Defense of Freewill Against Determinism

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 10:24 pm
@ughaibu,
Can you answer those two questions above?

If you ride your bicycle and are injured, it could suggest that riding your bicycle, in this instance, caused your injury.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 10:28 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
If you ride a bicycle and are injured, it means riding bicycles can cause injuries.
In fact, riding a bicycle causes injuries if riding a bicycle causes injuries. This problem of triviality was pointed out long ago.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 10:29 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
If you ride a bicycle and are injured, it means riding bicycles can cause injuries.
In fact, riding a bicycle causes injuries if riding a bicycle causes injuries. This problem of triviality was pointed out long ago.

If you ride your bicycle and are injured, it could suggest that riding your bicycle, in this instance, caused your injury.

Can you answer the two questions that were posed to you?

ughaibu wrote:
This problem of triviality was pointed out long ago.

What problem of triviality?! You mean what you are saying?
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 10:32 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Can you answer the two questions that were posed to you?
As they stand, neither question makes sense, they both seem to be symptomatic of misunderstanding.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 10:34 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
Can you answer the two questions that were posed to you?
As they stand, neither question makes sense, they both seem to be symptomatic of misunderstanding.

They are questions off of what you said! You said, "Where have I stated that I'm uncomfortable saying that X caused Y?", so I'm asking what you mean by that. My asking what you mean by that is a sign of misunderstanding?
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 10:34 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
What problem of triviality?!
If you have difficulties understanding, I have some degree of patience, but if you dont remember what I've posted, I'm not interested in wasting my time.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 10:36 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
What problem of triviality?!
If you have difficulties understanding, I have some degree of patience, but if you dont remember what I've posted, I'm not interested in wasting my time.
There are 100 fucking pages in this thread. You expect me to remember everything you typed?
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 10:38 pm
I want to know how you are comfortable saying "X causes Y"*, after not only lecturing me that there is no satisfactory theory of causation, but claiming that you don't even know what "X causes Y" means?

* And if you say, "I never said that", I'm going to punch you in the face. Because you definitely implied that.
 
north
 
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2010 11:05 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
Can you answer the two questions that were posed to you?
As they stand, neither question makes sense, they both seem to be symptomatic of misunderstanding.


of what misunderstanding ughaibu , of what misunderstanding ?

explain
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2010 11:18 am
@north,
Attempts to put logic to what's happening when we ask "why" is much older than this thread. It's an issue that philosophers as great as Aristotle have considered.

Zeth, acting like it's a problem in one person's mind doesn't make sense. It's a problem that challenges the human mind. I think that when Socrates asked people to consider the logical foundations of their thoughts, he wasn't suggesting they didn't have the thoughts in the first place.

Examining cause inevitably leads to thinking of it in ultimate terms. This creates many images, one of which is that the present moment is ultimately caused by everything that's ever happened everywhere. This makes no more logical sense than saying that the entire future of the universe is implied in this moment. It can have the effect of grasping what the dude meant when he said: There are No Ordinary Moments.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2010 11:24 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

Attempts to put logic to what's happening when we ask "why" is much older than this thread.


What does that mean? If we want to discover why something happens what should we do other than think about it?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2010 12:13 pm
@kennethamy,
Ummm.. I guess you'd want to add information gained empirically.

What is happening..... when we ask: "why?"

The question itself is confusing, I realize.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2010 01:28 pm
Arjuna wrote:
Zeth, acting like it's a problem in one person's mind doesn't make sense. It's a problem that challenges the human mind. I think that when Socrates asked people to consider the logical foundations of their thoughts, he wasn't suggesting they didn't have the thoughts in the first place.

It isn't that. I'm just begging for information:

1.) Why did he imply that he didn't know what it means for X to cause Y, but then note it depends on the relationship and occurrences?
2.) How does him not having a satisfactory theory of causation effect, or change, what sense of X causes Y he does understand (if in fact he does understand what it means in any sense)?

Why am I so fervent about this? Because if I go to my car right now, press on the gas pedal, and ughaibu denies that I caused my car to accelerate, I would be floored. And I really want to know what the implications of him denying something like that would mean to the rest of his beliefs.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2010 02:09 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:

1.) Why did he imply that he didn't know what it means for X to cause Y, but then note it depends on the relationship and occurrences?
2.) How does him not having a satisfactory theory of causation effect, or change, what sense of X causes Y he does understand (if in fact he does understand what it means in any sense)?

