Determinism

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Re: Determinism

Postby surreptitious75 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:46 pm

iambiguous wrote:
What have philosophers [ or scientists for that matter ] pinned down about human autonomy / free will in what has in turn been pinned down definitively
regarding a determined or a non determined universe

Absolutely nothing if objective truth is what you are looking for because neither philosophy nor science actually deal in definitive answers
Its not really a scientific question anyway because it just explains the behaviour of observable phenomena and avoids anything ontological

One can however use philosophy or science as a guide but the answer one arrives at will ultimately be based upon some type of logical deduction
For me personally it is a false dichotomy to present the question in binary form as an either / or type question because that is just too simplistic

Sometimes the Universe is deterministic - such as at the classical level - and sometimes it is non deterministic - such as at the quantum level
And the same is true for us - sometimes we have free will and sometimes we do not have free will - so reality is not a simple one size fits all

As human beings we want all our questions answered but reality is more complex than we understand and it should be reflected in our discourse
This is where philosophy comes into its own because its actual function is to make sure that the right types of questions are the ones being asked

But I think it is a major flaw to assume that the most complex questions will have satisfactory answers to them that we will understand without question
We can certainly acquire more knowledge and become better at asking questions but there is no definitive end point as this is an eternal work in progress

The fact of the matter is that the Universe will carry on existing long after our demise and its mysteries from that point on will forever be unknown to us
These fundamental questions about the nature of reality are merely a distraction that give us something to think about while we are just passing through
Who knows how fundamental these questions really are as there may be ones even more so - but either way there is only so much we can ever truly know
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Re: Determinism

Postby surreptitious75 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:07 pm

WendyDarling wrote:
surreptitious75 wrote:
Were you to discover that you were actually a brain in a vat or a simulation inside a matrix then you could rationalise it by
simply accepting that you were always like that and that it is only the discovery that is devastating to you and nothing else

Whatever we are is the point ? Or is the point that we have created a reality through discovery ? A reality that is shared by
other minds ? Even in the matrix minds controlled and shared their discoveries and the developing reality

We investigate the reality that we are part of simply because we want to and because we can what ever it is
We might discover things we do not want to know but once knowledge has been acquired it cannot be denied
For me there is no meaning to anything at all and the reality that we experience exists simply because it can
However while we are here we can try and work together and make our reality the best there is for everyone
A very Utopian ideal and one that can never be truly perfect but that is zero reason for not trying it any way
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:21 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
In other words screw the philosophers who make an attempt to explore that which can be determined to embody such things as wisdom
and rational thinking and ethical behavior and epistemologically sound conclusions

One can have their own individual philosophy without having any knowledge of philosophers as such


Here though I invoke dasein:

It's not that any particular individual has their own philosophy, but how to explain this philosophy given the life that they have lived. The part that I explore on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

In other words, regarding human interactions in the is/ought world. But this thread delves more into speculating that the is/ought world itself is no less a component of the either/or world. An entirely natural world in that the human brain, in sync with the laws of matter, begets "choices" on our part that reflect only the psychological illusion of free will.

Likewise, a speculation of this sort...

surreptitious75 wrote: And there are also philosophers and branches of philosophy that will be fundamentally different with regard to these particular issues
So there is no one universal answer here but instead one has to decide for themselves which philosophy is the most relevant for them


...is just another domino that nature has set up to topple over onto the domino that this post is.

Though, yeah, sure, there is a not insignificant part of me that thinks and feels this is preposterous too.

But how can I finally know for sure that the reality I experience in my waking world is not just another extraordinary manifestation of the reality that my brain [a necessary component of nature] creates for me in my dream world?

My argument is not that your argument is wrong here but that all of our arguments may be encompassed in an understanding of reality that goes back to all of those "unknown unknowns" we are not yet able to even fathom regarding existence itself.

It's always the objectivist frame of mind that I grapple with here.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:12 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
What have philosophers [ or scientists for that matter ] pinned down about human autonomy / free will in what has in turn been pinned down definitively
regarding a determined or a non determined universe

Absolutely nothing if objective truth is what you are looking for because neither philosophy nor science actually deal in definitive answers
Its not really a scientific question anyway because it just explains the behaviour of observable phenomena and avoids anything ontological


Once again, from my own point of view, you assert that "neither philosophy nor science actually deal in definitive answers" as though the thought-act of asserting it in and of itself makes it so.

As though, in other words, that is the "definitive answer".

