• WISDOMfromPO-MO
    753
    "Judged from a scientific and logical perspective, the belief that we stand outside the causal web in any respect is an absurdity, the height of human egoism and exceptionalism. We should get over the idea that to be real agents we have to be self-created..."

    Do you see that?

    The "belief that we stand outside the causal web in any respect is an absurdity", and we should cause ourselves to "get over the idea that to be real agents we have to be self-created".

    Do you see that?

    It is absurd to believe that we are outside of C, but from outside of C we should...

    There is always this contradiction in determinism, but nobody--preaching determinism or criticizing determinism--ever seems to be aware of it.

    If determinism is true, then determinism itself is determined.

    If determinism is true, then believing that one has free will is determined.

    If determinism is true, then believing that one does not have free will is determined.

    If determinism is true, then what I am typing right now is determined.

    If determinism is true, then believing that one is in control of his/her life is determined.

    Etc.

    Etc.

    Etc.

    Determinists tell us that everything we do is determined by things other than our own selves, but then they want our own selves to determine that we will no longer believe that our own selves determine anything that we do.

    You can't tell people that their behavior is determined by things other than their own selves and then admonish them for not determining their own behavior. You can't have it both ways.

    When we make a choice we don't actually make a choice, we are told. Making a choice is an illusion, we are told. But then we are told that we need to make the choice to now believe that making a choice is an illusion. We are to illusion that an illusion is an illusion. Actually, "we" is an illusion, therefore: an illusion are to illusion than an illusion is an illusion.

    But if determinism is true, the determinists can't help it if they tell us to ourselves determine that we will believe that we don't determine ourselves--that behavior of theirs is determined.

    I'm not the most educated person in the world--not even close. But I have encountered a lot of ideas and systems of ideas in my life, and I know of nothing more confused and contradictory than determinism.

    What good is cake without icing? Here is some icing: causes do not exist, apparently many philosophers and scientists believe. Yet, determinists tell us that everything is part of a chain of causes and effects.

    So something that does not exist explains our behavior, and the explanation is that things like explaining things is an illusion. The things that do not exist are merely acting on other things, there is no other thing doing any acting itself like giving an explanation. Aren't you glad that everything is clear now?
  • SophistiCat
    835
    "Judged from a scientific and logical perspective, the belief that we stand outside the causal web in any respect is an absurdity, the height of human egoism and exceptionalism. We should get over the idea that to be real agents we have to be self-created..."

    Do you see that?

    The "belief that we stand outside the causal web in any respect is an absurdity", and we should cause ourselves to "get over the idea that to be real agents we have to be self-created".

    Do you see that?

    It is absurd to believe that we are outside of C, but from outside of C we should...
    WISDOMfromPO-MO

    No, I don't see that, not in what you quoted.

    There is always this contradiction in determinism, but nobody--preaching determinism or criticizing determinism--ever seems to be aware of it.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    What determinism? There is nothing about determinism in that quote. But if you want to know how determinism can be thought to be compatible with free will, I suggest you do some reading about compatibilism, instead of starting a new thread every time the question knocks into your head.
  • Chany
    352
    Determinists still believe one makes choices and decisions, they just don't believe the ultimate outcome could have been otherwise.

    I don't really get what is so contradictory about saying "determinism is true" and "we ought to do X", as there is no contradiction here.
  • Michael
    8.1k
    All you seem to be suggesting is that it's something of a performative contradiction to argue that determinism is correct and then that one ought accept it, as if prescriptions of the latter kind are only meaningful (or true) if determinism isn't the case.

    And maybe it is a performative contradiction. But it doesn't then mean that determinism isn't the case.
  • Forgottenticket
    162
    I remember Searle brought this point up in one of his lectures. He said someone once asked him if proof of the non-existence of free will was shown to him would he accept it. To accept it presumes the existence of free will because otherwise he couldn't "accept" it, it would already be determined whether he did or not.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I remember Searle brought this point up in one of his lectures. He said someone once asked him if proof of the non-existence of free will was shown to him would he accept it. To accept it presumes the existence of free will because otherwise he couldn't "accept" it, it would already be determined whether he did or not.JupiterJess

    Of course, this is the ultimate silliness of the determinist philosophy/religion. The Natural Laws that are determining everything is arguing with itself trying to convince itself that it is determined after having convinced itself, through some illusion, that it has created, that it has some free will.

    Nothing, no religion not any other convoluted philosophy, is as silly as determinism, and on top of all this, there isn't a single shred of evidence to support it. Determinism is a weird kind of religion of some sort. People just want to feel like their lives are completed fated. Go figure.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Determinists still believe one makes choices andChany

    It's a choice is being made then determinism is destroyed. There is a real choice being made by the mind.

    You can't have your cake and eat it.
  • Michael
    8.1k
    Of course, this is the ultimate silliness of the determinist philosophy/religion. The Natural Laws that are determining everything is arguing with itself trying to convince itself that it is determined after having convinced itself, through some illusion, that it has created, that it has some free will.Rich

    This doesn't make any sense at all.

