Hard Determinism

DO YOU BELIEVE IN HARD DETERMINISM?


  • Total voters
    29
  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello everyone :)

As I was thinking about the logical outcomes of hard determinism, I found a weird one which states hard determinism is not necessarily true :surprised

If hard determinism is true, Every single event at present will be due to the past events and all those past events due to the first cause.
Doesn't this mean that our thoughts are a result of the first cause?

If so, What we think is not based on logic and that if we believe in hard determinism it is because of whatever happened to me at past and not a logical outcome. Isn't this saying hard determinism doesn't necessarily exist?

I'll be pleased to know your comments & to help me clarify this issue.
Thankyou :)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
baywax
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Hello everyone :)

As I was thinking about the logical outcomes of hard determinism, I found a weird one which states hard determinism is not necessarily true :surprised

If hard determinism is true, Every single event at present will be due to the past events and all those past events due to the first cause.
Doesn't this mean that our thoughts are a result of the first cause?

If so, What we think is not based on logic and that if we believe in hard determinism it is because of whatever happened to me at past and not a logical outcome. Isn't this saying hard determinism doesn't necessarily exist?

I'll be pleased to know your comments & to help me clarify this issue.
Thankyou :)
I am of the school of evolution. All things that exist today, including thoughts, have been determined to exist by natural selection. If they worked with the environment (another determiner) then they still exist. If they don't work with the environment they do not or soon won't exist.

The natural progression of a thought is to become an overt action. Thoughts are covert in that they occur in the subjective domain of an individual's brain, unobserved by everyone else and often even by the person thinking them. But, no matter how remote the thought, if it is in conflict with natural law and therefore not a candidate for natural selection, it will cease to exist. If the thought leads to an action not supported by or supporting nature, the action, and quite possibly the actor, will cease to exist. That's how hard determinism seems to work in any instance by my estimation .
 
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  • #3
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Hard determinism is illogical as it ignores random events known to occur. Natural selection, mutation and sexual reproduction are natural examples as is Quantum Mechanics and Dynamics.
 
  • #4
baywax
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Hard determinism is illogical as it ignores random events known to occur. Natural selection, mutation and sexual reproduction are natural examples as is Quantum Mechanics and Dynamics.
Random events are none the less controlled by natural laws. Doesn't natural law determine the survivablility of a random event and its outcome and therefore doesn't natural law fit the description of hard determinism?
 
  • #5
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If an event is truly random then it is not controlled by natural laws. Here I am using spontaneous as implied or included in random. Such things as radioactive decay, the generation of virtual particles in a vacuum, the uncertainty principle and the paths of electrons are all examples of randomness and spontaneousness. If all events cannot be known or predicted then hard determinism can not hold. Soft determinism may be another matter depending on how soft one makes it. Most things in the universe are caused and predictable but there is always some randomness where only the laws of chance prevail.
 
  • #6
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the uncertainty principle and the paths of electrons are all examples of randomness and spontaneousness.
This is total BS, you are confusing probability for randomness.

Physics has no way to say whether or not true randomness (TR) exists in the world.

Physics cannot prove the existence of TR because we can always suspect that the causes of events are unknown.

Physics cannot disprove the existence of TR because we can always suspect that there are underlying phenomena which are unknown.

With regard to the actual topic of the thread, I would say that just as we see a ball move in a bouncing pattern, we see thoughts moving in a logical pattern. Logic is the way that thoughts can 'interact'.
 
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  • #7
This is total BS, you are confusing probability for randomness.

Physics has no way to say whether or not true randomness (TR) exists in the world.

Physics cannot prove the existence of TR because we can always suspect that the causes of events are unknown.

Physics cannot disprove the existence of TR because we can always suspect that there are underlying phenomena which are unknown.

With regard to the actual topic of the thread, I would say that just as we see a ball move in a bouncing pattern, we see thoughts moving in a logical pattern. Logic is the way that thoughts can 'interact'.
Excellent, We can never prove randomness...

If our thoughts are based on logical assumptions, its not related to determinism, & we get a sort of liberty...
What happens to this outcome? if correct.
 
