Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Jaló's Paradox (determinism)

  1. Oct 19, 2012 #1
    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.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2012 #2
    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.
  4. Oct 19, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    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.
  5. Oct 19, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    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.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook