Determinism: Can Scientific Explanations Explain Human Behaviour?

In summary: The idea of determinism has been around for centuries and while it is still a hot topic in academic circles there is very little evidence to support it.
  • #71
Yes Ken, the materialistic view at life is bleak indeed, however I have good news for you - no one has proved its validity yet. There are some very old problems for the reductive physicalism (http://www.iep.utm.edu/qualia/" ). It turns out that epiphenomenalism is the most "stable" materialistic option. However it has its problems too and a lot of the philosophers view it as incoherent.
 
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  • #72
Sorry for the long reply to your posts, you raise a lot of interesting points that need to be addressed, or else my comments will seem incoherent(though they may seem incoherent to a different viewpoint either way).

ryan_m_b said:
Have you even looked into what I mentioned above regarding epiphenomenalism and the Libert's delay?



The experiment and its interpretation are controversial and, as usual, suffer from confirmation bias.


The fact that you feel like you have free will is no indication that you do.



If there is the 'me' you keep referring to, then I have at least at times the ability to enforce my own will. If you are self-aware, you have free will. I think you might be pushing materialism way past its useful limits.


I've already outlined my stance as a compabilist in that I see no evidence that choice and decision making is not constrained by the same mechanical cause and effect that all other processes are government by, however I do think the use of the terms are useful.



I could never understand the compatibilism theory. How does free will jive with determinism? My actions are either predermined(i.e. there is no free will) or they are not(free will is real).


What you are referring to is the "en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness"[/URL]. In summary "how to mechanical forces give rise to subjective experience"? But this has little to do with free will.[/quote]


Of course not. Conscious thought has a LOT to do with free will. Even if Epiphenomenalism were true, there must be someone who is aware and perceiving phenomena. That [i]I[/i] is consciousness, for lack of a better and easier to define term.




[quote]I also have no idea why you are bringing entropy into it and why you are making reference to the simulation hypothesis. Could you please be more concise with your posts.[/quote]



Because the aim of science is to find explanation. That's even more important to philosophers who seem even more interested in the deep questions.


[quote]Lastly I can't fathom why you thought I was arguing that consciousness does not exist, I have never said that and it quite obviously does exist. What I have mentioned is the findings of various neuroscience investigations that produced evidence showing that conscious thoughts are not in control of the body and that consciousness is a bye product of the brains decision making.[/QUOTE]


Don't you find it somewhat funny, that consciousness is 'looking' at what a physical brain does and concluding that what IT does is predetermined? :) Or did you mean that what the brain does is predetermined, while consciousness is not(I agree with this view, though i don't know what to call it, or if someone already has come up with a similar proposition)?

There is no way for me to verify that Shakespeare's poetry was encoded in the Big Bang, but i'll say that determinism has been giving way to emergence for the last hundred or so years.
 
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  • #73
Maui said:
The experiment and its interpretation are controversial and, as usual, suffer from confirmation bias.

Quite but you were refuting it out of hand/
Maui said:
If there is the 'me' you keep referring to, then I have at least at times the ability to enforce my own will. If you are self-aware, you have free will. I think you might be pushing materialism way past its useful limits.

I'm not sure why you keep going on about materialism. Are you arguing something else? The fact that the mind is an emergent phenomenon does not stop everything still being a product of mechanical process.
Maui said:
I could never understand the compatibilism theory. How does free will jive with determinism? My actions are either predermined(i.e. there is no free will) or they are not(free will is real).

Simple: determinism is largely true (aside from quantum indeterminacy) but we have the feeling and understanding of decision making. Also if the universe is not determined free will does not automatically exist. Are you proposing that decision making is not a causal process?
Maui said:
Of course not. Conscious thought has a LOT to do with free will. Even if Epiphenomenalism were true, there must be someone who is aware and perceiving phenomena. That I is consciousness, for lack of a better and easier to define term.

Again why do you assume that consciousness necessitates free will?
Maui said:
Because the aim of science is to find explanation. That's even more important to philosophers who seem even more interested in the deep questions.

I don't see how this relates to your comment about entropy and the simulation hypothesis.
Maui said:
Don't you find it somewhat funny, that consciousness is 'looking' at what a physical brain does and concluding that it's predetermined? :)

There is no way for me to verify that Shakespeare's poetry was encoded in the Big Bang, but i'll say that determinism has been giving way to emergence for the last hundred or so years.

