Jaló's Paradox (determinism)

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We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.
—Pierre Simon Laplace, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities
Given a Universe abiding solely by deterministic laws, Laplace's reasoning seems to make perfect sense. So let us take this deterministic Universe and imagine within it a scientist to whom the, let us call it: the ultimate formula, was made accessible. So, being capable to plug this hypothetical formula into a supercomputer, all the past states of the Universe as well as the future states would be absolutely and precisely knowable to the scientist.
So here's where the paradox arises: imagine the scientist uses said supercomputer to know how the next minute will play out: literally see the future. When this future is made visible to the scientist, then he is, therefore, able to act in a way that will create a different future than the formula predicted, rendering it useless in that sense.

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  • #2
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The problem here is that if the entire universe is deterministic, than so is the brain, and so he will predict what he will do and not be able to change that.

If the brain is not deterministic, then the premise is false.
 
  • #3
Erland
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Hehe, this is similar to the paradoxes of time travel, like: if a time traveller travels back in time and meets and kills his/her younger self, then (s)he changes history, and will not travel back and kill himself, etc. These paradoxes are easily resolved if we just assume that time travel cannot be possible.
Likewise, Jaló's Paradox is resolved if either the universe is not deterministic or if it is not possible for beings within our universe to obtain all knowledge about the universe and calculate its future by such a supercomputer.
 
  • #4
Chronos
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It would really suck to be the scientist who gathered all the necessary data, but, discovered a computer powerful enough to crunch the numbers would require all the energy in the universe to build.
 

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