What is a decision in phoodoo world?

This is a thread to allow discussions about how those lucky enough to have free will make decisions.

As materialism doesn’t explain squat, this thread is a place for explanations from those that presumably have them.

And if they can’t provide them, well, this will be a short thread.

So do phoodoo, mung, WJM et al care to provide your explanations of how decisions are actually made?

2,199 Replies to “What is a decision in phoodoo world?”

  1. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: Yes, that was it. To make it simple for you, it’s to do with what “conclusive” and “exception” mean. And what “study” means, particularly when formulated “…easy to imagine… this is a guess and no such relationship can explain other associations.”

    Thanks for making it simple for me! I now have a clear understanding of your ability to dismiss things that say other then what you believe with a mere wave of the hand!

    Impressive stuff. Do you publish these dismissals anywhere centrally, so I can see what other work has also been dismissed by you?

  2. OMagain
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    says:

    Erik: But… but… numbers, sets, classes, propositions, when written down or spoken or thought about, are instantiated in matter and therefore material (even empirically verifiable)!

    I wrote the number 1 then tore the paper in half. But I just had two pieces of paper instead of the 0.5 I was expecting! Why Erik, why?

  3. Erik
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    says:

    OMagain: Impressive stuff. Do you publish these dismissals anywhere centrally, so I can see what other work has also been dismissed by you?

    The work didn’t prove what you thought it did. And I explained why and how, with examples. You just keep following your blind faith.

    OMagain: I wrote the number 1 then tore the paper in half. But I just had two pieces of paper instead of the 0.5 I was expecting! Why Erik, why?

    Because it’s immaterial, for which I made a case a little while ago. You were not paying attention, right? Noted. Oh irony.

  4. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
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    says:

    Erik: But… but… numbers, sets, classes, propositions, when written down or spoken or thought about, are instantiated in matter and therefore material (even empirically verifiable)! How can you not accept them in your ontology?

    That’s just it: I don’t think they are “instantiated in matter”.

    Propositions aren’t instantiated in minds (or brains); they’re just functional classifications of utterances. It’s not the like the type hangs out in Heaven all by itself; all there is to the type is a way of talking about features of the tokens.

    Likewise numbers are no more mysterious than ways of individuating objects based on our ability to count, and classes and sets are just convenient devices for clarifying our discourse about semantic notions like “larger than” or “refers to”.

    Are you shocked and appalled at the depths of my nominalism yet?

  5. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    walto,

    OK. I’m trying to wean myself away from superstition. The semantic difference between concrete, abstract and immaterial is a separate issue.

  6. OMagain
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    says:

    Erik: The work didn’t prove what you thought it did. And I explained why and how, with examples. You just keep following your blind faith.

    You should publish your response as a paper in it’s own right then.

    Erik: Because it’s immaterial, for which I made a case a little while ago. You were not paying attention, right? Noted. Oh irony.

    You should spend more time making your own case instead of paraphrasing others arguments into strawmen. Your habit of putting quotation marks around words that people have not actually said is also amusing.

  7. OMagain
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    says:

    Erik: The work didn’t prove what you thought it did.

    What did I think that work proved then?

  8. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: No. It just seems to you that there is a (necessary or inherent or essential or relevant) connection. Admittedly, there are suggestive connections, some amazingly widespread across many languages, but none of them is conclusive, so it’s irrelevant.

    As it happens, it’s much better evidence then has been presented so far on this thread that decisions are made in phoodoo world without the use of icky chemicals or similar.

    So it’s a standard of evidence that has yet to be reached on this thread by the non-materialists. So dismiss it if you like, it’s still infinitely more evidence then has been presented for your position by its advocates.

  9. walto walto
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: But if “materialism” were to mean, “only accepting into ontology the entities that can be publicly verified by some means or other,”

    I’ve never heard the term used that way.

  10. walto walto
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    says:

    Alan Fox:
    walto,

    OK. I’m trying to wean myself away from superstition. The semantic difference between concrete, abstract and immaterial is a separate issue.