No more than I find a camera taking a picture of itself in the mirror funny. Emergence doesn't get rid of determinism. Remember determinism at its most simplistic is just the observation that causality holds true, emergent phenomenon are a product of this.

EDIT: I'm probably going to unsub and retire from this thread now. After five pages all I see is that this thread goes around in circles, not that it isn't a good discussion but I'm tired of repeating myself.
 
  • #74
I added a sentence to my previous post after you replied to it:

Or did you mean that what the brain does is predetermined, while consciousness is not(I agree with this view, though i don't know what to call it, or if someone already has come up with a similar proposition)?


Do you agree with this view, which seems to fit all the evidence there is at this time? I don't think you believe thoughts are predetermined too.
 
  • #75
Maui said:
I added a sentence to my previous post after you replied to it:

Or did you mean that what the brain does is predetermined, while consciousness is not(I agree with this view, though i don't know what to call it, or if someone already has come up with a similar proposition)?


Do you agree with this view, which seems to fit all the evidence there is at this time? I don't think you believe thoughts are predetermined too.

There is no evidence that thoughts are not contingent on cause and effect. Thoughts are an emergent property of the brain, the brain is materialistic, fundamentally the atoms in the brain obey mechanical laws that undergo cause and effect. The only thing preventing predeterminicity is quantum indeterminacy which switches the material phenomenon from strictly deterministic to probabilistic. Proposing that thoughts are not subject to this constraint and further proposing that there is evidence for this is fallacious. It seems like you are taking a very dualist view on this.

EDIT: I'm probably going to unsub and retire from this thread now. After five pages all I see is that this thread goes around in circles, not that it isn't a good discussion but I'm tired of repeating myself.
 
  • #76
ryan_m_b said:
Thoughts are an emergent property of the brain, the brain is materialistic


No disagreement here, however 'materialistic', ambiguous as it is at this point of our understanding or rather misunderstanding of matter, is still an aspect of consciousness. Without consciousness, there could be no understanding and there could be no awareness of something to be called matter. I could be wrong about consciousness being fundamental in this reality, but there is no way i could be wrong about consciousness being, at the very least, crucial for the understanding of what and how matter is. People seldom appreciate the fact that all human life takes place inside consciousness, not inside proteins, blood and muscles.



, fundamentally the atoms in the brain obey mechanical laws that undergo cause and effect. The only thing preventing predeterminicity is quantum indeterminacy which switches the material phenomenon from strictly deterministic to probabilistic. Proposing that thoughts are not subject to this constraint and further proposing that there is evidence for this is fallacious. It seems like you are taking a very dualist view on this.




If cause and effect were so important and fundamental, they would have never failed us.
 
  • #77
ryan_m_b said:
Have you even looked into what I mentioned above regarding epiphenomenalism and the Libert's delay? The fact that you feel like you have free will is no indication that you do. I've already outlined my stance as a compabilist in that I see no evidence that choice and decision making is not constrained by the same mechanical cause and effect that all other processes are government by, however I do think the use of the terms are useful.

It is in fact quite misleading to claim that Libet's experiments are proof of ontic determinism when it comes to consciousness and freewill.

The basic stance you have adopted here is that it is "all just mechanical cause and effect" - a combination of material and effective cause. Or local causality in systems terms. And this very presumption then forces you to consider all else to be epiphenomenal, vestigial, or somehow beside the point when it comes to either scientific or philosophic explanations.

But Libet's results only make sense if the brain is seen to be an anticipatory organ with a hierarchical organisation. So a complex adaptive system ruled also by global cause - or the other pairing of formal and final cause.

Clearly the brain is acting from purposes, goals, expectations, intentions. Human brains are also embedded in a languaged social context which creates an even more global set of formal and final causes to constrain its organisational state. We are social actors as well as biological actors, and so our moment to moment psychology is really complex.

Now you may want to argue that all these things that lie in an indeterminate future, that are globally constraining yet not locally determining the brain's current state, can in fact be reduced to local, mechanical, material, etc, neural events.

But at some stage, you have to be able to "show us the money". You actually have to be able to present a successful model of this kind. You can't get away with handwaving away the evidence for global-level causes as epiphenomenal or vestigial or otherwise irrelevant to your strong statements about local causality.

And even if you make a case that it is epistemically OK to model the mind/brain in these terms, that is very different from the ontic-level claim you have been taking as "obviously true".

