• Welcome to the new Internet Infidels Discussion Board, formerly Talk Freethought.

Compatibilism: What's that About?

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Determinism means that all events, including thoughts and actions, must necessarily proceed as determined. This is not a matter of choice, but the state and condition of the system. Whatever has been determined to happen must happen, being determined to happen, it inevitably will happen.

And every time you decide to have dinner in a restaurant, the "state and condition of the system" will determine that you must make a choice from the menu. So, being determined to happen, your choosing inevitably will happen.

At some point I hope you will realize that determinism doesn't actually change anything.

Given a deterministic system, if dinner at 8pm is determined, you have dinner at 8pm. Being determined, you cannot not have dinner precisely when it is determined that you have dinner 8pm.

Your mental processes, based on multiple inputs, bring you to the point where you inevitably 'choose' to have dinner at 8pm.

There being no alternative to your choice to have dinner at precisely the determined time, 8pm, and there being no alternative but to have dinner at 8pm , it was never a matter of freedom of choice or freedom of will to 'choose' to have dinner at 8pm. The action was inevitable, fixed, set by the system, a web of causality, as it evolves from prior to current and future states without deviation, output utterly predictable if all the elements are known.

Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''

That's all I have time for, being Saturday night, it's time to go out for dinner.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Subjective is internally referenced, self referenced, mental activity reflecting output from evolutionarily generated sense mechanisms which are derived from, but not equal to, objective operators. Such detect only shadows of external material data which you claim instead are perfect replicas of the external world.

There is no claim to any "perfect replica of the external world". The symbolic model of reality created by the brain provides "useful" information that helps us deal with our external (and internal) environment. For example, we can walk around a tree rather than walking into it.

If senses were perfect reporters we wouldn't be taking repeated measures of randomized quantitative inputs because that would be presuming corrections are needed for sensing probabilistic rather than definitive objective data.

Again, the test is whether the information from the model is useful. When it is accurate enough to be useful we call it "reality". When it is so inaccurate that it creates problems, then we call it "illusion".

Science attempts to improve the accuracy of the information. Science hopes that better accuracy will be more useful and create less problems.
Long sentence coming.

Yet we muddled along for thousands of years believing in a God that reflected us, Judged good and bad based on propositional logic and we still elect leaders based on lies. because .... we choose to believe them.

Finally:

... its not useful as the criteria. Rather it's good enough to remain living.

... science doesn't attempt anything. Properly used science, based on determinism, can be used to provide information about material reality.
Right. It's basically a question of what is the best way to explain how things work. The notion of God is useful for some purposes but not for others. While it gives us faith that the world is a Good place, we cannot count on God to solve global warming. We need science for that.

I'm not sure it is accurate to say that science is "based on determinism", given the number of false beliefs that have accumulated around determinism. I think scientists would feel easier saying the world is "deterministic", that causation is reliable if we can just figure out exactly what is causing what. The "-tic" at the end is an AS IF, indicating that the world behaves as if some entity had laid out the causal chains in advance as some kind of master plan. But no such master actually exist. The Laws of Nature were not delivered to us by Moses on stone tablets. But were rather "teased out" of empirical observations of the behavior of natural objects.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Given a deterministic system, if dinner at 8pm is determined, you have dinner at 8pm. Being determined, you cannot not have dinner precisely when it is determined that you have dinner 8pm.

Being determined that we will have dinner at 8pm, we will have dinner at 8pm. We could have eaten earlier. We could have eaten later. But we would only have dinner at 8pm.

Your mental processes, based on multiple inputs, bring you to the point where you inevitably 'choose' to have dinner at 8pm.

Correct!
The fact that we can have dinner at 7:30pm or at 8:30pm does not change the fact that we will have dinner at 8.
And the fact that we would necessarily have dinner at 8pm does not change the fact that we could have eaten earlier or later.

There being no alternative to your choice to have dinner at precisely the determined time, 8pm, and there being no alternative but to have dinner at 8pm,

But we did have alternatives. We could have eaten earlier and we could have eaten later. Neither of those alternatives was eliminated by the fact that it was inevitable that we would have dinner at 8pm. Someone suggested that we eat at 7:30 so that we could watch a special half-hour TV event at 8pm. Someone else suggested we could postpone dinner until 8:30 and watch the show first. But it was decided that we would simply record the 8pm TV show, and have dinner at 8pm.

So, we were not lacking in alternatives, we had 3 of them. One of them, to have dinner at 8pm, was chosen. The other two were not chosen. The one that was chosen became the thing that we would do. The other two became things that we could have done, but didn't.


it was never a matter of freedom of choice or freedom of will to 'choose' to have dinner at 8pm. The action was inevitable, fixed, set by the system, a web of causality, as it evolves from prior to current and future states without deviation, output utterly predictable if all the elements are known.

All you are saying is that there was no freedom from deterministic causal necessity.

However, there was freedom from coercion and undue influence. And free will never requires anything more than that.

Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''

So, how would the authors of the Britannica article solve this puzzle:

Waiter (a hard determinist): "What will you have for dinner tonight, sir?"
Customer (hungry): "Gee, I don't know. What are my possibilities?"
Waiter: "Because we live in a deterministic universe, there is only one thing that you can order".
Customer: "Oh. That's disappointing. But, okay then, what is that one thing that I can order?".
Waiter: "I don't know."

The loss of the correct meaning of "can" by conflating it with "will" leads to nonsense.

That's all I have time for, being Saturday night, it's time to go out for dinner.

And it's only Saturday morning here "in the states". Time for breakfast.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
Subjective is internally referenced, self referenced, mental activity reflecting output from evolutionarily generated sense mechanisms which are derived from, but not equal to, objective operators. Such detect only shadows of external material data which you claim instead are perfect replicas of the external world.

There is no claim to any "perfect replica of the external world". The symbolic model of reality created by the brain provides "useful" information that helps us deal with our external (and internal) environment. For example, we can walk around a tree rather than walking into it.

If senses were perfect reporters we wouldn't be taking repeated measures of randomized quantitative inputs because that would be presuming corrections are needed for sensing probabilistic rather than definitive objective data.

Again, the test is whether the information from the model is useful. When it is accurate enough to be useful we call it "reality". When it is so inaccurate that it creates problems, then we call it "illusion".

Science attempts to improve the accuracy of the information. Science hopes that better accuracy will be more useful and create less problems.
Long sentence coming.

Yet we muddled along for thousands of years believing in a God that reflected us, Judged good and bad based on propositional logic and we still elect leaders based on lies. because .... we choose to believe them.

Finally:

... its not useful as the criteria. Rather it's good enough to remain living.

... science doesn't attempt anything. Properly used science, based on determinism, can be used to provide information about material reality.
Right. It's basically a question of what is the best way to explain how things work. The notion of God is useful for some purposes but not for others. While it gives us faith that the world is a Good place, we cannot count on God to solve global warming. We need science for that.

I'm not sure it is accurate to say that science is "based on determinism", given the number of false beliefs that have accumulated around determinism. I think scientists would feel easier saying the world is "deterministic", that causation is reliable if we can just figure out exactly what is causing what. The "-tic" at the end is an AS IF, indicating that the world behaves as if some entity had laid out the causal chains in advance as some kind of master plan. But no such master actually exist. The Laws of Nature were not delivered to us by Moses on stone tablets. But were rather "teased out" of empirical observations of the behavior of natural objects.
God isn't even useful for those purposes. God is useful like the number i is useful, for approaching certain problems in philosophy (like discussing free will and systemic extensions and perspectives on very large things).

Science is in some ways based on assumptions of determinism, but is more fundamentally based on math.

As is pointed out, it's entirely proven out that just laying out chains of causal structure, a program of universal operation, does not determine anything in the causality: It first needs a seed and an initial condition, and from there, it is the specific state PLUS the definition of a "tick" that determines things.

Part of the tick involves choices being made. Part of the tick involves a list of many things becoming one thing. But nothing happens without both the state, and the definition of tick.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,708
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Subjective is internally referenced, self referenced, mental activity reflecting output from evolutionarily generated sense mechanisms which are derived from, but not equal to, objective operators. Such detect only shadows of external material data which you claim instead are perfect replicas of the external world.

I'm not sure it is accurate to say that science is "based on determinism", given the number of false beliefs that have accumulated around determinism. I think scientists would feel easier saying the world is "deterministic", that causation is reliable if we can just figure out exactly what is causing what. The "-tic" at the end is an AS IF, indicating that the world behaves as if some entity had laid out the causal chains in advance as some kind of master plan. But no such master actually exist. The Laws of Nature were not delivered to us by Moses on stone tablets. But were rather "teased out" of empirical observations of the behavior of natural objects.
We scientists ' don't "say" anything about determinism. We use the hard form of it as a model for extracting information from the world in a reliable, measurable, and consistent way. Neither do we presume.

The proof of scientific method utility is in the consistency with which the method extracts information that is usable and continues an expanding 'explanation' for how the world behaves free from presumption and "this is's."
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,708
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
Subjective is internally referenced, self referenced, mental activity reflecting output from evolutionarily generated sense mechanisms which are derived from, but not equal to, objective operators. Such detect only shadows of external material data which you claim instead are perfect replicas of the external world.

There is no claim to any "perfect replica of the external world". The symbolic model of reality created by the brain provides "useful" information that helps us deal with our external (and internal) environment. For example, we can walk around a tree rather than walking into it.

If senses were perfect reporters we wouldn't be taking repeated measures of randomized quantitative inputs because that would be presuming corrections are needed for sensing probabilistic rather than definitive objective data.

Again, the test is whether the information from the model is useful. When it is accurate enough to be useful we call it "reality". When it is so inaccurate that it creates problems, then we call it "illusion".

Science attempts to improve the accuracy of the information. Science hopes that better accuracy will be more useful and create less problems.
Long sentence coming.

Yet we muddled along for thousands of years believing in a God that reflected us, Judged good and bad based on propositional logic and we still elect leaders based on lies. because .... we choose to believe them.

Finally:

... its not useful as the criteria. Rather it's good enough to remain living.

... science doesn't attempt anything. Properly used science, based on determinism, can be used to provide information about material reality.
Right. It's basically a question of what is the best way to explain how things work. The notion of God is useful for some purposes but not for others. While it gives us faith that the world is a Good place, we cannot count on God to solve global warming. We need science for that.

I'm not sure it is accurate to say that science is "based on determinism", given the number of false beliefs that have accumulated around determinism. I think scientists would feel easier saying the world is "deterministic", that causation is reliable if we can just figure out exactly what is causing what. The "-tic" at the end is an AS IF, indicating that the world behaves as if some entity had laid out the causal chains in advance as some kind of master plan. But no such master actually exist. The Laws of Nature were not delivered to us by Moses on stone tablets. But were rather "teased out" of empirical observations of the behavior of natural objects.
God isn't even useful for those purposes. God is useful like the number i is useful, for approaching certain problems in philosophy (like discussing free will and systemic extensions and perspectives on very large things).

Science is in some ways based on assumptions of determinism, but is more fundamentally based on math.

As is pointed out, it's entirely proven out that just laying out chains of causal structure, a program of universal operation, does not determine anything in the causality: It first needs a seed and an initial condition, and from there, it is the specific state PLUS the definition of a "tick" that determines things.

Part of the tick involves choices being made. Part of the tick involves a list of many things becoming one thing. But nothing happens without both the state, and the definition of tick.
Number is useless in science unless it reflects a measure of something.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Given a deterministic system, if dinner at 8pm is determined, you have dinner at 8pm. Being determined, you cannot not have dinner precisely when it is determined that you have dinner 8pm.

Being determined that we will have dinner at 8pm, we will have dinner at 8pm. We could have eaten earlier. We could have eaten later. But we would only have dinner at 8pm.

You couldn't have eaten earlier or later. A deterministic system by definition doesn't permit alternate actions. Therefore, 'would only have dinner at 8' is equivalent to 'cannot have done otherwise' and 'must necessarily have dinner at 8pm as determined.'

Your mental processes, based on multiple inputs, bring you to the point where you inevitably 'choose' to have dinner at 8pm.

Correct!
The fact that we can have dinner at 7:30pm or at 8:30pm does not change the fact that we will have dinner at 8.

But you cannot possibly have dinner at 7:30pm or 8:30pm, these would be alternate actions, when as defined, there can be alternate actions within the system. 8pm it must be. No choice, if 8pm there is no dinner at 7:30pm, 8:30pm or any other time. 8pm, it's dinner time like clockwork. rewind and precisely the same happens....like a video, the characters play their parts freely without deviation, if they were conscious acting without coercion, force or undue influence, no matter how many times the movie is played.

And the fact that we would necessarily have dinner at 8pm does not change the fact that we could have eaten earlier or later.

Alternate actions are not possible. They cannot happen, the system does not permit it to happen.

''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.


There being no alternative to your choice to have dinner at precisely the determined time, 8pm, and there being no alternative but to have dinner at 8pm,

But we did have alternatives. We could have eaten earlier and we could have eaten later. Neither of those alternatives was eliminated by the fact that it was inevitable that we would have dinner at 8pm. Someone suggested that we eat at 7:30 so that we could watch a special half-hour TV event at 8pm. Someone else suggested we could postpone dinner until 8:30 and watch the show first. But it was decided that we would simply record the 8pm TV show, and have dinner at 8pm.

You have no alternatives at any given instance in time. What is impossible in one moment in time may become a reality shortly after, as determined. Being determined, it must happen as determined.

At no point can an alternate action happen, every moment is fixed, immutable. You forget where you placed your keys, a few moments later you recall where they are. The sequence of events is set. The moment of not recalling is fixed in time and place, as is recollection 33 seconds later.

So, we were not lacking in alternatives, we had 3 of them. One of them, to have dinner at 8pm, was chosen. The other two were not chosen. The one that was chosen became the thing that we would do. The other two became things that we could have done, but didn't.

There are no alternatives in any given instance in time. 'Alternatives' are part of the greater system, things that may or may not happen at some time in the evolution of the system, but when they do happen, they must happen.

it was never a matter of freedom of choice or freedom of will to 'choose' to have dinner at 8pm. The action was inevitable, fixed, set by the system, a web of causality, as it evolves from prior to current and future states without deviation, output utterly predictable if all the elements are known.

All you are saying is that there was no freedom from deterministic causal necessity.

However, there was freedom from coercion and undue influence. And free will never requires anything more than that.

Freedom from coercion, force or undue influence is not enough to qualify as free will for the reasons described above and numerous other posts.

Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''

So, how would the authors of the Britannica article solve this puzzle:

Waiter (a hard determinist): "What will you have for dinner tonight, sir?"
Customer (hungry): "Gee, I don't know. What are my possibilities?"
Waiter: "Because we live in a deterministic universe, there is only one thing that you can order".
Customer: "Oh. That's disappointing. But, okay then, what is that one thing that I can order?".
Waiter: "I don't know."

The loss of the correct meaning of "can" by conflating it with "will" leads to nonsense.

The definition describes the terms of how the system works: no alternate actions, everything proceeds as determined, Initial conditions, T1 and the way things go ever after fixed by antecedents.

That's all I have time for, being Saturday night, it's time to go out for dinner.

And it's only Saturday morning here "in the states". Time for breakfast.

It cannot be otherwise.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
You couldn't have eaten earlier or later. A deterministic system by definition doesn't permit alternate actions. Therefore, 'would only have dinner at 8' is equivalent to 'cannot have done otherwise' and 'must necessarily have dinner at 8pm as determined.'

The consideration of each alternative proceeded, without deviation, from any prior point in time.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives:

We could have eaten dinner at 7:30 and then watched the TV show at 8pm.
We could have watched the TV show at 8pm and then had dinner at 8:30.
In fact, we could have taken our trays into the TV room and had dinner at 8pm while watching the show at the same time.
But we decided to record the TV show, have dinner at 8pm, and watch the recording later.

That is an accurate description of what actually happened. And determinism, by definition, did not permit it to happen in any other way than exactly that way.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives. This is what determinism actually entails.

Every "could have done" was just as inevitable as the final thing that we "would do".

Determinism does not limit our possibilities. It makes our consideration of other possibilities inevitable.

But you cannot possibly have dinner at 7:30pm or 8:30pm, these would be alternate actions, when as defined, there can be alternate actions within the system.

Obviously there will actually be alternate actions within a deterministic system and there will be no alternative but to proceed through each of them in precisely one way.

8pm it must be.

And 8pm it actually was, even though it actually could have been 7:30 or 8:30, but it never would have been either of those.

No choice, ...

Sorry, but the choosing was inevitable. There was no alternative to the choosing actually happening in reality.

8pm, it's dinner time like clockwork. rewind and precisely the same happens....like a video, the characters play their parts freely without deviation, if they were conscious acting without coercion, force or undue influence, no matter how many times the movie is played.

Yes. And each time the same options will present themselves as something that they can choose to do, even though they will choose only one of them. Here, would you like to rewind and play it again?

The consideration of each alternative proceeded, without deviation, from any prior point in time.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives:

We can eat dinner at 7:30 and then watch the TV show at 8pm.
We can watched the TV show at 8pm and then have dinner at 8:30.
In fact, we could take our trays into the TV room and have dinner at 8pm while watching the show at the same time.
But we decided that we will record the TV show, have dinner at 8pm, and watch the recording later.

That is an accurate description of what actually happened. And determinism, by definition, did not permit it to happen in any other way than exactly that way.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives. This is what determinism actually entails.

Did you miss anything? Shall we replay it once more? No? Okay.

At no point can an alternate action happen, every moment is fixed, immutable.

Exactly. Each alternate action that we considered was fixed, and immutable, from any prior point in time. The consideration of each possible action as something that we actually could do (and thus later referenced in the past tense as something we actually "could have done") proceeded without any alternative sequence of events from start to finish, just as it actually happened.

Determinism doesn't actually change anything. There is no alternative but to consider each of our alternatives as something that we "can" do, even if it is not the thing that we "will" do. The single thing that we "will do" does not constrain the number of things that we "can do".

That's how things actually work in a fully deterministic universe. Everything must happen exactly as it does happen, without deviation.

Freedom from coercion, force or undue influence is not enough to qualify as free will for the reasons described above and numerous other posts.

Well, if you have a better definition of free will, bring it to the table. But since freedom from coercion and other extraordinary influences, leaves the choosing up to us, and not to some guy with a gun telling us what to do, then I think we have a meaningful and well-understood definition of free will in hand. And we did not have to break any Laws of Nature or break any causal chains to get it.

We have a simple definition of free will that is compatible with a world of perfectly reliable causation. And that's the bottom line.

Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''

So, how would the authors of the Britannica article solve this puzzle:

Waiter (a hard determinist): "What will you have for dinner tonight, sir?"
Customer (hungry): "Gee, I don't know. What are my possibilities?"
Waiter: "Because we live in a deterministic universe, there is only one thing that you can order".
Customer: "Oh. That's disappointing. But, okay then, what is that one thing that I can order?".
Waiter: "I don't know."

The loss of the correct meaning of "can" by conflating it with "will" leads to nonsense.

The definition describes the terms of how the system works: no alternate actions, everything proceeds as determined, Initial conditions, T1 and the way things go ever after fixed by antecedents.

And that is precisely how our choosing to record the TV show and have dinner at 8pm proceeded. Here, let's rewind the tape and play it one more time:

The consideration of each alternative proceeded, without deviation, from any prior point in time.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives:

We can eat dinner at 7:30 and then watch the TV show at 8pm.
We can watched the TV show at 8pm and then have dinner at 8:30.
In fact, we could take our trays into the TV room and have dinner at 8pm while watching the show at the same time.
But we decided that we will record the TV show, have dinner at 8pm, and watch the recording later.

That is an accurate description of what actually happened. And determinism, by definition, did not permit it to happen in any other way than exactly that way.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives. This is what determinism actually entails.

That's all I have time for, being Saturday night, it's time to go out for dinner.

And it's only Saturday morning here "in the states". Time for breakfast.

It cannot be otherwise.

No. It could be otherwise, but it won't be.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,708
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
You couldn't have eaten earlier or later. A deterministic system by definition doesn't permit alternate actions. Therefore, 'would only have dinner at 8' is equivalent to 'cannot have done otherwise' and 'must necessarily have dinner at 8pm as determined.'

The consideration of each alternative proceeded, without deviation, from any prior point in time.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives:

We could have eaten dinner at 7:30 and then watched the TV show at 8pm.
We could have watched the TV show at 8pm and then had dinner at 8:30.
In fact, we could have taken our trays into the TV room and had dinner at 8pm while watching the show at the same time.
But we decided to record the TV show, have dinner at 8pm, and watch the recording later.

That is an accurate description of what actually happened. And determinism, by definition, did not permit it to happen in any other way than exactly that way.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives. This is what determinism actually entails.

Every "could have done" was just as inevitable as the final thing that we "would do".

Determinism does not limit our possibilities. It makes our consideration of other possibilities inevitable.

'Our possibilities' are only from our subjective perspective of what we sense in a deterministic world.

Put more pragmatically our senses only provide what they can based on evolutionary consequence in a deterministically driven world. That is, for instance, we see light as detected by chemical systems evolved over an evolutionary time in a deterministic world. Those systems aren't 'best' they are just adequate for us to survive driven by extant forces and competition over generations.

So instead of seeing quanta we see combinations of redness and greenness in objects signaling edibility and danger rather than actual material qualities of 'seen' things. Instead of evolving systems to counter radiation we evolve systems to satisfy metabolic sustenance. Neither is 'good' both are adequate.

Instead of being responsive to material conditions we respond to qualities of material systems that impact our needs to remain alive. Very subjective. Never really objective or directly responsive to energy changes driving what is about us.

Its only natural that we construct models reflecting our responsiveness to affect rather than effect. These models are almost, not quite, as useless as belief.

But there are ways out. Developing and treating a model reflecting our ability to measure physical impacts of a determined world is one. A model where actual elements closer to reality like energy and mass drive progress and form the basis of decisions. A scientific pair of philosophical glasses that has been seriously applied in the making of the world for over 600 years.

I'm not hopeful though. Our natures are opposed to these objective constraints. This is obvious in the impulse based arguments put up against determinism. The defending of will and choice at the expense of actual states and options in the world.

As my classical philosopher friend said back in the '70s "Philosophy is dead, has been since Galileo six hundred years ago. It should have died with the work of Archimedes yet we continue to invent and invest in systems contrary to the nature of the world."
 
Last edited:

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
It's claimed that "other possibilities" are "subjective".

This is not true.

As I've demonstrated in a mathematical system in isolation, the possibilities ARE objectively there in the math on the system, it just happens that with systems the size of a whole universe, we can never do that exercise even if we can know it makes sense.

The impossibility of doing it at scale, rather than at smaller scales, does not change the objective nature of the possibilities, it just means we cannot access them directly or completely, and have to settle upon imperfect forward knowledge when asking ourselves what our options happen to be.

As the small deterministic system, so too, the universally scaled dererministic system.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
You couldn't have eaten earlier or later. A deterministic system by definition doesn't permit alternate actions. Therefore, 'would only have dinner at 8' is equivalent to 'cannot have done otherwise' and 'must necessarily have dinner at 8pm as determined.'

The consideration of each alternative proceeded, without deviation, from any prior point in time.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives:

That's right. Every incremental step in the consideration process is set by antecedents, where no alternatives exist at any point in time during the process, consequently there can be no alternatives at any point.

With no alternatives, the process of consideration is a process of determination where no choice exists.

Choice, as pointed out, requires any one of two or more options to be taken.

Determinism doesn't permit alternate options to be taken. Each point in time has only one outcome.



We could have eaten dinner at 7:30 and then watched the TV show at 8pm.
We could have watched the TV show at 8pm and then had dinner at 8:30.
In fact, we could have taken our trays into the TV room and had dinner at 8pm while watching the show at the same time.
But we decided to record the TV show, have dinner at 8pm, and watch the recording later.

A narrative built on a perception based on limited information about the state of the system at any given moment in time.

If determinism is true, none of the alternatives were possible.

Saying 'we could have' after the fact is meaningless when what was done is the only thing that can happen.

There is no 'could have' or 'might have' in determinism, only what is and what must happen.



That is an accurate description of what actually happened. And determinism, by definition, did not permit it to happen in any other way than exactly that way.

There was no alternative but to consider each of the alternatives. This is what determinism actually entails.

Every "could have done" was just as inevitable as the final thing that we "would do".

Determinism does not limit our possibilities. It makes our consideration of other possibilities inevitable.

That's basically what I'm saying. Just that the consideration of other possibilities doesn't make taking other possibilities a reality.

The act of consideration doesn't permit alternatives to be realized. The act of consideration is itself fixed by the evolution of system, of which the brain and its activity is an inseparable part.

But you cannot possibly have dinner at 7:30pm or 8:30pm, these would be alternate actions, when as defined, there can be alternate actions within the system.

Obviously there will actually be alternate actions within a deterministic system and there will be no alternative but to proceed through each of them in precisely one way.

Alternate actions are an illusion. A mirage formed by thought. At no point can an alternate action happen.


8pm it must be.

And 8pm it actually was, even though it actually could have been 7:30 or 8:30, but it never would have been either of those.

If it never would have been either of those, it could never have been either. ''Never'' eliminates the possibility of 'could have.'

No choice, ...

Sorry, but the choosing was inevitable. There was no alternative to the choosing actually happening in reality.

Choice means that there are two or more possible courses of action. Determinism only has one in any given instance in time.

Choice, by definition, entails selecting between two or more realizable options.

Choice
1. 'an act of choosing between two or more possibilities'

8pm, it's dinner time like clockwork. rewind and precisely the same happens....like a video, the characters play their parts freely without deviation, if they were conscious acting without coercion, force or undue influence, no matter how many times the movie is played.

Yes. And each time the same options will present themselves as something that they can choose to do, even though they will choose only one of them. Here, would you like to rewind and play it again?

There is never the possibility of choosing an alternate option. There are no alternate options, only the perception of alternatives.

You don't choose to forget where you left the keys, or choose to recall where they are a minute later, the brain goes through a process, each state precisely as it must be in that precise instance in time.

The principle is the same for decision making, information inputs are received, processed, integrated with memory, proclivities, needs, wants, desires, fears, which informs the inevitable decision/action.


No. It could be otherwise, but it won't be.

'Won't' in determinism is equivalent to 'cannot be otherwise.'

This example, while not perfect, is the gist of it;

''In principle, one such example would suffice to put the notion of free will in doubt. In practice, we maintain that such examples abound.

Consider the following example. Sir Isaac Newton stands by a large window on the fourth floor. He contemplates the possibility of jumping out of the window. Should he jump, he considers two possibilities: he may hover in the air, enjoying the view, or crash to the ground. Being a rational decision maker, Newton contemplates the possibility of jumping and, given his knowledge of physics, concludes that crashing to the ground is a practical certainty. He now considers his own decision, and decides not to jump. In so doing, he feels that he has made a decision, and that he has exercised his free will. He could imagine choosing differently, and decided not to.

Suppose that we are sitting with Sir Newton in his office throughout this process. Our limited knowledge of physics suffices for us to conclude, as does Newton, that a jump will result in a crash. With a lesser degree of certainty, but still quite confidently, we are willing to predict that Newton will not jump. We have seen many people next to many windows, and, for the most part, they prefer to stay in their rooms.

In short, we know Newton’s choice with a high degree of certainty........Newton knows what his decision will be in the same sense that he knows what the choices of different decisions would be. When was a decision taken in this process?

And how can Newton report an experience of free will if he cannot imagine a logically consistent world in which he chooses differently?

How can we make sense of his claim “but I could have jumped”?
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
We usually eat at 7pm, but there was a special show on TV at that time that we all wanted to watch. So, we found ourselves faced with a problem that required us to make a choice.

We can have dinner at 6:30 and watch the TV show at 7pm.
We can watch the TV show at 7pm and then have dinner at 7:30.
We can take our trays into the TV room and have dinner while watching the show at 7pm.
We can record the TV show, have dinner at 7pm, and watch the recording later.

We had four real possibilities. Four alternate solutions to our problem. Four things that we could have done.

Not one of these four solutions was something that we could not do.
Not one of these four solutions was something that we could not choose to do.

No matter which one of these solutions we chose, there would always be three other things that we could have chosen, but didn't.

No matter which one of these we chose, it would be the only thing that we ever would have chosen.
No matter which one of these we chose, there would still be three other things that could have been chosen, but which never would have been chosen.

Every incremental step in the consideration process is set by antecedents, where no alternatives exist at any point in time during the process, consequently there can be no alternatives at any point.

Not only "can" there be alternatives, but there inevitably would be four of them in this case. Every incremental step in the consideration process was set by antecedents, which insured that each of the four alternatives would be considered as a true alternative.

Consequently, one cannot truthfully claim that there "can be no alternatives at any point" in this deterministic process.

With no alternatives, the process of consideration is a process of determination where no choice exists.

But there actually were alternatives, four of them. Consequently, one cannot truthfully claim that the process of determination excluded alternatives or excluded choice.

Choice, as pointed out, requires any one of two or more options to be taken.

And there were four options that could have been chosen and one of them that would be chosen.

Determinism doesn't permit alternate options to be taken. Each point in time has only one outcome.

And only one option was taken. And there was only one outcome.

Determinism is fully satisfied, and it is fully satisfied by there being four alternate possibilities and a single outcome, four things that actually could have happened, and a single thing that actually would happen.

A narrative built on a perception based on limited information about the state of the system at any given moment in time.

Well, lacking omniscience, it is always the case that human perception is based on limited information about the state of the system. But, we do the best with what we have.

And, even lacking knowledge of the whole causal chain from the Big Bang to this moment, we can, upon reflection, presume that a reliable history of causation led to this event where we faced a problem requiring a decision to be made, where we came up with four separate solutions to this problem, and where we made our choice, resulting in a single thing that we would do, and three other things that we could have done instead.

If determinism is true, none of the alternatives were possible.

Sorry, but that leap takes us off a cliff, and not to any valid conclusions. We end up losing the very tools by which we cause deliberate actions to be taken.

Saying 'we could have' after the fact is meaningless when what was done is the only thing that can happen.

And yet saying that "we could have set up trays in the living room and had dinner while watching the show" is not a meaningless fact, but contains useful information that will likely affect our future decisions.

There is no 'could have' or 'might have' in determinism, only what is and what must happen.

Apparently there are three things that we "could have done" in addition to the one thing that we "would do". And, given determinism, it was inevitably just so.

Just that the consideration of other possibilities doesn't make taking other possibilities a reality.

A "real" possibility exists solely within the imagination. We cannot walk across the possibility of a bridge, we can only walk across an actual bridge. If we make a possibility a reality, then we immediately stop calling it a "possibility" and begin calling it an "actuality".

To say that a real possibility exists solely within the imagination does not mean that it is not real. It exists as a concept that performs an essential function. For example, we cannot build an actual bridge without first imagining a possible bridge.

The act of consideration doesn't permit alternatives to be realized.

The act of consideration causally determines which alternative will be realized.

Alternate actions are an illusion. A mirage formed by thought.

As stated before, alternate actions are real possibilities that exist solely in the imagination. They are "real" in that the possibility of a bridge (or anything else) must enter thought before an actual bridge can be built.

At no point can an alternate action happen.

During consideration we assess whether an alternate action can actually happen if we choose it. If we decide that we cannot make it happen, even if we choose it, then we eliminate it from consideration as an impossibility.

In the case described above, we have four alternate actions that are really possible. Any one of them can actually happen if we choose to make it happen. The fact that we choose to make one of them happen does not make the other three impossible, but only unchosen.

There is never the possibility of choosing an alternate option.

A possibility of choosing does not require an actual choosing. We had four solutions. Each of them was a real possibility, something that we could realize if we chose to do so. None of them became unrealizable by not being chosen, they simply remained unrealized.

There are no alternate options, only the perception of alternatives.

An "alternate option" is satisfied entirely by being perceived as such. It never requires being chosen or being actualized in order to qualify as something that we "could have done". On the other hand, something that we "will" do implies being chosen and being actualized.

You don't choose to forget where you left the keys, or choose to recall where they are a minute later, the brain goes through a process, each state precisely as it must be in that precise instance in time.

The list of things that we do not choose, however long, never eliminates anything from the list of things we do choose. We do not choose to lose our keys. But we do choose which of our four solutions we will use to solve the problem of viewing the TV show and eating dinner on time.

The principle is the same for decision making, information inputs are received, processed, integrated with memory, proclivities, needs, wants, desires, fears, which informs the inevitable decision/action.

No kidding. The example above fully comports with the normal functioning of our human brains. The brain and mind behave deterministically, each mental event being reliably caused by prior mental events. The consideration of each of our four possibilities proceeded in a reliable fashion and led inevitably to our choice. At the end, we had the single thing that we would do, plus three other things that we could have done, but did not do.

'Won't' in determinism is equivalent to 'cannot be otherwise.'

Obviously not.

This example, while not perfect, is the gist of it;

''In principle, one such example would suffice to put the notion of free will in doubt. In practice, we maintain that such examples abound.

Consider the following example. Sir Isaac Newton stands by a large window on the fourth floor. He contemplates the possibility of jumping out of the window. Should he jump, he considers two possibilities: he may hover in the air, enjoying the view, or crash to the ground. Being a rational decision maker, Newton contemplates the possibility of jumping and, given his knowledge of physics, concludes that crashing to the ground is a practical certainty. He now considers his own decision, and decides not to jump. In so doing, he feels that he has made a decision, and that he has exercised his free will. He could imagine choosing differently, and decided not to.

Suppose that we are sitting with Sir Newton in his office throughout this process. Our limited knowledge of physics suffices for us to conclude, as does Newton, that a jump will result in a crash. With a lesser degree of certainty, but still quite confidently, we are willing to predict that Newton will not jump. We have seen many people next to many windows, and, for the most part, they prefer to stay in their rooms.

In short, we know Newton’s choice with a high degree of certainty........Newton knows what his decision will be in the same sense that he knows what the choices of different decisions would be. When was a decision taken in this process?

And how can Newton report an experience of free will if he cannot imagine a logically consistent world in which he chooses differently?

How can we make sense of his claim “but I could have jumped”?

Well, as discussed before, "could have" always implies (a) that it did not happen and (b) that it only would have happened under different circumstances. And "but I could have jumped" comports with those two facts. He didn't jump. And he only would have jumped under different circumstances. For example, if his office were on the first floor rather than the fourth floor and he wanted to test whether gravity applied to people like it does to apples, then he would have jumped from the first floor window, which would likely be only three feet off the ground.

However, if he actually jumped from the fourth floor window, and upon examination we discovered that he was entertaining the thought that "he may hover in the air, enjoying the view", then we would conclude he was not acting of his own free will, but suffering from the undue influence of a significant mental illness, resulting in delusions. He would not be held responsible for his irrational behavior, but we would instead hold his mental illness responsible, and make sure that he received appropriate medical and psychiatric treatment.

I would suggest that the author of this thought experiment should have put a little more thought into it. But, then, it is often difficult to find examples that persuade others of a false theory.

The correct theory of determinism and free will, on the other hand, can be supported by simple examples that everyone can understand.
 

fromderinside

Mazzie Daius
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
15,708
Location
Local group: Solar system: Earth: NA: US: contiguo
Basic Beliefs
optimist
It's claimed that "other possibilities" are "subjective".
If by "other possibilities" you mean "Our possibilities" I disagree for the reasons stated. Though it is obvious to me that you don't mean that. Because you have have diverted to one of your favorite memes mathematical. Such closed systems aren't really very interesting because they are foretold by presumptions. Now if you were writing out someone's theory in maths it might be different.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
We usually eat at 7pm, but there was a special show on TV at that time that we all wanted to watch. So, we found ourselves faced with a problem that required us to make a choice.

Sure, but that doesn't mean that an alternative outcome is possible. It is the state of the system, which includes the brain and its activity, determines what you inevitably do in response to your circumstances.

We can have dinner at 6:30 and watch the TV show at 7pm.
We can watch the TV show at 7pm and then have dinner at 7:30.
We can take our trays into the TV room and have dinner while watching the show at 7pm.
We can record the TV show, have dinner at 7pm, and watch the recording later.

You do precisely what must happen. This is determinism, not probability or Libertarian free will. Everything that happens must happen as determined, not chosen, there are no alternatives, no other possibilities. Everything is fixed by initial conditions and antecedents, thoughts, desires, actions, fixed by prior states of the system.


We had four real possibilities. Four alternate solutions to our problem. Four things that we could have done.

There can be no possibilities in a fixed order of events. To say 'real possibilities,' 'four alternate solutions' is an illusion. It's like saying that characters on a video have alternate possibilities, that Brad Pitt's character Achillies could have chosen not to go to Troy.

Trivially speaking both are options, either go or not go, but if one 'option' is fixed, immutable, the other is hypothetical: It literally cannot happen.

Pitt's Achillies can never choose to stay at home. The video proceeds as recorded. 'Could have stayed at home' is an illusion, a token set of words. Empty rhetoric.

Not one of these four solutions was something that we could not do.
Not one of these four solutions was something that we could not choose to do.

Given the nature of determinism, if not determined, none of them are possible, none of them could have been chosen, no more than the Brad Pitt character, Achillies, as recorded on video can choose to stay home when his mother tells him his options.

No matter which one of these solutions we chose, there would always be three other things that we could have chosen, but didn't.

Not only 'didn't choose' but 'could not have chosen.'


No matter which one of these we chose, it would be the only thing that we ever would have chosen.

Inevitably. No possible alternative.


This example, while not perfect, is the gist of it;

''In principle, one such example would suffice to put the notion of free will in doubt. In practice, we maintain that such examples abound.

Consider the following example. Sir Isaac Newton stands by a large window on the fourth floor. He contemplates the possibility of jumping out of the window. Should he jump, he considers two possibilities: he may hover in the air, enjoying the view, or crash to the ground. Being a rational decision maker, Newton contemplates the possibility of jumping and, given his knowledge of physics, concludes that crashing to the ground is a practical certainty. He now considers his own decision, and decides not to jump. In so doing, he feels that he has made a decision, and that he has exercised his free will. He could imagine choosing differently, and decided not to.

Suppose that we are sitting with Sir Newton in his office throughout this process. Our limited knowledge of physics suffices for us to conclude, as does Newton, that a jump will result in a crash. With a lesser degree of certainty, but still quite confidently, we are willing to predict that Newton will not jump. We have seen many people next to many windows, and, for the most part, they prefer to stay in their rooms.

In short, we know Newton’s choice with a high degree of certainty........Newton knows what his decision will be in the same sense that he knows what the choices of different decisions would be. When was a decision taken in this process?

And how can Newton report an experience of free will if he cannot imagine a logically consistent world in which he chooses differently?

How can we make sense of his claim “but I could have jumped”?

Well, as discussed before, "could have" always implies (a) that it did not happen and (b) that it only would have happened under different circumstances. And "but I could have jumped" comports with those two facts. He didn't jump. And he only would have jumped under different circumstances. For example, if his office were on the first floor rather than the fourth floor and he wanted to test whether gravity applied to people like it does to apples, then he would have jumped from the first floor window, which would likely be only three feet off the ground.

However, if he actually jumped from the fourth floor window, and upon examination we discovered that he was entertaining the thought that "he may hover in the air, enjoying the view", then we would conclude he was not acting of his own free will, but suffering from the undue influence of a significant mental illness, resulting in delusions. He would not be held responsible for his irrational behavior, but we would instead hold his mental illness responsible, and make sure that he received appropriate medical and psychiatric treatment.

I would suggest that the author of this thought experiment should have put a little more thought into it. But, then, it is often difficult to find examples that persuade others of a false theory.

The correct theory of determinism and free will, on the other hand, can be supported by simple examples that everyone can understand.


There are no different circumstances. 'Different circumstances' exist in the form of hypothetical constructs, thought and projection, human imagination, which is able to describe alien worlds and bring history to life for the reader.

The real world, if deterministic, proceeds as it must, one moment you forget a name, the next it comes to mind. In the moment of forgetfulness, there are no different circumstances: you cannot recall the name, followed by the act of recollection, the memory comes to mind unbidden, the brain has retrieved the memory and brought it to consciousness. At no point in time could it have been different.

This, then that. X evolves into Y......
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
one moment you forget a name, the next it comes to mind. In the moment of forgetfulness, there are no different circumstances
This is remarkably ignorant of neuroscience. Circumstances absolutely changed because thoughts are the product of material configurations of matter. The only way for thoughts to change is matter to change and thus circumstances are changing, even if you don't want to think about that
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
one moment you forget a name, the next it comes to mind. In the moment of forgetfulness, there are no different circumstances
This is remarkably ignorant of neuroscience. Circumstances absolutely changed because thoughts are the product of material configurations of matter. The only way for thoughts to change is matter to change and thus circumstances are changing, even if you don't want to think about that

Why "remarkably ignorant of neuroscience"? Is that kind of language really necessary?

How would you feel if I said that you were "remarkably ignorant" of discussion etiquette?
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
one moment you forget a name, the next it comes to mind. In the moment of forgetfulness, there are no different circumstances
This is remarkably ignorant of neuroscience. Circumstances absolutely changed because thoughts are the product of material configurations of matter. The only way for thoughts to change is matter to change and thus circumstances are changing, even if you don't want to think about that

Why "remarkably ignorant of neuroscience"? Is that kind of language really necessary?

How would you feel if I said that you were "remarkably ignorant" of discussion etiquette?
Because we have been discussing neuroscience. Because DBT has argued from the basis of neuroscience.
Because DBT has argued in fact something exactly contradictory to this outlook that I quoted, specifically that if circumstances aren't different different things don't happen.

It would be a different matter if DBT wasn't pretending to know all this on a level I have spent years seeking education and expertise about, without DBT having done ANY of that work.

Of course even in that tiny snip, DBT is identifying the subject of a degree of freedom: they are talking about no changes to external circumstance, while keeping internal ones to the subject of their sentence as "free" and pretending they aren't doing the exercises they keep claiming are "impossible" by doing math on a system with a free variable and then comparing the result to the eventuality of the system.
 

The AntiChris

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
Messages
648
Location
UK
Basic Beliefs
Positive Atheist
Why "remarkably ignorant of neuroscience"? Is that kind of language really necessary?

Well it really was a truly remarkable claim coming from someone who incessantly employs 'neuroscience' (inappropriately) as justification for his views and who regularly accuses his interlocutors of failing to understand determinism.

Whilst possibly not the most diplomatic response, I can understand Jarhyn's frustration.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
We usually eat at 7pm, but there was a special show on TV at that time that we all wanted to watch. So, we found ourselves faced with a problem that required us to make a choice.

Sure, but that doesn't mean that an alternative outcome is possible.

Well, so far, we've only encountered a problem without a solution. This motivates us to brainstorm to come up with at least one solution to our problem. And, being creative, we come up with four alternate possibilities:

We can have dinner at 6:30 and watch the TV show at 7pm.
We can watch the TV show at 7pm and then have dinner at 7:30.
We can take our trays into the TV room and have dinner while watching the show at 7pm.
We can record the TV show, have dinner at 7pm, and watch the recording later.

You do precisely what must happen.

And that is exactly what we did. We came up with four ways to solve our problem. Given determinism, it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that we would come up with precisely those four possibilities.

Everything that happens must happen as determined, not chosen, there are no alternatives, no other possibilities. Everything is fixed by initial conditions and antecedents, thoughts, desires, actions, fixed by prior states of the system.

And again, given determinism, it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that we would now have to choose between those four alternate possibilities. After all, since that is what happened, we must assume that it was, as you said, "fixed by initial conditions and antecedents, thoughts, desires, actions, fixed by prior states of the system", to happen in exactly that way, without deviation.

The alternate possibilities were there by causal necessity. And it would be causally necessary that the choosing would actually happen. And it would be causally necessary that it would be us, actually doing the choosing.

Everything happened just so. And the fact that it would be us, and no other object in the physical universe, that would be doing the choosing, was deterministically inevitable from any prior point in eternity.

There can be no possibilities in a fixed order of events.

And yet there they were, all four possibilities, within a fixed order of events.

To say 'real possibilities,' 'four alternate solutions' is an illusion.

There is no justification for calling the four alternate possibilities an "illusion". All were really there, in front of us, to be considered, as we went about choosing which specific one we would convert from a possibility into an actuality. Three of those possibilities would not be actualized. One of those possibilities would be chosen as our solution and carried out in physical reality.

The chosen one became the solution that we would carry out. The other three became solutions that we could have done instead.

It's like saying that characters on a video have alternate possibilities, that Brad Pitt's character Achillies could have chosen not to go to Troy. Trivially speaking both are options, either go or not go, but if one 'option' is fixed, immutable, the other is hypothetical: It literally cannot happen. Pitt's Achillies can never choose to stay at home. The video proceeds as recorded. 'Could have stayed at home' is an illusion, a token set of words. Empty rhetoric.

All possibilities are hypothetical. That's how Achilles begins his consideration, by asking himself, "What if I choose to go to Troy?" and then "What if I choose to stay home?".

In order to consider going to Troy, he must first believe that it is actually possible to go to Troy. If it were impossible to go to Troy, then he would waste no further time thinking about it. So, it must be the case that "I can go to Troy" was a fact.

In order to consider staying home, he must believe that it was actually possible to stay home. For example, if he were tied up and kidnapped and carried off to Troy by his army, then it would be impossible to stay home. If that were the case then he would waste no further time thinking about staying home. So, it must be the case that "I can stay home" was a fact.

That constitutes two real possibilities. The possibility of going to Troy and the possibility of staying home. Each was a fact. Neither was an illusion. Each choice had significant consequences for the fate of Troy.

The only "illusion" to be found in this case is the video itself, a film produced specifically to give us an illusion of historical events. It is an argument based upon an analogy, suggesting that real life is like a film produced to provide us with an illusion.

But in real life, possibilities are real solutions to real problems. And in choosing from these possible futures, we are causally determining what the actual future will be.

There are no different circumstances. 'Different circumstances' exist in the form of hypothetical constructs, thought and projection, human imagination, which is able to describe alien worlds and bring history to life for the reader.

So, are you saying "there are no different circumstances" or are you saying "different circumstances exist in the form of hypothetical constructs"?

The real world, if deterministic, proceeds as it must, one moment you forget a name, the next it comes to mind. In the moment of forgetfulness, there are no different circumstances: you cannot recall the name, followed by the act of recollection, the memory comes to mind unbidden, the brain has retrieved the memory and brought it to consciousness.

Generally agree, but I take issue with "the memory comes to the mind unbidden". We become aware that we have forgotten a name by attempting to call it up from memory. That's the bidding. When it comes up later, it is not unbidden.

At no point in time could it have been different.

Well, it could have been that you did not forget the name in the first place. It could have been that you asked someone else and they recalled it for you. It could have been that you asked the person, "Excuse me, but I cannot recall your name".

Anything could have happened differently if it were causally necessary that they would have happened that way instead of the way they actually did happen.

The whole point of the notion of "could have" is to open our mind to other, perhaps better, possibilities. Our survival as a species has been enhanced by our inventive mind, out ability to form hypotheticals, and our ability to choose between multiple solutions the one that we believe will turn out best.

And, at no point in time would it have been different, even though it could have.

This, then that. X evolves into Y......

Exactly. A problem evolves into multiple solutions which evolves into choosing which evolves into the single thing that we will do and the other things that we could have done instead.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
one moment you forget a name, the next it comes to mind. In the moment of forgetfulness, there are no different circumstances
This is remarkably ignorant of neuroscience. Circumstances absolutely changed because thoughts are the product of material configurations of matter. The only way for thoughts to change is matter to change and thus circumstances are changing, even if you don't want to think about that

You didn't understand what I said. You make your own assumptions. Assumptions that suit your own erroneous beliefs. The world is constantly changing. The brain is constantly changing, it changes in response to both events in the external world and the rest of the CNS, organs, limbs, etc, and the brain responds accordingly.

Educate yourself on the basics, at least;

''Every moment of the day your nervous system is active. It exchanges millions of signals corresponding with feeling, thoughts and actions. A simple example of how important the nervous system is in your behavior is meeting a friend.
First, the visual information of your eyes is sent to your brain by nervous cells. There the information is interpreted and translated into a signal to take action. Finally the brain sends a command to your voice or to another action system like muscles or glands. For example, you may start walking towards him. Your nervous system enables this rapid recognition and action. ''
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Why "remarkably ignorant of neuroscience"? Is that kind of language really necessary?

Well it really was a truly remarkable claim coming from someone who incessantly employs 'neuroscience' (inappropriately) as justification for his views and who regularly accuses his interlocutors of failing to understand determinism.

Whilst possibly not the most diplomatic response, I can understand Jarhyn's frustration.

BS. I have supported everything that I have said with studies, quotes, links and references to neuroscience. All to no avail. It is ignored.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
We usually eat at 7pm, but there was a special show on TV at that time that we all wanted to watch. So, we found ourselves faced with a problem that required us to make a choice.

There are no alternatives in determinism. Consequently, no choice.

Sure, but that doesn't mean that an alternative outcome is possible.

Well, so far, we've only encountered a problem without a solution. This motivates us to brainstorm to come up with at least one solution to our problem. And, being creative, we come up with four alternate possibilities:

The brainstorming goes precisely as it must, first this then that, the outcome determined before the process of brainstorming even began.

No deviation, no alternatives, no thinking or doing otherwise as the system evolves from prior to present and future states.

That is determinism.

We can have dinner at 6:30 and watch the TV show at 7pm.
We can watch the TV show at 7pm and then have dinner at 7:30.
We can take our trays into the TV room and have dinner while watching the show at 7pm.
We can record the TV show, have dinner at 7pm, and watch the recording later.

As defined, we can do none of these things, if it has not been determined:

''Determinism means that events will proceed naturally (as if "fixed as a matter of natural law") and reliably ("without deviation").
All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.



You do precisely what must happen.

And that is exactly what we did. We came up with four ways to solve our problem. Given determinism, it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that we would come up with precisely those four possibilities.

There never was four ways it could have gone. It goes precisely as it must from the beginning of the sequence of events till the end. All the thinking, brainstorming, deliberating taking us to the inevitable outcome.

''Determinism; there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''


Everything that happens must happen as determined, not chosen, there are no alternatives, no other possibilities. Everything is fixed by initial conditions and antecedents, thoughts, desires, actions, fixed by prior states of the system.

And again, given determinism, it was causally necessary from any prior point in time that we would now have to choose between those four alternate possibilities. After all, since that is what happened, we must assume that it was, as you said, "fixed by initial conditions and antecedents, thoughts, desires, actions, fixed by prior states of the system", to happen in exactly that way, without deviation.

The process of 'choosing' is the process of the system as it evolves from initial condition to outcome without deviation.

There never was a chance of other options being taken, hence it never involved freedom of will.

This, then that, no deviation.

''Determinism; there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''

The alternate possibilities were there by causal necessity. And it would be causally necessary that the choosing would actually happen. And it would be causally necessary that it would be us, actually doing the choosing.

The process of thought and deliberation must happen. Yet the outcome is fixed before thought and deliberation even begins;

''Determinism; there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''

The brain has its inputs, information processing, thoughts and deliberations, which are delivered as output; how we respond.


Everything happened just so. And the fact that it would be us, and no other object in the physical universe, that would be doing the choosing, was deterministically inevitable from any prior point in eternity.

The whole system, everything that happens, external, internal, does the 'choosing.'

We are aspects of the system. Everything in the Universe has features and properties, 'acting' according to its nature and makeup and the elements that act upon it. A brain processes information unconsciously, according to its properties, nature and makeup prior to conscious representation of that information.

There is no actual 'choosing,' that is negated by ''deterministically inevitable from any prior point in eternity.''





There can be no possibilities in a fixed order of events.

And yet there they were, all four possibilities, within a fixed order of events.

None were possible. What happens must necessarily happen. Realizable alternatives do not exist within a deterministic system, ie, in your own words, everything is ''deterministically inevitable from any prior point in eternity.''
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
There are no alternatives in determinism
And yet again you fail to understand what an "alternative" is.

That's one of the reasons I brought up that "future sight" determinism.

No randomness or variation does not imply no process by which many become constrained to one, which is then tested and determined to be equal, or not, to the system.

The whole point is that what is in our heads as a will and it's ostensible outcome does not have to match any kind of reality at all.

When it does not, we call that "constrained". When it does, we call that free.

There is no randomness there, yet there is still "freedom" and "constraint". Freedom and constraint don't deal with randomness in the first place, they deal with the sanity of the mental model and it's output. Choice does not deal with randomness either: It deals with ignorance of the future.

If someone does not know, of five things, what they will do, and one of those five things SHALL happen, and there is no randomness in the evolution of the system...

It is still being decided by a process, one thing will always happen, and that decision is still a choice upon the alternatives, even if one of the alternatives is always picked and the others are not.

Let's look at a fixed choice function that takes in five things and chooses a number:

F(a,b,c,d,e) returns ceil(a,ceil(b,ceil(c,ceil(d,e)))).

This number that it returns will always be the highest. There is no uncertainty over how the system will evolve. It is a deterministic calculation.

Yet the choice cannot be made without actually presenting it the numbers.

Each of these numbers must be considered as an "alternative", a "possibility" for the result to happen at all. One MUST say of these numbers at the beginning of the process "which is the highest? I do not know."

So choice is clearly compatible with deterministic systems as well, where any kind of informational partitions exist
 

The AntiChris

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
Messages
648
Location
UK
Basic Beliefs
Positive Atheist
If someone does not know, of five things, what they will do, and one of those five things SHALL happen, and there is no randomness in the evolution of the system...

It is still being decided by a process, one thing will always happen, and that decision is still a choice upon the alternatives, even if one of the alternatives is always picked and the others are not.
I may be mistaken but I suspect that DBT would agree with everything you describe here except for your use of the word "choice".

DBT simply refuses to accept that the word "choice" can be used to describe a deterministic process.

It's a semantic dispute. DBT doesn't seem to realise that definitions only describe, not prescribe usage and his definition is contrary to common usage.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
If someone does not know, of five things, what they will do, and one of those five things SHALL happen, and there is no randomness in the evolution of the system...

It is still being decided by a process, one thing will always happen, and that decision is still a choice upon the alternatives, even if one of the alternatives is always picked and the others are not.
I may be mistaken but I suspect that DBT would agree with everything you describe here except for your use of the word "choice".

DBT simply refuses to accept that the word "choice" can be used to describe a deterministic process.

It's a semantic dispute. DBT doesn't seem to realise that definitions only describe, not prescribe usage and his definition is contrary to common usage.
But my point is that all freedom and constraint require are for that process, whatever you call it, to render "the bucket" into a singleton.

It doesn't require the thing DBT calls a choice, it requires exactly and only the thing I described which I call a choice. It does not require me to call it a choice for it to work, either.

A rose by any other name still smells as sweetly.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
It does not require me to call it a choice for it to work, either.

I'm not convinced DBT will find this persuasive.
I'm not convinced DBT will ever find any thing persuasive.

Are we really at the point here where I'm pointing out a situation where some process must happen upon the set, without the set there isn't the same result, and where a single image in that tumbles out and is then operated on as an object rather than an image.

That's what is happening and no matter what you call that deterministic dance it's a fact that the process must happen for the result to be rendered, and it isn't determined until the determinism determines. It is not  pre determined, because calculation is required.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
There are no alternatives in determinism. Consequently, no choice.

Well, we've covered this in some detail. We've demonstrated that choosing from a list of alternate possibilities is something that actually happens in physical reality, even in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect. Claims against these empirical facts are demonstrably false (as has often been demonstrated here).
 
Last edited:

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
There are no alternatives in determinism
And yet again you fail to understand what an "alternative" is.

I know precisely what it means. An alternative means having two or more realizable options, ie, that choosing a different option is possible. That you can in fact take this option over that option.

But as you should understand by now, determinism doesn't permit alternative actions.
Not having an alternative action at any given moment in time, there are no alternatives at any given moment in time.

That everything proceeds without deviation, fixed, set, immutable, therefore the absence of realizable alternatives at given time in the evolution of the system.

That is what you fail to grasp.

Determinism, a system ''where there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
There are no alternatives in determinism. Consequently, no choice.

Well, we've covered this in some detail. We've demonstrated that choosing from a list of alternate possibilities is something that actually happens in physical reality, even in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect. Claims against these empirical facts are demonstrably false (as has often been demonstrated here).


It hasn't been demonstrated to be true because choosing cannot happen. If choosing is the ability to freely select an option from a set of alternatives, as they are presented to us, any one of a set being possible, that it is possible to select either option A or option B (or more), this is not determinism. It is not how determinism is defined. It is not how it works.

The reasons why have been explained in some detail.

To reiterate:
Choice; 1. an act of choosing between two or more possibilities

Determinism; ''a system where there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''

Determinism, in philosophy and science, the thesis that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. Determinism entails that, in a situation in which a person makes a certain decision or performs a certain action, it is impossible that he or she could have made any other decision or performed any other action. In other words, it is never true that people could have decided or acted otherwise than they actually did.''


A determined action is clearly not a choice. No event is an isolated action open to modification, there is no independent agency, everything that happens is an interaction between many events. Every cause an effect and every effect a cause. Nothing is freely chosen. Everything is entailed by prior states of the system. A web of causality that does not permit freedom of will.

Choice; an act of choosing between two or more possibilities:
1) Determinism, by definition, does not permit alternative actions or choosing between two or more possibilities (which, by definition, cannot exist).
2) No possible alternative action or choice negates freedom of choice.

3) Absence of choice (no possible alternate actions) negates freedom of will

4) Will does not, and cannot, make a difference to what are determined outcomes.

5) Free will is incompatible with determinism.

Determinism; ''a system where there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
But as you should understand by now, determinism doesn't permit alternative actions.
Again, conflating actions and options, can and will.

You did a bait discussions options, and then a switch to actions.

Choice is about options NOT actions.

Taking for a moment a second to recognize that nothing of DETERMINISM actually forbids alternate actions either (our universe does not feature them at its highest levels or so we assume), but it's not determinism that forbids it it just happens not to be a feature of our physics.

See the "future sight" post in "demystifying determinism".

Clearly a Deterministic system MAY allow alternate actions, this one just doesn't seem to.

Alternate actions being disallowed by our specific universe (nothing to do with determinism) does not change in any way, however, the reality of the alternate OPTIONS, which determinism also allows and which this universe clearly features.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
It does not require me to call it a choice for it to work, either.

I'm not convinced DBT will find this persuasive.

Call it whatever floats your boat (as you must). Without the possibility of doing otherwise, no realizable alternatives, all events proceeding as they must rather than how they are chosen (no alternatives), the notion of free will is incompatible with determinism.

''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. '' - Oxford university press scholarship.

In other words, Compatibilism - as defined - fails to make a case.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
It does not require me to call it a choice for it to work, either.

I'm not convinced DBT will find this persuasive.

Call it whatever floats your boat (as you must). Without the possibility of doing otherwise, no realizable alternatives, all events proceeding as they must rather than how they are chosen (no alternatives), the notion of free will is incompatible with determinism.

''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. '' - Oxford university press scholarship.

In other words, Compatibilism - as defined - fails to make a case.
The alternatives were and always will have been realizable in the context. There is only one which will be realized.

As to desert-responsibility, that's a whole different can of worms.

Again you descend to fatalism in the bolded portion. It is not predetermined but determined by course. There are still then responsible agents for decisions.

Perhaps we may look at a different situation, which requires less work getting to "last Thursday".

Let's imagine a fortress wherein there is a dwarf walking down the hall. This dwarf wishes to FIGHT and is walking down the long drawbridge to the dining hall to do that. With an axe. Oh, it's Urist again...

Now let me ask, DBT, if a gremlin pulls a lever and drops Urist into a pit of magma, how many dwarves will die?

If no gremlins pull the lever, how many dwarves will die?

Multiple choice even: your options are -1, 0, 1, and 5.


Let's look at Urist leaving the dining hall.

Something happened in there and Urist is COVERED with blood. So is the dining hall.

Clearly if Urist had not been in the equation, no other dwarf would have chosen in that moment to paint the dining hall red.

Moreover, we can ask the question "will he do this every time he fights?"

I can then hack "fight" back in and even observe the system to flag me and have me come take a look the next time it is back on it's own as a function of the dwarf's free will.

And there the chowhall gets painted red again.

So, it seems that desert-responsibility doesn't really see any challenges on account of the fact that the elements of the system that were problems, being removed for being problems, result.

It seems that desert responsibility is more about terminating behavioral waves moving through the deterministic space, and so desert responsibility, at least with the utilitarian focus of preventing outcomes which constrain our freedoms and our wills in such permanent ways.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Well, we've covered this in some detail. We've demonstrated that choosing from a list of alternate possibilities is something that actually happens in physical reality, even in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect. Claims against these empirical facts are demonstrably false (as has often been demonstrated here).

It hasn't been demonstrated to be true because choosing cannot happen.

For an actual demonstration of choosing happening, let's walk into this restaurant and observe. We see people coming in. They sit at a table. They pick up the menu and begin looking over the many possibilities listed there. They call the waiter over. Then they say, "I will have X, please", where X is what they have chosen for dinner.

This is called "choosing" and it is a normal human function performed every day by nearly everyone. Choosing is a logical operation that inputs multiple options (the menu of items that we can choose), applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, in this case a dinner order. It is all happening right there in front of us, except for the mental activity. And if we want to know the reasoning behind the choice, we simply ask the customer. "Excuse me. We're conducting a survey. Can you tell us the reasons why you chose the Chef Salad today?".

The process by which we get from "a list of things that we can choose" to the "single thing that we will choose", is called "choosing". And we saw it actually happening, in physical reality, right there in the restaurant.

There has been no empirical evidence offered that would convince us that this is all an illusion.

If choosing is the ability to freely select an option from a set of alternatives, as they are presented to us, any one of a set being possible, that it is possible to select either option A or option B (or more), this is not determinism."

Okay, so now you want a demonstration that this is in fact determinism. Determinism asserts that every event is reliably caused by prior events, such that each event is causally necessary from any prior point in time and inevitably must happen.

Let's start with what we actually saw. The restaurant has menus and expects customers to choose their dinner from this menu. This prior state of things caused us to sit at the table and pick up the menu. It caused us to then consider the many things that we could order. At the end of these considerations, one thing seemed best to us. So, we called the waiter over and told him, "I will have the Chef Salad, please."

In this small snippet of events, we note that each event followed a regular order, one thing necessarily leading to the next, and finishing with us giving the waiter our order. From the start to the finish, each event was reliably caused by prior events, demonstrating that determinism's assertion was correct, at least in this limited set of events.

We can extend this snippet into the past. We can recall the sequence of events in which we decided to have dinner at a restaurant, how we chose this restaurant, how we travelled here, walked in, and sat at the table. Still a deterministic series of events.

We can extend this snippet into the future. We can note that the waiter takes our order to the kitchen, where the staff prepares our salad, and the waiter returns to our table with the salad and the bill.

We have observed and noted the reliable unfolding of events, one event leading to the next, many times, in everything we think and do.

So, we have the reasonable presumption that this will always be the case. That deterministic causal necessity will always apply to any series of events.

This is how determinism is defined and it is how determinism works. People will in fact be making choices in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
It does not require me to call it a choice for it to work, either.

I'm not convinced DBT will find this persuasive.

Call it whatever floats your boat (as you must). Without the possibility of doing otherwise, no realizable alternatives, all events proceeding as they must rather than how they are chosen (no alternatives), the notion of free will is incompatible with determinism.

''An action’s production by a deterministic process, even when the agent satisfies the conditions on moral responsibility specified by compatibilists, presents no less of a challenge to basic-desert responsibility than does deterministic manipulation by other agents. '' - Oxford university press scholarship.

In other words, Compatibilism - as defined - fails to make a case.
The alternatives were and always will have been realizable in the context. There is only one which will be realized.

As to desert-responsibility, that's a whole different can of worms.

Again you descend to fatalism in the bolded portion. It is not predetermined but determined by course. There are still then responsible agents for decisions.

Perhaps we may look at a different situation, which requires less work getting to "last Thursday".

Let's imagine a fortress wherein there is a dwarf walking down the hall. This dwarf wishes to FIGHT and is walking down the long drawbridge to the dining hall to do that. With an axe. Oh, it's Urist again...

Now let me ask, DBT, if a gremlin pulls a lever and drops Urist into a pit of magma, how many dwarves will die?

If no gremlins pull the lever, how many dwarves will die?

Multiple choice even: your options are -1, 0, 1, and 5.


Let's look at Urist leaving the dining hall.

Something happened in there and Urist is COVERED with blood. So is the dining hall.

Clearly if Urist had not been in the equation, no other dwarf would have chosen in that moment to paint the dining hall red.

Moreover, we can ask the question "will he do this every time he fights?"

I can then hack "fight" back in and even observe the system to flag me and have me come take a look the next time it is back on it's own as a function of the dwarf's free will.

And there the chowhall gets painted red again.

So, it seems that desert-responsibility doesn't really see any challenges on account of the fact that the elements of the system that were problems, being removed for being problems, result.

It seems that desert responsibility is more about terminating behavioral waves moving through the deterministic space, and so desert responsibility, at least with the utilitarian focus of preventing outcomes which constrain our freedoms and our wills in such permanent ways.


It means precisely what it says: ''an action’s production by a deterministic process' is not a matter of choice. Whatever happens must happen as determined.

'Determined' has no alternatives, inputs are delivered as outputs. Actions, if determined, do proceed without restriction, are performed freely in that nothing impedes the action, but it must proceed as determined.

The given definition of compatibilism is 'to act without coercion, force or undue influence'.....yet 'an action’s production by a deterministic process' is not freely chosen, It is not chosen at all, it is determined, fixed, set, no deviation....which makes 'an action’s production by a deterministic process' no less of a problem for compatibilists' than force, coercion or undue influence.

