# Defense of Freewill Against Determinism

Zetherin

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 03:21 pm
@kennethamy,
Maybe he's using mathematical jargon (if there is in fact a mathematical sense of "determinism") and pawning it off as the common definition. I only get that hint because he seems interested in mathematical proofs and whatnot.

Zetherin

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 03:24 pm
@Night Ripper,
No matter how regularly or irregularly something happens, the determinist holds that it is part of a causal chain. A random event is still an event that was caused.

north

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 03:31 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:

No matter how regularly or irregularly something happens, the determinist holds that it is part of a causal chain. A random event is still an event that was caused.

if thats true then how do we as Humans get beyond instinct

the dinosaurs didn't get beyond instinct

Night Ripper

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 03:33 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:

No matter how regularly or irregularly something happens, the determinist holds that it is part of a causal chain. A random event is still an event that was caused.

If an event is determined then it couldn't happen any other way. How does that fit with randomness?

Zetherin

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 03:48 pm
north wrote:
if thats true then how do we as Humans get beyond instinct

the dinosaurs didn't get beyond instinct

What? I don't know what you're talking about here concerning instinct. It is true that every event is caused, no matter if the event occurs regularly or irregularly.

Night ripper wrote:
If an event is determined then it couldn't happen any other way. How does that fit with randomness?

I think a random event is an event in which there is no intelligible pattern or order in regards to its occurrence. The event was still caused, though. You are saying that random events, are uncaused events? Can't one believe that all things are caused, but also believe that some things happen randomly? Perhaps I am misusing the term "random", but I don't see how this is contradictory.

Night Ripper

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 03:53 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
I think a random event is an event in which there is no intelligible pattern or order in regards to its occurrence.

You're confusing epistemology with ontology. The way things actually are is regardless of what we can know about them.

north

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 04:00 pm
@Zetherin,

Quote:
north wrote:
if thats true then how do we as Humans get beyond instinct

the dinosaurs didn't get beyond instinct

Quote:
What? I don't know what you're talking about here concerning instinct. It is true that every event is caused, no matter if the event occurs regularly or irregularly.

if determinism is true , then determinism , determins an animals ability to get beyond instinct

true ?

Zetherin

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 04:00 pm
@Night Ripper,
Very well, then a random event, keeping in line with our speaking of ontology, would mean an event that has no cause?

Arjuna

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 07:32 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
I think a random event is an event in which there is no intelligible pattern or order in regards to its occurrence.

You're confusing epistemology with ontology. The way things actually are is regardless of what we can know about them.
Hi Zetherin! Yea, random usually means without conscious manipulation, but we assume there was some cause.

The word cause can suggest necessity. Like if you drop a rock, it's fall is caused by gravity. If we say that we may be assuming that there was no alternative... like gravity is a law that can't be broken and it somehow orchestrates events. I think that's fundamental to the Newtonian view of gravity. But we could notice that we never observed a "law." We just observe that things regularly fall when you drop them.

That's cool because it relieves us of having to support the notion that gravity is a "causer" as opposed to gravity being the name for the fact that things fall.

Determinism doesn't require any deep understanding of causal relationships which is good because our common perception of time will lead us to a pardox regarding cause... there would have to be a primal uncaused event... either that or time goes back infinitely... which we can't conceive. And as we all know, as certain as we may be about our reasoning, if it hinges on an inconceivable element... that's doesn't give us the warm fuzzies we were really hoping for.

An alternative to the cat-round-up of trying to figure out how events happen is to examine the objective view of this moment, the universe is a set of happening events... call them actualities... that distinguishes them from their kin in the nether world: possibilities.

The unmanifest possibilities didn't happen. From our point of view, they don't exist as anything but figments of imagination. It would appear that they have no reality beyond the magic of human thought. Once you subtract the possibilities out of your picture of reality, you get this: the present set of events... the universal event we call now... apparently had a 100% chance of happening. Any other answer is going to have to get its groove on giving an ontological proof of alternate possibilities.

So to sum up.. the better form of determinism is one that focuses on an objective view of everything. The subjective view, of course, is a totally different animal.

I may have just put this ancient thread in the blender... but thanks to Robert, it's still here to be slogged through.

Hope you're doing well!

kennethamy

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 07:40 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:

Very well, then a random event, keeping in line with our speaking of ontology, would mean an event that has no cause?

