Poll: What do you ascribe to?
Determinism
Free Will
Compatibalism
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Determinators or Free Willies?
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21-10-2010, 06:38 PM
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
Here is a site I found helpful:

http://mysite.verizon.net/vze486gy/radio...smFAQ.html

http://mysite.verizon.net/vze486gy/radio/frames.html

and this:

Determinism is the philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

More strictly, determinism should be distinguished from pre-determinism, the idea that the entire past (as well as the future) was determined at the origin of the universe.

Nor should determinism be confused with determination, the idea that events (including human actions) can be adequately determined by immediately prior events (such as an agent's reasons, motives, desires), without being pre-determined back to before the agent's birth or even back tothe origin of the universe.

Since modern physics shows that the universe in indeterministic, with profound effects on the atomic scale of microscopic processes, we will find it valuable to distinguish pre-determinism (inevitable causal chains) from the adequate determinism that we have in the real world and obvious in the classical physical laws that apply in the macrocosmos.

Determinism is a modern name (nineteenth-century) for Democritus' ancient idea that causal laws control the motion of atoms, and that everything - including human minds - consists merely of atoms in a void.

As Democritus' mentor and fellow materialist Leucippus put it, an absolute necessity leaves no room in the cosmos for chance.

"Nothing occurs at random, but everything for a reason and by necessity." 1

οὐδὲν χρῆμα μάτην γίνεται, ἀλλὰ πάντα ἐκ λόγου τε καὶ ὑπ’ ἀνάγκης

Determinism, especially the variation of "soft" determinism (cf. William James) or compatibilism, is supported as a theory of free will by a majority of philosophers, each with special vested interests in one or more of the many determinisms.

Compatibilism is a form of determinism that argues man is free as long as his own will is one of the steps in the causal chain, even if his choices are completely predetermined for physical reasons or preordained by God.
And Fatalism is a special form of determinism where every event in the future is fated to happen. Fatalism does not normally require that any causal laws or higher powers are involved. Que sera, sera.

The core idea of determinism is closely related to the idea of causality. But we can have causality without determinism, especially the "soft" causality that follows an "uncaused" event (a causa sui) that is not predictable from prior events.

Aristotle called such events archai (ἀρχαί) - starting points or "fresh starts" in new causal chains which break the bonds of determinism.

Despite David Hume's critical attack on the necessity of causes, many philosophers embrace causality and determinism strongly. Some even connect it to the very possibility of logic and reason. And Hume himself believed strongly, if inconsistently, in necessity. " 'tis impossible to admit any medium betwixt chance and necessity," he said.
Bertrand Russell said "The law of causation, according to which later events can theoretically be predicted by means of earlier events, has often been held to be a priori, a necessity of thought, a category without which science would not be possible." (Russell, External World p.179)
The idea of indeterminism appears to threaten causality and the basic idea of causal law. But it does not.

Indeterminism for some is simply an occasional event without a cause. We can have an adequate causality without strict determinism. Strict determinism means complete predictability of events and only one possible future. Adequate determinism provides statistical predictability, which in normal situations for physical objects approaches statistical certainty.
An example of an event that is not strictly caused is one that depends on chance, like the flip of a coin. If the outcome is only probable, not certain, then the event can be said to have been caused by the coin flip, but the head or tails result itself was not predictable. So this causality, which recognizes prior events as causes, is undetermined and the result of chance alone.
We call this "soft" causality. Events are caused by prior (uncaused) events, but not determined by events earlier in the causal chain, which has been broken by the uncaused cause.
Determinism is critical for the question of free will. Strict determinism implies just one possible future. Chance means that the future is unpredictable. Chance allows alternative futures and the question becomes how the one actual present is realized from these alternative possibilities.
The departure required from strict determinism is very slight compared to the miraculous ideas associated with the "causa sui" (self-caused cause) of the ancients.
Even in a world that contains quantum uncertainty, macroscopic objects are determined to an extraordinary degree. Newton's laws of motion are deterministic enough to send men to the moon and back. Our Cogito Model of the Macro Mind is large enough to ignore quantum uncertainty for the purpose of the reasoning will. The neural system is robust enough to insure that mental decisions are reliably transmitted to our limbs.
we see a world of
soft causality and adequate determinism
We call this determinism, only ineffective for extremely small structures, "adequate determinism." Determinism is adequate enough for us to predict eclipses for the next thousand years or more with extraordinary precision.
Belief in strict determinism, in the face of physical evidence for indeterminism, is only tenable today for dogmatic philosophy. We survey ten modern dogmas of determinism.

