• Average
    430
    Death is inevitable. So, I suppose I would agree with that.Jackson

    Would you also agree that inevitable and necessary are synonymous? I only ask because if that is the case then your view that everything is random and that nothing is necessary would seem difficult to defend.
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    Would you also agree that inevitable and necessary are synonymousAverage

    By inevitable I mean very likely to happen, a tendency. I am not denying the utility of the concept of necessity, but I think it is often misused. For example, in the future death may be overcome.
  • Average
    430
    in the future death may be overcome.Jackson

    That certainly would be wonderful.
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    That certainly would be wonderful.Average

    I am fine with a short life. But I get the idea. Some think death is an illness to be cured.
  • Average
    430

    Some people think that life is the illness and death is the cure. But I want to ask you do you believe that every death is random? That would be consistent with the idea that everything is random. If everything we do and everything that happens to us or around us is random then it’s hard to recognize what the utility of randomness as a notion could possibly be. Maybe you mean something like what you said about inevitability. You said it represents a probability or a tendency. Would randomness just be the other side of that coin and therefore mean something like improbable?
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    Would randomness just be the other side of that coin and therefore mean something like improbable?Average

    On this example, we know a person will die. When, by what cause, is not known--the randomness. Someone could have cancer and get hit by a car and die. Death is inevitable, but the random is still there.
  • Average
    430

    Interesting. it seems like there is some overlap with the notion of knowledge and ignorance or certainty and uncertainty. in other words the inevitable would be the predictable and the random would be the unpredictable. Is this a fair assessment of your ideas or am I failing to do them justice?
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    . it seems like there is some overlap with the notion of knowledge and ignorance or certainty and uncertainty. in other words the inevitable would be the predictable and the random would be the unpredictable. Is this a fair assessment of your ideas or am I failing to do them justice?Average

    A finite set of elements can still have randomness in it.
  • Average
    430

    I'm not sure that I follow. Can you give me an example or elaborate a little more?
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    I'm not sure that I follow. Can you give me an example or elaborate a little more?Average

    You can say the universe started as Big Bang. There was nothing inevitable about our galaxy being formed, much less life on our planet. So, the state of the BigBang was fairly simple, a finite set of elements.
  • Average
    430
    There was nothing inevitable about our galaxy being formed, much less life on our planet.Jackson

    I was under the impression that inevitable just meant very likely to happen, or a tendency. How can we calculate the probability of a galaxy forming or of life developing and thus determine how likely these outcomes were. If there is no way of calculating these kinds of probabilities then there is no way of knowing whether or not these things were inevitable.
  • TiredThinker
    430


    I think self analysis is pointless in terms of free will. We can't trust this subjective perspective anymore than anecdotes about out of body experiences proving their truth in and of themselves. Our desire for free will doesn't discount it.
  • Joshs
    3.5k
    ↪Joshs
    Ok, but just tell me how the distinction helps us answer the question of free will?
    punos

    I tend to associate the term ‘free will’ with conservative approaches to moral philosophy like that of Peter Strawson ( or ). What Thompson has in mind is not this theological concept of free will. It is closer to Nietzsche’s view of the will:

    “Consciousness doesn't cause itself, Will is neither free nor a Determinism: The causa sui is the best self-contradiction that has ever been conceived, a type of logical rape and abomination. But humanity's excessive pride has got itself profoundly and horribly entangled with precisely this piece of nonsense. The longing for “freedom of the will” in the superlative metaphysical sense (which, unfortunately, still rules in the heads of the half educated), the longing to bear the entire and ultimate responsibility for your actions yourself and to relieve God, world, ancestors, chance, and society of the burden – all this means nothing less than being that very causa sui and, with a courage greater than Munchhausen's, pulling yourself by the hair from the swamp of nothingness up into existence. Suppose someone sees through the boorish naivete of this famous concept of “free will” and manages to get it out of his mind; I would then ask him to carry his “enlightenment” a step further and to rid his mind of the reversal of this misconceived concept of “free will”: I mean the “un-free will,” which is basically an abuse of cause and effect. We should not erroneously objectify “cause” and “effect” like the natural scientists do (and whoever else thinks naturalistically these days –) in accordance with the dominant mechanistic stupidity which would have the cause push and shove until it “effects” something; we should use “cause” and “effect” only as pure concepts, which is to say as conventional fictions for the purpose of description and communication, not explanation. In the “in-itself ” there is nothing like “causal association,” “necessity,” or “psychological un-freedom.” There, the “effect” does not follow “from the cause,” there is no rule of “law”.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    Here's an argument for free will:

