The Difference Between Causality and Determinism

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pagan
 
Reply Sat 9 Jan, 2010 09:39 am
@kennethamy,
Suppose we conceive of a correct english language writing universe. In this universe there exists only two kinds of things. One is a reader/writer. The other is written history. Written history is in english and created only by reader/writers.

Two reader/writers begin the following discussion. 'Do we have the freedom to write anything we want?' Well since they cannot conceive of anything other than english they might at first say yes incorrectly because it may be there is a french universe somewhere else. That aside ..... they may then go on to note that what they write has rules in it. Spelling and grammar.

One argues that since all writing ever read in written history conforms to the rules of spelling and grammar then it indicates that they have no freedom at all. The other counters that repetition in written history is so rare that we must have some freedom. 'If all we read were the same sentences repeated in the same order over and over again then I would agree, but we don't.'

'Ah but, counters the other, there are limits to the number of different words in english, and therefore it must follow that written history is indeed composed of repetition, produced by the constraints of english.'

'not necessarily, because I could set up a list of words based upon the following scheme. I will first of all list all the words alphabetically, then I will do the same again but the list will repeat each word twice, and then again three times, and so on infinitely and without overall repetition.'

'true, but that is an evolving pattern based upon repetition
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 9 Jan, 2010 10:37 am
@pagan,
pagan;118809 wrote:
Suppose we conceive of a correct english language writing universe. In this universe there exists only two kinds of things. One is a reader/writer. The other is written history. Written history is in english and created only by reader/writers.

Two reader/writers begin the following discussion. 'Do we have the freedom to write anything we want?' Well since they cannot conceive of anything other than english they might at first say yes incorrectly because it may be there is a french universe somewhere else. That aside ..... they may then go on to note that what they write has rules in it. Spelling and grammar.

One argues that since all writing ever read in written history conforms to the rules of spelling and grammar then it indicates that they have no freedom at all. The other counters that repetition in written history is so rare that we must have some freedom. 'If all we read were the same sentences repeated in the same order over and over again then I would agree, but we don't.'

'Ah but, counters the other, there are limits to the number of different words in english, and therefore it must follow that written history is indeed composed of repetition, produced by the constraints of english.'

'not necessarily, because I could set up a list of words based upon the following scheme. I will first of all list all the words alphabetically, then I will do the same again but the list will repeat each word twice, and then again three times, and so on infinitely and without overall repetition.'

'true, but that is an evolving pattern based upon repetition


Not sure what your point is, but the issue of this thread is not whether or not determinism is true. It is how determinism and causation are connected, and (perhaps) what determinism implies for free will.
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 03:29 pm
@prothero,
Change can only occur in the present. All the conditions that contribute to that change are in the present. All change can be completely explained by the summary impact of the conditions that contribute to it. There is (or is not?) a potential variance in the change that will be manifest by an exactly identical set of summary conditions.

It is not necessary for a condition to be known (or even to be knowable) in order for it to impact the nature of a change. Although it need not be known or knowable to "us", a condition must be known to what it changes in order to be considered among the set of summary conditions impacting the change. For example, a gravitational vector can impact the direction of motion of a massive particle, but cannot impact the direction of motion of a massless particle. The massless particle does not recognize, know, experience, respond to a gravitational vector.

Can a change occur to an object and that change be spontaneous and unrelated to any conditions, either intrinsic or extrinsic to the object? In the quantum world, can a change occur spontaneously or must every change be the result of some set of summary conditions, even if a degree of variance in the nature of the change is allowed?

Samm
 
Diogenes phil
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 07:23 pm
@prothero,
In reading this thread, I have:

1. Shifted my eye from left to right manually.
2. Scratched my ear, without it itching.
3. Placed my water bottle on my left side, to my right side.

After reading this thread, I have also approached a chair. Upon moving towards that chair, I bended down to sit on the chair. I could have bended down, then decided not to sit on it, but I didn't. After sitting on that chair, I affect who else gets to sit on the chair.

Thus, does free will exist?
 
pagan
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 07:28 pm
@Diogenes phil,
he sounds a bit robotic to me! :bigsmile:
 
SammDickens
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 07:58 pm
@Diogenes phil,
Diogenes;143796 wrote:
In reading this thread, I have:

1. Shifted my eye from left to right manually.
2. Scratched my ear, without it itching.
3. Placed my water bottle on my left side, to my right side.

After reading this thread, I have also approached a chair. Upon moving towards that chair, I bended down to sit on the chair. I could have bended down, then decided not to sit on it, but I didn't. After sitting on that chair, I affect who else gets to sit on the chair.

Thus, does free will exist?

Does strict determinism preclude the possibility of free will? Do you choose to believe in strict determinism or is it forced upon you against your will? If you choose to believe that free will exists, then free will exists for you, but if you do not believe in free will, then the deterministic factors attending your belief clearly impel you to a determinist frame of mind. As for me, the deterministic factors attending my view of will require me to believe in free will; however, I choose not. I hope this clarifies this fairly obvious issue for you. Glad I could help. Smile

Samm

p.s. - By the way, did you realize that you were scratching your ear before or after you noticed that you were scratching it? Was it a conscious action of yours, or was it one of those habitual tricks we teach our body to do and it does it without asking us?

---------- Post added 03-25-2010 at 09:21 PM ----------

I confess. It was my choice to respond to your post. I know Diogenes was always looking for an honest man, and I want you to know that you have found one. Not me, of course, but I'm sure you have found one.

I think the big dispute about free will is based upon a confusion of context. It may be that deterministic factors almost exclusively control our choices--allowing for a little quantum uncertainty. But deterministic factors are beyond our experience except for those few that we are able to consciously consider. And it is what we may consciously consider that affects our experience of choosing. Thus we experience free will and cannot experience determinism, strict or otherwise, because it is beyond our experience. As an empiricist, I agree that we may only know what we experience. Therefore my answer is that free will does exist at least in our experience, and beyond that we may never have any knowledge.

That is a sincere answer. Although I may well be a liar, all this talk about honest men has been infectious.

Samm
 
 

 
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