    Best (IMHO) to just say what you mean and mean what you say. (E.g., “I don’t believe in souls, ghosts, or substance dualism” and whatever else you want to add, e.g., numbers, universals, unicorns, dragons, sets, eternal sentences, etc.) That can be done prettily without begging any questions, I think.

  11. GlenDavidson
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    says:

    Patrick: It’s mostly his libelous attacks against people like Michael Nugent,

    Well, Nugent was providing a haven for rapists. Or was that a tad disingenuous on the part of Myers?

    Never mind, Nugent’s take-down of Myers was thorough and complete.

    Glen Davidson

  12. walto walto
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    says:

    OMagain: As it happens, it’s much better evidence then has been presented

    Again, that study isn’t really relevant. Questions about the type-token distinction would remain even if there were but ONE language. So who cares if many of them sound the same? What of philosophical interest can possibly follow from that?

  13. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Patrick: I don’t think it would directly support the god hypothesis, but it would suggest that our understanding of reality needed a rethink. It could be gods. It could be fairies. It could be some kind of healing telekinetic power of one of the prayers. It would at least have the virtues of being measurable and weird.

    Agreed. I’m not standing in anyone’s way and I guess you’re not either. Let’s test the power of telekinetic healing.

  14. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: Yes, I found that they worked quite nicely together — one about the origins of cooperation in hominids and the other about the transformation of cooperation and conflict with the rise of agriculture. We still very much live in the shadow of that revolution.

    And the exploitation of fire!

  15. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    walto: Best (IMHO) to just say what you mean and mean what you say.(E.g., “I don’t believe in souls, ghosts, or substance dualism” and whatever else you want to add, e.g., numbers, universals, unicorns, dragons, sets, eternal sentences, etc.)That can be done prettily without begging any questions, I think.

    Sure, but then folk ask questions, or there is miscommunication and often I’m in a rush to other things and have to truncate a comment. And…

  16. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    GlenDavidson: Well, Nugent was providing a haven for rapists.Or was that a tad disingenuous on the part of Myers?

    Never mind, Nugent’s take-down of Myers was thorough and complete.

    Glen Davidson

    I’m totally ignorant of this recent stuff. Is it going to be beneficial to my health to read up on it?

  17. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain: You should publish your response as a paper in it’s own right then.

    I have no beef with the paper. The paper fulfils its purpose, which is rather limited. Not applicable. Irrelevant to the case at hand. You think it proves more than it does, but I go by what it actually says.

  18. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    walto: That can be done prettily without begging any questions, I think.

    That’s the problem I guess. I’m not making an argument (yet) beyond suggesting a simple distinction between stuff that has some link with reality and the pure unadulterated imaginary. I’ve run it up the flagpole – if nobody salutes – tant pis!

  19. Erik
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: That’s just it: I don’t think they are “instantiated in matter”.

    Propositions aren’t instantiated in minds (or brains);…

    So far so good.

    Kantian Naturalist: Likewise numbers are no more mysterious than ways of individuating objects based on our ability to count,…

    If this means that in order to calculate you have to be calculating *something*… I must be misunderstanding, right? You cannot be saying this. Thinking math just works, by itself, without sheep, right?

    Kantian Naturalist: Are you shocked and appalled at the depths of my nominalism yet?

    No. I already have the t-shirt http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1108/7082/products/duns-scotus-nominalism-t-shirt_1024x1024.jpg

  20. GlenDavidson
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    says:

    Alan Fox: I’m totally ignorant of this recent stuff. Is it going to be beneficial to my health to read up on it?

    Oh I doubt it. What’s done is done, and Nugent’s fisking appears to have settled the question of whether Myers will ever be taken seriously in the wider world again.

    But if you’re curious, here’s Nugent’s enormous documenation of Myers’ smears. Way too much to read, I’d think, but one could get what it’s about without spending much time on it, again, if curiosity needs satisfaction.

