• Olivier5
    1.7k
    So how have you come to the conclusion you have, without any contributory evidence?Isaac

    Because I studied physics, chemistry and biology, and those foundational sciences are currently underterministic.

    Now, if you can prove that modern neurology is on the whole deterministic, please do.
  • Isaac
    3.9k
    Because I studied physics, chemistry and biology, and those foundational sciences are currently underterministic.Olivier5

    OK then, let's have the nearest thing. What's the undeterministic theory of active transport across a cell membrane?
  • Olivier5
    1.7k
    What's the undeterministic theory of active transport across a cell membrane?Isaac

    It's the theories you know of, I guess. None of them pretends that one can always predict any and all active transport.
  • khaled
    2.4k
    Whether or not you can practically predict it is different from whether or not it is fundamentally deterministic or random. I doubt any of those theories state that active transport across a cell membrane is fundamentally random rather than pragmatically so.
  • Isaac
    3.9k
    None of them pretends that one can always predict any and all active transport.Olivier5

    Inability to predict is not lack of determinism. It's lack of sufficient modelling accuracy. Lack of determinism would need to propose a randomising mechanism.
  • TheMadFool
    8.6k
    The free speech dilemma is like the gun dilemma. The good guys know that they need guns (free speech) to defend themselves but to do that they have to risk guns (free speech) getting into the wrong hands. To ensure that the good guys are well-protected guns (free speech) are essential but for that the good guys must risk harm from bad guys with guns.
  • Olivier5
    1.7k
    Inability to predict is not lack of determinism. It's lack of sufficient modelling accuracy.Isaac
    A model which does not predict individual events, but instead predicts the aggregate outcome of many events in a statistical manner, is not a determinist model. Period. Now you can say that it does not preclude some deeper, unknown deterministic outcome pathways, but that's like saying that unicorns may exist, but they are invisible to us.

    Lack of determinism would need to propose a randomising mechanism.

    Err... Quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, what else?
  • Janus
    9.9k
    I don’t have that presupposition. I don’t know if they’re deterministic or not. I know they’re either deterministic or random. And you define freedom so that it’s not either.khaled



    Yes, I'm allowing that the intelligence which makes decisions may not be determined by any antecedent processes. Obviously that cannot be proven just as it's denial cannot. We all choose to believe what seems most obvious to us given our presuppositions.

    To me the most obvious thing is that we are free and morally responsible. That cannot be reconciled with the idea that our decisions are wholly determined by physical processes regardless of whether those physical processes are themselves deterministic or random.

    So I accept that the two paradigms are correct in their own contexts, and make no demand that the irreconcilable be reconciled. Instead I simply accept that there are irreconcilable truths and that it is human presumption that demands that they must be reconcilable.

    The demand for one overarching truth of the matter across all domains leads inexorably to reductionism and eliminativism; one or other of the paradigms must be reduced to the other which amounts to eliminating it.
  • khaled
    2.4k
    That cannot be reconciled with the idea that our decisions are wholly determined by physical processesJanus

    Is exactly where I'd disagree with you. It just requires a definition of freedom and moral responsibility that makes any sense.

    So I accept that the two paradigms are correct in their own contexts, and make no demand that the irreconcilable be reconciled.Janus

    The way you defined freedom doesn't just make them irreconcilable. It makes them contradictory. You are proposing that something mental can affect a physical system. That's an empirical claim. That telekinesis is possible.

    If it isn't then what exactly do you mean by "My decision caused me to go to the candy store" or whatever your first example was?
  • khaled
    2.4k
    A model which does not predict individual events, but instead predicts the aggregate outcome of many events in a statistical manner, is not a determinist model. Period.Olivier5

    False.
  • Olivier5
    1.7k
    To me the most obvious thing is that we are free and morally responsible. That cannot be reconciled with the idea that our decisions are wholly determined by physical processes regardless of whether those physical processes are themselves deterministic or random.Janus

    Yes, if 'physical' means 'non-mental', as is often conceived including by Khaled. But if one considers the mind itself as a cause, as a force in the world, then I think it follows that mental events ought to be regarded as 'physical'. They must have some materiality. The mind maters.
  • Ansiktsburk
    128
    So all this talk about determinism, free will and physical processes - how does that have an impact on Free speech at campuses?
  • khaled
    2.4k
    Yes, if 'physical' means 'non-mental', as is often conceived including by Khaled.Olivier5

    I usually hear it the other way around. That the mental is non physical. Physical is whatever physicists study. People don’t want to associate with their own brains for some reason.