    It is simply that if determinism is true then our speech acts – whether that be to utter "we have free will" or to utter "we do not have free will" – are determined by prior events.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    So there is no choice.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it.

    (Next stop: Choice is an illusion).
  • Mike Adams
    34
    Determinism is based on Newtonian mechanics, which is now superseded by quantum physics. In quantum physics 'uncaused' events are common place. The question is whether any 'control' can ever be exerted over quantum events. If so this could provide the metaphysical wiggle room that free will requires.
  • Michael
    8.1k
    So there is no choice.Rich

    Yes.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it.Rich

    What do you mean by this?
  • Michael
    8.1k
    In quantum physics 'uncaused' events are common place.Mike Adams

    That's not entirely accurate. Unpredictable events are common place. I believe whether or not such events are uncaused depends on whether or not there are hidden variables.
  • Mike Adams
    34
    I suppose we would have to agree on a definition of 'caused' here. But ultimately in cases such as atomic decay, exactly when an electron for example would emit a proton is as you say entirely unpredictable. No apparent outside agency prompts the change and no internal clockwork times the 'jump'.

    Either way, it challenges the deterministic picture or a clockwork universe.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Determinism is based on Newtonian mechanics, which is now superseded by quantum physics. In quantum physics 'uncaused' events are common place. The question is whether any 'control' can ever be exerted over quantum events. If so this could provide the metaphysical wiggle room that free will requires.Mike Adams

    No wiggle room required. Quantum physics pretty much destroys determinism.

    As for choice, we all experience it every day of our lives. Or choices are experienced as the will that we generate to move in a particular direction or to draw our attention in a particular direction.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    If there is no choice, then you have determinism which is undermined by quantum physics and everyday experience. Determinism, if nothing else, is soggy and muddy. Do they seriously still teach this in schools? They might as well be teaching Calvinism.

    There is no evidence of any sort of hidden variables. This, determinism is strictly a matter of faith. It is like waiting for some evidence for God.
  • Mike Adams
    34
    'Experiencing' choice does not necessarily entail true choice in the metaphysical sense. The human experience is rife with illusion. Determinism questions are also not limited to the realm of sub-atomic physics. Even if you can create some physical space in the causal structure that doesn't automatically mean there is any way you can exert any kind of top-down mental control.

    One could argue that the existence of a temporal direction entails some form of determinism even if quantum physics is accurate.
  • Michael
    8.1k
    If there is no choice, then you have determinism which is undermined by quantum physics and everyday experience.Rich

    This is nothing like what you were saying earlier. You've changed your criticism of determinism.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    'Experiencing' choice does not necessarily entail true choice in the metaphysical sense. The human experience is rife with illusionMike Adams

    Well then, you have to come up with a cute explanation on how this illusion is created. One can look to Hinduism for inspiration.

    Lacking faith in the Hindu explanation, I'll just allow my everyday day experience to be real. Others have three choice to believe in supernatural illusions if they so desire
  • Rich
    3.2k
    No, determinism had no foundation as does the idea that there is no choice. It is an explanation that is indistinguishable from Calvinism.
  • Mike Adams
    34
    There is nothing necessarily supernatural about phenomenal illusions. They happen all the time - just ask the amputee who still 'feels' the missing leg.

    As for your utter disavowing of any type of determinism I would ask you this: if my conscious choices are in no way guided by my established psychology, how are they my choices. And if there are, then my choice at time T will rely on time T-1 and so on. This situation seems to obtain even of physical (Netownian) determinism is proved to be false so would suggest another kind of psychological determinism governed by the flow of time.
  • Michael
    8.1k
    No, determinism had no foundation as does the idea that there is no choice. It is an explanation that is indistinguishable from Calvinism.Rich

    And this has nothing to do with what you were saying earlier. "Having your cake and eating it"? "The Natural Laws that are determining everything is arguing with itself trying to convince itself that it is determined after having convinced itself, through some illusion, that it has created, that it has some free will."? What do these (almost nonsensical) claims have to do with this later claim that determinism is inconsistent with quantum mechanics?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    There is nothing necessarily supernatural about phenomenal illusions. They happen all the time - just ask the amputee who still 'feels' the missing leg.Mike Adams

    That is not an illusion. The amputee is still feeling the missing leg. It can be explained by viewing the body differently, but no reason to get into that. The feeling is quite real.

    As for your utter disavowing of any type of determinism I would ask you this: if my conscious choices are in no way guided by my established psychology, how are they my choices.Mike Adams

    It is exactly, precisely what is happening. There are influences coming from all over the place (not just psychological) and then the mind makes a choice as to which direction to exert some willful energy. The choice manifests as an act of will in a direction.

