• Terrapin Station
    13.4k


    As something empirical, it's not provable either way. Empirical matters have to be decided on factors other than proof.
  • Relativist
    845
    While it's true that determinism can neither be proven nor disproven, I suggest that determinism should be the default assumption in the physical world. This leaves room to debate the nature of mind - if mental activities are entirely physical, then we should assume determinism. If mental activities are at least partly the product of something non-physical, only then should we consider the possibility that determinism might be false.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.4k
    I suggest that determinism should be the default assumption in the physical world.Relativist

    Any particular reason you suggest that?
  • Relativist
    845

    The success of science. Empirical evidence shows the world to behave in regular, predictable ways, which supports the hypothesis that there are inviolable laws of nature. Scientific efforts to uncover those laws of nature (or at least approximations of those actual laws) have been extremely successful.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.4k
    The success of science. Empirical evidence shows the world to behave in regular, predictable ways, which supports the hypothesis that there are inviolable laws of nature. Scientific efforts to uncover those laws of nature (or at least approximations of those actual laws) have been extremely successful.Relativist

    But the standard view in the sciences hasn't been determinism for about 140 years or so.
  • Relativist
    845

    If you're referring to Quantum Mechanics, it's still (at least) probabilistic determinism - when there is quantum uncertainty.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    How do I feel about free will if I had some. or not had any.

    - I like that I am responsible for my actions whether there is free will or not.
    - I like that nobody ultimately has control. I would like to have control, but I'm happy i have an equal amount to how much everyone else has.
    - I like being me. Reap the apparent rewards I've earned. Lack of free will puts a little dumper on that.
    - as a function of a deterministic universe, I have this gladness feeling that washes all over me, that everything is all right. Transfering control, and just enjoying the ride. Same if I were religious, or believed in a non-deterministic universe.
    - lack of free will, a consideration thereof, never stopped me for enjoying a victory in arguing, or in working out a problem, or winning in chess, etc.
    - I enjoy having the views I have, and I stick behind them with conviction. This I enjoy as if it were my own doing. What a rube.
    - Generally, I ignore the fact that there is no free will, and let it roll out as it may. I take the rewards I did not earn, I suffer the punishment I did not deserve. But it all congeals, to me it feels right, in an apparent illusion that I seem to be living.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    One note about my post there: I read what is asked and I gave a straight answer. Most people will go into a philosophizing about this or that or the other thing. Most times my sticking to the topic gets drowned in the enthusiastic debate by many others about something completely unrelated.

    Old age has its merits, one being a strange sense of discipline one follows.
  • Relativist
    845
    Determinism doesn't mean there is no free will, it means there is no Libertarian Free Will. Compatibilists account for a free will that is consistent with determinism:

    The choices you make are still YOUR choices, not someone else's.
    You could have made a different choice, for example:
    • had you better understood the consequences
    • had you placed more weight on the long term vs the short term

    You are accountable for those choices - you made it based on your own beliefs, desires, impulses, etc, and you could have and would have made a better choice if you had been less selfish (accountability encourages everyone to understand there are consequences to ones actions and to weigh this knowledge into their choices).

    Old age has its merits, one being a strange sense of discipline one follows.god must be atheist
    I'm old too. Some of us old folks feel that we make better decisions than we did when we were young, and this is because we know more (and are somewhat less driven by hormones). This too is consistent with a compatibilist account of free will.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    The choices you make are still YOUR choices, not someone else's.
    You could have made a different choice, for example:
    had you better understood the consequences
    had you placed more weight on the long term vs the short term
    Relativist
    Therefore my will would have been predicated by a different set of causes. Determinism stands.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    Some of us old folks feel that we make better decisions than we did when we were young, and this is because we know more (and are somewhat less driven by hormones). This too is consistent with a compatibilist account of free will.Relativist

    Quite the contrary. Your (and mine and other old folks') decisions are better because we are predicated differently, and you conveniently for me, described the predictors.

    Compatibilism is a mere mirage, a new-age addage to the incompatibility to the truth vs the wishfulness of people.
  • Relativist
    845
    Mirage?

    Compatibilism is the notion that our choices are indeed freely willed, because they are OUR choices: all the factors that influence the choice are internal to ourselves: beliefs, feelings, impulses, etc.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    Yes, the choice is ours; but it has been predicated. Whether by internal or outside factors, the choice is always pre-predictable.

    Also, not all things that influence your choices are internal. Not that that matters, but still.

