Author Topic: Determinism, not free will  (Read 4328 times)

Offline aitm

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2013, 09:37:16 PM »
Quote from: "Hakurei Reimu"
Whether or not we have "free will" in any sense the free will arguments want to argue over does not change the practical situations we have to deal with.

I have no issues with this, I do have issues with trying to introduce any concept of universal determinism. To suggest, and with a healthy understanding of how truly insignificant we are to our own solar system, let alone our galaxy, and laughable to the universe, that any action we have is somehow tied to anything universal is reaching out to incredulity. An atom bomb the size of the earth would not register outside our galaxy which is a grain of sand to the universe. Our actions, any actions, even to abolish the earth, could not be predetermined by a universe that has shown no evidence that it has awareness of anything, as much as we would believe that behaviors of something 1,180 th the size of an atom would have an impact on our behavior. And while I have no doubt that perhaps, somehow, in the world of physics, a single atom can be affected by another a mile away, in a way that I cannot and will never be able to understand, it would be beyond me to believe that an atom 14 billion light years away could in any way be affected by that same atom.

But, I have always had no problem with stating my ignorance of that higher thinky thingy that you guys are more comfortable with.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2013, 09:58:48 PM »
Quote
a single atom can be affected by another a mile away,


This has not been observed with an a subatomic particle or any other, no matter what some people claim. Einstein proved that time is relative and that there is no such thing as simultaneous events. So how can something be observed at one point in space time and an other point in space time at the same time?  I realize there is person that was one the top physicist that has gone into the field of parapsychology because of this, but other physicist laugh at him for doing so. Also, the sub atomic world operates by different rules than the macro world and doesn't effect how events in it happen. Think of a road with gravel, a wheel can roll over it in a straight line, but a bee bee could not. Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Offline josephpalazzo (OP)

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2013, 09:35:26 AM »
Quote from: "Hakurei Reimu"
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
For me, the black box represents knowledge that is not available. In no way I would  see that as making the universe undetermined, unless the black box = magic/God. The same thing with the universe being chaotic. (Chaos theory is based on non-linear equations, for which we don't have the math tools to solve them exactly.)

The argument against that is this: if you had to go back in time 10 years ago with no knowledge of what happened in those 10 years, would you end up living the same life or a different life? Since this is a rhetorical question, the answer is, you would live the same life, and that's because every decision you've made was based on a certain numbers of factors that caused you to make those choices throughout those 10 years. Repeating exactly those steps would not change anything. You'd end up writing the posts on this forum as you have done in the past. It doesn't mean that your future  is already all laid out for you. But it does mean that every decision you make is the result (effect) of thousands of factors (causes), some of which you are aware, some others you're not.

Quote
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
The compatibilist position is obtained by moving the goalposts: the uncoerced/unrestrained choice is the effect of several causes, many of them unconscious.
The compatabilist position is that the entire debate amounts to nothing more than a semantics game, and as such the goalposts should be moved for the debate to be about anything interesting. Your unconsciousness is still you. The history that shapes your unconscious is what makes you you, so that doesn't change the fact that you are still making the decision. If you do harm to the society because of some internal fault or upbringing, it is still you that is the element that society has to deal with. Whether or not we have "free will" in any sense the free will arguments want to argue over does not change the practical situations we have to deal with.
The compatibilists have move the goalpost so that we can feel good that we can believe we have free will. And as you mentioned, there is also a societal component that is necessary in order to justify our judicial system, which is needed for society to  survive and adequately function. But many judicial cases fall in the cracks: is a mentally disturbed person really responsible for his/her actions? Etc. These cases arise because we do know that we are far from really having free will, even though we need to pretend that we have. :twisted:

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2013, 12:17:25 PM »
Quote from: "vsenetak"
Writer posted a YouTube video


In this video he asks people to think of a city, and they do it twice, showing they don't have freewill and they didn't even realize they did it because he asked them to and it was therefore predetermined they would do it. Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Offline Hakurei Reimu

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2013, 05:16:04 PM »
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
Quote from: "Hakurei Reimu"
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
For me, the black box represents knowledge that is not available. In no way I would  see that as making the universe undetermined, unless the black box = magic/God. The same thing with the universe being chaotic. (Chaos theory is based on non-linear equations, for which we don't have the math tools to solve them exactly.)