    Try it out as an experiment. You feel hungry. Think about it. Consider the foods you have available, all of them, and then reach and choose one. This experiment usually works well and there is no need to call upon some supernatural forces that are needed to guide me. It is all done by me.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    And this has nothing to do with what you were saying earlier. "Having your cake and eating it"? "The Natural Laws that are determining everything is arguing with itself trying to convince itself that it is determined after having convinced itself, through some illusion, that it has created, that it has some free will."? What do these (almost nonsensical) claims have to do with this later claim that determinism is inconsistent with quantum mechanics?Michael

    That's determinism in a nutshell. A whacky idea that gets more and more entertaining (in a comical way) as one seeks to understand its ontological implications. Religion makes much, much more sense since at least they own up to an all powerful God that they have faith in to guide everything. Determinism is nothing more than Calvinism in disguise.
  • Mike Adams
    34
    The religious and scientific conceptions of determinism are actually very similar - one ordained by an infinite being, the other by a closed, causal universe.

    Determinism in the physical sense is really only about antecedent, sufficient causation, and the notion that given a set of physical circumstances only one possible future can obtain. It's a very simple concept in itself but admits of many different interpretations.

    You say you chose a piece of food and it's all done by you. I'm not disputing that. But if at time T you make a choice out of several available options, and you want that choice to be truly 'yours' there must be some decision making procedure which explains why you 'chose' say the apple instead of the banana. So your physical 'state' at T was geared towards one or the other choice. If your physical state just prior to your action was truly neutral then your choice would be random luck and no demonstration of free will. So if your state at T is geared towards one choice or the other we are quickly lead into a backwards trajectory and ultimately an infinite regression - and your choice ends up 'determined' by physical circumstances that can be traced back to some point in the past.

    There does not currently seem anyway out of this.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k
    "Judged from a scientific and logical perspective, the belief that we stand outside the causal web in any respect is an absurdity, the height of human egoism and exceptionalismWISDOMfromPO-MO

    And then:

    . We should get over the idea that to be real agents we have to be self-created..."

    Incorrect. You will, only if you're predisposed to, predispositionally able to. You'll do and say what you're predisposed to.

    Of course, if I give you a good enough argument against your current beliefs, then your predispositions, combined with events in your surroundings (like my arguments) might cause you to change your position.

    It would be pointless and meaningless to say that you should do other than what you're predisposed to..

    ...but we can try to provide surroundings that will influence you in a direction that we prefer. ...such as retributive laws, for example.

    But I'll add that, for the sake of your neighbors, I hope that you don't have dangerous predispositions.

    This is just a brief reply.

    I might have more to say later, but I've answered your objection.

    By the way, what entity is it that has that free-will that you believe in? Some sort of Dualistic Spirit, ectoplasm or Mind-Substance?

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Mike Adams
    34
    Which objection? Apologies, but your post seemed a bit vague and I'm not sure which objection you're answering.

    With regard to the quote you use though, I don't think it's so much about stepping outside the causal web, more finding gaps within it which may permit some sort of mental influence.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    decision making procedure which explains why you 'chose' say the apple instead of the bananaMike Adams

    Yes, but the choice could have gone either way. It was not made until I (my mind) made it and then directed it. I am not suggesting that choices aren't influenced, it is just my mind makes the choice and it is a real choice (I'm not big on illusions).

    Determinism tries to make a real process into some sort of illusion. Once one starts calling upon illusions then it must be shown one sort of strange force of nature (actually supernatural force) is creating such illusions. To me this then becomes some sort of religion. In such a car, one merely had to call upon God as the maker of the illusion of choice.

    your action was truly neutral then your choice would be random luck and no demonstration of free willMike Adams

    If one observes daily life, choices are influenced and therefore probabilistic in nature, i.e. I am more likely to make one choice vs. another, but there is always room for a totally new novelty, e.g. today I'll wake up without an alarm clock! What I am describing is exactly, precisely what we experience in life. We make choices.

    You are limiting your choices to fixed and random. It is neither, it is probabilistic with the possibility of novelty.
  • Mike Adams
    34
    I'm interested - how do you define your view on the free will debate? Some kind of libertarianist?

    You say choices are "probabilistic with the possibility of novelty." - but this doesn't make any sense. If choices originate within us as automnomous beings then they must come at the end of a temporal progression stretching backwards, which would indicate some form of determinism. If at time zero they remain entirely non-influenced then what steers the choice one way or another?

    I guess I would like you to explain the scientific/biological base for your 'I'm free and the original cause of all my actions' view.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    then what steers the choice one way or another?Mike Adams

    The creative mind. We are creative. That is how we evolve. It is fundamentally who we are - creative.

    If you are looking for the fundamental beginning of everything, it is the creative mind.
  • Mike Adams
    34
    And how (scientifically speaking) does the 'creative mind' - which is presumably a physical entity - generate atomic motion without any form of preceding causation?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    And how (scientifically speaking) does the 'creative mind' - which is presumably a physical entity - generate atomic motion without any form of preceding causation?Mike Adams

    It is as physical as quantum/photons and it is generates motion as a process in exactly, precisely in the same manner. As Bohm suggested, it is embedded in the fabric of the universe. Bergson suggests a similar model.

    Everything is exactly as we experience it. Creativity -> Will -> Directional Process
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