Has determinism ever bothered you?

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I felt very disturbed when I first thought about it, but now, oddly enough, after becoming used to the idea, I am not emotionally bothered.
 
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rygar said:
the person who committed rape had no actual control over his actions
I disagree that this necessarily follows. It depends on how one defines "person". It is possible to make oneself "really really small" and thus externalise everything (ie externalise all causal influences), which in a deterministic world would imply that this infinitesimally small "person" indeed "has no control over his actions". But in reality a "person" is not an infinitesimally small agent; in practice many (most?) of the causal influences of behaviour are more or less internalised within the agent that we define as the "person", and are thus related in a complex and self-referential manner with that agent's behaviour. There is no simple chain of cause and effect in an agent containing self-referential causal loops (what Hofstadter calls "strange loops"), and it is no longer true to say that such an agent "has no control over his actions".

rygar said:
it really makes you think whether the illusion of free will is a necessity for us to have both a consciousness AND determinism, and how would our consciousness differ if we didn't have the illusion of free will?
Before one can make any progress in debating these (very interesting) questions, one must agree a useful definition of this phenomenon that you call "free will" - would you care to offer a definition?

rygar said:
i believe in determinism. in fact, i don't know of any evidence that supports a theory of free will, other than our intuitions! perhaps you can help me out.
See my comment on definitions above.

MF :smile:
 
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Telos said:
There is a question that is far more important than the free will question, and that is the worth of a free mind.
Can you define please what you mean exactly by the expression "free mind" (for example, as distinct from an "unfree mind")?

Thanks

MF :smile:
 
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rygar said:
i believe in determinism. in fact, i don't know of any evidence that supports a theory of free will, other than our intuitions! perhaps you can help me out.
Discussions on "free will" are notoriously difficult, usually because most participants take sides before they even agree what they are talking about (ie participants declare "I do/do not believe in free will" before there is any agreement on the definition or meaning of "free will").

Therefore, rather than debate whether "free will" (whatever the definition) really exists, I think it is much more instructive to ask :

what do people really mean when they say that they believe they act with "free will", and are they justified in having this belief?

I humbly suggest that what most people (who claim to believe in "free will") mean when they say they act with "free will" is that they believe "their actions are not entirely constrained by external factors".

I say "entirely" constrained because I believe most of us would agree that our actions are usually some way constrained to a greater or lesser extent by external factors (eg I cannot willingly hold my breath for more than a minute or two, no matter how much I "want" to), but belief in "free will" would imply that not all of the external constraints on our actions are necessarily absolute.

This is where it becomes useful to look closely at how we define the "person" (or better still, the agent) which we are claiming has this "free will".

Paraphrasing Dennett, one can externalise everything by making oneself really, really small. Conversely, an agent can subsume many (potentially external) constraints within itself by making itself a sufficiently finite size.

What we call our "self" is not an infinitesimal point in space. It has finite physical and logical boundaries and, most importantly, it includes within those boundaries many of the causes and effects of our decisions; in fact the personal decision-making process is based on what I like to call self-referential causal loops.

If we can identify the external "cause" of a particular decision (ie an external constraint on our "free will") then we know that we are not in fact deciding freely. But for many of our decisions we are unable to unambiguously identify the "causes" of those decisions, simply because those causes are internalised in a complex and self-referential way within our decision-making selves.

Thus, it is not the case that our "free will" decisions are uncaused; neither is it the case that our "free will" decisions are unconstrained. It is simply the case that the decisions which we choose to call our "free will" decisions are largely caused and constrained by internal self-referential causal loops, of which we have (most of the time) incomplete awareness - and this is what leads us to say that we act with "free will".

Some may call "free will" illusion. I do not. "Free will" is a very real feeling that we do have, and when we understand precisely what this "free will" is in the way I have described above, then we can clearly see that "free will" is very real, and we are justified in believing that we act with "free will", even in a deterministic universe.

"Free will" is not an illusion. But it is important to understand exactly what it is, and also what it is not.

MF
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moving finger said:
Can you define please what you mean exactly by the expression "free mind" (for example, as distinct from an "unfree mind")?

Thanks

MF :smile:
Sure. A free mind is not authoritatively restricted by other minds. An unfree mind is authoritatively restricted by other minds.

What good is a free mind? In other words, what good is letting people think and do what they want?