  • #8
I am of the school of evolution. All things that exist today, including thoughts, have been determined to exist by natural selection. If they worked with the environment (another determiner) then they still exist. If they don't work with the environment they do not or soon won't exist.

The natural progression of a thought is to become an overt action. Thoughts are covert in that they occur in the subjective domain of an individual's brain, unobserved by everyone else and often even by the person thinking them. But, no matter how remote the thought, if it is in conflict with natural law and therefore not a candidate for natural selection, it will cease to exist. If the thought leads to an action not supported by or supporting nature, the action, and quite possibly the actor, will cease to exist. That's how hard determinism seems to work in any instance by my estimation .
I see... But I still can't find the answer to my former question,
I'll be thankfull if you clarify your statements with some examples. :)
 
  • #9
baywax
Gold Member
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If an event is truly random then it is not controlled by natural laws. Here I am using spontaneous as implied or included in random. Such things as radioactive decay, the generation of virtual particles in a vacuum, the uncertainty principle and the paths of electrons are all examples of randomness and spontaneousness. If all events cannot be known or predicted then hard determinism can not hold. Soft determinism may be another matter depending on how soft one makes it. Most things in the universe are caused and predictable but there is always some randomness where only the laws of chance prevail.
Aren't the "laws of chance", uncertainty and randomness part of the laws of nature? Without them it would be a monotonous universe and no doubt a faulty one that wouldn't last very long.
 
  • #10
baywax
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I see... But I still can't find the answer to my former question,
I'll be thankfull if you clarify your statements with some examples. :)
You asked if hard determinism exists or not.

Being somewhat unfamiliar with the concept I tried to say that the only truely hard determiner I can come up with is Nature. Nature provides us with every state and every natural law. It is the omnipotent force, as far as I can see, that determines all events.

Make notes about the ways of nature and you'll see what I mean. You'll see how our lives and actions are not only determined by but governed by nature and the laws of nature. Humans have a habit of trying to separate themselves from Nature - its our nature:smile: but we are nature - too.

I was trying to fit in the nature of QM to the determinism of the laws of Nature but I don't know enough about QM to begin something like that.
 
  • #11
:)

You asked if hard determinism exists or not.
Well, Not exactly... I strongly believe in Hard Determinism & I competely agree with your conclusions on this topic.

But what made me start this thread is the following outcome of determinism;

Our thoughts are not free but governed by the environmental stimulies and ... in other words by the first cause.

Now how can we say that our thoughts are logical, when the meaning of logic is singular. This means my logic is made by my past & your logic by yours.
As a result; If we believe in determinism its due to the past events, & all that experience we have gained up to this date, so an outcome of determinism can be: Determinism doesn't necessarily exist ... Because its what I think, & my thoughts are not free but determined by the environmental stimulies...

If you agree with this, then I'll write a simple observation I've had on this isue.

All the best.
Mubashir
 
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  • #12
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Aren't the "laws of chance", uncertainty and randomness part of the laws of nature? Without them it would be a monotonous universe and no doubt a faulty one that wouldn't last very long.
Absolutely! And I agree that a purely determinate universe would be boring, faulty and probably short lived.

The Laws of Chance are not definitive nor binding on individual events. No prediction can be made. Only the odds of one outcome over another happening can be determined. That does not rule out the possibility that a tossed coin can come up heads ten times in a row. The next toss is still a 50/50 chance.

On electrons, Richard Feynman said that we can only know that an electron left point A and arrived at point B. We cannot ever know how it got there, which path that it took.
The summation of all possible paths, the sum of its history, resembles a probability curve. It is not a probability curve but a very close approximation and scientist use these curves in place of sums of histories because they are much easier to calculate.

The point it that since randomness and chance are known to exist in nature then hard determinism, a relic of classical physics, can not therefore hold as every event cannot be known or predicted as required by hard determinism.

There are a number of people who disagree with me, some vehemently, but they apparently are not familiar with Quantum Physics or the Laws of Chance and Probability. I'm no expert nor scientist much less a mathematician but I have read and studied extensively about the subjects. Also Chaos Theory is just that, chaotic and also not definitive nor predictive on single events or particles.
 
