Is Determinism a Valid Hypothesis?

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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#1  Postby susu.exp » Dec 20, 2013 6:23 pm

Keep It Real wrote:If you're a deterministic then you think people are influenced into their actions through a combination of environmental and genetic influences alone - neither of which are within ones own control, therefore, ultimately, nobody is responsible for any of their actions. My mother even goes so far as to say the punishment aspect of the criminal justice system should be done away with altogether, as nothing is anybody's fault. I say to her it's necessary as a deterrent, but she still insists!


Apart from issues with Determinism that arise from science, this argument about responsibility is rather silly. How could nobody be responsible for their actions? Arguably you are nothing more than your body and if your body is a deterministic machine that acts, then of course you are responsible. One might as well argue "I didn´t shoot that person - it was my finger that pulled the trigger". It´s mixing up dualism and monism into an utterly incongruent whole. Adding to the weirdness there is the idea that one should therefore abandon punishment. For starters, this assumes the very moral agency previously denied. The murderer can't control that he commits the crime, but the criminal justice system can act differently. And if all actions follow from genetics and environmental influences, then wouldn´t the justice system be one of the environmental factors involved?

In short: Yo mama ain´t Hume.

I would argue that it´s entirely irrational to be a determinist these days. Most of the central theories in various branches of science are stochastic - quantum mechanics is a cornerstone of physics, statistical mechanics are a key of chemistry and biology just doesn't fly without population genetics. Experiments dealing with EPR type experiments falsify local realism, which means that a determinist has to accept non-locality and all the weirdness it entails.
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Is Determinism a Valid Hypothesis?

#2  Postby Matthew Shute » Dec 20, 2013 9:26 pm

susu.exp wrote:One might as well argue "I didn´t shoot that person - it was my finger that pulled the trigger".


The character Vincent in Collateral goes a step further towards accepting personal responsibility for the unfortunate events unfolding around him.

Max: Shit. I think he's dead.

Vincent: Good guess.

Max: You killed him?

Vincent: No, I shot him. Bullets and the fall killed him.

It's still a more, ah, nuanced view of responsibility than the criminal courts tend to take. :D
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#3  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 21, 2013 5:50 am

susu.exp wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:If you're a deterministic then you think people are influenced into their actions through a combination of environmental and genetic influences alone - neither of which are within ones own control, therefore, ultimately, nobody is responsible for any of their actions. My mother even goes so far as to say the punishment aspect of the criminal justice system should be done away with altogether, as nothing is anybody's fault. I say to her it's necessary as a deterrent, but she still insists!


Apart from issues with Determinism that arise from science, this argument about responsibility is rather silly. How could nobody be responsible for their actions? Arguably you are nothing more than your body and if your body is a deterministic machine that acts, then of course you are responsible. One might as well argue "I didn´t shoot that person - it was my finger that pulled the trigger". It´s mixing up dualism and monism into an utterly incongruent whole. Adding to the weirdness there is the idea that one should therefore abandon punishment. For starters, this assumes the very moral agency previously denied. The murderer can't control that he commits the crime, but the criminal justice system can act differently. And if all actions follow from genetics and environmental influences, then wouldn´t the justice system be one of the environmental factors involved?

In short: Yo mama ain´t Hume.

I would argue that it´s entirely irrational to be a determinist these days. Most of the central theories in various branches of science are stochastic - quantum mechanics is a cornerstone of physics, statistical mechanics are a key of chemistry and biology just doesn't fly without population genetics. Experiments dealing with EPR type experiments falsify local realism, which means that a determinist has to accept non-locality and all the weirdness it entails.


I've read a lot of your posts susu.exp and think you to be a very smart cookie. I'll think long and hard about your post because I don't see the arguments you're making as being substantive at the moment - it seems like you're defending the notion of personal responsibility because you don't like the idea it's a myth, regardless of the logical underpinning which reaches that conclusion, and I think rather better of you than that. I'll get back to you :scratch:

:edit: so maybe you think personal responsibility is true, but I would argue nobody's responsible for who they are...
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#4  Postby Cito di Pense » Dec 21, 2013 6:37 am

Keep It Real wrote:
susu.exp wrote:Arguably you are nothing more than your body and if your body is a deterministic machine that acts, then of course you are responsible.


I don't see the arguments you're making as being substantive at the moment - it seems like you're defending the notion of personal responsibility because you don't like the idea it's a myth

so maybe you think personal responsibility is true, but I would argue nobody's responsible for who they are...