Our current answer seems to be "very little" for children and "none" for criminals. We treat children very much like criminals.
 
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moving finger said:
Before one can make any progress in debating these (very interesting) questions, one must agree a useful definition of this phenomenon that you call "free will" - would you care to offer a definition?
well, here's the definition i proposed in my einstein/bohr thread when asked what a universe with free will would entail:

a universe with free will would imply that the results of our actions are determined by us, the causes. furthermore, it implies that we, the causes, are not the results of other causes. or at the least, our ability to change our results does not depend on our being the result of a cause, but instead it depends on something instrinsic that we label "free will". that is, the ability to cause our own results by genuine choice. free will implies we are more than just a small part of a gigantic cause and effect chain; we have the ability to disrupt that chain, and choose its direction without any factors pre-determining the results.

moving finger said:
I disagree that this necessarily follows. It depends on how one defines "person". It is possible to make oneself "really really small" and thus externalise everything (ie externalise all causal influences), which in a deterministic world would imply that this infinitesimally small "person" indeed "has no control over his actions". But in reality a "person" is not an infinitesimally small agent; in practice many (most?) of the causal influences of behaviour are more or less internalised within the agent that we define as the "person", and are thus related in a complex and self-referential manner with that agent's behaviour.
i see your point, but i disagree that size is relevant to having free will. my internal organs are part of me, but they act on cause-effect relationships, without my conscious willpower. i wouldn't be able to stop them if i wanted to, short of killing myself and terminating my consciousness. yes, the end result of an action can be caused by the physical entity that is me, but the whole reaction is beyond my control. that is to say, the consequences are inevitable.

by "i", i generally am referring to my conscience as a being, and not my physical body--however intertwined they might be. so yes, i agree that i am a cause, but i am also an effect. and both are unavoidable, and uncontrollable by my consciousness.

moving finger said:
There is no simple chain of cause and effect in an agent containing self-referential causal loops (what Hofstadter calls "strange loops"), and it is no longer true to say that such an agent "has no control over his actions".
i am unclear about this, but i'll try reading something on Hofstadter.
 
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Telos said:
Sure. A free mind is not authoritatively restricted by other minds. An unfree mind is authoritatively restricted by other minds.
If a mind is restricted in other ways (not necessarily by other minds), can it still be free?

Telos said:
We treat children very much like criminals.
Who is "we"? I don't. :biggrin:

MF :smile:
 
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rygar said:
well, here's the definition i proposed in my einstein/bohr thread when asked what a universe with free will would entail:

a universe with free will would imply that the results of our actions are determined by us, the causes. furthermore, it implies that we, the causes, are not the results of other causes.
This is Libertarianism (ie that the human mind/will can be the uncaused cause of our actions), and is akin to Descartes' Dualism. Nobody has come up with any coherent rational or logical mechanism for how this could work, and there is no scientific evidence that the mind works in this way.

rygar said:
or at the least, our ability to change our results does not depend on our being the result of a cause, but instead it depends on something instrinsic that we label "free will". that is, the ability to cause our own results by genuine choice. free will implies we are more than just a small part of a gigantic cause and effect chain; we have the ability to disrupt that chain, and choose its direction without any factors pre-determining the results.
I disagree. It is possible to define free will such that it is compatible with determinism and yet we still have free will. See post number #29 in this thread.


rygar said:
i see your point, but i disagree that size is relevant to having free will. my internal organs are part of me, but they act on cause-effect relationships, without my conscious willpower.
If you examine any small part of you, including any small part of your brain (where most of your rational thinking takes place) then I think you will find that it all operates deterministically. This is what reductionism does. You will never find any part which does not operate deterministically, ie there is no “source” of the kind of Libertarian free will that you believe in.

rygar said:
i wouldn't be able to stop them if i wanted to, short of killing myself and terminating my consciousness.
There are parts of your body that you do consciously control – you control (most of the time) whether you will lift your arm or not for example. Yet your arm and your brain all operate determinsitically. The key here is that the causal chain is convoluted with multiple self-referential loops, many of them inaccessible to your consciousness within your brain, hence it is impossible (either for you or anyone else) to unambiguously identify the precise cause of you lifting your arm.

rygar said:
yes, the end result of an action can be caused by the physical entity that is me, but the whole reaction is beyond my control. that is to say, the consequences are inevitable.
Yes, if the world is determinsitic then everything is determined.

