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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 22 August 2012 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2266 ]
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dougsmith - 22 August 2012 07:20 AM
StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 06:56 AM
GdB - 22 August 2012 04:19 AM

That is a true and meaningful sentence, even if I do not heat the water, and even if it is impossible for me to boil the water.

So to be clear, you are saying it’s true and meaningful even if it is logically impossible.

And it can be true that you could have gone to Paris and also logically impossible for you to have gone to Paris.

I assume GdB means physically impossible; as in, he is on earth and the water is in a pot in a distant galaxy. It would be physically impossible for him to heat the water now, but if he were to heat it now, it would boil.

It’s quite clear he doesnt only mean that Doug. He says even if the universe is deterministic and has to be and even if it had to start the way it did he could have gone to Paris last weekend.

This is what I’ve been trying to get you to see.

Stephen

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Posted: 22 August 2012 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2267 ]
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He won’t budge a planck length on anything.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2268 ]
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StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 07:42 AM

He says even if the universe is deterministic ...

That’s OK. A deterministic universe is consistent with what I claimed.

StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 07:42 AM

... and has to be ...

Even if the universe has to be deterministic? What modality of “has to be” is at work here? It can’t be physical necessity, since that’s already assumed in determinism. (Saying that determinism is physically necessary is vacuous, since that’s what determinism means: if it’s true, then it’s physically necessary).

The only thing you could mean by “has to be deterministic” then is that determinism is logically necessary. And that is a necessarily false claim, since determinism is not logically necessary. It is logically possible that determinism be false. Indeed, it’s probably true that determinism is false.

StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 07:42 AM

... and even if it had to start the way it did ...

What modality of “had to start the way it did” is at work here? It can’t be physical necessity, since physical necessity doesn’t establish the starting moment of the universe. And it can’t be logical necessity because once again, it is logically possible that the universe started differently than it did. So this is a meaningless claim.

StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 07:42 AM

... he could have gone to Paris last weekend.

So I understand what you’ve just written as, “He says even if the universe is deterministic, he could have gone to Paris last weekend.” (This is the only meaningful and true part of the sentence that remains once we cut out the necessary falsehoods). And I agree with the quoted sentence. Even if the universe is deterministic, he could have gone to Paris last weekend.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2269 ]
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dougsmith - 22 August 2012 08:28 AM

The only thing you could mean by “has to be deterministic” then is that determinism is logically necessary.

Yes, of course.

And that is a necessarily false claim, since determinism is not logically necessary. It is logically possible that determinism be false. Indeed, it’s probably true that determinism is false.

Doug, whether determinism is logically necessary or not is neither here nor there.

What Gdb says is even if determinism is true and logically necessary, he could have gone to Paris last weekend. (all else the same except the want)

That *is* what he says. I don’t know what the problem is with me getting the point across.

Stephen

[ Edited: 22 August 2012 01:13 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 22 August 2012 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2270 ]
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dougsmith - 22 August 2012 08:28 AM

The only thing you could mean by “has to be deterministic” then is that determinism is logically necessary. And that is a necessarily false claim, since determinism is not logically necessary.

The point is, assuming the actual world is determined (as of course we are) if GdB had wanted to go to Paris last weekend, all else exactly the same, indeterminism would be true,
which by definition means it was physically impossible as it would have contradicted the laws of nature.

Stephen

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Posted: 22 August 2012 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2271 ]
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dougsmith - 22 August 2012 08:28 AM

The only thing you could mean by “has to be deterministic” then is that determinism is logically necessary. And that is a necessarily false claim, since determinism is not logically necessary.

Surely indeterminism might be necessarily false for all we know?

Stephen

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Posted: 22 August 2012 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2272 ]
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Is there not a law that predicts all systems to become corrupted eventually?

[ Edited: 22 August 2012 02:48 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 22 August 2012 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2273 ]
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dougsmith - 22 August 2012 06:24 AM
Write4U - 22 August 2012 05:03 AM

Tim,
The point I was trying to make is that in string theory there is a scientifically accepted term “random fluctuations” within the string field. What if the quantum function in our brains (or any other quantum system) can be affected by these random fluctuations? For instance we know with certainty that our brain functions can be affected by electro/magnetic impulses. After all is said and done the future is determined and only becomes fixed at the quantum instant when it becomes manifest.

Sure, the brain could be effected. It could change into a cantaloupe. But that is vanishingly unlikely.

I am after the possibility of a single thought being altered within the thought process, not a change in function.

The ordinary functioning of neurons has nothing to do with quantum indeterminacy, however. They are straight, causal, physical systems. The indeterminacy happens at orders of magnitude smaller dimensions.

One thing to keep in mind: people are hopeless at producing random strings of numbers. If our decisions were fundamentally indeterminate, a human would be as good at producing random strings as the best quantum random number generator. We aren’t even close.