    Take any example. Describe it to me, and I respond how the choice eventually made was not possible to be different than what it eventually was.
  • god must be atheist
    952

    At the ultimate, there is only one possible outcome for any choice, because the timeline of reality does not allow two different AND concurrent outcomes.

    It is hard to conceive that of two or more possible choices to choose from, when you have to choose only one, you'd choose one which is lesser caused than the more caused.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    our internal impulses, desires, etc. are all regulated by outside forces. They are "inside" of ourselves, if you so will, but they themselves have been "put" inside into us.

    You feel thirsty, so you drink. But the thirst was a function of your metabolism and lack of imbibing for a span of time.

    You feel like loving a partner. But it's not a random, uncaused feeling; it is predicated by your hormone levels (not yours, personally, but anyone's; I'm using the general you) which are predicated by your health, your momentary state predicated by the length of time since the last release of sexual tension, and how your body and metabolic system replaced the necessary enzymes and such.

    You feel like arguing with me. You choose compatibilism as your belief. But that had been predicated by your values and your wishes and desires. And by the lack of some other considerations. Your values tell you that you MUST be accountable for your actions. Your wishes tell you that you must FEEL to be in control. You lack the INSIGHT (sorry, not trying to insinuate lack of intelligence or any other similar insults) prevents you from seeing that will is just another deterministic system among all the other systems in the universe.
  • MrCrowley
    7
    I think we confuse "wide range of choices" with free will. Humans are very complicated, and a lot of tiny factors may decide whether we have pancakes and eggs vs cereal in the morning, but it doesn't make us "free". A cockroach doesn't has any more "free-will" today than it did yesterday simply because today it were given the option to pick and choose anything it wanted from the menu at a restaurant.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    That's right, MrCrowley. I fully support your view.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    Mirage?

    Compatibilism is the notion that our choices are indeed freely willed, because they are OUR choices: all the factors that influence the choice are internal to ourselves: beliefs, feelings, impulses, etc.
    Relativist

    Compatibilism is an invention by some peace-maker-to-be, who decided to invent this notion, in order to appease people who would be otherwise on the verge of total ego hull breach if they had to finally concede under tremendous pressure of evidence that there is no free will.
  • Relativist
    845
    Yes, the choice is ours; but it has been predicated. Whether by internal or outside factors, the choice is always pre-predictable.god must be atheist
    The choice has been determined, and it was predictable - but only in principle. In principle, the shape of the grand canyon was predictable at the big bang, the shaping process still required a long series of prior steps to get there.

    Also, not all things that influence your choices are internal. Not that that matters, but still.

    Take any example. Describe it to me, and I respond how the choice eventually made was not possible to be different than what it eventually was.
    The process of making a choice is entirely yours, and the factors that led you to make that choice were entirely within you. Each of those factors was caused - something caused you to hold a belief, or to have a desire or predilection, but the choice itself was a product of you - just like the Grand Canyon was a product of the Colorado river.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    The choice has been determined, and it was predictable - but only in principle. In principle, the shape of the grand canyon was predictable at the big bang, the shaping process still required a long series of prior steps to get there.Relativist

    This is good enough for me. The predictive factors are so large in numbers, and so diverse, and some are partially, some are totally hidden from humans, and human capacity for combination is small... so all this adds up to my conceding that prediction by humans is not possible.

    But it does not deny the principle; and though mere humans can't predict much,the choices we make is still not free. By principle, by logic, by deterministic approach.

    Whether humans can do it or not, is not the issue for me. The issue is that will is limited to one choice each time,and the choice will makes is predicated. For me that's where the buck stops.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    The process of making a choice is entirely yours, and the factors that led you to make that choice were entirely within you. Each of those factors was caused - something caused you to hold a belief, or to have a desire or predilection, but the choice itself was a product of you - just like the Grand Canyon was a product of the Colorado river.Relativist

    This is precisely how I see it, too. And because everything in me was caused, it was caused to be one way only, and these one ways make rise to a will that is predicated.
  • Relativist
    845
    Compatibilism is an invention by some peace-maker-to-be, who decided to invent this notion, in order to appease people who would be otherwise on the verge of total ego hull breach if they had to finally concede under tremendous pressure of evidence that there is no free will.god must be atheist
    Not at all. We believe we have free will, because it seems like we do. How can we explain that, if determinism is true? It turns out that freely-willed choices are perfectly consistent with determinism: we make choices because of a variety of factors within ourselves, factors that were caused by things outside ourselves (what we're taught, genetics,desires...). Rather, it seems to me that Libertarian Free will is the invention - it's free will with the added assumption that determinism is false. What's so great about libertarian free will? How does this make our choices any better than making a choice that is a product of our own beliefs?
  • god must be atheist
    952
    It turns out that freely-willed choices are perfectly consistent with determinism: we make choices because of a variety of factors within ourselves, factors that were caused by things outside ourselves (what we're taught, genetics,desires...).Relativist

    how can you call this freely willed, when it's completely determined previously?