Science on the other hand seems to have come considerably closer to definitive answers. Answers that we rely on day in and day out in order to live out our lives under the assumption that the either/or world is at least likely to unfold as the ontological truth until the day that we die. Or, for all practical purposes, as close as we seem to have come so far to an ontological explanation.

We just don't know definitively if the whole shebang that we call "the human condition" is or is not wholly in lockstep with the laws of nature.

surreptitious75 wrote: For me personally it is a false dichotomy to present the question in binary form as an either / or type question because that is just too simplistic


On the other hand, for you personally and for me personally, no explanation may be simpler than nature all the way down. Including the quantum world. Nature may well compel particular scientists today to view the quantum world as non-deterministic. And then down the road it compels other scientists to grasp the quantum reality of the very, very small as in fact inherently intertwined in the macro reality of the very, very large.

Does anyone here actually imagine that what scientists will come to know about either world a hundred years from now will probably be pretty much what they know now?

Same with the question, "do we or do we not have free will?"

It's ever a work in progress for science. Whereas for any number of objectivist philosophers, it remains a "metaphysical" question that is resolved or not resolved up in the clouds of abstraction...in a world of words.

Still, we do seem to be more or less in agreement about this though:

surreptitious75 wrote: The fact of the matter is that the Universe will carry on existing long after our demise and its mysteries from that point on will forever be unknown to us
These fundamental questions about the nature of reality are merely a distraction that give us something to think about while we are just passing through
Who knows how fundamental these questions really are as there may be ones even more so - but either way there is only so much we can ever truly know


The rest [for me] becomes the manner in which we react to it [as individuals...the embodiment of dasein] psychologically. The extent to which we come to believe our own thinking about it really does reflect the optimal or the only rational frame of mind. And then the extent to which that becomes the anchor for "I".

Call it, say, the James S. Saint syndrome.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby surreptitious75 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:56 am

iambiguous wrote:
But how can I finally know for sure that the reality I experience in my waking world is not just another extraordinary manifestation
of the reality that my brain [ a necessary component of nature ] creates for me in my dream world

How can you be absolutely certain that what you experience is actually real ? This is an unintentionally misleading question since it fails to acknowledge the
fact that all experience is real by default regardless of what said experience actually is . One cannot have an unreal experience as that is simply not possible

You may however require another explanation that will satisfy you or you may not - only time will tell . But I am not interested in searching for definitive answers
because they can be too forced . I prefer them come to me without compulsion or else not at all because dogmatism is not a particularly good state for ones mind
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:53 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
But how can I finally know for sure that the reality I experience in my waking world is not just another extraordinary manifestation
of the reality that my brain [ a necessary component of nature ] creates for me in my dream world

How can you be absolutely certain that what you experience is actually real ? This is an unintentionally misleading question since it fails to acknowledge the
fact that all experience is real by default regardless of what said experience actually is . One cannot have an unreal experience as that is simply not possible


Okay, but, in my dreams, experiences seem no less real to me "in the dream" than they do if I were to have a nearly identical experience in my waking hours. It's not like I keep pausing in the dream in order to remind myself that it is just a dream.

But the "experience" is wholly manufactured by my brain while I lay sleeping. It's not really being experienced by me at all other than in the dream reality. Not unlike the quandaries posed in the film Inception: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... just-dream

So, how are the two realities/experiences to be understood given either a determined or autonomous universe?

surreptitious75 wrote: You may however require another explanation that will satisfy you or you may not - only time will tell . But I am not interested in searching for definitive answers

because they can be too forced . I prefer them come to me without compulsion or else not at all because dogmatism is not a particularly good state for ones mind


Again, the assumption being that the things you are interested in in your waking reality are qualitatively different from the things you are interested in in your dream reality. Why? Because you assume in turn that your interests in the waking reality are qualitatively different.

That your waking reality interests are necessarily the embodiment of free will. Nature is not compelling you to think and feel this however because, well, you just know that it isn't.

Meanwhile, some scientists aren't so sure: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mi ... free-will/

"What Neuroscience Says about Free Will"
We're convinced that it exists, but new research suggests it might be nothing more than a trick the brain plays on itself


Just not your brain, right?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby surreptitious75 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:52 am

iambiguous wrote:
in my dreams experiences seem no less real to me in the dream than they do if I were to have a nearly identical experience in my waking hours

That may be true for you but the dreams of others can have elements within them that would not be possible in real life
Although regardless of what happens within a dream it is taken to be nonetheless real by the one dreaming it at the time
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Re: Determinism

Postby surreptitious75 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:58 am

iambiguous wrote:
the assumption being that the things you are interested in in your waking reality are qualitatively different from the things you are interested in in your dream reality

There might actually be a connection in that what one dreams is not necessarily entirely random and therefore unrelated to ones own life
Because apparently some dreams are the subconscious mind trying to articulate what the conscious mind either cannot or will not address
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:26 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
in my dreams experiences seem no less real to me in the dream than they do if I were to have a nearly identical experience in my waking hours

That may be true for you but the dreams of others can have elements within them that would not be possible in real life
Although regardless of what happens within a dream it is taken to be nonetheless real by the one dreaming it at the time


The brain is creating these truly surreal interactions, but it's not like we are reminding ourselves in the dreams that the reality is being wholly manufactured by the brain.