But if the underlying quantum structure we are immersed in is indeterminate, it does not require us to be able to produce any predictor or even know about it. We are subject to it.

I wonder if somel mental disorders are a product of indeterministic brain function, i.e. autism, epilepsy, old age tremors, triggered by uncontrolled firing of brain neurons.

Write4U - 22 August 2012 05:03 AM

My struggle is if random quantum fluctuations actually occur in the fundamental organizational structure of the universe and its eleven dimensions, how we can still call the universe purely physically and mathematically deterministic from beginning to end?

There are a few nonstandard interpretations of quantum mechanics on which these fluctuations are not random, but due to nonlocal causal influences, or cover all possible outcomes in an infinity of possible futures. IOW, they interpret the laws as essentially deterministic.

As I say, these interpretations are nonstandard, and AFAIK the vast majority of practicing physicists believes that the universe is causally stochastic in character and not deterministic. This isn’t to say that causation doesn’t happen though: it’s only to say that causation isn’t 100%; causes raise the probability of their effects, but not to certainty.

I completely agree with that.  As I stipulated before, causality is inescapable but can only be identified as a future probability.
wiki,

Stochastic (from the Greek στόχος for aim or guess) is an adjective that refers to systems whose behavior is intrinsically non-deterministic, sporadic, and categorically not intermittent (i.e. random). A stochastic process is one whose behavior is non-deterministic, in that a system’s subsequent state is determined both by the process’s predictable actions and by a random element. However, according to M. Kac[1] and E. Nelson,[2] any kind of time development (be it deterministic or essentially probabilistic) which is analyzable in terms of probability deserves the name of stochastic process.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2274 ]
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StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 06:51 AM

Also, I don’t get that the phrase “if I had wanted” cannot be assumed to include whatever factors would have been necessary for that want to have existed.

It can but GdB uses it strictly to mean all else exactly the same.

You still not get it. I say that for the sentence “If I had wanted to I could have gone to Paris last weekend” to be true it does not matter if the universe is determined or not, even if it was determined that I did not want to go to Paris last weekend.

StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 06:56 AM
GdB - 22 August 2012 04:19 AM

That is a true and meaningful sentence, even if I do not heat the water, and even if it is impossible for me to boil the water.

So to be clear, you are saying it’s true and meaningful even if it is logically impossible.

I am saying the sentence “If this water is heated enough, it will boil” is meaningful and true, even if it was determined by the history of the universe that I would not heat the water.
(BTW, you have again an “it” in the sentence, where it is not very clear to what it is referring.)

StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 06:56 AM

And it can be true that you could have gone to Paris and also logically impossible for you to have gone to Paris.

The question is not if it could have been true, possible or impossible or whatever. The sentence “If I had wanted to I could have gone to Paris last weekend” does not say anything that actually happens or happened in the world. It says only on what condition something would have happened. And that can be a true sentence, even if the antecedent is not the case, even if it necessary is not the case.

dougsmith - 22 August 2012 07:20 AM

I assume GdB means physically impossible; as in, he is on earth and the water is in a pot in a distant galaxy. It would be physically impossible for him to heat the water now, but if he were to heat it now, it would boil.

Yep.

StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 07:42 AM

It’s quite clear he doesnt only mean that Doug. He says even if the universe is deterministic and has to be and even if it had to start the way it did he could have gone to Paris last weekend.

*Sigh* That is not what I say. If the universe is fixed and determined as it was, and it was also fix and determined that I did not want to go to Paris, then it is true that I could not have gone to Paris. But if you believe it or not, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that the sentence “If I had wanted to I could have gone to Paris last weekend” is meaningful and true, even if the universe is so fixed and determined as it is. For a material implication to be true, it is not necessary that the antecedent is true. A material implication only says that if the antecedent is the case, then the consequent is the case.
BTW It now even seems that Doug takes a more radical standpoint than I do, seen from your view:

dougsmith - 22 August 2012 08:28 AM

So I understand what you’ve just written as, “He says even if the universe is deterministic, he could have gone to Paris last weekend.” (This is the only meaningful and true part of the sentence that remains once we cut out the necessary falsehoods). And I agree with the quoted sentence. Even if the universe is deterministic, he could have gone to Paris last weekend.

For me that is a minor point: I suppose Doug means “there is no physical law forbidding for me to have gone to Paris last weekend”. And that is true of course:
- Paris is close enough that I can do it travelling below lightspeed
- Paris is close enough that in the time frame of a weekend I can get there by train, and back again
- There is no contradiction between the laws of physics and my brain being in the state ‘wanting to go to Paris’
- etc…
In this sense it is perfectly possible that I could have gone to Paris, even if the universe banged in such a way that the ‘laws of physics decided’ that I did not go to Paris.

