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Absolute determinism and the illusion of free will.

 
 
Relative
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2004 10:13 am
I think the question of life and the question of free will are totally independent. Actually these are sepatare questions:

1.) Can a living organism be constructed from non-living matter ?
2.) What is free will, and does it exist (in humans)?
3.) Is determinism the correct theory: is everything deducible in a unique vay from past states of the system (universe)?
4.) What is consciousness ? Is it a mechanical property of complex systems? Is it some special 'thing' that depends on physical processes yet undiscovered and unclear at present?

It believe it is entirely possible that not all living beings posess consciousness, that the world is deterministic, that the free will exists and is a time-nonlocalized phenomenon, and that consciousness is a non-algorithmic space-time phenomenon that has to do with yet undiscovered physics.

Further I believe TIME [edit] travel is not possible because movement is something that relates to time: you'd need two time dimensions to do 'time travel'.

I also believe there is no 'now' and that the 'now' our consciousness lives in is spread out in time (past and future) as a consequence of the fact that it is a wave.

There are different frequencies to 'now' and some stretch more into the past/future, and some less. Quick action and reflexes do not spread much, while feelings, states of mind, deep thinking, meditation, self-awareness etc. spread more.

I think there is evidence in the fact that a person usually 'feels' she is going to die at least moments before death. There is evidence in precognition, in the lag of the conscious response, and in our ability to 'concentrate and be creative'.
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Centroles
 
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Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2004 04:52 pm
i agree with everything you are saying relative. i share your same beliefs and they are what i am argueing as a possibility except your notion that free will exists. Note, I never said that determinism was the only possibility, that free will doesn't exist. I am merely argueing that determinism may well be a possibility and free will may indeed be an illusion because there is no convincing argument/evidence that this is not the case.

what i disagree with is your contention that the world could be determinsitic and yet people can have free will.

i don't see how determinism doesn't contradict free will. and i have yet to see any valid argument that debunks a determinist universe.

and to answer the recent questions, i used the notion that life can arise from nonliving components and that there is no magical force behind life to debunk the notions that a determinisit universe isn't possible. many people on this thread have stated that my contention that life can arise from nonliving components is atrocious and somehow destroys my credibility. i think they are the ones that aren't being open minded.
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Relative
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2004 03:40 am
Centroles, I am still unsure whether I believe we have free will or not, and this is because I am currently researching to find out what free will is. There is a thread on this topic, but it turns out that 'do we have free will' and 'what is free will' are entangled questions : like chasing your own tail.

Free will might as well be an illusion and in this case we surely have it. I am looking for some definition of free will that would root outside of this context, to have something to lean on. We all feel that we know what is meant by free will, but I suspect it is not the same to all people. We might as well be talking about different things.

The other thing I find interesting relating to free will is that some feel that we cannot judge people for their actions if we don't have free will.
This seems at least a bit unrealistic, because we are surely going to eliminate a serial killer from the streets to prevent him from killing your aunt, even if he doesn't have free will. We would stop even a proper robot, which surely wouldn't have a free will. We are going to eliminate negative influences in our society because they do damage, not because they have or dont' have free will.
I think a lot of beliefs that cling to the notion of free will are misled. For if we do have free will, and this free will is finally rooted in some real physical process, its magical status will vanish, and with it all moral or such consequences of it.
It's something like a magician's trick : until you know how he makes that lady disappear, you perceive a certain touch of magic; after you've learned how he does that, the magic is gone, and what remains is just an interesting technical construct. The same is bound to happen to free will and consciousness, whatever the outcome of our search for them.
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epic
 
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Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 11:07 am
an interesting read. i have a few questions in regards to dualism that i hope may be seen by some of those who've previously been active in this thread.

