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Compatibilism: What's that About?

Marvin Edwards

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... Antecedent events no doubt influence our behavior. But I do not see how they cause or determine our behavior.

No prior-cause-of-me can participate in my choices without first becoming an integral part of who and what I am. My prior causes cannot bypass me and bring about events themselves without my knowledge and consent. And, once they become part of me, it is once again actually me, and not my prior causes, that is doing the choosing.

The final prior cause of a deliberate act is the act of deliberation that precedes it.
 

pood

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... Antecedent events no doubt influence our behavior. But I do not see how they cause or determine our behavior.

No prior-cause-of-me can participate in my choices without first becoming an integral part of who and what I am. My prior causes cannot bypass me and bring about events themselves without my knowledge and consent. And, once they become part of me, it is once again actually me, and not my prior causes, that is doing the choosing.

The final prior cause of a deliberate act is the act of deliberation that precedes it.
Yes, I agree. I think you put it very well.
 

pood

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No. Considering neuroscience, numerous experiments, case studies, lesions, memory loss, etc, it's clear that will is not means by which the brain acquires and processes information and generates response....

That's ridiculous. I considered whether to click your link, and then, by act of will, I clicked it -- and that's how I acquired the information that it's a dead link. "404 Not Found The resource requested could not be found on this server!". Of course will is means by which the brain acquires and processes information and generates response.


What is ridiculous is that you are simply labeling your ability to respond ''free will.'' The ability to respond is enabled by neural networks processing information, not ''will'' - especially not ''free will'' for the given reasons.
How do you figure I'm simply "labeling" something "free will"? Please point out where you are quoting from in your quotation of my words. Are you now claiming you own the word "will" too, and redefining it as a synonym for "free will"? Are you claiming there's no such thing as an act of will? Just how much of the English language are you planning to torpedo?

I'm not talking about you personally, what you do or what you believe. I am pointing out the failure of compatibility, that freedom of will is incompatible with determinism for all the given reasons.....which is not my personal argument, but by the terms and conditions of determinism - which is defined as: everything that happens is FIXED as a matter of natural law.

Which means everything that happens is FIXED as determined, allowing no freedom to diverge, to choose or do other than what is determined.

Which everything within a determined system does, planets orbit, plants grow, animals hunt, people go about their business under the illusion that they are in control, that they are able to do otherwise, that their decisions and actions are not determined.

Compatibilism merely asserts freedom of will. ''He was not coerced, he acted freely, he has free will'' - ignoring the underlying drivers of his thoughts, decisions and action, which within a determined system are FIXED as a matter of natural law.
If natural laws are both causative and immutable, and we attempt to hold them responsible, instead of ourselves, then how do we go about correcting those laws when they do something criminal, like robbing a bank?
We can get Congress to change the ”laws” of nature. :)
 

steve_bank

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... Antecedent events no doubt influence our behavior. But I do not see how they cause or determine our behavior.

No prior-cause-of-me can participate in my choices without first becoming an integral part of who and what I am. My prior causes cannot bypass me and bring about events themselves without my knowledge and consent. And, once they become part of me, it is once again actually me, and not my prior causes, that is doing the choosing.

The final prior cause of a deliberate act is the act of deliberation that precedes it.
Yes, I agree. I think you put it very well.

Which came first,. the chicken or the egg?

Causation of 'you' is based in brain chemistry. Inanimate atoms reacting with each other.

It does not appear to be a fixed steps, more a continuity process. We take inputs, process and integrate, cast back to the past, and extrolte the future as a continuous process conscious and unconscious.
 
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Marvin Edwards

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... It does not appear to be a fixed steps, more a continuity process. We take inputs, process and integrate, cast back to the past, and extrolte the future as a continuous process conscious and unconscious.

I used to wonder how consciousness could fit into a materialist view. It is a process. A process is not exactly a material thing. But rather a series of rapid changes within a material thing. We exist as a physical process within the brain. When the process stops, the brain reverts to an inert lump of matter, and we no longer exist.
 

steve_bank

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... It does not appear to be a fixed steps, more a continuity process. We take inputs, process and integrate, cast back to the past, and extrolte the future as a continuous process conscious and unconscious.

I used to wonder how consciousness could fit into a materialist view. It is a process. A process is not exactly a material thing. But rather a series of rapid changes within a material thing. We exist as a physical process within the brain. When the process stops, the brain reverts to an inert lump of matter, and we no longer exist.

I'd say the same for a plant or an ant.

Is there an alternative for materialism as immaterialism meaning things immaterial exist? An immaterial mind? Something based in experiment.
 

DBT

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... Antecedent events no doubt influence our behavior. But I do not see how they cause or determine our behavior.

No prior-cause-of-me can participate in my choices without first becoming an integral part of who and what I am. My prior causes cannot bypass me and bring about events themselves without my knowledge and consent. And, once they become part of me, it is once again actually me, and not my prior causes, that is doing the choosing.

The final prior cause of a deliberate act is the act of deliberation that precedes it.

But they are not 'your' causes. You have no say on how they - genetics, neural architecture, the events of the world/inputs - shape and form what you are, and generate your thoughts and actions. If determinism is true, we have a web of events, each 'cause' an 'effect' and each 'effect' being a 'cause.'
 

DBT

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No. Considering neuroscience, numerous experiments, case studies, lesions, memory loss, etc, it's clear that will is not means by which the brain acquires and processes information and generates response....

That's ridiculous. I considered whether to click your link, and then, by act of will, I clicked it -- and that's how I acquired the information that it's a dead link. "404 Not Found The resource requested could not be found on this server!". Of course will is means by which the brain acquires and processes information and generates response.


What is ridiculous is that you are simply labeling your ability to respond ''free will.'' The ability to respond is enabled by neural networks processing information, not ''will'' - especially not ''free will'' for the given reasons.
How do you figure I'm simply "labeling" something "free will"? Please point out where you are quoting from in your quotation of my words. Are you now claiming you own the word "will" too, and redefining it as a synonym for "free will"? Are you claiming there's no such thing as an act of will? Just how much of the English language are you planning to torpedo?

I'm not talking about you personally, what you do or what you believe. I am pointing out the failure of compatibility, that freedom of will is incompatible with determinism for all the given reasons.....which is not my personal argument, but by the terms and conditions of determinism - which is defined as: everything that happens is FIXED as a matter of natural law.

Which means everything that happens is FIXED as determined, allowing no freedom to diverge, to choose or do other than what is determined.

Which everything within a determined system does, planets orbit, plants grow, animals hunt, people go about their business under the illusion that they are in control, that they are able to do otherwise, that their decisions and actions are not determined.

Compatibilism merely asserts freedom of will. ''He was not coerced, he acted freely, he has free will'' - ignoring the underlying drivers of his thoughts, decisions and action, which within a determined system are FIXED as a matter of natural law.
If natural laws are both causative and immutable, and we attempt to hold them responsible, instead of ourselves, then how do we go about correcting those laws when they do something criminal, like robbing a bank?
We can get Congress to change the ”laws” of nature. :)

Good luck with that. With determinism, there is no luck. If something happens, it necessarily happens. No alternative possible. ;)
 

DBT

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No. Considering neuroscience, numerous experiments, case studies, lesions, memory loss, etc, it's clear that will is not means by which the brain acquires and processes information and generates response....

That's ridiculous. I considered whether to click your link, and then, by act of will, I clicked it -- and that's how I acquired the information that it's a dead link. "404 Not Found The resource requested could not be found on this server!". Of course will is means by which the brain acquires and processes information and generates response.


What is ridiculous is that you are simply labeling your ability to respond ''free will.'' The ability to respond is enabled by neural networks processing information, not ''will'' - especially not ''free will'' for the given reasons.
How do you figure I'm simply "labeling" something "free will"? Please point out where you are quoting from in your quotation of my words. Are you now claiming you own the word "will" too, and redefining it as a synonym for "free will"? Are you claiming there's no such thing as an act of will? Just how much of the English language are you planning to torpedo?

I'm not talking about you personally, what you do or what you believe. I am pointing out the failure of compatibility, that freedom of will is incompatible with determinism for all the given reasons.....which is not my personal argument, but by the terms and conditions of determinism - which is defined as: everything that happens is FIXED as a matter of natural law.

Which means everything that happens is FIXED as determined, allowing no freedom to diverge, to choose or do other than what is determined.

Which everything within a determined system does, planets orbit, plants grow, animals hunt, people go about their business under the illusion that they are in control, that they are able to do otherwise, that their decisions and actions are not determined.

Compatibilism merely asserts freedom of will. ''He was not coerced, he acted freely, he has free will'' - ignoring the underlying drivers of his thoughts, decisions and action, which within a determined system are FIXED as a matter of natural law.
If natural laws are both causative and immutable, and we attempt to hold them responsible, instead of ourselves, then how do we go about correcting those laws when they do something criminal, like robbing a bank?

Experience and understanding of human nature tells us that deterrence is effective. That rational mind/brains responds according to multiple factors, safety (that its safer to obey road rules rather than risk injury or death by breaking them) self interest (the penalty of breaking the law is greater than the benefit), so the law is formulated accordingly;


Cognition
''Neuroscientists have repeatedly pointed out that pattern recognition represents the key to understanding cognition in humans. Pattern recognition also forms the very basis by which we predict future events, i e. we are literally forced to make assumptions concerning outcomes,and we do so by relying on sequences of events experienced in the past.





