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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:54 pm 
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Pointyleaf wrote:
Determinism doesn't have anything to do with whether *we* can figure out the course of the universe.. as you said, because of HUP, we never will. Instead, determinism is about whether the universe's course is preset, predetermined, without any random or outside influences that can change the future. If the particles subject to HUP have actual, precise values, then it's possible that the end results of their interactions are completely fixed, and the universe is just one big machine.. and free will is an illusion.


Free Will Definitons:
The power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies...
The partial freedom of the agent, in acts of conscious choice, from the determining compulsion of heredity, environment and circumstance...

Free will is NOT about the fact that every element in the universe is determined to follow a specific path.
Free will IS about making decisions that run contrary to EXTERNAL compulsions on the individual agent.

If you are hungry, and you choose not to eat a meal placed in front of you, you have exercised free will.
Your DNA, curcumstances, and environment compel you to consume the meal, yet you resist.

The reason you resist may have been preordained (the particular chemical and neurological balance in your brain leads you to make a decision).
The INTERNAL mechanisms that allow you to make a choice may in fact be forced down a deterministic path.
But the fact that the decision was made despite EXTERNAL forces is what defines free will, and is not at all incompatible with a completely deterministic universe.

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     Post Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:34 pm 
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    Alfred Mele Florida State University, USA

    Now THAT is a definition of free will (about the 8th one down for me). :D

    P.S. The best part is, we haven't even gotten into compatibilism yet. Also.

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     Post Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:17 pm 
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    Basically, it seems to me that this whole new avenue of inquiry started because of Carne's arrogant response to me that there was no such thing as free will. But at the time I was clearly talking about biological determinism (biology=destiny, man is completely determined by nature not nurture, etc), not ontological determinism ("the state of the universe at time T+1 is entirely caused by the state of the universe at time T"). I am an ontological determinist, but I don't see what it has to do with this whole discussion. The real issue is whether biological determinism is true or not.

    As to whether free will actually exists or what have you, your position on the issue does not change the fact that people are what they are and do what they do. Whether you claim that people do have free will or that they don't really, it's simply a change of labels that cannot deny the facts already in evidence. You still have to deal with people and be respectful to people, or they will kick your ass. Whether it's determined or the product of free willed action, that fact of social causality does not magically disappear because you put a different label on it. Whether you respect free will or not, you have no choice but to respect what's actually happening.

    In the same way, jumping from "sex serves the purpose of reproduction in other animals" to "the purpose of sex for humans is reproduction" or somesuch proposition is not just a denial of free will, it's a denial of that fact of causality that people use the tools of biology for different purposes, and it is a dehumanizing speech against those people, because it implies that they are not "really human." What would ever make some of you think that this is an acceptable thing to do to others? My only original point was that, if the post you are writing dehumanizes people, you probably shouldn't write it. I still stand by that statement.

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     Post Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:42 pm 
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    Francois Tremblay wrote:
    ... ontological determinism ("the state of the universe at time T+1 is entirely caused by the state of the universe at time T"). I am an ontological determinist,

    ...

    if the post you are writing dehumanizes people, you probably shouldn't write it. I still stand by that statement.


    But, if "ontological determinism" is true then the poster has no choice but to post their dehumanizing post. No?

    Ah, I understand now... you recognized this semi-contradiction before you wrote this, but you had no choice but to post your post in the way you posted it... either that or I misunderstood what you wrote.

    I say, hold people accountable for their actions... if they didn't have a choice in deciding their actions than neither did you in holding them accountable for them.

    Also, thanks for the "Also" link, Trotsky... neat paper!

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     Post Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:28 pm 
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    Francois Tremblay wrote:
    In the same way, jumping from "sex serves the purpose of reproduction in other animals" to "the purpose of sex for humans is reproduction" or somesuch proposition is not just a denial of free will, it's a denial of that fact of causality that people use the tools of biology for different purposes...


    Would you prefer if the person had said that the original purpose of sex for humans was reproduction? Also, since when has use had anything to do with purpose? I'm pretty sure MacGuyver did not change the purpose of the items he used.

    effataigus wrote:
    Also, thanks for the "Also" link, Trotsky... neat paper!


    Your welcome!

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     Post Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:32 pm 
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    trotsky wrote:
    Also, since when has use had anything to do with purpose? I'm pretty sure MacGuyver did not change the purpose of the items he used.


    No, but if everyone and not just MacGuyver suddenly started using paperclips mostly for defusing bombs and rarely for clipping papers together and paperclip factories kept making them, that WOULD in fact change their purpose.

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     Post Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:41 pm 
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    I think consciousness (that's individual consciousness, not collective) is quantum in nature. Humans are pretty quarky critters; we each have our own spin, our own charm (or lack thereof . . .), our own strangeness. We can be up, down, right, left, in multiple states simultaneously (I point out Tea Partiers as a classic example), or in no state at all (drunks and zen masters, either one). We are, individually, damned things whose behavior can be guessed at and predicted with limited accuracy, though as numbers increase, confidence in predictability grows, although never to unity (the upcoming elections as another classic example).

    We are cursed with free will because we simply have no choice in the matter.

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     Post Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:02 pm 
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    ftl wrote:
    trotsky wrote:
    Also, since when has use had anything to do with purpose? I'm pretty sure MacGuyver did not change the purpose of the items he used.