When those more bizarre dreams occur for me, the reality in the dream is embraced by me no less than the reality that I encounter in my waking hours.

That's the mystery of course. Explaining reality/"reality" here given the evolution of mindless matter into actual human consciousness.

After all, that in and of itself seems rather mind-boggling to some of us.
Last edited by iambiguous on Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:11 pm

A video taken from peacegirl's New Discovery thread:

https://youtu.be/T3JzcCviNDk


This is precisely the sort of thinking that continues to elude me in the discussion of determinism.

He seems to be arguing that, in the context of death, it becomes all that more important to live out each and every individual "now" fully. In other words, don't choose to do things that are superficial. Choose instead to live your life to the fullest. Choose behaviors that are meaningful and challenging.

Yet how, in a determined universe, was he not compelled himself to make this video? How are any of the things that any of us choose not completely and necessarily aligned with the laws of matter?

Is this argument supposed to reflect a "compatibilist" frame of mind?

He delves into the science involved here:

"The truth is that 'now' is not even well-defined as a matter of neurology because we know that inputs to the brain come at different moments and that consciousness is built upon layers of inputs whose timing have to be different. Our conscious awareness of the present moment is in some relevant sense already a memory. But as a matter of conscious experience the reality of your life is always now."

my emphasis

The knowledge of this he claims is what liberates you. And this knowledge is required if you want to be happy.

Again, what am I missing? Do we or do we not have the capacity to opt freely here? To, of our own volition, self-consciously choose to pursue or to accept this knowledge in order to freely enrich our lives in order to freely embrace happiness?

How does the science he cites demonstrate it conclusively one way or the other?

And how on earth does peacegirl then demonstrate in turn how, in "choosing" to embrace the author's new discovery [sans free will], happiness in our own "progressive future" is a given?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:46 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
the assumption being that the things you are interested in in your waking reality are qualitatively different from the things you are interested in in your dream reality

There might actually be a connection in that what one dreams is not necessarily entirely random and therefore unrelated to ones own life
Because apparently some dreams are the subconscious mind trying to articulate what the conscious mind either cannot or will not address


My own dreams in particular. Nine out of ten will revolve around a relative handful of important experiences in my life: my summers in Miners Mill, my college years, my years as a political activist, my 27 years employed by one company, family dreams.

But here's the thing that boggles my mind. Almost no dreams at all about my years as a Christian. Or my youth in Baltimore. Or, most inexplicable of all, my Army years. Especially the year I spent in Vietnam! Easily some of the most traumatic experiences I had ever had.

But almost no dreams!

And all of this is being "decided" by my brain matter. A brain that somehow intertwines my conscious waking hours experiences with those subconscious and unconscious components of "I" that I barely understand and have little or no control over.

And then those here who actually claim that what they think they know about their own "I" here, is on considerably more solid ground.

And, indeed, in merely believing it that makes it so.

After all, it's the things that we believe that precipitate the things that we do that then generate actual consequences. For ourselves and others.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:24 pm

Chrysippus’ cylinder: agency in a material universe

Do we live in a material universe governed by cause and effect? I believe so. Do we, then, have free will? It depends on what you mean by that term. The so-called problem of free will is one that keeps intelligent and well intentioned people arguing in circles forever, and there is of course a huge philosophical literature about it (see, for an introduction, this article from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Heck, some misguided scientists even think they can, and indeed have, solved the problem experimentally! (This article by Adina Roskies explains why that’s problematic.) I will not defend the above assertions here, but accept them as given and proceed with what I think is a more interesting discussion. Please note that this post should be of far wider interest than just to people attracted to Stoicism in particular, as the messy issue of “free will” arises for any philosophical position.