    1. We are morally responsible for our choices
    2. If we are morally responsible for our choices, then we have free will
    3. Therefore we have free will

    In my experience, those who deny we have free will can quickly be shown to be reasoning badly. This is because it is far more self-evident that we have free will, than that free will requires something we do not have.

    Many, of example, think that free will is incompatible with determinism. But it's more self-evident that we have free will than that free will requires the falsity of determinism. So only a fool would conclude that we lack free will on the grounds that determinism is true. For if determinism really is true, it would be more rational to conclude that determinism is compatible with free will than that free will does not exist.

    So, a fool reasons like this:

    1. Determinism is true
    2. Determinism is incompatible with free will
    3. Therefore we lack free will

    A clever person reasons like this:

    1. Determinism is true
    2. We have free will
    3. Therefore, determinism is true and we have free will
  • punos
    128

    The self analysis i'm referring to is not meant to figure out if there is free will or not, it's meant to expose personal assumptions, desires, insecurities, fears, etc. that will affect how one perceives, relates, and handles certain ideas. For example, if one believes in God or is religious, and if one begins their inquiry trying to prove God, or at least trying not to disprove God, then one will avoid and reject anything that they think might take them in the direction they have decided already not to accept (even if it's potentially true). You must be like a mirror, able to reflect what is with as little distortion as possible. This should be obvious to most people i think.

    I myself have used and still use certain lessons i've learned from Buddhism, Hinduism, but especially Zen Buddhism. Meditation i have found works for achieving a state of empty objective neutrality (as much as possible). In my opinion it would be a waste of my time really to even attempt to tackle big external questions with big internal implications if i haven't done my internal prep work.

    It's useful to think about it like vision. Some people have bad vision which keeps them from seeing the world accurately. These people then need to correct that handicap by going to an ophthalmologist to have their vision analyzed to then fashion lenses that will correct for the visual distortions. Then they can go and see the world for what it is, they can drive for instance and not kill anyone by accident, or mistake things for other things, etc..
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    If there is no way of calculating these kinds of probabilities then there is no way of knowing whether or not these things were inevitable.Average

    Yes, our galaxy was not inevitable.
  • Average
    430
    our galaxy was not inevitable.Jackson

    How can you make this assertion with such confidence?
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    How can you make this assertion with such confidence?Average

    It did not always exist. Why did it not come into existence before or after it did?
  • punos
    128
    Consciousness doesn't cause itself, Will is neither free nor a Determinism:Joshs

    I agree that consciousness dosn't cause itself, but i don't see how it follow that will is neither free nor deterministic.

    The causa sui is the best self-contradiction that has ever been conceived, a type of logical rape and abomination. But humanity's excessive pride has got itself profoundly and horribly entangled with precisely this piece of nonsense. The longing for “freedom of the will” in the superlative metaphysical sense (which, unfortunately, still rules in the heads of the half educated), the longing to bear the entire and ultimate responsibility for your actions yourself and to relieve God, world, ancestors, chance, and society of the burden – all this means nothing less than being that very causa sui and, with a courage greater than Munchhausen's, pulling yourself by the hair from the swamp of nothingness up into existence.Joshs

    I agree with all of the above quote.