the dualism that is talked about by joe and others i can agree with, however i was wondering if there was some kind of distinction between the subject-object dualism and the mind-body dualism. AFAIK the subject-object dualism remains materialistic, and that thought and so forth are a kind of emergent property of the neurons in the brain. i'm pretty sure i disagree with the notion of there being a seperate "field" where mind exists as opposed to the materialistic reality we live in, and thus in that sense i would refute dualism, but i just wanted to check that this kind of dualism is distinct from the dualism that joe and others have put forward and in which i tend to agree with. or, is it impossible to agree with both? that is, if one is to agree with the notion of a subject-object duality, must one agree that there is a distinction between the mind and body? i've only just began getting into this field of philosophy.

as far as the OP is concerned i tend to agree about the illusion of free will as all decisions are ultimately based on preceding factors, cause and effect, and so on.

but if anyone could clarify my dualism query i would be appreciative.
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 12:18 pm
epic: First of all, welcome to A2K.

Secondly, I believe that the "subject-object dualism" at issue here is very different from "mind-body dualism," although I've mentioned elsewhere that "non-dualists" may tend to confuse the two.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 12:27 pm
how do banjo dualists fit into that world view?
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 12:37 pm
truth
Yes, welcome, Epic.
Joe, I think you're right insofar as I see ALL dualisms, in the sense of absolute symmetrical contrasts, as members of a single set. Up-down, in-out, good-bad, true-false, body-mind, absolute-relative, male-female, self-other (non-self), even dualism-nondualism, are useful CONCEPTUAL distinctions for some, perhaps most, purposes. But once the mind looks at experience without such distinctions one sees only an "undifferentiated aesthetic continuum." And opposites are no longer seen as absolute contrasts but only, as with the ying-yang of Chinese epistemology, mutually defining halves of a single coin. It seems to me that what is really confounded, confused and conflated is the usefulness of such distinctions with their reality.
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twyvel
 
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Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 12:53 pm
Yes, welcome epic

Yes, I agree with joefromchicagoJLNobody's post prior to posting, I agree with JL
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epic
 
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Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 01:54 pm
firstly, thanks for the welcomes, joe, jdnobody and twyvel.

i must say that i began this thread agreeing pretty much with jonat's assertions in his discussion with joe, before moving on to agree with joe in his discussions with jdnobody and twyvel, so my confusion between the two forms of dualism has sprung, in part i believe, from that. but thanks for the clarification on the two forms of dualism.

joefromchicago wrote:

I believe that the "subject-object dualism" at issue here is very different from "mind-body dualism," although I've mentioned elsewhere that "non-dualists" may tend to confuse the two.


i would just like to clarify whether you're a dualist in both circumstances? i gather this from comments such as:

Quote:
"Thought" is neither matter nor energy.


this to me would strike as a dualist approach to the mind-body relationship, distinct, as you say, from the subject-object relationship which i have no problem in agreeing with. jonat, from memory asked you to define what thought is, then, if it is not matter, or the property of matter, and i believe it seems a rather valid question. not being a dualist in this respect, i have no real concept or idea of what, beyond the materialistic world we live in, could produce or "house" thought. this is why i believe thought, while in itself not being made of matter in that you can empiracally see or touch or smell it, is, however, some kind of emergent occurance coming forth from the physical firing of neurons in the brain. the relationship between mind and the brain, as i see it, is too intwined as to think that they are distinct.

basically, my objection to the mind-body dualism is that, if the mind and thought are not an emergent property of the brain and the firing of neurons, then what are they? in what manner can we say they "exist" in the materialistic universe? where do they exist?

in defence of the illusion of free will, i would offer that all things, all decisions, all actions are directly caused by preceding factors. nothing just arises out of nowhere. for example, while we don't have any idea whether it will rain on july 4th this year, or we don't know the outcome of the numbers appearing on a roll of some dice, i would still offer that, the weather on july 4th, or the numbers that DO appear after rolling them, could not have been any other way. the weather on july 4th would have been directly related to the preceding weather conditions, the air pressure, wind, etc, or the speed of the roll of the dice, the angle in which the dice are propelled, etc, and they, in turn, would have been reliant on factors preceding that, and so on. if all things are reliant on preceding factors, and nothing spontaneously arises out of nowhere, one can say that everthing is linked, cause and effect, the combination of both nature AND nurture, right back to, as far as i can tell, the beginning of time itself. thus determinism.