Why am I so fervent about this? Because if I go to my car right now, press on the gas pedal, and ughaibu denies that I caused my car to accelerate, I would be floored. And I really want to know what the implications of him denying something like that would mean to the rest of his beliefs.
So you're asking what sense his statements make. I understand. I'd have to have him confirm that it would help if we notice that when we say X causes Y, we mean that X is a contributing factor to the existence of Y.

How many contributing factors are there to any event? Can we limit that set of factors to something less than... everything?

Aristotle defined four different meanings of cause. So obviously there's not one X.... there are at least four distinct X's. The one we often assume is meant by cause if efficient cause: like if I kick a rock, the rock flies off. The kicking is the efficient cause of the flying.

But what caused the kicking? Would that not also be an efficient cause of the flying? And notice what I just did: I changed from THE cause... to A cause. Now all the sudden I have to look back at exactly what I did meant when I said the kicking was THE efficient cause.

And this is the tip of the iceberg.... as the last 100 pages will testify. Once you start grooving on how little we actually understand about what Y actually is in physical terms... QM, String Theory... these are signs that we don't understand how a unique event emerges from what might actually be a waving mass of .... of... yea... you get the picture.

There is no threat here to your knowledge of what pushing the accelerator does. It's just part of philosophy that there's a hatchdoor in the floor of that knowledge that opens up on: what the heck? That's what originally drew me to philosophy in the first place.

I hope Ughaibu will speak on whether I was anywhere close to explaining his objections to "cause." And as always... you always make for a fun conversation Zeth. Thanks.
 
guigus
 
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2010 07:32 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:

Causal determinism is not a threat to freewill.

Quote:
Causal (or nomological) determinism is the thesis that future events are necessitated by past and present events combined with the laws of nature. Such determinism is sometimes illustrated by the thought experiment of Laplace's demon. Imagine an entity that knows all facts about the past and the present, and knows all natural laws that govern the universe. Such an entity might be able to use this knowledge to foresee the future, down to the smallest detail.
The key word in the above paragraph is "necessitated". It's this term that gives the argument its weight. It's also this term that is decidedly unscientific. There's no possible way to test if an event is necessary i.e. it has to happen. You could flip a coin once a second and have it land on heads for the next 1,000 years but you still wouldn't have observed anything necessary. There's no possible way to test between something that has to happen vs. just does happen. In all cases we can only observe what happens. Even if something always happens that doesn't therefore mean that it must happen.

If the following statement is true...

1. You will wear a yellow shirt tomorrow.

...then it is true only because, tomorrow, you, in fact, wear a yellow shirt.

Likewise, if the following statement is true...

2. Nothing accelerates faster than the speed of light.

...then it is true only because, at all times and places, nothing, in fact, ever accelerates faster than the speed of light.

Statements take their truth from the world. The statement "the cat is on the mat" is true iff the cat is on the mat.

Though, some people have it curiously twisted. They think that, in fact, nothing accelerates faster than the speed of light because the statement "nothing accelerates faster than the speed of light" is true! Instead of the statement being true because it corresponds with reality, reality conforms itself to the truth of the statement. That sounds much like the way chanting a magic spell such as "open sesame" can make the world conform to its power.

At this point, most people would say...

"But if it's true that nothing accelerates faster than the speed of light then I can't accelerate faster than the speed of light!"

This is a retreat to logical determinism and this is also a form of the modal fallacy. Strictly speaking, it's not that you can't. It's that you won't. Let's go back to a mundane example. If it's true now that..

3. Tomorrow I will wear a yellow shirt.

...then it seems like I have no choice but to wear a yellow shirt. I can't change my mind. That's false though. The solution to the problem is that (3) is only true because I don't change my mind. If I do change my mind then (3) won't be true. By saying (3) is true we're also implying "I will change my mind and wear blue instead" is false.

If we take this further and make it a law-like statement...

4. Night Ripper only wears yellow shirts.

...then (4) is true only if I never decide to wear a different color of shirt. If one day I decide to wear blue then (4) is false. However, we're already taking (4) as true now. Therefore, I don't (not that I can't) ever change my mind.

The universe isn't governed in the sense that the universe has to behave a certain way. It's rather that the universe can be described with law-like statements. The truth of these statements don't thereby force us into doing anything, however.