But even pragmatically, mainstream neuroscience is modelling the mind/brain in terms of the interaction of local and global causes. For instance, to understand Libet's work, it is much more useful to talk about the contrast between attentive and habit level mental activity - the difference between actions that are locally "freely emitted" and actions that are globally "momentarily pondered".

The problem is that strong reductionism is what maintains the persistence of its antithesis - the belief in spooky goings-on. If on the one hand you have the "scientist" proclaiming it is all just simple local cause, then you are always going to have the other side protesting that there really is "consciousness" and "freewill".

Strong reductionism creates strong dualism because it leaves such an obvious explanatory gap.

Libet himself, by the way, took a quietly crackpot approach to his own findings, believing they proved that consciousness was the result of some pan-brain mental field. So as you can see, you can take the same evidence and interpret it "too simply" in either direction.
 
  • #78
ryan_m_b said:
There is no evidence that thoughts are not contingent on cause and effect. Thoughts are an emergent property of the brain, the brain is materialistic, fundamentally the atoms in the brain obey mechanical laws that undergo cause and effect. The only thing preventing predeterminicity is quantum indeterminacy which switches the material phenomenon from strictly deterministic to probabilistic.

As far as I know, IANAP (I am not a physicist), quantum indeterminacy is an aspect of the mathematical model, not perse an aspect of the universe.

Has there ever been any proof that the universe is indeterministic?

EDIT: Sorry for going off-topic, but I always see this argument popping up in these debates. And I thought there is no proof of indeterminacy.
 
  • #79
Atoms in the brain indeed obey causality. But one cause could have different effects in such a complex system as the brain. Forgive me if I sound stupid, but there is free will because the brain is a feedback system. You take in information from the outside world, it is converted into electrochemical impulses, your brain compares that information with past information and your DNA, and devises a response to it. There is no set response with a human brain.

When a force is applied to one object, it moves in a specific way. However, with the human brain, when it receives information, it can compute using said information. The only thing that has been predetermined by your past actions is your reception of the information, not the specific action which you will perform as a result of that information.

I am not saying that the brain is outside of physics, just that its feedback mechanism is sufficiently advanced to compute a plan of action based on information it gets. The fact that it computes is determinate; the actual result is based on past information, DNA, and a host of other factors.
 
  • #80
xeryx35 said:
Atoms in the brain indeed obey causality. But one cause could have different effects in such a complex system as the brain. Forgive me if I sound stupid, but there is free will because the brain is a feedback system. You take in information from the outside world, it is converted into electrochemical impulses, your brain compares that information with past information and your DNA, and devises a response to it. There is no set response with a human brain.

When a force is applied to one object, it moves in a specific way. However, with the human brain, when it receives information, it can compute using said information. The only thing that has been predetermined by your past actions is your reception of the information, not the specific action which you will perform as a result of that information.

I am not saying that the brain is outside of physics, just that its feedback mechanism is sufficiently advanced to compute a plan of action based on information it gets. The fact that it computes is determinate; the actual result is based on past information, DNA, and a host of other factors.

The question of free will is whether man is free in its actions (has choices). From your description, it isn't clear whether a decision by man is the pure mechanical result of a 'physical' (as in physics) calculation. Even if the calculation would be very complex, it would imply that one doesn't have free will.
 
  • #81
MarcoD said:
The question of free will is whether man is free in its actions (has choices).

The question has to be more sharply defined than this. Is it just the human brain that has to have free choice, or is it being alleged that freewill is a psychic property that rides above the physical workings of the brain?

So if the brain is, for argument's sake, some kind of determistic machine, does that matter if it is also isolated enough from the world so as to be free to entertain local choices?

Being a complex machine, it could make complex choices. These choices would be determined largely by the machine's own internal states - its memories, habits, expectations, needs, goals.

So what exactly do you want to claim freedom from? Freedom in the sense of local autonomy in the face of global constraints? Or freedom of the mental from the physical? Or I guess there is the third thing of freedom from physical simplicity.

On 1), we clearly enjoy a measure of practical personal autonomy. We may be constrained by our social and material contexts - the world is what it is - but there is little reason to believe we are acting like programmed robots.

On 2), unless you want to argue for immaterial souls and other unscientific notions, this part of the argument probably usually boils down a concern over attention vs habits. Our own body seems to act on reflex and automaticism a lot of the time - if "we" let it.

