Is free will possible in a deterministic universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Sarkus, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

    Michael 345 said:
    If the Universe was sentient it should be able to make the end prediction, but I would even doubtful about that

    So a a proposed hypothetical If the Universe was sentient you take as confirmation I believe the Universe is sentient. Don't think it works like that

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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    It was assumed, for this entire argument on this forum. It's not only favored, but stipulated to.
    You have no idea what a determined system "permits". I have tried to direct your attention to that central matter many times, and you simply refuse to consider it.

    You are ignoring my posting on that exact matter. Why?
    Several links - from Wikipedia to Wolfram - later, you want me to run errands for you yet again?

    This is very late in the game for that tactic. You need to show me you are capable of comprehending one of my posts, first. Address one of my already posted arguments, links, examples, proofs, analyses, etc - just one - without making some gross and idiotic mistake of paraphrase, and I will consider doing your homework for you yet again for you to blow off.
    The comedy factor of someone denying they are making an assumption and then referring to it as a "definition" is among my few rewards for persistence in this topic.

    Meanwhile: we have the obvious point that you have not yet bothered to address the posted examples or arguments regarding the "exercise of freedom" in a deterministic universe. And in rejecting even the consideration of these arguments, examples, illustrations, etc, you have declared observed fact to be illusion, and aspects of objective reality to be subjective - a strange stance for a causal determinist.

    Meanwhile: all you have is this supposed "definition" of yours, and it has been addressed - and dismissed - many times in ways you have failed to even consider. Your "definition" has been dismissed as irrelevant, along with all the other manifestations of the supernatural assumption - with specific and detailed arguments, illustration, examples, and suggestions for replacement. Months ago.

    Time to move on. What freedom does a deterministic universe "permit", and how do we approach that topic - good question.
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  5. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Now you are confusing "impossible" with "impossible in practice".
    Do you comprehend the difference?
    First we are talking about a deterministic universe, not any reality in which indeterminism plays a part.
    Second, we are actually disputing whether having perfect knowledge is impossible (not just practically impossible) or not, so you are also simply jumping to a conclusion rather than engaging in the debate.
    If you are not competent enough to engage in sensible debate about the abstracted universe that this thread is predicated on, feel free to bow out.
    It won't lessen the thread any.
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    IMO, determinism emerges from chaos. Follow the chronology of emergent mathematical patterns forming from random (chaotic) complexity. Indeterminism is the original ground state from which deterministic order emerges.

    This does not insure perfect knowledge of the future. The initial chaotic causal states are not purely deterministic but probabilistic.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No, we aren't. "We" have posted the fact that in addition to its several other conflicts with reason and evidence (the mutual and unavoidable incompleteness of the knower and the known, the necessity of abstraction and therefore incomplete knowledge, etc) perfect knowledge has been mathematically proven impossible in any universe described by mathematics. A causally deterministic universe as stipulated here is one such universe. That is not in dispute, except among those who reject the legitimacy or relevance of mathematical proof - and that kind of objection has not appeared here.
    You keep bringing that up. Why? Indeterminacy plays no part in this discussion.

    The topic remaining is the existence, nature, and role, of nonsupernatural freedom in a nonsupernatural, deterministic, natural law bound, observable, existent, universe. The supernatural is irrelevant - all of it, from "definition" to description.

    Several suggestions have been made regarding approach, etc - that the example of a driver approaching a traffic light illustrates some basic issues and provides a useful introductory focus on some basic facts (humans choose from among their capabilities and act on those choices, in this universe, for one), that an extrapolation to higher logical levels from the concept of degrees of freedom common in engineering and statistical descriptions of lower logical level events seems suggestively possible, that we already engage in that kind of intellectual approach when finessing various physical laws in applying them to higher logical level events (such as the 2nd Law extrapolation complexities we routinely employ to account for Darwinian evolution without violation of deterministic principles).
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Probability determines - it is the least avoidable determinant of events we know. It is the foundation of deterministic physical law - all Newton's Laws, all of QED, the entire body of physical law, rests on the inevitabilities of the patterns of chance.
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I agree, but it also does not allow for precise prediction of future occurrence.
    I believe it is very much like the Born Probability factor
  11. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    What do you mean by abstracted universe and how does it relate to the actual universe?
  12. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    The latter has not been proven, especially not by you, rather it has merely been asserted.
    We await your proof that perfect knowledge is impossible.
    Thus we actually are disputing what has been said.
    If you aren’t disputing it, then you are not part of the “we” being referenced, clearly.
    Or do you think you and I are the only people on this forum?
    So I’m not sure why you put the “we” in quotation marks, as there is more than just me disputing your claim.
    What remains in dispute is your claim that perfect knowledge is impossible.
    You have certainly stated it, but your “proof” is no such thing, as already explained to you.
    Because, whether you bother reading other people’s posts or not, not everyone yet understands this, and they need reminding.
    Because Quantum Quack was suggesting that we are discussing reality, and reality is not a deterministic universe.
    Hence the reminder to him that we are not discussing anything indeterministic.
    No, the topic is whether freewill is possible in a deterministic universe.
    Here’s a hint: look at the thread title.
    You, however, want to simply dismiss any answer that says “no”.
    Because if the answer is “no” then that notion of freewill must, according to you, be supernatural, and we have excluded the supernatural from discussion.
    You’re a joke.
    A thread that is titled to promote the discussion between the compatibilist and incompatibilist, and you, with a single stroke, want to dismiss the incompatibilist position.
    Set up your own thread if you only want to discuss the compatibilist position, and take your obsession with “supernatural” with you.
    Sure, and it’s been explained to you each time that your example offers no genuine alternatives, and thus no actual freedom.
    That it relies on comparison to counterfactual alternatives.
    That it only offers a notion of freedom found in bricks and orbiting Teslas.
    That you have nothing else other than an appeal to complexity.
    But each time you come back, not with anything new but with exactly the same.
    And attempt to dismiss the incompatibilist position as irrelevant to the discussion.
    You have proven only that you have no interest in the actual discussion of this thread.
    So please, go set up your own thread to discuss the notions of freedom that you think are compatible in a deterministic universe.
  13. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Oh, good grief, where to start.