Necessity
''Necessity is the idea that everything that has ever happened and ever will happen is necessary, and can not be otherwise. Necessity is often opposed to chance and contingency. In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.'' - http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/necessity.html


The Law

''Because most behavior is driven by brain networks we do not consciously control, the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior. In the light of modern neuroscience, it no longer makes sense to ask "was it his fault, or his biology's fault, or the fault of his background?", because these issues can never be disentangled. Instead, the only sensible question can be "what do we do from here?" -- in terms of customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition, and refined incentive structuring.'' - http://www.neulaw.org/
 

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It should be noted perhaps that the above-mentioned Colin McGinn presented the standard argument against free will but then rejected it. Not that appeals to authority should matter much.

It's not the authority that matters, or that he rejected it, but the argument. The argument is sound for the given reasons.
 

DBT

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It's not exactly a matter of 'choosing.'

Within a determined system, all actions are fixed as a matter of natural law. If determinism is true, the brain follows its determined path to whatever end with no possibility of divergence. The brain necessarily produces a determined outcome.

(1) P(A.B) > P(A).P(B)
(2) P(A.B|C) = P(A|C).P(B|C)

1- If determinism allows multiple options to be realized by an agent, as a matter of choice, why call it determinism?

2- If freedom does not require the possibility of realizable options, that the world proceeds along a determined, singular, course of events, why call it freedom?

3- If 'freedom' does not require a means for the selection an option from set of realizable alternatives, what is freedom?

4 - Without regulative control or realizable options, why call it free will?

''The argument is exceedingly familiar, and runs as follows. Either determinism is true or it is not. If it is true, then all our chosen actions are uniquely necessitated by prior states of the world, just like every other event. But then it cannot be the case that we could have acted otherwise, since this would require a possibility determinism rules out. Once the initial conditions are set and the laws fixed, causality excludes genuine freedom.'' - Colin McGinn is an Anglo-American Analytic (AAA) philosopher who presented the standard argument against free will.

There are a lot of figurative assumptions there. The first is the assumption that since the choice was causally necessary, "it is AS IF choosing did not happen". Thus, the false suggestion, "It's not exactly a matter of 'choosing.' "


My comment ''not exactly a matter of choosing'' specifically refers to there being no alternative possible within a determined system...which does not allow you to have chosen otherwise in any given instance in time.


What "exactly" is choosing? Choosing is an operation that (1) inputs two or more options, (2) applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and (3) outputs a single choice, typically in the form of an "I will X", where X is what we will do. This series of events is called "choosing". When we observe this series of events, it is "exactly a matter of 'choosing' ".

For example, we can walk into any restaurant and observe people browsing the menu and then placing their order. At the end of their meal, the waiter brings them the bill, holding them responsible for their deliberate actions (choosing has consequences). In the restaurant a person is (1) presented with a literal menu of options, (2) they weigh these options by their own goals, which may include dietary, taste, satisfaction, price, etc., and (3) based upon this evaluation they tell the waiter, "I will have the Chef Salad, please". Each event is the reliable result of the prior events.

Choosing is a real event in the real world. Choosing is deterministic.

Again, no alternatives exists within a determined system, whatever happens is necessitated by antecedents and fixed as a matter of natural law.

The choice in your examples is an illusion of limited perspective.

If you had a Gods eye view of a determined world, the world, it objects and events would appear fixed like the the actions on a film.



I'm pretty sure that determinism works more simply, just like this: A->B->C->...

Events are not matter of linear causation. There are multiple elements at work in every action/reaction. A web rather than a chain of 'causality.' And of course, every cause being an effect.


That's all I have time for. Posts have a tendency to grow.
 

fromderinside

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... I believe all of this speaks to why religion was so ubiquitous throughout the world before the scientific revolution. In lieu of a material understanding human experience feels immaterial, supernatural, and normalized.
Big category lots of caveats, conditions, presumptions, attached to religion meme. If you want to compare that, whatever it is, to material understanding you need shift to material as objective and to religious as subjective. Otherwise there is no comparison.
 

Marvin Edwards

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My comment ''not exactly a matter of choosing'' specifically refers to there being no alternative possible within a determined system...which does not allow you to have chosen otherwise in any given instance in time.

Again, no alternatives exists within a determined system, whatever happens is necessitated by antecedents and fixed as a matter of natural law.

The choice in your examples is an illusion of limited perspective.

If you had a Gods eye view of a determined world, the world, it objects and events would appear fixed like the the actions on a film.

Events are not matter of linear causation. There are multiple elements at work in every action/reaction. A web rather than a chain of 'causality.' And of course, every cause being an effect.

That's all I have time for. Posts have a tendency to grow.

The "limited perspective" is on the hard determinist side. It is limited by a highly abstract view of causation. It's kind of the opposite of "not seeing the forest for the trees", but rather not seeing the trees for the forest. Instead of the specific causes of specific effects, the hard determinist only sees universal causal necessity/inevitability. And that viewpoint ignores all of the meaningful and relevant information, like the people who actually make the choices that determine what happens next.

The people are replaced by causal necessity. Causal necessity is promoted to "an entity with causal powers", and all control and all responsibility are vested in this non-entity, rather than in the people who decide for themselves what they will do, the people who actually exercise control over their actions, actions that causally determine what happens next. This abstraction of individual people into causal necessity is the real illusion.

Within the domain of human influence (things we can make happen if we choose to), the single inevitable future is chosen by us from among the many possible futures we imagine. That is how the single inevitable future comes about.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Is there an alternative for materialism as immaterialism meaning things immaterial exist? An immaterial mind? Something based in experiment.

That was the issue for me. Should mind be classified as material or immaterial? For example, a chef writes a book of his favorite recipes. The chef passes away. Years later, someone finds the recipe book in the public library, and cooks a meal, just like the author described. Ideas and information continue to exist outside us, in the books, and then can causally affect what someone else does. Is an idea "material" or "not material" or something else?

Mind appears to be a working process. We're pretty sure this process is taking place within the brain. We can follow where blood flow is highest in specific areas of the brain using a function magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while the person is performing some mental function, like making a decision. So, we're confident that mind is a process going on within the material of the brain. And others have recommended to me that mind would be termed a "physical process".

But a physical process is not identical to physical material. Rather it is a series of rapid changes taking place within the physical material. When the process stops, the brain reverts to a lump of inert matter, and we are considered "brain dead".
 

Marvin Edwards

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But they are not 'your' causes. You have no say on how they - genetics, neural architecture, the events of the world/inputs - shape and form what you are, and generate your thoughts and actions. If determinism is true, we have a web of events, each 'cause' an 'effect' and each 'effect' being a 'cause.'

The notion, that I must be the prior cause of myself before I can be the prior cause of anything else, leads to a logical absurdity. If the test for a "real" cause is the absence of prior causes, then what causes can pass that test? None. There would be no real causes of anything.

In order to be the real cause of an event, I do not need to be the cause of myself, I only need to be myself.

The hard determinist attempts to place my genetic dispositions and prior life experiences, my beliefs and values, my thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make me uniquely me, in one corner of the room, and then places me in a different corner. Then he asserts that all of that which makes me "me" is exercising control over me, leaving me with no control. Ironically, he ends up embracing dualism by this approach.

The problem he overlooks is that one of those two corners is now empty. All of that stuff is me. And whatever everything-that-makes-me-"me" decides, I myself have decided.

In order to be the real cause of an event, I do not need to be the cause of myself, I only need to be myself.
 

steve_bank

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There are two general forms of finite state machines used in electronics, Mealy and Moore.

The Moore machine has inputs, outputs, memory, and outputs fed back as inputs. Substitute our bio neural net for the combinatorial logic block that maps inputs to outputs. A complex system can have multiple state machines and state machines within state machines.

Standing up and balancing is a form of a feedback control system.
 

rousseau

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... I believe all of this speaks to why religion was so ubiquitous throughout the world before the scientific revolution. In lieu of a material understanding human experience feels immaterial, supernatural, and normalized.
Big category lots of caveats, conditions, presumptions, attached to religion meme. If you want to compare that, whatever it is, to material understanding you need shift to material as objective and to religious as subjective. Otherwise there is no comparison.

Of course much more complicated / nuanced, but the basic point is that an understanding of natural science down to the atomic level is a post-hoc conceptualization of the world. It has no relevance to the conditions that gave rise to our cognitive function and experience, and how that cognitive function exists now. It's basically just a data point, granted a data point that can be disconcerting, but a data point nonetheless.

And when you look at early societies we don't see much perception of materialism, we largely see spirituality across the board. To me this is a good pointer to how most of us actually experience the world. And even today, despite greater material understanding, I'm not sure this has actually changed much.

That's not to say that we have free will by any means, but despite a bit of generalization I think my last few posts answer the why we feel free question.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Experience and understanding of human nature tells us that deterrence is effective. That rational mind/brains responds according to multiple factors, safety (that its safer to obey road rules rather than risk injury or death by breaking them) self interest (the penalty of breaking the law is greater than the benefit), so the law is formulated accordingly;

Cognition
''Neuroscientists have repeatedly pointed out that pattern recognition represents the key to understanding cognition in humans. Pattern recognition also forms the very basis by which we predict future events, i e. we are literally forced to make assumptions concerning outcomes, and we do so by relying on sequences of events experienced in the past.

In other words, when presented with different options, we estimate the likely outcomes of each, and choose the option that seems best to us. This is what is commonly known as "free will". And, if we choose to rob a bank, then we will be held responsible for our deliberate act.

Necessity
''Necessity is the idea that everything that has ever happened and ever will happen is necessary, and can not be otherwise. Necessity is often opposed to chance and contingency. In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.'' - http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/necessity.html

All events come about by a reliable history of prior causes and their effects. This is called "causal necessity". This means that if someone decides to rob a bank, then it was causally necessary that this would happen, from any prior point in time. This also means, that if the judge sentences the bank robber to death by stoning, then that would also be causally necessary from any prior point in time.