    Suppose someone sees through the boorish naivete of this famous concept of “free will” and manages to get it out of his mind; I would then ask him to carry his “enlightenment” a step further and to rid his mind of the reversal of this misconceived concept of “free will”: I mean the “un-free will,” which is basically an abuse of cause and effect. We should not erroneously objectify “cause” and “effect” like the natural scientists do (and whoever else thinks naturalistically these days –) in accordance with the dominant mechanistic stupidity which would have the cause push and shove until it “effects” something; we should use “cause” and “effect” only as pure concepts, which is to say as conventional fictions for the purpose of description and communication, not explanation. In the “in-itself ” there is nothing like “causal association,” “necessity,” or “psychological un-freedom.” There, the “effect” does not follow “from the cause,” there is no rule of “law”.Joshs

    My issue is mainly with this last section. How is "un-free" will a violation of cause and effect? I think he is playing with words here perhaps in a disingenuous way. Description and explanations again are arbitrary distinctions. If you observe a thing and describe it, that's perfectly fine, but if you want to do something with it, or go even deeper then it has to be converted into an explanation (but it doesn't have to be true to begin with). Take the explanation and generalize it, then experiment and verify. If the generalized explanation holds then it may be considered more true than not. Further and deeper development can continue. We don't understand anything from descriptions unless we generalize, they are just static pictures, explanations are more akin to video. Still not the territory, it's just a map of the territory. An explanation can be described, and a description can be explained. I would use a description, not an explanation to communicate a concept like cause and effect, but use an explanation to produce technology, or even to discover deeper principles of nature.

    I don't understand how he makes the conclusion that there is no cause and effect in the "in-itself". I kinda get a funny distrusting feeling about him. Just saying.
  • punos
    128

    Descriptions are really good for art, literature, instruction, but it's not sufficient on its own for science, and understanding.
  • Average
    430
    It did not always exist. Why did it not come into existence before or after it did?Jackson

    I fail to see the relevance of it’s nonexistence or of the timing that is associated with it’s development. Maybe you’re suggesting that there is no reason why it came into existence when and where it did. Maybe this is what you mean by random. In other words something is random if there is no available reason that explains it’s existence.
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    In other words something is random if there is no available reason that explains it’s existence.Average

    Yes.
  • Average
    430

    Would that mean also that something is necessary if there is an available reason for it's existence?
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    Would that mean also that something is necessary if there is an available reason for it's existence?Average

    No, just a condition. There may be many conditions.
  • Average
    430

    Do you mean like necessary and sufficient conditions? I'm not asking for an exhaustive list but I would like to know what would be sufficient to make something necessary.
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    Do you mean like necessary and sufficient conditions? I'm not asking for an exhaustive list but I would like to know what would be sufficient to make something necessary.Average

    I don't think anything about the universe is necessary. Necessity is just a condition. There is nothing necessary about life on planet earth. Just a chain of events.
  • Agent Smith
    5.2k
    Determinism is, in my humble opinion, demonstrable, experimentally i.e. it's a scientific claim.

    Free will, one poster remarked, isn't an empirical claim. In defense of this poster, I'd say free will is, after all, a metaphysical topic.

    Something's off, it doesn't add up now does it?
  • Average
    430
    I don't think anything about the universe is necessary. Necessity is just a condition. There is nothing necessary about life on planet earth. Just a chain of events.Jackson

    Your replies sometimes remind me of riddles. Admittedly I'm a bit confused. I won't pursue this dialogue any further if you're only going to respond with vague, ambiguous, or nebulous responses. Perhaps it's my fault though and if so I apologize. I just don't understand what you mean when you say that "Necessity is just a condition" and since necessity is so closely connected to what is necessary it follows necessarily that I can't understand what you mean when you say that "There is nothing necessary about life on earth".
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    Perhaps it's my fault though and if so I apologize. I just don't understand what you mean when you say that "Necessity is just a condition" and since necessity is so closely connected to what is necessary it follows necessarily that I can't understand what you mean when you say that "There is nothing necessary about life on earth".Average

    Necessity is the way scientists in the classical, deterministic model explained events. In the 1900's the quantum model disputed necessity and replaced it with probability or randomness.

    Another way to explain it. Statement one, "If you do not eat, you will die." Statement two, "If you don't eat, you will necessarily die." Statement two adds necessity, but it still means the same as the first statment.

    As Schrodinger said, just because things happen a certain way only explains the boundary of the behavior, not that it has to act that way.
  • Average
    430

    In other words there is nothing necessary in the universe necessarily because necessity is meaningless. Is that an accurate summary or am I missing something crucial? Also if you replace the word necessary with the word probability it doesn’t seem like a radical transformation. To use your example if you don’t eat you will die could also be replaced with the statement if you don’t eat you will probably die and the meaning is still basically similar.
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