rygar said:
by "i", i generally am referring to my conscience as a being, and not my physical body--however intertwined they might be.
But you cannot separate them. You cannot draw a line and say “this is me” and “this is my body”. They are not only intertwined (with multiple self-referential causal loops), they are also interdependent.

rygar said:
so yes, i agree that i am a cause, but i am also an effect. and both are unavoidable, and uncontrollable by my consciousness.
Agreed, except that your consciousness DOES exert some control, even though it in turn is caused. (and there is no need for Libertarian sources of free will)

rygar said:
i am unclear about this, but i'll try reading something on Hofstadter.
His book “Godel Escher Bach, the Eternal Golden Braid”, is excellent.

MF
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A thought:

If the world is deterministic, then you are bound to a certain path.
You cannot know the path, because the path cannot be known.

If the world is non-deterministic, then you can influence the path.
You cannot know the path, because others may also influence the path.

You cannot know the path.

As for Godel Escher Bach,

This sentence is false.
 
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Walkingman said:
If the world is deterministic, then you are bound to a certain path.
You cannot know the path, because the path cannot be known.
This fits perfectly with my definition of free will :

the ability of an agent to anticipate alternate possible outcomes dependent on alternate possible courses of action and to choose which course of action to follow and in so doing to behave in a manner such that the agent’s choice appears, both to itself and to an outside observer, to be reasoned but not consistently predictable.

MF
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moving finger said:
... You cannot draw a line and say “this is me” and “this is my body”. They are not only intertwined (with multiple self-referential causal loops), they are also interdependent.
MF and I have had a long an fruitful exchange on this subject in thread "What price free will?" and I think we understand and respect each other's positions, but he is being kept so busy that he has not responded to my last 2 posts there.

I disagree, slightly, with his statement above. It is entirely correct if as most people do, one associates "I" with a physical body, but in error either if one is a soul (which I do not want to consider) OR if one is only an informational processes in some computational facility (specifically a human brain at the current stage of technology). Then one can separate the "I" from the "computational facility" as one can separate software from hardware. Obviously one can not do anything with the software alone. Thus, executing software (or the informational "I" process) is dependent on the hardware. For example, in the case of "me" and my brain, drugs may modify "me."

Where the question gets interesting is if the software that is "me" in my understanding (see attachment which is same as to first post of the "what price free will" thread) can be something other than "deterministic" or "random" in its logic, at least in part - logic I have called "Middle Ground", MG.
(1)If universe is deterministic, there is no free will as most people understand these words, but MF has a perfectly good definition that keeps him happy with the concept that he does have "free will" even in a completely deterministic universe.
(2)If there is chance as may be the case and is commonly believed to be the case (because of quantum theory as understood in the Copenhagen school), then one can no doubt also define a "Free Will", but this free will is to me only chance and not what I call "genuine free will." Personally if that is all there is, I prefer MF's free will and to rely upon evolution to make me "chose" appropriate acts. -That is, I want the wisdom developed by evolution, not a random decision, if I can not have genuine free will.

It all comes down to the question: Is there a MG? Clearly determinism and random are mutually exclusive concepts, but are they all inclusive of all logical possibilities? - That is the question, which MF has promised to think about.

If it can be shown that no MG exists, then I join MF in his definition of FW but until that is shown, I will continue to believe that the very advanced "computer" which is the human brain, under the influence of evolution, has found this MG.
 

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Ultimately, it's all academic, since we can choose to believe either way and there will be no way to prove either choice wrong. That being said, yes, the idea that what I am is simply a set of links in long causal chains is repugnant to me.

Chain, chain chain...chain of causality...

[tex]\Sigma[/tex]

The Rev
 
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The Rev said:
Ultimately, it's all academic, since we can choose to believe either way and there will be no way to prove either choice wrong. That being said, yes, the idea that what I am is simply a set of links in long causal chains is repugnant to me.
and this idea being "repugnant" to one, one's intuitive and unscientific response is to believe in the impossible, because believing the impossible makes one feel better :biggrin:

Alice laughed, "There's no use trying," she said, "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Lewis Carroll

MF
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Billy T said:
MF and I have had a long an fruitful exchange on this subject in thread "What price free will?" and I think we understand and respect each other's positions, but he is being kept so busy that he has not responded to my last 2 posts there.
Apologies, Billy T, I have a “day-job” too, and I did not want to respond to your last posts until I had time to sit down and think about your ideas.

