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A fundamental problem of causation
Posted: 16 April 2011 01:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 April 2011 12:10 PM

And the imagination is causal effective,

That’s the apparent mistake.

They are not? Do we have indeterministic hole in the universe?

StephenLawrence - 15 April 2011 12:10 PM

Because you also think that causal effectivness is to make a difference?

Eh? Make full sentence? A differerence between what and what?

StephenLawrence - 15 April 2011 12:10 PM

Make a difference to what?

Yep.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 April 2011 02:09 PM
GdB - 15 April 2011 02:13 AM

Learning the language of these humanoids, and how they effect the humanoids’ behaviour, and then interacting with the humanoids, changed the species’ life forever…

From what to what?  LOL

They got free. 028.gif

[ Edited: 16 April 2011 01:31 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 16 April 2011 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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GdB - 14 April 2011 06:50 AM

Read the whole article with an open mind to get the idea.

Quite so. From the same article:

Persons who believe that there is a problem reconciling the existence of free will and determinism have turned upside down the relationship between laws of nature on the one side and events and states of affairs on the other. It is not that laws of nature govern the world. We are not “forced” to choose one action rather than another. It is quite the other way round: we choose, and the laws of nature accommodate themselves to our choice. If I choose to wear a brown shirt, then it is true that I do so; and if instead I were to choose to wear a blue shirt, then it would be true that I wear a blue shirt. In neither case would my choosing be ‘forced’ by the truth of the proposition that describes my action. And the same semantic principle applies even if the proposition truly describing my choice is a universal proposition rather than a singular one.

So, it is not so clear-cut that the problems of reconciling determinism and free will are illusory as regularists put it from their POV.

For some unknown reason, this post on causation has turned into a free will debate. Perhaps GdB can enlighten us?

From the conclusion:

At some point explanations must come to an end. Regularists place that stopping point at the way-the-world-is. Necessitarians place it one, inaccessible, step beyond, at the way-the-world-must-be.

The divide between Necessitarians and Regularists remains as deep as any in philosophy. Neither side has conceived a theory which accommodates all our familiar, and deeply rooted, historically-informed beliefs about the nature of the world. To adopt either theory is to give up one or more strong beliefs about the nature of the world. And there simply do not seem to be any other theories in the offing. While these two theories are clearly logical contraries, they are – for the foreseeable future – also exhaustive of the alternatives.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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kkwan - 16 April 2011 05:30 AM

For some unknown reason, this post on causation has turned into a free will debate. Perhaps GdB can enlighten us?

Yes, of course, if you open your eyes. wink I am trying to enlighten Stephen and you all the time, but one cannot force people to their luck!

It was Stephen, here (fatalism), and Gnos, here.

I already noticed this much earlier, see here. But I react when I have something to say. I am determined to do that.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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kkwan - 16 April 2011 05:30 AM

Neither side has conceived a theory which accommodates all our familiar, and deeply rooted, historically-informed beliefs about the nature of the world. To adopt either theory is to give up one or more strong beliefs about the nature of the world.

Yep. Some are just plain wrong. Is called progress. As science goes on, it sometimes turns out that some ‘deeply rooted, historically-informed beliefs’ must be relinquished. The earth has already left the centre of the universe for ages. But as you should have seen is that compatibilist free will can bear the burden of our societal praxis.

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Posted: 17 April 2011 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Gnostikosis - 15 April 2011 04:20 PM

Makes a difference from the imagined universe were this causal effect does not exist.

So taking a headache pill doesn’t really make a headache go away??????????

Humans without the ability to imagine different possibilities would act different from those who do.

What does that mean Gnostikosis?

The problem is you say we just make a difference from the imagined universe. ok so far.

But then you say “would act different from those who do”

What’s this second bit about? Is that imaginary as well, or is that something objectively true about the way the world works?

And did the moon influence the ocean before humans imagined non actual possibilities?

Stephen

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Posted: 17 April 2011 02:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Without imagination would the world be the same as it is today?

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Posted: 17 April 2011 03:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Write4U - 17 April 2011 02:57 AM

Without imagination would the world be the same as it is today?

No.

Our actions, science, legal system, art are all based on imagination.

NB. I did not say ‘just’ imagination…

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Posted: 19 April 2011 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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GdB - 16 April 2011 07:03 AM
kkwan - 16 April 2011 05:30 AM

Neither side has conceived a theory which accommodates all our familiar, and deeply rooted, historically-informed beliefs about the nature of the world. To adopt either theory is to give up one or more strong beliefs about the nature of the world.

Yep. Some are just plain wrong. Is called progress. As science goes on, it sometimes turns out that some ‘deeply rooted, historically-informed beliefs’ must be relinquished. The earth has already left the centre of the universe for ages. But as you should have seen is that compatibilist free will can bear the burden of our societal praxis.

