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Super Free Will: Metaprogramming and Quantum Indeterminism

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moving finger
#19
Apr27-05, 01:18 AM
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Quote Quote by rygar
no one has ever witnessed a random event, allowed by the laws of quantum mechanics, at a scale any larger than the atomic level.
I would go further and say that no one has ever witnessed a random event at any level. The closest any agent could ever get to "observing randomness" would be to witness an event which was epistemically indeterminable (apparently random) - the agent could never know (IMHO) whether the event was ontically indeterministic (truly random) or not.

Quote Quote by rygar
why would you use the laws of quantum mechanics, which thus far have ONLY been able to account for the very small, and not the laws of relativity, which are perfectly reasonable?
"QM" and "relativity" apply accurately within their respective domains, but are fundamentally incompatible with each other as they stand. Ultimately, therefore, one or other or both must be shown to be approximations.

Quote Quote by rygar
if you apply the laws of quantum mechanics to other aspects of everyday life, you'll get all sorts of things that we know not to be true.
I don't think so. Can you give an example where you think QM makes an invalid prediction at the "everyday" level?

Quote Quote by rygar
the author seems to be saying, as most believe, that the laws of both somehow apply, because we only live in one universe. but it's not that simple--you can't use the laws of one to describe the other, without bridging the gap between them (a unified field theory).
Agreed.

Quote Quote by rygar
but no where are we able to influence the outcome because of firing neurons.
Not strictly true - our firing neurons do indeed "influence the outcome", because our neurons are a necessary part of the deterministic chain of events. What our firing neurons do not allow, however, is the Libertarian kind of free will which would "allow us to have chosen differently to the way we did actually choose".

MF
Billy T
#20
Apr27-05, 09:20 AM
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Its off thread, so i'll be brief (at least for me)

I agree with Artermis (post 17)- it does not make much diff if brain function is by chemistry or electrical, but the influx of Na+ ions into the axion that is a progressive wave traveling away (usually) from the cell body is best view as a discharge of the 70mv negative "resting potential" of the axion interior that the "Na pump" must restore before the next action potential discharge can occur (the "refractory period"). This part of brain activity is best considered "electrical" and is well modeled by electrical concepts, such as capacitors, voltages, currents, etc. (E.g. the reason that mylinated nerves have different conduction speeds and the reason that large vs small cross section axions have different effects upon conduction speed all fall out correctly from these electrical models.)

Once these "electrical impulses" arrive at the "pre-synaptic" junction, the chemical view is much more appropriate. E.g. GABA (a universal inhibitory neurotransmitter) release into the "synaptic gap" is only possible if the pre-synaptic GABA molecules are there. Once the neurotransmitters are in the gap, then Brownian motion physics is the preferred (at least by me) model. I'll stop here as now it really gets complex and this is off thread "correction" to prior posts.
loseyourname
#21
Apr27-05, 11:40 AM
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Quote Quote by moving finger
Chaos theory is based on determinism, it does not need and does not assume any kind of indeterminism (though again chaos introduces another limit to our epistemic abilities - even though a chaotic system may be operating totally deterministically, it is impossible to predict it's behaviour because it is epistemically indeterminable, but for reasons different to the UP).
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that chaos theory doesn't even posit any epistemic limit to our predictions of the systems it studies. It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not. This has actually become a fairly popular argument for free will, with the definition tweaked a bit. Some will go so far as the create the dynamic systems theory equivalent of the Copenhagen interpretation of QM, saying that the system actually controls the parts, contrary to the reductionist view of causation that we are accustomed to. In this case of the human mind, it is the "mind" in control of the molecules that constitute it, rather than the molecules (and their familiar mechanical laws) that control the mind. As counterintuitive (and prima facie false) as this sounds, even if we accept it, it has always struck me as odd that this would be seen as free will. Even though it is emergent and irreducable to the familiar laws of physics, the behavior of the dynamic system in question (in this case, the mind) is still determinate. Obviously, this would work well with compatibilist conceptions of free will, but I get the feeling that the libertarian sect is what really wants their hands on this. I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.
Billy T
#22
Apr27-05, 12:43 PM
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Quote Quote by loseyourname
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that chaos theory doesn't even posit any epistemic limit to our predictions of the systems it studies. It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not. ....
I'm no expert in chaos theory, but think you must be speaking of it as applied to the physical world when you speak of "lower level parts" and not including mathematical functions that are so highly sensitive to the initial starting conditions that the functional behavior thereafter is "chaotic" because I can't imagine what you could mean by "lower level parts" of a math function.