Look at what I extracted from your above exchange. You should flesh out the implications of your view; in the abstract, it's just another dose of contentless rhetoric. It looks as if you might have some sort of "to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities" sort of thing going on. Or maybe you'd just urge us to return to a state of nature or minimal nurture. This plan will need to be implemented in a series of careful stages, or else you'll be held responsible for any mayhem your children commit, and you'll make your children wards of the state after you're incarcerated for child abuse. :evilgrin:

Keep It Real wrote:I didn't say all theists/atheists think that way, just that a theist can attribute a person's bad behaviour to an immutable component of their character outside the deterministic framework (their "soul" or whatever) whereas a deterministic atheist doesn't have that option.


We're all adults here; let's just drop the whole 'atheists have to be determinists' notion with the corollary that 'nobody is responsible for who they are'. If that's your take on atheism, it's not very nuanced. For a more nuanced view, see:

laklak wrote:All these people living their lives in a paroxysm of self-righteous rage because they're incapable of taking responsibility for their own failed, miserable, lonely lives.

They're victims of the system, you see, it's not their fault they didn't manage to grab the brass ring, The System conspired against them.
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#5  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 21, 2013 12:09 pm

Well, I thought long and hard about susu.exp's post and I still disagree with most of it, so here're the issues:

susu.exp wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:If you're a deterministic then you think people are influenced into their actions through a combination of environmental and genetic influences alone - neither of which are within ones own control, therefore, ultimately, nobody is responsible for any of their actions. My mother even goes so far as to say the punishment aspect of the criminal justice system should be done away with altogether, as nothing is anybody's fault. I say to her it's necessary as a deterrent, but she still insists!


Apart from issues with Determinism that arise from science, this argument about responsibility is rather silly. How could nobody be responsible for their actions? Arguably you are nothing more than your body and if your body is a deterministic machine that acts, then of course you are responsible.

So I'd revise what I said to "people aren't responsible for who they are (and therefore what they do (ultimately)). Every action a person takes, from reading a book to shooting somebody, is based on a decision influenced purely by neuron configurations in their brain and the environment (eg - somebody threatening the decision maker with a gun). Neither of these factors are within the decision maker's control. The configuration of their cerebro-neural makeup isn't within their control because all actions which had changed that brain (eg. Choosing to read a book on the importance of assertive self defence) were also based on those solitary two influences, neither of which were within the decision maker's control: the brain and the environment. This process tracks back to the formation of the neural pathways in the brain at their earliest point in the womb. So people aren't responsible for who they are, and by extension, how they act.

I fail to see how that is remotely "silly". :ask:

susu.exp wrote:One might as well argue "I didn´t shoot that person - it was my finger that pulled the trigger".

The buck stops with the decision maker's brain. People can take ownership of their brain and decisions, decide to take pride in their actions, and that decision (if one is in a position to have made it) can make all the difference. People are held responsible for their brains, even though ultimately they're not, in order to encourage good decision making. It's the greatest paradox I'm aware of - people need be held responsible for their decisions even though they're not - it's unavoidable. The wishy/washy thinking around this problem leads to things like this thread, where a drunk driver was considered non-culpable for a drink driving offence because he was very wealthy. That he is only 16 might serve as some sort of excuse....aren't 16 year olds considered to be responsible for their actions? Perhaps the very fact that's a grey area lead to the terrible deaths.

susu.exp wrote:Adding to the weirdness there is the idea that one should therefore abandon punishment. For starters, this assumes the very moral agency previously denied. The murderer can't control that he commits the crime, but the criminal justice system can act differently.

I don't understand this: why does a lack of personal responsibility refute that moral/immoral behaviour is possible?

susu.exp wrote:And if all actions follow from genetics and environmental influences, then wouldn´t the justice system be one of the environmental factors involved?
Of course the justice system is an environmental influence - a powerful deterrent, for one thing. Where's the confusion in that?

susu.exp wrote:In short: Yo mama ain´t Hume.
Neither are you, nor I ;)

susu.exp wrote:I would argue that it´s entirely irrational to be a determinist these days. Most of the central theories in various branches of science are stochastic - quantum mechanics is a cornerstone of physics, statistical mechanics are a key of chemistry and biology just doesn't fly without population genetics. Experiments dealing with EPR type experiments falsify local realism, which means that a determinist has to accept non-locality and all the weirdness it entails.