The Stoics, I believe, had the right picture in mind, though they did get one major thing wrong (but it was reasonable at the time). So, what I’m going to try in this essay is the following: i) explain Chrysippus’ famous metaphor of the rolling cylinder to introduce the Stoic distinction between internal and external causes; ii) properly use the metaphor to understand why the Stoics (indeed, the ancient Greco-Romans in general) didn’t use the word “freedom” in this context, and were right to do so; iii) address the famous “lazy argument” that was meant to defeat the Stoic position, and that still rears its ugly head in some contemporary discussions; iv) summarize the original Stoic conception of Fate as it relates to universal causality; and v) introduce a “deflated” version of the Stoic doctrine, which I believe is more appropriate for modern Stoics.

I. Chrysippus’ cylinder

Cicero, in De Fato (43), presents Chrysippus’ metaphor of the rolling cylinder in this fashion: “‘In the same way therefore,’ he says, ‘as a person who has pushed a roller forward has given it a beginning of motion, but has not given it the capacity to roll, so a sense-presentation when it impinges on the will, it is true impresses and as it were seals its appearance on the mind, but the act of assent will be in our power, and as we said in the case of the roller, though given a push from without, as to the rest will move by its own force and nature.”

Dorothea Frede (who is my main source for the material that follows) beautifully and clearly sets the stage for a discussion of the cylinder metaphor in her chapter on Stoic Determinism published as part of The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, a collection that is a must for the serious prokopton. Chrysippus thought that the cosmos are embedded in a universal web of cause-effect, and that nothing happens without a cause — including, of course, human decisions.

The cylinder is meant as a visual aid to conceptually distinguish external from internal causes: the first ones are exerted by the environment in which an object (or a human being) finds itself. The second ones have to do with the inner mechanisms defining a given object (which in the case of humans include our character, dispositions, and judgments). If you push the cylinder on a flat surface, it will roll. But the push — an external cause — is only part of the explanation. The cylinder will roll also because it is a cylinder, as opposed to, say, a cube. Cubes don’t roll, even if you push them. It is in the nature of cylinders to roll when pushed, but it isn’t in the nature of cubes to do so. Similarly, it is in the nature of humans to make judgments about things, but such judgments are not in the nature of rocks, or plants, or most other animals (so far as we know).

Consider, for instance, a case in which I offer a bribe to a policeman. The bribe is an external cause for his potentially corrupted behavior. But that cause will be efficacious with some policemen but not others (because they have different characters and arrive at different judgments) or even with the same policeman in one instance but not another (because either or both of additional external and internal conditions have changed). Crucially, though, under the same exact combination of internal and external circumstances the policeman will (will not) agree to be bribed by me.

II) Not free will, but what is “up to us”

One of the fundamental doctrines of Stoicism is often referred to as the dichotomy of control. As Epictetus puts in the Enchiridion (1.1): “Some things are within our power, while others are not. Within our power are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing; not within our power are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing.”

Epictetus then continues to say that if you understand and internalize the dichotomy, “no one will ever be able to coerce you, no one will hinder you, you’ll find fault with no one, you’ll accuse no one, you’ll do nothing whatever against your will, you’ll have no enemy, and no one will ever harm you because no harm can affect you.”

While this is referred to in modern Stoicism as the dichotomy of control, the standard Stoic phrase is that some things are “up to us” and other things are not “up to us.” But what could this possibly mean, within the framework of a philosophy that accepts the notion of universal causality? (Notice that I’m staying purposely away from using the common term “determinism.” There is a reason for this, and it will become clear by the end.)

The answer lies in the conceptual separation between external and internal causes that Chrysippus made. Mind you, they are all causes, so the distinction is not to be taken as somehow deeply metaphysical. It’s just that some causal mechanisms happen to be internal to the human being, and that we know we can work on them to alter them in a desired direction (by way of education, social pressure, reasoned discourse, or the threat of jail time).

As Frede puts it: “It is easy to see why despite the complexity of the inner processes that lead to human action, the Stoics upheld the tenet that persons always act in the same way under the same circumstances. Given the same impressions and the same inner dispositions, the individual will always consent to those impressions. … Responsibility does not depend on the condition that we are always capable of acting otherwise; responsibility depends on the condition that human beings have it ‘in them’ to make up their own minds on how to act. … [The Stoics, therefore] were concerned with the question of how to attain the right inner makeup that enables a person to comprehend the decrees of reason and to follow them in the right way.”

