# Defense of Freewill Against Determinism

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 07:33 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
it defines it in terms of causal laws.
What is a "causal law"?

kennethamy

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 09:49 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
it defines it in terms of causal laws.
What is a "causal law"?

Exactly what it says it is. It is a universal statement of a regularity between two kinds of things, but which says that the regularity is not accidental, but that there is an explanation of the regularity. Of course, you realize that we have switched subjects, since the original issue was whether determinism is about the world being governed by universal causal laws at it is defined in the authoritative reference I cited several times. I mention this because I really do not want us to divert what were discussing to an entirely different (but of course related) issue. For whatever a causal law is, or even if there are no such things as causal laws, the issue is still whether determinism is understood in terms of causal laws. So, shall we please keep that in mind? Your question in this post is a diversion.

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 10:03 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
It is a universal statement of a regularity between two kinds of things, but which says that the regularity is not accidental, but that there is an explanation of the regularity.
Such a notion of causal completeness is definitely false, as has been explained to you before. And it is certainly not what is meant by determinism.

kennethamy

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 10:10 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
It is a universal statement of a regularity between two kinds of things, but which says that the regularity is not accidental, but that there is an explanation of the regularity.
Such a notion of causal completeness is definitely false, as has been explained to you before. And it is certainly not what is meant by determinism.

Forgetting about truth or falsity of the notion which is irrelevant, I have far more evidence than do you that causal laws are essentially involved in what philosophers mean by "determinism". So, unless you can present evidence comparable to mine (and I don't mean some stray remarks by a few philosophers) I conclude you are simply wrong, as well as dogmatic.

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 10:39 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
kennethamy wrote:
It is a universal statement of a regularity between two kinds of things, but which says that the regularity is not accidental, but that there is an explanation of the regularity.
causal laws are essentially involved in what philosophers mean by "determinism".
Determinism is a thesis about laws of nature, and laws of nature are not "statements" and they are independent of explanations. You appear to be talking about laws of science, and it is blindingly obvious that laws of science are irrelevant to the question of determinism. If causal laws are involved, then your definition of causal law is incorrect.

kennethamy

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 10:50 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
kennethamy wrote:
It is a universal statement of a regularity between two kinds of things, but which says that the regularity is not accidental, but that there is an explanation of the regularity.
causal laws are essentially involved in what philosophers mean by "determinism".
Determinism is a thesis about laws of nature, and laws of nature are not "statements" and they are independent of explanations. You appear to be talking about laws of science, and it is blindingly obvious that laws of science are irrelevant to the question of determinism. If causal laws are involved, then your definition of causal law is incorrect.

I refer you to the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. I will try to do more research into how "determinism" is used by professional philosophers which is, I remind you, what is at issue.

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 10:52 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
I refer you to the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.
And I refer you to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, yet again.

kennethamy

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 11:13 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
I refer you to the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.
And I refer you to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, yet again.

And that was what I was referring to by "a stray remark by a philosopher" and why I pointed out that my evidence for how the term determinism is used by the majority of professional philosophers overwhelms any that you have. Your use of "determinism" is idiosyncratic.

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 11:17 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
I refer you to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, yet again.
that was what I was referring to by "a stray remark by a philosopher"
Hilarious.
kennethamy wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
I refer you to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, yet again.
my evidence for how the term determinism is used by the majority of professional philosophers overwhelms any that you have.
You should be on the stage.

kennethamy

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 11:44 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
I refer you to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, yet again.
that was what I was referring to by "a stray remark by a philosopher"
Hilarious.
kennethamy wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
I refer you to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, yet again.
my evidence for how the term determinism is used by the majority of professional philosophers overwhelms any that you have.
You should be on the stage.

And stray ad hominems are not arguments.

