Determinism

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Re: Determinism

Postby promethean75 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:23 pm

well biggs if you must know, 'freewill' isn't only inconceivable but also unworkable in any possible system whatsoever. the first part - what is inconceivable - is what the concept 'will' is supposed to mean in the language of the freewill argument. but even if we were to grant such an entity or agency, we'd still be faced with the ontological problem of interacting substances that are not reducible to the same fundamental properties... in which case we wouldn't be able to understand how they affect each other. if you take for example descartes' substance-dualism of the material (world) and the immaterial (self), you might be able to imagine these two substances existing independently and on their own... but how would they interact? how would the immaterial self touch and make contact with the material world in order to cause and direct physical action?

now my school of analytical nihilism (i just started it, btw) goes even further in criticism. we could even grant that this interaction were possible between these two ontologically distinct substances... and we'd still not have a case of genuine freewill. we would have to ask what compels the immaterial self to interact as it does with the material world, which it is not a part of, without itself being subject to some form of immaterial causality. that is to say, we'd have to posit an infinite regress of 'freewills' to get around this dilemma.

so if you ax me about the cash value of this fact, i'd admit that there is very little to it; we still live in a world as if we have freewill. it certainly seems like we do, and as such we have to find a workable way to live that sustains this illusion without it causing collateral damage. problem is, it's causing a whole lotta collateral damage in ethics (and criminal justice, especially). this is something peacegirl was very attentive to and wrote a lot about.

the great paradox here is that abandoning belief in freewill actually has the opposite effect of fatalism and places more responsibility on man to control his environment and the causes within it. and of course you'd say 'but even that would be part of the dominos toppling over', yes. i admit that at this point we have not yet worked out a way to deal with this redundancy, but our research does show great promise. we're now working on a theory called polymeric causal holism. its central thesis is that when a certain threshold of determined events occurs, an emergent self-determining effect results and is able to separate itself from the causal chain from which it evolved and direct itself as if it had freewill. but this doesn't happen on an individual level. it happens on a ecological level... and by ecological i mean the interactions between environment, intelligent animals, and language users.

no just kidding. there still ain't no freewill. i wuz just bullshitting.
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2661
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:30 pm

promethean75 wrote:well biggs if you must know, 'freewill' isn't only inconceivable but also unworkable in any possible system whatsoever. the first part - what is inconceivable - is what the concept 'will' is supposed to mean in the language of the freewill argument. but even if we were to grant such an entity or agency, we'd still be faced with the ontological problem of interacting substances that are not reducible to the same fundamental properties... in which case we wouldn't be able to understand how they affect each other. if you take for example descartes' substance-dualism of the material (world) and the immaterial (self), you might be able to imagine these two substances existing independently and on their own... but how would they interact? how would the immaterial self touch and make contact with the material world in order to cause and direct physical action?

now my school of analytical nihilism (i just started it, btw) goes even further in criticism. we could even grant that this interaction were possible between these two ontologically distinct substances... and we'd still not have a case of genuine freewill. we would have to ask what compels the immaterial self to interact as it does with the material world, which it is not a part of, without itself being subject to some form of immaterial causality. that is to say, we'd have to posit an infinite regress of 'freewills' to get around this dilemma.

so if you ax me about the cash value of this fact, i'd admit that there is very little to it; we still live in a world as if we have freewill. it certainly seems like we do, and as such we have to find a workable way to live that sustains this illusion without it causing collateral damage. problem is, it's causing a whole lotta collateral damage in ethics (and criminal justice, especially). this is something peacegirl was very attentive to and wrote a lot about.

the great paradox here is that abandoning belief in freewill actually has the opposite effect of fatalism and places more responsibility on man to control his environment and the causes within it. and of course you'd say 'but even that would be part of the dominos toppling over', yes. i admit that at this point we have not yet worked out a way to deal with this redundancy, but our research does show great promise. we're now working on a theory called polymeric causal holism. its central thesis is that when a certain threshold of determined events occurs, an emergent self-determining effect results and is able to separate itself from the causal chain from which it evolved and direct itself as if it had freewill. but this doesn't happen on an individual level. it happens on a ecological level... and by ecological i mean the interactions between environment, intelligent animals, and language users.

no just kidding. there still ain't no freewill. i wuz just bullshitting.