Science, notwithstanding all it’s achievements, is fallible. It is hubris to think that “the nature of the world” can only be understood with science and nothing else.

No, what is compelling is causal determinism is a false doctrine and it is incoherent to relate free will to it at all.

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Posted: 19 April 2011 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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kkwan - 19 April 2011 10:00 AM

Science, notwithstanding all it’s achievements, is fallible.

Of course, it is.

kkwan - 19 April 2011 10:00 AM

It is hubris to think that “the nature of the world” can only be understood with science and nothing else.

With what then? Quotations?  grin

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Posted: 19 April 2011 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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kkwan - 19 April 2011 10:00 AM

Science, notwithstanding all it’s achievements, is fallible. It is hubris to think that “the nature of the world” can only be understood with science and nothing else.

Science’s achievements are at least partly due to it being fallible, this is a virtue not a fault. It is hubris to think that the “nature of the world” can be understood by ignoring the insights that science has provided both on the world and how can gain knowledge of it.

No, what is compelling is causal determinism is a false doctrine and it is incoherent to relate free will to it at all.

Maybe I missed this where is the argument that this is the case? There is nothing compelling that I have seen to lead to your conclusion.

EDIT: However I regard causal determinism as unimportant, I am regularist, the best analysis of causation is IMV Judea Pearl’s and his Structural Equation Framework combined with Julian Barbour’s reduction of time and Bayes. See Timeless Causality

[ Edited: 19 April 2011 03:22 PM by faithlessgod ]
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Posted: 19 April 2011 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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Mingy Jongo - 15 April 2011 05:15 PM
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.

This post made me cringe a bit.

Induction cannot be justified epistemically (one ends up with the circular argument above if attempted).  However, it can be justified pragmatically:
screenshot20100517at358.png

What I’m saying is yes it works but in order for it to work there must be a reason.

And that is because without a reason it is no more likely that patterns will hold into the future than that they won’t.


Stephen

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Posted: 19 April 2011 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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kkwan - 19 April 2011 10:00 AM

It is hubris to think that “the nature of the world” can only be understood with science and nothing else.

Maybe I must add a little more.

If knowledge earns its name to be valid knowledge, we must agree upon what this validity is, what we mean with that. My simple idea: it must be true for everybody. Everybody being able to think logically and doing the experiments and or observations can check for himself. I think you are not opposed to this idea. What you are against is materialism, or physicalism and its spin-off, determinism, thinking determinism on one side, and free will and consciousness on the other side do not go together. You know I do not agree. But leaving that aside for the moment, you must clearly distinguish between science as it is practiced (and financed!) today, and the main idea as stated by me above.

For me, every idea that is somehow supported by logic, experiments and/or observations, is science. Saying in advance “everything can by explained by reducing it to matter and how it behaves” is ideological. Until everything is explained, one cannot be sure if the reductionist program is correct. But until now we had not much reason to believe it to be incorrect, seeing all the successes of science. But QM is clearly a case where we reached a border of that idea.

Science surely is somehow one sided. Most money (not all!) is invested there where the perspective of technological success is promising. E.G. if buddhists say what they reach with meditation, this can be empirical. A scientist cannot say “I cannot test your statement about meditation, because I refuse to meditate, so your statement is not true”. Scientists ofter are tempted to make ‘sweeping statements’ outside the discipline where they really know something.  But if somebody states something that contradicts established science, then he has very bad cards. But it is a positive development that there are neurologists who say that a theory of mind must explain Out of Body Experiences, Near Death Experiences, effects of meditation etc. Modern imaging techniques make this possible, but also the openness of some neurologists to meditate themselves.

For the rest I would say, have a look in this thread.

If a reaction of you is about science in general, then react there. This thread you meant to discuss causation…

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Posted: 20 April 2011 04:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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faithlessgod - 19 April 2011 03:13 PM

It is hubris to think that the “nature of the world” can be understood by ignoring the insights that science has provided both on the world and how can gain knowledge of it.

What I wrote was “It is hubris to think that “the nature of the world” can only be understood with science and nothing else.” which does not imply ignoring the insights of science.

Maybe I missed this where is the argument that this is the case? There is nothing compelling that I have seen to lead to your conclusion.

From this article HERE

A theorem recently propounded by Princeton mathematicians John Conway (who invented the famous Game of Life) and Simon Kochen (one of the originators of the Kochen-Specker paradox of quantum mechanics) supports a powerful challenge to the scientific credentials of determinism, by showing that two cornerstones of contemporary science, namely acceptance of the scientific method as a reliable way of finding out about the world, and relativity theory’s exclusion of faster-than-light transmission of information, together conflict with determinism, in both its versions.  Belief in determinism may thus come to be seen as notably unscientific.