I don’t see how any of those things negates determinism. The quantum mechanics doesn’t suggest there is no cause to a phenomenon AFAIK, just that no cause has yet been identified. The maths, biology and chemistry stochastics are analytical tools, not true quantifications of what’s going on AFAIK. Please enlighten me if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.
Last edited by Keep It Real on Dec 21, 2013 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#6  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 21, 2013 12:10 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
We're all adults here; let's just drop the whole 'atheists have to be determinists' notion with the corollary that 'nobody is responsible for who they are'.

Where did I say atheists have to be determinists?

Cito di Pense wrote:If that's your take on atheism, it's not very nuanced. For a more nuanced view, see:

laklak wrote:All these people living their lives in a paroxysm of self-righteous rage because they're incapable of taking responsibility for their own failed, miserable, lonely lives.

They're victims of the system, you see, it's not their fault they didn't manage to grab the brass ring, The System conspired against them.

If you think that to say that nobody has any excuse for failing at anything is a "more nuanced view" I Picard in your direction.
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#7  Postby susu.exp » Dec 22, 2013 3:20 am

Keep It Real wrote:So I'd revise what I said to "people aren't responsible for who they are (and therefore what they do (ultimately)). Every action a person takes, from reading a book to shooting somebody, is based on a decision influenced purely by neuron configurations in their brain and the environment (eg - somebody threatening the decision maker with a gun). Neither of these factors are within the decision maker's control. The configuration of their cerebro-neural makeup isn't within their control because all actions which had changed that brain (eg. Choosing to read a book on the importance of assertive self defence) were also based on those solitary two influences, neither of which were within the decision maker's control: the brain and the environment. This process tracks back to the formation of the neural pathways in the brain at their earliest point in the womb. So people aren't responsible for who they are, and by extension, how they act.

I fail to see how that is remotely "silly". :ask:


Who then are people? This argument seems ultimately to posit that there are physical features of people that are responsible for how they act. The only way for people to not be responsible is then to posit that they are something beyond that. It seems like this posits a ghost in the machine that happens to be an innocent bystander...

Keep It Real wrote:I don't understand this: why does a lack of personal responsibility refute that moral/immoral behaviour is possible?


The issue here is that you either make the claim that people are not responsible for their actions for all people, including lawmakers, policemen, judges and juries, or you do not make such a claim. The argument that there should not be a system of punishments for crimes, because criminals can not control their actions is flawed, because going by that argument the system of law enforcement is equally beyond the control of actors within that system.

Keep It Real wrote:I don’t see how any of those things negates determinism. The quantum mechanics doesn’t suggest there is no cause to a phenomenon AFAIK, just that no cause has yet been identified.


There´s a difference between a lack of determinism and a lack of causality. What we can show through violations of Bells inequality is that local realism is false. That means you either have a universe that is non-local or one that is not counterfactually-definite. Non-locality isn't that in line with classical ideas about causality (it allows causal loops: event A causes event B, event B causes event A in the first place) and it also includes cases where there are multiple possibilities (causal loop happens or not for instance), without assigning probabilities. It gets worse (event A causes event B, event B prevents event A from occuring, B doesn't happen because A doesn't happen-> back to the start), you end up with Physics that are pretty much the plot of the Back to the Future movies.

Keep It Real wrote:The maths, biology and chemistry stochastics are analytical tools, not true quantifications of what’s going on AFAIK. Please enlighten me if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.


In maths probability theory is just that: probability theory. You do have a hard time justifying thermodynamics without assuming actual stochasticity - the 2nd law of thermodynamics has a directionallity in time that directly flows from the stochasticity and is hard - if not impossible - to recover from a deterministic physics. In evolution there are various issues, the biggest one is that a deterministic population dynamics only allows integer-values for the fitness of individuals. Generally the fitness differences we find are on the order of 0.001 and smaller, a deterministic version would not have values below 1. You can't really get rid of the stochasticity unless you look at idealized infinite populations.
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#8  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 24, 2013 4:17 am

susu.exp wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:So I'd revise what I said to "people aren't responsible for who they are (and therefore what they do (ultimately)). Every action a person takes, from reading a book to shooting somebody, is based on a decision influenced purely by neuron configurations in their brain and the environment (eg - somebody threatening the decision maker with a gun). Neither of these factors are within the decision maker's control. The configuration of their cerebro-neural makeup isn't within their control because all actions which had changed that brain (eg. Choosing to read a book on the importance of assertive self defence) were also based on those solitary two influences, neither of which were within the decision maker's control: the brain and the environment. This process tracks back to the formation of the neural pathways in the brain at their earliest point in the womb. So people aren't responsible for who they are, and by extension, how they act.

