[ExI] Minds, Personalities, and Love

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Wed Jun 27 16:35:46 UTC 2007

On 6/27/07, gts <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> > I'm going in this direction only far enough to test whether you
> > and I both agree that the person's state is entirely determined in
> > physical terms, nothing essentially mystical in the background.
> Yes, we agree. I'm not referring to anything mystical.

Then can we agree that these values and supporting sub-values
expressing the features of their physical configuration (love of
dancing, strength, coordination, equilinear legs, ...) informing any
observer's model of their will, and therefore the essence of the
person, ALSO determine the behavior (within context, of course) of the
agent (person, dog, robot...) WHETHER OR NOT they are consciously
aware of these values?

If you agree with the above, then isn't it clear that "Will" is but
one observable aspect of any agent, particularly key in the setting of
contemporary social interaction, but in terms of effectively modeling
an agent and thus predicting their behavior, isn't it more
fundamentally and comprehensively true that we model not observed
"Will", but observed values?

Before you respond, I would ask you to consider the page describing agency at
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_%28philosophy%29>,  in
particular, the statement "In this it is subtly distinct from the
concept of free will, the philosophical doctrine that our choices are
not the product of causal chains, but are significantly free or
undetermined. Human agency entails the uncontroversial, weaker claim
that humans do in fact make decisions and enact them on the world."

[For Thomas, the above statement indicates why thinking in terms of
agency is more coherent and extensible than thinking in terms of will.
Will is more of a special case.]

I appreciate the metaphysics of Schopenhauer, more coherent than that
of Kant who preceded him, but lacking the intellectual contributions
of Darwin, who published his Origins of Species some 40 years later.
Schopenhauer's thinking contained yet the teleological assumption of
an essential Will (or Self) driving all meaningful action.

Teleological thinking continues to dominate our thinking; it pervades
our language, our culture, and our concept of self.  But the closer we
look, the more we can't find it.

An agent acts on its environment so as to bring its perceived
environment closer to its internal model of a preferred world (its
values, not necessarily consciously apprehended.)  The agent affects
its world and the world affects the agent and change occurs as a
function of reality. Consciousness (and Will) goes along for the ride,
not because it's essential, but because it's value-added.

A parent can know the will of their child better than the child
himself, because the parent has a more complete and accurate model of
the child's values that determine both the will and the deeper
behavior of the child.

I await your thoughtful comments.

- Jef

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