The problem with universal causal necessity/inevitability is that it always applies equally to every event. It makes no distinction between good events or bad events. It makes no distinction between the bank robber and the judge. If it excuses one thing, then it excuses everything.

The Law

''Because most behavior is driven by brain networks we do not consciously control, the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior. In the light of modern neuroscience, it no longer makes sense to ask "was it his fault, or his biology's fault, or the fault of his background?", because these issues can never be disentangled. Instead, the only sensible question can be "what do we do from here?" -- in terms of customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition, and refined incentive structuring.'' - http://www.neulaw.org/

What are the meaningful and relevant causes of the bank robber's actions? If we wish to reduce the risk of further robberies, which causes of his behavior can we correct? Well, there is the robber's thought process that led him to choose to rob the bank. We can address that, as the author of the quote suggested, by "customized sentencing, tailored rehabilitation, and refined incentive structuring". If this is the offender's first heist, then that would be our first choice. But if the offender has a long history of successful robberies, then it will be more difficult to get him to give up that self-rewarding line of work.

What about the "fault of his background"? Fixing the community that raised the offender and encouraged him to pursue a life of crime is also a real possibility. But it takes political will, a choice of the community itself and of the helping agencies, that can address drug trafficking, criminal street gangs, ineffective schools, the lack of after school activities, racial discrimination, unemployment, and any other specific contributing factors.

In any case, the judge in the courtroom is unable to deal with external factors. He can only deal with the offender in front of him.

Well, then, what about the "fault of his biology"? What about the fact that the robber has a brain that operates deterministically to bring about all of his choices and actions? Has neuroscience identified the brain area responsible for criminal behavior? Do they have a procedure for removing this area? Are we ethically able to perform such an operation upon an unwilling prisoner?

Well, no. We cannot operate upon a sane person against their will. But if the robber's brain is physically abnormal, and that abnormality makes them incompetent to make rational choices on their own behalf, then neuroscience and psychiatry can provide medical treatment to correct the physical problem.

But neuroscientists offer us very little in terms of correcting criminal behavior by a normal brain, one that rationally chooses to rob banks for the simple reason that it gives them quick access to cash. For this we rely upon the sciences of psychology and sociology. It is these sciences that inform us about rehabilitation, about "customized sentencing, tailored rehabilitation, and refined incentive structuring". It is not neuroscience.

And the fact that our brains operate deterministically, is pretty much taken for granted. We choose what we will do according to how we estimate that each of our options will turn out. The location of this choosing operation is within our brains. And our brains come with the ability to describe our reasoning to ourselves and others. Just ask Jesse James, "Why do you rob banks?", "Because that's where the money is", he responds. The choice is causally determined by his own reasoning. His choice is free of coercion and undue influence. It is legitimately a choice of his own free will.
 

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TV crime dramas have covered the issue. Is crime more nature or nurture? Statistical abused kids tmed to be abusers as adults.
 
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In modern times, the Epicurean notion of atoms, subject to “indeterministic swerves”, is mirrored in the suggestion of quantum indeterminacy. Unfortunately, causal indeterminism, if it exists anywhere, reduces our ability to understand, predict, and control events, because the event has no reliable cause (if the cause is reliable, then the event is deterministic). Ironically, causal indeterminism does not increase our freedom at all, but instead reduces it, by limiting our ability to control events.

Causal determinism asserts that we live in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect, where there are no uncaused events, and each event is the reliable result of some specific prior events. Causal indeterminism would be the opposite of determinism, where the effects of a given cause are unreliable, and thus unpredictable.

The concept of “causal indeterminism” is impossible to imagine, because we’ve all grown up in a deterministic universe, where, although we don’t always know what caused an event, we always presume that there was a cause.

To get an idea of a “causally indeterministic universe”, imagine we had a dial we could use to adjust the balance of determinism versus indeterminism. We start by turning it all the way to determinism: I pick an apple from the apple tree and, as expected, I have an apple in my hand. Then, we turn the dial a little bit toward indeterminism: now if I pick an apple, I might find an orange or banana or some other random fruit in my hand. Turn the dial further toward indeterminism, and when I pick an apple I may find a kitten in my hand, or a pair of slippers, or a glass of milk. One more adjustment toward indeterminism and when I pick an apple gravity reverses!

If objects were constantly popping into and out of existence, or if gravity erratically switched between pulling things one moment to pushing them the next, then any attempts to control anything in our lives would be hopeless. We would have even less control than Alice, in Wonderland. In such a universe, we could not reliably cause any effect, which means we would not be free to do anything at all.

Fortunately, that does not appear to be the case. We, ourselves, are a collaborative collection of reliable causal mechanisms that keep our hearts beating, and enables us to think and to act. Without reliable cause and effect, we could never reliably cause any effect, and would have no freedom to do anything at all. The very notion of "freedom" implies a world of reliable causation.
Irrational Physics Led Directly to the Irrational Politics of a Collapsing-Civilization Century

Indeterminacy was cooked up by Werner Heisenberg, who became a Nazi. Your description of an indeterminate world is exactly what it's like to live in a totalitarian country.
 

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In modern times, the Epicurean notion of atoms, subject to “indeterministic swerves”, is mirrored in the suggestion of quantum indeterminacy. Unfortunately, causal indeterminism, if it exists anywhere, reduces our ability to understand, predict, and control events, because the event has no reliable cause (if the cause is reliable, then the event is deterministic). Ironically, causal indeterminism does not increase our freedom at all, but instead reduces it, by limiting our ability to control events.

Causal determinism asserts that we live in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect, where there are no uncaused events, and each event is the reliable result of some specific prior events. Causal indeterminism would be the opposite of determinism, where the effects of a given cause are unreliable, and thus unpredictable.

The concept of “causal indeterminism” is impossible to imagine, because we’ve all grown up in a deterministic universe, where, although we don’t always know what caused an event, we always presume that there was a cause.

To get an idea of a “causally indeterministic universe”, imagine we had a dial we could use to adjust the balance of determinism versus indeterminism. We start by turning it all the way to determinism: I pick an apple from the apple tree and, as expected, I have an apple in my hand. Then, we turn the dial a little bit toward indeterminism: now if I pick an apple, I might find an orange or banana or some other random fruit in my hand. Turn the dial further toward indeterminism, and when I pick an apple I may find a kitten in my hand, or a pair of slippers, or a glass of milk. One more adjustment toward indeterminism and when I pick an apple gravity reverses!

If objects were constantly popping into and out of existence, or if gravity erratically switched between pulling things one moment to pushing them the next, then any attempts to control anything in our lives would be hopeless. We would have even less control than Alice, in Wonderland. In such a universe, we could not reliably cause any effect, which means we would not be free to do anything at all.

Fortunately, that does not appear to be the case. We, ourselves, are a collaborative collection of reliable causal mechanisms that keep our hearts beating, and enables us to think and to act. Without reliable cause and effect, we could never reliably cause any effect, and would have no freedom to do anything at all. The very notion of "freedom" implies a world of reliable causation.
Irrational Physics Led Directly to the Irrational Politics of a Collapsing-Civilization Century

Indeterminacy was cooked up by Werner Heisenberg, who became a Nazi. Your description of an indeterminate world is exactly what it's like to live in a totalitarian country.
I have seen some non-sequitur instances of Godwin's Law in my time, but this one has to be one of the most blatant.

Congratulations, I guess.
 

Copernicus

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Physicists engage in philosophical metaphors all the time. For example, the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM) is a philosophical stance, not a scientific one. It is about how to interpret a quantum event (interaction between quantum particles/strings/fields/etc.). QM is sometimes held out as relevant to the causal necessity interpretation of "free will" (as opposed to Marvin's humanist interpretation of the term). A different interpretation--Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI)--restores the concept of deterministic interactions. That is, every QM event spawns multiple instances of realities, but we only get to experience the reality that our conscious mind observes. So our experienced reality is only ever going to experience a probabilistic "indeterminate" universe when we try to measure quantum interactions. None of this has anything to do with Marvin's point about the natural human interpretation of "free will", because we are creatures that only interact with the environment where causal probabilities collapse into observable entangled states. That is, they are no longer merely probabilistic once we have experienced them. They are a done deal. Different copies of ourselves in alternate realities experience different entangled realities.

Reference: Sean M Carroll  Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
 

Marvin Edwards

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Physicists engage in philosophical metaphors all the time. For example, the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM) is a philosophical stance, not a scientific one. It is about how to interpret a quantum event (interaction between quantum particles/strings/fields/etc.). QM is sometimes held out as relevant to the causal necessity interpretation of "free will" (as opposed to Marvin's humanist interpretation of the term). A different interpretation--Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI)--restores the concept of deterministic interactions. That is, every QM event spawns multiple instances of realities, but we only get to experience the reality that our conscious mind observes. So our experienced reality is only ever going to experience a probabilistic "indeterminate" universe when we try to measure quantum interactions. None of this has anything to do with Marvin's point about the natural human interpretation of "free will", because we are creatures that only interact with the environment where causal probabilities collapse into observable entangled states. That is, they are no longer merely probabilistic once we have experienced them. They are a done deal. Different copies of ourselves in alternate realities experience different entangled realities.

Reference: Sean M Carroll  Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

I don't care for the notion of "many worlds" because it suggests science fiction, traveling between dimensions, and such.

I think it is more accurate to simply distinguish the difference between a possibility and an actuality. A possibility exist solely within the imagination. We cannot drive a car across the possibility of a bridge. We can only drive across an actual bridge. However, we cannot build an actual bridge without first imagining one or more possible bridges. And, as soon as we build the actual bridge, it ceases to be called a "possibility" and is now referred to as an "actuality".