  • #13
baywax
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Absolutely! And I agree that a purely determinate universe would be boring, faulty and probably short lived.

The Laws of Chance are not definitive nor binding on individual events. No prediction can be made. Only the odds of one outcome over another happening can be determined. That does not rule out the possibility that a tossed coin can come up heads ten times in a row. The next toss is still a 50/50 chance.

On electrons, Richard Feynman said that we can only know that an electron left point A and arrived at point B. We cannot ever know how it got there, which path that it took.
The summation of all possible paths, the sum of its history, resembles a probability curve. It is not a probability curve but a very close approximation and scientist use these curves in place of sums of histories because they are much easier to calculate.

The point it that since randomness and chance are known to exist in nature then hard determinism, a relic of classical physics, can not therefore hold as every event cannot be known or predicted as required by hard determinism.

There are a number of people who disagree with me, some vehemently, but they apparently are not familiar with Quantum Physics or the Laws of Chance and Probability. I'm no expert nor scientist much less a mathematician but I have read and studied extensively about the subjects. Also Chaos Theory is just that, chaotic and also not definitive nor predictive on single events or particles.
I'll leave vehemence to snakes so no worries:rolleyes: . I had no idea that hard determinism meant being able to predict the future. My impression, without consulting a dictionary, of the term is that it is the study of the origin of events, not what the event will be doing in the next nano second. But, now that I use your definition and the fact that it is tied to classical physics, I can see where the ideas of prediction and hard determinism merge. Thanks Royce.
 
  • #14
baywax
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Well, Not exactly... I strongly believe in Hard Determinism & I competely agree with your conclusions on this topic.

But what made me start this thread is the following outcome of determinism;

Our thoughts are not free but governed by the environmental stimulies and ... in other words by the first cause.

Now how can we say that our thoughts are logical, when the meaning of logic is singular. This means my logic is made by my past & your logic by yours.
As a result; If we believe in determinism its due to the past events, & all that experience we have gained up to this date, so an outcome of determinism can be: Determinism doesn't necessarily exist ... Because its what I think, & my thoughts are not free but determined by the environmental stimulies...

If you agree with this, then I'll write a simple observation I've had on this isue.

All the best.
Mubashir
After reading Royce I'd have to tentatively disagree about hard determinism since the "past" may well be our perceptive interpretation of the machinations of Quantum Mechanics. You'll have to refer to Alan Watts or any number of quantum physicists to see how there may actually be no past/present and future other than what humans perceive because of our limited biological and neurological structuring and its inability to be aware of the simultaniety of events. An excercise would be for you to see memories as events going on in the present since that's what they are. They may have been "structured" during some other event but they are an event unto themselves and therefore, when they occur, they are a present event. Further to that, an event occuring as a thought has every bit as much influence as the event itself and so you can see that the "past" really can be viewed as the "present" and or "future" and so this terminology begins to break down as far as its "logic" is concerned.
 
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  • #15
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I had no idea that hard determinism meant being able to predict the future.
Its no so much that it can predict the future, its that the future is totally determined by the past and present. In hard determinism there is no room for chance or freewill.
We are destined to live our lives exactly as determined by the past events.
In principle if we can know the exact position, motion and energy of every particle in the universe, since cause and effect are completely bound, then we can know the exact state of the universe at any time, past present and future. This of course includes all of our actions and decisions.
 
  • #16
baywax
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Its no so much that it can predict the future, its that the future is totally determined by the past and present. In hard determinism there is no room for chance or freewill.
We are destined to live our lives exactly as determined by the past events.
In principle if we can know the exact position, motion and energy of every particle in the universe, since cause and effect are completely bound, then we can know the exact state of the universe at any time, past present and future. This of course includes all of our actions and decisions.
I see. Is there a chance that along with the possibility of knowing the exact state of the universe at any time we could use random predictive generators or the "logic" of the "laws of chance" to predict random events and changes in our first predictions which are based on the "predictable" actions of perceived past events?
 
