# Defense of Freewill Against Determinism

Night Ripper

Mon 29 Mar, 2010 10:15 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;145990 wrote:
the problem with these 2 examples is your statment "each of these universes is experimentally identical".

you basically are saying universe A and universe B are different then you go on to say universe A and universe B are the same.

it's a contradiction. If universe A is different from universe B by the fact that in universe A things CANNOT go faster than the speed of light and in universe B things just don't go faster than the speed of light then they would be experimentally different. You can't just arbitrarily say, "well world1 is X while world2 is not X but they are both experimentally the same" anymore than I can say well I'm a bachelor and I'm married. I mean I can say that but the phrase is meaningless

No, there is nothing wrong with my example. Each of those universes is logically possible. We can imagine either case being our universe but the problem is we could never test which one we are in.

OntheWindowStand;145992 wrote:
It is correct that experimentally they are the same. But you seem to be disregarding the burden of proof. The natural position is that B is correct while A needs validation but as you have already stated experimentally they are identical so there is no reason to believe it. I could claim to be omnipresent or omniscient and then say that I am excercising these attributes in way that makes it appear as though I am neither. Scenario B is that I have neither of the attributes. Use Occam's razor. Experimentally they are both the same but which one has the burden of proof???(Rhetorical question)

Actually, I'm taking the Regularist position so I'm the one that gets to appeal to Occam's Razor. By just biting the bullet I am only left with a single mystery, the amazing regularity in something that's random. You on the other hand have to posit the existence of a necessary law which is untestable but somehow forces everything not to accelerate faster than the speed of light.

Laws of Nature[The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

Quote:
An important subtext in the dispute between Necessitarians and Regularists concerns the very concepts we need to 'make sense' of the universe.

For Regularists, the way-the-world-is is the rock bottom of their intellectual reconstruction. They have reconciled themselves to, and embraced, the ultimately inexplicable contingency of the universe.

But for Necessitarians, the way-the-world-is cannot be the rock bottom. For after all - they will insist - there has to be some reason, some explanation, why the world is as it is and is not some other way. It can't simply be, for example, that all electrons, the trillions upon trillions of them, just happen to all bear the identical electrical charge as one another - that would be a cosmic coincidence of an unimaginable improbability. No, this is no coincidence. The identity of electrical charge comes about because there is a law of nature to the effect that electrons have this charge. Laws of nature "drive" the world. The laws of physics which, for example, describe the behavior of diffraction gratings (see Harrison) were true from time immemorial and it is because of those laws that diffraction gratings, when they came to be engineered in modern times, have the peculiar properties they do.

Regularists will retort that the supposed explanatory advantage of Necessitarianism is illusory. Physical necessity - nomicity if you will - is as idle and unempirical a notion as was Locke's posit of a material substratum. Locke's notion fell into deserved disuse simply because it did no useful work in science. It was a superfluous notion. (The case is not unlike modern arguments that minds are convenient fictions, the product of "folk" psychology.)

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.

Amperage

Mon 29 Mar, 2010 10:26 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;145993 wrote:
Actually, I'm taking the Regularist position so I'm the one that gets to appeal to Occam's Razor. By just biting the bullet I am only left with a single mystery, the amazing regularity in something that's random. You on the other hand have to posit the existence of a necessary law which is untestable but somehow forces everything not to accelerate faster than the speed of light.
How is it simpler to posit that random chance reoccurs so many times as to make the odds pretty much infinite vs. positing there are physical laws of nature?

---------- Post added 03-29-2010 at 11:30 PM ----------

Night Ripper;145993 wrote:
No, there is nothing wrong with my example. Each of those universes is logically possible. We can imagine either case being our universe but the problem is we could never test which one we are in.
I think there most certainly is something wrong with your example but I'll move on.