Billy T said:
I disagree, slightly, with his statement above. It is entirely correct if as most people do, one associates "I" with a physical body, but in error either if one is a soul (which I do not want to consider) OR if one is only an informational processes in some computational facility (specifically a human brain at the current stage of technology). Then one can separate the "I" from the "computational facility" as one can separate software from hardware.
I agree one can separate software from hardware, but I do not agree that this is a good analogy for the concept of “self”. Let us imagine a “gedanken” experiment – Einstein’s brain. Let us imagine that some incredibly advanced alien race had managed to analyse the way that Einstein’s brain worked to the finest detail, such that they could reproduce his brain, in it’s entirety, on one of their computers as a program (in hardware plus software). By running the program they are able to reproduce Einstein’s thoughts in precise detail (I know, I know, there are lots of assumptions here, but it is a thought experiment after all). It is possible for the aliens to effectively “have a conversation with Einstein” by running the program, and their program responds in the same way that Einstein would have done. Now, one can separate the “software” from the hardware and one can even write down the details of the software and the hardware. But the software listing by itself does not “behave like Einstein”, and the idle hardware also does not “behave like Einstein”. The “Einstein behaviour” emerges only when the software runs on the hardware.
In a similar sense, I believe the essence of “self” only emerges when a brain processes information in a certain way – it is this act of information processing which generates the “self”. Summed up nicely by Antonio Damasio :

The core “You” is only born as the story is told, within the story itself. “You” exist as a mental being when primordial stories are being told, and only then. “You” are the music, while the music lasts.
Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens


Billy T said:
Obviously one can not do anything with the software alone. Thus, executing software (or the informational "I" process) is dependent on the hardware. For example, in the case of "me" and my brain, drugs may modify "me."
Exactly. I’m glad we think the same way on this. But if you now agree that it is the execution of the software on the hardware which generates the “self”, this surely contradicts with your earlier statement “Then one can separate the "I" from the "computational facility" as one can separate software from hardware.”?

Billy T said:
Where the question gets interesting is if the software that is "me" in my understanding (see attachment which is same as to first post of the "what price free will" thread) can be something other than "deterministic" or "random" in its logic, at least in part - logic I have called "Middle Ground", MG.
(1)If universe is deterministic, there is no free will as most people understand these words, but MF has a perfectly good definition that keeps him happy with the concept that he does have "free will" even in a completely deterministic universe.
(2)If there is chance as may be the case and is commonly believed to be the case (because of quantum theory as understood in the Copenhagen school), then one can no doubt also define a "Free Will", but this free will is to me only chance and not what I call "genuine free will." Personally if that is all there is, I prefer MF's free will and to rely upon evolution to make me "chose" appropriate acts. -That is, I want the wisdom developed by evolution, not a random decision, if I can not have genuine free will.
I would summarise the above by saying that (IMHO) whether the universe is deterministic or indeterministic (either partially or in entirety), there is simply no free will in the naïve sense of free will (because IMHO most naïve concepts of free will are based on an intuitive feeling of free will and not on a rigorous and self-consistent definition of free will), BUT I nevertheless believe free will can be rigorously defined such that free will exists and is entirely compatible with both determinism and indeterminism.

Billy T said:
It all comes down to the question: Is there a MG? Clearly determinism and random are mutually exclusive concepts, but are they all inclusive of all logical possibilities? - That is the question, which MF has promised to think about.
I’ve been mulling this over the last few days. If I take the accepted definition of determinism (this defines the “deterministic space”), and I then take the negation of determinism – which to me seems to be “indeterminism” – which defines the “indeterministic space”, then the problem I have is there seems to be “no space left over” – ie there seems (to me) to be nothing left which is neither deterministic nor indeterministic, there is no “room” for this middle ground.

Definition of Determinism : The universe, or any self-contained part thereof, is said to be evolving deterministically if it 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.
Definition of Indeterminism : The universe, or any self-contained part thereof, is said to be evolving indeterministically if there is more than one possible state at time t1 which is consistent with its state at some previous time t0 and with all the laws of nature.

Do we accept the above two definitions? If yes, then they seem to be perfect “mirrors” of each other, defining the whole space of possibilities, with no space “left over” for anything else to get a toe-hold?

