Defense of Freewill Against Determinism

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Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 07:24 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;152968 wrote:
No it isn't. "It'll rain or it won't" is complete, but neither of "it will rain" or "it won't rain", is.


What do you mean incomplete? They look complete to me.
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 07:32 am
@awareness,
awareness;153169 wrote:
Your not forced to react, you are manipulated by or react to internal and external experiences. if you choose to not react to what is going on inside (thoughts/feelings) and outside you will find that you are not a part of causality but are the seer/viewer of "reality"/experiences.


---------- Post added 04-17-2010 at 08:38 AM ----------

( seeing is already being transformed )

---------- Post added 04-17-2010 at 08:46 AM ----------

Night Ripper;153170 wrote:
What do you mean incomplete? They look complete to me.


They are complete in being epistemologically undetermined which is which...
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 07:59 am
@Night Ripper,
I've never believed that these two philosophies are mutually exclusive.

Yes I believe that all decisions we make are a product of variables (needs, wants, experience, values, ideological interpretations, how breakfast is settling, psyche, perceptional filters, bias, etc.). But I also believe that each decision I make, regardless of the fact that it has constituent causal elements, was still 'free will'. Why? Because despite the fact that my preferences have been caused, influenced or steered, I still made the choice.

I think this whole question is an example of what I call semantic blur; wherein concepts at play seem to be in dispute, yet no one can verbally nail-down what that contradiction might be. It may seem counter intuitive, but the wise skeptic doesn't take that as 'good enough'. In other words, if our decisions are a product of other components, and there is something called 'free will' that's distinctly separate, what might that be? Even if we go as left-field as possible, and proclaim this to be a naturally or god-created 'soul'; even so, such was created with innate propensities and therefore, again, subject to certain proclivities. If we say this 'soul' was created through some natural process; again, it was created with naturally-imbued characteristics and again, becomes yet another part of the 'determined' equation.

So either there is no such thing as free will, or that we make decisions based on these causal factors that are distinctly 'us'. In order to be "free", must something be random? If so, it's not free - it's random. If its not random, it's subject to variables (i.e., determined); thus, the whole question pro ports a seeming contradiction where none truly exists.

No, even though my decisions (and other manifestations of my will) may be a soup of variables, that doesn't mean I didn't make them. If this follows, then the whole question of Free Will and Determinism is a false-quandary.

I'm still thinking this through; but something smells fishy here. Comments and criticisms are welcome

Thanks
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 07:59 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;153172 wrote:
They are complete in being epistemologically undetermined which is which...


So what? The fact we don't know X doesn't mean X isn't true.
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 08:06 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;153178 wrote:
So what? The fact we don't know X doesn't mean X isn't true.


That was my point all along remember ?
Yes there is a determined true in there, even if the proposition fails to nail which...

---------- Post added 04-17-2010 at 09:11 AM ----------

 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 08:24 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;153180 wrote:


Yes but it doesn't tell us what the weather will be like. It's simply a statement of the logical possibilities.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 08:35 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;152968 wrote:
No it isn't. "It'll rain or it won't" is complete, but neither of "it will rain" or "it won't rain", is.


I don't know what you mean by "complete", but the truth condition of the alternation, is that it is true whenever one alternate is true, but false otherwise. But from an alternation, no member of the alternation can be deduced since an alternation does not assert any member of the alternation. That is to say, X or Y, asserts neither X nor Y, and therefore, neither X nor Y is deducible from it.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 01:32 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;153170 wrote:
What do you mean incomplete? They look complete to me.
1) tomorrow I will either drink beer or I will not drink beer
2) if I drink beer, some absurdity will result
3) therefore I will not drink beer
4) nevertheless, I drink beer
5) therefore, the argument (1-3) fails, no matter what it is.
Similarly for any proof that I won't drink beer.
Tomorrow I will either drink beer or I will not drink beer, isn't a proposition of the form 'the number of primes is either finite or infinite', because I have many experiences of days of drinking beer and many of days of not drinking beer.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 17 Apr, 2010 02:07 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;153248 wrote:
1) tomorrow I will either drink beer or I will not drink beer
2) if I drink beer, some absurdity will result
3) therefore I will not drink beer
4) nevertheless, I drink beer
5) therefore, the argument (1-3) fails, no matter what it is.
Similarly for any proof that I won't drink beer.
Tomorrow I will either drink beer or I will not drink beer, isn't a proposition of the form 'the number of primes is either finite or infinite', because I have many experiences of days of drinking beer and many of days of not drinking beer.


