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Non-Determinism
Posted: 31 March 2011 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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George - 31 March 2011 01:06 PM

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?

I was making an argument for free will, not against determinism.
IMO, the two are not mutually exclusive. The apple (by itself) follows a universal deterministic path, but this path may be interrupted and may “be made” to follow a new deterministic path by my free will.

The point was that while the apple is hanging from the tree, its future is not necessarily determined (fixed).

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Posted: 31 March 2011 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Write4U - 31 March 2011 12:58 PM

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?

Only if there was no reason for you to do either action. Say you didn’t care if the apple dropped at your feat or several feet away and also didn’t care whether you kept the apple or got rid of it.

I suppose the real question is 5 minutes prior to your action or decision was there no other possible place the apple could have ended up? Can the argument really be made that the apple was destined to end in it’s final future resting place.

It’s a little bit mind boggling isn’t it? Because the future would end up being just as causal of the past as much as the past is causal of the future. Because of the future position of this apple the “big bang” could not have been anything other then it was.

Perhaps there are no events. Just a movement of time along static instances incapable of “real” actions because they are locked into place by both a past and a future neither of which exists except when the lamp of time scrolls by to light it’s stationary immovable moment.

Like a movie which seems to have motion, life but is really a series of immovable lifeless images. This is the model necessitated by determinism. I think the concept bears a little investigation before tossing the universe in the film can and closing the lid.

Of course you are free, (Are you?) to say the lid has been long closed on this issue.

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Posted: 31 March 2011 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Write4U - 31 March 2011 01:54 PM

I was making an argument for free will, not against determinism.
IMO, the two are not mutually exclusive. The apple (by itself) follows a universal deterministic path, but this path may be interrupted and may “be made” to follow a new deterministic path by my free will.

The point was that while the apple is hanging from the tree, its future is not necessarily determined (fixed).

Ah, see, there you go. You’ve already got the idea.

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Posted: 31 March 2011 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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kkwan - 31 March 2011 04:15 AM

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

Yes the case for determinism has not yet been made however you kkwan, are a heretic for questioning it.
cool smirk

I am being overly dramatic here, but it’s fun.

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Posted: 31 March 2011 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Then also is the question of causality. One might argue that me throwing the apple was also an act of determinism. But is it really?

Supposose I don’t know what will happen if I throw the apple a distance. Will it still reach the earth at the same time as the apple falling straight down?

Thus my action is from ignorance and I am not at all certain what the deterministic result will be. Thus it is not a question of “if I throw the apple, this will happen, but rather “if I do throw the apple (and how hard), what will happen?”
At that point the future of the apple is undetermined and the result becomes known only after the experiment.

Just probing….. cheese

Actually the question was inspired by Einstein’s “man in the box”, where a man inside a box is travelling upwards at a considerable % of SOL. The box has a very small opening in one side and as it travels past a light bulb light enters the box and travels toward the other side of the box. To the man in the box, the light beam, while travelling in a straight line, appears to bend downward as the box travels upward, yet reaches the other side at the same time as if the box was stationary. Thus the longer path of the curving beam is irrelevant to the time the beam reaches the other side of the box in a straight line.
Einstein established that while light may travel in a curve, it makes no difference to the time it takes to reach its destination, unlike the apple.

[ Edited: 31 March 2011 03:11 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 31 March 2011 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Write4U - 31 March 2011 02:52 PM

Actually the question was inspired by Einstein’s “man in the box”, where a man inside a box is travelling upwards at a considerable % of SOL. The box has a very small opening in one side and as it travels past a light bulb light enters the box and travels toward the other side of the box. To the man in the box, the light beam, while travelling in a straight line, appears to bend downward as the box travels upward, yet reaches the other side at the same time as if the box was stationary. Thus the longer path of the curving beam is irrelevant to the time the beam reaches the other side of the box in a straight line.
Einstein established that while light may travel in a curve, it makes no difference to the time it takes to reach its destination, unlike the apple.

