Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

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Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Santiago » Tue Oct 12, 2021 6:24 pm

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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Flannel Jesus » Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:56 pm

Imo any conception of free will which is incompatible with determinism is probably a confusion. I can explain that position in more detail, but I've come to discover it's actually a relatively standard common position so... might not be necessary.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Santiago » Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:59 pm

Flannel, explain it in detail. I'm interested.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:09 pm

Copy and paste problem... I’m looking at it
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:15 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Copy and paste problem... I’m looking at it


Santiago, I sent you a private message
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Santiago » Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:33 pm

Ecmandu, I didn't see much in that thread, to be honest...

Seems kind of disorganized.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby obsrvr524 » Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:42 pm

Santiago wrote:Contrary to many claims by determinists, free-will has not been refuted. It's still a viable position.


Is your claim that freewill has no cause at all - or perhaps that the cause of freewill itself has no cause?

If there is some action taking place that is not being determined by anything at all - that action must be arbitrary (by definition) and that means it is random - unpredictable - not belonging to anything or anyone - just a random happening that could have just as easily been totally different.

How could such a freewill be yours? What makes it your freewill - since you have no control over it either.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Flannel Jesus » Tue Oct 12, 2021 11:59 pm

Santiago wrote:Flannel, explain it in detail. I'm interested.

Sure, so this is actually a pretty common argument that comes up in these situations. I might be framing it a bit different from standard, I'm not sure.

Basically, determinism can be phrased as "if you could rewind time and press play again, the same thing would happen every time."

I'm contrast, free will is often phrased as "I could have done differently."

It's no wonder that they're placed as opposites to each other, one is saying you couldn't have done differently and one is saying you could have! However, I think the problem is that the second one, "I could have done differently", is a bit more subtle than that. I think it's more of a "I could have done differently IF" type situation, so you have to get really clear, could have differently if what.

But let's ignore that for now and look at the naive interpretation, "if you rewound time and pressed play again, I might have acted differently, and that's because of my free will". If at time 23:47 everything was in exactly a state that we'll call A, including you and everything they makes up you and your mind, and you make some decision at 23:48, maybe you decide to have chocolate instead of vanilla, and then you rewound time and pressed play again, and we're back at 23:47 and once again everything is in state A, and then at 23:48 you once again decide a desert but this time you choose vanilla instead of chocolate, then...

Then you haven't demonstrated free will at all. We rewound time back to state A, and state A includes you and everything that makes you up, so if a different result comes from that state, that different result wasn't because of you. It wasn't sourced from you. You can't say "it was because of ME that I chose chocolate this time", because every aspect of you was exactly the same the time you chose vanilla and the time you chose chocolate. So something else, something that isn't you, must have been the source of the change between the two worlds.

Now keep in mind I'm not saying that determinism is true. That's largely irrelevant to this particular point. I'm saying that it doesn't matter if determinism is true or not. Determinism not being true doesn't add to your free will. Adding randomness into the universe doesn't empower your will in any sense, and in my opinion actually WEAKENS your will, since now your will has become intermittently enslaved to some sort of universal random number generator. Randomness takes away control, it does not add to it.

So when we go back to the question of "what does it mean to feel like I could have done differently?", We can't say "free will means I could have done differently even if everything was the same". Compatibilist options are the only ones that make sense here, "I could have done differently if..." and what follows largely depends on your particular flavor of compatibilism I guess. "I could have done differently if I wanted to" or "I could have done differently if my past were different" or maybe many other interpretations of compatibilism that I'm not familiar with.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Motor Daddy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:19 am

Flannel Jesus wrote:Basically, determinism can be phrased as "if you could rewind time and press play again, the same thing would happen every time."

I'm contrast, free will is often phrased as "I could have done differently."


The thing is, you can't change the past, it has already occurred.

What you have the ability to change is the FUTURE.

You have been drinking a six pack of beer every day for the last 5 years. There is nothing you can do to change that history, it is set in stone.

However, you know what is going to happen tomorrow unless you decide to change something. You CAN decide to change the future. You can decide NOW to not drink a six pack TOMORROW, and make sure that's what happens in the future.

