Defense of Freewill Against Determinism

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Pyrrho
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 01:34 pm
@Night Ripper,
Pyrrho;144716 wrote:
I confess to not having read the long version, and only read part of the short introduction (skipping down to the parts that seemed most relevant), but how can one establish that the regularity theory is true? It seems to my rather slipshod reading of it that it is merely omitting the word "can" (and synonyms) and leaving us with "is" only. So it appears to be claiming that it is a myth that people cannot fly without the aid of any devices. What is true, according to the theory, is that people simply do not fly without the aid of any devices. But it seems to leave no answer to the question, why do people not fly without the aid of any devices? Or am I misunderstanding the theory?


Night Ripper;144723 wrote:
All explanations must come to an end. You can ask "why?" forever and at some point you have to say "that's just the way it is". These are called brute facts and I've never seen a convincing argument that doesn't appeal to them at some point. The only question is, which view is more empirical i.e. scientific, that the universe is controlled by magical laws that come from nowhere (or God if you're a theist) or that the universe isn't controlled at all? It's completely contingent.


You chose to respond to one of the questions I asked. What about the question:

how can one establish that the regularity theory is true?

Or do you simply take it as true as an act of faith?

It is also rather odd to say that there is no answer to the question of why people do not fly without the aid of any devices. That seems exceedingly strange.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 01:39 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144745 wrote:
That sounds like a mistake.

According to your logic, if this pattern had no exceptions until "the end of time" then that would be evidence that it was necessary. You don't believe it would be though. Then why do you believe things are necessary with equally shaky evidence? There's nothing different in principle between the evidence for the death of presidents and the fission of uranium spheres except that, with the former, the pattern was broken and therefore less regular.



No, since it would not be my position that if (say) X (whoever X was) had become president in a year ending in zero, that he would died in office. I happen to think that generalization was accidental. The difference is that if anyone had tried to make a uranium sphere of that size, he could not have done so, and we have a good reason for that; but if anyone had become president in a year ending in zero, there is no reason he could not have lived to leave office.
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 01:40 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;144749 wrote:
how can one establish that the regularity theory is true?

Or do you simply take it as true as an act of faith?


In principle there cannot be any evidence that confirms regularity vs. necessity. In the same way, I cannot confirm that the universe wasn't created 5 minutes ago. The reason I believe that it wasn't is because it's the simplest belief. It would be an even more amazing act of faith to believe otherwise. So yes, you're right that it's an act of faith, just like I have faith that the universe wasn't created 5 minutes ago.

I think you might have heard of this principle before: Occam's razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 01:42 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144745 wrote:
That sounds like a mistake.

According to your logic, if this pattern had no exceptions until "the end of time" then that would be evidence that it was necessary. You don't believe it would be though. Then why do you believe things are necessary with equally shaky evidence? There's nothing different in principle between the evidence for the death of presidents and the fission of uranium spheres except that, with the former, the pattern was broken and therefore less regular.


No, you are misreading kennethamy, as he did not say that everything that is regular is necessarily regular. If you are going to argue against a position, it is good if you do not argue against straw men.
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 01:43 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;144755 wrote:
I happen to think that generalization was accidental.


Right, I know that. My question was, given the same kind of evidence, why is one accidental and the other not? In both cases all you are given is that "X always happens" yet in the case of "X = presidents dying..." you claim it's accidental and in the case of "X = uranium spheres..." you claim it's necessary. Your view is inconsistent.

---------- Post added 03-27-2010 at 02:45 PM ----------

Pyrrho;144761 wrote:
No, you are misreading kennethamy, as he did not say that everything that is regular is necessarily regular. If you are going to argue against a position, it is good if you do not argue against straw men.


You are the one that's misreading. I happen to know that he thinks some regularities are accidental that's why I said..

Quote:
According to your logic, if this pattern had no exceptions until "the end of time" then that would be evidence that it was necessary. You don't believe it would be though.


How about responding to what was actually said to you?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 01:45 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;144761 wrote:
No, you are misreading kennethamy, as he did not say that everything that is regular is necessarily regular. If you are going to argue against a position, it is good if you do not argue against straw men.