Be this as it may, I think both the math and physical chaotic systems do in fact have epistemic limits. In the math form of chaos, it is that most (if not all - I don't know if some very clever mathematician has built one on only the integers etc.) will involve irrational numbers and these are always only expressible as approximations. I.e. there is an epistemic limit to our knowledge of their value, but it can be as accurate as you are willing to pay for. (I recently read that some Japanese supercomputer had PI's value out to some very large number of places but the value of PI is still epistemicly unknowable.)

As for the chaotic physical systems, it is obvious that no measurement of the initial condition is perfect so where the system will be after a long period of deterministic movement is basically anywhere on the conserved quanties surface - ie the ergotic theorem - provided there are no "regions excluded" for reasons that are not clear, at least to me, but are some sort of physical constraints.
moving finger
#23
Apr27-05, 01:53 PM
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Quote Quote by loseyourname
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that chaos theory doesn't even posit any epistemic limit to our predictions of the systems it studies. It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not.
Chaos theory is all about epistemology.

Please define what you mean by "determinate".

If you mean "epistemically determinable" then I agree chaos theory says that chaotic systems are epistemically indeterminable.

If you mean "ontically deterministic" then I think you will find that an ontically deterministic system continues to be ontically deterministic even if it is chaotic.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
This has actually become a fairly popular argument for free will, with the definition tweaked a bit. Some will go so far as the create the dynamic systems theory equivalent of the Copenhagen interpretation of QM, saying that the system actually controls the parts, contrary to the reductionist view of causation that we are accustomed to.
ie downward causation. IMHO rubbish.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
In this case of the human mind, it is the "mind" in control of the molecules that constitute it, rather than the molecules (and their familiar mechanical laws) that control the mind.
Doesn't matter how you slice it up, it remains deterministic.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
As counterintuitive (and prima facie false) as this sounds, even if we accept it, it has always struck me as odd that this would be seen as free will.
Define free will?

Quote Quote by loseyourname
Even though it is emergent and irreducable to the familiar laws of physics, the behavior of the dynamic system in question (in this case, the mind) is still determinate.
Hey, we agee!

Quote Quote by loseyourname
Obviously, this would work well with compatibilist conceptions of free will, but I get the feeling that the libertarian sect is what really wants their hands on this. I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.
Define free will please? I might then take you up on your bet......

MF
loseyourname
#24
Apr27-05, 02:12 PM
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Quote Quote by moving finger
Chaos theory is all about epistemology.

Please define what you mean by "determinate".
I mean exactly what you mean when you defined it earlier. The word has a well-established meaning. I don't use these terms flippantly.

If you mean "epistemically determinable" then I agree chaos theory says that chaotic systems are epistemically indeterminable.
Can you honestly not take from the context of the rest of the post that this is what I meant? You seem to have figured it out by the bottom.

If you mean "ontically deterministic" then I think you will find that an ontically deterministic system continues to be ontically deterministic even if it is chaotic.
Anything that is determinate has to be deterministic, so yes, I mean this as well.

ie downward causation. IMHO rubbish.
It may be, but your humble opinion isn't exactly authoritative. As I said, it's a highly counterintuitive idea that seems to violate the laws of physics, but we'll have to see. I'm not going to pass judgement when I just don't know.

Define free will?
No. I'm not making the claim that dynamic systems theory supports free will, and I'm not going to speak for those making the claim.

Define free will please? I might then take you up on your bet......
I've defined these terms before, in case you forgot. Compatibilist free will is any class of free will that does not claim to be anti-deterministic or contracausal. Libertarian free will does claim to be anti-deterministic and contracausal. I'm not going to define more specifically what is meant by those making the claim that dynamic systems theory supports free will as, again, I'm not one of the persons making this claim and don't wish to speak for them. Generally speaking, people that are defenders of free will and who use indeterminacy theories in the natural sciences to bolster their claims are defending libertarian free will. I would imagine that is the case here.
moving finger
#25
Apr27-05, 03:50 PM
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Quote Quote by loseyourname
Can you honestly not take from the context of the rest of the post that this is what I meant? You seem to have figured it out by the bottom.
With respect, I am trying simply to ensure there is no misunderstanding. Many people confuse “determinable” with “deterministic”, I simply wanted to ensure that you were not doing the same.