But you must also agree that if you cannot say that nothing can accelerate faster than the speed of light (or even to the speed of light), then there is no point in formulating that law of physics in the first place, which would not even be a law of physics: it would be more of a "heuristics to natural behavior." Unfortunately, the speed-of-light limit has the weight of a law: no single observation to date has violated it, which cannot be just a coincidence. And you are mistaken: it is not the statement "nothing can go faster than light" that prevents anything to go faster than light, but some physical principle it happens to express. In fact, things goes deeper: we cannot even interpret the physical world without such laws: the meaning of that world depends on them. Which neither means these laws cannot change tomorrow nor that scientists are not aware of their mutability. So what we have here is a two-sided phenomena: one side of it is a certainty - a law obeyed by nature - while the other side is a doubtful ideal construct - no matter how tested. And here is the tricky part: scientific theories and physical laws are both a certainty and a doubtful ideal construct. Which one they are depends solely on whether we consider them as our knowledge or as our belief. When we use them to make the calculations needed for the GPS system to work, we consider them as our knowledge - since we must trust them to be certain - and when we investigate the world to understand it even better, we consider them as doubtful ideal constructs. It is a mistake to consider them as only certainties (determinism), but it is also a mistake to consider them as just doubtful ideal constructs (absolutely free will): they are both.

Another way to put all this would be to say that we can believe "it's rather that the universe can be described with law-like statements" only until we ask ourselves: why is that so?
 
guigus
 
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2010 07:46 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
If I point a gun at someone's head, pull the trigger, and that person dies, what is vague about saying that I caused the death of the person?
How many more times will it take for you to get this? Examples are irrelevant to the fact that cause is a vague notion, "cause" doesn't refer to anything general or specific.


Despite your being unable to formulate the concept of cause precisely enough to meet the requirements of his example, it makes the concept of cause quite precise and specific.
 
guigus
 
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2010 07:53 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Arjuna wrote:

Attempts to put logic to what's happening when we ask "why" is much older than this thread.


What does that mean? If we want to discover why something happens what should we do other than think about it?


To notice that trying to figure out "why" is much older than this thread does not mean we must give up asking "why." This is only a cautionary word on how difficult a task it is, as also that it remains open despite the efforts of many great thinkers, and after a very long time.
 
guigus
 
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2010 08:12 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

Zetherin wrote:

1.) Why did he imply that he didn't know what it means for X to cause Y, but then note it depends on the relationship and occurrences?
2.) How does him not having a satisfactory theory of causation effect, or change, what sense of X causes Y he does understand (if in fact he does understand what it means in any sense)?

Why am I so fervent about this? Because if I go to my car right now, press on the gas pedal, and ughaibu denies that I caused my car to accelerate, I would be floored. And I really want to know what the implications of him denying something like that would mean to the rest of his beliefs.
So you're asking what sense his statements make. I understand. I'd have to have him confirm that it would help if we notice that when we say X causes Y, we mean that X is a contributing factor to the existence of Y.

How many contributing factors are there to any event? Can we limit that set of factors to something less than... everything?

Aristotle defined four different meanings of cause. So obviously there's not one X.... there are at least four distinct X's. The one we often assume is meant by cause if efficient cause: like if I kick a rock, the rock flies off. The kicking is the efficient cause of the flying.

But what caused the kicking? Would that not also be an efficient cause of the flying? And notice what I just did: I changed from THE cause... to A cause. Now all the sudden I have to look back at exactly what I did meant when I said the kicking was THE efficient cause.

And this is the tip of the iceberg.... as the last 100 pages will testify. Once you start grooving on how little we actually understand about what Y actually is in physical terms... QM, String Theory... these are signs that we don't understand how a unique event emerges from what might actually be a waving mass of .... of... yea... you get the picture.

There is no threat here to your knowledge of what pushing the accelerator does. It's just part of philosophy that there's a hatchdoor in the floor of that knowledge that opens up on: what the heck? That's what originally drew me to philosophy in the first place.

I hope Ughaibu will speak on whether I was anywhere close to explaining his objections to "cause." And as always... you always make for a fun conversation Zeth. Thanks.


A cause is a choice we make in attributing an event A to another event B by which A becomes highly probable (practically certain). The subjectivity of that choice comes from choosing B rather than C as well as from choosing the lowest limit for a high enough probability. As it happens with all our choices, that choice eventually becomes a certainty, once we forget it was our choice in the first place.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 2 Aug, 2010 10:08 pm
Ughaibu, will I ever get a response from you? I really would like to learn your about your position.
 
guigus
 
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 06:04 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:

Ughaibu, will I ever get a response from you? I really would like to learn your about your position.


By saying that "riding a bicycle causes injuries if riding a bicycle causes injuries," which he calls a "triviality," he means that if you project all causes onto the objective world, then despite causation becoming deterministic (automatic), it still depends on your holding it as a premise, by which your conclusion (riding a bicycle would cause injuries) only reasserts your premise (riding a bicycle always causes injuries), hence the triviality.
 
 

 
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 08/14/2020 at 05:23:30