I fail to see how that is remotely "silly". :ask:


Who then are people? This argument seems ultimately to posit that there are physical features of people that are responsible for how they act. The only way for people to not be responsible is then to posit that they are something beyond that. It seems like this posits a ghost in the machine that happens to be an innocent bystander...
There is a ghost in the machine - consciousness.


susu.exp wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:I don't understand this: why does a lack of personal responsibility refute that moral/immoral behaviour is possible?


The issue here is that you either make the claim that people are not responsible for their actions for all people, including lawmakers, policemen, judges and juries, or you do not make such a claim. The argument that there should not be a system of punishments for crimes, because criminals can not control their actions is flawed, because going by that argument the system of law enforcement is equally beyond the control of actors within that system.
A law is written and then followed by lawmakers - they don't have to be responsible for the law - nobody does.

susu.exp wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:I don’t see how any of those things negates determinism. The quantum mechanics doesn’t suggest there is no cause to a phenomenon AFAIK, just that no cause has yet been identified.


There´s a difference between a lack of determinism and a lack of causality. What we can show through violations of Bells inequality is that local realism is false. That means you either have a universe that is non-local or one that is not counterfactually-definite. Non-locality isn't that in line with classical ideas about causality (it allows causal loops: event A causes event B, event B causes event A in the first place) and it also includes cases where there are multiple possibilities (causal loop happens or not for instance), without assigning probabilities. It gets worse (event A causes event B, event B prevents event A from occuring, B doesn't happen because A doesn't happen-> back to the start), you end up with Physics that are pretty much the plot of the Back to the Future movies.
It's difficult to reconcile anything with spooky quantum physics, but I’m no less aversed to superdeterminism than anything else, which bypasses Bell’s theorem altogether. So there is no free will under that system; I don’t have a problem with that either.

susu.exp wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:The maths, biology and chemistry stochastics are analytical tools, not true quantifications of what’s going on AFAIK. Please enlighten me if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.


In maths probability theory is just that: probability theory. You do have a hard time justifying thermodynamics without assuming actual stochasticity - the 2nd law of thermodynamics has a directionallity in time that directly flows from the stochasticity and is hard - if not impossible - to recover from a deterministic physics. In evolution there are various issues, the biggest one is that a deterministic population dynamics only allows integer-values for the fitness of individuals. Generally the fitness differences we find are on the order of 0.001 and smaller, a deterministic version would not have values below 1. You can't really get rid of the stochasticity unless you look at idealized infinite populations.
I don’t see how stochasticity in any of these forms disproves determinism. Perhaps if you explained in more detail…why need an individual’s fitness be assigned an integer value, for example?

What’s the alternative to hard determinism – a magical free will with no logical cause? I think I’d rather stick with determinism – it makes a lot more sense.

:edits: to fix quotes
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#9  Postby THWOTH » Dec 24, 2013 7:35 am

Keep It Real wrote:There is a ghost in the machine - consciousness.

"And it would've gotten away with it if it weren't for them pesky kids!"

We each have a ghost in us called consciousness that is ultimately responsible for what our body does, including what we think we think about what we think about when we think we're making decisions, so that we are not really responsible for what we do (including spelling mitsakes for example), you say?


That's a pretty nuanced view you go there, I'd say.
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#10  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 24, 2013 10:54 am

THWOTH wrote:
Keep It Real wrote:There is a ghost in the machine - consciousness.

"And it would've gotten away with it if it weren't for them pesky kids!"

We each have a ghost in us called consciousness that is ultimately responsible for what our body does, including what we think we think about what we think about when we think we're making decisions, so that we are not really responsible for what we do (including spelling mitsakes for example), you say?


That's a pretty nuanced view you go there, I'd say.

I meant the opposite really; that consciousness is the innocent bystander, buffeted along this train of thought/action and that by biological and environmental influences - the innocent bystander susu.exp inferred. It's the consciousness which suffers and gets the blame for unfortunate deeds - that's the person - the perceiving being and agent of decisions made by the brain. It's like we shoot the messenger the whole time, and we have to IMO so that people are held responsible for their actions. Even though we're not! Still nuanced I hope - oh to have the stature of holding a nuanced perspective lol
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#11  Postby hackenslash » Dec 24, 2013 2:55 pm

Keep It Real wrote: I don’t see how stochasticity in any of these forms disproves determinism.


Because of those pesky random variables.

What’s the alternative to hard determinism – a magical free will with no logical cause?


Stochasticity.

I think I’d rather stick with determinism – it makes a lot more sense.