Phillipa Foot argued that because our actions are determined by our motives, our character and values, our feelings and desires, in no way leads to the conclusion that they are predetermined from the beginning of the universe.

The presence of quantum uncertainty leads some philosophers to call the world indetermined. But indeterminism is somewhat misleading, with strong negative connotations, when most events are overwhelmingly "adequately determined." Nevertheless, speaking logically, if a single event is undetermined, then indeterminism is true, and determinism false. 1
There is no problem imagining that the three traditional mental faculties of reason - perception, conception, and comprehension - are all carried on deterministically in a physical brain where quantum events do not interfere with normal operations.
There is also no problem imagining a role for randomness in the brain in the form of quantum level noise. Noise can introduce random errors into stored memories. Noise could create random associations of ideas during memory recall. This randomness may be driven by microscopic fluctuations that are amplified to the macroscopic level.
Our Macro Mind needs the Micro Mind for the free action items and thoughts in an Agenda of alternative possibilities to be de-liberated by the will. The random Micro Mind is the "free" in free will and the source of human creativity. The adequately determined Macro Mind is the "will" in free will that de-liberates, choosing actions for which we can be morally responsible.
Determinism must be disambiguated from its close relatives causality, certainty, necessity, and predictability.
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22-10-2010, 08:01 AM (This post was last modified: 22-10-2010 08:05 AM by Unbeliever.)
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
(21-10-2010 09:56 AM)Gucar Wrote:  time does nothing, it alows things to happen but time itself does nothing that was what i ment.

Fair enough, but that still doesn't answer the question. Why do you think that nothing can happen if no one is causing it to happen? Why does it have to be a someone rather than something?


(21-10-2010 03:55 PM)LeviTimes Wrote:  
Unbeliever Wrote:
LeviTimes Wrote:Maybe I'm just undereducated on the subject (this was the first time I've heard of any of this and I just did a quck skim of the wikipedia articles of them beforehand), but I find it incredibly difficult for me to believe that me writing this post at this moment is caused and not done by my own free will.

Why?

Because it doesn't make any sense to me that reading your response to my message triggered a certain chemical reaction that triggered countless more reactions that made me post this response.

Why not? You just phrased it correctly. You may not be able to trace the exact reactions, but that's what happened. Your eyes received light from the computer screen and translated that light into electrical impulses, which traveled up your optic nerve and into the brain. Once in the brain, this electrical impulse influenced the other electrochemical reactions taking place there (your brain interpreted the signals, the resultant reactions interfered with others when you "thought" about it, and you sent out more reactions when you typed your reply).

What aspect of your thought process do you think cannot be explained by this process?

Quote:To think that there was no other way for me to do it, to think that my correction of a typo just now, as opposed to almost no corrections of my typos in the earlier post, all happened because of causal reactions... It doesn't make sense to me.

Why not?

Quote:I don't see how reading something would make any physical reaction strong enough to make me do something, and make me do that something one particular way.

Why not? Remember, your brain is a mess of electrochemical reactions. It also isn't very big. A slight electrical (nerve) impulse is enough to cause an almost infinite reaction chain.

Quote:Again, I might be assuming too much about determinism, please correct me if I am. Smile

Only a little, in that there wasn't "one way". There were multiple ways for it to happen, depending on the quantum reactions. But none of the ways were the result of free will.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:I don't believe we have free will in everything we do, and I do beleive that lots of things are determined by natural causation, but I cannot bring myself to even imagine having everything I think and say and do being determined by past influences or occurences.

Why not? Where's the line? What can you choose to do and what is predetermined?

