• TiredThinker
    504
    Do arguments for free will typically need a spiritual aspect? Like a mind i dependent of the physical world yet that can affect it? Or is it just enough to say we don't know enough about the quantum world or the larger universe and can't really confirm determinism either?
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Do arguments for free will typically need a spiritual aspect? Like a mind i dependent of the physical world yet that can affect it? Or is it just enough to say we don't know enough about the quantum world or the larger universe and can't really confirm determinism either?TiredThinker

    I decided to change my shirt. Therefore I have free will.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    Noble intentions! Hats off to you.

    I don't want to repeat myself and bore you to death. All I'm willing to say is my position is plain and simple - it could've been worse for our freedom, but it isn't and to my reckoning that counts for something. Mind you I'm not saying we possess free will, but suffice it to say that I'm not being coerced.
  • punos
    129

    Are you sure it is binary? Either free will or determinism?TiredThinker

    The dichotomy is not to do with free will, but between determinism and indeterminism. The difference between determinism and indeterminism is that determinism enforces a definite trajectory of development or unfolding with no possible deviations from natural law.

    Indeterminism states that things don't have to have a cause, because things can behave in whatever random way. An example of indeterminism would be like a positive particle that is attracted (not repelled) to another positive particle or refusing to move at all. While in determinism the particle has no choice but to obey the law of electromagnetism, gravity, or what have you.

    Doesn't determinism imply that that exact end state of the universe needs to be a particular way and thus a particular trajectory is needed?TiredThinker

    Yes, the trajectory and end state of the whole universe is determined at initial conditions. A good analogy for this would be to say that when an egg is fertilized, an organism begins to develop along a very specific trajectory until it's final form or state is achieved. If this type of development were open to the free will of any of its parts or even environment, then structural abnormalities will develop in its systems jeopardizing the organism's viability.

    For the proper functioning of the universe or any system all the parts need to do their job correctly every time, not just some of the times.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    Argument from efficiency for free will

    Nature is lazy i.e. it wants to minimize energy expenditure for any given task. Rivers flow in such a way that it takes the shortest path down from it source to a sea/ocean/lake. That's that.

    I remember zig-zagging my way from my bedroom to the bathroom even though the shortest path was a straight line. I defied and broke the laws of nature that says minimize energy consumption at all times and always take the shortest route and follow the path of least resistance. If I can do that, what else can I do? Do I possess free will? Do I?
  • punos
    129

    Thank you, and it's quite alright. We don't need to agree exactly every time, but we should understand each other, and be able to reason together. I may not know you, but i know the I in me is the same I in you. :-)
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    Thank you, and it's quite alright. We don't need to agree exactly every time, but we should understand each other, and be able to reason together. I may not know you, but i know the I in me is the same I in you. :-)punos

    :up:
  • punos
    129
    Nature is lazy i.e. it wants to minimize energy expenditure for any given task. Rivers flow in such a way that it takes the shortest path down from it source to a sea/ocean/lake.Agent Smith

    Water usually meanders and curves as it flows. That is why rivers are not straight in the long course. You can see this also happening perhaps in the shower as streams of water flow down the tile or glass in a sideways sinusoidal flow pattern. I think it has to do with the angular momentum of the water molecules. Besides it's not really the same when dealing with complex adaptive systems like a human being. You're "decision" to zig-zag is contingent on the confluence of many internal factors mostly psychological and unconscious that were themselves trying to minimize their energy states. Those internal energy states probably take presidence over other energy states at different levels.

    This may be interesting to you: Free energy principle
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_energy_principle
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k


    As you can see free will is not an easy topic. The "breaking of simple laws of nature" like follow the path of least resistance or take the shortest route or minimize energy consumption by humans could simply be the wagon wheel effect (apparently rape but actually consensual sex). :snicker:
  • punos
    129

    Well i still think it's as easy as conservation laws, you don't have to wonder after some complex process if there is more or less energy. You are guaranteed to have the same amount of energy coming out as you had going in. I see this almost as an analog of determinism in the sense that there is no chance of deviating from law, no matter how much complexity and time is involved. One can probably even call it the law of conservation of will, or maybe the law of conservation of order.