After tomorrow has come and gone, and you rewind the tape and press play, you will see that you DID do differently than the previous days. YOU changed the future by making changes that you decided to do. You decided to not drink any more, and that is what happened in the past. NOW you don't drink anymore, because you decided not to.

Changes that occurred in the past were decisions made about the future, in the past. You changed the future by deciding to make those changes. Nothing can change the past, but you can clearly see that you made those changes in the past.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:29 am

I don’t think you can change the past, present, or future. You made the past be, what it was, for you; you make the present be, what it is, and you will make the future be, what it will be. There is no notion of changing anything here,

Flannel Jesus’s take on “could have done otherwise” seems novel to me and I will have to think about it.

I’ve been arguing in the extant determinism thread that if we drop the notion that the laws of nature are prescriptive, but see them as merely descriptive, then we can avoid the idea that those laws, in conjunction with antecedent events, entail all future events, including human actions. On this account the past influences our choices but does not determine them.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Motor Daddy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:39 am

pood wrote:I don’t think you can change the past, present, or future.


You definitely can not change the past.
There is no present, because everything up until this point in time called "now" is the past. The point in time "now" has no duration. It is not a second, a minute, an hour or day. "Now" is a POINT in time, which has no duration.
The future can definitely be altered by the decisions you make TODAY.

YOU can decide to make a better life for yourself tomorrow, by making the necessary changes today to shape the future.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:47 am

Yes, but what I’m saying is that shaping the future isn’t changing the future. It is making the future be, what it will be.

The only sense of change I can see is changing the future counterfactually — changing it from what it could be, to what it will be. But I don’t think this sense of counterfactual change accords with what we commonly mean by changing things.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Motor Daddy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:52 am

pood wrote:Yes, but what I’m saying is that shaping the future isn’t changing the future. It is making the future be, what it will be.

The only sense of change I can see is changing the future counterfactually — changing it from what it could be, to what it will be. But I don’t think this sense of counterfactual change accords with what we commonly mean by changing things.


Well if for the last 5 years you've been drinking a six pack of beer every day, what are the chances that tomorrow you will drink another six pack of beer?? Pretty darn good! You can change that almost certain future by altering your actions, so that when tomorrow comes, you don't drink that six pack.

Same with smoking. If you've smoked for 20+ years, I'd say it's almost certain that tomorrow you will smoke, UNLESS you change something today to alter what happens tomorrow.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:04 am

I think this is pretty much a terminological dispute. In your beer drinking example, you are changing your life, not your future. You are making the future be, what it will be, by changing your life. After all, if the future does not yet exist, how can the future be changed? You can only change something existent — I can change my shirt, for example.

The question gets much more interesting, however, if we ask: what if the future is not coming into existence, but actually exists?
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Motor Daddy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:19 am

pood wrote:I think this is pretty much a terminological dispute. In your beer drinking example, you are changing your life, not your future. You are making the future be, what it will be, by changing your life. After all, if the future does not yet exist, how can the future be changed? You can only change something existent — I can change my shirt, for example.

The question gets much more interesting, however, if we ask: what if the future is not coming into existence, but actually exists?


The future is tomorrow. There is no history of tomorrow because it hasn't happened yet. You have the ability to make your tomorrow be what you'd like it to be. Does it always go as you plan? No. But making decisions now shapes your future tomorrow.

You can decide today to buy a case of beer so that you have beer for the next 4 days, or you can decide today to stop drinking, so that tomorrow you won't be drinking a six pack. The choice is yours. The choices you make today effect how tomorrow will be. You can't determine what will happen in the future, but you can mold it into the way you want it to be. It doesn't always turn out the way you planned. Heck, you might die today, who knows.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:37 am

Motor Daddy wrote:
pood wrote:I think this is pretty much a terminological dispute. In your beer drinking example, you are changing your life, not your future. You are making the future be, what it will be, by changing your life. After all, if the future does not yet exist, how can the future be changed? You can only change something existent — I can change my shirt, for example.

The question gets much more interesting, however, if we ask: what if the future is not coming into existence, but actually exists?