Pick one:

* you couldn't have said it better if you tried
* you couldn't have said it worse if you tried

You know, if there really ain't no freewill.
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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:57 pm

Reclaiming Freedom
Steve Taylor says of determinism: “I refute it thus!”

As we move through childhood, with the help of our parents, we hopefully begin to control our impulses and desires. For example, we learn that we can’t have everything exactly when we want it, and so learn to delay gratification, developing self-control. As we need less care and attention from our parents, we exercise more autonomy, learn to make more decisions for ourselves and to follow our own interests and goals. In this sense, human development is a process of becoming less bound by biological and environmental influences and gain more free will and autonomy. And ideally, this process should continue throughout our lives.


Ever and always it is merely assumed that this reconfiguration is not wholly configured by the laws of nature themselves. In fact, some are compelled by nature to get really, really fierce in insisting that their own life is shaped and molded wholly in accordance with their own autonomous behaviors. The ubermen among us in particular mock those who insist that they were never able not to mock those who were never able not to believe that their own lives are considerably less remarkable because they were never able not to be.

These exchanges can get really, really surreal, really, really fast.

But, even assuming volition, we are then confronted with that which our free will and autonomy does in fact pursue out in the world with others in shaping those biological and environmental influences. How ought they be shaped and molded given that this is something that is more or less in our command.

And these exchange are often not only surreal but, at times, downright vicious. Not only am I free but I use my freedom in the pursuit of those behaviors that are the obligation of all rational and virtuous men and women to pursue in turn.

So, which is worse...being enthrall to the laws of nature or to the laws of those objectivists who set out to shape and mold the world [and everyone in in it] to their own moral and political specs.
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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Determinism

Postby Tab » Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:29 pm

Freewill is macroscopic quantum coherence suspending the collapse of superpositions long enough for the brain to get it's shit together and effect the outcome.

Not sure I entirely believe it, but it sure sounds cool.

At any rate, I'll settle for 'unpredictable will', which kicks determinism out the window. Kinda.
Image
User avatar
Tab
Deeply Shallow
 
Posts: 8594
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:49 pm

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:39 pm

Tab wrote:Freewill is macroscopic quantum coherence suspending the collapse of superpositions long enough for the brain to get it's shit together and effect the outcome.

Not sure I entirely believe it, but it sure sounds cool.

At any rate, I'll settle for 'unpredictable will', which kicks determinism out the window. Kinda.


Pick one:

* you couldn't have said it better if you tried
* you couldn't have said it worse if you tried

:banana-dance: :wink: :D :) :( :o :-? 8) :lol: :x :P :oops: :evil: :evilfun: =D> #-o [-o< 8-[ :-k :-" O:) =; :-& :-$ :arrow: :!: :idea: :mrgreen: :| :?: :shock: ](*,) :eusa-shifty: :drool: :banana-dance:

Sorry, that too was beyond my control.
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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:29 pm

Reclaiming Freedom
Steve Taylor says of determinism: “I refute it thus!”

Spiritual development can also be seen as a process of gaining increased autonomy. For example, many Eastern spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism or yoga, place great emphasis on self-discipline and self-control: control of our own behaviour, so that we no longer cause harm to others; control of our desires, so that we no longer lust after physical pleasures; control of our thoughts, so that we can quieten the mind through meditation, and so on. In some traditions, spiritual development is seen as a process of ‘taming’ the body and mind, and this is, of course, only possible through intense self-discipline, requiring self-control.