Except when it's contradicted by observation...
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#12  Postby Keep It Real » Dec 24, 2013 7:59 pm

hackenslash wrote:
Keep It Real wrote: I don’t see how stochasticity in any of these forms disproves determinism.


1. Because of those pesky random variables.

What’s the alternative to hard determinism – a magical free will with no logical cause?


2. Stochasticity.

I think I’d rather stick with determinism – it makes a lot more sense.


3. Except when it's contradicted by observation...


1. They're only seemeingly random variables - the have a cause, as does everything.

2. stochasticity is a name given to that which seems random - due to our lack of understanding.

3. Just because something seems random does not mean it is.

Perhaps you would care to answer my posts with something more than bullet points in order to present a substantive argument. Reserve your derision for the creationists why don't you.
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#13  Postby hackenslash » Dec 24, 2013 9:40 pm

Keep It Real wrote:1. They're only seemeingly random variables - the have a cause, as does everything.


Ah, I see your malfunction. You think 'random' means 'uncaused'. A common misunderstanding.

Having said that, we can't rule out uncaused events either. The Casimir effect has no cause we can point to, it's simply a manifestation of the uncertainty principle.

2. stochasticity is a name given to that which seems random - due to our lack of understanding.


No, it's given to that which depends upon initial conditions plus one or more variables that are statistically independent. That latter is how the word 'random' is used in physics and other relevant disciplines.

3. Just because something seems random does not mean it is.


Of course not, but there are areas in which Bell Inequalities rule out hidden variables, pointing to true randomness. Of course, having some fucking clue of how the word is actually employed in rigorous disciplines would help, especially in reducing your embarrassment.

Perhaps you would care to answer my posts with something more than bullet points in order to present a substantive argument. Reserve your derision for the creationists why don't you.


Perhaps you would care to go and tell somebody for whom your opinion is worth more than two shits. I'll aim my derision where I see fit, and I'll post how I see fit. Don't like it? Refer to clause one of this paragraph.
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Re: Seeing in shades of grey...

#14  Postby susu.exp » Dec 24, 2013 10:16 pm

Keep It Real wrote:There is a ghost in the machine - consciousness.


Substance dualism? Somewhat surprising...

Keep It Real wrote:It's difficult to reconcile anything with spooky quantum physics, but I’m no less aversed to superdeterminism than anything else, which bypasses Bell’s theorem altogether. So there is no free will under that system; I don’t have a problem with that either.


Actually it doesn't. Bells theorem hinges on statistical independence. Superdeterminism proposes that there is no independence because the two variables are deterministc, which is simply a big maths fail (deterministic variables are by definition statistically independent from each other. They are even independent from themselves!).

Keep It Real wrote:I don’t see how stochasticity in any of these forms disproves determinism. Perhaps if you explained in more detail…why need an individual’s fitness be assigned an integer value, for example?


An individuals fitness is the expected offspring number (half that for sexual reproduction, but we can ignore the 0.5 factor). Offspring numbers can only take integer values. This means fitness is the SUM(i=1 to inf) ipi where pi[sub] is the probability of having i offspring. If offspring number is a deterministic variable, there is an n, so that p[sub]n=1 and pi=0 for all i not equal to n. Plugging that into our formula for the fitness we get n.

Keep It Real wrote:What’s the alternative to hard determinism – a magical free will with no logical cause? I think I’d rather stick with determinism – it makes a lot more sense.


The alternative is stochasticity. No magic involved.
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Re: Is Determinism a Valid Hypothesis?

#15  Postby Ironclad » Jan 16, 2014 12:00 pm


!
GENERAL MODNOTE
This new Philosophy thread is a Split from "Seeing in shades of grey...", a Nontheism topic.

Enjoy!
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Re: Is Determinism a Valid Hypothesis?

#16  Postby iamthereforeithink » Jan 16, 2014 5:55 pm

Old physics points to determinism - implying that things happen in a pre-determined manner
New physics points to stochasticity - implying that things happen randomly

Either way, the implication is that we have no control over how things happen. I don't see what either thesis does for the cause of free will.
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Re: Is Determinism a Valid Hypothesis?

#17  Postby Chrisw » Jan 16, 2014 7:18 pm

iamthereforeithink wrote:Old physics points to determinism - implying that things happen in a pre-determined manner
New physics points to stochasticity - implying that things happen randomly

Either way, the implication is that we have no control over how things happen. I don't see what either thesis does for the cause of free will.

