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Choose Your Own Determinism

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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AresKenux
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Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by AresKenux » July 19th, 2018, 1:48 pm

Every person, not determined, seemingly contributes nothing to their own life and especially not to anybody's life around them. In my perspective, I see that, no matter which way you want to see it every person has to be determined in some sort of way. In order to facilitate actual growth and prosperity for their own life or those around them. Now, to the point!

Free-will and determinism are often debated as though it can only be either one. Never both, is what I normally see in such debates. In honor of the Matrix, "No one can see beyond a choice they cannot understand."

What if, both are prevalent in day to day routine in the averages of the types of living. But it seem's as though awareness is essential to choice, as much as choice is essential to awareness. By measure, I perceive there are no such thing as absolutes. All things are subject to change in my opinion. Whether or not that change is of consciousness, is determined by awareness and the ability to provide self or others with choice. And the capability to follow through with the chosen course of belief, thought, or action.

To the question!
Do you believe or know, that or how, you can choose your own determinism? Is it vital to the growth of self? Can the path it leads down, lend a hand to enlightening our species? What is your take on all of this? Can any part of it, if at all, be fundamentally sound?

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LuckyR
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by LuckyR » July 20th, 2018, 1:44 am

I am unfamiliar with your use of the term determinism.
"As usual... it depends."

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Mosesquine
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Mosesquine » July 20th, 2018, 4:35 am

The question seems to be not adequate above. The right way of suggesting such a question would be "What is your definition of determinism???" like or so.

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Burning ghost
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Burning ghost » July 20th, 2018, 6:41 am

He seems to mean strong versus weak determinism and ideas of “absolute” over “free-will.”

From an ethical perspective it’s a no-brainer. Beyond any paticular moral position the question is mute. In science causation, and therefore a degree of “determinism” is necessary. Any holding to the principle of determinism based soley on physical realism is utterly devoid of human emotion - ergo an impossibility, one which the nihilistic and deluded prefer over the burden of responsibility and failure.
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chewybrian
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by chewybrian » July 20th, 2018, 10:06 am

Burning ghost wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 6:41 am
He seems to mean strong versus weak determinism and ideas of “absolute” over “free-will.”

From an ethical perspective it’s a no-brainer. Beyond any paticular moral position the question is mute. In science causation, and therefore a degree of “determinism” is necessary. Any holding to the principle of determinism based soley on physical realism is utterly devoid of human emotion - ergo an impossibility, one which the nihilistic and deluded prefer over the burden of responsibility and failure.
I've seen many long arguments about free will vs. hard determinism here, but rarely have I seen anyone else acknowledging this mixture of free will and "determinism" (in quotes, which I would call influences). This is just an honest accounting of real life. I am not some kind of super hero who can exert my will free of the influence of the past, of others, of outside forces, and neither am I a steel ball in the pinball machine of reality.

Taking either extreme position is at odds with behavior I observe in others, and my subjective experience. The middle ground I would call free will. It allows me the freedom to try to act, with the weight of genetics and experience pulling or pushing ("asking" not "telling"), at the mercy of actions or reactions of others or chance. I don't see how we should expect any more freedom than that in the state in which we find ourselves. And, I don't see why we should consider it anything but free will (with influences which apply pressure but do not fully determine outcomes).
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Burning ghost
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Burning ghost » July 20th, 2018, 11:41 am

Chewy -

Generally the term “determinism” is taken to mean just that kind of admixture you’re referring to. As with all philosophical positions there are nuances of each position.

I used parenthesis because of the various forms of determinism out there. Most people unaware of the philosophical jargon take any instance of “determinism” to mean “fatalism” - a very common mistake on philosophy forums and one I am guilty of making myself years ago.

The OP seems to be referring to “debates” on forums rather than within academia; where the distinctions are minute or non-existent. The hardest concept is likely that of “compatibilism.”