Wow… Applying the Theory of Relativity to the philosophy of determinism, brilliant.  cool cheese

Wish I had thought of that. While I have no idea where this may lead, it’s nice to know that humans are still free to think outside of the box once in a while.  smile

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Posted: 31 March 2011 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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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

Okay, but what if the coin you tossed was mental, the only forces of nature of this small but perhaps undetermined landing of the coin are those of a fictional reality.

Think the brain might be capable of such a thing?

I shook my head around a little bit, I suppose to simulate the rolling of dice to complete my mental coin flip and ended up with an answer of two. Hmmm… wait a minute.

I’m not quite sure how to go about using that answer to decide whether or not to lie to you or not but it certainly seems random enough. Unless you can explain why the big bang was necessary for me coming up with that specific answer at that specific moment.

I mean come on… I gotten rid of any moral influence, any influence from my own vested interests, rid of any natural laws that might influence me arrive at that answer, any sense of sanity. What more do I have to give up to make one random-assed decision in my life?

confused

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Posted: 31 March 2011 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Gnostikosis - 31 March 2011 02:38 PM
kkwan - 31 March 2011 04:15 AM

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

Yes the case for determinism has not yet been made however you kkwan, are a heretic for questioning it.
cool smirk

I am being overly dramatic here, but it’s fun.

If a heretic is one who dissents from an accepted belief or doctrine, I am one.  grin

It is fun to challenge the dictum that determinism rules, which is an archaic concept, mechanistic and anthropomorphic, notwithstanding the adequate determinism that human science presumably need.

Clearly, the history and future of the creative evolving universe is neither like a movie nor is it is like clockwork, though in the long run humans are all dead.

Determinism is the ephemeral Emperor with no body. LOL

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Posted: 31 March 2011 10:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Gnostikosis - 31 March 2011 01:50 PM
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.

In my opinion you would have. My reason is that in order to show that you weren’t prevented from lying you would have needed to lie.

What do you think you would have done?

Oh and here goes.

What colour shirt are you wearing today Gnostikosis. grin

Stephen

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Posted: 31 March 2011 10:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Write4U - 31 March 2011 01:54 PM
George - 31 March 2011 01:06 PM

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?

I was making an argument for free will, not against determinism.
IMO, the two are not mutually exclusive. The apple (by itself) follows a universal deterministic path, but this path may be interrupted and may “be made” to follow a new deterministic path by my free will.

The point was that while the apple is hanging from the tree, its future is not necessarily determined (fixed).

It makes no sense to talk about interrupting a deterministic path.

Either the path is deterministic in which case it never gets interrupted.

Or it isn’t in which case there is no path that gets interrupted.

Stephen

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Posted: 31 March 2011 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Gnostikosis - 31 March 2011 11:35 AM
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 makes no difference if we talk about the future the past or the present.

It’s just easier to think about the past because we have the information about what we did do and so avoid confusion between epistemic possibilities and logical possibilities.

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, the compatibilist says the deterministic model is all we need to understand free will.

The compatibilist says the counterfactual conditional sense of can, when referring to non actual possibilities is all we need.

So the truth of determinism or not has nothing to do with free will.

Stephen

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Posted: 01 April 2011 04:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Write4U - 31 March 2011 02:52 PM

Actually the question was inspired by Einstein’s “man in the box”, where a man inside a box is travelling upwards at a considerable % of SOL. The box has a very small opening in one side and as it travels past a light bulb light enters the box and travels toward the other side of the box. To the man in the box, the light beam, while travelling in a straight line, appears to bend downward as the box travels upward, yet reaches the other side at the same time as if the box was stationary. Thus the longer path of the curving beam is irrelevant to the time the beam reaches the other side of the box in a straight line.
Einstein established that while light may travel in a curve, it makes no difference to the time it takes to reach its destination, unlike the apple.

(Bold by me)

So the the light travels faster than light. Wow!

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