And for some reason you do not react on the main point of my long posting yesterday: that the logical argument below is not valid.

i. If Athen B
ii
It is necessary that (not A )
----------
iiinot (If Athen B
[ Edited: 23 August 2012 12:31 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 23 August 2012 12:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2275 ]
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GdB,
And for some reason you do not react on the main point of my long posting yesterday: that the logical argument below is not valid.

i. If A, then B
ii. It is necessary that (not A )
—————
iii. not (If A, then B) 

my 2 cents worth,
I agree. If A, then B only identifies a possible condition from among an infinite number of possible conditions, regardless if it remains latent or becomes manifest.

[ Edited: 23 August 2012 01:01 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 23 August 2012 12:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2276 ]
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Write4U - 23 August 2012 12:52 AM

my 2 cents worth,
I agree. If A, then B only identifies a possible condition from among an infinite number of possible conditions, regardless if it remains latent or becomes manifest.

Yep. Not exactly my words (I feel a Potential with capital ‘P’ behind it…), but, yep.

Write4U - 23 August 2012 12:52 AM

This IMO is the concept of Bohm’s Implicate (potential) and Explicate (reality).

It is just logic, nothing more. Even you might not mean to say it, but just to be sure: as it is pure logic, it is not influenced in anyway in how the universe actual really is, determined or not, implicate ordered or not, etc. Maybe Bohm’s implicate order theory needs this logical position, I’ve no idea.

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Posted: 23 August 2012 01:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2277 ]
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Ok, I am in full agreement with your position.

(edited my earlier post re Bohm)

[ Edited: 23 August 2012 01:07 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 23 August 2012 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2278 ]
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StephenLawrence - 23 August 2012 03:26 AM
TimB - 22 August 2012 11:01 PM
StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 09:17 PM
George - 22 August 2012 02:50 PM

I think you need help, Stephen. Really.  :-)

You know George I dunno how to take this.

But your comment really was quite interesting in the light of the other discussion that Tim is involved in too and I think it was well worth noticing.

Stephen

I think I get the joke. “Tim you could have easily (at least tried to) prove(d) your point.” is not a true statement because I didn’t want to.  Or maybe it is a true statement if I had wanted to. (We should really not cross threads, like this, as it could destroy the underlying fabric of the universe - as demonstrated in the movie “Ghostbusters”.)  :)

No we shouldn’t cross threads and I’m gonna resolve not to do it again. It was just such a priceless demonstration of belief in libertarian free will I couldn’t let that one pass without comment.

That is not true… ;-)

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Posted: 23 August 2012 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2279 ]
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GdB - 23 August 2012 03:35 AM
StephenLawrence - 23 August 2012 03:26 AM
TimB - 22 August 2012 11:01 PM
StephenLawrence - 22 August 2012 09:17 PM
George - 22 August 2012 02:50 PM

I think you need help, Stephen. Really.  :-)

You know George I dunno how to take this.

But your comment really was quite interesting in the light of the other discussion that Tim is involved in too and I think it was well worth noticing.

Stephen

I think I get the joke. “Tim you could have easily (at least tried to) prove(d) your point.” is not a true statement because I didn’t want to.  Or maybe it is a true statement if I had wanted to. (We should really not cross threads, like this, as it could destroy the underlying fabric of the universe - as demonstrated in the movie “Ghostbusters”.)  :)

No we shouldn’t cross threads and I’m gonna resolve not to do it again. It was just such a priceless demonstration of belief in libertarian free will I couldn’t let that one pass without comment.

That is not true… ;-)

It was GdB, it can be interpreted as compatible with determinism but the motivation for saying it is based on Libertarian intuitions, for sure.

Stephen

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Posted: 23 August 2012 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2280 ]
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Hi GdB,

I’ll wind this down quite soon if we can’t get anywhere.

The sentence “If I had wanted to I could have gone to Paris last weekend” does not say anything that actually happens or happened in the world. It says only on what condition something would have happened. And that can be a true sentence, even if the antecedent is not the case, even if it necessary is not the case.

There are two issues. 1) Do you mean logically necessary in the above? I’m taking the stance that the sentence can’t be meaningfully true in that case. I think Doug is saying the laws of nature must be contingent, so it’s logically impossible for the antecedent to be logically impossible. :-) 

The other issue is if you were to have wanted to go to Paris the laws of physics would have been indeterministic, because of the way you are interpreting ‘all else the same’. But you seem to deny that and yet surely a definition of physically impossible is if it were to happen the laws of nature would (have to be) different.

I accept that the sentence is true and meaningful because although the world would be indeterministic it’s still true the conditions you describe would be sufficient cause of you going to Paris.

What I don’t accept is that it’s not physically impossible. It is, as I say, by definition.

Stephen

[ Edited: 23 August 2012 04:41 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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