A possibility is something that "can" happen if we have the resources and skills required to make it happen. The fact that the possibility is never actualized does make it an "impossibility", it simply remains something that we "could have" done, but "did not" do. The only way that an option becomes an impossibility is by realizing that we lack the resources or the skills needed to make it happen. Only that makes the option impossible. It is only impossible if it cannot be done. The fact that it will not be done does not make it an impossibility. It remains something that could have been done, but something we simply did not do.

What "can" happen constrains what "will" happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what "will" happen never constrains what "can" happen. What "can" happen is only constrained by our imagination.

To keep our language straight, there are many "possible" futures, as many as we can imagine because it is within the imagination that all possibilities exist. But there will be only one "actual" future. The fact that only one of our possible futures is ever actualized, does not make the other possible futures that we imagined "impossible", it only makes them futures that could have happened, but didn't.

Within the domain of human influence (things we can make happen if we choose to), the single, inevitable, actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

A simple example would be breakfast. I have eggs in the refrigerator, so I can fix eggs for breakfast. So, one possible future is me sitting at the table eating eggs. But I also have pancake mix in the cupboard, so, if I want, I can fix pancakes instead. So, the other possible future is me sitting at the table eating pancakes. Upon consideration of my options, I remember that I've had eggs for breakfast all week. So, I decide that I "will" have pancakes this morning. I "could have" had eggs, but I didn't.

From multiple possible futures, the single actual future is chosen. From multiple "I can's" the single "I will" is chosen. One option becomes what I will do. All the other options become things I could have done, but didn't.
 

Copernicus

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...I don't care for the notion of "many worlds" because it suggests science fiction, traveling between dimensions, and such.

I think it is more accurate to simply distinguish the difference between a possibility and an actuality. A possibility exist solely within the imagination. We cannot drive a car across the possibility of a bridge. We can only drive across an actual bridge. However, we cannot build an actual bridge without first imagining one or more possible bridges. And, as soon as we build the actual bridge, it ceases to be called a "possibility" and is now referred to as an "actuality".

A possibility is something that "can" happen if we have the resources and skills required to make it happen. The fact that the possibility is never actualized does make it an "impossibility", it simply remains something that we "could have" done, but "did not" do. The only way that an option becomes an impossibility is by realizing that we lack the resources or the skills needed to make it happen. Only that makes the option impossible. It is only impossible if it cannot be done. The fact that it will not be done does not make it an impossibility. It remains something that could have been done, but something we simply did not do.

What "can" happen constrains what "will" happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what "will" happen never constrains what "can" happen. What "can" happen is only constrained by our imagination.

To keep our language straight, there are many "possible" futures, as many as we can imagine because it is within the imagination that all possibilities exist. But there will be only one "actual" future. The fact that only one of our possible futures is ever actualized, does not make the other possible futures that we imagined "impossible", it only makes them futures that could have happened, but didn't.

Within the domain of human influence (things we can make happen if we choose to), the single, inevitable, actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

A simple example would be breakfast. I have eggs in the refrigerator, so I can fix eggs for breakfast. So, one possible future is me sitting at the table eating eggs. But I also have pancake mix in the cupboard, so, if I want, I can fix pancakes instead. So, the other possible future is me sitting at the table eating pancakes. Upon consideration of my options, I remember that I've had eggs for breakfast all week. So, I decide that I "will" have pancakes this morning. I "could have" had eggs, but I didn't.

From multiple possible futures, the single actual future is chosen. From multiple "I can's" the single "I will" is chosen. One option becomes what I will do. All the other options become things I could have done, but didn't.

Marvin, the world of quantum mechanics is not science fiction but straight science. The problem is that all the metaphorical interpretations of QM seem like science fiction. That's what led physicist David Mermin to coin the expression "Shut up and calculate", which was intended to stop all of crazy attempts to explain it in an intuitive manner. Unfortunately, science isn't just about measurement and calculation. That's more what engineers do. Theoretical physicists try to create intuitively satisfying (i.e. causal) models of how physical events work. But QM behaves in such a strange way that it looks like causation in the physical world is just an illusion, which was very disturbing to Einstein. Everett's MWI has become popular precisely because it restores determinism to the quantum world, but at the expense of positing an infinite (or near infinite) number of alternative realities. People find that idea extremely troubling. Sean M Carroll's book explores that discomfort, explains why he thinks MWI is the most plausible of all interpretations of QM, and explores a number of different alternatives to it. So I would recommend looking at his book, if you are interested. It was written for folks who don't care for the notion of "many worlds".

To your other points, I would point out that future possibilities all occur in the MWI framework. We just end up finding ourselves in one of the possibilities. There are other versions of us that find themselves in different realities, and there is no way for any of us to observe or detect those other realities. So I fully endorse the points you are making about freedom of choice in the reality that we find ourselves living in--only one of the possible future realities at the time we were making the decision. If we don't bother looking at quantum events, then we can only observe a deterministic reality, because your choices don't affect the past. The wave collapse into a reality only occurs during observation with a recording device of some kind. As Carroll puts it, the recording device becomes entangled with the phenomenon it is interacting with. Future wave collapses are only probabilistically determined.
 

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But they are not 'your' causes. You have no say on how they - genetics, neural architecture, the events of the world/inputs - shape and form what you are, and generate your thoughts and actions. If determinism is true, we have a web of events, each 'cause' an 'effect' and each 'effect' being a 'cause.'

The notion, that I must be the prior cause of myself before I can be the prior cause of anything else, leads to a logical absurdity. If the test for a "real" cause is the absence of prior causes, then what causes can pass that test? None. There would be no real causes of anything.

In order to be the real cause of an event, I do not need to be the cause of myself, I only need to be myself.

The hard determinist attempts to place my genetic dispositions and prior life experiences, my beliefs and values, my thoughts and feelings, and all the other things that make me uniquely me, in one corner of the room, and then places me in a different corner. Then he asserts that all of that which makes me "me" is exercising control over me, leaving me with no control. Ironically, he ends up embracing dualism by this approach.

The problem he overlooks is that one of those two corners is now empty. All of that stuff is me. And whatever everything-that-makes-me-"me" decides, I myself have decided.

In order to be the real cause of an event, I do not need to be the cause of myself, I only need to be myself.

Without conscious control of physics or the ability to do otherwise, agency, you are whatever the world makes of you. Your brain is the result of inherited genetics not of your choosing or control, your capabilities are determined by your genetics and environmental inputs - nature and nurture - and your thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions follow unencumbered from your condition. This is not something that can be called 'free will.'
 

Marvin Edwards

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...I don't care for the notion of "many worlds" because it suggests science fiction, traveling between dimensions, and such.

I think it is more accurate to simply distinguish the difference between a possibility and an actuality. A possibility exist solely within the imagination. We cannot drive a car across the possibility of a bridge. We can only drive across an actual bridge. However, we cannot build an actual bridge without first imagining one or more possible bridges. And, as soon as we build the actual bridge, it ceases to be called a "possibility" and is now referred to as an "actuality".

A possibility is something that "can" happen if we have the resources and skills required to make it happen. The fact that the possibility is never actualized does make it an "impossibility", it simply remains something that we "could have" done, but "did not" do. The only way that an option becomes an impossibility is by realizing that we lack the resources or the skills needed to make it happen. Only that makes the option impossible. It is only impossible if it cannot be done. The fact that it will not be done does not make it an impossibility. It remains something that could have been done, but something we simply did not do.

What "can" happen constrains what "will" happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what "will" happen never constrains what "can" happen. What "can" happen is only constrained by our imagination.

To keep our language straight, there are many "possible" futures, as many as we can imagine because it is within the imagination that all possibilities exist. But there will be only one "actual" future. The fact that only one of our possible futures is ever actualized, does not make the other possible futures that we imagined "impossible", it only makes them futures that could have happened, but didn't.

Within the domain of human influence (things we can make happen if we choose to), the single, inevitable, actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

A simple example would be breakfast. I have eggs in the refrigerator, so I can fix eggs for breakfast. So, one possible future is me sitting at the table eating eggs. But I also have pancake mix in the cupboard, so, if I want, I can fix pancakes instead. So, the other possible future is me sitting at the table eating pancakes. Upon consideration of my options, I remember that I've had eggs for breakfast all week. So, I decide that I "will" have pancakes this morning. I "could have" had eggs, but I didn't.

From multiple possible futures, the single actual future is chosen. From multiple "I can's" the single "I will" is chosen. One option becomes what I will do. All the other options become things I could have done, but didn't.

Marvin, the world of quantum mechanics is not science fiction but straight science. The problem is that all the metaphorical interpretations of QM seem like science fiction. That's what led physicist David Mermin to coin the expression "Shut up and calculate", which was intended to stop all of crazy attempts to explain it in an intuitive manner. Unfortunately, science isn't just about measurement and calculation. That's more what engineers do. Theoretical physicists try to create intuitively satisfying (i.e. causal) models of how physical events work. But QM behaves in such a strange way that it looks like causation in the physical world is just an illusion, which was very disturbing to Einstein. Everett's MWI has become popular precisely because it restores determinism to the quantum world, but at the expense of positing an infinite (or near infinite) number of alternative realities. People find that idea extremely troubling. Sean M Carroll's book explores that discomfort, explains why he thinks MWI is the most plausible of all interpretations of QM, and explores a number of different alternatives to it. So I would recommend looking at his book, if you are interested. It was written for folks who don't care for the notion of "many worlds".

