Defense of Freewill Against Determinism

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Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 11:59 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

When anyone says, so-and-so is X, and then adds "basically", you can be pretty sure that so-and-so is not X at all.


Well, a finite state machine is an abstract object and the universe is a concrete object. Do you have anything to argue against or just platitudes?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:07 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

When anyone says, so-and-so is X, and then adds "basically", you can be pretty sure that so-and-so is not X at all.


Well, a finite state machine is an abstract object and the universe is a concrete object. Do you have anything to argue against or just platitudes?


Is it supposed to follow that because a finite state machine is an abstract object, and the universe is a concrete object, that the universe is a finite state machine (whatever that might mean) even if the premises happened to be true (given that they mean anything at all)? This is an illustration of pop science getting in the way of philosophy.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:10 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

When anyone says, so-and-so is X, and then adds "basically", you can be pretty sure that so-and-so is not X at all.


Well, a finite state machine is an abstract object and the universe is a concrete object. Do you have anything to argue against or just platitudes?


Does US have such machine ?
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:11 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep wrote:

Night Ripper wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

When anyone says, so-and-so is X, and then adds "basically", you can be pretty sure that so-and-so is not X at all.


Well, a finite state machine is an abstract object and the universe is a concrete object. Do you have anything to argue against or just platitudes?


Does US have such machine ?


Like I said, they are abstract objects. Anything can be a finite machine. Yes, we have them because computers are also finite state machines. This is a concept from computer science and mathematics.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:16 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:

Pepijn Sweep wrote:

Night Ripper wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

When anyone says, so-and-so is X, and then adds "basically", you can be pretty sure that so-and-so is not X at all.


Well, a finite state machine is an abstract object and the universe is a concrete object. Do you have anything to argue against or just platitudes?


Does US have such machine ?


Like I said, they are abstract objects. Anything can be a finite machine. Yes, we have them because computers are also finite state machines. This is a concept from computer science and mathematics.


That's nice. Does the fact that it is a concept form computer science and mathematics automatically make it relevant?
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:18 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
That's nice. Does the fact that it is a concept form computer science and mathematics automatically make it relevant?


It's relevant in that it shows how anything that's non-deterministic can also be described deterministically. Therefore, just because something has a deterministic description doesn't imply that it is deterministic.

In other words, you can describe the universe deterministically but that doesn't mean it can't be non-deterministic.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:28 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
That's nice. Does the fact that it is a concept form computer science and mathematics automatically make it relevant?


It's relevant in that it shows how anything that's non-deterministic can also be described deterministically. Therefore, just because something has a deterministic description doesn't imply that it is deterministic.

In other words, you can describe the universe deterministically but that doesn't mean it can't be non-deterministic.


Well, it is clear enough that even if you can describe something in one way, it might be a different way. I agree with that, although I did not need computer science and mathematics to tell me that. But thanks anyway.
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:40 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Night Ripper wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
That's nice. Does the fact that it is a concept form computer science and mathematics automatically make it relevant?


It's relevant in that it shows how anything that's non-deterministic can also be described deterministically. Therefore, just because something has a deterministic description doesn't imply that it is deterministic.

In other words, you can describe the universe deterministically but that doesn't mean it can't be non-deterministic.


Well, it is clear enough that even if you can describe something in one way, it might be a different way. I agree with that, although I did not need computer science and mathematics to tell me that. But thanks anyway.


Don't be a sore loser. You can simply say you agree with me without the posturing.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 01:23 pm
Thank to US the Dutch have now an indisecrete machine and a fleet of SoCCerCraft with expansive Scilly Names ... Lloyds help me Mr. Green
 
Night Ripper
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 01:25 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep wrote:

Thank to US the Dutch have now an indisecrete machine and a fleet of SoCCerCraft with expansive Scilly Names ... Lloyds help me ?


I hope you amuse yourself because you add nothing to the discussion.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 01:27 pm
@Night Ripper,
I do not intend to add a thing till I understand QM.
Good Bye from this tread !
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 02:04 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
What are some examples of discrete ontologies?
http://www.idsia.ch/~juergen/toesv2/
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 02:11 pm
Zeth:

Aren't you glad you asked?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 04:22 pm
I don't understand how the common-sense view of the matter can be rejected. The common-sense view is that there are tendencies for certain outcomes, but there are always unpredictabilities as well. So within certain bounds, outcomes are never completely determined. The whole idea of mechanistic determinism was articulated by LaPlace
Quote:
We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.


However due to the statistical nature of chaos theory and quantum mechanics, this view has been discredited, and I think it was never anything other than a scientific fantasy in the first place.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 04:39 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

I don't understand how the common-sense view of the matter can be rejected. The common-sense view is that there are tendencies for certain outcomes, but there are always unpredictabilities as well. So within certain bounds, outcomes are never completely determined. The whole idea of mechanistic determinism was articulated by LaPlace
Quote:
We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.