  • #17
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Sure we do it all the time. On macro scales and with thousands if not millions of incedents the Laws of Quantum Physics and Chance are as good approximations as we can get, vertual mathematical certainties.
 
  • #18
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There seems to be some equivocation in this thread between "the laws of nature" and "the laws of nature as we can possibly know them."
 
  • #19
baywax
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There seems to be some equivocation in this thread between "the laws of nature" and "the laws of nature as we can possibly know them."
Good point!
 
  • #20
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I don't think that, just because our thoughts about determinism might have come from deterministic processes, they must be wrong. This doesn't disprove determinism.
 
  • #21
-Job-
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If we have five objects which are involved in a finite cycle, each making the next one move in a deterministic process, with no interaction with the external environment (i.e. an object moves only due to the interaction with one of the objects), then each of the objects behaviour is deterministic (it's predictable by studying the cycle).

But if we were to look at the group of these 5 objects as a single whole, then this single object is defining its own behavior, despite relying on a deterministic process.

I don't know if we could call this freewill, but i think in a deterministic world, whether or not free will is possible, it's feasible that objects might believe they have free will.

So i can't say that hard determinism is incorrect because i appear to have free will and choose the direction of my thoughts.
 
  • #22
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From: Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary

Main Entry: de·ter·min·ism 1 a: a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws b: a belief in predestination


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism

Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences.
Determinism may also be defined as the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.[1]

That believing in determinism requires one to believe free will to be an illusion, is the position known as Hard Determinism.
Just so that we all know what we are talking about I summit the above quotes as our working definitions. There is also a link to wikipedia to an article on determinism for those who would like more information.

I've already made my point why I have the opinion that hard determinism cannot hold as a logical position so I won't say any more right now.
 
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  • #23
baywax
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Just so that we all know what we are talking about I summit the above quotes as our working definitions. There is also a link to wikipedia to an article on determinism for those who would like more information.

I've already made my point why I have the opinion that hard determinism cannot hold as a logical position so I won't say any more right now.
I'd just add that if sequence is the stuff of which hard determinism is made of then the actuality of sequence is under scrutiny and in question by certain factions of physics at this time. So we can only wait until there is further proof that sequence is either a true reality or a only a perceived reality.
 
  • #24
Absolutely! And I agree that a purely determinate universe would be boring, faulty and probably short lived.
why would it be short lived or faulty?

as mentioned by one of the contributers, quantum doesn't necessarily say the universe is not deterministic & lets not forget that the universe in our sciene is studied wholisticialy. lets take an example; Wind forecast. If you just stand at a particular point on earth and try predicting the magnitude of wind in 9 hours, you'll come to the conclusion that its a complete random process. But if you know all those currents on earth, season, geographical situation etc. It'll be quite simple and will turn to relativly deterministic idea.
Even such that we can predict something is itself a proof for determinism... Isn't it?
 
  • #25
baywax
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why would it be short lived or faulty?

as mentioned by one of the contributers, quantum doesn't necessarily say the universe is not deterministic & lets not forget that the universe in our sciene is studied wholisticialy. lets take an example; Wind forecast. If you just stand at a particular point on earth and try predicting the magnitude of wind in 9 hours, you'll come to the conclusion that its a complete random process. But if you know all those currents on earth, season, geographical situation etc. It'll be quite simple and will turn to relativly deterministic idea.
Even such that we can predict something is itself a proof for determinism... Isn't it?
But, we can only predict the weather as long as a huge number of factors do not happen. The weather is not a closed system like Job was talking about. Its not in a box. Its open to an entire array of potential events.

We have no way of knowing when the next solar storm is forming or breaching the horizon of the sun and affecting our weather patterns. We don't know for sure when the next super nova will interupt the satelites that give us meterological information about our planet. We don't know if China is sending up an extra orbital missile to take out more satelites.

We don't know a lot of things or when they will happen. That is indetermination. We can try to predict events yet still have other indeterminate events that will prove us wrong.

The actual hard determiners in your life are death and taxes.:tongue2:
 

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