To your other points, I would point out that future possibilities all occur in the MWI framework. We just end up finding ourselves in one of the possibilities. There are other versions of us that find themselves in different realities, and there is no way for any of us to observe or detect those other realities. So I fully endorse the points you are making about freedom of choice in the reality that we find ourselves living in--only one of the possible future realities at the time we were making the decision. If we don't bother looking at quantum events, then we can only observe a deterministic reality, because your choices don't affect the past. The wave collapse into a reality only occurs during observation with a recording device of some kind. As Carroll puts it, the recording device becomes entangled with the phenomenon it is interacting with. Future wave collapses are only probabilistically determined.

Sorry, but I don't go along with that. QM works in the same real world with the rest of us. Many possibilities resolve into one reality. There is never more than one real future. However there are always a multitude of possible futures. The multitude of possible futures are located solely within our imagination. The single real future will exist in empirical reality.
 

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My comment ''not exactly a matter of choosing'' specifically refers to there being no alternative possible within a determined system...which does not allow you to have chosen otherwise in any given instance in time.

Again, no alternatives exists within a determined system, whatever happens is necessitated by antecedents and fixed as a matter of natural law.

The choice in your examples is an illusion of limited perspective.

If you had a Gods eye view of a determined world, the world, it objects and events would appear fixed like the the actions on a film.

Events are not matter of linear causation. There are multiple elements at work in every action/reaction. A web rather than a chain of 'causality.' And of course, every cause being an effect.

That's all I have time for. Posts have a tendency to grow.

The "limited perspective" is on the hard determinist side. It is limited by a highly abstract view of causation. It's kind of the opposite of "not seeing the forest for the trees", but rather not seeing the trees for the forest. Instead of the specific causes of specific effects, the hard determinist only sees universal causal necessity/inevitability. And that viewpoint ignores all of the meaningful and relevant information, like the people who actually make the choices that determine what happens next.

The people are replaced by causal necessity. Causal necessity is promoted to "an entity with causal powers", and all control and all responsibility are vested in this non-entity, rather than in the people who decide for themselves what they will do, the people who actually exercise control over their actions, actions that causally determine what happens next. This abstraction of individual people into causal necessity is the real illusion.

Within the domain of human influence (things we can make happen if we choose to), the single inevitable future is chosen by us from among the many possible futures we imagine. That is how the single inevitable future comes about.

Our limited perspective is determined by a number of elements. One, the wiring of our brains. We have no means with which to access the means of production of our experience of the world and self. There are no means for us, as conscious entities, to access the underlying activity that brings us into being. What we see, hear, feel, think, decide or do is being produced by neural networks that are beyond our perception or control. We are whatever the brain is currently doing. Calling this 'free will' is a misnomer.



Origination Argument;

1. An agent acts with free will only if she is the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
2. If determinism is true, then everything any agent does is ultimately caused by events and circumstances outside her control.
3. If everything an agent does is ultimately caused by events and circumstances beyond her control, then the agent is not the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
4. Therefore, if determinism is true, then no agent is the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
5. Therefore, if determinism is true, no agent has free will.
 

fromderinside

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... I believe all of this speaks to why religion was so ubiquitous throughout the world before the scientific revolution. In lieu of a material understanding human experience feels immaterial, supernatural, and normalized.
Big category lots of caveats, conditions, presumptions, attached to religion meme. If you want to compare that, whatever it is, to material understanding you need shift to material as objective and to religious as subjective. Otherwise there is no comparison.

Of course much more complicated / nuanced, but the basic point is that an understanding of natural science down to the atomic level is a post-hoc conceptualization of the world. It has no relevance to the conditions that gave rise to our cognitive function and experience, and how that cognitive function exists now. It's basically just a data point, granted a data point that can be disconcerting, but a data point nonetheless.

And when you look at early societies we don't see much perception of materialism, we largely see spirituality across the board. To me this is a good pointer to how most of us actually experience the world. And even today, despite greater material understanding, I'm not sure this has actually changed much.

That's not to say that we have free will by any means, but despite a bit of generalization I think my last few posts answer the why we feel free question.
Whoa. Cause and effect, determinism, were subjective topics back to the Greeks at least. That mankind evolved the ability to disassociate belief from evidence is due to that journey. The beauty of empiricism is that it uses much of what has been thought and considered in it's construction and execution. We now know we are evolved beings who can manipulate material world to our benefit which has been the underlying purpose of our evolution all along. Our view of our story should likewise evolve.

Consequence should be the scale for evaluating the value of particular modes of thought. Through that lens material thought consumes most of what we are today. Fairly spiritual thought will remain forever in our behavior, probably as central to our every day experiences even though that behavior will be driven by clearly material means.

What I was criticizing was characterizing the centrality of religious belief to our individual and social makeup. That will fade over time. We should organize our constructions around that sort of thinking.

You seem to be a nostalgic kind of gee. Being so needn't cloud your perceptions. I'm still partial to the Hardy Boys over Nordic Murders. Not a problem.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Without conscious control of physics ...

We actually use physics every day. We use gravity both to walk to the kitchen as well as to pour a glass of water. The Wright brothers used physics to build a working airplane. NASA used physics to land people on the Moon and bring them back safely.

We use physics to consciously control physical events. Like walking, pouring, inventing, and landing on the Moon. The only time that physics controls us is when we fall down.

... or the ability to do otherwise,

Every time we make a choice between any two options, like A and B, we have the ability to choose A and we also have the ability to choose B. That is "the ability to do otherwise". And it shows up whenever a choosing operation appears in the causal chain.

Determinism does not eliminate the ability to do otherwise. It guarantees that the choosing operation will appear in the causal chain. And with the choosing operation comes the ability to do otherwise, free of charge.

... agency, you are whatever the world makes of you.

And the world is whatever I make of it. For example, my comment is the cause of you posting another comment. There's me, and, there's my environment. Sometimes I change the environment. Sometimes the environment changes me.

You keep pretending I do not exist, or, that I do not matter. That's an illusion.

Your brain is the result of inherited genetics not of your choosing or control, your capabilities are determined by your genetics and environmental inputs - nature and nurture - and your thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions follow unencumbered from your condition. This is not something that can be called 'free will.'

But I do call it "free will"! My genetic dispositions and capabilities are me! The nature is my nature! The environment is not me. But it can affect who I become. However, it is also the case that I can affect what my environment becomes. My house is paid off. I've got this nice computer sitting on my table. I'm typing words that are coming to you from "that which is me". Determinism is not writing this comment. I am. Determinism has no causal agency. But I do. Determinism has no skin in the game. But I do.

And you confirm my causal agency by addressing your comment to me, and not to determinism, or causal necessity, or the Big Bang.
 

Copernicus

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Sorry, but I don't go along with that. QM works in the same real world with the rest of us. Many possibilities resolve into one reality. There is never more than one real future. However there are always a multitude of possible futures. The multitude of possible futures are located solely within our imagination. The single real future will exist in empirical reality.

OK, I'm not sure what it is that you aren't going along with, but it's not important. I wasn't really disagreeing with anything you said, but with the idea that QM necessarily leads to the conclusion that causality is an "illusion". What I was trying to point out to you was only that, in the model of physical reality that MWI advocates posit, the future really is indeterminate, since we can never predict with certainty what future states will define our reality. If you aren't interested in WMI, no big deal. I just thought it relevant to some of the remarks by other people in this thread who had been arguing that the future is always causally determined. In fact, it's much more complicated than it appears.
 

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Without conscious control of physics ...

We actually use physics every day. We use gravity both to walk to the kitchen as well as to pour a glass of water. The Wright brothers used physics to build a working airplane. NASA used physics to land people on the Moon and bring them back safely.

We use physics to consciously control physical events. Like walking, pouring, inventing, and landing on the Moon. The only time that physics controls us is when we fall down.
You say that as if we bend the laws of physics on the basis of will. The world shapes and forms us, genetics and environment, and given our evolved mental capacities, we learn how the world works and we interact with with it. In principle the same as every other lifeform, only the expression being different....which has nothing freedom of the will and everything to do with neural architecture.
... or the ability to do otherwise,

Every time we make a choice between any two options, like A and B, we have the ability to choose A and we also have the ability to choose B. That is "the ability to do otherwise". And it shows up whenever a choosing operation appears in the causal chain.

Determinism does not eliminate the ability to do otherwise. It guarantees that the choosing operation will appear in the causal chain. And with the choosing operation comes the ability to do otherwise, free of charge.
In a determined system the choice that made is the only possibility. There is no could have done otherwise in the same circumstances. The circumstances are neither willed or subject to will. Will changes nothing. Will itself is subject to determinism.
But I do call it "free will"! My genetic dispositions and capabilities are me! The nature is my nature! The environment is not me. But it can affect who I become. However, it is also the case that I can affect what my environment becomes. My house is paid off. I've got this nice computer sitting on my table. I'm typing words that are coming to you from "that which is me". Determinism is not writing this comment. I am. Determinism has no causal agency. But I do. Determinism has no skin in the game. But I do.

And you confirm my causal agency by addressing your comment to me, and not to determinism, or causal necessity, or the Big Bang.

You can call it whatever you wish, but our ''will''cannot be labelled ''free'' for the given reasons. We have will and drive, which is the impulse to act or respond. How we act or respond is determined by antecedents and fixed as a matter of natural law.
 

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Irrational Physics Led Directly to the Irrational Politics of a Collapsing-Civilization Century

Indeterminacy was cooked up by Werner Heisenberg, who became a Nazi. Your description of an indeterminate world is exactly what it's like to live in a totalitarian country.
Not only is that sort of consideration immaterial, it isn't even true. Heisenberg was never a Nazi; the SS called him a "White Jew" for his frequent collaboration with and defense of Jewish physicists; and indeterminacy was cooked up by Heisenberg in collaboration with Max Born, who was Jewish.
 

