• FMRovers
    1
    In 1920's 'they' found out that the idea of determinism is not right due to the discovery of quantum physics. So how do quantum physics give the Universe 'free will'? Or is quantum physics just an other thing we have yet to fully understand and is determinism still right?
  • tim wood
    1.8k
    It's no longer determinism in a deterministic sense. It's determinism in a statistical sense - statistical determinism.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Quantum physics is probabilistic. It therefore rules out determinism.

    However, it says nothing about choice. Depending upon interpretations of what it all means, it does leave open the possibility for conscious choice. But all of this is metaphysical, not science. Science is simply the Schrodinger's wave equation and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.6k
    I'm sure you've heard this answer before, but it's true:

    Quantum randomness wouldn't achieve free-will. It merely would mess-up, make less effective, your choices, with regard to your more basic unchanging purposes and needs.

    But if, by whatever reason, randomness occurs to some small extent, to some small degree that doesn't countermand basic important goals, needs and purposes, some randomness might not be a bad thing.

    But it just means that the determinism is partly determined randomly. It wouldn't mean that there isn't determinism.

    You still can't will what to will. You still can't want or not want something because you want to want or not want it.

    As for "free-will", our choices are obviously deterministic, even from our own point of view. ...meaning that there isn't free will.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Quantum randomness wouldn't achieve free-will.Michael Ossipoff

    There is no quantum randomness. It is probabilistic. If it was random, then the Schrodinger equation would be worthless.

    I have no idea what is free will. Humans have a choice in the direction of action they would like to try to take.

    I won't try to understand the rest: random determinism?? Anyway, do what you have to do to convince yourself that your life is fated. If you need more arguments in your favor, I would recommend Calvinism.
  • prothero
    215
    There are "deterministic" interpretations of quantum mechanics.
    The majority of physicists favor the "statistical in-determinism" interpretations.
    Quantum indeterminism can be shown to creep into the macro world.
    If the universe is not "deterministic" then there is metaphysical space for "efficacy" of the will.
    Quantum mechanics does not provide any kind of explanation for "free" will.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.6k
    I'd said:

    Quantum randomness wouldn't achieve free-will. — Michael Ossipoff
    .
    You said:

    There is no quantum randomness. It is probabilistic. If it was random, then the Schrodinger equation would be worthless.

    Dice are probabilistic and random. Random doesn’t mean that all outcomes are equally probable.
    .
    Anyway, I didn’t introduce the phrase “quantum randomness”.

    .
    I have no idea what is free will. Humans have a choice in the direction of action they would like to try to take.
    .
    …without being able to choose what they would like.

    .
    I won't try to understand the rest: random determinism??
    .
    Ok, it wouldn’t strictly be pure determinism. But I made it clear that I was talking about determinism modified by only a very slight and limited degree of randomization, not enough to countermand the important feelings, goals, purposes or needs.
    .
    Thanks for your advice. But save it, troll.
    .
    And that advice comes from someone who believes that he’s controlled by a disembodied, distributed Rupert-Sheldrake holographic quantum Mind-Repository.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff
  • Rich
    3.2k
    There are "deterministic" interpretations of quantum mechanics.prothero

    Which interpretation would this be? I know of no such interpretation, since inherently the Schrodinger equation (which is Quantum physics) is probabilistic. There is no getting away from this.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Dice are probabilistic and random. Random doesn’t mean that all outcomes are equally probable.Michael Ossipoff

    You can't build computers based upon a random roll like a die. You can build one based upon Schrodinger's equations. There is a big difference.

    As far as randomness in determinism, it's quite your invention. Just one random event pretty much destroys all of determinism, but keep trying. A review of Calvinism, which is in total agreement with your philosophy is one avenue for further explanation. Just, whenever they use the word God, you should use the Laws of Nature.
  • yatagarasu
    119
    Dice are probabilistic and random. Random doesn’t mean that all outcomes are equally probable.