I agree. We don't need to say that the world is deterministic to have a problem here. I'm no better off if some of my actions are controlled by random events beyond my control.

I agree with Susu that I have some sort of feeling of ownershp of my actions, simply because they are my actions. But I don't think this feeling is strong enough to ground moral responsibility. I may feel proud of my achievements and ashamed of my failures but it is hard to remain in either state of mind if you think carefully enough about your actions and understand why you did what you did. Either you will discover reasons for your choices which are still compelling given knowledge of the circumstances you were in or events that were essentially good/bad luck.

The difference between person A who we judge to be good and person B who we judge to be bad comes down to differences of biology, environment and (perhaps) other random factors. It is pure luck if I happen to be one person or the other. If I was person B I could lament the bad acts I had done but I couldn't, with any honesty, feel responsible for being the person who had done them. I didn't chose to be born into life B rather than life A and even if I somehow had, that choice would itself have been the result of a mixture of determinism and randomness (what else can a choice be?) neither of which can confer moral responsibility.

Of course we have to have laws and punishments, and on a more mundane scale, social rules and the associated games of praising and blaming that we all play. We use these to manipulate each others' behaviour because we are social animals who have evolved to behave in this way, and it is hard to imagine a successful human society that didn't rely on these mechanisms. Nonetheless, philosophically, we should be able to see beyond this and acknowledge that there is not and could not actually be the sort of free will that would make one genuinely morally responsible for ones actions. Such free will is the myth on which our practices of morally judging each other are founded, but it is just a myth.
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Re: Is Determinism a Valid Hypothesis?

#18  Postby DrWho » Jan 16, 2014 7:57 pm

Chrisw wrote:

Of course we have to have laws and punishments, and on a more mundane scale, social rules and the associated games of praising and blaming that we all play. We use these to manipulate each others' behaviour because we are social animals who have evolved to behave in this way, and it is hard to imagine a successful human society that didn't rely on these mechanisms. Nonetheless, philosophically, we should be able to see beyond this and acknowledge that there is not and could not actually be the sort of free will that would make one genuinely morally responsible for ones actions. Such free will is the myth on which our practices of morally judging each other are founded, but it is just a myth.


I agree with this. I think personal moral responsibility is a myth - an absurd and incoherent notion. But this does not imply that we ought to abandon the enforcement of laws. As a society, we need to discourage certain kinds of behavior in order to enjoy some degree of freedom and safety.
The skeptical writers are a set whose business it is to prick holes in the fabric of knowledge wherever it is weak and faulty; and when these places are properly repaired, the whole building becomes more firm and solid than it was before. - Thomas Reid
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Re: Is Determinism a Valid Hypothesis?

#19  Postby SpeedOfSound » Jan 17, 2014 1:32 pm

A is a tree that consistently produces sour apples. But it's his genes and the soil that cause this.
B is the tree that consistently produces seet apples. But it's his genes and the soil that are responsible.

So to be fair we should give A and B the same amount of water and care?

You see, the problem with people that do not understand responsibility and determinism is that they think their bodies are something in addition to there thing they call 'I'. The spirit mind that floats above all things physical. Once you leave this behind you very simply see that people who do bad things are the trees who consistently produce sour apples.

Once again this is about supernatural beliefs and just because you THINK you are an atheist you may still actually cling to the document that sources the error of supernatural belief. Dualism of mind and body.
"Daddy, why did god make YEC's?"
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Re: Is Determinism a Valid Hypothesis?

#20  Postby ughaibu » Jan 18, 2014 5:12 am

iamthereforeithink wrote:Old physics points to determinism - implying that things happen in a pre-determined manner
New physics points to stochasticity - implying that things happen randomly

Either way, the implication is that we have no control over how things happen. I don't see what either thesis does for the cause of free will.
Physics is a human activity, that's all, there's no reason to think that it's important for the question of free will.
Imagine that we have a complete physical description of the universe of interest and the calculating power to predict the phenomenon that we're interested in. In this case we're interested in whether or not a certain physicist will drink tea or will drink coffee, at a certain time. If the description and the laws exactly entail the behaviour of the physicist, then regardless of whether or not the physicist is made aware of what has been predicted, then they will behave according to the prediction. But, on being made aware of the prediction, countermanding that prediction is logically equivalent to recording its observation, and as physics is an empirical science, we cannot arbitrarily deny the physicist the ability to observe and record observations. In short, if human beings can do physics, then physics cannot show that they have no free will. This applies to any empirical science, so arguments for the denial of free will are irreducibly metaphysical.
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