    Glen Davidson

  21. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: You think it proves more than it does, but I go by what it actually says.

    According to you, it actually says nothing. Agree?

  22. Erik
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    says:

    GlenDavidson: But if you’re curious, here’s Nugent’s enormous documenation of Myers’ smears. Way too much to read, I’d think, but one could get what it’s about without spending much time on it, again, if curiosity needs satisfaction.

    That’s pretty nasty. Looks as bad as atheists against theists. Or Protestants against Catholics. Or everybody against Muslims. What’s the world coming to?

  23. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    GlenDavidson,

    Thanks for the link. I see Ed Brayton has moved on from Free Thought Blogs. Is that relevant?

  24. Patrick Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox:

    GlenDavidson: Well, Nugent was providing a haven for rapists.Or was that a tad disingenuous on the part of Myers?

    Never mind, Nugent’s take-down of Myers was thorough and complete.

    I’m totally ignorant of this recent stuff. Is it going to be beneficial to my health to read up on it?

    Not in the slightest. If your curiosity gets the best of you, you could start here. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

    ETA: Ninja’d by Glen!

  25. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain: According to you, it actually says nothing. Agree?

    It documents the suggestive sound-meaning associations. They are suggestive, not conclusive, and the study itself understands this and is not too presumptive. Another quote, “The puzzle is really why this is such a marginal phenomenon,” says Kirby. “Why does it take a huge study like this to demonstrate that there is some non-arbitrariness in the lexicon?” The point: It is a marginal phenomenon with its exceptions all over the place. The true nature of word/sound-meaning associations is arbitrary, whether the authors like it or not.

    Here’s a book. Read from page 48 onwards and see why it’s naive to assume sound-meaning associations all the way down https://archive.org/details/languageitsnatur00jespuoft Everybody knew it back then. Nobody believes anything else now. The same applies to the authors of the study you found.

  26. Patrick Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: That’s pretty nasty. Looks as bad as atheists against theists. Or Protestants against Catholics. Or everybody against Muslims. What’s the world coming to?

    Heretics are more dangerous than heathens.

  27. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    Patrick: Heretics are more dangerous than heathens.

    Doesn’t look like it. Looks like in this era of non-discrimination, it has become indiscriminate.

  28. walto walto
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: The point: It is a marginal phenomenon with its exceptions all over the place. The true nature of word/sound-meaning associations is arbitrary, whether the authors like it or not.

    Suppose there were NO exceptions and various sounds were always used to convey particular meanings. What of philosophical interest would follow? It’s interesting only from a developmental psych perspective, isn’t it?

  29. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: Are you shocked and appalled at the depths of my nominalism yet?

    I’m okay with it. But I think you knew that.

  30. Erik
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    says:

    walto: Suppose there were NO exceptions and various sounds were always used to convey particular meanings. What of philosophical interest would follow? It’s interesting only from a developmental psych perspective, isn’t it?

    Yes, it would be interesting mainly from developmental psych perspective. However, it would make philosophy vulnerable to dangerous implications. It would make it near-impossible to argue against the eeriest Darwinist-type schools of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. Nazi racial theories, phrenology, things like that.

    Darwinism does not have direct connection to philosophy, but biology became hip and this influenced philosophers greatly around the turn of 1800s/1900s and everybody began proposing their “developmental” or “cognitive” theories. Sometimes unfortunate things happen like this. Just like Postmodernism is really an art wave, but was practically instituted as a school of philosophy in continental Europe, with considerable damage to the quality of philosophy.

  31. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    walto: Suppose there were NO exceptions and various sounds were always used to convey particular meanings. What of philosophical interest would follow? It’s interesting only from a developmental psych perspective, isn’t it?

    I disagree. If there were a strong correlation between phonemes and meanings, it would have interesting implications for the epistemology and metaphysics of semantics. It would indicate that meanings don’t swing free from the material conditions of vocalization as imagined by the more Platonistic philosophers. It would give us reasons for doubting, for example, whether meanings are Fregean senses.