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    You have reminded others repeatedly that we are discussing a deterministic universe, yet it remains abundantly clear that, despite numerous attempts to correct you, you still don’t grasp what causal determinism actually means.
    Probability only determines probabilistically, not completely.
    Causal determinism requires the complete determination of the effect from the cause, such that if the same cause is repeated you end up with the same effect.
    You don’t get this with probabilistic causation, as each time you have the same cause you can end up with different effects (that obey a probability function), and is thus NOT deterministic.
    What of this do you fail to grasp?
    If the universe is inherently probabilistic then it is NOT deterministic.
    But, as you are so quick to remind, we are not talking here about an indeterministic universe but a deterministic one, and thus any inherent probability is out of scope.
    So excuse me for bringing up indeterminism again, but when you are so quick to let everyone know of your ignorance that you consider an indeterministic causality as being deterministic, I feel I’m justified in raising the issue, for the benefit of anyone unfortunate enough to think you know what you’re talking about.
    Seriously, are you even trying to understand?
  14. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    The abstracted universe is the one that we are imagining and considering for purposes of this discussion.
    It relates to our universe only if the properties you assign to the abstracted universe match those of the actual universe.
    The abstracted universe is deterministic, whereas our actual universe seems to be indeterministic (probabilistic, for those others reading this who don’t yet fully grasp that probabilistic causation is indeterministic).
    Everything within the abstracted universe could be the same as our actual universe just without anything indeterministic.
    If one considers QM to be indeterministic, for example, as are the mainstream interpretations, then this would have to be excluded from the abstracted universe, excluded from discussion, and the quantum scale would operate as per classical physics.
    In fact, you could put anything you wanted in the abstracted universe, but everything has to be deterministic: each effect is completely determined (not just probabilistically determined) by its cause.

    Does that clarify things for you?
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but in a deterministic universe ; 2 + 2 = 4, but also 3 + 1 = 4

    Thus mathematically (deterministically) different equation can yield the same result. In this case the result is not necessarily uniquely dependend on a single prior deterministic causality, but can yield the same pattern.

    A daisy's petals are patterned in accordance with Fibonacci sequence, and so is a spiral galaxy. The pattern merely changes in size and constituent properties. Both patterns obey the Fibonacci Sequence with very different deterministic results.
  16. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

    I would put it as

    Us Minions cannot be 100% certain we have perfect knowledge

    The ol' we don't know what we don't know catch

    Sure we can make predictions with what we contend we do know

    However the non sentient Universe works with what it HAS. And since it has what it has (reality) the reality it has is - PERFECT KNOWLEDGE

    Us Minions look at reality (NOW), list what we know, have no idea if what we have listed is 100% correct and further have no idea (the ol' blah blah blah) while the non sentient Universe works with reality (which by default contains everything - ie the correct version of what we have gotten incorrect as well as stuff we haven't gotten at all) to produce a reality = to PERFECT KNOWLEDGE

    So it is not that perfect knowledge does or does not exist - IT DOES EXIST, but Minions limitations put it out of our reach

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  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    David Bohm's Wholeness.
    David Bohm: Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Introduction:

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  18. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Sure; determinism as it relates to a system does not state that an output is necessarily unique to a given input, only that it is completely determined by the input.
    A deterministic system may be f(x)=sin(x), where an infinite different x (input) will result in the same value of sin(x) (output).
    But the output is still completely determined, in that system, by the input: for a given input, there will only be one possible output.

