• Frog
    11
    What is the difference between Fate and Determinism? Is there one at all?

    In my opinion, "Fate," being closer associated with literature, implies a planned future (most of the time, by the divine); whereas Determinism connotes a colder, more calculated existance, where there is no plan, only a determinable future.

    What are your thoughts?
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    I’d say fate is the future looking portion of determinism, where determinism includes all past causes, present states of affairs and controls all future outcomes. Fate ignores the reasons why and the causes, or can ignore them, and just points to what will be, what has to be done in the future.

    If science one day identifies all of the causes that account for every current state of affairs, including what we are thinking and what we think we are choosing, science would have confirmed we live in a deterministic world. If, based on that knowledge, science could identify and predict all future motions and states of affairs, science could identify each person’s fate.

    Fate is more of a romantic way of speaking of the determined future.
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    What is the difference between Fate and Determinism? Is there one at all?Frog
    gave an interesting distinction : romantic Fate vs pragmatic Determinism.

    The ancient Greeks observed the same less-than-ideal living conditions that modern Determinists do. But they gave a semi-religious explanation : the ups & downs of life result, not from the intentional antics of boistrous superhuman gods, but the calm repetitive rhythmic work of rather mundane thread-weavers, arbitrarily spinning a variety of different-colored stories : some very good, some awfully bad, some just tolerable.

    Yet Fate is not considered romantic because of any heroic accomplishments, but because even heroes rise & fall due to uncertain haphazard turns of events, despite their own efforts to thwart fate. So, the Stoic ideal (amor fati) was to act as-if you are in control of your own destiny even though Providence is not in your hands.

    Modern dry-as-dust Determinism doesn't think anybody is in control, especially not supernatural beings. Instead, it views mathematical randomness as essential to the real material world. Ironically, mathematical randomness allows long streaks of what could be called Good Luck in the midst of So-So or Bad Luck. Which is why gamblers tend to be Optimists, instead of Fatalists. :joke:
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    Determinism connotes a colder, more calculated existanceFrog
    Modern Determinism typically looks to Quantum Physics to underwrite the notion that "Randomness rules!" But it may not be that cut & dried.

    Quora forum's resident physics expert, Victor Toth, said recently : "Quantum mechanics says nothing about determinism. . . . Interpretations of quantum mechanics, on the other hand, are a different story." He later summarizes : "In this case, we have a theory that is deterministic but nonlocal. . . . . but in the end,all this interpretation business is firmly in the realm of philosophy, not physics" {my bold}

    So, maybe the objective world is neither Deterministic nor Freewheeling, but it's subjective philosophers who favor one flavor or another. :grin:
  • Shawn
    12.8k
    It seems that the notion of 'fate' cannot exist without the need for an actual possibility in the future chain of events.
  • Frog
    11
    Could you please elaborate? I didn't quite understand that.
  • Outlander
    1.9k
    Capital "F" "Fate" is consciously determined by an outside actor in which said actions to determine said fate were performed willfully with the intent of such. Determinism is a school of thought or affirmation that, due to cause and effect, the nature of consciousness, and how we perceive the world with our five biological senses and physical brain, basically everything we "do" or "are" or think we are is essentially the result of something or someone else in one way or the other, somewhere down the line. A successful businessman? You were born with an apt mind for business and innate drive to succeed due to genetics passed on in which you had no say over. World champion athlete? The same. World champion panhandler who hasn't had a stable home or been sober for years? Also, the same. Etc, etc.

    ie. "The jury will now decide your fate" vs. "due to the recently-revealed fact you are a eunuch, it has been determined the allegations against you levied by Mrs. Bronson are in fact, impossible, thusly, you are free to go.", etc.
  • Shawn
    12.8k


    To have a fate seems to imply that there is a possibility in one's future to live out. Otherwise, if it were all deterministic, then your fate would always be the same and never change.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    What is the difference between Fate and Determinism?Frog
    I think this is the existential difference: determinism denotes 'all actions necessarily are effects of causes' (i.e. actions are conditional) whereas fate denotes 'all actions necessarily cause effects' (i.e. actions are consequenntial). Ouroboros-like head & tail (e.g. strange loop). For innstance, 'breaking a promise' is both determined and fateful.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    What is the difference between Fate and Determinism? Is there one at all?Frog

    Taking a cue from , I would say that determinism means that, "all actions and events are necessary effects of impersonal causes," and fate means that, "all* personal events are mysteriously necessary and foreordained."