But neuroscience tells us this is really just degrees of freedom and willing. When we act out of habit, we are both more constrained and more free. A habit is a routine learned over time and so strongly constrained by prior experience. Yet habits are also very freely emitted. The brain just let's a stored action pattern go on the basis of triggering input.

Attention on the other hand is reserved for handling the novel or difficult. There is less experience to constrain our response, and so more time is taken to develop a plan.

But is there any real difference in terms of autonomous choice whether a brain is acting on the basis "this is what I usually do in these circumstances having thought about it many times before" and "this is a bit new and I have to spend time thinking it through now"?

On 3), this is where perhaps the most angst about microphysical determinism (or indeterminism, or randomness) arises. We don't want to be thinking of ourselves as being as physically simple as the world around us. We want our brains to be independent of this kind of causal simplicity.

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'm not saying determinism or computation are actually the right models to apply here. But even if they were, they don't seem to create ontological paradoxes unless you are demanding some kind of absolute isolation of mental self from material self.

If all that actually worries you is the relative isolation of the material self from material world - the freedom to entertain and make choices - then we clearly have that both by evolutionary design and differences in physical scale.
 
  • #82
MarcoD said:
The question of free will is whether man is free in its actions (has choices). From your description, it isn't clear whether a decision by man is the pure mechanical result of a 'physical' (as in physics) calculation. Even if the calculation would be very complex, it would imply that one doesn't have free will.

It is partially based on a unified field theory (a more appropriate name, since a "theory of everything" applies to, well, everything) and partially based on whatever computations your brain makes. Some things, like the fact that the Earth was created, are indeed determinate/probabilistic. However, if someone had to think about it, it obeys no equation.

Even though humans have certain tendencies, that is not due to probability, but due to what is accepted rational behavior.
 
  • #83
Ken Natton said:
I am still not completely certain that formal philosophical determinism as described in the Wiki article that you linked to Ryan, is exactly what I was actually thinking of. Although reading through the article does help me gain some certainty about my own view. Firstly, fatalism I have no problem rejecting directly and unequivocally. If I drive to work in the morning with the attitude that it doesn’t matter how I drive because if I am fated to die in a car accident then nothing I do is going to change that, then I can significantly increase the probability of that outcome. I have no problem recognising that I can affect the outcome and that I need to drive with care to keep that possibility to a minimum.

Fatalism isn't saying you can't affect the outcome. It is saying that with perfect information one could predict how you would affect it. You have to be careful about how you define "choice". You CAN change the outcome, but you can't change HOW you change it.
 
  • #84
Wishbone said:
You CAN change the outcome, but you can't change HOW you change it.
That doesn't make any sense. Assuming I had some sort of perfect information machine I could easily set up a paradoxical experiment; I make a ham sandwich and a cheese sandwich. For lunch the next day I will have one of them, I resolve to eat whatever one the perfect information machine says I wont eat. So when I use my machine to predict tomorrow's lunch it will say...?
 
  • #85
Ryan_m_b said:
That doesn't make any sense. Assuming I had some sort of perfect information machine I could easily set up a paradoxical experiment; I make a ham sandwich and a cheese sandwich. For lunch the next day I will have one of them, I resolve to eat whatever one the perfect information machine says I wont eat. So when I use my machine to predict tomorrow's lunch it will say...?

This lack of determinism cuts both ways of course. It is also used as an argument against freewill.

Suppose that a sea-battle will not be fought tomorrow. Then it was also true yesterday (and the week before, and last year) that it will not be fought, since any true statement about what will be the case was also true in the past. But all past truths are necessary truths, therefore it was necessarily true in the past that the battle will not be fought, and thus that the statement that it will be fought is necessarily false. Therefore it is not possible that the battle will be fought. In general, if something will not be the case, it is not possible for it to be the case. This conflicts with the idea of our own free will: that we have the power to determine the course of events in the future, which seems impossible if what happens, or does not happen, was necessarily going to happen, or not happen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_future_contingents

Which is why a larger logic is needed, one that includes the notion of constraints - contingent facts.

Perfect information held today would have to include definite knowledge about these facts happening tomorrow to be in fact "perfect". Otherwise the only possible predictions are indeterminate - weakly constrained rather than completely constrained. Vague rather than definite.
 