The line is consciousness, to me. Reflexes such as yanking your hand away from a hotplate or throwing your hands out before you when you fall are determined actions. So are sleep and your heartbeat. There's a shading over area within breathing (you can hold your breath, but you're forced to gasp for air eventually) and I'm sure there are other functions with the same type of thing. Then there are actions such as me typing on these keys, thinking about the content of this sentence, and scratching my leg. Any one of those things I could effortlessly choose not to do. I don't see how I'm being causally determined to do any of it, really.

Okay, well, look at it this way. I'm starting from the very beginning here so that you can see the entire train of thought, not because I'm trying to patronize you or anything.

Your body is controlled by nerve impulses sent out by your brain, right? Your hands don't move unless they receive a command from your brain.

Unless you dispute that, we've pretty much shown that the only place that free will might exist is in the brain, since the rest of the body doesn't think.

Moving on from there, we examine the brain itself. It turns out that the brain is a clump of gray matter, fluids and nerve endings. The fluids and nerves and gray matter are all constantly interacting with one another via electrochemical reactions. These reactions are constantly altered by incoming sensory data from the rest of the body, which arrives in the form of electrical impulses.

Now, what do we know about chemistry? Chemistry obeys the law of causality. Iron doesn't spontaneously rust. It has to be exposed to oxygen. An oxygen atom can't become a water molecule unless it is first exposed to hydrogen.

Now, from this, we conclude that the chemical reactions in the brain follow the law of causality.

Now, this is exactly what we would expect in a world where free will does not exist. Causal (deterministic) reactions in the brain are pretty strong evidence for determinism. In order to prove that free will exists, you must prove that we can defeat causality, that there are some reactions in the brain which have no cause. Otherwise, you're just making a bare assertion - "oh, it looks exactly like determinism, but free will exists".

From the above steps, we also conclude that consciousness is a result of these reactions, and is therefore causal as well, and so cannot act as a "magic compatibilizer" or whatever. Since we have no evidence of anything other than entirely causal reactions in the brain, we have no choice but to conclude that consciousness arises from them (unless you dispute the fact that consciousness is seated in the brain).



Have any objections?

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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22-10-2010, 09:52 AM
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
(22-10-2010 08:01 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(21-10-2010 09:56 AM)Gucar Wrote:  time does nothing, it alows things to happen but time itself does nothing that was what i ment.

Fair enough, but that still doesn't answer the question. Why do you think that nothing can happen if no one is causing it to happen? Why does it have to be a someone rather than something?


(21-10-2010 03:55 PM)LeviTimes Wrote:  
Unbeliever Wrote:
LeviTimes Wrote:Maybe I'm just undereducated on the subject (this was the first time I've heard of any of this and I just did a quck skim of the wikipedia articles of them beforehand), but I find it incredibly difficult for me to believe that me writing this post at this moment is caused and not done by my own free will.

Why?

Because it doesn't make any sense to me that reading your response to my message triggered a certain chemical reaction that triggered countless more reactions that made me post this response.

Why not? You just phrased it correctly. You may not be able to trace the exact reactions, but that's what happened. Your eyes received light from the computer screen and translated that light into electrical impulses, which traveled up your optic nerve and into the brain. Once in the brain, this electrical impulse influenced the other electrochemical reactions taking place there (your brain interpreted the signals, the resultant reactions interfered with others when you "thought" about it, and you sent out more reactions when you typed your reply).

What aspect of your thought process do you think cannot be explained by this process?

Quote:To think that there was no other way for me to do it, to think that my correction of a typo just now, as opposed to almost no corrections of my typos in the earlier post, all happened because of causal reactions... It doesn't make sense to me.

Why not?

Quote:I don't see how reading something would make any physical reaction strong enough to make me do something, and make me do that something one particular way.

Why not? Remember, your brain is a mess of electrochemical reactions. It also isn't very big. A slight electrical (nerve) impulse is enough to cause an almost infinite reaction chain.

Quote:Again, I might be assuming too much about determinism, please correct me if I am. Smile

Only a little, in that there wasn't "one way". There were multiple ways for it to happen, depending on the quantum reactions. But none of the ways were the result of free will.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:I don't believe we have free will in everything we do, and I do beleive that lots of things are determined by natural causation, but I cannot bring myself to even imagine having everything I think and say and do being determined by past influences or occurences.