So for the Stoics there is no contradiction inherent in the triad of {universal causality} <> {not doing things differently under identical conditions} <> {moral responsibility for our actions}. Universal causality holds; and both external causes (our environment) and internal ones (our desires, inclinations, and especially judgments) are all part of that universal causal web; and our actions are “ours” precisely in the sense that they spring from causal mechanisms that are internal to us. If all the above is true, of course we would arrive at the same judgments provided that all conditions (external as well as internal) were the same.

howtobeastoic.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/chrysippus-cylinder-agency-in-a-material-universe/
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:24 pm

The Stoics, I believe, had the right picture in mind, though they did get one major thing wrong (but it was reasonable at the time).


Given the manner in which I have come to understand determinism "in my head" "here and now", the Stoics back then, no less than the author above, no less than me typing these words, no less than and you reading them, are all inherently/necessarily in sync with the laws of matter.

And so...

Nothing is either right or wrong, reasonable or unreasonable [then or now] if everything is only as it ever could have been in the past, as it can be now in the present or as it will be in the future.

It is in the nature of cylinders to roll when pushed, but it isn’t in the nature of cubes to do so. Similarly, it is in the nature of humans to make judgments about things, but such judgments are not in the nature of rocks, or plants, or most other animals (so far as we know).


So far as I know, we do not know enough about cause and effect going back to an understanding of existence itself, to make a comprehensive distinction between the nature of cubes and cylinders and human brains.

The judgments made by conscious minds may well be just another manifestation of matter having evolved into brains entirely in sync with the laws that that compel matter having evolved into cubes and cylinders.

Consider, for instance, a case in which I offer a bribe to a policeman. The bribe is an external cause for his potentially corrupted behavior. But that cause will be efficacious with some policemen but not others (because they have different characters and arrive at different judgments) or even with the same policeman in one instance but not another (because either or both of additional external and internal conditions have changed). Crucially, though, under the same exact combination of internal and external circumstances the policeman will (will not) agree to be bribed by me.


Again, the assumption here seems to be that the policeman's character and judgment somehow reflect "internal" "choices" that "transcend" the laws of matter in a way that the matter in cylinder and the cube are oblivious to.

Now, this might be true if somehow it can be demonstrated that, say, God exists to intercede here with one of His creations [us]. Or that science has finally come to understand in its totality how the human brain is in fact able to embody this:

Not free will, but what is “up to us”


"Up to us" even though what we think, feel, say and do are still wholly in sync with the laws of matter.

One of the fundamental doctrines of Stoicism is often referred to as the dichotomy of control. As Epictetus puts in the Enchiridion (1.1): “Some things are within our power, while others are not. Within our power are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing; not within our power are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing.”


And how did Epictetus go about demonstrating this? These "internal" aspects of "I". What actual empirical proof did he have that the brain functions such that the distinction regarding control can reconcile "no free will" with "up to us".

Chemically, neurologically, materially, how does that work in the brain to distinguish the psychological illusion of free will from the assumption that ontologically nature compels all aspects of "I"?

Instead, we get only more "general descriptions" of all this in a "world of words":


The answer lies in the conceptual separation between external and internal causes that Chrysippus made. Mind you, they are all causes, so the distinction is not to be taken as somehow deeply metaphysical. It’s just that some causal mechanisms happen to be internal to the human being, and that we know we can work on them to alter them in a desired direction (by way of education, social pressure, reasoned discourse, or the threat of jail time).


In other words, how "deeply metaphysical" is the most comprehensive explanation and the final truth behind the free will/determinism debate?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:37 pm

Did you get anything out of that post?

No new ideas? No interesting ways to look at the subject? No new avenues of exploration and inquiry?

Nothing?
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:16 am

phyllo wrote:Did you get anything out of that post?

No new ideas? No interesting ways to look at the subject? No new avenues of exploration and inquiry?

Nothing?


All I can do is react to it from my own perspective. The manner in which I view determinism "here and now". The points being raised may well be more sophisticated than my own. But I can't just "will" myself to grasp that and then reconfigure the points I made in order to reflect what I should have learned.

All the while still more convinced that my reaction was compelled by nature more than as a reflection of a "free will" I have no capacity to actually pin down.

Really, what did the Stoics know about the human brain back then...compared to what neuroscientists today have learned about it?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:56 am

All I can do is react to it from my own perspective. The manner in which I view determinism "here and now". The points being raised may well be more sophisticated than my own. But I can't just "will" myself to grasp that and then reconfigure the points I made in order to reflect what I should have learned.
The short answer was "No, I didn't get anything out of it".
All the while still more convinced that my reaction was compelled by nature more than as a reflection of a "free will" I have no capacity to actually pin down.
It has nothing to do with "free will". In a deterministic system, the entity (you, me, a black box, a cylinder) is exposed to a multitude of inputs. It ignores some and it processes some. Then it acts on the results of the processing.