If we could somehow define the “properties" of this middle ground, we might be able to specify where it fits in relation to determinism and indeterminism. In the absence of a definition of middle ground I simply cannot see how it fits in.
MF
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Responce to MF is in another thread

See post 100 in the "What price Free Will?" thread for my response to one point of Moving Finger's that is here. (And several others that he made there.) Perhaps these two "free will threads" can be (and should be) merged in some way. As the starter of the other one, I would agree to this, but do not know how it could be done. (I also don't know why this new one was created as "determinism" is a central discussion there also. Why I started the "What price FW" thread is clearly explained in the first post.)
 
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Billy T said:
See post 100 in the "What price Free Will?" thread for my response to one point of Moving Finger's that is here. (And several others that he made there.)
see you there.....

MF
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I don't believe determinism has been defined properly in this thread. For something to be predetermined, there has to be an observer that can do the determining, which means that this observer has to be aware of the speed and velocity of every particle in the universe (or whatever system he is studying) and then extrapolate from that into the future. Now, given what we learned from QM, there cannot be an oberver of any kind that does not affect the outcome of whatever he's observing, so if you attemp to know everything about a particular system, you "observing" it will have an unpredictable effect on it, which will affect the way in which your system behaves. Thus, determinism in itself presents a logical contradiction, and we cannot talk about determinism unless we can postulate of such an impartial observer.

I like the definition of free will that has been presented earlier - that it would require uncaused causes. That is also a logical fallacy, because it leaves one to ask the question "what caused it?"

In my opinion, neither can exist.
 
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C0mmie said:
I don't believe determinism has been defined properly in this thread. For something to be predetermined, there has to be an observer that can do the determining, which means that this observer has to be aware of the speed and velocity of every particle in the universe (or whatever system he is studying) and then extrapolate from that into the future. Now, given what we learned from QM, there cannot be an oberver of any kind that does not affect the outcome of whatever he's observing, so if you attemp to know everything about a particular system, you "observing" it will have an unpredictable effect on it, which will affect the way in which your system behaves. Thus, determinism in itself presents a logical contradiction, and we cannot talk about determinism unless we can postulate of such an impartial observer.
To save him the trouble (and time) I note that MF has given (in post 39) the following commonly accepted definition:
"Definition of Determinism : The universe, or any self-contained part thereof, is said to be evolving deterministically if it 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."

You view relates more to the question of epistemology, than to determinism. Also you should be aware that long before QM was discovered this observer you speak of (LaPlace called it a demon more than 100 years ago) caused a conceptual problem in that knowledge about every thing had to be contained in some storage system (as moderns would call it) and as this storage system was also part of the universe, knowledge of everything in the universe would need to be self reflexive, and arguably a divergent accumulation. Thus there were critics of LaPlace (and of your ideas above) more than 100 years ago! If you are not willing to inform yourself about a subject that has been discussed for a long time, at least you should read the recent posts, like MF's #39.

C0mmie said:
I like the definition of free will that has been presented earlier - that it would require uncaused causes. That is also a logical fallacy, because it leaves one to ask the question "what caused it?"....
Glad you like one, but which? - MF's, which is consistent with determinism, or my feeble attempts to define Genuine Free Will (mainly by telling things GFW is not.), which is not, or some one else's?
As far as your conclusion that a logical fallacy exists, there is certainly none in MF's definition and even mine is not worse off than either "Uncaused causes" presented now:
(1) The widely accepted (by the scientific community) concept of the universe and time starting in a "big bang."
(2) The widely accepted (by the religious community) concept at a "first God" exists, one who was not created by some greater God.

Very few people are not part of at least one of these two communities and quite a few are members of both.

I say "no worse off" (implying perhaps "better off") because I at least tell how a non-material "agent" can exist in the physical world (as only information - See attachment to my first post of this thread, #36.).

I can not define the logic which lets this "agent," at least partially, causes things without his contribution itself being caused by other things. (The agent of GFW must be an uncaused cause, at lease in part.) I suspect this characteristic has to do with self referencing logic loops etc. such as the famous four word sentence: "This sentence is false.". I understand that this type of self referencing logic has been placed on reasonably solid grounds by B. Shaw and A. Whitehead in some classic papers, which I have never read, but I am willing also to think that still other forms of logic may exist that are neither random nor deterministic, as is required for the logic of the "uncaused agent" I suggest may exist. - I want to be clear - I have never claimed that GFW exists, only I hope it does, so that the common feeling almost everyone has could be true, and not just the most universal of illusions.
 