The argument against that is this: if you had to go back in time 10 years ago with no knowledge of what happened in those 10 years, would you end up living the same life or a different life? Since this is a rhetorical question, the answer is, you would live the same life, and that's because every decision you've made was based on a certain numbers of factors that caused you to make those choices throughout those 10 years. Repeating exactly those steps would not change anything. You'd end up writing the posts on this forum as you have done in the past. It doesn't mean that your future  is already all laid out for you. But it does mean that every decision you make is the result (effect) of thousands of factors (causes), some of which you are aware, some others you're not.
And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

The principle problem of the whole hullabaloo about free will is that there has never been a coherent definition of the "metaphysical free will" that is being argued over. It simply doesn't make sense. Free will is more than just flailing about randomly. The only definition of free will that makes sense is "obeying the law of your own nature," or similar. Regardless of the fact that billions of external causes shaped that nature, it's still your nature. It's still the only way that free will makes any sort of sense, and quite fortunately, determinism does not preclude this.

Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
The compatibilists have move the goalpost so that we can feel good that we can believe we have free will.
Wrong. Compatabilists do not believe that we have the "metaphysical free will" that liberalists and strong incompatabilists argue over. It is clear from every statement from a compatabilist about free will that they do not think that free will (as it actually exists) is magic, or free from the constraints of determinism. "Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills." A campatabilist's free will is a quite different thing from a liberalist's free will, if the latter is anything at all.

Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
But many judicial cases fall in the cracks: is a mentally disturbed person really responsible for his/her actions?
That does not negate the larger principle. A mentally disturbed person is unlikely to be corrected through punishment, and they need a different type of help to rejoin society. That fact has no bearing on those who can be corrected by these means.

Quote from: "josephpalazzo"
These cases arise because we do know that we are far from really having free will, even though we need to pretend that we have. :twisted:
The fact that a lot of us pretend that our free will is a magicical ability to smash fate has no bearing at all on whether free will actually exists.  8-)
Warning: Don't Tease The Miko!
(she bites!)
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Offline josephpalazzo (OP)

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2013, 07:09:55 PM »
Quote
Quote from: "Hakurei Reimu"
Quote from: "josephpalazzo"


The argument against that is this: if you had to go back in time 10 years ago with no knowledge of what happened in those 10 years, would you end up living the same life or a different life? Since this is a rhetorical question, the answer is, you would live the same life, and that's because every decision you've made was based on a certain numbers of factors that caused you to make those choices throughout those 10 years. Repeating exactly those steps would not change anything. You'd end up writing the posts on this forum as you have done in the past. It doesn't mean that your future  is already all laid out for you. But it does mean that every decision you make is the result (effect) of thousands of factors (causes), some of which you are aware, some others you're not.
And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

The principle problem of the whole hullabaloo about free will is that there has never been a coherent definition of the "metaphysical free will" that is being argued over. It simply doesn't make sense. Free will is more than just flailing about randomly. The only definition of free will that makes sense is "obeying the law of your own nature," or similar. Regardless of the fact that billions of external causes shaped that nature, it's still your nature. It's still the only way that free will makes any sort of sense, and quite fortunately, determinism does not preclude this.

Unfortunately, many do link free will with determinism. Often atheists have argued that if God knows everything, including the future, therefore humans have no free will and hence are not responsible for sinning. And so atheists have made the argument: either God doesn't know everything or humans have no free will. It's a bogus argument, and atheists should refrain from using it. As you have pointed out there is no ironclad definition of free will and it has no bearing on determinism.

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2013, 07:17:29 PM »
Quote from: "vsenetak"
Writer posted a YouTube video

His logic is very strong. I guess he changed my mind. I'll just drop the compatibilist view altogether :)

Offline Solomon Zorn

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2014, 09:06:28 AM »
OK.
I'm an uneducated hick, so some of this is a little over my head, I guess.
But the ability to choose seems axiomatic to me  . I cannot choose not to believe in choice. I cannot reason without the ability to choose symbols and arrange them as I choose.
Determinism seems to me like a lot of mental masturbation. A concept that is so patently counter-intuitive is always suspect, in my opinion.
Certainly there are stimuli that determine many of our actions, but not necessarily all of them. Choice takes place as well. I can't explain it, but I don't have to: I can do it.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 03:22:55 PM by Solomon Zorn »
If God Exists, Why Does He Pretend Not to Exist?
Poetry and Proverbs of the Uneducated Hick

http://www.solomonzorn.com

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2014, 10:28:02 AM »
You really are determined to show that determination isn't so aren't you?  :shock:  :lol:  Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2014, 10:39:15 AM »
> Determinism seems to me like a lot of mental masturbation. A concept that is so patently counter-intuitive is always suspect, in my opinion.