    Why are they probabilistic and random? The statistical definition of random is that they are equally probable. In my opinion there is no such thing as random. I think random is used to explain situations in which humans can't evaluate the probabilities of something. I believe that everything in the known universe exists only as a probabilities. Our choices and thoughts. The coin that is flipped in a bet. No choices or randomness. Just probabilities playing out based on original configurations. Not our choice, or the universes "determinism". Just probabilities. Interested to see what everyone thinks. Take care all!
  • Andrew M
    567
    There are "deterministic" interpretations of quantum mechanics.
    — prothero

    Which interpretation would this be? I know of no such interpretation, since inherently the Schrodinger equation (which is Quantum physics) is probabilistic. There is no getting away from this.
    Rich

    The Schrodinger equation is deterministic. From SEP:

    "Given the state of a system at t and the forces and constraints to which it is subject, there is an equation, ‘Schrödinger's equation’, that gives the state at any other time U|vt> → |vt′>. The important properties of U for our purposes are that it is deterministic, which is to say that it takes the state of a system at one time into a unique state at any other, ..."

    The Everett (Many Worlds) interpretation is based solely on the above dynamics and so is a deterministic interpretation.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    It is not deterministic in any sense. In the world we live in, it is probabilistic. Of course, scientists can invent a meta-world of some sort, which no one had access to and in some way we are smeared across an infinite number of worlds in such a meta-world in order to preserve determinism but it only demonstrates to what extent scientists will go in order to maintain determinism. Einstein tried his darndest. And scientists are not a bit embarrassed.

    As for we as SEP IRA concerned, it looks like they just redefine determinism which is something that philosophers and scientists do when they become goal oriented.

    BTW, I took the time to read the SEP version of Bergson and I would characterize it as goofy.

    Here is another quote, and I can pull out thousands like it:

    "Quantum mechanics is indeterministic, "

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/quantum-physics-free-will/

    The real question is why do scientists, particularly those involved with neurology so dead set on making us into robots? It is really the question that should be explored.
  • Andrew M
    567
    Here is another quote, and I can pull out thousands like it:

    "Quantum mechanics is indeterministic, "

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/quantum-physics-free-will/
    Rich

    That's a quote specifically about measurement, not the Schrodinger equation. In that same article the author says, "Also, at a deep level, quantum mechanics is not random at all. Schrödinger’s equation is completely deterministic and time-symmetric."

    As it happens, the De Broglie–Bohm theory is also deterministic. Here's a quote from David Bohm:

    In contrast to the usual interpretation, this alternative interpretation permits us to conceive of each individual system as being in a precisely definable state, whose changes with time are determined by definite laws, analogous to (but not identical with) the classical equations of motion. Quantum-mechanical probabilities are regarded (like their counterparts in classical statistical mechanics) as only a practical necessity and not as an inherent lack of complete determination in the properties of matter at the quantum level.")David Bohm
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Deep level? Here is what Bohm writes of his equations in his book Science, Order and Creativity (1987):

    "Although the interpretation is termed causal (his italics), this should not be taken as implying a form of complete determinism. Indeed it will be shown that this interpretation opens the door for the creative operation of underlying, and yet subtler, levels of reality."

    Bohm and Bergson were on the same track including the concept that in some way the universe was holographic. Bohm's book is entirely about how quantum theory supports the notion of creative intelligence. Of course, all of this is ignored by those who wish to turn Bohm's equations into some deterministic theory, while it clearly cannot be. His equation uses a probabilistic function. It has to.

    Bohm's requesting, the quantum potential, is and has to be probabilistic, thus allowing for creativity and choice, which also supports every day experience of every human being. The life we experience, filled with choices, is not an illusion concocted by some Laws of Nature nor the gods of Hinduism.

    P.70 of the Oxford Handbook of Free Will completely supports my position on Bohm, and on determinism and quantum physics, particularly in light of the work by Conway and Kochen. However, scientists such as Hooft desperately keep seeking for ways to resuscitate determinism, even to the point of outlandish super-determinism. Why? Why are scientists so goal directed? This is an important question to ask since it provides insight into the science industry.
  • Forgottenticket
    132
    The point of introducing QM is to give mind somewhere to move, to escape causal closure. Libet, Eccles and others used it to that end.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.6k
    You can't build computers based upon a random roll like a die. You can build one based upon Schrodinger's equations. There is a big difference.Rich

    Dice are known as a "randomizing-device", one among many.