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@Billy_T

To save him the trouble (and time) I note that MF has given (in post 39) the following commonly accepted definition: "Definition of Determinism : The universe, or any self-contained part thereof, is said to be evolving deterministically if it 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." You view relates more to the question of epistemology, than to determinism.
I was specifically trying to say that I don't think we can define determinism without epistemology. I know this seems offtopic, but how can we discuss certainty of something in reality without specifying how we'd go about measuring it or observing it, and the fact that there is no possible way to observe a system entirely implies that we can't use the concept of determinism.
Also you should be aware that long before QM was discovered this observer you speak of (LaPlace called it a demon more than 100 years ago) caused a conceptual problem in that knowledge about every thing had to be contained in some storage system (as moderns would call it) and as this storage system was also part of the universe, knowledge of everything in the universe would need to be self reflexive, and arguably a divergent accumulation.
No, I wasn't aware of LePlace's view, but what I was referring to is slightly different. The observer in my post did not have to "know" everything in the universe, but only everything in a specific closed system. Thus if you are studying a chemical reaction in a lab, what LePlace said doesn't apply. You are not necessarily a part of it. However, QM does apply because you can't observe it without affecting it, and thus you can't predict the outcome with 100% certainty, even if you know all the physical/chemical laws involved.

Regarding the attachment in post #36:
I can agree that we have an internal representation of reality, and we experience free will directly in this internal representation. However, this process of internally representing reality would have to be reducible to the physical brain. So for everything that happens in this internal fantasy would have a cooresponding neural process, and neural processes have to happen in such a way as to not violate physical laws. So even though you experience free will, the process that makes up this experience is entirely physical, and if you observe your brain at this level, nothing you do is ever free. The introduction of this internal reality to the debate just adds an increased level of complexity.

Oh and thanks for pointing out the things I overlooked in my previous post. I hope this one cleared up what I meant to say.
 
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C0mmie said:
I was specifically trying to say that I don't think we can define determinism without epistemology. I know this seems offtopic, but how can we discuss certainty of something in reality without specifying how we'd go about measuring it or observing it, and the fact that there is no possible way to observe a system entirely implies that we can't use the concept of determinism.
With respect, I suggest you are confusing "determinism" with "determinability".

Determinism (or indeterminism) is an ontic property - it relates to "how the world is" and not to "how we see the world". A world can be deterministic (or indeterministic) in the absence of any observers; the property of determinism is not dependent on whether there are observers around or not.

What you are calling "determinism" is in fact "determinability" - ie whether the world can be observed to be operating deterministically or not. Determinability by definition requires an observer; it is an epistemic as opposed to an ontic property of the world.

It makes no sense to talk about determinability in absence of observers, but determinism is not dependent on observers.

MF

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MF has responded for me this time but I will add a two comments:
C0mmie said:
....what I was referring to is slightly different. The observer in my post did not have to "know" everything in the universe, but only everything in a specific closed system. ....
In most circumstances, one can consider a "closed system" but when one is discussing whether or not the future is determined, the concept of a "closed system" is a good example of your "logical fallacy." This is true because there is no shielding of gravity and the future under discussion can be very distant. To take a specific example Pluto's gravitational force does not affect Venus very much, but accumulated of time, this force will cause significant displacement of Venus. Even in your chemistry lab example the gradient of Pluto's gravity could make the Brownian motion of reacting molecules very slightly different on one side of the container than the other. That is the future here on Earth of a deterministic universe with PLuto is different from Earth's future without Pluto existing.

This may be hard for you to accept when I only speak of it's gravity effects, but once you bring humans into consideration the effect can be large and quick. For example, I wrote a book (Dark Visitor) trying to recruit students not currently interested in the sciences to be science students. The postulated premiss of the book is related to the fact that Pluto was discovered in a systematic search for "Planet X" which was believed to exist in the 1920s because of observed perturbations in Neptune's orbit. It is now known that Pluto was not the cause (It is smaller than the moon and would need a mass several times that of Earth to have been responsible) In book I speculate that it could have been some "dark visitor" passing by the solar system, probably a small black hole. IF this BH were formed by a dying star in the early universe, it is likely that two gravitationally bound stars both formed BHs and the second could be approaching about now. (I was trying to scare the currently uninterested student to become a little interest in science and used this Pluto history in the effort.) If I am successful with only one student, and he/she turns out to do something important in science, then Pluto's existence could significantly change live on Earth in one generation! - Planet X has already done so - It caused Percival Lowell to fund the construction of the observatory at Flagstaff AZ that bears his name where Pluto was discovered.