Thus, it seems that by “determinate” you did indeed mean “deterministic” when you said “It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not.”, in which case I disagree with this statement.

If the behaviour of a chaotic system is deterministic, then there is NO reason (from chaos theory) to suspect that the behaviour of its “lower parts” is not also deterministic.

Quote Quote by moving finger
ie downward causation. IMHO rubbish.
Quote Quote by loseyourname
It may be, but your humble opinion isn't exactly authoritative.
Isn’t that exactly what IMHO means? I understand it is not authoritative, and I did not wish anyone to think that I was making a statement which I intended to be interpreted as authoritative, which is exactly why I prefaced it with IMHO.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
As I said, it's a highly counterintuitive idea that seems to violate the laws of physics, but we'll have to see. I'm not going to pass judgement when I just don't know.
I think you will find that we “just don’t know” anything at all. Everything that we think we know is built upon a foundation of assumptions and axioms. If you want absolute certainty, in absence of any assumptions or axioms, before you pass judgement then IMHO you will never pass judgement on anything.

Quote Quote by moving finger
Define free will
Quote Quote by loseyourname
No.
Then please do not ask me to try to understand your statement “it has always struck me as odd that this would be seen as free will.”. If you refuse to define what you are talking about then your statement is, with respect, meaningless.

Quote Quote by moving finger
Define free will please? I might then take you up on your bet......
Quote Quote by loseyourname
I'm not going to define more specifically what is meant by those making the claim that dynamic systems theory supports free will as, again, I'm not one of the persons making this claim and don't wish to speak for them.
You asserted “I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.” – again with respect it is meaningless to make such an assertion unless you are prepared to specify what kind of free will you are talking about.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
Generally speaking, people that are defenders of free will and who use indeterminacy theories in the natural sciences to bolster their claims are defending libertarian free will.
I have yet to see a Libertarian (or anyone else) succesfully defend any concept of free will based on indeterminism.

MF
loseyourname
#26
Apr27-05, 06:52 PM
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Quote Quote by moving finger
With respect, I am trying simply to ensure there is no misunderstanding. Many people confuse “determinable” with “deterministic”, I simply wanted to ensure that you were not doing the same.

Thus, it seems that by “determinate” you did indeed mean “deterministic” when you said “It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not.”, in which case I disagree with this statement.

If the behaviour of a chaotic system is deterministic, then there is NO reason (from chaos theory) to suspect that the behaviour of its “lower parts” is not also deterministic.
Okay, I actually thought it was obvious from the context of the post that by "determinate" I did not mean "deterministic." To rephrase the original statement,

The behavior of the system can be determined, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts cannot be determined, whether or not they are deterministic.

What do you know? I just looked it up, and I am right to say that my definition conforms exactly to the definition given in the dictionary based on the way this word is commonly used. I will promise you this, MF: If I should use terms that I made up or that have ambiguous or unclear definitions, then I will do my best to define them in the post. Doing so really wasn't necessary here and has only detracted from what was actually being discussed.

I think you will find that we “just don’t know” anything at all. Everything that we think we know is built upon a foundation of assumptions and axioms. If you want absolute certainty, in absence of any assumptions or axioms, before you pass judgement then IMHO you will never pass judgement on anything.
There are degrees of certainty. I am more certain that I have a right arm than I am that I have a soul composed of epiphenomenal ectoplasm. On the other hand, I have no idea whether or no you have a right arm. That's the kind of lack of certainty that I was referring to. There is just no reason to be swayed either way in this particular case.

Then please do not ask me to try to understand your statement “it has always struck me as odd that this would be seen as free will.”. If you refuse to define what you are talking about then your statement is, with respect, meaningless.
I didn't ask you to understand my statement. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, you can be clear to some of the people all of the time, you can be clear to all of the people some of time, but you can't be clear to all of the people all of the time. Being clear to some of the people is good enough for me.

By the way, I did say I was pretty certain that the defenders of this line of reasoning are defending libertarian free will, which you seem to understand pretty well as you formed a cogent response to it at the bottom of your post.