    * All, or perhaps only some.
  • Hanover
    12.2k
    Determinism offers causative explanations and fate offers teleological explanations. Both deny free agency.

    Why am I typing to you?

    Determinism.would explain the neurological processes leading up to my typing to you and would theoretically describe all prior causes leading to the inevitable result of my typing. There would be no first cause, as determinism postulates every cause has a prior cause.

    Fate would explain my purpose in typing to you, with immediate purposes being achieved , but no possible final goal, as it postulates every event has a purpose. If every event has a purpose, no end could occur.

    Determinism looks to the past for causes. Fate looks to the future for purpose.

    Both suffer from the same problem of providing no explanation of their origin. That is, if I neither know what set in motion the billions of years of causes leading to this conversation occuring nor do I know what purpose this conversation will serve in billions of years, I'm similary limited into focusing only upon the small amount of time surrounding the event for explanation.

    That being the case, I'd argue teleological reasoning is just as logical as causative.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Both deny free agency.Hanover
    If by "free" you mean unconditional, then I agree.
  • Hanover
    12.2k
    If by "free" you mean unconditional, then I agree.180 Proof
    It's difficult to reconcile libertarian free will with physicalist based science or omniscience based religion. It's also difficult to reconcile non-libertarian free will with philosophical inquiry generally should we assume doxastic voluntarism (i.e. without free will we can't form meaningful beliefs), which I generally do.

    I also think libertarian free will suffers from some amount of incoherence in that an uncaused event, even if possible, should have no relevance morally or rationally.

    That is to say that without libertarian free will, the world is incoherent, but it is conceptually incoherent in itself.

    I accept libertarian free will as a necessary component for any understanding, analogous to Kantian space and time intuitions, which is simply to say it's necessary for any understanding of the world, even if it makes no sense under deep analysis.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    I accept libertarian free will as a necessary component for any understanding, analogous to Kantian space and time intuitions, which is simply to say it's necessary for any understanding of the world, even if it makes no sense under deep analysis.Hanover
    On the contrary, sir, I think [1] naturalism (i.e. nature as 'the more-than-human-mind ontology that necessarily constitutes-conditions any view-from-everywhere epistemology') and [2] compatibilism (i.e. conditionally voluntary actions) taken together make much more "sense under deep analysis" to me¹ as constituents "necessary for any understanding the world" (that is also consistent with both modern physical theories and contemporary social-historical facts) than idealist – antirealist, subjectivist (i.e. romantic / existentialist), immaterialist or Thomist – alternatives such as crypto-Cartesian/quasi-Platonist "Kantian libertarian free will".


    ¹e.g. read Epicurus-Epictetus, read Spinoza, read Hume, read Zapffe-Camus-Rosset, read Dewey-Popper-Feyerabend-Haack, read D. Parfit-M. Nussbaum-P. Foot, read Q. Meillassoux-R. Brassier...
  • flannel jesus
    1.6k
    Determinism is a world view where the entire sequence of events invariably follows.

    a-b-c-d-e-f-g-...-z

    Fatalism is a world view where the destination is unavoidable, but the path to that destination may be meandering.

    so you start at a, you are fated to end at z, but you need not go through b-c-d-e... to get there.

    Oedipus, for example.
  • ssu
    8.2k
    What are your thoughts?Frog

    Fate and determinism don't actually impose a limit on free will. If you define the future as what will happen, then one can say you believe in determinism. Yet what you left out is that you can make choices...one of your choices (even the one where you don't do nothing) is the one that will happen.

    And fate? Well, we all die. That should be enough fate for all of us.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    I accept libertarian free will as a necessary component for any understanding, analogous to Kantian space and time intuitions, which is simply to say it's necessary for any understanding of the world, even if it makes no sense under deep analysis.Hanover

    But does anything make sense under "deep analysis"? It seems to me that when any totalizing paradigm is pushed too far one falls into nonsense. So when one falls into Scientism they tend to deny (libertarian) free will, and when ancient peoples favored an anthropocentric agent causation they tended to attribute this sort of causation to everything. Maybe we can have both, where neither needs to dominate the other. Maybe there is a middle ground between materialism and idealism.
  • Hanover
    12.2k
    (i.e. conditionally voluntary actions)180 Proof

    Conditionally voluntary is a self contradictory phrase to the extent "conditionally" means deterministically. If you mean something other than that, explain what it is. Why am morally responsible for X if I couldn't have done otherwise?