I rarely describe my book here, but when I do, I make it a policy to tell how to read it for free - visit www.DarkVisitor.com to learn how and more about it, if interested.



C0mmie said:
Regarding the attachment in post #36:...this process of internally representing reality would have to be reducible to the physical brain. So for everything that happens in this internal fantasy would have a cooresponding neural process, and neural processes have to happen in such a way as to not violate physical laws. So even though you experience free will, the process that makes up this experience is entirely physical, ....
I agree with your comments entirely if you are a physical object as you seem to be asserting, but I am asserting that you are only an information process in a simulation, not a set of physical processes that must follow the physical laws. I think the simulate laws (logic) does indeed mirror the physical laws in most matters that concern the representation of the physical world, but need not do so in the representation of "YOU." "You" live/ exist only in the simulation and simulated world in my view. For example "pain" does not exist in the physical world. It need not follow physical laws. You can suffer it when there is nothing physically wrong or not have it when there is. An example of the later is common with war time injuries. An nurse giving a shot to a soldier, who had his entire arm torn off and did not report feeling pain, but he complained that she hurt him by her clumsy injection technique! Some people never feel pain and some times only discover that their body is being injured by vision etc. - they usually don't live long lives and fortunately are not very common. What you experience is not determined by or reducible to physics as you are suggesting. It is your own brain's mental creation. That is, I strongly disagree with the part of your text above I have made bold.
 
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Billy T said:
I agree with your comments entirely if you are a physical object as you seem to be asserting, but I am asserting that you are only an information process in a simulation, not a set of physical processes that must follow the physical laws. I think the simulate laws (logic) does indeed mirror the physical laws in most matters that concern the representation of the physical world, but need not do so in the representation of "YOU."
Hi Billy T. Me again. For the avoidance of doubt, are you saying that the representation of “YOU” is determined by no laws at all (either “simulate laws” or “physical laws”)?

Billy T said:
"You" live/ exist only in the simulation and simulated world in my view.
Plausible.

Billy T said:
For example "pain" does not exist in the physical world. It need not follow physical laws.
Plausible. But are you then saying that pain “does not follow ANY laws”?

Billy T said:
You can suffer it when there is nothing physically wrong or not have it when there is.
OK, are you suggesting there is no “cause” at all for this feeling of suffering?

Billy T said:
An example of the later is common with war time injuries. An nurse giving a shot to a soldier, who had his entire arm torn off and did not report feeling pain, but he complained that she hurt him by her clumsy injection technique!
I hope you are not suggesting that there was “no cause at all” for the soldier’s feeling of pain?

Billy T said:
Some people never feel pain and some times only discover that their body is being injured by vision etc. - they usually don't live long lives and fortunately are not very common.
Sorry, your point here is….?

Billy T said:
What you experience is not determined by or reducible to physics as you are suggesting. It is your own brain's mental creation.
The key question, however, is “is it a creation from nothing, or is there in fact a cause”?

MF

:smile:
 
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moving finger said:
Hi Billy T. Me again. For the avoidance of doubt, are you saying that the representation of “YOU” is determined by no laws at all (either “simulate laws” or “physical laws”)?...
Most of your questions are really this one so I'll answer it only, except to admit that there was no thread related point in my observation that some people never feel pain. (I was just trying to make fact that pain is a mental construct, not tissue injury, etc. more strongly.)
No, "I" am law governed, but I am definitely saying "you" do not follow all the physical laws and neither does the "world 'you' live in" (for example, in the world "I" live in, the solar spectrum is essentially one octave wide and I only assume that far IR, radio waves etc. are real because of my instruments. - I don't directly experience them. - everything I believe about the physical world could just be a trick played on me by some very capable demon but he can't eradicate me, only deceive me. I know I exist and live in my {presumably brain constructed} world.) but of course the physical world (assuming it does in fact exist, as I do) follows all the physical laws, even if we do not know them all.