Why not? Where's the line? What can you choose to do and what is predetermined?

The line is consciousness, to me. Reflexes such as yanking your hand away from a hotplate or throwing your hands out before you when you fall are determined actions. So are sleep and your heartbeat. There's a shading over area within breathing (you can hold your breath, but you're forced to gasp for air eventually) and I'm sure there are other functions with the same type of thing. Then there are actions such as me typing on these keys, thinking about the content of this sentence, and scratching my leg. Any one of those things I could effortlessly choose not to do. I don't see how I'm being causally determined to do any of it, really.

Okay, well, look at it this way. I'm starting from the very beginning here so that you can see the entire train of thought, not because I'm trying to patronize you or anything.

Your body is controlled by nerve impulses sent out by your brain, right? Your hands don't move unless they receive a command from your brain.

Unless you dispute that, we've pretty much shown that the only place that free will might exist is in the brain, since the rest of the body doesn't think.

Moving on from there, we examine the brain itself. It turns out that the brain is a clump of gray matter, fluids and nerve endings. The fluids and nerves and gray matter are all constantly interacting with one another via electrochemical reactions. These reactions are constantly altered by incoming sensory data from the rest of the body, which arrives in the form of electrical impulses.

Now, what do we know about chemistry? Chemistry obeys the law of causality. Iron doesn't spontaneously rust. It has to be exposed to oxygen. An oxygen atom can't become a water molecule unless it is first exposed to hydrogen.

Now, from this, we conclude that the chemical reactions in the brain follow the law of causality.

Now, this is exactly what we would expect in a world where free will does not exist. Causal (deterministic) reactions in the brain are pretty strong evidence for determinism. In order to prove that free will exists, you must prove that we can defeat causality, that there are some reactions in the brain which have no cause. Otherwise, you're just making a bare assertion - "oh, it looks exactly like determinism, but free will exists".

From the above steps, we also conclude that consciousness is a result of these reactions, and is therefore causal as well, and so cannot act as a "magic compatibilizer" or whatever. Since we have no evidence of anything other than entirely causal reactions in the brain, we have no choice but to conclude that consciousness arises from them (unless you dispute the fact that consciousness is seated in the brain).



Have any objections?

i said i didn't meant someone, but something is only bound by laws of physics and can't do anything by itself. then it cant be something
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22-10-2010, 12:16 PM
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
(22-10-2010 09:52 AM)Gucar Wrote:  i said i didn't meant someone, but something is only bound by laws of physics and can't do anything by itself. then it cant be something

I'm lost. I think we've run into the language barrier here, because I honestly cannot understand what you are trying to say. Sorry.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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22-10-2010, 03:53 PM (This post was last modified: 22-10-2010 04:24 PM by ebilekittae.)
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
Oh. Dang. Tongue That makes a lot of sense, really. It's kind of freaky to think about, but it does make a lot of sense.

In fact, when reading and considering your response I thought of a computer, and while intelligence like our brain hasn't been developed quite yet, modern AI still is pretty darned impressive. Do I believe AI has free will? No. It's all causally determined within the code. Applying the same thing to our brain isn't too absolutely huge of a leap (a leap, sure, but believable--to me, at least). Wow.

I do still have questions about it, like changes in reactions after therapy and suchlike (for "How does it work?" purposes rather than "but what about THIS then?" purposes), but I'm 100% sure the answers I would receive would be in terms I couldn't understand. I'm entirely ignorant when it comes to brain circuitry and that. Tongue

But thanks for that. It does make a lot of sense, and there's tons more hard fact and evidence for it than free will.

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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22-10-2010, 06:10 PM
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
(22-10-2010 03:53 PM)LeviTimes Wrote:  Oh. Dang. Tongue That makes a lot of sense, really. It's kind of freaky to think about, but it does make a lot of sense.

Yeah, it's pretty trippy when you first get introduced to it, isn't it? I had the same reaction.

Quote:In fact, when reading and considering your response I thought of a computer, and while intelligence like our brain hasn't been developed quite yet, modern AI still is pretty darned impressive. Do I believe AI has free will? No. It's all causally determined within the code. Applying the same thing to our brain isn't too absolutely huge of a leap (a leap, sure, but believable--to me, at least). Wow.