For example, when a person leaves work, gets on a bus, gets off the bus and walks home ... he sees, hears, smells and feels trillions of things. He might overhear someone say that "the seawater was very warm today" which may prompt him to decide to go to the beach the following day. Thus his actions change as a result of a random input.

Saying that he has to have "free will" in order to decide to go to the beach or that he has no choice but to go to the beach, completely ignores the process that we witness happening in us and in other people.
Really, what did the Stoics know about the human brain back then...compared to what neuroscientists today have learned about it?
By that logic, I guess it's pointless to read anything written prior to 1989 when the internet was "invented". Prior to that, people were a knuckle-dragging morons who didn't know or understand anything.

Actually you can understand human psychology and behavior without knowing much about the brain. Just like you can live, learn and prosper without knowing much about your body. Or drive a car without knowing how it works beyond understanding the cause and effect of the controls.

To answer your question ... The Stoics probably know very little about the brain but they knew a lot about being human.
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Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:17 am

He might overhear someone say that "the seawater was very warm today"


Unlikely. Nobody says 'the seawater was very warm today' unless they're a marine biologist or at least a chemist. Ordinary folks just say 'the water'. Now there are roughly three marine biologists and four chemists per every four hundred people, which drastically reduces the chances of the protagonist passing one on the way home.

Were you aware of this when you wrote that, or are you just trying to be difficult?
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:03 pm

Yet another fascinating conjecture regarding just how mind-boggling human "reality"/reality may well be:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/opin ... e=Homepage
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:16 pm

phyllo wrote:
All I can do is react to it from my own perspective. The manner in which I view determinism "here and now". The points being raised may well be more sophisticated than my own. But I can't just "will" myself to grasp that and then reconfigure the points I made in order to reflect what I should have learned.
The short answer was "No, I didn't get anything out of it".


This is typical of you in retort mode. I try to explain myself but that's not the reaction you are looking for. Or are demanding. Instead, I have to agree with you that had I taken the "chrysippus-cylinder-agency-in-a-material-universe" argument seriously, I would have gotten, say, what you got out of it?

All the while still more convinced that my reaction was compelled by nature more than as a reflection of a "free will" I have no capacity to actually pin down.


phyllo wrote: It has nothing to do with "free will". In a deterministic system, the entity (you, me, a black box, a cylinder) is exposed to a multitude of inputs. It ignores some and it processes some. Then it acts on the results of the processing.


Again, depending entirely on how someone has come to understand -- given some measure of free will -- the meaning of "ignoring" here. From my frame of mind, determinism subsumes all matter in a future that unfolds only as it ever could have. The multitude of inputs, whether pertaining to me, you, a black box or a cylinder, are all inherently, necessarily embodied in the laws of matter.

We act and we ignore differently from the box and the cylinder. How? In that we consciously "choose" to. But that is only a manifestation of matter having evolved into a human brain that is not yet fully understood by science. There may be an element of actual volition embedded in the chemical and neurological interactions that unfold in our brain matter. And, sure, it may be traced back to one or another God; or to one or another understanding of living matter itself that makes it profoundly -- qualitatively -- different from the mindless matter in the black box and the cylinder.

Okay, you tell us what that is. Demonstrate it to us such that there can be no doubt whatsoever that human beings are able to freely opt for one set of behaviors rather than another.

Instead we get this:

phyllo wrote: For example, when a person leaves work, gets on a bus, gets off the bus and walks home ... he sees, hears, smells and feels trillions of things. He might overhear someone say that "the seawater was very warm today" which may prompt him to decide to go to the beach the following day. Thus his actions change as a result of a random input.

Saying that he has to have "free will" in order to decide to go to the beach or that he has no choice but to go to the beach, completely ignores the process that we witness happening in us and in other people.


In other words, we are simply to assume that the seqjuence of choices made by the man in this example, like the sequence of choices made by you to bring it to our attention, "proves" that how you understand all of this is more rational than the way I have come to understand it.

But: How does this demonstrate that what appears to you here to be random inputs really are random? Why, instead, can it not be argued that this is but an illusion of randomness. That all of these inputs are intertwined wholly in sync with the laws of matter.

We could be watching a movie of a man leaving work, getting on a bus, going off the bus, walking home, etc.. These acts aren't random if they are entirely scripted. Right? Well, why can't it be argumed that nature itself is the director here. Only we have no idea how that came to be because we have no kidea how to understand nature going back to existence itself.