I have yet to see the contradiction that makes it "logically impossible to test for physical impossibility."

you seem to think that since we can't rule out pure happenstance it becomes logically impossible. Yet it would seem the odds of such happenstance would be so astronomical as to be, for all practical purposes, impossible.

Night Ripper

Mon 29 Mar, 2010 10:33 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;145995 wrote:
How is it simpler to posit that random chance reoccurs so many times as to make the odds pretty much infinite vs. positing there is natural laws of nature?

Read that article. It explains it better than I can.

I'll summarize though. We're each positing something; either the universe is just random or there has to be a reason that it's the way it is. Yet, your reason is just another mystery. The question then becomes why this set of laws and not another? The problem is, you can't even test that there are laws. So, asking why they are the way they are is even more hopeless. No, it's simpler to just say the universe is the way it is, end of story. We can at least observe that. Science doesn't even need to blink an eye because it's untestable and beyond the realm of science anyways.

Amperage;145995 wrote:
How is it simpler to posit that random chance reoccurs so many times as to make the odds pretty much infinite vs. positing there are physical laws of nature?

---------- Post added 03-29-2010 at 11:30 PM ----------

I think there most certainly is something wrong with your example but I'll move on.

I have yet to see the contradiction that makes it "logically impossible to test for physical impossibility."

you seem to think that since we can't rule out pure happenstance it becomes logically impossible. Yet it would seem the odds of such happenstance would be so astronomical as to be, for all practical purposes, impossible.

If you flip a coin an infinite number of times, you will produce every possible string of heads and tails, including both an infinite string of heads and an infinite string of tails.

Likewise, if we are selecting from every possible universe then there is a possible universe where, things that are very unlikely, happen anyways.

Amperage

Mon 29 Mar, 2010 10:41 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;145997 wrote:
The question then becomes why this set of laws and not another? The problem is, you can't even test that there are laws. So, asking why they are the way they are is even more hopeless.
well whether the laws were set by random chance or divine appointment or whatever is a separate issue from if there are laws or not. Your agenda in this thread seems to be that there are no laws at all.

In terms of were the laws(assuming there are laws) set by random chance or not I believe you and I have had that debate before(thought I seem to recall you wanting to say there are no laws in that one too) so no need to rehash that.

---------- Post added 03-29-2010 at 11:43 PM ----------

Night Ripper;145997 wrote:
If you flip a coin an infinite number of times, you will produce every possible string of heads and tails, including both an infinite string of heads and an infinite string of tails.

Likewise, if we are selecting from every possible universe then there is a possible universe where, things that are very unlikely, happen anyways.
well let's just keep praying that you continue to defy the odds and your head doesn't spontaneously explode I guess

EDIT*
and where are you getting this infinite number of times thing from anyway? who said anything about there being an infinite number of times? infinite time seems like another self-refuting statement as it would mean that it would have taken an infinite number of time to get to this point meaning we could never be at this moment in time.
That being the case we aren't dealing with "an infinite number of coin flips" thereby making the odds astronomical if not impossible

Fil Albuquerque

Mon 29 Mar, 2010 10:49 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;145997 wrote:
Read that article. It explains it better than I can.

I'll summarize though. We're each positing something; either the universe is just random or there has to be a reason that it's the way it is. Yet, your reason is just another mystery. The question then becomes why this set of laws and not another? The problem is, you can't even test that there are laws. So, asking why they are the way they are is even more hopeless. No, it's simpler to just say the universe is the way it is, end of story. We can at least observe that. Science doesn't even need to blink an eye because it's untestable and beyond the realm of science anyways.

If you flip a coin an infinite number of times, you will produce every possible string of heads and tails, including both an infinite string of heads and an infinite string of tails.

Likewise, if we are selecting from every possible universe then there is a possible universe where, things that are very unlikely, happen anyways.
eternity exactly for what it is and not to become what "it wants" it to be !