I don't understand (2). A logical absurdity? A behavioral absurdity? What are you talking about?

P or q
If P then r
Therefore, not P

Is invalid. So what?

I have no idea what you are driving at.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:19 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;144617 wrote:
Even if something always happens that doesn't therefore mean that it must happen.


Yes, that an event has always occured does not mean that it will always occur. However, that an event did in fact occur does mean that it had to occur. All arguments against determinism seem to rest on another problematic word, possibility. Until possibility can be defined without reference to what does in fact happen, it remains a word without any meaning except with respect to - as a derivative of - what does in fact happen.

Quote:
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.


That's quite true - an analogue of our tendency to apply higher-order concepts to things other than those from which said concept was in fact constructed organically. More on that another time though..

Quote:
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.


In order to recognize a distinciton between 'cannot' and 'will not,' one must already accept the reality of possibility - i.e. as opposed to viewing it as a cognitive device, a manner of speaking. In my view, 'X can happen' says nothing other than 'I don't know if X will or will not happen' - the ambiguity lies in the person speaking, not in the phenomenon he speaks about.

Quote:
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.


To say that the universe must behave according to laws is simpy to say that the laws will continue to actually characterize the behavior of the universe - to believe that the universe actually 'obeys' any laws is, as you suggest, fallacious. However, this error says nothing about whether the universe does always in fact behave in a deterministic fashion.

The best argument for determinism amounts to a successful demonstration of the meaninglessness of the concept of possibility except as a cognitive device - i.e. of its failure to refer to anything in reality. I don't see how determinism could actually be proven. But I do believe that the alternate view can be reduced to absurdity.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:22 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153674 wrote:
. However, that an event did in fact occur does mean that it had to occur.


Why would you think that is true? I did not have to have oatmeal this morning, but i did.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:32 pm
@kennethamy,
You believe in free will it seems, so you would argue that you did not have to eat oatmeal this morning. I do not believe in free will, so i disagree. As I said, there may be no way of actually proving determinism, so it remains a matter of belief. But the fact that possibility - which a non-determinist must believe is the actual operation in the world (as opposed to necessary causation) - can be shown to have no meaning other than as a mental device, to my mind makes that belief absurd.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:40 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153683 wrote:
You believe in free will it seems, so you would argue that you did not have to eat oatmeal this morning.


But why would you suppose I had to eat oatmeal this morning? No one forced me to do so, and I had other breakfast foods available. Why would you think that I had no alternative than to eat oatmeal this morning? Your reason cannot be that you don't believe there is free will, since that would just beg the question. Why don't you think there is free will, if I need not have eaten oatmeal this morning, but I did anyway? Have you any reason apart from thinking that I don't have free will? After all, that is exactly what in at issue, isn't it?
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:58 pm
@kennethamy,
No, I have no other reason: that I don't believe in free will is sufficient. When people tell me they don't 'have' to do things because they have free will, it sounds like people telling me they can fly because they have magical powers. Naturally, I ask them, well how does this magic work? They cannot answer. I then conclude that there is no magic and that they are simply mistaken.

Can you explain to me what free will is or how it operates? If not, then I contend it is imaginary.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:51 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153701 wrote:
No, I have no other reason: that I don't believe in free will is sufficient. When people tell me they don't 'have' to do things because they have free will, it sounds like people telling me they can fly because they have magical powers. Naturally, I ask them, well how does this magic work? They cannot answer. I then conclude that there is no magic and that they are simply mistaken.

Can you explain to me what free will is or how it operates? If not, then I contend it is imaginary.


Well, you'll just have to believe me when I report that I really was not compelled to eat oatmeal this morning. I could have eaten Cheerios since there was a big unopened box right there. But I could not have eaten Froot Loups, because I did not have any. But, I happen to like oatmeal (with a little maple syrup) and so, I ate the oatmeal of my own free will. Do you think that I was being forced to eat it, and I didn't know it?
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 11:53 pm
@kennethamy,
No reasonable person would deny that what we typically call volition does in fact exist as an experience; I think of moving my hand, then my hand moves. We all experience that sort of event all the time. The issue is whether or not the mental state preceeding the action in fact caused the action.

