Defense of Freewill Against Determinism

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kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:45 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

fast wrote:
One view is that even though all events are caused, not all events are necessary events. Another view (albeit a wild and wacky view) is that because all events are caused, all events are necessary events.
As logics are independent of reality, nothing about your post makes sense.


It depends. If independent of reality means that none are more applicable to reality than others, that is false.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:48 am
@fast,
fast wrote:

Does the following make sense to you? Some events are necessary events? If not, does the following make sense to you? The proposition that some events are necessary events is true. Does any of this make sense to you?


Well it must make sense to say that for all (or even some) events, it is logically impossible that they should not have occurred, since that is false, and necessarily what is false makes sense.
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:49 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
But I don't understand how I can believe I made a choice but did not. Suppose I am in an ice-cream shop, and I point to the vanilla bin and say to the server, "I'll have a scoop of vanilla, please". How could it be that I merely believe I made a choice but I didn't. Isn't doing what I did just called, "making a choice"?
When you said what you said, you believed that you made a choice. Of course you believed you made a choice. That's what's so sadistic about the view. Everything you think you did by choice was not a choice at all but rather a function of the laws of nature playing out in the only one way it could by you doing what you had to do (which includes you thinking you made a choice).
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:58 am
@fast,
fast wrote:
Some events are necessary events? If not, does the following make sense to you? The proposition that some events are necessary events is true. Does any of this make sense to you?
These are sensible propositions within a defined logic, they are meaningless as statements about the actual world.
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 08:05 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:

fast wrote:
Some events are necessary events? If not, does the following make sense to you? The proposition that some events are necessary events is true. Does any of this make sense to you?
These are sensible propositions within a defined logic, they are meaningless as statements about the actual world.
I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Everyone else understands it.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 08:16 am
@fast,
fast wrote:
Everyone else understands it.
It's not a question of understanding, it's a question of meaning.
 
ACB
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 08:54 am
Is the following a correct summary of the difference between causality and determinism?

Causality - For some or all events, event A is a sufficient cause of event B. That is to say, event B can be fully explained by event A without the need to consider any other events or states of the universe. The immediate cause is entirely local. Whenever a white snooker ball located at position X on the table is struck in a particular way, it will definitely hit a red ball located at position Y. We can simply say "A causes B"; we do not need to add anything else such as "unless someone grabs the ball first" or "unless the table collapses" or "unless a nuclear bomb is detonated 10 miles away". (Causality in this sense is false, since the sequence A-then-B is obviously dependent on the non-occurrence of countless possible interfering events.)

Determinism - No single event is a sufficient cause of another event. All causes are irreducibly global. A particular white ball will definitely hit a particular red ball only if one particular state of the universe's entire history obtains. If even the smallest detail of the universe's history (past or future) is changed, it is no longer (physically) necessary that the white ball (if it still exists in the new scenario) will hit the red ball (if it still exists). (Determinism may be true or false.)
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 08:58 am
@ACB,
ACB wrote:
Is the following a correct summary of the difference between causality and determinism?
Causality. . . . (Causality in this sense is false, since the sequence A-then-B is obviously dependent on the non-occurrence of countless possible interfering events.)
Determinism. . . .
That seems a fair summary, for me at this time of night. There are various theories of causation but they all suffer from some kind of problem, such as that which you point out.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 02:13 pm
ACB wrote:
Causality - For some or all events, event A is a sufficient cause of event B. That is to say, event B can be fully explained by event A without the need to consider any other events or states of the universe. The immediate cause is entirely local. Whenever a white snooker ball located at position X on the table is struck in a particular way, it will definitely hit a red ball located at position Y. We can simply say "A causes B"; we do not need to add anything else such as "unless someone grabs the ball first" or "unless the table collapses" or "unless a nuclear bomb is detonated 10 miles away". (Causality in this sense is false, since the sequence A-then-B is obviously dependent on the non-occurrence of countless possible interfering events.)

Why is causality in this sense false? Sure, the table could have collapsed, a nuclear bomb could have detonated, or someone could have grabbed the ball, but so what? None of those things happened. The stick struck the white ball, which caused the white ball to accelerate forward and strike the red ball. Because things could have happened differently, doesn't mean that causality is false. Why would you think that?

ACB wrote:
A particular white ball will definitely hit a particular red ball only if one particular state of the universe's entire history obtains. If even the smallest detail of the universe's history (past or future) is changed, it is no longer (physically) necessary that the white ball (if it still exists in the new scenario) will hit the red ball (if it still exists). (Determinism may be true or false.)

Can you give another example? And to be clear, you're using physical necessity here? That is, that which abides with laws of nature?
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 02:36 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:
These are sensible propositions within a defined logic, they are meaningless as statements about the actual world.

Propositions are statements about the actual world. "Elephants are mammals" is a proposition within biology. Does that mean it is a meaningless statement about the actual world? A proposition about something scientific is still a proposition, just a proposition about something philosophic is still a proposition. You believe the subject matter of the proposition defines whether the proposition is meaningful or not? Strange.

ughaibu wrote:
That seems a fair summary, for me at this time of night. There are various theories of causation but they all suffer from some kind of problem, such as that which you point out.