More evidence:

Causal determinism (hereafter, simply “determinism”) is the thesis that the course of the future is entirely determined by the conjunction of the past and the laws of nature. Imagine a proposition that completely describes the way that the entire universe was at some point in the past, say 100 million years ago. Let us call this proposition “P.” Also imagine a proposition that expresses the conjunction of all the laws of nature; call this proposition “L.” Determinism then is the thesis that the conjunction of P and L entails a unique future. Given P and L, there is only one possible future, one possible way for things to end up. To make the same point using possible world semantics, determinism is the thesis that all the states of affairs that obtain at some time in the past, when conjoined with the laws of nature, entail which possible world is the actual world. Since a possible world includes those states of affairs that will obtain, the truth of determinism amounts to the thesis that the past and the laws of nature entail what states of affairs will obtain in the future, and that only those states of affairs entailed by the past and the laws will in fact obtain.

The On Line International Encyclopedia of Philosophy

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 11:53 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
stray ad hominems are not arguments.
There are plenty of arguments awaiting response. For example, the problem of there being no notion of cause which can be consistently applied in all fields, the incompatibility of cause with determinism due to the irreversibility of cause, etc, the failure of your espousal of a Hempelian notion of cause and most recently, your mischaracterisation of determinism as a thesis about explanatory statements. Your constant appeal to a single line from book published over ten years ago isn't just not overwhelming, it's a complete evasion.

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 11:55 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
The On Line International Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Not exactly high profile, is it?

kennethamy

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:06 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
stray ad hominems are not arguments.
There are plenty of arguments awaiting response. For example, the problem of there being no notion of cause which can be consistently applied in all fields, the incompatibility of cause with determinism due to the irreversibility of cause, etc, the failure of your espousal of a Hempelian notion of cause and most recently, your mischaracterisation of determinism as a thesis about explanatory statements. Your constant appeal to a single line from book published over ten years ago isn't just not overwhelming, it's a complete evasion.

Simply irrelevant. You are again diverting the issue, or is it that you cannot focus on the issue? The issue is whether professional philosophers hold (or do not hold) that the notion of universal causal laws are an essential part of the idea of determinism. You have argued that this is false, and your evidence is meager at best (one stray quote from one philosopher). My view is that it is true, and I have presented in support two statements: One from the Cambridge Dictionary, and one from the On Line Encyclopedia. There is, thus far, no contest. The issue is not (not) which view is right. Do try to understand that.

Zetherin

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:17 pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism
Determinism is the philosophical view that every event, including human cognition, behaviour, decision, and action, is causally determined by previous events

http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/FREE.HTM
P2 is the Thesis of Determinism — the notion that every event is caused in accordance with causal laws, which account completely for its occurrence.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/determinism
a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/159526/determinism
In philosophy, the theory that all events, including moral choices, are completely determined by previously existing causes

Sure, not all of these sources are "high profile", but there are tons of them. The majority of people do believe that determinism is how we've defined it, and you can easily see that by doing a few minutes of research. So you must understand our reluctance to accept your new definition (actually, I still don't know what yours is), when this definition is the most widely used . Do you understand?

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:23 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
The issue is whether professional philosophers hold (or do not hold) that the notion of universal causal laws are an essential part of the idea of determinism. . . . I have presented in support two statements: One from the Cambridge Dictionary, and one from the On Line Encyclopedia.
kennethamy wrote:
Causal determinism (hereafter, simply “determinism”) is the thesis that the course of the future is entirely determined by the conjunction of the past and the laws of nature. Imagine a proposition that completely describes the way that the entire universe was at some point in the past, say 100 million years ago. Let us call this proposition “P.” Also imagine a proposition that expresses the conjunction of all the laws of nature; call this proposition “L.” Determinism then is the thesis that the conjunction of P and L entails a unique future. Given P and L, there is only one possible future, one possible way for things to end up.
There is no mention here of cause, is there? As I said, determinism is a thesis about laws of nature. There's no mention of "statements" or explanations, is there?
Further, you hold that the future, in a determined world is not fixed, dont you? The above piece, quoted by you, disagrees. By the same author "Since causal determinism removes all alternative possibilities, PAPf preserves the flicker strategist’s insistence that moral responsibility is incompatible with the truth of causal determinism."
http://home.sandiego.edu/~ktimpe/research/critique.pdf
You also hold that there can be "macro-determinism" even if determinism is false at the micro level, your source disagrees, doesn't it? "The course of the future is entirely determined".
You have been consistently and incorrigibly mistaken about determinism in almost its entirety, for all the time I've known you, instead of insisting, in the face of the facts, that you're correct, wouldn't you prefer to hold a view that actually is correct? At present, you claim to be a member of a group of people with whom you disagree!!