    How is determinism of any sort, hard or soft (i.e. compatiblism), compatible with moral responsibility.
  • ENOAH
    637


    but the calm repetitive rhythmic work of rather mundane thread-weavers, arbitrarily spinning a variety of different-colored stories : some very good, some awfully bad, some just tolerable.Gnomon

    That best describes it, I think. And they do so, the weavers, not by a plan or design; and, definitely not in accordance with some already determined outcome. Yet "they" do it, and not "I" so it is not free will. It is also, not random.

    They do it by doing it.

    What they do is weave in response to the immediately preceding weaves coming from all directions, plus the current goings on in both the natural environment including the given organic body, and in History, including the given locus, i.e., the given individual-in-history. In that sense it is "deterministic" as in there is no individual choice, no free will, no will at all; but it is "indeterminable," (because there is no will).

    This, I think, by understanding the "weavers" in that allegory, as that autonomous system of constructing representations out of sensations, that which we commonly think of as Mind. The stories are the projections manifesting as Narratives and commonly called perceptions, ideas and experiences.

    The good/tolerable/bad in the allegory are such constructions/projections displacing our organic feelings with such Narratives. If an event triggered by projection triggers pleasant feelings, good. And out of that more projections triggering more events and more feelings, some good, some bad, some in between in varying degrees.

    These feelings in nature, are just feelings; "value" does not factor in. The response they condition only does. But for individuals-in-history, "experiencing" our happenings as linear narratives, or "fates", these feelings must have value; are only understood as/within the meaning they themselves construct. Added to this, is that one evolved mechanism in this dynamic system of constructing-projecting-triggering-repeat, is the evolution of the Subject, attaching those processes to the Body. As if the body is [now] in control of them by attaching to the I of each narrative. Hence, the illusion of both free will and fate; the illusion that there really is an I to whom the Narratives are happening. When really, bodies are feeling and reacting.

    The Body is just going with it; affected by triggered feelings and actions, but not attaching value nor making choice. It's choosing nothing, anticipating nothing, regretting nothing. And as for the processes, no one is at the wheel choosing them either. They are a process of images weaving stories out of triggers, acting in accordance with millennia of evolved laws; and in return, triggering the body.


    So to me, while fate and determinism conventionally refer to the same. Determinism is really not fate as in predetermined or predestined. It is a dynamic determinism, determjning as it goes, without central choice nor plan, but neither randomly. It moves by its own evolved laws, constructing and projecting meaning in a narrative form in accordancewith what is fittest given all intersectings at any given licus in History.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    (i.e. conditionally voluntary actions)
    — 180 Proof

    Conditionally voluntary is a self contradictory phrase to the extent "conditionally" means deterministically. If you mean something other than that, explain what it is.
    Hanover
    I'll put it this way: by 'conditionally voluntary' I mean embodied, or being mindbodies the behaviors of which are both enabled and constrained by deterministic physical laws (i.e. regularities constituting nature).

    Why am morally responsible for X if I couldn't have done otherwise?
    You are not; I haven't suggested this.

    How is determinism of any sort, hard or soft (i.e. compati[bil]ism), compatible with moral responsibility.
    Firstly, 'indeterminism' (i.e. randomness) negates minds (mine-ness), bodies, actions, consequences ... responsibility (moral, legal, political, or otherwise) which are enabled and constrained by physical laws; in other words, "libertarian free will" within the physical world (i.e. nature) is conceptually incoherent – here even Kant agrees with ... as well as Spinoza & Epicurus .

    Secondly, within constraints, our mindbodies are uncoerced iff they have two or more actionable options in any given (historical-social-existential) situation; therefore, each deterministic (i.e. physical laws-bound) mindbody is responsible for the (foreseeable(?)) consequences her uncoerced actions (volo) or inactions (veto).
  • Hanover
    12.2k
    Secondly, within constraints, our mindbodies are uncoerced iff they have two or more actionable options in any given (historical-social-existential) situation; therefore, each deterministic (i.e. physical laws-bound) mindbody is responsible for the (foreseeable(?)) consequences her uncoerced actions (volo) or inactions (veto).180 Proof

    The point of determinism is that there are no options, but that there is only one course of action possible. If I strike a pool ball, it doesn't have the option of going into the pocket or bouncing off the rail. It's going to go wherever it goes based upon the input from the pool stick.