Yes, wasn't it clear I was not arguing that? Or is he not clear about what it is he is arguing?
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 01:45 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144758 wrote:
In principle there cannot [emphasis added] be any evidence that confirms regularity vs. necessity. In the same way, I cannot confirm that the universe wasn't created 5 minutes ago. The reason I believe that it wasn't is because it's the simplest belief. It would be an even more amazing act of faith to believe otherwise. So yes, you're right that it's an act of faith, just like I have faith that the universe wasn't created 5 minutes ago.

I think you might have heard of this principle before: Occam's razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Don't you mean that there simply isn't any evidence, rather than that there cannot be any evidence?
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 01:52 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;144766 wrote:
Don't you mean that there simply isn't any evidence, rather than that there cannot be any evidence?


That's all you have to say? Not going to say anything about your faith claim? I guess I rebutted it then.

Physical necessity isn't testable. There's no experiment that could be performed that could verify the existence of physical necessity.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 02:01 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144770 wrote:
Really? That's all you have to say? Not going to say anything about your faith claim? I guess I rebutted it then.

Physical necessity isn't testable. There's no experiment that could be performed that could verify the existence of physical necessity.


You don't seem to be consistent in your claims. The fact (if it is a fact) that there is no test does not prove that there cannot be a test, according to what you have said before. Yet you are now claiming that there cannot be an experiment, when your supposed evidence is that there is no such experiment.
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 02:06 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;144778 wrote:
You don't seem to be consistent in your claims. The fact (if it is a fact) that there is no test does not prove that there cannot be a test, according to what you have said before. Yet you are now claiming that there cannot be an experiment, when your supposed evidence is that there is no such experiment.


I'm only arguing against physical impossibility (and necessity). When I say that, in principle, something can't happen I am not implying that it's physically impossible. Therefore there's nothing inconsistent in what I'm saying.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 02:11 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144785 wrote:
I'm only arguing against physical impossibility (and necessity). When I say that, in principle, something can't happen I am not implying that it's physically impossible. Therefore there's nothing inconsistent in what I'm saying.


What, precisely, are you saying then? What kind of possibility is it supposed to be such that it is impossible for there to be an experiment to verify the existence of physical necessity?
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 02:14 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;144787 wrote:
What, precisely, are you saying then? What kind of possibility is it supposed to be such that it is impossible for there to be an experiment to verify the existence of physical necessity?


I'm not avoiding the question but first, do you understand why such an experiment is impossible? That would help.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 02:18 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144770 wrote:
That's all you have to say? Not going to say anything about your faith claim? I guess I rebutted it then.

Physical necessity isn't testable. There's no experiment that could be performed that could verify the existence of physical necessity.
Without the idea of physical necessity, what would happen to predictions?

Regularity only works up to a point in making a prediction.

We hesitate to make any predictions about a giant gold ball.

We don't hesitate about the uranium one.

The bedrock of this confidence is belief that our knowledge and logic together can tell us what can't happen.

This relates directly to the issue of freedom of the will. Will is activated only when one is contemplating something that's been deemed possible.

If you think something's impossible, then for you it is. You won't even try to do it.... generally speaking. There has to be a limit on what's possible though. Without that limit, meaning would be absent. As Goshisdead pointed out: freedom of the will is part of our perception. We don't know what the world would be like without it, because we can't conceive of that.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 03:34 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;144716 wrote:
I confess to not having read the long version, and only read part of the short introduction (skipping down to the parts that seemed most relevant), but how can one establish that the regularity theory is true? It seems to my rather slipshod reading of it that it is merely omitting the word "can" (and synonyms) and leaving us with "is" only. So it appears to be claiming that it is a myth that people cannot fly without the aid of any devices. What is true, according to the theory, is that people simply do not fly without the aid of any devices. But it seems to leave no answer to the question, why do people not fly without the aid of any devices? Or am I misunderstanding the theory?


I don't think that's what it's saying. It seems like according to regularity theory, the statement "people can't fly" is true if people can't fly, not if there is a law that says "people can't fly".

Quote:
This may seem pointless, but his use of regularity theory in the free will page posted by Emil earlier was very good I think. As he says, we don't make choices because we are forced to by the laws of cause and effect, the laws of cause and effect simply describe how we make choices.