    No, but if everyone and not just MacGuyver suddenly started using paperclips mostly for defusing bombs and rarely for clipping papers together and paperclip factories kept making them, that WOULD in fact change their purpose.


    Alright then, what keeps sex from serving the purpose of both pleasure and reproduction, instead of only having one purpose, as is typically implied in these arguments? Duct tape can keep a box together, hold it to the wall, or a variety of things (some pictures are probably less then work safe)

    P.S. Screw it, I'm going to stop discussing this hear and go "discuss" it with my wife.
    ;)

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    BLANDCorporatio wrote:
    DoctorJest wrote:
    "Wolves are like dogs, but dogs are like dogs, so therefore: kittens".


    DoctorJest, if I weren't referentially married to my sig I'd use that instead.

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     Post Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:21 am 
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    trotsky wrote:
    Would you prefer if the person had said that the original purpose of sex for humans was reproduction?


    "Original"? Original for who? I don't believe in Adam and Eve, if that's what you're asking (if it's not, then your question makes no sense to me).


    Quote:
    Also, since when has use had anything to do with purpose? I'm pretty sure MacGuyver did not change the purpose of the items he used.


    Does your intentionality not impart a specific purpose to the objects you use? I think you're splitting hairs here. I think ftl made a good reply on this point already, although I would extend it further and say that ALL intentionality can potentially change the purpose or meaning of the objects that exist around us.

    To take an easy example, think of all the nonsense that's on art museum walls nowadays. It looks terrible, but the fact that it is in a museum itself grants it significance, meaning and purpose. It is art BECAUSE it is on an art museum wall. If it was just lying on a sidewalk somewhere, no one would give it a second glance. In general, objects are granted significance, meaning and purpose simply by virtue of having been selected to be in a museum. But this is just one context: you can apply this principle in all areas of life. Every time we do any kind of selection or make something significant, we completely change its place within our worldview and imbue it with a new meaning and a new purpose.

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     Post Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:27 am 
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    Pointyleaf wrote:
    Ashamam already hit on this, but yes, we can never find the precise values (not by anyone, not even in hindsight), but this doesn't mean that precise values don't exist.

    Determinism doesn't have anything to do with whether *we* can figure out the course of the universe.. as you said, because of HUP, we never will. Instead, determinism is about whether the universe's course is preset, predetermined, without any random or outside influences that can change the future. If the particles subject to HUP have actual, precise values, then it's possible that the end results of their interactions are completely fixed, and the universe is just one big machine.. and free will is an illusion.
    It's a bit naughty you narrowed it down again to emphasized "*we*" when the whole point of my post was to amplify HUP applied to "*anyone*". :D

    What HUP does is show this isn't a scientific question. HUP rules that "The Universe is completely deterministic" will never be an empirically supported statement. I acknowledge this is a bit of a "science tangent" in a philosophy discussion. But in speculating about how our physical universe operates I would start with science and extend the gaps with philosophy informed by the science. For instance HUP contradicts any thought experiments based on comparing perfect duplicates; if you could perfectly duplicate anything in our universe you could violate HUP.

    Now as per thread rules... everybody drink. :) :o :D :lol: :P :mrgreen:

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     Post Posted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:35 pm 
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    Carne wrote:
    The illusion of free will only exists due to incomplete data and the lack of accurate abstract modeling faculties of the average human. But rest assured, any truly external observer with complete data and exhaustive modeling would find the universe to be a very predictable place.


    This is an old argument. It's a good one, but it's long been discounted by the scientific community. For reference, look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace's_demon. To summarize:

    LaPlace was a French mathematician in the late 18th, early 19th century. He concocted a thought experiment that became known as LePlace's demon. Essentially, it posited exactly what you said. If an intelligence knew the precise position and momentum of every atom in the universe, it could predict the future with 100% accuracy. Essentially, that the universe was deterministic. That the universe was such a perfect machine that with the absolute knowledge of the universe in a single state, it could be predicted with absolute certainty.

    Here's the thing. If you can run the simulation forward, then you must also be able to run the simulation BACKWARD. If the universe is deterministic, then it should be possible to run the simulation all the way back to the beginning of the universe. And that, my friends, is not possible. The reason why is one of the simplest laws of thermodynamics. The entropy of a closed system tends to increase. If you play this rule forward to its ultimate conclusion, you reach the concept of irrreversibility. In every reaction, work is expended. Energy is lost, or rather, converted to entropy, free energy that cannot be used for work. This means that you CANNOT run the process backwards.

    The widely accepted Standard Model of quantum physics has uncertainty as one of it's basic principles. Someone's already mentioned the Uncertainty principle, but there's another one that bears mentioning, and that is the concept of OBSERVATION. The classic example here is Schrodinger's Cat. Nothing exists in a definite state until it is observed. The simple act of OBSERVING something changes that thing. Until that time, the thing exists only as a series of possibilities. Physicists use the term "Collapsing the waveform".

    I won't get involved in the argument about free will. I'm already hip deep in one in another thread. But I can state that according to the most widely accepted and experimentally supported theories, the universe is NOT deterministic. We don't know everything. But everything that we have looked at seems to point in the same direction, which is that randomness is an integral part of the universe and is in fact, built into the laws of physics.

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