    What we have under a determinstic system is the belief there are options. We believe that our choice stood alone in some way as the internal force that made something occur, but that "choice" was nothing other than another pre-determned event.

    Placing responsibility on the mindbody seems an arbitrary assignment of blame or credit. Why do you hold the pool player responsible for the great shot and not the pool stick? They are all just causes.

    Firstly, 'indeterminism' (i.e. randomness) negates minds (mine-ness), bodies, actions, consequences ... responsibility (moral, legal, political, or otherwise) which are enabled and constrained by physical laws; in other words, "libertarian free will" within the physical world (i.e. nature) is conceptually incoherent – here even Kant agrees with ... as well as Spinoza & Epicurus180 Proof

    Any cause that did not arise solely from the actor cannot be held as the basis for responsibility. That holds true whether that cause arose as the result of other causes or whether it arose randomly. The only true free will would be an uncaused cause, which either implicates a godlike ability or it just results in further incoherence. The point being that there is no solution to the free will problem other than to just accept it as a necessary condition for comprehension of the world.
  • frank
    14.7k
    Maybe you could have free will by imagining something like the multi-verse scenario, and you have the ability to pick which universe you end up in.
  • Relativist
    2.2k
    Fate implies intent- that past, present, and future events were planned (e.g. by the "fates", "the gods").
    Determinism entails the unplanned, but inevitable, sequence of events from past to future
  • frank
    14.7k
    And then there's fortune. It's just a wheel that turns. There's no plan. It's just the way things are. One day you're fantastic, the next you're in a dungeon.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    The point of determinism is that there are no options, but that there is only one course of action possible.Hanover
    You're mistaken, sir. That's predeterminism, not determinism (i.e. every effect necessarily has at least one cause). For instance, stochastic / nonlinear dynamic systems are deterministic (re: initial conditions) with a probabilistic spread of outcomes (e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes, stock markets, traffic flows).

    The only true free will would be an uncaused cause ...
    Well, I use the terms voluntary action or uncoerced behavior rather than (idealist / essentialist) "free will".
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    Placing responsibility on the mindbody seems an arbitrary assignment of blame or credit. Why do you hold the pool player responsible for the great shot and not the pool stick? They are all just causes.Hanover

    Yes, quite right.

    Any cause that did not arise solely from the actor cannot be held as the basis for responsibility. That holds true whether that cause arose as the result of other causes or whether it arose randomly. The only true free will would be an uncaused cause, which either implicates a godlike ability or it just results in further incoherence.Hanover

    I don't see it as rational to simply define agent causation out of existence. "Everything is either random or determined, therefore agent causation (and free will) do not exist." But why accept that everything is either random or determined? That premise seems clearly false. A basic datum of our experience is free agents who are the cause of their own acts (i.e. self-movers). An agent's free act is not uncaused; it is caused precisely by the agent.

    Or more precisely, I would take exception with your word "solely." Not all acts are solely caused by the agent, and therefore we hold agents responsible to the extent that their act was self-caused. For example, in the film A Few Good Men the two marines receive a mitigated sentence. If it were "all or nothing" (solely responsible actor or entirely unresponsible actor) then the only two options would have been complete guilt or complete innocence.
  • Hanover
    12.2k
    You're mistaken, sir. That's predeterminism, not determinism (i.e. every effect necessarily has at least one cause). For instance, stochastic / nonlinear dynamic systems are deterministic (re: initial conditions) with a probabilistic spread of outcomes (e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes, stock markets, traffic flows).180 Proof
    We can debate whether probability theory relates to ontology or epistimology, with the former suggesting that the universe in State A will sometimes lead to State B and Sometimes State C, and the latter suggesting that State A will always lead to State B, but we just can't meaningfully predict it (and know it) based upon the near infinite variables in the universe (as State A would be all causes currently existing in the universe).

    But, regardless of which way that debate ends, I don't see how this distinction helps anything. Both are deterministic, meaning the preceding state controls the subsequent state, which still doesn't put responsibility on the agent.

    That is, why do we hold the person responsible for hitting in the pool ball and not the stick? The answer to that question is unaffected by whether quantum indeterminism affects the ball's outcome to enough of an extent that sometimes with the same strike, the ball goes in the pocket and sometimes not. That we can't know which way the ball will move precisely, but we can only provide a statistically likely guess doesn't leave room for meaningful free will.

