Determinism Question - possibility of scientific explanations for human behaviour


by Ken Natton
Tags: behaviour, determinism, explanations, human, possibility, scientific
ThomasT
ThomasT is offline
#91
Jan12-12, 11:15 PM
P: 1,414
Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
So taking that view, where do fundamental dynamical laws come from?
Imo, that would be an unanswerable question.

Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
From a practical epistemological point of view, you can just shrug your shoulders and say "they exist".
Yes. A fundamental dynamical law (or laws) would be assumptions. But it seems to me that that approach implies that our universe is evolving deterministically. That is, lawful evolution = deterministic evolution.

Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
But from a metaphysical and ontological point of view - which was the OP - you would want to be able to explain how laws arise as your global constraints.
Can global constraints be explained in terms of an assumed general dynamical law (or laws) without explaining the origin of the dynamical law (or laws)?

Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
So you are talking about organising principles that arise at some level. You seem to find that uncontroversial.
I think it's been pretty well established. Eg., the understanding and control human behavior is done, for the most part, at the macroscopic level of human behavior, and not at the submicroscopic level of subatomic particles, or in terms of wave mechanics. But then, scientists have found many connections between the mesoscopic realm and the realm of human behavior. And there are interesting connections between the mesoscopic the microscopic, and between the microscopic and the submicroscopic. All of which leads me to think that there might be some sort of fundamental dynamical law or laws at work.

Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
But why would you stop there and not extend this to the idea of global organising principles that arise at the global level (and so are all-encompassing as they act on every scale in downward causal fashion).
Exactly. This is what the assumption of a fundamental dynamical law (or laws), encompassing any and all scales of behavior, would do. But this isn't the current paradigm of fundamental physics.
ThomasT
ThomasT is offline
#92
Jan12-12, 11:35 PM
P: 1,414
Quote Quote by Maui View Post
If scale specific organizing principles can emerge, we may have to rethink the notion of purposeless reality and existence.
Why? The notion that scale specific organizing principles have emerged from, say, countless iterations of a fundamental wave mechanical dynamic would seem to me to obviate teleological explanations.

Quote Quote by Maui View Post
I don't think anyone entertains the idea that something as sophisticated as an Airbus A380 was an inevitable occurence in nature.
If one assumes a lawful universe, then whatever exists in that universe is an inevitable consequence of the initial conditions and the evolutionary laws.
MarcoD
MarcoD is offline
#93
Jan12-12, 11:44 PM
P: 98
Quote Quote by apeiron View Post
And given that the brain, even if we view it as a machine, is a really, really complex machine - the most negentropic concentration of matter in the known universe - then where is the heat in the argument? Our own neural complexity makes us hugely isolated from the simplicities of the physical world, especially from the highly generalised view we take of the microscale in our material theories.

So how much freedom is enough freedom? Do we need absolute freedom from external constraints? Do we need absolute freedom from our own developmental past (in the shape of accumulated habits and expectations)? Do we need absolute freedom from physical simplicity?
I am not worried, I am pointing out the old debate on whether we are 'zombies' or not. We either have free will, or we don't, and the latter case is philosophically lousy since that would imply that we don't have responsibility for any actions we take. The amount of complexity of the system, or the amount of freedom, is irrelevant.

I.e., if you are a robot/zombie/fully deterministic and you go out and kill someone, nobody can really blame you for it since you have no free will, you are just running a program. No free will would kill off all ethical considerations since nature/physics doesn't have ethics, only laws.

Most scientific evidence points at that we don't have free will, so it's free game for everyone since there are no ethical considerations. Of course, it doesn't work that way, but at the moment the natural sciences tell us is that human behavior is pre-programmed, devoid of free will, therefor things like ethics are an illusion.
ThomasT
ThomasT is offline
#94
Jan13-12, 12:30 AM
P: 1,414
Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
I am not worried, I am pointing out the old debate on whether we are 'zombies' or not. We either have free will, or we don't, and the latter case is philosophically lousy since that would imply that we don't have responsibility for any actions we take.
Responsibility is a human-level imperative, the practical consideration of which is independent of whether or not what we call free will is a function of a deterministic or indeterministic universe.

Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
Most scientific evidence points at that we don't have free will ...
I agree.

Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
... so it's free game for everyone since there are no ethical considerations. Of course, it doesn't work that way, but at the moment the natural sciences tell us is that human behavior is pre-programmed, devoid of free will, therefor things like ethics are an illusion.
The concepts and practice of responsibility and ethics are behavioral controls, not illusions.
MarcoD
MarcoD is offline
#95
Jan13-12, 12:44 AM
P: 98
Quote Quote by ThomasT View Post
The concepts and practice of responsibility and ethics are behavioral controls, not illusions.
You equated ethics to behavioral controls which -historically/philosophically- means that there are no ethics, only laws of nature. Behavioral controls follow no guidelines except for those (pre-)programmed, the term ethics becomes meaningless in that context.
ThomasT
ThomasT is offline
#96
Jan13-12, 12:54 AM
P: 1,414
Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
You equated ethics to behavioral controls which -historically/philosophically- means that there are no ethics, only laws of nature. Behavioral controls follow no guidelines except for those (pre-)programmed, the term ethics becomes meaningless in that context.
I meant man-made behavioral controls. In which context the terms ethics and responsibility are meaningful.
MarcoD
MarcoD is offline
#97
Jan13-12, 01:06 AM
P: 98
Quote Quote by ThomasT View Post
I meant man-made behavioral controls. In which context the terms ethics and responsibility are meaningful.
Oh, well, only in a context of free will. Fortunately, personally, as an absurdist, I believe life cannot be understood. So to me it's an whatever.
ThomasT
ThomasT is offline
#98
Jan13-12, 01:44 AM
P: 1,414
Quote Quote by MarcoD View Post
Oh, well, only in a context of free will. Fortunately, personally, as an absurdist, I believe life cannot be understood. So to me it's an whatever.
It's also possible to be an absurdist in a deterministic universe.
Containment
Containment is offline
#99
Jan15-12, 11:59 AM
P: 18
While it may not be possible for a human to understand the physics behind an experiment enough to predict it fully I wonder if it's possible for the universe? Or more to the point could it be possible even the laws of physics them selves do not fully "understand" what will happen in an event with 100% accuracy? I think it would be interesting if someday in the future scientists found this to be the case.
Pythagorean
Pythagorean is offline
#100
Jan15-12, 02:23 PM
PF Gold
Pythagorean's Avatar
P: 4,182
Thats pretty much the definition of determinism.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Question regarding determinism Special & General Relativity 6
Human Behaviour & L.O.Thermodynamics General Discussion 0
Use of non-human animals in scientific studies General Discussion 5
the cosmos and human behaviour General Physics 2