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Determinism?

  1. Oct 19, 2003 #1
    I know it's all been said before and argued infinitem.

    Is everything in a state of determinism? IN that is every concievable action from planets to particle to thought to expression some how determined?

    I hold the philosphy that everything is determined by everything. A sort of absolute determinism.

    BUT.

    Because of this philosphy it also states that if everything is determined by everything then it is impossible to determine anything.

    We have two forms of determinism.

    The reality of determinism as a physical fact and the reality that we as individuals cannot possible determine that determination.

    If infinity determines the finite then the finite (us)can not conceptually determine infinity.

    uhmmmm......."the wheel of paradox has turned again"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2003 #2
    According to the uncertainty principle of Quantum Mechanics nothing is determenate but all is based on random chance. Nothing is determined and there is no direct cause and effect simply influence and effect. In a mascro scale it amounts to the same ting but in the mircro or Plank scale it is all indetermenate and radom. Thus nothing can be absolutely determined. It is not just that we can not know it but that it is not absolutely so. Determinism went out the window when Heisenberg discovered the uncertainty principle and that God does indeed play dice but that he doesn't cheat.
     
  4. Oct 20, 2003 #3
    QUOTE]According to the uncertainty principle of Quantum Mechanics nothing is determenate but all is based on random chance. Nothing is determined and there is no direct cause and effect simply influence and effect. In a mascro scale it amounts to the same ting but in the mircro or Plank scale it is all indetermenate and radom. Thus nothing can be absolutely determined. It is not just that we can not know it but that it is not absolutely so. Determinism went out the window when Heisenberg discovered the uncertainty principle and that God does indeed play dice but that he doesn't cheat.[/QUOTE]

    That is still up for strong debate...
     
  5. Oct 20, 2003 #4
    Scott Sieger, although you may already be aware of this, I will say that you shouldnt confuse lack of determinism subsequenting in free-will.

    If the uncertainty principle is indeed true(which would throw determinism out the window), we still would have no control over our actions...

    just an FYI...
     
  6. Oct 20, 2003 #5
    I happen to think that even randominity is absolutely determinable and so to was the formation of the uncertainty priciple and all it's references.

    Whether you have influence and effect or cause and effect means nothing to me but simply the nature of time is proof enough. If it's not determinably directly then it can be determiable by default.

    If you can think of one single action that is not in some way determined by another I'll go He.

    Control and determinism are in this context unrelated
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2003
  7. Oct 20, 2003 #6
    The uncertainty of the quantum approach stems from wanting to make absolute the act of measuring. But measuring can never be an absolute, because it always implies comparing the thing to be measured with something else, alien to it. This generates the measurement problem of the quantum approach -- which is not solved at all (so Mattius is very right in saying the issue "is still up for strong debate").

    The problem of determinism and indeterminism stems from an unclear concept of laws of nature, believing that laws have a coercive effect. This is a way of unconsciously mixing up the idea of law with a force aspect, conceptually. Laws as such never coerce; for doing so they must be associated with force (e.g. in human thoughts and acts: will).
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2003
  8. Oct 20, 2003 #7
    The uncertainty of the quantum approach stems from wanting to make absolute the act of measuring. But measuring can never be an absolute, because it always implies comparing the thing to be measured with something else, alien to it. This generates the measurement problem of the quantum approach -- which is not solved at all (so Mattius is very right in saying the issue "is still up for strong debate").

    The problem of determinism and indeterminism stems from an unclear concept of laws of nature, believing that laws have a coercive effect. This is a way of unconsciously mixing up the idea with a force aspect, conceptually. Laws as such never coerce; for doing so they must be associated with force (in humans e.g. will).
     
  9. Oct 20, 2003 #8
    I agree,

    For in reality 1 does not equal 1

    and is only a mathematical illusion to help us determine our lives in a productive way.

    But let us not forget that we are the users of tools and not the tool it self. Maths or constructs that we create are only tools that we use.

    To determine truth, if that is what you wish to do, one has to have a very clear awareness of what tools we have and are using and whether the tool it self is driving other tools and not the true you so to speak.
     
  10. Oct 21, 2003 #9
    While the uncertainty principle may still be up for strong debate it is not just that we cannot measure absolutely but that there is no absolute parameter to measure. We can measure and statistically reduce the probabilities to manageable terms but they remain probabilities.
    I forget for the moments who speculated that if we could know the absolute position and momentum of every particle in the universe the universe would be determinant. Since it is impossible to know absolutely the position and momentum of any much less every particle/wave then the universe is indeterminant.
    What effect or influence that has one real life or reality, if any, I don't know. I prefer personally to believe that while the universe and life is indeterminant, all is know by the mind of the creator outside of spacetime. In short, I prefer to believe in free will vs determinism. Can I prove it? No, of course not; but, determinism is not provable either yet there is evidence against it if we accept the uncertainty prnciple and that it has effect on reality. Agreed its a long stretch; but, I think that it will reach.
     