Again, what am I missing here? As though somehow the "spiritual" facet of human interactions is exempt from the laws of matter. The Buddha teaches self-discipline and self-control. And, surely, the Buddha himself was exempt from the laws of nature.

And certainly God is.

It always comes back to the psychological sense -- here manifested in religion -- that [somehow] I just know that what I am thinking and feeling and saying and doing is under my control. Sure, contingent on both genetic and memetic variables that are, in some crucial respects, beyond my control, but... but never completely beyond my control.

And that may well be the case. I certainly have not reached the point where, at times, I don't have significant doubts about my own recent turn in the direction of determinism. Viscerally, it just does not seem possible that I am not of my own volition [whatever that means] typing what I do here. But it's that I can't know this beyond all doubt that is always there exasperating me.

Although it can sometimes occur suddenly and spontaneously, the deep serenity and intensified awareness of spiritual awakening is usually the culmination of a long process of increasing our innate quotient of personal freedom to the point where our minds become the dominant influence. When spiritually awakened people are referred to as ‘masters’, this could easily refer to them as being masters of themselves.


Right, like he can go to the scientists who study this empirically and experimentally, using the rigors of the "scientific method", and say, "Okay, give me the definitive argument I can use to prove that a 'spiritual' quest does in fact demonstrate the reality of free will among our species."

Really, who cares how long the introspective process is when there are folks on both sides of the debate who have gone down that path and come to different conclusions.

Disciplines like Buddhism are just more intent and intense in focusing in on the ego in ways that other religious denominations are not. But that doesn't make either the intention or the intensity of the pursuit any less necessarily exempt from whatever brought matter into existence and then laid down the law regarding what it can or cannot do. Only to the extent that the human brain is shown to be the one exception to the rule, does autonomy become more plausible. Spiritually or otherwise.
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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:03 pm

Saving the Self
Raymond Tallis defends personal identity from those who say the self is an illusion.

Neuroscience cannot find the self (even less the free agent) for two reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t examine the person but the isolated nervous system and it is an unproven and highly implausible assumption that the person really is the isolated nervous system.


Tell me this is not downright "spooky"? There you are poking around inside the brain or probing it in real time, functioning through fMRI images. And who knows what new technology the neuroscientists either have or will have at their disposal.

But it's not like they have ever reached the point where, while performing their experiments, probing their images, they actually make contact with the "I". The part of the brain able to be separated out from the purely biological functions of all the parts.

Imagine that conversation!

Secondly, it approaches the nervous system from the impersonal standpoint of physical chemistry so that the brain boils down to sets of semi-permeable membranes along which electrochemical impulses propagate. While the brain is a necessary condition of the self (the beheaded are pretty selfless), we should not expect to find the self in a stand-alone bit of brain but in a brain that is part of a body environed by the natural world and a massively complex, historically evolved, culture. Uprooting the brain from all this is a sure-fire way of mislaying the self.


See? As soon as you start in on the actual interaction between brain scientists and any one particular brain, you're back to the chemical and the neurological interactions that can be documented and encompassed as in fact true objectively.

At best we can note the biological parameters involved and then point out how this particular brain in this particular head in this particular person is intertwined with all of the other things that we are reasonably certain about regarding the historical, cultural, and interpersonal "I".

Without coming into contact with that "stand alone bit of the brain", we are back to square one.
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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:13 pm

Reclaiming Freedom
Steve Taylor says of determinism: “I refute it thus!”

In Western philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche meant something similar ["being masters of themselves"] with his concept of ‘self-overcoming’. Nietzsche spoke disparagingly of the ‘Ultimate Man’, who is completely satisfied with himself as he is and strives only to make his life as comfortable and pleasurable as possible. But in reality, says Nietzsche, human nature is not fixed or finished. Human beings are part of an evolutionary process – not a goal, but a bridge – “a rope fastened between animal and Superman” (Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1891). The potential Superman is the human being who is not self-satisfied, who has the urge to ‘overcome himself.’ For him, life is an attempt at bridging the gulf between animal and superman.