You asserted “I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.” – again with respect it is meaningless to make such an assertion unless you are prepared to specify what kind of free will you are talking about.
No, it isn't. If this is used to 'prove' free will of any kind, then I win the bet. The kind of free will being 'proven' need not be clearly defined. There are plenty of poorly defined concepts out there that people defend using popular misconceptions of esoteric science.
loseyourname
#27
Apr27-05, 11:19 PM
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Just so I don't have to be so patronizing with you folks (I know I can be and I'm sorry), I found a list of common terms here. If I use any of these, the given definitions are what I intend. I actually hadn't heard of some of these before.
moving finger
#28
Apr28-05, 12:54 AM
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Quote Quote by loseyourname
Just so I don't have to be so patronizing with you folks (I know I can be and I'm sorry), I found a list of common terms here. If I use any of these, the given definitions are what I intend. I actually hadn't heard of some of these before.
Interesting reading, loseyourname, but the article waffles on about "determinism" and how it is variously used, without actually offering an unambiguous definition of the word. Or have I missed something? What follows is everything the referenced link has to say about "determinism" :

Quote Quote by loseyourname url
The term 'determinism' is also variously used. It is mainly used by many philosophers for accounts of our human choices and actions that make them into effects of causal sequences -- sequences of such a kind as to raise a question about the freedom of the choices and actions. Determinism so understood has a limited subject-matter -- ourselves and our lives, and indeed less than that. It is not the scientific and general or cosmic doctrine associated with Newtonian physics in the past. Certainly the term 'determinism' can be differently used for the general doctrine, as it typically is in the Philosophy of Science.

Note too that determinism in our limited sense, whatever its consequences, is not in itself a claim or doctrine about freedom. It is not the claim that we are not free. Nor does it uncontroversially entail that. Many determinists suppose or say we are perfectly free.
Would you care to clarify this by pointing out where in this article the word "determinism" is actually defined?

Sorry to repeat myself, but in absence of a clear definition of a concept like determinism, it is meaningless to discuss determinism. Simply saying that "determinism is variously used" does not lay sufficient groundwork for making any progress, all it does is make further discussion of the term meaningless.

Thanks

MF
moving finger
#29
Apr28-05, 01:37 AM
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Quote Quote by moving finger
With respect, I am trying simply to ensure there is no misunderstanding. Many people confuse “determinable” with “deterministic”, I simply wanted to ensure that you were not doing the same.
Quote Quote by loseyourname
Okay, I actually thought it was obvious from the context of the post that by "determinate" I did not mean "deterministic." To rephrase the original statement,

The behavior of the system can be determined, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts cannot be determined, whether or not they are deterministic.
Your original statement was :
Quote Quote by loseyourname
It just says that the behavior of the system is determinate, whereas the behavior of its lower-level constituent parts is not.
I have highlighted the phrases in question. The phrase “can be determined” does not have the same meaning as the phrase “is determined” (think about it – another example : “can be created” does not mean the same as “is created”), and “can be determined” certainly does not mean the same as the word “is determinate”.

The phrase “can be determined”, by virtue of the qualifying “can be”, implies an epistemic property of the world – ie that “an observer can determine”. It is possible for a world to be “determined” (an ontic property) without at the same time it being possible for “an observer to determine it” (an epistemic property).

The phrase “can be determined” is thus another way of saying “epistemically determinable” (and “cannot be determined” is another way of saying “epistemically indeterminable”). One of the defining properties of chaotic systems (the reason they are called chaotic) is that they are indeed epistemically indeterminable.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
What do you know? I just looked it up, and I am right to say that my definition conforms exactly to the definition given in the dictionary based on the way this word is commonly used. I will promise you this, MF: If I should use terms that I made up or that have ambiguous or unclear definitions, then I will do my best to define them in the post. Doing so really wasn't necessary here and has only detracted from what was actually being discussed.
What do you know? Clarifying your meaning WAS really necessary, because your original statement did NOT use the phrase “can be determined”, it used the phrase “is determinate”, which phrases have very different in meanings - one is epistemic, the other is ontic.

Determinate in my dictionary is defined as follows : “Precisely determined or limited or defined; especially fixed by rule or by a specific and constant cause.”

Determinate is thus an ontic property, it says something about “how the world is”, and not “what we can know about the world”, it says nothing about epistemology. By this definition, a chaotic system could be “determinate”, but it could still be impossible for an “observer to determine” that system.

It is only by clearing this up that we have identified your mistake and finally arrived at what you intended to say. With respect, this is exactly the kind of confusion and ambiguity in the use of words and phrases that I have been trying to point out. Unless one uses terms very carefully, and very clearly defined, one will end up making (at best) meaningless statements or (at worst) incorrect statements.