    Consider how a crystal grows in a saturated solution. If the crystal in question is salt then one would see a matrix or lattice cube formation expanding. The salt molecules have no choice but to attach to the growing crystal in a specific way. Positive to negative, never positive to positive or negative to negative (like Legos). Only one way (determinism). This is simple to figure out but when more than one molecule is involved then things become more complex and varied, but never does it violate the charge rule.

    Positive and negative charges represent a type of energy imbalance which is always trying to resolve itself by neutralizing with an opposite charge (energy minimization). It is the only reason things move in the universe, except for gravity which works in a different way because it's a different thing. But all the forces are deterministic, i've never seen or heard of indeterminism outside the quantum realm.

    The only thing that can convince me of some type of macro-indetermanancy that leads to free will agents is to show me the mechanism by which it is enabled. Apart from that everything points to macro-determanancy, and i have no reason to think otherwise.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    Yeahl, I was just thinking about what you said. There was a thread not too long ago, the OP claimed that anything can be justified.

    So, what does an argument that proves free will look like, eh? Makes you wonder, don't it?
  • punos
    129

    So, what does an argument that proves free will look like, eh? Makes you wonder, don't it?Agent Smith

    Well that's why i said that. I have wondered about it, and it would probably look like some undiscovered force that can negate for example charge coupling. Like some kind of particle degaussing force. It's the only thing i can think of, do you have any ideas? But the problem is that it would probably violate some conservation law.
  • punos
    129
    anything can be justified.Agent Smith

    Yes and no. You can justify anything but one would have to tinker with the premise of the argument. The logic itself can not yield a false conclusion if the correct premise is used. I think that would be the only way.
  • Joshs
    3.7k


    ↪Joshs
    The apparent novelty that we see develop in macro states of organization was determined at the moment the seed pattern emerged from chaos. All the implications are inherent in that original pattern. All it takes is time to develop or evolve through pattern mutation and environmental selection.
    punos

    Would you agree with this by Evan Thompson?

    “…it is important to distinguish between determinism as a feature of a scientific model and determinism as a metaphysical thesis about nature. According to the metaphysical thesis, all physical properties in nature are definite and determinate, and the evolution of the natural world is fixed uniquely. (The complete and instantaneous state of the world fixes its past and future with no alternatives.) This thesis hardly follows from the fact that we can construct nonstochastic dynamic-system models of observable phenomena.

    Science has barely begun to chart this vast sea of nonlinearity and stochasticness. Within this context, "deterministic" seems best understood as describing certain nonlinear analysis techniques (those in which there are no noise terms), not as an ontological characteristic of nature (in a classical observer-transcendent sense).”( Mind in Life)
  • punos
    129
    “…it is important to distinguish between determinism as a feature of a scientific model and determinism as a metaphysical thesis about nature. According to the metaphysical thesis, all physical properties in nature are definite and determinate, and the evolution of the natural world is fixed uniquely. (The complete and instantaneous state of the world fixes its past and future with no alternatives.)Joshs

    Not sure how the distinction between scientific models and metaphysics helps, but i would agree in general with what is quoted above.

    This thesis hardly follows from the fact that we can construct nonstochastic dynamic-system models of observable phenomena.Joshs

    I'm having trouble with this part, how does it hardly follow?