  • #86
Wishbone said:
Fatalism isn't saying you can't affect the outcome. It is saying that with perfect information one could predict how you would affect it. You have to be careful about how you define "choice". You CAN change the outcome, but you can't change HOW you change it.

Ryan has, of course, answered it better than me, all I was going to say it that this seems like a bit of pedantry to me. Interesting to review this thread though. I began by expressing my wish to know Ryan's opinions on this, but I came to regret to that. I still find it very depressing, and I still have to cling to the belief that, for all the science, it just could be that Ryan is wrong...
 
  • #87
Ken Natton said:
Ryan has, of course, answered it better than me, all I was going to say it that this seems like a bit of pedantry to me. Interesting to review this thread though. I began by expressing my wish to know Ryan's opinions on this, but I came to regret to that. I still find it very depressing, and I still have to cling to the belief that, for all the science, it just could be that Ryan is wrong...
I could very well be; my opinions/beliefs are based on a combination of what I currently understand to be true and what science currently understands to be true. Either of those can and probably will change in future though to what no one can say. With regards to whether or not it is depressing that really is an artefact of personal aesthetic.

You are right though it is interesting to read back through the thread after so long.
 
  • #88
apeiron said:
Strong determinism fails to deal with the issue of emergence.
Not necessarily. Novel protectorates and organizing principles can emerge given the assumption of strong determinism (insofar as strong determinsim refers to fundamental dynamical laws of nature).

apeiron said:
If more is different, as so many recognise, then new causation "pops out" at higher levels of complexity. Any lower level theory constructed on strong determinism cannot model what emerges.
Agreed. But that doesn't disprove the notion that our universe is evolving in accordance with fundamental dynamical laws that pervade and permeate all scales of behavior. It just means that scale-specific organizing principles do emerge. And that in talking about a specific behavioral scale it's better to refer to the organizing principles specific to that scale than to try to explain things in terms of fundamental dynamical laws.
 
  • #89
ThomasT said:
Agreed. But that doesn't disprove the notion that our universe is evolving in accordance with fundamental dynamical laws that pervade and permeate all scales of behavior. It just means that scale-specific organizing principles do emerge. And that in talking about a specific behavioral scale it's better to refer to the organizing principles specific to that scale than to try to explain things in terms of fundamental dynamical laws.

So taking that view, where do fundamental dynamical laws come from?

From a practical epistemological point of view, you can just shrug your shoulders and say "they exist". 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.

So you are talking about organising principles that arise at some level. You seem to find that uncontroversial.

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).
 
  • #90
ThomasT said:
Not necessarily. Novel protectorates and organizing principles can emerge given the assumption of strong determinism (insofar as strong determinsim refers to fundamental dynamical laws of nature).

Agreed. But that doesn't disprove the notion that our universe is evolving in accordance with fundamental dynamical laws that pervade and permeate all scales of behavior. It just means that scale-specific organizing principles do emerge. And that in talking about a specific behavioral scale it's better to refer to the organizing principles specific to that scale than to try to explain things in terms of fundamental dynamical laws.

If scale specific organizing principles can emerge, we may have to rethink the notion of purposeless reality and existence. IMO, the classical scale mode of reasoning(this pushes that and sets it in motion) is awefully inadequate and crude and quickly fails to explain everything adequately - from matter to consciousness. I don'think anyone entertains the idea that something as sophisticated as an Airbus A380 was an inevitable occurence in nature.
 
  • #91
apeiron said:
So taking that view, where do fundamental dynamical laws come from?
Imo, that would be an unanswerable question.

apeiron said:
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.

apeiron said:
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)?

apeiron said:
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.

apeiron said:
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.
 
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  • #92
Maui said:
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.

Maui said:
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.
 
  • #93
apeiron said:
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.
 
  • #94
MarcoD said:
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.

MarcoD said:
Most scientific evidence points at that we don't have free will ...
I agree.

MarcoD said:
... 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.
 
  • #95
ThomasT said:
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.
 
  • #96
MarcoD said:
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.
 
  • #97
ThomasT said:
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. :biggrin: Fortunately, personally, as an absurdist, I believe life cannot be understood. So to me it's an whatever.
 
  • #98
MarcoD said:
Oh, well, only in a context of free will. :biggrin: 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. :smile:
 
  • #99
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.
 
  • #100
Thats pretty much the definition of determinism.
 

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