Quote Quote by moving finger
I think you will find that we “just don’t know” anything at all. Everything that we think we know is built upon a foundation of assumptions and axioms. If you want absolute certainty, in absence of any assumptions or axioms, before you pass judgement then IMHO you will never pass judgement on anything.
Quote Quote by loseyourname
There are degrees of certainty. I am more certain that I have a right arm than I am that I have a soul composed of epiphenomenal ectoplasm. On the other hand, I have no idea whether or no you have a right arm. That's the kind of lack of certainty that I was referring to. There is just no reason to be swayed either way in this particular case.
It seems you agree that there is no absolute certainty, therefore strictly speaking it is true that we “just don’t know” (the best we can say is that “we think we know”).

Quote Quote by loseyourname
I didn't ask you to understand my statement. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, you can be clear to some of the people all of the time, you can be clear to all of the people some of time, but you can't be clear to all of the people all of the time. Being clear to some of the people is good enough for me.
If “being ambiguous” is synonymous with “being clear” in your book, then with respect I don’t think I’ll read your book, thanks.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
By the way, I did say I was pretty certain that the defenders of this line of reasoning are defending libertarian free will, which you seem to understand pretty well as you formed a cogent response to it at the bottom of your post.
The problem is that I do NOT understand libertarian free will because I can find nobody who can define, unambiguously and rationally, exactly what it is and then defend that definition in any way that makes rational sense. My concern with the concept of so-called libertarian free will is that IMHO the entire concept seems impossible – and I can find nobody who can successfully defend the concept. Whenever I try to ask questions and analyse exactly what Libertarians think they mean by free will I am given lots of vague and ambiguous statements using undefined terms, which leads me to suspect they are simply obfuscating and have no idea what they are talking about.

With respect, your confusion between the phrase “can be determined” and the word “determinate” are IMHO examples of the kind of ambiguity that libertarians also need to resort to to defend their concepts.

Quote Quote by moving finger
You asserted “I'll bet you anything that dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of free will over the next two decades.” – again with respect it is meaningless to make such an assertion unless you are prepared to specify what kind of free will you are talking about.
Quote Quote by loseyourname
No, it isn't. If this is used to 'prove' free will of any kind, then I win the bet. The kind of free will being 'proven' need not be clearly defined.
Lol – good luck in trying to find someone who will pay up. Anyone who takes on a bet that “dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of ‘something I will not define’ over the next two decades” deserves to lose money.

MF
loseyourname
#30
Apr28-05, 02:02 AM
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Quote Quote by moving finger
Would you care to clarify this by pointing out where in this article the word "determinism" is actually defined?
Determinism is defined here as the doctrine that all events (that is, occurances in space-time) are the proximate effects of a chain of necessary causal connections. That is, given that the preceding causes are present, it necessarily follows that the effects will also occur. There is no wiggle room. That is determinism. I don't think I've ever seen the word used in any other way, at least not by professional philosophers.
loseyourname
#31
Apr28-05, 02:26 AM
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Quote Quote by moving finger
I have highlighted the phrases in question. The phrase “can be determined” does not have the same meaning as the phrase “is determined” (think about it – another example : “can be created” does not mean the same as “is created”), and “can be determined” certainly does not mean the same as the word “is determinate”.
In the original post, I distinguished between "determinate" and "deterministic" in an attempt to be clear that I did not mean the same thing by the two terms. It seems my reading of the dictionary was not the same as yours.

The phrase “can be determined” is thus another way of saying “epistemically determinable” (and “cannot be determined” is another way of saying “epistemically indeterminable”). One of the defining properties of chaotic systems (the reason they are called chaotic) is that they are indeed epistemically indeterminable.
My mistake for speaking of chaos if that is the case. When I speak of dynamics systems theory, I'm speaking of simpler cases. A popular one is the boiling of liquid in a pot. Two definite patterns form and once a molecule enters one of the patterns, it behaves in a predictable manner. The system as a whole behaves in a predictable manner. There is, however, no way to predict which pattern any given molecule will fall into. Thus my referring to the lower-level constituent parts of this particular dynamic system as "indeterminate" (not epistemically determinable), even if they are deterministic (a question I have no need to address and am not equipped to anyway).