    The reason why this study doesn’t have any of those implications is because the correlation is weak and limited. It’s a fairly marginal phenomenon. It tells us that the arbitrariness of the phoneme-meaning relation is not a necessary truth but a robust empirical generalization. That in itself is interesting but not earth-shattering.

  32. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: Yes, it would be interesting mainly from developmental psych perspective. However, it would make philosophy vulnerable to dangerous implications. It would make it near-impossible to argue against the eeriest Darwinian-type schools of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. Nazi racial theories, phrenology, things like that.

    Better to have a total separation between philosophy and science than allow philosophy to be contaminated by false theories and pseudo-scientific ideologies?

    Darwinism does not have direct connection to philosophy, but biology became hip and this influenced philosophers greatly around the turn of 1800s/1900s and everybody began proposing their “developmental” or “cognitive” theories.

    Just as Kant was influenced by Newton, Locke by Boyle, Descartes by Galileo, and Aristotle by Aristotle?

    Is it your view that the process of empirical inquiry — learning more about the causal and modal structure of the actual world — is irrelevant to philosophy?

    Because if so, I definitely disagree!

    Sometimes unfortunate things happen like this. Just like Postmodernism is really an art wave, but was practically instituted as a school of philosophy in continental Europe, with considerable damage to the quality of philosophy.

    Yeah, Derrida was a charlatan and Zizek is worse. But Foucault is amazing and Deleuze is ground-breaking. The only Continental philosopher I work on these days is Adorno, who I think nicely anticipates what was right in the postmodernist rejection of totalization but without the anti-rationalism.

  33. walto walto
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: disagree. If there were a strong correlation between phonemes and meanings, it would have interesting implications for the epistemology and metaphysics of semantics. It would indicate that meanings don’t swing free from the material conditions of vocalization as imagined by the more Platonistic philosophers. It would give us reasons for doubting, for example, whether meanings are Fregean senses.

    FWIW, I think that’ s completely confused.

  34. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    walto: FWIW, I think that’ s completely confused.

    It’s actually not worth anything at all if you’re not willing to explain what you think the confusion is. So what is it?

  35. walto walto
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: It’s actually not worth anything at all if you’re not willing to explain what you think the confusion is. So what is it?

    Think about it. Suppose there were just on language and the moon is referred to it by ‘moon’. Or, if you pefer, suppose there are a thousand languages and every one, without exception, refers to the moon with a word that starts with the ‘moo’ sound. What can possibly be inferred from that about, e.g. Fregean senses?

    The claim makes no sense. (No pun intended.)

  36. Erik
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: Better to have a total separation between philosophy and science than allow philosophy to be contaminated by false theories and pseudo-scientific ideologies?

    There is no total separation, but there is a conceptual and methodological separation, and it’s better to know it and to be realistic about it than to be confused about it.

    Looks like you are suggesting that e.g. physics and philosophy should be the same department in universities? Because if not, there would be total separation and that’s bad? Bad in what way?

    Kantian Naturalist:
    Just as Kant was influenced by Newton, Locke by Boyle, Descartes by Galileo, and Aristotle by Aristotle?

    Or Darwin you without you even realizing it. Better to know it than not.

    Kantian Naturalist:
    Is it your view that the process of empirical inquiry —learning more about the causal and modal structure of the actual world — is irrelevant to philosophy?

    The distinction is this: There are things that the process of empirical inquiry, in order to be sensible, must presuppose. These presuppositions are subject of philosophical inquiry, not of empirical inquiry.

    Kantian Naturalist:
    Because if so, I definitely disagree!

    Feel like having a debate about it? I’ll show you there’s just one answer here.

    Don’t you feel there’s something basic about philosophy that slipped your mind for the moment? Shame on you.

    Kantian Naturalist:
    Yeah, Derrida was a charlatan and Zizek is worse. But Foucault is amazing and Deleuze is ground-breaking.