Let alone, teleologically, figuring out if there is any meaning or purpose "behind" what nature and its laws entail. Instead, that's where your God comes in. Assuming of course that you came to understand God as you do freely, of your own volition, and in the manner in which you understand the meaning of that.

Really, what did the Stoics know about the human brain back then...compared to what neuroscientists today have learned about it?


phyllo wrote: By that logic, I guess it's pointless to read anything written prior to 1989 when the internet was "invented". Prior to that, people were a knuckle-dragging morons who didn't know or understand anything.


Logic? It's just common sense that the Stoic's understanding of a functioning human brain was considerbly less than our understanding today.

Note to others:

What on earth is he trying to suggest here about the internet? There is what was known about computer technology before 1989 and after.

On the other hand, image taking a trip in the Way-Back Machine and explaining the internet to the Stoics. Assuming some measure of human autonomy and/or volition and/or free will of course.

phyllo wrote: Actually you can understand human psychology and behavior without knowing much about the brain. Just like you can live, learn and prosper without knowing much about your body. Or drive a car without knowing how it works beyond understanding the cause and effect of the controls.


If you actually do believe that one can understand human psychology without first having a comprehensive understanding of the human brain -- compelled or not -- I have no illusions about ever changing your mind.

phyllo wrote: To answer your question ... The Stoics probably know very little about the brain but they knew a lot about being human.


Right, like what they knew about being human was enough for them to demonstrate definitively that what they knew was not wholly compelled by the laws of nature. Like these laws were different for them back then.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Determinism

Postby phyllo » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:25 am

This is typical of you in retort mode. I try to explain myself but that's not the reaction you are looking for. Or are demanding.
You don't need to explain yourself yet again. I have read that same explanation dozens of times. I understood it on a previous reading and my memory is not so bad that I forgot it.
Instead, I have to agree with you that had I taken the "chrysippus-cylinder-agency-in-a-material-universe" argument seriously, I would have gotten, say, what you got out of it?
You don't have to agree with it at all. You can vehemently disagree. But I would like to see some evidence that you actually thought about before you disagreed.

In all the thousands of posts, that have been directed towards you and you have responded to, I don't recall that you ever thought that an idea had any merit and that it caused you to think, research, and analyze.

IOW, you never seem to respond : "That's an interesting idea. I had not thought of that. Let me think about it for a while. No, after much reflection, I believe the flaw lies in this part of the argument."
Again, depending entirely on how someone has come to understand -- given some measure of free will -- the meaning of "ignoring" here. From my frame of mind, determinism subsumes all matter in a future that unfolds only as it ever could have. The multitude of inputs, whether pertaining to me, you, a black box or a cylinder, are all inherently, necessarily embodied in the laws of matter.

We act and we ignore differently from the box and the cylinder. How? In that we consciously "choose" to. But that is only a manifestation of matter having evolved into a human brain that is not yet fully understood by science. There may be an element of actual volition embedded in the chemical and neurological interactions that unfold in our brain matter. And, sure, it may be traced back to one or another God; or to one or another understanding of living matter itself that makes it profoundly -- qualitatively -- different from the mindless matter in the black box and the cylinder.

Okay, you tell us what that is. Demonstrate it to us such that there can be no doubt whatsoever that human beings are able to freely opt for one set of behaviors rather than another.
I don't see how I can demonstrate "that human beings are able to freely opt for one set of behaviors rather than another" when that's not even my point of view. I'm not saying that there is anything "profoundly -- qualitatively -- different".

You don't understand my position even after all these posts.
In other words, we are simply to assume that the seqjuence of choices made by the man in this example, like the sequence of choices made by you to bring it to our attention, "proves" that how you understand all of this is more rational than the way I have come to understand it.
No. I'm saying that reducing all human decisions and actions to being "compelled by natural laws" is a lame and ineffective way of describing humans. It's dumbing it down too much.
Logic? It's just common sense that the Stoic's understanding of a functioning human brain was considerbly less than our understanding today.
Sure but you don't need to understand the functioning of the human brain if you take a black box approach.
What on earth is he trying to suggest here about the internet? There is what was known about computer technology before 1989 and after.
I'm suggesting something about you ... that you sound like one of those people who think that everyone in the past was an idiot without understanding of anything.
If you actually do believe that one can understand human psychology without first having a comprehensive understanding of the human brain -- compelled or not -- I have no illusions about ever changing your mind.
You don't need to understand atomic structure, or the existence of existence, in order to build a cathedral in the Middle Ages. You need a good understanding of how stone and wood behave.
Right, like what they knew about being human was enough for them to demonstrate definitively that what they knew was not wholly compelled by the laws of nature. Like these laws were different for them back then.
A misrepresentation of the Stoic position. I guess you only skimmed the article.
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Re: Determinism