Yeah, that's pretty much the idea. The brain is essentially an incredibly advanced computer.

Quote:I do still have questions about it, like changes in reactions after therapy and suchlike (for "How does it work?" purposes rather than "but what about THIS then?" purposes), but I'm 100% sure the answers I would receive would be in terms I couldn't understand. I'm entirely ignorant when it comes to brain circuitry and that. Tongue

Well, I can't tell you exactly how it works, but therapy is essentially just more sensory input. It happens to be sensory input tailored to cause a certain response. It's very roughly tailored, because we don't fully understand how any given piece of sensory information will affect the reactions, and it doesn't always work, but that's the idea.

Quote:But thanks for that. It does make a lot of sense, and there's tons more hard fact and evidence for it than free will.

No problem. That's what I'm here for. Big Grin

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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23-10-2010, 10:40 PM
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
(22-10-2010 03:53 PM)LeviTimes Wrote:  Oh. Dang. Tongue That makes a lot of sense, really. It's kind of freaky to think about, but it does make a lot of sense.

In fact, when reading and considering your response I thought of a computer, and while intelligence like our brain hasn't been developed quite yet, modern AI still is pretty darned impressive. Do I believe AI has free will? No. It's all causally determined within the code. Applying the same thing to our brain isn't too absolutely huge of a leap (a leap, sure, but believable--to me, at least). Wow.

"It's all causally determined within the code" = DNA is our code; it codes for the development of the brain. Experience/environment also helps to shape/change the brain, which makes us different from AI. Perhaps this is what gives the appearance of free will. However, the brain is still determined by all the physical effects that Unbeliever mentioned in his explanation; experience/environment can literally change the physical structure of the brain (for example, neurons can grow new connections with other neurons; neurons can die; etc.); change on the physical level in the brain can be correlated with change in behaviour (where observable).

I suggest that if you have room for it in your studies, that you take either a neuroscience class or a brain-and-behaviour psychology class. It is absolutely fascinating! I would have went into neuroscience if I had the patience to do lab studies Tongue

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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27-10-2010, 05:27 PM
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
(22-10-2010 03:53 PM)LeviTimes Wrote:  Oh. Dang. Tongue That makes a lot of sense, really. It's kind of freaky to think about, but it does make a lot of sense.

In fact, when reading and considering your response I thought of a computer, and while intelligence like our brain hasn't been developed quite yet, modern AI still is pretty darned impressive. Do I believe AI has free will? No. It's all causally determined within the code. Applying the same thing to our brain isn't too absolutely huge of a leap (a leap, sure, but believable--to me, at least). Wow.

I do still have questions about it, like changes in reactions after therapy and suchlike (for "How does it work?" purposes rather than "but what about THIS then?" purposes), but I'm 100% sure the answers I would receive would be in terms I couldn't understand. I'm entirely ignorant when it comes to brain circuitry and that. Tongue

But thanks for that. It does make a lot of sense, and there's tons more hard fact and evidence for it than free will.

the "code" sets the boundries but does not determin what will happen Smile thats what i think
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06-11-2010, 10:43 AM
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
Don't mean to kind of necro here, but I just came across a video by chance that deals with this quite effectively. I'll link it here. Smile

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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08-11-2010, 05:11 PM
 
RE: Determinators or Free Willies?
Can anyone on this forum demonstrate that a mind can exist without being embodied in a human brain? If not, then there is no compelling reason to believe that our thoughts and actions don't have their origins in physical processes that are governed by the laws of physics (which includes chemistry). One would have to accept the existence of a mind independent of the body entirely on faith.

The laws of physics are highly nonlinear, and nonlinear processes can become unpredictable and can appear to be indistinguishable from random. Much of quantum physics, which is where determinism is most often considered to be inoperative, assumes linearity (e.g., Schroedinger's equation) and quantum physics has a remarkable track record of accuracy in its implications about the microscopic world. For the macroscopic world, the dynamics of physical processes look pretty deterministic but aren't necessarily simple or easily predictable owing to nonlinearity. I posted earlier that we may think we're "in control" of what we think and do, but this is likely an illusion.
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