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Non-Determinism
Posted: 30 March 2011 10:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Occam. - 30 March 2011 06:02 PM

Geez, I hate to ever post on these determinism vs free will threads, but here goes.  The problem you posed, Gnostikosis, is meaningless.  Just because our behavior is determined doesn’t mean that we necessarily have any conscious idea of the factors caused it. Lack of that knowledge doesn’t mitigate for free will. Suppose, for example, that I decide to lie to you if a coin flipped comes up heads and to tell the truth if it comes up tails.  That would certainly seem random, however, we know that the forces on the coin, while unable to be recognized, are clearly deterministic, that is, the coin doesn’t have free will.

Occam

I think this will all turn out to be much less a waste of time than you think Occam.

What it shows is people very much are libertarians intuitively.

You then want to shrug your shoulders but I think that will turn out to be a mistake, like it would be to shrug your shoulders at other beliefs that you would classify as woo.

Especially as this is so wrapped up with how we think and feel about ourselves and each other and is so much more universal than other woo.

Stephen

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Posted: 30 March 2011 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Gnostikosis - 30 March 2011 02:51 PM
StephenLawrence - 30 March 2011 12:01 PM
George - 30 March 2011 11:23 AM

The question here is, obviously, what role consciousness plays in all of this,

I suspect it’s simpler than that, though of course we’d like to know.

and why it feels as if we were free to choose our actions, instead of acting on some (non-random!) impulse.

But the compatibilists (the few genuine ones) have already worked this out George.

We feel free because we are free and that is because freedom is compatible with determinism.

To understand it you need to understand the relevant sense of could have done otherwise.

The relevant sense is metaphysically the same as the relevant sense the moon could have done otherwise.

stephen

Sure which is fine. However necessary only because one has already accepted determinism is true wrt human choice.

Determinism in this case can’t be scientifically proven so it’s acceptance or non-acceptance is a matter of faith.

No Gnostikosis that is not the case.

What we are looking for is what we mean when we talk about what we could have done.

It’s the case that it turns out that is compatible with determinism.

It has nothing to do with the truth or otherwise of determinism.

What we mean by could have done otherwise in the context of choice making is there was nothing that would have prevented us if we’d chosen to.

Now all you need to do is empirically test this and see.

Stephen

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Posted: 30 March 2011 10:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Gnostikosis - 30 March 2011 02:25 PM

Okay, if you were to ask that question of me, nothing prevents me from lying to you about a random color.

Well, why didn’t you then?

Stephen

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Posted: 31 March 2011 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Write4U - 30 March 2011 09:29 PM

Does Determinism have anything to do with “reason”?

I can see that Determinism is causal, but to say it is reasoned is almost like Deism.

From the wiki on reason

Reason, like habit or intuition, is a means by which thinking comes from one idea to a related idea. But more specifically, it is the way rational beings propose and consider explanations concerning cause and effect, true and false, and what is good or bad. In contrast to reason as an abstract noun, a reason is a consideration which explains or justifies some event, phenomenon or behaviour.

Precisely because determinism is causal, reason to explain why and how causation and causal chains are unique in the universe over cosmic time for causal determinism to hold, is crucial.

However, compelling reason (which is necessary and sufficient) to justify why and how causation and causal chains are unique, is problematic. This does not satisfy the principle of sufficient reason.

From the wiki on the
principle of sufficient reason

The principle of sufficient reason states that anything that happens does so for a reason: no state of affairs can obtain, and no statement can be true unless there is sufficient reason why it should not be otherwise.

Thus, causal determinism remains an ancient unproven doctrine/belief with many fundamental issues, like the clockwork universe of Deism.

OTOH, because nature is creative, complex and evolutionary, there is more reason to consider the universe as non-deterministic, naturalistic, possibly infinite and eternal.

[ Edited: 31 March 2011 05:54 AM by kkwan ]
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Posted: 31 March 2011 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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StephenLawrence - 30 March 2011 10:28 PM
Gnostikosis - 30 March 2011 02:25 PM

Okay, if you were to ask that question of me, nothing prevents me from lying to you about a random color.

Well, why didn’t you then?

Stephen

You haven’t ask the question.

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Posted: 31 March 2011 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Quoting StephenLawrence: 

I think this will all turn out to be much less a waste of time than you think Occam.

What it shows is people very much are libertarians intuitively.

You then want to shrug your shoulders but I think that will turn out to be a mistake, like it would be to shrug your shoulders at other beliefs that you would classify as woo.

Especially as this is so wrapped up with how we think and feel about ourselves and each other and is so much more universal than other woo.

And that is precisely why I try never to post on these determinism/Free Will threads, because you COMPLETELY misunderstood my point, Stephen.

And, no, I shall not respond further.

Occam

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Posted: 31 March 2011 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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StephenLawrence - 30 March 2011 10:25 PM

No Gnostikosis that is not the case.

What we are looking for is what we mean when we talk about what we could have done.

However I’m talking about you can do or I can do, not what either of us could have done.

It’s the case that it turns out that is compatible with determinism.

It has nothing to do with the truth or otherwise of determinism.

What we mean by could have done otherwise in the context of choice making is there was nothing that would have prevented us if we’d chosen to.

Now all you need to do is empirically test this and see.

Stephen

Neither compatibilism nor freewill is the question here. I’m sorry if I somehow made it seem that way. Non-determinism has something to do with the truth of determinism wouldn’t you say? I am looking at the arguments from a non-determinist POV.

The compatibilist accepts the determinist model for human behavior isn’t this true? So I’d assume the compatibilist must by necessity defend determinism.

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Posted: 31 March 2011 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Occam. - 30 March 2011 06:02 PM

Geez, I hate to ever post on these determinism vs free will threads, but here goes.  The problem you posed, Gnostikosis, is meaningless.  Just because our behavior is determined doesn’t mean that we necessarily have any conscious idea of the factors caused it. Lack of that knowledge doesn’t mitigate for free will. Suppose, for example, that I decide to lie to you if a coin flipped comes up heads and to tell the truth if it comes up tails.  That would certainly seem random, however, we know that the forces on the coin, while unable to be recognized, are clearly deterministic, that is, the coin doesn’t have free will.

Occam

I’m not making an argument for freewill. I am making an argument against determinism with regard to human behavior. Specifically the conclusion reached from the deterministic model that the future is a predetermined unalterable one that has only one possible outcome dictated since or before the beginning of time.

If any element of randomness exists either in human behavior or the physics of the universe then the inference of a predetermine future is a false one.

The question is whether a person can make a random choice from a range of choices offered when no desire, obligation, personal interest or consequence is involved.

Yes, normally this is not the case. However it only takes a single instance of this to falsify the concept of an unalterable future.

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Posted: 31 March 2011 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Occam. - 31 March 2011 11:15 AM

Quoting StephenLawrence: 

I think this will all turn out to be much less a waste of time than you think Occam.

What it shows is people very much are libertarians intuitively.

You then want to shrug your shoulders but I think that will turn out to be a mistake, like it would be to shrug your shoulders at other beliefs that you would classify as woo.

Especially as this is so wrapped up with how we think and feel about ourselves and each other and is so much more universal than other woo.

And that is precisely why I try never to post on these determinism/Free Will threads, because you COMPLETELY misunderstood my point, Stephen.

But of course I understood your particular point about not being aware of all the causes of our choices.

And Of course I was making a more general point.

Sigh

Stephen

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Posted: 31 March 2011 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Gnostikosis - 31 March 2011 11:35 AM

The compatibilist accepts the determinist model for human behavior isn’t this true? So I’d assume the compatibilist must by necessity defend determinism.

No, this isn’t true.

The compatibilist has no need to defend determinism.

The compatibilist only has to defend the meaning of could have done otherwise that is compatible with determinism.

Stephen

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Posted: 31 March 2011 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Gnostikosis - 31 March 2011 11:14 AM
StephenLawrence - 30 March 2011 10:28 PM
Gnostikosis - 30 March 2011 02:25 PM

Okay, if you were to ask that question of me, nothing prevents me from lying to you about a random color.

Well, why didn’t you then?

Stephen

You haven’t ask the question.

If I’d asked the question you would have lied to me.

As I didn’t ask the question you didn’t lie to me.

My not asking the question (all things being equal) prevented you from lying to me.

So you were prevented from lying to me.

Stephen

[ Edited: 31 March 2011 12:37 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 31 March 2011 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Interesting paper:
http://blogs.salon.com/0001561/stories/2002/11/17/freeWillVsDeterminism.html

Excerpt:

The surprising - at the time - solution is that the idea of the deterministic universe is probably wrong.

This conclusion came out of the physicist Heisenberg’s work with quantum mechanics. In 1927 he published what has become known as the “uncertainty paper,” in which he described his work with trying to determine the position and the momentum of a particle simultanously, and concluded:
“The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.”
Contrary to what many argued, this was not due to any fault from the observer. Simplified, we can say that this imprecision is due to an actual fuzziness in the fabric universe itself, at the quantum level.

It actually follows from quantum mechanics, solidly confirmed by experiments, that on the quantum level, the universe is not at all deterministic. Events happen according to a statistical distribution that comes out of quantum equations. Given an elementary particle, if it can go zing or zong, it is actually inheritably impossible to determine with certainty which it will do either, only the statistical probabilities.

While Einstein, and even some contemporary physicists, argue that there must be an actual underlying deterministic system to quantum mechanics, this system has never been found, and little evidence available now suggests it ever will.

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Posted: 31 March 2011 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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If I drop an apple, it must (determinism) fall towards the center of gravity. However, if I throw the apple away from me, it will still fall toward the center of gravity, but this process will take longer than when the apple was dropped from a stationary position.

Thus we have two competing deterministic paths. The law of gravity (universal determinism) and my free will (personal determinism) to redirect the path which the apple will follow, resulting in a difference in the time it will take for the apple to fall to the ground.

It was my choice (free will) to alter the natural deterministic path of the falling apple.

Is this line of reasoning pertinent to the discussion?

[ Edited: 31 March 2011 01:01 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 31 March 2011 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Are you being serious, Write4U?  gulp What if the apple gets stolen by a bird while it’s falling toward the ground? What is that all about? An avian determinism?

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Posted: 31 March 2011 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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StephenLawrence - 31 March 2011 12:35 PM

If I’d asked the question you would have lied to me.

You don’t know that, remember the individual being asked has the option not to lie as well.

As I didn’t ask the question you didn’t lie to me.

Yes, so actual reality did not mimic the fictional scenario I had setup.

My not asking the question (all things being equal) prevented you from lying to me.

It prevented the entire test, trial, experiment, whatever you would like to call it from taking place.

So you were prevented from lying to me.
Stephen

Yes as you chose not to take part in the test, nothing was really proven or dis-proven.

Can man fly? Well lets not launch the airplane and find out.

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