  11. Oct 21, 2003 #10

    selfAdjoint

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    It was Laplace who speculated that an intellect "of sufficient power" who knew the prositons and momenta of every particle in the universe would then be able to predict the future states of those particles accurately. This is sometimes called Laplace's demon.

    It's just a colorful statement of (Laplace's early understanding of the math behind) the Cauchy-Kawaleski theorem which says the initial conditions for a differential equation of n-th order are sufficient if they include the values of the independent variable and its derivatives up to n-1th order at some values of the dependent variable.
     
  12. Oct 21, 2003 #11
    Thank you, SA for the information. Does this mean to be determinate we must live in a n-1 universe? :wink:
     
  13. Oct 21, 2003 #12
    Scott,
    You're right, this issue has been argued ad infinitum, and to my mind it can be completely avoided by realizing that it is logically impossible to prove either free will or determinism over one another. If you look up any of the old threads on this topic, you will probably find my post in there somewhere, where I explain (again and again, it seems) why this is so. I will explain again, for the purpose of convenience:

    You cannot prove free will over determinism, because any attempt to prove free will could be what you were predestined to do, and you would only have further validated determinism.

    You cannot prove determinism over free will, because any attempt to prove determinism could be something you freely chose to do, and you would only have further validated free will.

    As Wuliheron is so fond of pointing out, it really makes no difference to our lives, whether we have free will or we don't - since, if we don't, we will still behave as if we do.
     
  14. Oct 22, 2003 #13
    Mentat,

    I am actually not in conflict with the notion of free will. Even the most devout of religious people recognize that they are destinal in that they have a destiny. (given by God)

    I stated
    But
    Because of this philosphy it also states that if everything is determined by everything then it is impossible to determine anything.

    So in essence I am suggesting that whilst free will may be determined it is determined by everything so there for the logic of some sort of confinement to free will is not valid.

    In most cases free will is equated to the scope of choice. Choice alternatives giving the sense of free will. Therefore Choice is a determinant for the excersise of free will and in fact the choice of what to choose is freewill. The choices made being an excersise of freewill.

    I think people get offended some how when they think that free will is threatened. It has to be one humanities most precious attributes.
     
  15. Oct 25, 2003 #14
    What is determinism of closed system vs open system? In one case, change is internal, in other case change is of external nature.
    In case of internal only change, what is the space of possible changes? Thats combinatorial explosion - number of possible combinations is far larger than number of pieces that participate.

    3 bits can encode only ONE of 8 combinations. 32 bits can encode only one of 4billion combinations. To "know" all possible 4G combinations, you'd need to "store" alot. Problem is that to store combinations you need more bits than there are combinations. If the number of bits is limited - far-reaching determinism is impossible. Closed system is bound to chaotic behaviour, where even smallest changes are exponentially increased over time to a degree that makes it impossible to predict - necessary knowledge of initial state approaches infinite precision and complexity of system has exponential effect on sensitivity to that initial state and required computation along with state storage.

    Basically, imv, Laplace's demon is impossible.

    But external change is different abstraction level. As long as changed object can be viewed as sufficiently single unit, combinatorial space is reduced hugely, and thus we can talk about deterministic behaviour between complex objects. At finer scale, inside changed object, chaotic behaviour continues.

    Ultimately, absolute determinism relies on existence of absolute chance. If single event of absolute chance could be proven, then absolute determinism is moot. Our ability to grasp determinism is moot anyway, we have no chance of ever precisely determining our fate, we can only operate on abstractions (approximations). Determinism of our section of space is dependant on abstraction level we look at. Sure planets gravitate. But quantum level is not so simple.

    How much freedom is left to us humans? "Enough".
     
  16. Oct 25, 2003 #15
    The trouble with humans is that when they really think they do not totally fit models like storage or similar (this does not exclude that some never really think, but behave more like intelligent animals, where the storage model correlates indeed to some degree). Just think of the fact that you can think about pi (3.14159...) not only as a number, which can't be caught totally and is only one expression of the priciple of roundness which regulates plane circles. Nobody can think such principles as principles, of which pi is only one example, on the basis of mere storage (numerical or other). The point is not to prove free will in a formal logical way, which cannot be done anyway (for reasons like the mentioned ones), but to realize that one could not think the topic one wants to if there were no free will to do so. If some have trouble to understand this reality because they operate on self-limiting presuppositions, then it is not the problem of those who do get the point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2003
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