The future is tomorrow. There is no history of tomorrow because it hasn't happened yet. You have the ability to make your tomorrow be what you'd like it to be. Does it always go as you plan? No. But making decisions now shapes your future tomorrow.

You can decide today to buy a case of beer so that you have beer for the next 4 days, or you can decide today to stop drinking, so that tomorrow you won't be drinking a six pack. The choice is yours. The choices you make today effect how tomorrow will be. You can't determine what will happen in the future, but you can mold it into the way you want it to be. It doesn't always turn out the way you planned. Heck, you might die today, who knows.


Well, yes, I agree. You are now saying what I am saying. Shaping the future isn’t changing the future, because the future does not yet exist. You can’t change something that doesn’t exist. But you can shape, not change, the future, by what you do today.

But what if the future does exist?

Consider: suppose I live in Omaha. I can say, San Francisco exists, it just doesn’t exist here, in Omaha. It exists to the west of me. And New York City also exists, but not here in Omaha. It exists east of me.

It is currently October 12, 2021. The 20th century exists, it just doesn’t exist now. It exists earlier than me. And the 22nd century exists, but not now, on Oct. 12, 2021. It exists later than me.

Or again: Jupiter exists, but it is distant from me in space.

Socrates exists, but he is distant from me in time.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Motor Daddy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:06 am

pood wrote:But what if the future does exist?


It doesn't, the future has not occurred yet. Tomorrow does not exist yet.

pood wrote:It is currently October 12, 2021. The 20th century exists, it just doesn’t exist now. It exists earlier than me. And the 22nd century exists, but not now, on Oct. 12, 2021. It exists later than me.


The 20th century is history, it does not exist. The 20th Century was a 100 year moment in time, that ended December 31, 1999. It does not exist. The clock continued to tick, and it is the 21st century now.

What you are saying is the equivalent of saying that the 100 laps the Earth made around the Sun, that ended 21 laps ago, still exists. Those 100 laps don't exist, they are simply something that happened in the past, over a duration of 100 years.

pood wrote:Socrates exists, but he is distant from me in time.


He doesn't exist, he existed in the past. The name Socrates exists, but the man is long gone!
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:10 am

Are you sure about all that?

See: McTaggert’s A and B series of time, and Minkowski’s 1908 postulate of the absolute world.

With respect to this thread, if the future is as fixed as the past, as it is under McTaggert’s B series and the postulate of the absolute world, can we still have free will?
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Motor Daddy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:12 am

pood wrote:Are you sure about all that?


ABSOLUTELY!
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:18 am

Google what I mentioned above about McTaggert and Minkowski. You are far too sure of yourself. :wink:
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:19 am

There are powerful arguments that all moments in time exist in the same way that all locations in space exist. For the sake of argument let’s say that is true about time. What does it mean for free will?
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Motor Daddy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:21 am

pood wrote:Google what I mentioned above about McTaggert and Minkowski. You are far too sure of yourself. :wink:


You are far too wishy-washy. :)

I'm not gonna waste time reading anything by Minkowski, he was a CRANK! SCI-FI writer extraordinaire! LOL
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby Motor Daddy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:24 am

pood wrote:There are powerful arguments that all moments in time exist in the same way that all locations in space exist.


Wrong. Time is duration. The duration of time that is tomorrow has not yet occurred.

All those space and time arguments are on par with time traveling Back To The Future style. It's pure science fiction BS! Stop wasting time with that fairy-tale BS!
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:35 am

Motor Daddy, this is a philosophy board. Go read up on the philosophy of time. Start with Minkowski, McTaggert, and presentism vs. eternalism.
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Re: Poking Holes in Determinist Arguments Against Free-Will

Postby pood » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:41 am

Motor Daddy wrote:
pood wrote:Google what I mentioned above about McTaggert and Minkowski. You are far too sure of yourself. :wink:


You are far too wishy-washy. :)

I'm not gonna waste time reading anything by Minkowski, he was a CRANK! SCI-FI writer extraordinaire! LOL


Oh, right, because you’re a relativity denialist. Like a flat earther.
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