    There isn't a very "big difference" between randomizing-devices. They all achieve the same thing.

    Computers commonly use pseudorandom algorithms, because that doesn't require special hardware, though, as you may know, pseudorandom algorithms aren't reliably random.

    You could say that about some genuine randomizing-devices too. I once statistically-tested an inexpensive die, and found the expected statistically-significant departures from randomness, the departures that one would expect due to the die's asymmetric mass-distribution.

    But, for the purpose of games, even gambling, that die would be adequate. Most sidewalk craps-games probably use such dice, and no one has a problem with their nonrandomness.

    Of course casino dice have "pips" (spots) consisting of, filled with, the same material (or at least an equally-dense material) as the rest of the die, though the pips are dyed a different color. That avoids the gross departures from randomness that I measured.

    By the way, a perfect die is completely random, with all of its final-orientation outcomes being equally likely. But, even with the best pair of dice, the game-relevant outcomes aren't equally likely. Casino craps, sidewalk-craps, and most boardgames are based on dice-outcomes consisting of the the total number of pips showing when two dice are thrown. Those outcomes are not equally likely, even with the best dice. A seven is much more likely than a two or a twelve.

    As far as randomness in determinism, it's quite your invention.

    It can be heard as a contradiction in terms. That's why I said that it wasn't a good way to say what I meant.

    Here's what I meant:

    Though randomness, any degree of it, is the opposite of pre-determination...

    Suppose that quantum-effects (or something else) add some randomness to your choices. In that case, that random effect is making you act contrary to how you'd have wanted to act before that randomizing effect. It will, more often than not, make you act contrary to your longterm goals, purposes and principles. ...and produce a result that you later don't like.

    It means that, to some extent, your actions are being determined for you, instead of by you..

    That was what I meant. Sure, "deterministic" wasn't the right word, because "deterministic" implies pre-determined.

    Just one random event pretty much destroys all of determinism

    Incorrect. Not if the randomizing influence only has a small role, &/or only happens occasionally, or in limited choice-domains.


    , but keep trying. A review of Calvinism, which is in total agreement with your philosophy is one avenue for further explanation. Just, whenever they use the word God, you should use the Laws of Nature.

    Keep talking like the troll that you are, Rich.

    ...a troll who believes that he's controlled by a disembodied, distributed Rupert-Sheldrake holographic quantum Mind-repository.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.6k


    I'd said:

    Dice are probabilistic and random. Random doesn’t mean that all outcomes are equally probable.

    You replied:

    Why are they probabilistic and random? The statistical definition of random is that they are equally probable.

    Yes. In that sense, a perfect die is completely random, because all of the outcome-numbers from 1 to 6 are equally probably.

    But a pair of dice is probabilistic too, because, if the outcomes consist of the number of pips showing when the dice come to rest, then those outcomes have different probabilities.

    That was what I meant.

    In my opinion there is no such thing as random.

    A perfect die would be random. The best dice, the ones used in casinos, closely approach that ideal.

    I think random is used to explain situations in which humans can't evaluate the probabilities of something.

    Sure, but also to describe situations in which the outomes really are equiprobable, or nearly so.

    And "random" is reasonably used for devices and situations in which the outcome is probabilistic instead of deterministic. Such devices and situations are reasonably said to have a random element.

    I believe that everything in the known universe exists only as a probabilities. Our choices and thoughts.

    Our choices and thoughts might seem that way because we don't have detailed information about what determines them.

    But often we do. Often we do know why we make the choices that we make. That's so, often enough, that I suggest that the determinism of our choices is obvious, even from our own point of view.

    The coin that is flipped in a bet. No choices or randomness. Just probabilities playing out based on original configurations.

    In the case of a flipped-coin, the two outcomes are genuinely equiprobable. We hear mention of a "fair-coin". Have you ever seen or heard of a coin that isn't a "fair-coin"? ...unless it's a two-headed or two-tailed coin.