    How do you distinguish between them? Empirically dissecting? Radiating them in the lab? I guess not.

  37. keiths keiths
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    says:

    Erik, to KN:

    Looks like you are suggesting that e.g. physics and philosophy should be the same department in universities? Because if not, there would be total separation and that’s bad?

    Jesus, Erik. You can’t conceive of any options besides those two extremes?

  38. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: Jesus, Erik. You can’t conceive of any options besides those two extremes?

    To be fair, say the same to KN. When I was not even stating, but merely implying a conceptual distinction, he jumped on “total separation”.

    Let’s see if you are fair. Nope, didn’t think so.

  39. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik,

    You were the one saying that to acknowledge a non-arbitrary link between phonemes and meanings

    …would make philosophy vulnerable to dangerous implications. It would make it near-impossible to argue against the eeriest Darwinist-type schools of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. Nazi racial theories, phrenology, things like that.

    There is no need to protect philosophy from science, or to sweep scientific findings under the rug simply because you’re afraid that someone will make philosophical or ideological hay of them.

  40. Erik
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    says:

    keiths: There is no need to protect philosophy from science, or to sweep scientific findings under the rug…

    Agreed. For example, I am not swiping phrenology or eugenics under the rug. I am cautious about them for philosophical reasons. I know full well there are occasional spillover effects from science to philosophy, with consequences to both.

  41. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: They are suggestive

    Suggestive of what?

  42. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: The true nature of word/sound-meaning associations is arbitrary, whether the authors like it or not.

    Well, that seems like your opinion to me. As in, just an opinion.

    Erik: Read from page 48 onwards and see why it’s naive to assume sound-meaning associations all the way down

    It seems with you it’s one way or the other. It’s proven or it’s not. It’s either associations all the way down or not at all.

    Very black and white.

    keiths: Jesus, Erik. You can’t conceive of any options besides those two extremes?

    I’d wager, no. It’s black or white. It’s associations all the way down or none at all.

  43. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain: Suggestive of what?

    You evidently linked it to me without having read it. To help you out, I quoted some of it to you here. Continue from there.

    ETA: Maybe you will like KN’s answer better than mine.

    Kantian Naturalist: The reason why this study doesn’t have any of those implications is because the correlation is weak and limited. It’s a fairly marginal phenomenon. It tells us that the arbitrariness of the phoneme-meaning relation is not a necessary truth but a robust empirical generalization. That in itself is interesting but not earth-shattering.

  44. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: You evidently linked it to me without having read it

    No. rather according to you it means nothing and is at the same time suggestive of something. I’m just wondering what that something is.

    And, as noted, a weak and limited correlation is better then none at all. And ‘none at all’ is what has been provided as far as the question in the OP goes. So I’ll stick with weak and limited until something more persuasive comes along. And so far it has not.

  45. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
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    says:

    Erik: How do you distinguish between them? Empirically dissecting? Radiating them in the lab? I guess not.

    Of course not. I used a centrifuge.

  46. walto walto
    Ignored
    says:

    Oh, for god’s sake. What’s the difference whether the correlation is strong or weak?

  47. Erik
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain: And, as noted, a weak and limited correlation is better then none at all.

    Wind blows. Leaves move. Correlation granted. But it doesn’t follow that the causation of movement is from leaves to wind. It also doesn’t follow that in the absence of leaves there’s no wind.

    Jumping from weak statistical correlation to a necessary connection is a big mistake. Jumping from a strong statistical correlation to causation would be a smaller mistake, but mistake nevertheless.

    Statistics cannot distinguish between correlation and causation. Epistemology and metaphysics can.

  48. walto walto
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: Statistics cannot distinguish between correlation and causation. Epistemology and metaphysics can.

    Really? Awesome. Do tell. You mean like Hegel?

  49. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Erik: Statistics cannot distinguish between correlation and causation. Epistemology and metaphysics can.

    Well, go on then, do it. How are decisions made in phoodoo world?

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