---------- Post added 03-30-2010 at 12:05 AM ----------

Change without necessity is like a miracle, pure magic...(GOOD FOR RELIGIOUS PEOPLE)
But one might wonder to what exactly necessity aims at ?
...well, it aims to eternity, the future which is already there, perfectly determined...THE THING WHICH IS THE WAY IT IS !

---------- Post added 03-30-2010 at 12:09 AM ----------

(for a metaphor purpose try to imagine a three-dimensional cubic film, in which the fourth dimension is along the cubic film)

Information Theory, or even Multiverse with its parallel Universes, covering all the choices we do in a determined way, may in fact get along with this...

Emil

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 05:04 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;145876 wrote:
Whatever laws imply that people cannot jump 100 feet into the air, of course.

That's ad hoc. Which law is that?

kennethamy

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 06:00 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;145911 wrote:
Physical possibility or impossibility tells us something about the physical universe. For it to be meaningful to talk about something being physically possible or impossible it must already be logically possible. To say that a four-sided triangle is physically impossible is to say absolutely nothing about the physical universe.

Yes it does. It tells us that it is impossible to construct a four-sided triangle. In any case, that it "tells us nothing about the universe" (whatever you mean by that) does not mean it is not true.

---------- Post added 03-30-2010 at 08:07 AM ----------

Emil;146088 wrote:
That's ad hoc. Which law is that?

It isn't ad hoc, it means only that I am not a physiologist. And there probably isn't just one law, but a great number, and also initial conditions. I suppose that physiologist can tell you not only that people don't jump 100 feet into the air (would that be news to you?) but that they cannot, and why they cannot. Don't you think that we can explain why people cannot jump 100 feet into the air? Really? We are not in the dark ages.

In the grip of a theory,

And why are you using a Latin phrase? I thought you disapproved of doing so.

---------- Post added 03-30-2010 at 08:15 AM ----------

We need not throw out the baby (scientific explanation) with the bath-water of hard determinism. So why do so?

Night Ripper

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 09:31 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;146108 wrote:
Yes it does. It tells us that it is impossible to construct a four-sided triangle. In any case, that it "tells us nothing about the universe" (whatever you mean by that) does not mean it is not true.

No, it means that logical impossibility says nothing about physical impossibility.

kennethamy;146108 wrote:
We need not throw out the baby (scientific explanation) with the bath-water of hard determinism. So why do so?

You can appeal to consequences all you like but in the end, your claim is untestable. So, it doesn't affect science at all.

Nothing of value was lost.

kennethamy

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 09:53 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;146171 wrote:
No, it means that logical impossibility says nothing about physical impossibility.

You can appeal to consequences all you like but in the end, your claim is untestable. So, it doesn't affect science at all.

Nothing of value was lost.

You believe that if a four-sided triangle is a logical impossibility, it is still an open question whether it is possible to construct a four-sided triangle? Why would you believe that?

What claim are you talking about? That it is not necessary to reject the notion of scientific explanation in order to reject hard determinism? That is the claim I made. Is that what you are talking about?

Night Ripper

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 09:57 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;146180 wrote:
You believe that if a four-sided triangle is a logical impossibility, it is still an open question whether it is possible to construct a four-sided triangle?

No, I'm saying the question is nonsense. That's like asking if it's possible to construct a Prep Gwarlek. The answer is undefined because the question isn't clear.

kennethamy;146180 wrote:
That is the claim I made. Is that what you are talking about?

Of course it is. I quoted it directly. That applies to my argument as well. We aren't throwing it out.

OntheWindowStand

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:09 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;146184 wrote:
No, I'm saying the question is nonsense. That's like asking if it's possible to construct a Prep Gwarlek. The answer is undefined because the question isn't clear.

Of course it is. I quoted it directly. That applies to my argument as well. We aren't throwing it out.