Determinate in my dictionary is defined as follows : “Precisely determined or limited or defined; especially fixed by rule or by a specific and constant cause.”
My apologies; my dictionary only had the first part, without any reference to being necessitated by a cause. That isn't the way I intended the term, which I thought I made clear by originally distinguishing between 'determinate' and 'deterministic.' Hopefully you are the only one that had the difficulty understanding.

It is only by clearing this up that we have identified your mistake and finally arrived at what you intended to say.
I'm still not entirely sure that you know what I intended to say, because you haven't pointed out any mistakes in what I said. I suppose I may have misused the word 'determinate' initially, but hopefully it is finally clear after three posts of clearing it up what I mean. If not, I can repeat myself a fourth time.

It seems you agree that there is no absolute certainty, therefore strictly speaking it is true that we “just don’t know” (the best we can say is that “we think we know”).
Sure, but I'm not strictly speaking. Philosophers, like all people, do make knowledge claims, such as the claim I made about having a right arm. I'm not prepared to make any such claim about the matter of emergent causation. In that case, I don't even know in the philosophically weak sense in which I know that I have a right arm.

If “being ambiguous” is synonymous with “being clear” in your book, then with respect I don’t think I’ll read your book, thanks.
Good. To clear up the ambiguity, the book is obviously not for you. You're free to ignore everything further that I post. There are plenty of others here to respond. To be clear again, by 'free' two sentences ago I mean that you have the capability to no longer read or respond and there is no external force compelling you not to exercise this capacity.

The problem is that I do NOT understand libertarian free will because I can find nobody who can define, unambiguously and rationally, exactly what it is and then defend that definition in any way that makes rational sense.
Defending it as a possibly real capacity is one thing, but simply defining is another. Libertarian free will simply postulates that human choices are self-forming acts, not necessitated by a chain of cause and effect. It further postulates that, though not necessitated by a chain of cause and effect, there is a reason for these self-forming acts to occur, and that is human willpower. This may very well be an incoherent definition - in fact, I think that it is - but it is necessary to understand the meaning of the definition in order to be able to say that it is self-contradictory. You're making the logical positivist mistake if you're supposing that a phrase is meaningless if it does not refer to any empirically real thing. I don't know whether or not you're making that claim, however. I guess you haven't been clear.

Lol – good luck in trying to find someone who will pay up. Anyone who takes on a bet that “dynamic systems theory usurps QM as the hot new scientific 'proof' of ‘something I will not define’ over the next two decades” deserves to lose money.
The bet is metaphorical, MF. If it becomes popular for people to use dynamic systems theory to defend free will (which I can tell you it is as someone well-versed in this field), regardless of what kind of free will they mean, then I win. However, as I specified twice already (perhaps I wasn't clear enough), I am expecting the defense to be of libertarian free will, defined somewhat as I have specified above.
moving finger
#32
Apr28-05, 04:50 AM
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Quote Quote by loseyourname
In the original post, I distinguished between "determinate" and "deterministic" in an attempt to be clear that I did not mean the same thing by the two terms. It seems my reading of the dictionary was not the same as yours.

When I speak of dynamics systems theory, I'm speaking of simpler cases. A popular one is the boiling of liquid in a pot. Two definite patterns form and once a molecule enters one of the patterns, it behaves in a predictable manner. The system as a whole behaves in a predictable manner. There is, however, no way to predict which pattern any given molecule will fall into. Thus my referring to the lower-level constituent parts of this particular dynamic system as "indeterminate" (not epistemically determinable), even if they are deterministic (a question I have no need to address and am not equipped to anyway).

My apologies; my dictionary only had the first part, without any reference to being necessitated by a cause. That isn't the way I intended the term, which I thought I made clear by originally distinguishing between 'determinate' and 'deterministic.' Hopefully you are the only one that had the difficulty understanding.

I'm still not entirely sure that you know what I intended to say, because you haven't pointed out any mistakes in what I said.
With respect, I have pointed out that changing the phrase from “is determinate” to “can be determined” changes the meaning of your sentence, at least for the definition of “determinate” in my dictionary, which is clearly defined as an ontic term not an epistemic term. I am curious to know exactly how your dictionary defines “determinate”?

Determinate in my (Websters) dictionary is defined as follows : “Precisely determined or limited or defined; especially fixed by rule or by a specific and constant cause.”