"Simulate laws" should have been "simulation laws" (dyslexia error or just careless) but even that is not really what I was trying to talk about.
"Simulation logic" would have been better and answer for this also "No." I believe that the subroutine (if that is what it is) that is "me" in my postulated "real time simulations" DOES follow regular procedures, which could (probably do) include some random elements.
How these random elements are produced, I don't know, but doubt that the UP of QM has anything to do with it, but as I can't think of any other truly random (woops, my bias towards the assumption to a non deterministic universe is showing - no offense - in fact admiration for your more rational and open position is admitted) mechanism.

The problem, as you well know from our discussion in the "What price free will" thread, is that I also want a "genuine agent" to sometimes exercise "genuine free will" in this subroutine, at least once or twice between birth and death :smile:
Unfortunately I have even less, if less than "none" is possible, ideas about how such agent could rigidly follow the simulation logic and yet not be either deterministic or random. I only hope that some logic, exists in what I once called a "middle ground" but no longer do as I have accepted you definitions and thus now locate this logic as a subregion of the non deterministic division of logic which certainly includes "random choice logic", discussed above, but I am not sure that only "random logic" can exist in this non deterministic subdivision of logical space. If there is any thing else, I bet self reflexive logic has something to do with it, but I am too ignorant of the field of logic theory to know if there is any subdivision of non deterministic logic of the nature my agent requires to exist. - We have been thru most of this before and I don't want to try to defend my views (hopes) - you will just beat me up again because I can't define what I am talking about.

I readily admit I am only dealing in hope, can't define either of my "genuines," except to give examples of what they are not. As stated before, the only reason I don't adopt your view 100% is that I can't prove that the necessary Non-random and Non-deterministic logic my "genuine agent" uses/ follows is nonsense / not a real possibility.

I like to stick the word "genuine" in as I often do to try to distinguish what I am saying from things people who start with the "fact" they have free will and then speak of agents etc. without being honest enough to admit that this is a very hard position to support. It is impossible to support, IMHO, if they think of themselves as existing in the physical world, where the laws of physics rule. These physical laws may allow them a "chance free will" illusion of "genuine free will" if the UP of QM is fundamental (your ontic), instead of only epistemic.

I am sure I prefer your concept of free will to that illusion as I think evolution has produced a much better decision making process that the UP of QM can. If the universe is deterministic, then even that undesired (my me) "chance free will" is not a possibility, backward in time causes are ok, etc. as the total story/history, including what we call the future, is already written. (Not only can your "MF" name sake, not be lured back to change the past, it can't do anything to change the future either.)

I think we agree on a lot of things including that I have only a currently logically indefensible hope, but one that currently neither of us can confidently squash. I am sure that I must give up the idea of being physical and living in the physical world etc., if I want to have my "genuine free will." That price I am willing to pay, as it alone, IMHO, keeps open the possibility that my "genuine FW is anything more that your simple, logically OK, consistent with a deterministic world (should that be the case) FW. My GFW is not consistent with a deterministic world, nor one ruled by QM's chance results.

If those are in fact my only choices in the "real world," :grumpy: I will continue to live in the one I think my brain has constructed, where GFW may be possible and only currently non demonstrable, because all aspects of logic theory may not be completely understood yet.

PS. After posting I noted your "representation of “YOU” .." This may be misleading. There is no "representation" of "me" in my real time simulation, It is "me." "I" am only information, nothing physical, but "I" at least, if no demon is deceiving me, have a special unique relationship to a particular human body in the physical world.
 
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I've been reading this and similar threads for several days now. The arguments are very much like others I've come across numerous times. Most people are very confused about both the definitions and the philosophical interpretations of determinism and free will.

Determinism means predictability but it does not mean predeterminism. There is no supernatural entity with a plan. Even though every event is caused each event preceding a future event has to occur before the future happens.

The ultimate reality is maximum entropy. Until then, every event is part of the process. Our thoughts are causes of events. We are sensitive to events and that causes our thoughts to be directed.

If there were free will, we would be immune to natural causes and would lose the sensitivity that causes us to take the appropriate actions. Our actions cannot be a "first cause."

There is nothing scary about this at all. It just is and has to be. Also, there is no in between. There is no god of the gaps. Linda
 
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LindaGarrette said:
If there were free will, we would be immune to natural causes and would lose the sensitivity that causes us to take the appropriate actions. Our actions cannot be a "first cause."
If there is no 100% strict determinism ITFP, there is no need for a miraculous ability to override physical laws in order to implement determinism.
 

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