You have not sufficiently explained why your position appeals to occam's razor and not mine. My position presupposes that the basis for science is of a factual and a testable manner. This is by far more simpler than saying, "it is all random and happens to fit into the appearance of laws."
If what you say is true than there is no such thing as science in really any sense.

kennethamy

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:10 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;146184 wrote:
No, I'm saying the question is nonsense. That's like asking if it's possible to contruct a Prep Gwarlek. The answer is undefined because the question isn't clear.

Of course it is. I quoted it directly. That applies to my argument as well. We aren't throwing it out.

But why is it nonsense to ask whether what is logically impossible can be physically impossible? Or, more specifically, why someone who believes that a four-sided triangle is a logical impossibility (like you) could believe it was possible to construct a four-sided triangle with pencil and paper, and a straight-edge. A 12 year old would understand that question since he has (or is) probably taking plane geometry.

You are not throwing what out? You certainly have argued that if free will is true, then there can be physical necessities, haven't you. I thought that is your point. And what I have claimed is that is not true. Now, if that is the claim you are talking about, you said of it, that it was what? untestable? I am not sure what you mean by that, but I think I can offer a good argument in favor of that claim. It is an argument whose conclusion is that physical necessity and free will are compatible.

Night Ripper

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:17 am
@OntheWindowStand,
OntheWindowStand;146193 wrote:
You have not sufficiently explained why your position appeals to occam's razor and not mine.

Yes, I have. I linked to an article and summarized it: Laws of Nature[The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

All you're doing now is saying that I haven't explained my position but I have. Read it again if you didn't understand it. If you disagree then quote something and I'll defend it. Otherwise, I'm not just going to go back and forth with "you didn't explain it!", "yes I did!", "nuh uh!", ad infinitum.

OntheWindowStand;146193 wrote:
My position presupposes that the basis for science is of a factual and a testable manner. This is by far more simpler than saying, "it is all random and happens to fit into the appearance of laws."

No it's not because you are adding something extra, the laws, that are untestable. You have something extra that I do not, the laws. You have 1 extra thing that needs accounting for. My position is simpler.

OntheWindowStand;146193 wrote:
If what you say is true than there is no such thing as science in really any sense.

That's an appeal to consequences and also false. Science is about making predictions. It's not about proving that things have to happen. I can still make predictions. I can still do science the same as ever.

kennethamy;146194 wrote:
But why is it nonsense to ask whether what is logically impossible can be physically impossible? Or, more specifically, why someone who believes that a four-sided triangle is a logical impossibility (like you) could believe it was possible to construct a four-sided triangle with pencil and paper, and a straight-edge. A 12 year old would understand that question since he has (or is) probably taking plane geometry.

It's nonsense because a four-sided triangle is nonsense, like a Prep Gwarlek is nonsense.

kennethamy

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:23 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;146199 wrote:

That's an appeal to consequences and also false. Science is about making predictions. It's not about proving that things have to happen. I can still make predictions. I can still do science the same as ever.

But you don't think that science is only about making predictions, do you? Doesn't theoretical science explain why the predictions made are correct and not incorrect predictions. For instance, if it is predicted that water will freeze at 0 centigrade, and that turns out to be true, don't we also understand why water freezes at 0 centigrade. And doesn't science tell us why? That isn't a prediction, is it? It is an explanation.

OntheWindowStand

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:23 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;146199 wrote:
Yes, I have. I linked to an article and summarized it: Laws of Nature[The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

All you're doing now is saying that I haven't explained my position but I have. Read it again if you didn't understand it. If you disagree then quote something and I'll defend it. Otherwise, I'm not just going to go back and forth with "you didn't explain it!", "yes I did!", "nuh uh!", ad infinitum.=QUOTE]

I stated why you hadnt right after i said this sentence. You must know this because you responded. Again it isn't having something extra is about how if something always happens the same way it is very apparent that it isn't random. Stating it is random demands explaining. I am not the one who needs to explain the laws because it is a more likely scenario.

PS I would also like to point out that things that are logically incoherent are that way because it is physically impossible not vice versa.