    Compare that to f(x)=P(|x|) where P(|x|) - for this example - means that the output is any whole number from 1 to the absolute value of x.
    E.g. if x was 3 then the output could be 1, 2, or 3.
    If x was -4 then the output could be any number whole number between 1 and 4.
    This is an indeterministic function.
    The output is not completely determined by the input; there is randomness involved in reaching the output.

    But also, and a minor thing perhaps, note that the “=“ in your example is not an indication of a process, or of cause and effect.
    It is simply a statement of equivalence.
    Don’t conflate equivalence with cause/effect.
    If 2+2=4 and 1+3=4 then it is true that 2+2=1+3.
    No causation involved, just simple equivalence.
    In your example “1+3” and “2+2” are merely labels for the same thing, otherwise known as “4”, or “5-1”, or “2^2” etc.
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  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes I know that. The function (process) is symbolized with the "+". The equivalent number is the deterministic result
    ( = ) of an additive function.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  20. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    I didn’t mean to imply that it was your belief, only that you brought up the notion of it.
    Then stop implying that there are exceptions to it. If you agree that every action in a determined universe is based on the accumulated action that preceded it, then there is no choice, only predetermined action that is perceived as choice.
    The central matter is very simple, that in a determined universe, everything that can happen at any point in its evolution is determined by the initial state of the system. It means that all outcomes are predecided, and that there are no actual choices to be made by any entity contained therein.
    I’m not ignoring anything, it’s just that the continued irrationality of your posts demands continued correction.
    If you’ve actually made any such links in previous posts, I have no objection to looking at them, so go ahead and link the posts.
    This is my assumed definition of determinism.

    Determinism, in philosophy, theory that all events, including moral choices, are completely determined by previously existing causes. Determinism is usually understood to preclude free will because it entails that humans cannot act otherwise than they do. The theory holds that the universe is utterly rational because complete knowledge of any given situation assures that unerring knowledge of its future is also possible. Pierre-Simon, Marquis de Laplace, in the 18th century framed the classical formulation of this thesis. For him, the present state of the universe is the effect of its previous state and the cause of the state that follows it. If a mind, at any given moment, could know all of the forces operating in nature and the respective positions of all its components, it would thereby know with certainty the future and the past of every entity, large or small. The Persian poet Omar Khayyam expressed a similar deterministic view of the world in the concluding half of one of his quatrains: “And the first Morning of Creation wrote / What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.”

    What’s yours?
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Are you sure of this ? As a purely mathematical problem you are right, but what if we are dealing with numbers of different fruits?

    I consider that a false equivalency. It is quantitatively correct, but qualitatively false.

    2 apples + 2 pears does not equal 1 apple + 3 pears. Each answer yields 4 fruits, but does not account for number of fruit types.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    After repeating myself a half dozen times, repeatedly posting links I had to look up to facts that should be common knowledge here (and if they aren't, I provided them), after repeatedly providing the evidence for the same damn point over and over, I came up with a rule:
    You didn't bother to read my posts before replying, you do your own chasing. You can find my links in my posts as easily as I can - you do it.
    Same as yours, of course. I stipulated to it, remember?

    That definition was stipulated to months ago. I can even recall having to remind you, and Baldee, and the rest, that this definition is what you guys agreed to - that "cannot do other than it must" is something you insisted on, and argued from, repeatedly. (You were denying it was a definition)

    We've been through this many times now.

    And since apparently I must once again repeat the same old observation, note that in your posted quote the supernatural assumption is laid out for you to deny making once again - this time it's called a "usual understanding", which I agree it most definitely is:
    See the word "because"? That's it. That marks the "usual understanding" of freedom as supernatural that you deny.

    The only way you can get a "because" there, make that logical step, is by assuming that freedom of will is excluded by the inability to do other than one must, that freedom involves doing other than causality determines or natural law allows - that only the supernatural (the defiance of natural law and causality and determined outcome, the abrogation of the "must") can be free.

    That logical step requires that assumption, as a matter of logic, necessarily - notice there is no argument or evidence or justification of any kind mentioned: it's an assumption, pure and simple. So it was when Baldee and others posted their arguments and that definition, many times. So it was when you did. You are making that assumption, if you agree with that little argument shoehorned into the middle of the definition you posted and endorsed - and you do. You endorsed it, explicitly, and you are endorsing it now.

    That assumption is not granted. I think it's wrong. I note that the "usual understanding" involves a common error of reason - the assumption of the consequent - which should warn. I think there is room for meaningful freedom of will that does not involve anything or anyone doing other than they must, and I have made observations and suggestions for where to look and how to approach the topic. And I have posted reasons, arguments, and observations of physical reality in support of all that - so far, no relevant reply from any of you. No discussion of the matter at all.

    Not even a post dealing with the simplest illustrative example - a driver approaching a traffic light - from you guys.

    So: time to turn over a new leaf?
  23. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Whatever his is, it includes probabilistic outcomes as being deterministic (see post #806).
    So be mindful that while he might profess that it is the same as yours, it clearly isn’t.

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