Postby obsrvr524 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:43 am

So can I briefly interrupt to ask how many of the 30 most recent posters on this board don't believe in determinism?

barbarianhorde
phyllo
Carleas
Mithus
Prismatic567
Jakob
Mad Man P
Karpel Tunnel
Meno
Fixed Cross
Ecmandu
promethean75
Arcturus Descending
surreptitious75
Peter Kropotkin
Gloominary
xhightension
FreeSpirit1983
thinkdr
Kalashnikov
Silhouette
Arcturus Descending
Exuberant Teleportation
waechter418
iambiguous
encode_decode
Magnus Anderson
Gamer
Maia
Magsj
Greatest I am
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Re: Determinism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:16 pm

I'm agnostic.
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Re: Determinism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:19 pm

phyllo wrote:
This is typical of you in retort mode. I try to explain myself but that's not the reaction you are looking for. Or are demanding.
You don't need to explain yourself yet again. I have read that same explanation dozens of times. I understood it on a previous reading and my memory is not so bad that I forgot it.
Instead, I have to agree with you that had I taken the "chrysippus-cylinder-agency-in-a-material-universe" argument seriously, I would have gotten, say, what you got out of it?
You don't have to agree with it at all. You can vehemently disagree. But I would like to see some evidence that you actually thought about before you disagreed.

In all the thousands of posts, that have been directed towards you and you have responded to, I don't recall that you ever thought that an idea had any merit and that it caused you to think, research, and analyze.

IOW, you never seem to respond : "That's an interesting idea. I had not thought of that. Let me think about it for a while. No, after much reflection, I believe the flaw lies in this part of the argument."
Again, depending entirely on how someone has come to understand -- given some measure of free will -- the meaning of "ignoring" here. From my frame of mind, determinism subsumes all matter in a future that unfolds only as it ever could have. The multitude of inputs, whether pertaining to me, you, a black box or a cylinder, are all inherently, necessarily embodied in the laws of matter.

We act and we ignore differently from the box and the cylinder. How? In that we consciously "choose" to. But that is only a manifestation of matter having evolved into a human brain that is not yet fully understood by science. There may be an element of actual volition embedded in the chemical and neurological interactions that unfold in our brain matter. And, sure, it may be traced back to one or another God; or to one or another understanding of living matter itself that makes it profoundly -- qualitatively -- different from the mindless matter in the black box and the cylinder.

Okay, you tell us what that is. Demonstrate it to us such that there can be no doubt whatsoever that human beings are able to freely opt for one set of behaviors rather than another.
I don't see how I can demonstrate "that human beings are able to freely opt for one set of behaviors rather than another" when that's not even my point of view. I'm not saying that there is anything "profoundly -- qualitatively -- different".

You don't understand my position even after all these posts.
In other words, we are simply to assume that the seqjuence of choices made by the man in this example, like the sequence of choices made by you to bring it to our attention, "proves" that how you understand all of this is more rational than the way I have come to understand it.
No. I'm saying that reducing all human decisions and actions to being "compelled by natural laws" is a lame and ineffective way of describing humans. It's dumbing it down too much.
Logic? It's just common sense that the Stoic's understanding of a functioning human brain was considerbly less than our understanding today.
Sure but you don't need to understand the functioning of the human brain if you take a black box approach.
What on earth is he trying to suggest here about the internet? There is what was known about computer technology before 1989 and after.
I'm suggesting something about you ... that you sound like one of those people who think that everyone in the past was an idiot without understanding of anything.
If you actually do believe that one can understand human psychology without first having a comprehensive understanding of the human brain -- compelled or not -- I have no illusions about ever changing your mind.
You don't need to understand atomic structure, or the existence of existence, in order to build a cathedral in the Middle Ages. You need a good understanding of how stone and wood behave.
Right, like what they knew about being human was enough for them to demonstrate definitively that what they knew was not wholly compelled by the laws of nature. Like these laws were different for them back then.
A misrepresentation of the Stoic position. I guess you only skimmed the article.
This was an extremely clear explanation of what you meant and what was frustrating (or disrespectful) and what was missing.
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Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:43 pm

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Re: Determinism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:54 pm

promethean75 wrote:I'm supersonic.
Well, if we know you're velocity you're location can't be determined, re:Heisenberg.
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