the usual objections of quantum factors, as i believe has already been brought up in the earlier part of the thread, are also determined, in fact, also. they may only appear random and spntaneous as a result of the infallibilily of man, that what appears as random is due to a lack of knowledge, that either may one day be found out, or, in fact, may never be found out due to factors beyond the capabilities of our human brains. there are other more eleoquent defences that i've read but that's somewhat of the gist of it.

even the "choice" of making this post could be said to not be anything spontaneous, but it was inevitable, being reliant on preceding factors... the fact i have an interest in philosophy, the fact i found this thread and read it and found various interesting posts, the fact i made a previous post, was warmly recieved, and wanted to expand on a point, and so on. if i had of not made this post, it would have been, then, for reasons of their own, perhaps because i found the topic not worth the effort and so forth. but seeing i'm about to press "post" that set of circumstances is thus not an option at all.

this is probably a rather clumsy beginning explanation, however it'll do. you could say it was inevitable also given the fact it's early in the morning and i could do with some food in my stomach. Wink
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 02:13 pm
epic wrote:
i would just like to clarify whether you're a dualist in both circumstances? i gather this from comments such as:

Quote:
"Thought" is neither matter nor energy.


this to me would strike as a dualist approach to the mind-body relationship, distinct, as you say, from the subject-object relationship which i have no problem in agreeing with.

To the extent that I don't believe thoughts are subject to physical laws (contrary to the extreme materialism espoused by jonat and, to a lesser extent, centroles), then I suppose I'm a dualist. But from a pragmatic standpoint, I find the entire mind-body controversy rather uninteresting.
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epic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2004 02:31 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
To the extent that I don't believe thoughts are subject to physical laws (contrary to the extreme materialism espoused by jonat and, to a lesser extent, centroles), then I suppose I'm a dualist. But from a pragmatic standpoint, I find the entire mind-body controversy rather uninteresting.


i would say that thoughts are subject to both physical laws (ie the brain) aswell as the natural events of the external world. for example, if you notice some hot chick, your thoughts are governed thus by the girl having come across your path (nurture), thus activating the thought processes in the brain (nature) of how hot she is, or more probably kicking in the hormones that cause us to lust after hot chicks when we see them.

i have no idea, as i say, where, if one holds a dualist view, these thoughts spring from, or "are", if not from something purely materialistic.

however i can empathise somewhat with the notion of disinterest. if, in fact, we do have no free will, then it ultimately matters not, because it still appears, feels, whatever, like we do. thus the "illusion", i guess. so for all purposes, it doesn't matter, because we're limited in scope, as human beings. we still can't predict the roll of dice, or which sports team is going to win, as much as i would love to. although i still find it an interesting concept, and to a degree a liberating one.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Jan, 2005 03:27 pm
This was a great thread. Too bad it's dead. For us the living, that is.
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Mon 17 Jan, 2005 10:25 pm
JLNobody wrote:
This was a great thread. Too bad it's dead. For us the living, that is.

We did indeed encounter many strange and fascinating things, such as the "Immortal Girl Scout Troop," the "Lazarus Dog," the "Frankenstein Virus," and, of course, the "Sentient Corpse."
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messier3184
 
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Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 05:22 pm
I have another proof in my mind for absolute determinism.
When I think about my decisions all the ideas in my mind to conduct me to that
decision are influenced by environment or my previous decisions. For your previous decisions you have the same story. If you follow back this chain you reach to your birth and the characteristic that you had in your birthday is not definitely obtained by you and is also determined before.
So there is no free will.
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