He pointed out that things could have happened differently. How is that a problem for causation?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 02:48 pm
@ACB,
ACB wrote:

(Causality in this sense is false, since the sequence A-then-B is obviously dependent on the non-occurrence of countless possible interfering events.)




I wonder who would think that viruses do not cause colds because if someone invented a vaccine against the cold, people who took the vaccine would not catch cold?
 
ACB
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 03:14 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
I wonder who would think that viruses do not cause colds because if someone invented a vaccine against the cold, people who took the vaccine would not catch cold?

The point is that viruses are not a sufficient cause of colds, because colds depend on at least one other factor, i.e. that the person does not take the vaccine.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 03:17 pm
@ACB,
But how does that show that, if the person doesn't take the vaccine, that the virus didn't cause the cold the person now has? The cause of the cold was still the virus. It is just that it could have been prevented with the vaccine.
 
ACB
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 03:46 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
The cause of the cold was still the virus.

The main cause of the cold was the virus. But there were other causes also - some positive (the person had a certain level of susceptibility to the virus, he/she was exposed to it for a certain length of time, the ambient conditions were conducive to infection, etc) and some negative (he/she did not take the vaccine, did not die from another illness, etc).
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 05:16 pm
@fast,
fast wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
But I don't understand how I can believe I made a choice but did not. Suppose I am in an ice-cream shop, and I point to the vanilla bin and say to the server, "I'll have a scoop of vanilla, please". How could it be that I merely believe I made a choice but I didn't. Isn't doing what I did just called, "making a choice"?
When you said what you said, you believed that you made a choice. Of course you believed you made a choice. That's what's so sadistic about the view. Everything you think you did by choice was not a choice at all but rather a function of the laws of nature playing out in the only one way it could by you doing what you had to do (which includes you thinking you made a choice).


But why I made the choice is one thing. Whether I made the choice is a very different thing. The fact that I was caused to make the choice in no way shows I did not make the choice. Indeed to say both that I was caused to make a choice, and to say I made no choice, is self-contradictory, for how could I possibly have been caused to make a choice I never made?
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 05:59 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
ughaibu wrote:
These are sensible propositions within a defined logic, they are meaningless as statements about the actual world.
Propositions are statements about the actual world.
Not if they're purely logical propositions.
Zetherin wrote:
He pointed out that things could have happened differently. How is that a problem for causation?
What ACB pointed out, is that under this model of cause, C only causes E if C causes E.
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:12 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

fast wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
But I don't understand how I can believe I made a choice but did not. Suppose I am in an ice-cream shop, and I point to the vanilla bin and say to the server, "I'll have a scoop of vanilla, please". How could it be that I merely believe I made a choice but I didn't. Isn't doing what I did just called, "making a choice"?
When you said what you said, you believed that you made a choice. Of course you believed you made a choice. That's what's so sadistic about the view. Everything you think you did by choice was not a choice at all but rather a function of the laws of nature playing out in the only one way it could by you doing what you had to do (which includes you thinking you made a choice).


But why I made the choice is one thing. Whether I made the choice is a very different thing. The fact that I was caused to make the choice in no way shows I did not make the choice. Indeed to say both that I was caused to make a choice, and to say I made no choice, is self-contradictory, for how could I possibly have been caused to make a choice I never made?
Exactly. So, just because you said, "I'll have a scoop of vanilla, please," that's not to say you actually made a choice, and if you think you made a choice when you didn't make a choice (and your request was merely a function of the laws of nature at work), then you are under the illusion that you made a choice when you didn't.

I do hope you do not forget that I am not espousing this nonsense. I only mean to expound on what I view the implications of a view (though perhaps an idiosyncratic and peculiar view) of determinism to be; however, this view is the view that springs to mind when I hear certain statements made about what others think determinism is--even if they themselves do not agree that the implications are as I perceive them to be.
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:25 pm
@ACB,
ACB wrote:

Zetherin wrote:
The cause of the cold was still the virus.

The main cause of the cold was the virus. But there were other causes also - some positive (the person had a certain level of susceptibility to the virus, he/she was exposed to it for a certain length of time, the ambient conditions were conducive to infection, etc) and some negative (he/she did not take the vaccine, did not die from another illness, etc).
Hmmm. There are consequences for my failure to invent and take a vaccine for the cold virus, so I am partly the cause for catching a cold?
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 07:34 pm
@fast,
ACB, do you think that a cause of my mother's cancer is that she did not discover a cure for cancer? This would be a 'negative' cause for her contracting cancer.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 19 Jul, 2010 08:02 pm
@Zetherin,
That is, any inaction, as long as we can reasonably say it is somehow related, is deemed as a negative cause for something? My basketball bouncing on the floor wasn't just caused by my applying a force on the basketball towards the floor, it was also caused by me not choosing to play another sport that did not involve a basketball?
 
 

 
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