This is the first time I've read about it though.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 03:55 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144770 wrote:
That's all you have to say? Not going to say anything about your faith claim? I guess I rebutted it then.

Physical necessity isn't testable. There's no experiment that could be performed that could verify the existence of physical necessity.



If it isn't testable, then what are controlled experiments for? Aren't they performed to rule out accidental correlation? I thought so? What do you think they are for?

Experiment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Emil
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 04:54 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;144707 wrote:
That it would not convince a regularity theorist doesn't (I think) show it begs the question. Maybe it should convince a regularity theorist, in which case it doesn't beg the question. Do you think there isn't a difference between the gold and the uranium cases? Or do you think that the difference is not to be explain by the difference between an accidental generalization and a nomic generalization? And, if you think it is the second, what is your explanation of the difference. I don't understand why you would not think there is a difference between the two cases.


Given Swartz's regularity theory, both cases above are physically impossible, as physical impossible in regularity theory just means that it is always were the case and always will be the case that there is no such thing.

Given regularity theory there is no such thing as a nomic generalization, there are only accidental generalizations.

What is the difference between the cases, other than you claim one of them is a an accident and the other is not? Of course, another difference is the explanation for why it is physically impossible.
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 04:54 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;144832 wrote:
If it isn't testable, then what are controlled experiments for? Aren't they performed to rule out accidental correlation? I thought so? What do you think they are for?

Experiment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Why do you think experiments test for necessity? If I predict that X will happen contingently and you predict that X will happen necessarily, how do you test for that? Either way X happens and that's all we can observe.
 
Emil
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 05:03 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;144716 wrote:
I confess to not having read the long version, and only read part of the short introduction (skipping down to the parts that seemed most relevant), but how can one establish that the regularity theory is true? It seems to my rather slipshod reading of it that it is merely omitting the word "can" (and synonyms) and leaving us with "is" only. So it appears to be claiming that it is a myth that people cannot fly without the aid of any devices. What is true, according to the theory, is that people simply do not fly without the aid of any devices. But it seems to leave no answer to the question, why do people not fly without the aid of any devices? Or am I misunderstanding the theory?


It is difficult to establish any large conceptual theory as true. I think the best way is to go is through abduction, that is, the inference to best explanation.

Swartz's theory does not omit or try to do away with the word "can". It gives it a different meaning than necessary theories does. Necessary Theories (NT) imply that there is some kind of nomic necessity that makes some generalizations physically necessary and others not. The latter are said to be accidentally true.

Swartz's RT (Regularity Theory) does not imply that it "it is a myth that people cannot fly without the aid of any devices". For it is true that people never did and never will do a such thing and thus it is physically impossible to do. That is what physical impossibility means given Swartz's RT.

I'm not sure what kind of answer to your question you want. Why don't people fly without aids? Well, because people weigh more than air. It is usually the case that the heaviest material is at the bottom of any collection of materials. Think of a collection of water and oil as a simplistic analogy.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 05:09 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144863 wrote:
Why do you think experiments test for necessity? If I predict that X will happen contingently and you predict that X will happen necessarily, how do you test for that? Either way X happens and that's all we can observe.


But we also observe that in the case of some controlled experiments, there is a statistically significant relation between two kinds of events, and in the case of some controlled experiments, there is no statistically significant relation between those two kinds of events. And, as a result, we infer a causal connection in the first case, and no causal connection in the second case. We are then observing a necessary relation. What do you think we should observe to observe a necessary physical connection? A wire?
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 05:13 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;144870 wrote:
But we also observe that in the case of some controlled experiments, there is a statistically significant relation between two kinds of events, and in the case of some controlled experiments, there is no statistically significant relation between those two kinds of events. And, as a result, we infer a causal connection in the first case, and no causal connection in the second case. We are then observing a necessary relation.


Why is it a necessary relation though? Why isn't it a contingent relation?

kennethamy;144870 wrote:
What do you think we should observe to observe a necessary physical connection? A wire?


Why don't you tell me? You're the one claiming that some things are physically necessary and some things aren't. Yet you can't give any kind of account of the difference nor what it would even amount to observationally.
 
 

 
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