    It seems to me that Evan Thompson (never heard of him, will look him up) is just making arbitrary distinctions between in this case a scientific model and a metaphysical proposition. I don't necessarily see anything particularly "wrong" about it, but i'm not sure how much the distinction helps in answering the question of free will. Perhaps you can help me understand how it does if you think it does.
  • Average
    431
    I decided to change my shirt. Therefore I have free will.Jackson

    If you mean that you had the ability to change your shirt then I understand what you mean by free will. I don’t think that the desire to do something and the coincidence of favorable circumstances that allow you to perform that particular action also being present is what we typically are referring to when we mention free will. Just because you are free to do something doesn’t mean that your life isn’t the product of forces that shape and mold your behavior in ways that you have no ability to oppose.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Just because you are free to do something doesn’t mean that your life isn’t the product of forces that shape and mold your behavior in ways that you have no ability to oppose.Average

    Please explain. I chose to come on to the forum and see your post. What "forces" made me do that?
  • Average
    431

    Before I reply I just want to remind you about the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false or a proposition is false because it has not yet been proven true. Of course I don’t want either one of us to fall into the fallacy fallacy either. It occurs when we presume that because a claim has been poorly argued, or a fallacy has been made, that the claim itself must be wrong.

    Now onto the reply. Someone who defended deterministic fatalism might argue that something like genetics, neurological factors such as dopamine, cultural or psychological considerations, and or any of the things that influence these elements of behavior could account for your actions.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Someone who defended deterministic fatalism might argue that something like genetics, neurological factors such as dopamine, cultural or psychological considerations, and or any of the things that influence these elements of behavior could account for your actions.Average

    Possible, but proves nothing. Like saying, because you're tall (I am) you're likely to bump your head (I have).
  • Joshs
    3.7k


    It seems to me that Evan Thompson (never heard of him, will look him up) is just making arbitrary distinctions between in this case a scientific model and a metaphysical proposition. I don't necessarily see anything particularly "wrong" about it, but i'm not sure how much the distinction helps in answering the question of free will. Perhaps you can help me understand how it does if you think it does.punos

    This isn’t an arbitrary distinction, it’s a crucial one when it comes to the issue of free will. He is saying that classical determinism is a social construction, rather than telling how nature ‘really’ operates.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    He is saying that classical determinism is a social construction, rather than telling how nature ‘really’ operates.Joshs

    Newton and others invented the idea that nature is deterministic. They never proved it.
  • Average
    431

    I don’t know what you would consider a proof. I’m happy to try to provide one but it would help me if I knew what criterion you use to determine what you will accept as a proof.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    I don’t know what you would consider a proof. I’m happy to try to provide one but it would help me if I knew what criterion you use to determine what you will accept as a proof.Average

    Proof other than methodological consistency. The quantum model rejects determinism. That is, regularities in nature do not prove necessity.
  • Average
    431

    Thank you for replying but I must confess I still don’t understand what you mean by proof. First of all I’m not a physicist so I can’t defend Newtonian mechanics. I don’t know what you mean by methodological consistency. I would ask for an example of something you consider to be proven and the proof used to demonstrate it’s truth but I don’t want to push my luck in this exchange because you’ve been very polite in my opinion.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Thank you for replying but I must confess I still don’t understand what you mean by proof.Average

    Look at the other side. Everything is determined. What does it explain? Nothing really. Everyone's lives from birth to death are completely determined.
  • Average
    431
    Look at the other side. Everything is determined. What does it explain? Nothing really. Everyone's lives from birth to death are completely determined.Jackson

    Would you argue that the theory of self determination or free will somehow explains something?
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    Would you argue that the theory of self determination or free will somehow explains something?Average

    Let us say I want to get a job at a particular company. I write up a resume and contact people there. Whether I get the job or not, both cases support determinism. I fail to see how the belief in determinism affects my actions.

    Added: It is what the positivists called myth. Something for which both the statement and its negation makes true.
  • Average
    431

    Maybe I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but I fail to see how either scenario supports determinism. I’m not trying to be difficult either. They just seem like possible outcomes to me. If what you mean is that both cases fit into a deterministic model of the universe then I agree.
  • Jackson
    1.8k
    If what you mean is that both cases fit into a deterministic model of the universe then I agree.Average

    Right. If determinism can show that a statement and its contradiction are both true, then it is useless as an explanation.
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