    ...equiprobable because it's entirely impossible for anyone to control the outcome of a reasonably high coin-flip.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Computers commonly use pseudorandom algorithmsMichael Ossipoff

    That's not what I mean. I said build computers (solid state electronics) not program computers. If the world was random, the Internet would fall into chaos.

    Look at your messages on the topic. Your belief in determinism is entirely based upon faith. There is not one shred of evidence anywhere to support such a philosophical view. It is exactly, precisely, a religion in all shape and form. It is dogma.
  • prothero
    215
    Quantum Mechanics does injury to the concept of determinism.
    Quantum entanglement does injury to locality and/or causality, even space and time.
    Either way the notion of determinism gives way to structured or ordered with some degrees of freedom or non computability, non predictability.
    Complex systems have always been non predictable, determinism was always only a theory.
    Even proponents of "determinism" and lack of "free will" do not live as though it were true, one can't. When philosophical theory contradicts the requirements of living, one should reconsider the theory.
    All those long range space exploration satellites have course correction or they would never reach their targets.
    Metaphysical Determinism is bad science and bad philosophy, it is a useless theory.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.6k


    I don't disagree with that, but, sometimes, to the extent that something is probabilistic, it's said to have some randomness. ...even if all outcomes aren't equiprobable.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.6k
    ook at your messages on the topic. Your belief in determinism is entirely based upon faith. There is not one shred of evidence anywhere to support such a philosophical view. It is exactly, precisely, a religion in all shape and form. It is dogma.Rich

    We've been over this. I admit that there could be small probabilistic influences, randomizing influences on human behavior. But we're mostly deterministic, with built-in and acquired inclinations and predispositions. ...responding, of course, to environmental conditions.

    Natural-selection made us that way, because the individuals that successfully rear more offspring will, obviously have their traits represented more in the population. And no, that isn't a religion. it's just a blatantly obvious fact.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Rich
    3.2k
    But we're mostly deterministic, with built-in and acquired inclinations and predispositions. ...responding, of course, to environmental conditions.Michael Ossipoff

    Sure. We have habits - which can be disrupted by choice. Just one choice destroys determinism. If it can be done once it can be done again and again. There is no such thing as kind-of-determinism.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.6k
    Quantum Mechanics does injury to the concept of determinism.prothero

    Agreed, if quantum-effects, or anything else, introduces a small probabilistic influence in human-behavior, then our choices aren't entirely deterministic. For my answer to that, I refer you to my post just before this one.

    Quantum entanglement does injury to locality and/or causality, even space and time.

    I'll take your word for that one, because I'm not quite sure how it affects our choices.

    Either way the notion of determinism gives way to structured or ordered with some degrees of freedom or non computability, non predictability.

    Yes, to the extent that, and if, there's some probabilistic influence on our choices and behavior. ...due to quantum-effects, or some other reason.

    Complex systems have always been non predictable

    Maybe we're meaning different things by "determinism". If our choices are determined by physical influences that are too complex to predict, they're still determined by those influences, even if they can't be predicted.

    But people are largely predictable, even by other fallible people.

    i predict that you aren't going to quit your job
    and take up cave-diving tomorrow.

    I predict that humans will never have a good society.

    , determinism was always only a theory.

    ...like evolution?

    As I said, there might be slight probabilistic influences, from one cause or another. So then our choices wouldn't be entirely deterministic.

    Even proponents of "determinism" and lack of "free will" do not live as though it were true, one can't.

    How so? Can you show that we don't mostly act according to our inclinations, predispositions and our surroundings?

    When philosophical theory contradicts the requirements of living, one should reconsider the theory.

    You've said that it contradicts them, but you haven't shown that.

    All those long range space exploration satellites have course correction or they would never reach their targets.

    Their human controllers made the course-corrections, in keeping with their desire to send the probe to the planet. ...an inclination resulting from built-in and acquired predispositions and inclinations, and influences in those humans' surroundings, throughout their lives.