Yes, that is what I would have thought too. Determinists do not think there are random events in that sense. But, of course, if determinism is true (at least on the macro-level) that does not mean there are no car accidents. But accidents are not, of course, causeless events. To say that when two cars collide, it is an accident is simply to deny that the causes were intentional, not that there was no cause. It may also be that to say that a collision was an accident is to say that we just know what determined one of the cars to be at the place of the collision, but do not know what determined the other car to be at the place of the collision, so our information was too sparse to enable us to predict the collision. So, when Freud famously said, "there are no accidents" he was simply saying that determinism is true, not that the term "accident" is not applicable to any event, but that "accident" is an epistemic, not an ontological, concept.

ughaibu

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:13 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
I thought determinism was the view that all events are causally determined.
Then you were mistaken, your definition is circular. See if you can think of an event which is caused but not determined, I've had enough of repeating the obvious examples.

ughaibu

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:16 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
No matter how regularly or irregularly something happens, the determinist holds that it is part of a causal chain. A random event is still an event that was caused.
You should be able to see, from your own post, that you're mistaken about determinism. A causal chain of non-determined events would be impossible in a determined world, even one non-determined event would be impossible. So, determinism has nothing to do with "causal chains"!

Zetherin

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:38 pm
@kennethamy,
I agree with Freud, and on that note, that is also how I use the term "random" - in an epistemic, not ontological, sense. When I say an event is random, I do not mean that the event has no cause, but that the event has no intelligible pattern from which we can ascertain the reason for its occurrence.

But it was wrong of me to confuse the senses, because I am aware that there is an ontological sense of "random" that determinists do not agree with (as you noted). And in that sense, no, I do not think anything is random.

Zetherin

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:39 pm
@ughaibu,
Quote:
You should be able to see, from your own post, that you're mistaken about determinism. A causal chain of non-determined events would be impossible in a determined world, even one non-determined event would be impossible. So, determinism has nothing to do with "causal chains"!

When did I distinguish between a non-determined event and a determined event? What is a non-determined event anyway? Do you mean, an event which has no cause?

Maybe my use of the term "random" confused you, but I just clarified that in my last post.

ughaibu

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:41 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
I do not think anything is random.
Kennethamy, on the other hand, does think that there are random and uncaused events, yet he still claims to be a determinist. Hopefully you'll realise, from this, that he is no authority on the matter of determinism.

ughaibu

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:51 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
When did I distinguish between a non-determined event and a determined event?
You didn't, but it's no great effort to do so and if you're interested in the question, you shouldn't need your feet held to the fire.
Any world with enough consistency to allow a history of the form A was followed by B was followed by C can be described in terms of causal chains. It should be obvious to you that philosophers are not talking about any trivial matter of this sort, despite the fact that the internet is littered with self professed "determinists" who seem to think that any history establishes determinism.
There is no satisfactory notion of cause in philosophy, in fundamental physics there is no notion at all of cause. If you think that determinism is a thesis about cause, the first problem you have is to provide a satisfactory definition of cause. For years, Kennethamy failed to do this, recently he has supported a notion of caused events as those events which fall under Hempel's theory of scientific explanation. If determinism is the claim that all events have causes, in this model, then determinism is as false as claims get.

Zetherin

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:52 pm
@ughaibu,
Ughaibu, I'm not here to evaluate anyone's tenor or self-appointed authority (if there is a case of this). What I am interested in is clarification and learning for not only my benefit, but for the benefit of everyone who is reading. The both of you consistently go at eachother's throats, and it's getting to be a tad annoying. I know you guys have some sort of feud, but really, why don't you relegate the subtle defamations to the PM box.

Now, onto determinism: please explain to me again why my definition is confused.

ughaibu

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:55 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
What I am interested in is clarification and learning for not only my benefit, but for the benefit of everyone who is reading.
I'm not interested in repeating myself for nonparticipating readers, it's irritating enough that I keep being put in the situation of doing so for participants, and that includes you. If this site had some kind of search function I would refer you to previous answers that you've been given to these same points.

ughaibu

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:56 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
please explain to me again why my definition is confused.
First, give a non-circular definition.

Zetherin

Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:58 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
When did I distinguish between a non-determined event and a determined event?
You didn't, but it's no great effort to do so and if you're interested in the question, you shouldn't need your feet held to the fire.
Any world with enough consistency to allow a history of the form A was followed by B was followed by C can be described in terms of causal chains. It should be obvious to you that philosophers are not talking about any trivial matter of this sort, despite the fact that the internet is littered with self professed "determinists" who seem to think that any history establishes determinism.
There is no satisfactory notion of cause in philosophy, in fundamental physics there is no notion at all of cause. If you think that determinism is a thesis about cause, the first problem you have is to provide a satisfactory definition of cause. For years, Kennethamy failed to do this, recently he has supported a notion of caused events as those events which fall under Hempel's theory of scientific explanation. If determinism is the claim that all events have causes, in this model, then determinism is as false as claims get.

But there is a satisfactory notion of "cause" used in philosophy. And in fact, it is a very commonly used term in science, too.

Let us start with why you find the notion of "cause", used in various fields, unsatisfactory.