You no doubt chose to eat oatmeal; you thought about various breakfast options and decided to eat oatmeal, then in fact did eat oatmeal. The question is whether you could in that instance have made another choice. I say that you couldn't have. The fact that you presently can imagine yourself choosing bacon and eggs instead of oatmeal does not prove that in fact you could have made that alternate choice. As I stated in 'Against Possibility,' that very conceptual act, i.e. imagining various scenarios - whether at the moment of the choice or later in reflection - is all there is to possibility. That is the only meaning which the word has. I can point out that x led to y led to z as an instance of necessity - that did in fact happen. There is nothing to which you can point that is an instance of possibility - except the imagining. The world consists of is, not can, nor should.

The same is true of volition - the word means nothing except as it refers to the experience called 'making a choice.'
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 12:21 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;150740 wrote:


Whatever is wrong, is wrong with the concept of number itself !


Hey friend! What do you make of strange numbers like e and pi? They are part of the structure of our experience of nature, and yet they cannot be calculated exactly. Only approximated. And these aren't just made up numbers. They are more discovered than invented perhaps. To me, they represent a collision of some kind, or a breach of some kind.

---------- Post added 04-19-2010 at 01:23 AM ----------

BrightNoon;153683 wrote:
You believe in free will it seems, so you would argue that you did not have to eat oatmeal this morning. I do not believe in free will, so i disagree. As I said, there may be no way of actually proving determinism, so it remains a matter of belief. But the fact that possibility - which a non-determinist must believe is the actual operation in the world (as opposed to necessary causation) - can be shown to have no meaning other than as a mental device, to my mind makes that belief absurd.


It seems to me that determinism is an open question. I'm not afraid of a determinist conception, as it has a certain beauty. I honestly feel no conscious bias. I just see big enough gaps in either position to be caught somewhere in the middle. (I hope you don't mind me jumping in here.)
Inducting the laws of nature seems psychologically and practically justified, but is it logically justified?

---------- Post added 04-19-2010 at 01:32 AM ----------

BrightNoon;153845 wrote:
There is nothing to which you can point that is an instance of possibility - except the imagining. The world consists of is, not can, nor should.

The same is true of volition - the word means nothing except as it refers to the experience called 'making a choice.'


I think you make some excellent points in this post. I suppose I must add that causality itself seems as imaginary to me as free will, except that causality is perhaps more justified practically and psychologically. (Free will might be a leap of faith, but it does have certain uses ethically. It allows us to punish, and to take credit. Personally, I can live without it. If I remember correctly, Spinoza was a determinist, and it's a beautiful notion. Does it not turn time into eternity?
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 12:44 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;153853 wrote:
I suppose I must add that causality itself seems as imaginary to me as free will, except that causality is perhaps more justified practically and psychologically.


Agreed. I always smile when scientific-minded people tell me that correlation is not causation; not all correlation is causation, but all causation is nothing other than correlation of the highest degree.

Quote:
(Free will might be a leap of faith, but it does have certain uses ethically. It allows us to punish, and to take credit. Personally, I can live without it. If I remember correctly, Spinoza was a determinist, and it's a beautiful notion. Does it not turn time into eternity?


What do you mean?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 12:56 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;153858 wrote:
Agreed. I always smile when scientific-minded people tell me that correlation is not causation; not all correlation is causation, but all causation is nothing other than correlation of the highest degree.

Well put. Do you smile because they are making a questionable distinction? That's why I would smile. Of course, in a practical sense, their question is not silly. But the only difference between correlation and causation would seem to be in the conception of such (also taking consensus and persuasion into consideration. The "insane"/"unscientific" are just the minority vote, etc. )
Quote:

What do you mean?


If such a thing as true perfect causality existed (and I'm not taking sides either way just now), the future would be implicit in the past, and for this same reason, time would indeed be a sort of illusion. Or better yet, time would be something like a fourth spatial dimension, experienced by 3-dimensional beings temporally. 4 dimensions are easy mathematically.

I can see the beauty in this. To view the world as a limited whole. And one could conceive of this trans-temporal structure as a sort of God which we are part of. That's how I understand Spinoza. It's not my view, but I see the beauty in it.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Mon 19 Apr, 2010 03:32 pm
@Reconstructo,
I see, that sort of eternity.

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

-William Blake
 
 

 
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