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:26 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
The majority of people do believe that determinism is how we've defined it, and you can easily see that by doing a few minutes of research.
The majority of people are neither philosophers nor physicists. Have you understood my explanation of why cause is incompatible with determinism? If so, kindly address it.

kennethamy

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:30 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
The issue is whether professional philosophers hold (or do not hold) that the notion of universal causal laws are an essential part of the idea of determinism. . . . I have presented in support two statements: One from the Cambridge Dictionary, and one from the On Line Encyclopedia.
kennethamy wrote:
Causal determinism (hereafter, simply “determinism”) is the thesis that the course of the future is entirely determined by the conjunction of the past and the laws of nature. Imagine a proposition that completely describes the way that the entire universe was at some point in the past, say 100 million years ago. Let us call this proposition “P.” Also imagine a proposition that expresses the conjunction of all the laws of nature; call this proposition “L.” Determinism then is the thesis that the conjunction of P and L entails a unique future. Given P and L, there is only one possible future, one possible way for things to end up.
There is no mention here of cause, is there? As I said, determinism is a thesis about laws of nature. There's no mention of "statements" or explanations, is there?
Further, you hold that the future, in a determined world is not fixed, dont you? The above piece, quoted by you, disagrees. By the same author "Since causal determinism removes all alternative possibilities, PAPf preserves the flicker strategist’s insistence that moral responsibility is incompatible with the truth of causal determinism."
http://home.sandiego.edu/~ktimpe/research/critique.pdf
You also hold that there can be "macro-determinism" even if determinism is false at the micro level, your source disagrees, doesn't it? "The course of the future is entirely determined".
You have been consistently and incorrigibly mistaken about determinism in almost its entirety, for all the time I've known you, instead of insisting, in the face of the facts, that you're correct, wouldn't you prefer to hold a view that actually is correct? At present, you claim to be a member of a group of people with whom you disagree!!

You really do not think the author is talking about causal laws?

Zetherin

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:32 pm
@ughaibu,
But I do not understand why this issue troubles you so. If you don't agree with determinism, fine, but why are you denying that it is defined in the manner we've showed? It most certainly is, and there is tons of evidence backing this up. What do you have to say to the dozens of articles out there that define it as we have noted? You simply think all those articles are wrong?

ughaibu wrote:
Have you understood my explanation of why cause is incompatible with determinism?

No, I did not understand your explanation of why cause is incompatible with determinism. Maybe I can understand better if you tell me what your definition of determinism is first.

ughaibu

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:39 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
If you don't agree with determinism, fine, but why are you denying that it is defined in the manner we've showed?
Because your so called definition of determinism is actually a definition of causal completeness, which has no implications for free will. I stated this earlier.
Zetherin wrote:
No, I did not understand your explanation of why cause is incompatible with determinism. Maybe I can understand better if you tell me what your definition of determinism is first.
I use the standard definition; at all times the world has a definite state, given the state of the world at any time, then the state of the world at all other times is exactly specified by the given state in conjunction with unchanging laws of nature. You really haven't read this before, in any of my posts??

fast

Tue 13 Jul, 2010 12:46 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:
There is no mention here of cause, is there? As I said, determinism is a thesis about laws of nature. There's no mention of "statements" or explanations, is there?

I certainly don't mean to change the focus of this discussion, but do you have it in your mind that laws of nature 1) antedate people or 2) do not antedate people?

I'm thinking 1 is the answer, but I suspect that you think 2 is the answer. I think this is relevant because I think your understanding of laws of nature is different than others.