However due to the statistical nature of chaos theory and quantum mechanics, this view has been discredited, and I think it was never anything other than a scientific fantasy in the first place.


But unpredictability is no more free will than predictability is the absence of free will. You are buying into the same view that makes others believe that there is no free will. It is a common phenomenon in philosophy that both proponents of a view and opponents of the same view make the same mistake. The mistake in this case is to think that predictability has anything to do with what we all understand as free will. It is compulsion which we have to worry about, not predictability. Why should it matter that I can predict (accurately) that you will be going to a particular restaurant tomorrow on the ground that you, as a creature of habit, always go to that restaurant on that day of the week as long as you are not being compelled to go to that restaurant. Why should your predictability in this matter imply that you are not going to the restaurant of your own free will? And, in that case, why should the fact, if it is a fact, that you are not such a creature of habit after all, and that although you have the tendency to go to that restaurant, it is perfectly possible that you will decide to do otherwise be a reason for thinking that you do have free will. If perfect predictability is not a reason against free will, then unpredictability is, by the same token, not a reason for free will. Neither has anything to do with free will. The belief that it has is largely the source of the problem in the first place.

' "What is your aim in philosophy?" "To show the fly the way out of the fly bottle" ' Wittgenstein

By the way, if you are a fan of the Buddha, you should appreciate this koan of Wittgenstein's.
 
tomr
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 04:45 pm
@jeeprs,
Quote:
However due to the statistical nature of chaos theory and quantum mechanics, this view has been discredited, and I think it was never anything other than a scientific fantasy in the first place.


Quantum mechanics is only statistical in the sense that we cannot make accurate measurements on elementary particles. This is because the thing that we use to see and measure things, light, is the same thing that causes particles to move. We can never precisely know where a particle is and how fast is moving. This is the only reason quantum mechanics uses statistics to determine possible outcomes. Not being able to predict where a particle is because you have to move it to get information about it is not proof that these particles do not have rules governing them.

So if this is your only example that things are not determined then you do not really have an example.

 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 04:55 pm
@tomr,
it is however a fact that the philosophy of deteminism was based on the idea that at the most fundamental level, reality itself consisted of particles whose behaviours and whereabouts were fully determined by what had happened previously. This is now known to be false.

It is also curious that when atomism was thought to provide an explanation of the very basic nature of reality, the behaviour and nature of atoms was trumpeted as 'the ground of all reality'. But when this was shot to pieces by the discovery that atoms are essentially empty, then the argument switched sides: now what happens on the quantum scale is not really indicative of what happens 'in the real world'.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 05:18 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

it is however a fact that the philosophy of deteminism was based on the idea that at the most fundamental level, reality itself consisted of particles whose behaviours and whereabouts were fully determined by what had happened previously. This is now known to be false.

It is also curious that when atomism was thought to provide an explanation of the very basic nature of reality, the behaviour and nature of atoms was trumpeted as 'the ground of all reality'. But when this was shot to pieces by the discovery that atoms are essentially empty, then the argument switched sides: now what happens on the quantum scale is not really indicative of what happens 'in the real world'.
There's another way to look at it. Albuquerque has explained it pretty well.

I found his points to be undeniable. The jist of it: the universe is a single symphony. Everything you do is part of it.

It leaves the question: what about the opposition that is required for self-awareness to exist?

That could be explained poetically by imagining that the one Will wraps around and meets itself. At the point it meets itself, there appears to be two wills. It's actually all one thing though. I didn't make that up... I don't remember where I came across that image.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 05:18 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

it is however a fact that the philosophy of deteminism was based on the idea that at the most fundamental level, reality itself consisted of particles whose behaviours and whereabouts were fully determined by what had happened previously. This is now known to be false.

It is also curious that when atomism was thought to provide an explanation of the very basic nature of reality, the behaviour and nature of atoms was trumpeted as 'the ground of all reality'. But when this was shot to pieces by the discovery that atoms are essentially empty, then the argument switched sides: now what happens on the quantum scale is not really indicative of what happens 'in the real world'.


But this thread is about the defense of free will against determinism, so I suppose that if free will needed defense against determinism, then the truth of determinism would be an issue, as you seem to me making it. But if, as seems true, free will needs no defense against determinism because the belief that determinism is a threat to free will is the result of confusion between causation and compulsion, then the truth of determinism is not an issue for this thread. It just doesn't matter. And those who it does matter are those who believe that whether there is free will reduces to whether determinism is true or false. For such people, the issue of free will "drops out", since whether it exists entirely depends on whether or not determinism is true. Thus what was the central issue, is there free will, suddenly becomes peripheral. Talk about the death of philosophy!
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2010 05:27 pm
@kennethamy,
perhaps you might elucidate the disctinction between causation and compulsion. I would have thought that compulsion was simply a sub-set, or special case, of causation.
 
 

 
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