The AntiChris

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Origination Argument;

1. An agent acts with free will only if she is the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
2. If determinism is true, then everything any agent does is ultimately caused by events and circumstances outside her control.
3. If everything an agent does is ultimately caused by events and circumstances beyond her control, then the agent is not the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
4. Therefore, if determinism is true, then no agent is the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
5. Therefore, if determinism is true, no agent has free will.
Item 1 is question-begging. It assumes as true the very thing that is under discussion.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Our limited perspective is determined by a number of elements. One, the wiring of our brains. We have no means with which to access the means of production of our experience of the world and self. There are no means for us, as conscious entities, to access the underlying activity that brings us into being. What we see, hear, feel, think, decide or do is being produced by neural networks that are beyond our perception or control.

Correct. The model, that our brain gives us of ourselves, does not include any perception of what the individual neurons are doing. For example, we do not know when Neuron number 173452 fires and which combination of neurons firing will finally trigger Neuron number 9327488 to unload its charge upon Neuron number 3581334.

Why do you suppose this information is not included in the model? Because to have information about a single neuron would require a thousand additional neurons. And we could not fit our heads through any doorway.

So, the model is a symbolic representation of reality. Rather than seeing the individual atoms in the ball and the bat, we see just two objects, the "ball", and, the "bat". And we learn to "swing" the "bat" to "hit" the "ball" and then to "run" the "bases". And, rather than tracking the individual neurons in our brains, we experience "our" "selves" "performing" "certain" "activities", such as "walking" and "thinking".

Oh, and of course, "freely" "choosing" for "our" "selves" "what" "we" "will" "do" "next". And this activity is called "free will", which is short for a freely chosen will.

We are whatever the brain is currently doing.

Exactly. "We" are whatever the brain is currently doing, including when the brain is freely choosing what it will do next.

Calling this 'free will' is a misnomer.

Calling it "free will" is a short summation of "choosing for ourselves what we will do while free of coercion and undue influence". It is a summary of an empirical event that we perceive through the model. A "coerced will" is a short summary of an empirical event where our choice is imposed upon us against our will by the threat of harm. An "unduly influenced will" is a short summary for any event in which our choice is controlled by someone or something other than our own rational selves.

Origination Argument;

1. An agent acts with free will only if she is the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
2. If determinism is true, then everything any agent does is ultimately caused by events and circumstances outside her control.
3. If everything an agent does is ultimately caused by events and circumstances beyond her control, then the agent is not the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
4. Therefore, if determinism is true, then no agent is the originator (or ultimate source) of her actions.
5. Therefore, if determinism is true, no agent has free will.

1. In most cases, we are the most meaningful and relevant cause of our choices. It is our own evaluation of our current conditions that lead us to conclude that we must make a choice before we can continue whatever we are doing. It is our own purpose and our own reasons that are the prior causes of our own choices. Every piece of information that goes into that choosing is found in our own thoughts, our own feelings, our own desires, our own beliefs, our own values, etc. The choosing operation itself is carried out within our own brains. So, normally, it is empirically accurate to consider ourselves the ultimate source of our own choices.

However, there are also other other cases, where a person may be coerced by the threat of force, or affected by a significant mental illness, or commanded by an authority, or otherwise unduly influenced beyond their control, where that coercion or undue influence is considered the ultimate source of the person's choice.

2. If determinism is true, then nothing changes. We simply add causal necessity to each of our existing facts. Simply add the phrase, "It will be causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time that...". For example:
(a) "It will be causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time that..." we will be the most meaningful and relevant cause of our choice.
(b) "It will be causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time that..." our own evaluation of our current conditions will lead us to conclude that we must make a decision before we can continue whatever we are doing.
(c) "It will be causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time that..." it will be our own purpose and our own reasons that will be the prior causes of our own choices.
(d) "It will be causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time that..." every piece of information of information that goes into that choosing will be found in our own thoughts, our own feelings, our own desires, our own beliefs, our own values, etc.
(e) "It will be causally necessary/inevitable from any prior point in time that..." the choosing operation itself will be carried out within our own brains.

As we all can see, universal causal necessity/inevitability is a background constant that always applies to every event. It never actually changes anything. Like a constant that appears on both sides of every equation, it can be subtracted from both sides without affecting the result. And it cannot excuse one thing without excusing everything. If it excuses the guy who stole your wallet, then it also excuses the judge who cuts off his hand.

3. Only a few choices are caused by events and circumstances beyond our control, these would include coercion and undue influence. When the coercion or the undue influence is controlling the choice, then the person is not the originator (or ultimate source) of their own actions. The person doing the coercion or otherwise unduly influencing the choice is held responsible for the person's actions.

4. If determinism is true, and properly understood, then we discover that it is not an actor in the real world. It simply asserts that we live in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect, where every event is the reliable result of specific prior events. And, if we're curious, we could theoretically trace those prior events back from the current event, all the way back to the Big Bang (and whatever caused that). But no one would take the trouble to do that, because most of the causes we care about are the most recent causes, the causes we can learn from, and the causes we might need to correct if the event is harmful.

5. Therefore, if determinism is true, everything continues to operate exactly as it always has. There are no meaningful implications to be drawn from the logical fact of universal causal necessity/inevitability. It is a logical fact, but it is not a meaningful or relevant fact. It makes no distinctions between any events. And we need to make meaningful distinctions to continue to control our lives and our destiny. For example, we need to distinguish a behavior that was freely chosen from a behavior that was forced upon someone against their will.
 

Marvin Edwards

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You say that as if we bend the laws of physics on the basis of will.

No no. The last thing in the world we would ever want is for the laws of physics to be bendable. We need the laws of physics to be 100% reliable so that we can predict where the Moon will be, to assure that our rocket lands on the Moon rather than missing it entirely.

If it is our will to land on the Moon, then we need physics to be very very reliable. The point is that we employ the laws of physics to accomplish our will. If I wish to do something as simple as pouring myself a glass of water, I really need gravity to be working reliably. That's why astronauts use straws in space.

The world shapes and forms us, genetics and environment, ...

The question is whether you can tell them apart. The genetics, well, that's me. The environment is the rest of the world. To suggest that my genetics is an external force acting upon me against my will, would be an illusion.

In principle the same as every other lifeform, only the expression being different....which has nothing freedom of the will and everything to do with neural architecture.

Learning how the world works, knowing the specific causes of the events that affect our lives, is the source of our freedom and our control. Without reliable cause and effect the outcome of our actions are unpredictable. Without predictability, the consequences of our actions cannot be controlled. Without control, we have no freedom to do anything at all.

Freedom requires a world of reliable cause and effect. And the more reliable the causation, the more freedom we have to do our will.

All of these concepts, and our usage of them, are processes running upon the neural infrastructure. But none of us are capable of using these concepts by describing the underlying neural events. Just like we could never learn to hit a baseball by describing the atoms in the ball and bat. Our brain's model of reality is our only access to reality. And that model does not track the individual firing of specific neurons.

There is no could have done otherwise in the same circumstances.
There is always a "could have done otherwise" in the circumstances of choosing, but there is no "would have done otherwise". You may never catch on to this important distinction. The conflation of what "can" happen with what "will", and the confusion of a "possibility" with an "actuality", are false suggestions that help sustain the paradox. (A paradox is created through one or more false, but believable, suggestions).

The circumstances are neither willed or subject to will. Will changes nothing. Will itself is subject to determinism.

You continue to ignore the person, who is a key part of the total circumstances. So your view of the circumstances is missing critical data.

Within the person you will find all of the genetics. Within the person you will find the brain's neural infrastructure that supports all of the mental events. Within the person you will find the mental operation of choosing. Within the person you will find the imagination, where all the possibilities relevant to that choosing exist. Within the choosing operation you will find at least two real options and the ability to choose any one of them. This is where the "ability to do otherwise" will always show up.

The will itself is chosen by the person during the choosing operation. Determinism does not choose the will. The person themselves, through the choosing operation, causally determines the will.

Nothing in the universe is "subject to determinism", because determinism is not an entity that subjugates anything. That is another delusion. Determinism is nothing more than the belief that everything that happens within or outside the person will happen by a reliable series of causes and effects. Each mental event will occur in a reliable chain of events, where one mental event reliably causes the next mental event. Determinism is not doing this. The mental events themselves are doing this.

You can call it whatever you wish, but our ''will'' cannot be labelled ''free'' ...

The will is not labelled free. It is the choosing of the will that is labelled free. "Free will" is a short version of "choosing for ourselves what we will do while free of coercion and undue influence". It is literally a freely chosen "I will".
 

pood

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There is always a "could have done otherwise" in the circumstances of choosing, but there is no "would have done otherwise". You may never catch on to this important distinction. The conflation of what "can" happen with what "will", and the confusion of a "possibility" with an "actuality", are false suggestions that help sustain the paradox. (A paradox is created through one or more false, but believable, suggestions).

Yes. I think this is the crux of the matter. Also:

Nothing in the universe is "subject to determinism", because determinism is not an entity that subjugates anything.
 

pood

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The failure to distinguish between “could not” and “would not,” and “can not” and “will not” is at the heart of the modal fallacy I discussed in the compatibilism thread. If you could somehow rewind the history of the universe with all antecedent events exactly alike, why would you expect anyone to choose differently, from what they chose in the original iteration? It is not that they CANNOT choose differently, it is that they WILL NOT.
 

fromderinside

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This:

DBT writes:

Marvin Edwards replies:

Same words yet the latter is not a proper reply to the former.