Sorry, determinism has no place for freedom of will. The two are incompatible.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Well, we've covered this in some detail. We've demonstrated that choosing from a list of alternate possibilities is something that actually happens in physical reality, even in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect. Claims against these empirical facts are demonstrably false (as has often been demonstrated here).

There are no alternate possibilities in determinism. Whatever happens, must happen as determined, not chosen.

Determinism is more 'reliable causation' as if events can be bent reliably to our will.

Our will is fixed by the evolution of the system. Our thoughts, feelings and actions are fixed by the evolution of the system as it transitions from prior to current and future states of the system

We are aspects of the system. We think, feel and act according to the state of the system.

Which makes 'an action’s production by a deterministic process' no less of a problem for compatibilists' than force, coercion or undue influence.


It hasn't been demonstrated to be true because choosing cannot happen.

For an actual demonstration of choosing happening, let's walk into this restaurant and observe. We see people coming in. They sit at a table. They pick up the menu and begin looking over the many possibilities listed there. They call the waiter over. Then they say, "I will have X, please", where X is what they have chosen for dinner.

We see people acting. We have virtually no access to the information that determines what they think or do. Human behaviour can be predicted to an extent, and using fMRI, 'decisions'- the action taken - have been predicted before the subject is aware of their choice.


This is called "choosing" and it is a normal human function performed every day by nearly everyone. Choosing is a logical operation that inputs multiple options (the menu of items that we can choose), applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, in this case a dinner order. It is all happening right there in front of us, except for the mental activity. And if we want to know the reasoning behind the choice, we simply ask the customer. "Excuse me. We're conducting a survey. Can you tell us the reasons why you chose the Chef Salad today?".\

Choosing requires two or more realizable options at any given moment in time. Determinism doesn't allow alternate actions, hence there is only one possible course of action in any given moment in time: the determined action.


The process by which we get from "a list of things that we can choose" to the "single thing that we will choose", is called "choosing". And we saw it actually happening, in physical reality, right there in the restaurant.

That is what it's called. However, we are dealing with determinism and its consequences for decision making, where alternative are not possible at any point in time.

Which makes the 'single thing that we will choose' determined, not chosen, a necessity, not a free choice.


There has been no empirical evidence offered that would convince us that this is all an illusion.

If choosing is the ability to freely select an option from a set of alternatives, as they are presented to us, any one of a set being possible, that it is possible to select either option A or option B (or more), this is not determinism."

Okay, so now you want a demonstration that this is in fact determinism. Determinism asserts that every event is reliably caused by prior events, such that each event is causally necessary from any prior point in time and inevitably must happen.

What you say negates freedom of choice.


Let's start with what we actually saw. The restaurant has menus and expects customers to choose their dinner from this menu. This prior state of things caused us to sit at the table and pick up the menu. It caused us to then consider the many things that we could order. At the end of these considerations, one thing seemed best to us. So, we called the waiter over and told him, "I will have the Chef Salad, please."

Yes, no alternatives, no freely chosen options or actions. Everything evolves as it must; ''no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''

In this small snippet of events, we note that each event followed a regular order, one thing necessarily leading to the next, and finishing with us giving the waiter our order. From the start to the finish, each event was reliably caused by prior events, demonstrating that determinism's assertion was correct, at least in this limited set of events.

We can extend this snippet into the past. We can recall the sequence of events in which we decided to have dinner at a restaurant, how we chose this restaurant, how we travelled here, walked in, and sat at the table. Still a deterministic series of events. We can extend this snippet into the future. We can note that the waiter takes our order to the kitchen, where the staff prepares our salad, and the waiter returns to our table with the salad and the bill.

We have observed and noted the reliable unfolding of events, one event leading to the next, many times, in everything we think and do.

So, we have the reasonable presumption that this will always be the case. That deterministic causal necessity will always apply to any series of events.

This is how determinism is defined and it is how determinism works. People will in fact be making choices in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect.

Determinism means that the present and future are as fixed as the past. We can no more modify or change the present than we can the past. Given determinism, we have no more agency in relation to the present than we have in relation to the past.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
is not a matter of choice
It is absolutely a matter of "choice" wherein several alternatives go in. We can determine that it is the CHOICE upon the REALIZABLE ALTERNATIVES that was the deciding factor in account that if you supply any different alternatives or even the same alternatives in different ways or orders, different things happen within the deterministic system.

so the choice is quite pivotal and a piece of the behavioral waves moving through space and time.

Again, all you have to stand on is your No-True-ScotsmanChoice.

Ill further hazard that nobody ever intends on changing the future, or only fools do, because nobody knows the future in the first place.

All they want to do is contribute that which they may to the only future they have, to BUILD it, not CHANGE it.

Choice isn't about changing the future, it's about determining it, once, in the only way it may be determined: as a matter of course.


 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
Well, we've covered this in some detail. We've demonstrated that choosing from a list of alternate possibilities is something that actually happens in physical reality, even in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect. Claims against these empirical facts are demonstrably false (as has often been demonstrated here).

There are no alternate possibilities in determinism. Whatever happens, must happen as determined, not chosen.

Determinism is more 'reliable causation' as if events can be bent reliably to our will.

Our will is fixed by the evolution of the system. Our thoughts, feelings and actions are fixed by the evolution of the system as it transitions from prior to current and future states of the system

We are aspects of the system. We think, feel and act according to the state of the system.

Which makes 'an action’s production by a deterministic process' no less of a problem for compatibilists' than force, coercion or undue influence.


It hasn't been demonstrated to be true because choosing cannot happen.

For an actual demonstration of choosing happening, let's walk into this restaurant and observe. We see people coming in. They sit at a table. They pick up the menu and begin looking over the many possibilities listed there. They call the waiter over. Then they say, "I will have X, please", where X is what they have chosen for dinner.

We see people acting. We have virtually no access to the information that determines what they think or do. Human behaviour can be predicted to an extent, and using fMRI, 'decisions'- the action taken - have been predicted before the subject is aware of their choice.


This is called "choosing" and it is a normal human function performed every day by nearly everyone. Choosing is a logical operation that inputs multiple options (the menu of items that we can choose), applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, in this case a dinner order. It is all happening right there in front of us, except for the mental activity. And if we want to know the reasoning behind the choice, we simply ask the customer. "Excuse me. We're conducting a survey. Can you tell us the reasons why you chose the Chef Salad today?".\

Choosing requires two or more realizable options at any given moment in time. Determinism doesn't allow alternate actions, hence there is only one possible course of action in any given moment in time: the determined action.


The process by which we get from "a list of things that we can choose" to the "single thing that we will choose", is called "choosing". And we saw it actually happening, in physical reality, right there in the restaurant.

That is what it's called. However, we are dealing with determinism and its consequences for decision making, where alternative are not possible at any point in time.

Which makes the 'single thing that we will choose' determined, not chosen, a necessity, not a free choice.


There has been no empirical evidence offered that would convince us that this is all an illusion.

If choosing is the ability to freely select an option from a set of alternatives, as they are presented to us, any one of a set being possible, that it is possible to select either option A or option B (or more), this is not determinism."

Okay, so now you want a demonstration that this is in fact determinism. Determinism asserts that every event is reliably caused by prior events, such that each event is causally necessary from any prior point in time and inevitably must happen.

What you say negates freedom of choice.


Let's start with what we actually saw. The restaurant has menus and expects customers to choose their dinner from this menu. This prior state of things caused us to sit at the table and pick up the menu. It caused us to then consider the many things that we could order. At the end of these considerations, one thing seemed best to us. So, we called the waiter over and told him, "I will have the Chef Salad, please."

Yes, no alternatives, no freely chosen options or actions. Everything evolves as it must; ''no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''

In this small snippet of events, we note that each event followed a regular order, one thing necessarily leading to the next, and finishing with us giving the waiter our order. From the start to the finish, each event was reliably caused by prior events, demonstrating that determinism's assertion was correct, at least in this limited set of events.

We can extend this snippet into the past. We can recall the sequence of events in which we decided to have dinner at a restaurant, how we chose this restaurant, how we travelled here, walked in, and sat at the table. Still a deterministic series of events. We can extend this snippet into the future. We can note that the waiter takes our order to the kitchen, where the staff prepares our salad, and the waiter returns to our table with the salad and the bill.

We have observed and noted the reliable unfolding of events, one event leading to the next, many times, in everything we think and do.

So, we have the reasonable presumption that this will always be the case. That deterministic causal necessity will always apply to any series of events.

This is how determinism is defined and it is how determinism works. People will in fact be making choices in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect.

Determinism means that the present and future are as fixed as the past. We can no more modify or change the present than we can the past. Given determinism, we have no more agency in relation to the present than we have in relation to the past.
I'm sorry, but the basis of determinism (universal causal necessity/inevitability) simply does not justify your conclusions. Choosing is determined to happen, so there is no point trying to claim that it isn't really happening.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
is not a matter of choice
It is absolutely a matter of "choice" wherein several alternatives go in. We can determine that it is the CHOICE upon the REALIZABLE ALTERNATIVES that was the deciding factor in account that if you supply any different alternatives or even the same alternatives in different ways or orders, different things happen within the deterministic system.

so the choice is quite pivotal and a piece of the behavioral waves moving through space and time.

Again, all you have to stand on is your No-True-ScotsmanChoice.

Ill further hazard that nobody ever intends on changing the future, or only fools do, because nobody knows the future in the first place.

All they want to do is contribute that which they may to the only future they have, to BUILD it, not CHANGE it.

Choice isn't about changing the future, it's about determining it, once, in the only way it may be determined: as a matter of course.


For heavens sake!

''Nobody ever intends on changing the future'' ''because nobody knows the future in the first place'' is totally irrelevant.

What you have shown is that you don't understand determinism.

What you do or do not intend is determined. That nobody knows the future doesn't alter how events proceed into the future, regardless of what you do or don't know.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
Well, we've covered this in some detail. We've demonstrated that choosing from a list of alternate possibilities is something that actually happens in physical reality, even in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect. Claims against these empirical facts are demonstrably false (as has often been demonstrated here).

There are no alternate possibilities in determinism. Whatever happens, must happen as determined, not chosen.

Determinism is more 'reliable causation' as if events can be bent reliably to our will.

Our will is fixed by the evolution of the system. Our thoughts, feelings and actions are fixed by the evolution of the system as it transitions from prior to current and future states of the system

We are aspects of the system. We think, feel and act according to the state of the system.

Which makes 'an action’s production by a deterministic process' no less of a problem for compatibilists' than force, coercion or undue influence.


It hasn't been demonstrated to be true because choosing cannot happen.

For an actual demonstration of choosing happening, let's walk into this restaurant and observe. We see people coming in. They sit at a table. They pick up the menu and begin looking over the many possibilities listed there. They call the waiter over. Then they say, "I will have X, please", where X is what they have chosen for dinner.

We see people acting. We have virtually no access to the information that determines what they think or do. Human behaviour can be predicted to an extent, and using fMRI, 'decisions'- the action taken - have been predicted before the subject is aware of their choice.