    But if one considers the mind itself as a cause, as a force in the world, then I think it follows that mental events ought to be regarded as 'physical'. They must have some materiality. The mind maters.Olivier5

    This is one way to reconcile them. But people say this is “reductive”. Something about minds being described as forces makes people cringe for some reason.

    The other, keeping the “mental is not physical” premise would force one to admit that the mental runs parallel to the physical but doesn’t interfere with it.

    Usually people try to sit somewhere in the middle. The mind matters but also the mind has nothing to do with “mere physical processes”. Which just makes no sense.
  • Olivier5
    1.7k
    Something about minds being described as forces makes people cringe for some reason.khaled

    I'd gladly talk to those people, if they ever come forward, and review those reasons, if they are ever provided. In the meantime, you'd agree with me that many other people think of their mind as a kind of captain of their body. Hence they assume minds have causal force.
  • NOS4A2
    4.3k


    So all this talk about determinism, free will and physical processes - how does that have an impact on Free speech at campuses?

    Some believe words can harm the human body, like the sophists of old, and therefor if they rid the world of the words their pain will end.
  • Janus
    9.9k
    Yes, if 'physical' means 'non-mental', as is often conceived including by Khaled. But if one considers the mind itself as a cause, as a force in the world, then I think it follows that mental events ought to be regarded as 'physical'. They must have some materiality. The mind maters.Olivier5

    :up: Yes, I haven't been arguing that the mind is non-physical in any substantive sense; I am not a dualist. But people, apparently including Khaled, find this hard to understand and come up with objections based on presuppositions I am not making.
  • khaled
    2.4k
    Yes, I haven't been arguing that the mind is non-physical in any substantive senseJanus

    Oh. My bad then.

    If you were not a dualist just say so sooner.
  • khaled
    2.4k
    In the meantime, you'd agree with me that many other people think of their mind as a kind of captain of their body. Hence they assume minds have causal force.Olivier5

    Sure. Problem is when they also think that the mind is completely divorced from physical systems. That it’s entirely non-physical.
  • Olivier5
    1.7k
    Problem is when they also think that the mind is completely divorced from physical systems. That it’s entirely non-physical.khaled

    My point entirely: the mind must be physical in some way. It exists, it works, it does things.
  • Olivier5
    1.7k
    Oh. My bad then.

    If you were not a dualist just say so sooner.
    khaled

    Told you that you were not paying attention...
  • Olivier5
    1.7k
    Yes, I haven't been arguing that the mind is non-physical in any substantive senseJanus

    Okay but then, there is no contradiction between your two paradigms. The mind is just one of many things that matter, and it is free to the exact extent that it is self-determined.
  • Isaac
    3.9k
    Yes, I'm allowing that the intelligence which makes decisions may not be determined by any antecedent processes. Obviously that cannot be proven just as it's denial cannot.Janus

    Of course it can. We've never, ever encountered any macro-scale physical event which is without physical cause despite many thousands of years searching for it. That is what we call proof in science. You can't prove anything at all to any higher degree than that (pace Hume). Not only that but there's no plausible mechanism. You seem to be suggesting that every single concept, idea, or theory is on an exactly equal footing with every other (regardless of evidence or plausibility) simply because none can be proven outright.

    To me the most obvious thing is that we are free and morally responsible.Janus

    What has what seems obvious to you got to do with it? Why do so many people expect the actual nature of the universe to be revealed to them by their introspection? We're not Gods.
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