    The problem is that unless X causes Y, then X cannot be responsible for Y. But if W is responsible for X, then it is responsible for Y as well, and that is the problem. Why blame X for what W made it do?

    And then there's the next problem with indeterminism, which is that if X was uncaused and spontaneously occurred, why should I blame X for what just sprung from no where?

    There is no solution.
  • Hanover
    12.2k
    An agent's free act is not uncaused; it is caused precisely by the agent.Leontiskos

    And what caused the agent to perform the act?

    You have two choices here: (1) nothing or (2) something.

    Assuming you won't choose #1, then that something had to be caused by (1) nothing or (2) something.

    Until you choose #1, you don't have a self-caused event. Once you do choose #1, you have to explain why you're holding someone responsible for something that just spontaneously occurred from nothingness.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    And what caused the agent to perform the act?

    You have two choices here: (1) nothing or (2) something.

    Assuming you won't choose #1, then that something had to be caused by (1) nothing or (2) something.

    Until you choose #1, you don't have a self-caused event. Once you do choose #1, you have to explain why you're holding someone responsible for something that just spontaneously occurred from nothingness.
    Hanover

    Well you are begging the question. You are saying, "The agent's act had to be caused by something else, either deterministic or random. It couldn't have been caused by the agent himself." Ergo:

    I don't see it as rational to simply define agent causation out of existence. "Everything is either random or determined, therefore agent causation (and free will) do not exist." But why accept that everything is either random or determined? That premise seems clearly false. A basic datum of our experience is free agents who are the cause of their own acts (i.e. self-movers). An agent's free act is not uncaused; it is caused precisely by the agent.Leontiskos

    Now to be fair, for the Scholastics the act of a rational agent cannot be understood apart from rationality and rational motives. Still, rational decisions are also bound up with agency, and they cannot be deterministic if they are truly rational, and also because of the evidence that the rational agent is able to reflect on their own reasons in an infinitely recursive manner.
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    rational decisions are also bound up with agency, and they cannot be deterministic if they are truly rational, and also because of the evidence that the rational agent is able to reflect on their own reasons in an infinitely recursive mannerLeontiskos

    It seems to me the issue for ethics isn’t freedom vs determinism, but what kind of freedom and what kind of determinism. Let’s take , for instance , the neurobiologist Robert Sapolski’s determinatist account. His target is traditional views of free will , and his claim is that they justify a harsh, retributive justice because the free-willing individual is radically arbitrary with respect to an ordered system of natural forces. When one wills in a way that breaks from established moral norms, one is not able to make use of an explanatory structure that allows us to understand their actions in a predictive matrix. He contrasts this with the deterministic biological and psychological models he embraces, which purports to trace all behavior, all allegedly free choices, to a history of pre-existing causal chains that lead back to initial hormonal, genetic and environmental conditions that act as efficient causes. In essence , as we pile up new choices upon old, for Sapolski little or nothing new is added to the meaning of those initial conditions, since the causal chain leading from origin to fresh decision is nothing but a mathematical calculus, like describing the. behavior of billiard balls.

    Now, I think Sapolski has a point when he claims that use of reductionist models from the natural sciences has played a significant role in replacing brutal forms of punitive and retributive justice with more humane ones. But it is not as if arbitrary freedom plays no role in his notion of determinism. We can reveal the arbitrariness of this reductive form of empirical determinism by contrasting it with more sophisticated biological and psychological models that incorporate complex dynamical
    systems analysis.

    According to this approach, global processes of self-organization that emerge out of the interactions among parts of a biological system cannot be reduced to a linear causation based on the properties of the parts, in contradiction to Sapolski. For instance, the evolution of human cognition and cultural knowledge produces, at each new stage, new constraints and controls which not only close off certain possibilities of behavior and thought , but open up new degrees of freedom. This represents a more intricate and less arbitrary notion of both determinism and freedom in comparison with Sapolski’s reductive determinism. Significantly , dynamical systems theories integrate subjective and intersubjectve aspects into a single organization, allowing for a reciprocal dependence between individual autonomy and group autonomy. This moves us away from the notion of the solipsistic autonomous free-willing subject, without merely substituting anonymous external natural causation.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.