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A fundamental problem of causation
Posted: 13 April 2011 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Gnostikosis - 13 April 2011 11:09 AM

When we talk about human decision this is a more complex process then the causality of rain. A physical process doesn’t weigh benefits and costs. Until the individual goes through this choosing process, his future action cannot be determined.

It’s precisely because we view choice making as a weighing up of costs and benefits that choices appear to be deterministic.

Given the process there is one possible option we can select.

That’s determinism, that’s choice making.

Stephen

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Posted: 13 April 2011 11:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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kkwan - 13 April 2011 08:38 AM

Science basically replaced God with the “laws of nature” as sovereign in the universe.

BS

The “laws” of nature are descriptions of how nature behaves. They are not some “sovereign” on processes in nature. If you already use anthropomorphic concepts for the relation between natural laws and that which it describes, you could also say that processes develop according their will, which is simply described for simple processes (the stone wants to go to the ground), and highly complicated for complex processes.

The word “law” is a very confusing concept in this respect. The idea of “law” came from the Latin word “lex”, which was used for laws as they existed in states like the roman empire. But it was also used as closest translation with the Jewish word “Torah”, where Torah meant “theory”, or “system”, the way things are running. Not “forced to run”. So it is closer to the Heraclitian concept of “logos” or the Chinese idea of “Tao”. (Surprised, kkwan?)

Here looked it up for you:

The meaning of the word is therefore “teaching,” “doctrine,” or “instruction”; the commonly accepted “law” gives a wrong impression. Other translational contexts in the English language include custom, theory, guidance, or system.

So the natural laws are descriptions of how processes in the universe behave, not how they are forced. In such a Taoist view the apparent contradiction between determinism and free will disappears as snow in the sun.

You and Stephen are chasing ghosts that you created yourself.

[ Edited: 14 April 2011 01:03 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 13 April 2011 11:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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GdB - 13 April 2011 11:20 PM

The “laws” of nature are descriptions of how nature behaves. They are not some “sovereign” on processes in nature.

I have an open mind on this.

1) I can’t really imagine what governs means.

But on the other hand understanding them as descriptions is difficult because it seems to introduce a describer.

And more importantly we have the problem of induction.

I don’t see any reason for past patterns to hold into the future.

Stephen

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Posted: 13 April 2011 11:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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GdB - 13 April 2011 11:20 PM

So the natural laws are descriptions of how processes in the universe behave, not how they are forced. In such a Taoist view the apparent contradiction between determinism and free will disappears as snow in the sun.

So if it turned out the laws of nature govern what we do we wouldn’t have free will?

But of course not, we would have just the same abilities.

So this is a red herring as is dualism.

The problem is the problem of luck.

We are restricted by our past in that we have one possible future we can get to given that past, we are forced in that sense and that’s true whether laws of nature are descriptive or govern.

So it is the luck of the draw what that past happens to be.

But as indeterminism doesn’t overcome the problem of luck, the only version of free will we can have is compatible with determinism.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 April 2011 12:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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kkwan - 13 April 2011 07:09 PM
TromboneAndrew - 13 April 2011 09:33 AM

Well, it wouldn’t be possible to stumble if there was nothing to stumble against. No gravity, no ground, no planet, no stumbling.

I quite expect you will invoke gravity, the ground, the earth etc. in order to stumble. smile

It is possible to stumble as a misstep.

The point is stumbling is an event, not an object.

So, there is a causal relationship between the man (an object) with his stumbling (an event).

The model is valid.

Actually walking is a controlled act of falling forward. A stumble is an event where this control is lost by the person.
Not sure if this is pertinent to the question.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 12:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 April 2011 11:50 PM

The problem is the problem of luck.

I thought the topic of this thread was causation?

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Posted: 14 April 2011 01:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 April 2011 11:35 PM

But on the other hand understanding them as descriptions is difficult because it seems to introduce a describer.

So you think I cannot have a Word document in my computer, that describes how the computer is built up? (Mind: I do not say complete description!)

StephenLawrence - 13 April 2011 11:35 PM

I don’t see any reason for past patterns to hold into the future.

Me neither. But obviously it is mostly the case, when we look at the natural sciences.

You really have a dualistic problem. You see the person as something separated from the material world, and therefore see persons as “forced” by natural laws. You are blind to your dualistic presupposition.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 01:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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GdB - 14 April 2011 01:02 AM
StephenLawrence - 13 April 2011 11:35 PM

I don’t see any reason for past patterns to hold into the future.

Me neither. But obviously it is mostly the case, when we look at the natural sciences.

I don’t think this is a satisfactory answer.

IT isn’t obvious it is the case, it might not be the case unless you accept the principle of induction.

But what is it about the nature of reality that makes accepting the principle of induction the right thing to do.

It can just be that it just happens to be the case that they do.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 April 2011 01:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 April 2011 01:08 AM

But what is it about the nature of reality that makes accepting the principle of induction the right thing to do.