    Freedom is the lack of confinement. Yet our choices by our will are confined to those factors that you and I both describe and you and I both believe are causing our decisions.

    Where is the freedom there, Relativist? The feeling? That's precisely why I called it what I called it: a mirage. It took mankind to realize the proper context of will, DESPITE the illusion we've had about it.
  • Relativist
    845
    it was caused to be one way onlygod must be atheist
    Yes, but the cause lacked intentionality. The shape of the grand canyon was not chosen, rather - it was a consequence of the conditions being what they were. Same with our choices - the choices (as choices) were not determined at the big bang; rather, the factors that led to those choices were inevitable.
  • Relativist
    845
    how can you call this freely willed, when it's completely determined previously?god must be atheist
    Because the big bang did not decide that I would eat corn flakes for breakfast. I made the choice, based on my own desires at the time. If I do what I want, why wouldn't I consider that a freely willed choice?

    What I freely choose was inevitable because there's a long causal chain that leads to it, but don't forget that the causal chain includes the processes internal to our brains that comprise our thought processes.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    The choice has been determined, and it was predictable - but only in principle. In principle, the shape of the grand canyon was predictable at the big bang, the shaping process still required a long series of prior steps to get there.Relativist

    The shape of the grand canyon was not chosen, rather - it was a consequence of the conditions being what they were. Same with our choices - the choices (as choices) were not determined at the big bang; rather, the factors that led to those choices were inevitable.Relativist

    I am sorry, Relativist, but your own simile or parallel is lame. On one hand you say the Grand Canyon has been predictable by the events in the Big Bang; you equated the development of the Will to the development of the Grand Canyon; then you say that the will was not predictable at the time of the Big Bang.

    So you self-contradict yourself.

    My position is that both the Will and the Grand Canyon were predictable at the time of the Big Bang.
  • Relativist
    845
    I am sorry, Relativist, but your own simile or parallel is lame. On one hand you say the Grand Canyon has been predictable by the events in the Big Bang; you equated the development of the Will to the development of the Grand Canyon; then you say that the will was not predictable at the time of the Big Bang.god must be atheist

    The Grand Canyon's shape and our choices have this in common: they are inevitable. What is unique about ourselves is that we are complex decision-making machines, while the Colorado River is not. The output of a computer program is inevitable, but the computer is still needed to perform the computing that produces that output. Our choices are inevitable, but the workings of our brains are still necessary to reach that inevitable outcome.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    Because the big bang did not decide that I would eat corn flakes for breakfast. I made the choice, based on my own desires at the time. If I do what I want, why wouldn't I consider that a freely willed choice?Relativist

    Would you deny any one of the intervening steps of causation as a true step of cause and effect between the Big Bang and your eating Corn Flakes for breakfast? In other words, do you maintain that some of the events in the chain of events between the Big Bang and your eating breakfast was NOT caused?

    If your breakfast choice was not predictable by the time of the Big Bang, then there had to be an event that was not caused. Because as long as all causes had effects, and all events had causes, then the choice of your eating breakfast had a direct line of cause-effect chain to the big bang.
  • god must be atheist
    952
    If I do what I want, why wouldn't I consider that a freely willed choice?Relativist

    Because what you want is a product of causes. Not a product of an unrestricted fancy.
  • Relativist
    845
    Would you deny any one of the intervening steps of causation as a true step of cause and effect between the Big Bang and your eating Corn Flakes for breakfast? In other words, do you maintain that some of the events in the chain of events between the Big Bang and your eating breakfast was NOT caused?god must be atheist
    Of course not.

    If your breakfast choice was not predictable by the time of the Big Bang, then there had to be an event that was not caused. Because as long as all causes had effects, and all events had causes, then the choice of your eating breakfast had a direct line of cause-effect chain to the big bang.
    It was predictable, but that doesn't change the fact that the choice was a product of my internal processing - and I ate what I wanted. If you eat what you want, why would you not consider that your own free choice? Sure, your wants were caused, but they're still YOUR wants.
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