This is called "choosing" and it is a normal human function performed every day by nearly everyone. Choosing is a logical operation that inputs multiple options (the menu of items that we can choose), applies some criteria of comparative evaluation, and outputs a single choice, in this case a dinner order. It is all happening right there in front of us, except for the mental activity. And if we want to know the reasoning behind the choice, we simply ask the customer. "Excuse me. We're conducting a survey. Can you tell us the reasons why you chose the Chef Salad today?".\

Choosing requires two or more realizable options at any given moment in time. Determinism doesn't allow alternate actions, hence there is only one possible course of action in any given moment in time: the determined action.


The process by which we get from "a list of things that we can choose" to the "single thing that we will choose", is called "choosing". And we saw it actually happening, in physical reality, right there in the restaurant.

That is what it's called. However, we are dealing with determinism and its consequences for decision making, where alternative are not possible at any point in time.

Which makes the 'single thing that we will choose' determined, not chosen, a necessity, not a free choice.


There has been no empirical evidence offered that would convince us that this is all an illusion.

If choosing is the ability to freely select an option from a set of alternatives, as they are presented to us, any one of a set being possible, that it is possible to select either option A or option B (or more), this is not determinism."

Okay, so now you want a demonstration that this is in fact determinism. Determinism asserts that every event is reliably caused by prior events, such that each event is causally necessary from any prior point in time and inevitably must happen.

What you say negates freedom of choice.


Let's start with what we actually saw. The restaurant has menus and expects customers to choose their dinner from this menu. This prior state of things caused us to sit at the table and pick up the menu. It caused us to then consider the many things that we could order. At the end of these considerations, one thing seemed best to us. So, we called the waiter over and told him, "I will have the Chef Salad, please."

Yes, no alternatives, no freely chosen options or actions. Everything evolves as it must; ''no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.''

In this small snippet of events, we note that each event followed a regular order, one thing necessarily leading to the next, and finishing with us giving the waiter our order. From the start to the finish, each event was reliably caused by prior events, demonstrating that determinism's assertion was correct, at least in this limited set of events.

We can extend this snippet into the past. We can recall the sequence of events in which we decided to have dinner at a restaurant, how we chose this restaurant, how we travelled here, walked in, and sat at the table. Still a deterministic series of events. We can extend this snippet into the future. We can note that the waiter takes our order to the kitchen, where the staff prepares our salad, and the waiter returns to our table with the salad and the bill.

We have observed and noted the reliable unfolding of events, one event leading to the next, many times, in everything we think and do.

So, we have the reasonable presumption that this will always be the case. That deterministic causal necessity will always apply to any series of events.

This is how determinism is defined and it is how determinism works. People will in fact be making choices in a world of perfectly reliable cause and effect.

Determinism means that the present and future are as fixed as the past. We can no more modify or change the present than we can the past. Given determinism, we have no more agency in relation to the present than we have in relation to the past.
I'm sorry, but the basis of determinism (universal causal necessity/inevitability) simply does not justify your conclusions. Choosing is determined to happen, so there is no point trying to claim that it isn't really happening.

What I say is based on the given definition of determinism.

It's entailed in your own definition.

You call determined actions 'choosing' even though there are no alternatives
.
Determinism doesn't involve multiple realizable options, just one course of action; this then that.

What we think and feel and what we do is fixed by an interaction of information before our thoughts and deliberations are brought to consciousness in order to bring about the inevitable action as determined.

That is not a choice.

We don't choose to forget someone's name one moment only to choose to recall it a moment later. Each moment is precisely how it must be, first this, then that, cannot recall a name now, then comes the recollection of the name.

That's just how it works.
 

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
You call determined actions 'choosing' even though there are no alternatives.

I call choosing 'choosing'. The fact that the choice is inevitable does not contradict the fact that a choice is actually being made in physical reality. I also call totaling a column of numbers 'adding'. I also call walking to the kitchen 'walking'. All of these are deterministic events that actually take place in physical reality.

Determinism doesn't involve multiple realizable options, just one course of action; this then that.

Determinism involves ALL events, including choosing, adding, and walking. Choosing involves multiple realizable options from which we select one. Adding involves multiple numbers which we add together to produce a sum. Walking involves coordinating balance and moving our legs to propel ourselves forward. The nature of these events is unchanged by the fact that they are all deterministic and will inevitably happen EXACTLY AS THEY DO HAPPEN.

What we think and feel and what we do is fixed by an interaction of information before our thoughts and deliberations are brought to consciousness in order to bring about the inevitable action as determined.

Odd, but that doesn't really change anything. We have the restaurant customer reading the menu, considering his options, and placing a single dinner order. Choosing just happened.

How the brain accomplished this operation, whether conscious or unconscious, makes no difference at all. Multiple realizable options were input. The brain did something called 'choosing'. And a single dinner order was output. Choosing really did happen.

That is not a choice.

Sorry, but that claim is unsupported by the facts. Choosing happened. A choice was made. Not only that, but it was causally necessary, from any prior point in time, that it would happen, exactly like that.

We don't choose to forget someone's name one moment only to choose to recall it a moment later. Each moment is precisely how it must be, first this, then that, cannot recall a name now, then comes the recollection of the name.

Are you suggesting that, because we don't choose to forget someone's name, that we don't choose from the restaurant menu what we will order for dinner? I don't think that makes your case. A list of things that we do not choose does not remove anything from the list of things that we actually do choose.

That's just how it works.

Apparently not.
 

DBT

Contributor
Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
13,241
Location
ɹǝpunuʍop puɐן
You call determined actions 'choosing' even though there are no alternatives.

I call choosing 'choosing'. The fact that the choice is inevitable does not contradict the fact that a choice is actually being made in physical reality. I also call totaling a column of numbers 'adding'. I also call walking to the kitchen 'walking'. All of these are deterministic events that actually take place in physical reality.

It's the system that could be said to 'choose,' except that there are no alternatives to choose from. Everything that happens must happen precisely as determined; inputs get delivered as outputs, first this, then that.

A clock tells the time. It is the clock that measures the hours, minutes and seconds that are put on display.... does it have a choice? Does the clock choose from a set of options? Obviously not. Yet that is how determinism works in principle, architecture. structure, makeup determines the role and function of an object within the system: the no choice principle.

That includes us.


Determinism doesn't involve multiple realizable options, just one course of action; this then that.

Determinism involves ALL events, including choosing, adding, and walking. Choosing involves multiple realizable options from which we select one. Adding involves multiple numbers which we add together to produce a sum. Walking involves coordinating balance and moving our legs to propel ourselves forward. The nature of these events is unchanged by the fact that they are all deterministic and will inevitably happen EXACTLY AS THEY DO HAPPEN.

Events evolve deterministically, they play out as determined, they are not chosen. Where no alternatives exist, no choice exists.

Determinism: a system where there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.

What we think and feel and what we do is fixed by an interaction of information before our thoughts and deliberations are brought to consciousness in order to bring about the inevitable action as determined.

Odd, but that doesn't really change anything. We have the restaurant customer reading the menu, considering his options, and placing a single dinner order. Choosing just happened.

It means that the only possible sequence of events played out as they must. At no point can the customer do differently, which means the alternative options are not realizable for the customer.

If it was determined that the customer enter the restaurant at 7:23pm, ponder on what to order for twenty minutes, scratch his arse and fidget until the urge to order Mackerel and salad......the customer enters the restaurant at precisely 7:23pm, ponders on what to order for twenty minutes, scratches his arse and fidgets until the urge to order Mackerel and salad, and places his order, as determined long before he left home, before he was born.

That's choosing? Nah, that's entailment. Events are entailed, not chosen.



How the brain accomplished this operation, whether conscious or unconscious, makes no difference at all. Multiple realizable options were input. The brain did something called 'choosing'. And a single dinner order was output. Choosing really did happen.

None of the multiple options are realizable. There is only one possible action at any given instance in time: the determined one.

Determinism:
a system where there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.



That is not a choice.

Sorry, but that claim is unsupported by the facts. Choosing happened. A choice was made. Not only that, but it was causally necessary, from any prior point in time, that it would happen, exactly like that.

The fact are that a choice, by definition, means having two or more possible alternatives to choose from, any of which can be selected

Something that determinism does not permit.

Determinism: a system where there is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.



We don't choose to forget someone's name one moment only to choose to recall it a moment later. Each moment is precisely how it must be, first this, then that, cannot recall a name now, then comes the recollection of the name.

Are you suggesting that, because we don't choose to forget someone's name, that we don't choose from the restaurant menu what we will order for dinner? I don't think that makes your case. A list of things that we do not choose does not remove anything from the list of things that we actually do choose.

I'm saying that we don't choose our state and condition, yet our unchosen state and condition determines how we think, what we think and do.

Again;
1. No one has power over the facts of the past and the laws of nature.
2. No one has power over the fact that the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every fact of the future (i.e., determinism is true).
3. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future.

That's just how it works.

Apparently not.

Saying that contradicts your own definition of determinism.

''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment'' - Marvin Edwards.

The consequence argument;

(1) The existence of alternative possibilities (or the agent's power to do otherwise) is a necessary condition for acting freely.

(2) Determinism is not compatible with alternative possibilities (it precludes the power to do otherwise).

(3) Therefore, determinism is not compatible with acting freely.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
10,612
Gender
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
It's the system that could be said to 'choose,' except that there are no alternatives to choose from
Whole systems do not choose. They are chosen from by subsets of the system.

Rather, they "operate".

Objects within the system make choices of other objects within the system, and choices happen as a function of operation, but the choices are nonetheless not made by "the system" the choices are made by identifiable subsets, partitions of the system.

A system makes no choices as a function assigns no variables to itself, it is merely a static and whole object.

Maybe this is what confuses hard determinists so badly, how something cannot itself "choose" but still within it contain the operation of choices being made.
 
Last edited:

Marvin Edwards

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,045
Location
Virginia
Basic Beliefs
Humanist
It's the system that could be said to 'choose,' except that there are no alternatives to choose from.

There is only one system that chooses, the central nervous system. Choosing is a local operation that is only performed by intelligent living organisms. No other natural objects in the physical universe perform this function. We have invented computing machines that help us process data and make choices, but they are an extension of our selves, just like telescopes and microscopes are extensions of our sight.

And every choosing operation always includes two or more alternatives to choose from.

Everything that happens must happen precisely as determined; inputs get delivered as outputs, first this, then that.

And that is exactly how we find choosing happening, one thought or feeling followed by the next.

A clock tells the time. It is the clock that measures the hours, minutes and seconds that are put on display.... does it have a choice?

Yep. Different mechanisms behave differently. That's why we cook breakfast in the microwave oven and drive our cars to work, rather than the other way around. The primary function of the brain is to make choices.

Yet that is how determinism works in principle, architecture. structure, makeup determines the role and function of an object within the system: the no choice principle.

The central nervous system makes choices. There can be no "no choice principle" that applies to a mechanism with the natural ability to make choices. So, there is no valid "no choice principle". Whoever came up with that obviously made an error.

Events evolve deterministically, they play out as determined, they are not chosen. Where no alternatives exist, no choice exists.

We've been through all that before. Choosing is an event that happens in physical reality. And we may assume that it deterministically happens, just like every other event.
 
Top Bottom