    Of course humans, like all animals, can adapt to their surroundings, by acquiring inclinations, predispositions and intentions based on events and conditions in their surroundings ...in addition to their built-in predispositions and inclinations.

    Metaphysical Determinism is bad science and bad philosophy, it is a useless theory.

    See above.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.6k
    Sure. We have habits - which can be disrupted by choice. Just one choice destroys determinism. If it can be done once it can be done again and again. There is no such thing as kind-of-determinism.Rich

    Of course we make choices. ...choices that are mostly, almost entirely, or entirely determined by our prior inclinations and predispositions, and events and conditions in our surroundings.

    Those choices don't destroy determinism.

    Is there maybe sometimes some physically-caused small probabilistic influence on our behavior and choices? Maybe. I've admitted that,to that small extent, then, some of our choices couldn't be called entirely deterministic.

    Sometimes, of course, we don't know which choices, decisions or feelings those are. But sometimes we know that we make a choice or decision because of a long-felt strong inclination that doesn't change, or because of an inclination known to be instinctive.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Speaks for itself.
    Of course we make choices. ...choices that are mostly, almost entirely, or entirely determined by our prior inclinations and predispositions, and events and conditions in our surroundings.Michael Ossipoff

    There is nothing more beautiful than a kind-of-determinism that rests on the kind-of-things that determine bound together and neatly packaged by a whole bunch of choices. Is there such a thing as Muddy Philosophy?

    Anyway, you're happy with it, so who am I to argue.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.3k
    In 1920's 'they' found out that the idea of determinism is not right due to the discovery of quantum physics. So how do quantum physics give the Universe 'free will'? Or is quantum physics just an other thing we have yet to fully understand and is determinism still right?FMRovers

    In short: determinism might be right to due some kind of hidden non-local variable we have yet to discover. But, quantum uncertainty in the "spin" of quantum particles like electrons certainly does not give us free will unless you can presuppose some sort of connection between the inherent unpredictability of electrons and human behavior.

    It would look something like this: a quantum fluctiation in the electromagnetic field of an electron changes, which triggers a wider re-positioning of particles, which then triggers a change in atomic states of the molecules within a neuron (let's say a neuro-chemical breaks down?) and then subsequently causes that neuron to not fire where it otherwise might have fired, which then has a small impact on the actual thought processes of the brain which contains the neuron. Is that free will? Seems more like random will to me...
  • Rich
    3.2k
    In short: determinism might be right to due some kind of hidden non-local variable we have yet to discover.VagabondSpectre

    Equally so we may discover proof of God. Faith is something to cherish. However, zero evidence of snow kind and with contrary evidence pretty much the foundation of modern physics, let's just bury determinism and give it the funeral it deserves.

    As for choice, science is certainly free to continue to call it an illusion. Heck, 10s of millions of Hindus will agree. Hindus believe a god creates the illusion. Similar for science?
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.3k
    Equally so we may discover proof of God. Faith is something to cherish. However, zero evidence of snow kind and with contrary evidence pretty much the foundation of physics, let's just bury determinism and give it the funeral it deserves.Rich

    The evidence that refutes determinism must come in the form of evidence which proves some kind randomness necessarily exists, but again, quantum uncertainty does not equate to free will. Let's just bury free will and give it the funeral it deserves.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    The evidence that refutes determinism must come in the form of evidence which proves some kind randomness necessarily exists, but again, quantum uncertainty does not equate to free will. Let's just bury free will and give it the funeral it deserves.VagabondSpectre

    Quantum says that there is no determined outcome - not until the observer gets in the act. I know it must be difficult for people of such deep deterministic faith but there is always Calvinism. Of course there is always the possibility of resurrection with hidden variables.

    Anyway, I respect faith. Such is the nature of religion.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.3k
    Quantum says that there is no determined outcomeRich

    It states that the outcome is not knowable prior to checking it, but also states that the results will tend to resolve based on a particular distribution of results (a particular probability).

    The "observer getting in the act" doesn't determine the initial result, but it is necessary for us to have access to information about a particles spin...

    If you compare belief in determinism to religion, then belief in free will must be like outright cult worship...
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