decide whether the signals that comes from our sense to our mind are caused by "real matter" or a simulation thereof. However, there are ways to probe to some limit I will specify later whether the universe is a simulation or not: A simulation run by a computer is limited to run turing computable algorithms. However, ...


1

Assume the opposite: Matter doesn't exist and it's all a simulation. What changes would you make to your life? Can you come up with any substantive conclusions based on the supposition that nothing exists? There are infinite simulation scenarios with unique and disparate objectives. In the face of overwhelming uncertainty of truth and impact, the only ...


1

There is actually nothing that assumes a materialistic point of view in the statement. It is still true even if you are operating in an absolutely perfect, purely spiritual world of complete information available to everyone at all times. I.e. even in the Christian heaven or a similar realm. The thrust of the argument is as such: All actors have certain ...


1

The idea of free will is that you have free will if it is the case that you can do what you want to do. And it is of course easy to verify that you have free will. To prove that you have free will, it is enough to do whatever you want to do. For exemple, do I want to type "I have free will", or do I want to type "I don't have free will"? ...


1

Here's one of several possible answers: because your ancestors who denounced certain acts as evil, and praised other acts as good, were better adjusted to their community and enjoyed greater reproductive success. Ancient people who didn't know the difference between good and evil would be punished by those who did, so the ignorant tended to die out. It's ...


1

If we take materialism as a philosophical doctrine to the effect that all that exists is matter in its various forms and interactions, then this is a view developed by Engels, Plekhanov, Kautsky and certain others towards the end of the nineteenth century - not a view that can credibly be attributed to Marx himself. Doubtless the idea that Marx was a ...


1

Define good and evil. In evolutionary biology, good and evil are simply reflections of what helps or hinders our genetic base in surviving and reproducing. Or, to put it another way, they are the concepts which the human brain has evolved in order to understand and think about its race-survival instincts. That is all the understanding one needs to ...


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