Of course Nietzsche too was no less addicted to his own "general description intellectual contraptions" in exploring the nature of "I" able to "overcome" itself "in his head".

But what "out in the world" does that mean when, in overcoming yourself in any particular context, others overcoming themselves, insist that the consequences of your own overcoming comes into conflict with the consequences of their overcoming.

Exactly: As soon as this or that overcoming precipitates social and political and economic conflicts, what then?

Suppose you set out to "overcome" yourself in regard to the coronavirus? How do you suppose that might play itself out given particular behaviors that you choose?

As for being "self-satisfied", how is this not in turn the embodiment of dasein? You may choose a new path and for all practical purposes your choices may improve your lot in the world. But what I always focus on is the part where the consequences of this "new you" detracts from the well-being of others.

The part that for me precipitates the fracturing and the fragmenting. How does it not for you? And, again, how is any of this back and forth assessing able to be demonstrated as within the parameters of human autonomy?

Here's how the author "demonstrates" it?

Liberating Freedom

We all possess a degree of freedom, and we all have the capacity to extend the degree of freedom we’re bequeathed – to become less dominated by our genes, our brain chemistry, and the society and wider environment into which we’re born. We are all potentially much more powerful than we have been led to believe, even to the extent of being able to alter or even control the forces that have been supposed to completely control us. And to a large extent our well-being, our achievements and our sense of meaning in life depend on this. The more you exercise and increase your freedom, the more meaningful and fulfilling your life will be.


He merely asserts all of the above to be true by assuming he was not compelled by the laws of nature embodied in his brain to do so. And it's not like the determinists can demonstrate otherwise. So, around and around we all go, leap by leap by leap.
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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:35 pm

The Free Will of Ebenezer Scrooge
Richard Kamber considers the possibility of changing destiny.

The eeriest episode in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the visit to Ebenezer Scrooge of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. The shrouded specter transports the old man to a bedroom where his own corpse lies “plundered and bereft, unwatched, unwept, uncared for,” and then to his grave in a churchyard “overrun by grass and weeds.” When Scrooge begs to “see some tenderness connected with a death” the ghost conducts him to the Cratchit family grieving over the death of Tiny Tim. Profoundly shaken, Scrooge implores: “Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!” The ghost remains silent, but we know from the end of Dickens’ tale that Scrooge begins altering his life on Christmas day.


Wow. I recall as a child, there were two movies that first got me to thinking about the relationship between time, myself and free will. One was The Time Machine with Rod Taylor and the other was A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim.

And it was the part that took us into the future that most intrigued me. After all if we could go into the future and observe it, how could it ever not but be that way?

But then there is also the focus of films like Back To the Future, Timecrimes and Primer...films that explore how, if we go back in time and change something, that changes the future into something else. But what I could never quite configure in my head was the part about the future. If, for example, today, we could go forward in time 6 months and see our coronavirus ravaged world then, how could things not be compelled to unfold such that this was the only possible future?

Then the part where, in the multiverse, every possible combination of events exists in one or another of an infinite number of parallel universes.

Even now I still can't quite wrap my head around the extent to which I am thinking this through in the most rational manner. Or if there is a way in which to think it through in the most rational manner at all.

Who can really "assure us" of anything 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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:57 pm

The Free Will of Ebenezer Scrooge
Richard Kamber considers the possibility of changing destiny.

Fate & Freedom

This story differs in a philosophically interesting way from fatalistic tales of protagonists who, although warned about calamities to come, are unable to avoid them. Oedipus for example, as foretold in prophecy, is fated to kill his father and marry his mother regardless of the steps taken to prevent these deeds from happening. Ignorant of how exactly his fate will unfold, and blind to its inevitability, he becomes the instrument of his own destruction.


Again, however, this presumes there must be at least some measure of human autonomy here. Otherwise in a wholly determined universe as I understand it both protagonists act out only that which their creators [Dickens and Sophocles ] were compelled by nature to invent for them.