What about free will:

However, as I have argued in various publications, there are other reasons for believing in free will associated with rational conscious decisions and actions; and refutation of determinism supports an argument that the physical world is not closed to influences from rational conscious processes, and thus that there is ‘room’ for free will.

And room for free will is found in downward causation of biological systems of which human free will is the epitome.

EDIT: However I regard causal determinism as unimportant, I am regularist, the best analysis of causation is IMV Judea Pearl’s and his Structural Equation Framework combined with Julian Barbour’s reduction of time and Bayes. See Timeless Causality

Barbour’s timeless universe with no time is controversial conjectural metaphysics, not proven scientific knowledge. Judea Pearl who came from AI research, has developed a theory of causation wrt to AI.

From the wiki on Judea Pearl

Judea Pearl was one of the pioneers of Bayesian networks and the probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence, and one of the first to mathematize causal modeling in the empirical sciences. His work is also intended as a high-level cognitive model. He is interested in the philosophy of science, knowledge representation, nonstandard logics, and learning. Pearl is described as “one of the giants in the field of artificial intelligence” by UCLA computer science professor Richard Korf. His work on causality has “revolutionized the understanding of causality in statistics, psychology, medicine and the social sciences” according to The Association for Computing Machinery.

But complex adaptive living biological systems and humans are not computers, AI or non-living systems. Therefore, it is highly problematic whether his model of causation is applicable to them at all.

[ Edited: 20 April 2011 04:02 AM by kkwan ]
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Posted: 20 April 2011 04:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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kkwan - 20 April 2011 04:00 AM

From this article HERE

A theorem recently propounded by Princeton mathematicians John Conway (who invented the famous Game of Life) and Simon Kochen (one of the originators of the Kochen-Specker paradox of quantum mechanics) supports a powerful challenge to the scientific credentials of determinism, by showing that two cornerstones of contemporary science, namely acceptance of the scientific method as a reliable way of finding out about the world, and relativity theory’s exclusion of faster-than-light transmission of information, together conflict with determinism, in both its versions.  Belief in determinism may thus come to be seen as notably unscientific.

As I said determinism is really a red herring. The universe may be deterministic or indeterministic it makes no difference to the issue over LFW. All we have are regularities in nature and anything else is random. I severely doub that the authors are arguing for LFW but I will read the paper when I have time.

However, as I have argued in various publications, there are other reasons for believing in free will associated with rational conscious decisions and actions; and refutation of determinism supports an argument that the physical world is not closed to influences from rational conscious processes, and thus that there is ‘room’ for free will.

But “rational conscious processes” are part of the natural world as neuroscience has long shown! Have to read the paper, damn… this better be a good one Kkwan and not the result of selective quotation, we shall see.

And room for free will is found in downward causation of biological systems of which human free will is the epitome.

There is downward causation only from the 1st person perspective. From the 3rd person perspective it is just causation. I once developed a downward causation model based on the adiabatic approximation in solving 2nd order phase transitions in laser where the random emission of a photon by an excited atom was constrained by a global variable - the adiabatic approximation. These seemed a plausible model of downward causation in a brain where such global variables constrain the firing of neurons and, I hoped, solved the binding problem. However it is just a mathematical trick, a powerful and useful one at that, but that is not how the laser photons work physically nor how the neuron’s interact physically. If there are higher level emergent features of the brain they are instantiated in the brain, there really is no upward and downward causation, it is like the Kant example of a ball in a cushion.

EDIT: However I regard causal determinism as unimportant, I am regularist, the best analysis of causation is IMV Judea Pearl’s and his Structural Equation Framework combined with Julian Barbour’s reduction of time and Bayes. See Timeless Causality

You clearly did not read that link, did you?

Barbour’s timeless universe with no time is controversial conjectural metaphysics, not proven scientific knowledge.

His work is not conjectural metaphysics, it is physics.

Judea Pearl who came from AI research, has developed a theory of causation wrt to AI.

snipped a pointless quote

But complex adaptive living biological systems and humans are not computers, AI or non-living systems. Therefore, it is highly problematic whether his model of causation is applicable to them at all.

Says who? Whilst I have long disagreed with what is now called GOFAI, we are biological computers and we are learning much about nature has solved many computational challenges. The issue is to find the correct algorithms and on what level to model them - sub-neurons, neurons, neuronal groups or otherwise.

For that matter, nothing I have seen in Conway’s work - although I have yet to read this particular paper - I have looked as his work in Artificial Life, indicates otherwise either.

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