You seem to use “indeterminate” as meaning “not epistemically determinable”, whereas I would not equate these two terms (I equate “indeterminate” with “not ontically deterministic”), given the above definition of determinate. Again, I am curious to know eaxctly how your dictionary defines “determinate”?

IMHO this is why we need to be very clear and precise in our definitions, and not simply assume that everyone uses the same (textbook) definition of these terms.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
I suppose I may have misused the word 'determinate' initially, but hopefully it is finally clear after three posts of clearing it up what I mean. If not, I can repeat myself a fourth time.
Now that you have replaced the phrase “is determinate” by the phrase “can be determined” the meaning of your sentence (IMHO) has changed, and is now clear.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
You're free to ignore everything further that I post. There are plenty of others here to respond. To be clear again, by 'free' two sentences ago I mean that you have the capability to no longer read or respond and there is no external force compelling you not to exercise this capacity.
That’s very kind of you.
I agree with this as a description of some of the properties of free will.
The description is also completely consistent with determinism.

Quote Quote by loseyourname
You're making the logical positivist mistake if you're supposing that a phrase is meaningless if it does not refer to any empirically real thing.
Where did I say that? Read my sentence again.
“I can find nobody who can define, unambiguously and rationally, exactly what it is and then defend that definition in any way that makes rational sense.”

Quote Quote by loseyourname
I don't know whether or not you're making that claim, however. I guess you haven't been clear.
You “guess” I haven’t been clear? How much clearer can I be? I’ll repeat the sentence :
“I can find nobody who can define, unambiguously and rationally, exactly what it is and then defend that definition in any way that makes rational sense.”
What is unclear here?

MF
moving finger
#33
Apr28-05, 05:16 AM
P: 1,603
Quote Quote by loseyourname
Just so I don't have to be so patronizing with you folks (I know I can be and I'm sorry), I found a list of common terms here. If I use any of these, the given definitions are what I intend. I actually hadn't heard of some of these before.
Quote Quote by loseyourname
Determinism is defined here as the doctrine that all events (that is, occurances in space-time) are the proximate effects of a chain of necessary causal connections. That is, given that the preceding causes are present, it necessarily follows that the effects will also occur.
With respect, where on the webpage, for which you posted the URL, does it say this?

Just for clarity : The whole reason we got into this “show me your definition” wrangle was because you used the word “determinate” in post #21 of this thread, in a sentence which (given my Webster’s definition of “determinate”) I could not make sense of. I therefore asked you to define what you mean by determinate (post #23), but you declined to give a definition (post #24) saying instead “I mean exactly what you mean when you defined it earlier”, when in fact I had not (prior to your first use of the word) used the word “determinate”, let alone defined the word, in this thread.

Finally in post #26, still not having defined what you meant, you removed the phrase “is determinate” and replaced it with “can be determined”, thereby changing the meaning of your sentence.

As I have said all along, “is determinate” is ontic, “can be determined” is epistemic.

Determinism as defined by you above is also ontic.

I see no incompatibility at all between your definition of determinism and mine, which is :

Definition of Determinism : The doctrine that the universe, or any self-contained part thereof, has only one possible state at time t1 which is consistent with its state at some previous time t0 and with all the laws of nature.

MF
rygar
#34
May1-05, 01:02 PM
P: 44
Quote Quote by moving finger
I don't think so. Can you give an example where you think QM makes an invalid prediction at the "everyday" level?
well, i was speaking generally. obviously, the equations involved in quantum physics do not even apply to things on a larger scale. however, if they were intended to do so, they would predict a lot of weird things going on.

Quote Quote by moving finger

Not strictly true - our firing neurons do indeed "influence the outcome", because our neurons are a necessary part of the deterministic chain of events. What our firing neurons do not allow, however, is the Libertarian kind of free will which would "allow us to have chosen differently to the way we did actually choose".
yes, i agree with you. again, i was speaking generally. our neurons are the causes to our reactions, but like you said, they're part of a deterministic chain of events.

i'm pretty sure we hold the same view on this topic, so it's just a matter of semantics.
Tournesol
#35
May3-05, 11:07 AM
P: 732
Quote Quote by rygar
well, i was speaking generally. obviously, the equations involved in quantum physics do not even apply to things on a larger scale. however, if they were intended to do so, they would predict a lot of weird things going on.
Maybe some of the traditional philosophical puzzles, eg the MBP, are those 'weird things'.


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