That's how surreal this all becomes. The characters in both Oedipus Rex and A Christmas Carol, acquire "free will" from the authors who created them. But could not nature be construed as the "author" of both Dickens and Sophocles themselves? It's just that with nature, the most surreal aspect of all is that there does not appear to be any teleological intention behind anything at all. Matter is just somehow able reconfigure itself into a mindful consciousness that is still no less driven to interact with all other matter [mindful or not] in the only possible way that can be.

In other words, how is being a philosopher examining this change anything? Aren't they all in turn no less subsumed in these laws?

Scrooge, on the other hand, wisely asks whether the future that he has glimpsed is inevitable: “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?” He sees at once the critical difference: “Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead… But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.” Although the ghost remains silent, Scrooge bets on “May be” rather than “Will be.” Hoping that his fate is up to him, he begins to mend his miserly ways.


See my points above. The wisdom that Dickens imparts to Scrooge either is or is not interchangeable with nature creating a brain able to accomplish this. To make a distinction between "may be" and "will be" seems part and parcel of the position described by the compatibilists. A point of view I am still not able to grapple with and grasp. If it is nature and only nature that is behind things "departed from", then nature and Dickens and Scrooge and all of us are intertwined in the one and only one possible reality.

But over and again I acknowledge the problem here may well be my own inability to think this through correctly...assuming it is within my capacity even to think it through correctly.
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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: Determinism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:15 pm

The Free Will of Ebenezer Scrooge
Richard Kamber considers the possibility of changing destiny.

Scrooge’s mending of his miserly ways is relevant to current debates about free will because of the ‘consequence’ argument. The consequence argument asserts that if past events and the laws of nature determine everything that will ever happen, then no one has any choice about anything. There is no free will.


Of course here we immediately bump into the gap/chasm between deducing that this is true in an argument and, say, devising an experiment that would demonstrate that this is empathically true empirically, existentially. Only here the experiment itself may or may not be wholly compelled by nature.

Same with the current coronavirus pandemic. Few would argue that the virus itself is choosing to wreak havoc on the lives of millions and millions of us. And our bodies react to it [down to the most miniscule of quantum particles] like atomic clockwork. Until we come to the brain. Are the laws of nature also wholly applicable to it as well? And how far are we from closing the gap between posts like these and definitive experiments able to provide the definitive proof that my "I" and your "I" does or does not possess at least some capacity to the react to the virus of our own free will.

Since visits by ghosts violate the laws of nature, one might doubt that the consequence argument applies to Scrooge’s story at all. We can sidestep this doubt by interpreting his encounters as dreams or hallucinations. Dreams and hallucinations are natural events, and they have natural causes. Indeed, Scrooge himself suggests this interpretation when he says to the first ghost, his old partner, Jacob Marley, “There is more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” Given a naturalistic interpretation, Scrooge’s hallucination of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is just another link in the causal chain. Past events, such as eating greasy gravy for dinner, and the laws of nature, have made it inevitable that Scrooge will have this terrifying vision, that he will resolve to become a better man, and that he will make a good start of it. These developments are lucky for Scrooge and the people around him; but if they are the necessary consequences of chains of events that started long before he was born, it seems doubtful that he can take credit for his change of heart, or be said to have done it out of free will.


Still, however more protracted our speculations become, nothing really changes. These conjectures either are entirely subsumed in consequences that are entirely subsumed in the laws of matter, or someone comes up with the verifiable evidence, documented scientifically, that "I" really is somehow the one exception to the rule.

And dreams provide us only with experiences regarding just how profoundly problematic reality can be...or can appear to be. "I" while in them seems as authentic as "I" wholly awake and aware. These "chains of events" in dreams are experienced by us as though "I" is more than just "another link in the causal chain". But how is this then conclusively, decisively confirmed?
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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 35009
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Previous

Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users