But there are lots of things that, at first, seem counter-intuitive, but through experiment are shown to be the case.  Relativity and almost all of quantum mechanics are examples.  The case of determinism in thinking is particularly subject to this, because you are thinking with the very deterministic engine that you are thinking about.

> Certainly there are stimuli that determine many of our actions, but not necessarily all of them. Choice takes place as well. I can't explain it, but I don't have to: I can do it.

That doesn't appear to be the case.  "Choice" is an illusion created by the deterministic brain.  Neuroscience has shown that choices are actually made by the brain before a person becomes aware of it.  It feels like you are making a choice, but you are merely being informed of the choice.

Frank

Offline Solomon Zorn

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2014, 10:39:32 AM »
Quote from: "Solitary"
You really are determined to show that determination isn't so aren't you?  :shock:  :lol:  Solitary

I am the DECIDER!!!  :lol:
If God Exists, Why Does He Pretend Not to Exist?
Poetry and Proverbs of the Uneducated Hick

http://www.solomonzorn.com

Offline Solomon Zorn

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2014, 11:00:40 AM »
Quote from: "FrankDK"
> Determinism seems to me like a lot of mental masturbation. A concept that is so patently counter-intuitive is always suspect, in my opinion.

But there are lots of things that, at first, seem counter-intuitive, but through experiment are shown to be the case.  Relativity and almost all of quantum mechanics are examples.  The case of determinism in thinking is particularly subject to this, because you are thinking with the very deterministic engine that you are thinking about.

> Certainly there are stimuli that determine many of our actions, but not necessarily all of them. Choice takes place as well. I can't explain it, but I don't have to: I can do it.

That doesn't appear to be the case.  "Choice" is an illusion created by the deterministic brain.  Neuroscience has shown that choices are actually made by the brain before a person becomes aware of it.  It feels like you are making a choice, but you are merely being informed of the choice.

Frank

I was aware of both of those counter-points before writing. I disagree. Not based solely on reasons I can articulate though, I will admit. But based on subjective experience, and an intuitive certainty that I am choosing the words to write now, and that although I am influenced by a multitude of stimuli, ultimately I am the author.
If God Exists, Why Does He Pretend Not to Exist?
Poetry and Proverbs of the Uneducated Hick

http://www.solomonzorn.com

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2014, 01:58:56 PM »
> I was aware of both of those counter-points before writing. I disagree. Not based solely on reasons I can articulate though, I will admit. But based on subjective experience, and an intuitive certainty that I am choosing the words to write now, and that although I am influenced by a multitude of stimuli, ultimately I am the author.

I agree.  That's what it feels like.  But the truth seems counter to our feeling.  Here's another example:  Objects around you look solid, but they aren't.  They are mostly empty space.  There's space between the nucleii of the atoms and the electrons, and even more space between adjacent atoms.  That's not the way it feels, but that's the way it is.

Here's another: Reach out and touch some object.  It feels like you are touching it, doesn't it?  But it turns out, you aren't.  When the repulsive force between the electrons in your finger and those of the object becomes strong enough, your finger can't get any closer.  You never quite close the gap.

I have the feeling that I chose to write this response, but it was actually composed deterministic processes in by my brain.

Frank

Offline Solomon Zorn

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2014, 02:16:09 PM »
It seems to me that deterministic processes account for the choices I am allowed by my own limitations, but don't account for the dynamic act of choosing. An aspect of life I not only witness, but act upon with selective determination.
If God Exists, Why Does He Pretend Not to Exist?
Poetry and Proverbs of the Uneducated Hick

http://www.solomonzorn.com

Re: Determinism, not free will
« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2014, 03:34:32 PM »
Quote from: "Solomon Zorn"
Quote from: "Solitary"
You really are determined to show that determination isn't so aren't you?  :shock:  :lol:  Solitary

I am the DECIDER!!!  :lol:


I agree, but who are you? You are consciousness determined by brain function, or an illusion of a self that is  determined to win the argument, when it is actually your brain and body that does the actual deciding that you witness thinking you decided. It's like this sentence that is self referential: This sentence is a lie.   :shock:  :lol:  Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.