Questions?
No. Just a comment. DBT wrote one thing you answered with something else as if it were response to DBT's comment. Your response to me amplified your previous input but offered nothing to link it with DBT's comment.

IOW you were unresponsive. Being wordy about what you wrote doesn't improve your credibility.

DBT added to his comment. IOW he clarified his free will statement clearly putting it in to subjective grounds. Try again to link your response to what has been made clear.

It is often the case that I believe I have answered the question, but it's possible that I haven't given sufficient clues as to how the answer relates specifically to the question. That's why I ask for details when someone makes a comment suggesting I haven't responded specifically to the comment. Often, the answer has already been provided but I need to repeat it because it has not yet been heard, or acknowledged yet.

The process here is not perfect. And if you can provide useful information to make the process better, then please do. But it may be simpler to just ignore the process issues and redirect attention to the content, so we don't get stuck in the mud.
This:

DBT writes:

Marvin Edwards replies:

Same words yet the latter is not a proper reply to the former.



Questions?
No. Just a comment. DBT wrote one thing you answered with something else as if it were response to DBT's comment. Your response to me amplified your previous input but offered nothing to link it with DBT's comment.

IOW you were unresponsive. Being wordy about what you wrote doesn't improve your credibility.

DBT added to his comment. IOW he clarified his free will statement clearly putting it in to subjective grounds. Try again to link your response to what has been made clear.

It is often the case that I believe I have answered the question, but it's possible that I haven't given sufficient clues as to how the answer relates specifically to the question. That's why I ask for details when someone makes a comment suggesting I haven't responded specifically to the comment. Often, the answer has already been provided but I need to repeat it because it has not yet been heard, or acknowledged yet.

The process here is not perfect. And if you can provide useful information to make the process better, then please do. But it may be simpler to just ignore the process issues and redirect attention to the content, so we don't get stuck in the mud.
Clearly I'm not one who denies determinism. One god reason is that philosophers have found no good basis presented by non-determinists for that position.

To wit: From Stanford Encyclopedia article Incompatibilist (Nondeterministic) Theories of Free Will: 
Without conscious control of physics ...

We actually use physics every day. We use gravity both to walk to the kitchen as well as to pour a glass of water. The Wright brothers used physics to build a working airplane. NASA used physics to land people on the Moon and bring them back safely.

We use physics to consciously control physical events. Like walking, pouring, inventing, and landing on the Moon. The only time that physics controls us is when we fall down.

... or the ability to do otherwise,

Every time we make a choice between any two options, like A and B, we have the ability to choose A and we also have the ability to choose B. That is "the ability to do otherwise". And it shows up whenever a choosing operation appears in the causal chain.

Determinism does not eliminate the ability to do otherwise. It guarantees that the choosing operation will appear in the causal chain. And with the choosing operation comes the ability to do otherwise, free of charge.

... agency, you are whatever the world makes of you.

And the world is whatever I make of it. For example, my comment is the cause of you posting another comment. There's me, and, there's my environment. Sometimes I change the environment. Sometimes the environment changes me.

You keep pretending I do not exist, or, that I do not matter. That's an illusion.

Your brain is the result of inherited genetics not of your choosing or control, your capabilities are determined by your genetics and environmental inputs - nature and nurture - and your thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions follow unencumbered from your condition. This is not something that can be called 'free will.'

But I do call it "free will"! My genetic dispositions and capabilities are me! The nature is my nature! The environment is not me. But it can affect who I become. However, it is also the case that I can affect what my environment becomes. My house is paid off. I've got this nice computer sitting on my table. I'm typing words that are coming to you from "that which is me". Determinism is not writing this comment. I am. Determinism has no causal agency. But I do. Determinism has no skin in the game. But I do.

And you confirm my causal agency by addressing your comment to me, and not to determinism, or causal necessity, or the Big Bang.
 

fromderinside

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Hadn't found insert feature so I posts stuff to which I contributed nothing.

The indeterminist cite is https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/incompatibilism-theories/

Our discussion of incompatibilist theories of free will has focused so far on whether they provide an adequate account of what free will would be if it exists. However, even if one or another of these views is theoretically satisfactory in this regard, the question remains whether there is any evidence that what the theory says is required for free will actually exists.

Incompatibilist accounts require, first, that determinism be false. But more than this, they require that there be indeterminism of a certain sort (e.g., with some events entirely uncaused, or nondeterministically caused, or caused by agents and not deterministically caused by events) and that this indeterminism be located in specific places (generally, at the time of the occurrence of decisions and other basic actions). What is our evidence that these requirements are satisfied?

The scientific evidence for quantum mechanics is sometimes said to show that determinism is false. Quantum theory is indeed very well confirmed. However, there is nothing approaching a consensus on how to interpret it. Indeterministic as well as deterministic interpretations have been developed, but it is far from clear whether any of the existing interpretations is correct. (For a more in depth discussion of rival interpretations of quantum mechanics see section 4.4 of the Determinism entry.) Perhaps the best that can be said here is that there is currently no good evidence that determinism is true.

The scientific evidence is even less decisive with respect to whether there is the kind of indeterminism located in exactly the places required by typical incompatibilists. Unless there is a complete independence of mental events from physical events, then even for free decisions there has to be indeterminism of a specific sort at specific junctures in certain brain processes. There are some interesting speculations in the works of some incompatibilists about how this might be so (see, e.g., Kane 1996b: 128–30, 137–42, and the sources cited there), but our current understanding of the brain gives us little evidence one way or the other about whether it is in fact so.

Some noncausal theories of free will maintain that for us to act freely our actions must be uncaused. However, we seem to have little evidence that this (alleged) requirement is ever met. We do, however, have evidence that it often isn’t met, as a compelling case can be made that many of our everyday actions have causes (Capes 2017). Consider an ordinary, everyday action: Tony goes to the store to buy some chocolate cake. Why did he do so? In part because his wife asked him to, and the ‘because’ here is arguably causal. That the request is a cause of Tony’s action is suggested by the presence of several causal markers, things that indicate a causal connection between two states or events. For instance, effects often (though not always) counterfactually depend on their causes, and Tony’s action counterfactually depends on his wife’s request; had she not asked him to go to the store and get cake, he wouldn’t have done so. Tony’s action also counterfactually varies with the content of his wife’s request; had she asked for carrot cake instead of chocolate, he would have gotten carrot cake instead. His wife’s request raised the probability (even if it didn’t ensure) that he would go to the store and buy some cake, it helps explain why he went to the store and got what he got, and it was a means to the end of getting Tony to go to the store. The joint presence of these causal markers strongly suggests that Tony’s wife’s request that he go to the store and get some cake is a cause of his doing so. Note, moreover, that Tony’s action isn’t special in this regard. Similar claims can be made about many of our everday behaviors. If so, and if an action must be uncaused in order to be free, then we have reason to suppose that we rarely, if ever, act freely.

What about agent causation? It is sometimes argued that agent causation must be anomic, not subject to any laws of nature, and that on our best evidence this requirement is not met (Pereboom 2001: ch. 3 and 2014: 65–69). However, the claim that free will requires such lawlessness is contested (Clarke 2010).

Some incompatibilists (e.g., Campbell 1957: 168–70 and O’Connor 1995: 196–97) claim that our experience when we make decisions and act constitutes evidence that there is indeterminism of the required sort in the required place. There are various ways to develop this claim. A strong version has it that our experience of our own agency represents our actions as being produced in just the way that one or another incompatibilist account says they must be if we are to have free will. (For an objection to this claim, see Mele 1995: 135–37). A weaker version of the claim is that we experience some of our actions as free (even if that experience doesn’t represent our actions as being uncaused or non-deterministically caused or agent caused) and then infer from this experience, together with the assumption that free will requires indeterminism of the relevant sort, that the right sort of indeterminism obtains. However, both versions of the claim are open to the following objection. If things are to be the way they are said to be by some incompatibilist account, then the laws of nature—laws of physics, chemistry, and biology—must be a certain way. (This is so for overt, bodily actions regardless of the relation between mind and body, and it is so for decisions and other mental actions barring a complete independence of mental events from physical, chemical, and biological events.) And many find it incredible that how things seem to us when we act gives us insight into the laws of nature.

Whether they should, though, is a matter of controversy. Suppose one experiences oneself falling. Surely this imposes some limits on how the laws of nature could be. Perhaps there must be something like a law of gravity in order for this experience to be veridical. Or, more minimally, one can at least infer from the experience of falling that the laws of nature don’t preclude falling. So, there is no general problem with inferring facts about the laws of nature from one’s own experiences. The question, then, is whether there is some special problem with inferring from our experience of our own agency that the incompatibilist requirements are met.

Some incompatibilists (e.g., van Inwagen 1983: 204–13) hold that, although we lack good empirical or experiential evidence that we have free will, we nevertheless have good moral reason to believe that we have it. The claim is that we have good reason to believe that we are sometimes morally responsible for our behavior and that moral responsibility requires free will. Together, these claims give us good reason to suppose that we sometimes have free will. However, absent solid evidence for the indeterminism that incompatibilists say is required for free will, if we justifiably believe that responsibility requires free will and that free will requires indeterminism, it seems to some that, rather than concluding that we have free will, we should instead withhold judgment on whether we are ever morally responsible for anything.

If an incompatibilist theory of free will is correct, it thus appears to be an open question whether the requirements for free will specified by the theory are ever satisfied, and thus an open question as well whether anyone ever has free will.

You need to overcome the established objections to Incompatibalism (Non Determinist) theories presented above before you go dancing on your merry way.
 