The principle of induction has showed to work again and again. We know it works by induction.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 01:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Write4U - 14 April 2011 12:21 AM
kkwan - 13 April 2011 07:09 PM
TromboneAndrew - 13 April 2011 09:33 AM

Well, it wouldn’t be possible to stumble if there was nothing to stumble against. No gravity, no ground, no planet, no stumbling.

I quite expect you will invoke gravity, the ground, the earth etc. in order to stumble. smile

It is possible to stumble as a misstep.

The point is stumbling is an event, not an object.

So, there is a causal relationship between the man (an object) with his stumbling (an event).

The model is valid.

Actually walking is a controlled act of falling forward. A stumble is an event where this control is lost by the person.
Not sure if this is pertinent to the question.

I suppose that’s another way to describe it.

kkwan, you completely ignored my assertion that stumbling requires something to stumble against, not just a stumbler. I chose a planet with a ground, because this is the most obvious object for us walking humans. We’re going in circles already, alas.

Try looking at it this way: if you’re referring to stumbling as an event that involves only one object, this is patently illogical, because every event in the universe must by definition involve the interaction of two or more objects. Even an atom going through radioactive decay in the vacuum of deep space can be described through the interaction of it’s subatomic particles.

[ Edited: 14 April 2011 01:32 AM by TromboneAndrew ]
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Posted: 14 April 2011 01:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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GdB - 14 April 2011 01:22 AM
StephenLawrence - 14 April 2011 01:08 AM

But what is it about the nature of reality that makes accepting the principle of induction the right thing to do.

The principle of induction has showed to work again and again. We know it works by induction.

I hope that was supposed to be a joke.

Stephen

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Posted: 14 April 2011 02:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 14 April 2011 01:30 AM
Write4U - 14 April 2011 12:21 AM
kkwan - 13 April 2011 07:09 PM
TromboneAndrew - 13 April 2011 09:33 AM

Well, it wouldn’t be possible to stumble if there was nothing to stumble against. No gravity, no ground, no planet, no stumbling.

I quite expect you will invoke gravity, the ground, the earth etc. in order to stumble. smile

It is possible to stumble as a misstep.

The point is stumbling is an event, not an object.

So, there is a causal relationship between the man (an object) with his stumbling (an event).

The model is valid.

Actually walking is a controlled act of falling forward. A stumble is an event where this control is lost by the person.
Not sure if this is pertinent to the question.

I suppose that’s another way to describe it.

kkwan,
Try looking at it this way: if you’re referring to stumbling as an event that involves only one object, this is patently illogical, because every event in the universe must by definition involve the interaction of two or more objects. Even an atom going through radioactive decay in the vacuum of deep space can be described through the interaction of it’s subatomic particles.

This is why I mentioned that it is the walker (object) who controls the fall. If he gets dizzy he may stumble without a secondary cause. Of course all this is caused by existing gravity, but that does remain constant in both scenarios.

[ Edited: 14 April 2011 02:07 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 14 April 2011 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Write4U - 14 April 2011 02:01 AM

This is why I mentioned that it is the walker who controls the fall. If he gets dizzy he may stumble without a secondary cause. Of course all this is caused by existing gravity, but that does remain constant in both scenarios.

Speaking of which, the walker getting dizzy is akin to my atmoic decay example. A walker getting dizzy is not one object. It is an interaction of different objects within the walker’s body.

Another thought: if a stumble were one event involving one object, it should be possible for an astronaut to stumble in deep space. That certainly sounds impossible to me.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 02:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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StephenLawrence - 14 April 2011 01:52 AM
GdB - 14 April 2011 01:22 AM

The principle of induction has showed to work again and again. We know it works by induction.

I hope that was supposed to be a joke.

No.

Wikipedia:

The classic philosophical treatment of the problem of induction was given by the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Hume highlighted the fact that our everyday functioning depends on drawing uncertain conclusions from our relatively limited experiences rather than on deductively valid arguments. For example, we believe that bread will nourish us because it has done so in the past, despite no guarantee that it will do so. However, Hume argued that it is impossible to justify inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning certainly cannot be justified deductively, and so our only option is to justify it inductively. However, to justify induction inductively is circular. Therefore, it is impossible to justify induction.

However, Hume immediately argued that even if induction were proved unreliable, we would have to rely on it. So he took a middle road. Rather than approach everything with severe skepticism, Hume advocated a practical skepticism based on common sense, where the inevitability of induction is accepted.

(I really feel kkwanny… I have the feeling argumentation should be redefined. When you find it at some website, then your point is proven. Understanding is not necessary. wink)

You see, I think I said that somewhere already, you, Stephen, cannot live without the security that you understand everything completely and that you are right. You feel insecure, because you long for a world that is intellectually completely transparent.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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StephenLawrence - 13 April 2011 11:50 PM

So if it turned out the laws of nature govern what we do we wouldn’t have free will?

Missed this one:

And how would that turn out? Lamenting electrons suffering from oppression? Or with some enlightenment that shows you what the world really looks like behind the scenes?

C’mon! The whole supposed determinism - free will problem is just one big misconception, born from anthropomorphication and other category errors.

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