Night Ripper

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:25 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;146202 wrote:
But you don't think that science is only about making predictions, do you? Doesn't theoretical science explain why the predictions made are correct and not incorrect predictions. For instance, if it is predicted that water will freeze at 0 centigrade, and that turns out to be true, don't we also understand why water freezes at 0 centigrade. And doesn't science tell us why? That isn't a prediction, is it? It is an explanation.

Science only explains one thing in terms of another which itself requires explanation and so on. Nothing is ever really explained. The difference between an explanation and a description is purely psychological.

OntheWindowStand;146203 wrote:
Stating it is random demands explaining.

Stating that laws control the universe also demands explaining. Where do these laws come from? Why these laws and not others? The problem is, you can't even test for the laws existence so you can't possibly explain them. You are only raising additional questions by postulating the existence of something untestable. You haven't solved any mystery. The existence of complete randomness is actually less mysterious then untestable laws that come from who knows where.

kennethamy

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:48 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;146204 wrote:
Science only explains one thing in terms of another which itself requires explanation and so on. Nothing is ever really explained. The difference between an explanation and a description is purely psychological.

.

I don't see why you think that unless the explanation has an explanation it is not (really) an explanation. I can understand why the plate shattered (it was dropped on a hard surface) without understanding why it was dropped, can't I? And, there is a clear difference between, "the plate shattered" and "the plate shattered because it was dropped on a hard surface". The first is a description. The latter is an explanation.

I wonder why you say these things when they are obviously not true. I don't think you are insincere. I guess that it is because when people philosophize they are led by a theory, and will say most anything that fits into the theory that they are led by. That is what Wittgenstein meant by, "being in the grip of a theory".

Night Ripper

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:52 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;146212 wrote:
And, there is a clear difference between, "the plate shattered" and "the plate shattered because it was dropped on a hard surface".

The description is incomplete. The real comparison is this:

1. The plate shattered when it was dropped on a hard surface.
2. The plate shattered because it was dropped on a hard surface.

The difference between (1) and (2) is purely psychological.

kennethamy;146212 wrote:
I wonder why you say these things when they are obviously not true.

They aren't obvious but they are true. The pathetic thing is that you can't handle the argument so instead you turn your attention to personal attacks. Oh I must be in the grip of theory! It can't possibly be because I have a sound argument!

Amperage

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 11:06 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;146204 wrote:
Science only explains one thing in terms of another which itself requires explanation and so on. Nothing is ever really explained. The difference between an explanation and a description is purely psychological.

Stating that laws control the universe also demands explaining. Where do these laws come from? Why these laws and not others? The problem is, you can't even test for the laws existence so you can't possibly explain them. You are only raising additional questions by postulating the existence of something untestable. You haven't solved any mystery. The existence of complete randomness is actually less mysterious then untestable laws that come from who knows where.
I agree with you only in the sense that to have a "complete" explanation we must reach something which is not contingent but necessary. However, saying it's all random does not solve this problem. We have strong evidence which can show contingency on the small scale(for example I am obviously contingent upon my parents for my existence) whereas you are basically arguing that contingency doesn't exist at all on any scale. That A does not lead to B does not lead to C. Therein lies the problem. For anything to be contingent then it can't possibly be random since random implies no contingency.

Since we can reasonably infer contingency(in the sense that it's more reasonable to infer contingency vs. impossible odds) among at least some things, then these things cannot possibly be random.

The laws themselves may not be necessary but once in place contingencies are created for anything bound by those laws. This obviously does not qualify as a "complete" answer since we have not explained if the laws are necessary or if they are contingent but that doesn't mean that everything bound by those laws cannot be explained up to the at least that level.

Night Ripper

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 11:10 am
@Amperage,
Amperage;146221 wrote:
For anything to be contingent then it can't possibly be random since random implies no contingency

What? Randomness is contingency. Please explain yourself. Your entire post makes no sense to me.