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Everett's MWI has become popular precisely because it restores determinism to the quantum world, but at the expense of positing an infinite (or near infinite) number of alternative realities. People find that idea extremely troubling. Sean M Carroll's book explores that discomfort, explains why he thinks MWI is the most plausible of all interpretations of QM, and explores a number of different alternatives to it. So I would recommend looking at his book, if you are interested. It was written for folks who don't care for the notion of "many worlds". ...
The wave collapse into a reality only occurs during observation with a recording device of some kind. As Carroll puts it, the recording device becomes entangled with the phenomenon it is interacting with. Future wave collapses are only probabilistically determined.
Quantum Mechanics in a nutshell consists of two laws: the Schroedinger Equation which says how a system changes when it isn't being measured, and the Born Rule which says how it changes when it is being measured. The Copenhagen Interpretation is an exercise in not taking the Schroedinger Equation seriously. The CI says it's an equation describing our knowledge of a system, or an equation describing our ability to predict consequences of interactions with a system, and is stubbornly agnostic about the system itself. (That's why Bohm spent so much of his career trying to get rid of the CI -- the grand champion of quantum determinism philosophically didn't actually give a hoot about randomness.)

Everett's MWI appears to be the Copenhagen Interpretation's evil twin: on its face it looks like an exercise in not taking the Born Rule seriously. Does Carroll's book explain how MWI would result in a typical observer measuring 96 transmitted photons for every 4 reflected by a glass surface? The vast majority of explanations of MWI simply skip over that question as though it had never occurred to their authors to wonder.
 

pood

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In addition to the MWI there is also the thoroughly deterministic interpretation of QM called Superdeterminism, though the physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, who champions this, maintains that superdeterminism is not an interpretation of QM, but a deeper theory.
 
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Physicists engage in philosophical metaphors all the time. For example, the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM) is a philosophical stance, not a scientific one. It is about how to interpret a quantum event (interaction between quantum particles/strings/fields/etc.). QM is sometimes held out as relevant to the causal necessity interpretation of "free will" (as opposed to Marvin's humanist interpretation of the term). A different interpretation--Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI)--restores the concept of deterministic interactions. That is, every QM event spawns multiple instances of realities, but we only get to experience the reality that our conscious mind observes. So our experienced reality is only ever going to experience a probabilistic "indeterminate" universe when we try to measure quantum interactions. None of this has anything to do with Marvin's point about the natural human interpretation of "free will", because we are creatures that only interact with the environment where causal probabilities collapse into observable entangled states. That is, they are no longer merely probabilistic once we have experienced them. They are a done deal. Different copies of ourselves in alternate realities experience different entangled realities.

Reference: Sean M Carroll  Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

I don't care for the notion of "many worlds" because it suggests science fiction, traveling between dimensions, and such.

I think it is more accurate to simply distinguish the difference between a possibility and an actuality. A possibility exist solely within the imagination. We cannot drive a car across the possibility of a bridge. We can only drive across an actual bridge. However, we cannot build an actual bridge without first imagining one or more possible bridges. And, as soon as we build the actual bridge, it ceases to be called a "possibility" and is now referred to as an "actuality".

A possibility is something that "can" happen if we have the resources and skills required to make it happen. The fact that the possibility is never actualized does make it an "impossibility", it simply remains something that we "could have" done, but "did not" do. The only way that an option becomes an impossibility is by realizing that we lack the resources or the skills needed to make it happen. Only that makes the option impossible. It is only impossible if it cannot be done. The fact that it will not be done does not make it an impossibility. It remains something that could have been done, but something we simply did not do.

What "can" happen constrains what "will" happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what "will" happen never constrains what "can" happen. What "can" happen is only constrained by our imagination.

To keep our language straight, there are many "possible" futures, as many as we can imagine because it is within the imagination that all possibilities exist. But there will be only one "actual" future. The fact that only one of our possible futures is ever actualized, does not make the other possible futures that we imagined "impossible", it only makes them futures that could have happened, but didn't.

Within the domain of human influence (things we can make happen if we choose to), the single, inevitable, actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

A simple example would be breakfast. I have eggs in the refrigerator, so I can fix eggs for breakfast. So, one possible future is me sitting at the table eating eggs. But I also have pancake mix in the cupboard, so, if I want, I can fix pancakes instead. So, the other possible future is me sitting at the table eating pancakes. Upon consideration of my options, I remember that I've had eggs for breakfast all week. So, I decide that I "will" have pancakes this morning. I "could have" had eggs, but I didn't.

From multiple possible futures, the single actual future is chosen. From multiple "I can's" the single "I will" is chosen. One option becomes what I will do. All the other options become things I could have done, but didn't.
Motto of Postmodern Scientists, Who Find Rationality So Boring: "If It's Weird, It's Wise"

Having been temporarily infected with the Quantum Quacks' irrationality, I was going to object that your What's for Breakfast example is irrelevant, because you choose the possibility that becomes a reality. But so do inanimate objects, not in the sense of intention but because they are being driven by an outside cause, also inanimate, that irrationalists refuse to recognize. All Indeterminacy proves is that there absolutely must be a force we don't know about, a outside dimension in an outside world that affects our world but is not inside it. With humans, the outside force is will. But intention is not needed to change possibilities into realities. Scientists stuck in exciting escapism, childishly yelping "Cool!" and "Wow!" refuse to even look for the outside reality that must be there.
 

bilby

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Physicists engage in philosophical metaphors all the time. For example, the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM) is a philosophical stance, not a scientific one. It is about how to interpret a quantum event (interaction between quantum particles/strings/fields/etc.). QM is sometimes held out as relevant to the causal necessity interpretation of "free will" (as opposed to Marvin's humanist interpretation of the term). A different interpretation--Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI)--restores the concept of deterministic interactions. That is, every QM event spawns multiple instances of realities, but we only get to experience the reality that our conscious mind observes. So our experienced reality is only ever going to experience a probabilistic "indeterminate" universe when we try to measure quantum interactions. None of this has anything to do with Marvin's point about the natural human interpretation of "free will", because we are creatures that only interact with the environment where causal probabilities collapse into observable entangled states. That is, they are no longer merely probabilistic once we have experienced them. They are a done deal. Different copies of ourselves in alternate realities experience different entangled realities.

Reference: Sean M Carroll  Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

I don't care for the notion of "many worlds" because it suggests science fiction, traveling between dimensions, and such.

I think it is more accurate to simply distinguish the difference between a possibility and an actuality. A possibility exist solely within the imagination. We cannot drive a car across the possibility of a bridge. We can only drive across an actual bridge. However, we cannot build an actual bridge without first imagining one or more possible bridges. And, as soon as we build the actual bridge, it ceases to be called a "possibility" and is now referred to as an "actuality".

A possibility is something that "can" happen if we have the resources and skills required to make it happen. The fact that the possibility is never actualized does make it an "impossibility", it simply remains something that we "could have" done, but "did not" do. The only way that an option becomes an impossibility is by realizing that we lack the resources or the skills needed to make it happen. Only that makes the option impossible. It is only impossible if it cannot be done. The fact that it will not be done does not make it an impossibility. It remains something that could have been done, but something we simply did not do.

What "can" happen constrains what "will" happen. If it cannot happen, then it will not happen.
But what "will" happen never constrains what "can" happen. What "can" happen is only constrained by our imagination.

To keep our language straight, there are many "possible" futures, as many as we can imagine because it is within the imagination that all possibilities exist. But there will be only one "actual" future. The fact that only one of our possible futures is ever actualized, does not make the other possible futures that we imagined "impossible", it only makes them futures that could have happened, but didn't.

Within the domain of human influence (things we can make happen if we choose to), the single, inevitable, actual future will be chosen, by us, from among the many possible futures that we can imagine.

A simple example would be breakfast. I have eggs in the refrigerator, so I can fix eggs for breakfast. So, one possible future is me sitting at the table eating eggs. But I also have pancake mix in the cupboard, so, if I want, I can fix pancakes instead. So, the other possible future is me sitting at the table eating pancakes. Upon consideration of my options, I remember that I've had eggs for breakfast all week. So, I decide that I "will" have pancakes this morning. I "could have" had eggs, but I didn't.

From multiple possible futures, the single actual future is chosen. From multiple "I can's" the single "I will" is chosen. One option becomes what I will do. All the other options become things I could have done, but didn't.
Motto of Postmodern Scientists, Who Find Rationality So Boring: "If It's Weird, It's Wise"

Having been temporarily infected with the Quantum Quacks' irrationality, I was going to object that your What's for Breakfast example is irrelevant, because you choose the possibility that becomes a reality. But so do inanimate objects, not in the sense of intention but because they are being driven by an outside cause, also inanimate, that irrationalists refuse to recognize. All Indeterminacy proves is that there absolutely must be a force we don't know about, a outside dimension in an outside world that affects our world but is not inside it. With humans, the outside force is will. But intention is not needed to change possibilities into realities. Scientists stuck in exciting escapism, childishly yelping "Cool!" and "Wow!" refuse to even look for the outside reality that must be there.
"outside reality" is an incoherent concept. Anything that impinges on reality is part of reality. The only things not part of reality are, by definition, not real, and therefore do not exist.
 

pood

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I have to assume “sage” is talking about “god.” “Quantum quacks” is nicely alliterative, though. I don‘t guess Sage knows that QM explains how his computer works, the device he uses to post on the internet “quantum quacks.”
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
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Can you predict exactly when I will post?

Or could you analyze all the post times of my posts and develop a statistical model of whenIi am likely to post? In principle no different than quantum uncertainty. A statistical model of observations.
 
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