Like I’ve said, personally I find all positions applicable in different contexts. For scientific experimentation a more deterministic attitude pays dividends even though it doesn’t necessarily bolster any ethically determined “right” or “wrong.” People’s major gripe is with two conflicting positions on an individual level. One being free from responsibility and the other being fredom FROM respinsibility. Either pole taken to an extreme is likely to lead to destruction.
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chewybrian
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by chewybrian » July 20th, 2018, 3:42 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 11:41 am
Chewy -

Generally the term “determinism” is taken to mean just that kind of admixture you’re referring to. As with all philosophical positions there are nuances of each position.
I tried to verify this, but the first five hits are telling me the opposite, that determinism means choices are fully caused. Here's (presumably) the most trustworthy option:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/
"Causal determinism is, roughly speaking, the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature..."(Stanford Philosophy)
Burning ghost wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 11:41 am
I used parenthesis because of the various forms of determinism out there. Most people unaware of the philosophical jargon take any instance of “determinism” to mean “fatalism” - a very common mistake on philosophy forums and one I am guilty of making myself years ago.
^That part makes sense to me, if we were talking about causes being fully determined. That would lead naturally to all events being predetermined. Each movement of every particle or light beam or whatever since the big bang would be following on from the original event, in a manner which could theoretically be known if we were smart enough.

Side note: If determinism is to mean, as you suggest, influence without total causation, then they should call it "influencism". This made me recall the time I discovered "Hobby Lobby" while searching for a gift for my nephew. I was all excited to see the model trains, rockets, RC cars and such, only to discover to my shock and horror that it was just arts and crafts--they should call it "Yarn Barn"!
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Burning ghost
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Burning ghost » July 20th, 2018, 4:10 pm

Chewy -

If determinism meant fatalism ... you can figure out the rest surely! It is an obtuse and very pendantic topic, because of this it suffers.

We all live in a world where we can determine things by way of causation. To what extent we have no idea. There are MANY flavours and contexts. You don’t have to believe the universe is a clockwork universe to hold to a deterministic view of the world (be it for moral or scientific purposes.)
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Burning ghost
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Burning ghost » July 20th, 2018, 4:11 pm

Btw no idea what your little story was meant to express?
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 20th, 2018, 5:10 pm

chewybrian wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 10:06 am
I've seen many long arguments about free will vs. hard determinism here, but rarely have I seen anyone else acknowledging this mixture of free will and "determinism" (in quotes, which I would call influences). This is just an honest accounting of real life. I am not some kind of super hero who can exert my will free of the influence of the past, of others, of outside forces, and neither am I a steel ball in the pinball machine of reality.
The other poster is correct, the most common forms of determinism fit your position. A steel ball does not have internal causes, what you call will. So when it moves in the pinball machine it is moved just by external forces, as restricted by its mass, etc. You however have internal causes, in addition to external ones. This is recognized by every determinist I have ever known. They recognize that unlike the steel ball, internal changes in our set in motion chains of causes and effects also. It's just that these are utterly determined. That if you follow these internal ones backwards in time you see these are effects of internal and external causes. There is a will, but no free will, in the sense that you could have done X but chose Y. You were always gonna choose Y, given genetics interacting with exteral causes (nurture). One inevitable flow.

QM gets dragged in sometimes, but indeterminism also does not lead to free will.

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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Burning ghost » July 21st, 2018, 12:47 am

Karpel -

And the there is the discrepency of how you and others define free will. It’s a quagmire of ill-defined jargon out there in the world of philosophy.

We can at least choose our position relative to the various branches of “determinism.” I cannot freely choose to turn into a dragon and fly to Jupiter. My freedom being limited does not make it non-existent. Whatever existence is we feel around within it and come to understand possible outcomes and act accordingly.
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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by chewybrian » July 21st, 2018, 6:35 am

Burning ghost wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 4:10 pm
Chewy -

If determinism meant fatalism ... you can figure out the rest surely! It is an obtuse and very pendantic topic, because of this it suffers.

We all live in a world where we can determine things by way of causation. To what extent we have no idea. There are MANY flavours and contexts. You don’t have to believe the universe is a clockwork universe to hold to a deterministic view of the world (be it for moral or scientific purposes.)
I think fatalism implies God at the helm, or 'fate', doesn't it? To me, determinism means predictability. In either case, results might be known, or theoretically able to be known, before the action starts. If I assemble the billiard balls in the same spots on the table, and strike the cue ball in the exact same direction with the same force, then the balls should end up in the same places each time, right? The 9 ball can not decide it does not wish to fall in the pocket the next time around, right? If it doesn't fall, this simply implies some element was different this time around.
Burning ghost wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 4:10 pm
It is an obtuse and very pendantic topic, because of this it suffers.

We all live in a world where we can determine things by way of causation. To what extent we have no idea.
I certainly agree with the first part. But, if we determine things 'by way of causation' only, then 'we' don't really exist in any meaningful way.
Burning ghost wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 4:11 pm
Btw no idea what your little story was meant to express?
If I think of 'determinism', I expect it to mean that all actions are fully determined, yet you expressed it in terms that I would label free will. Similarly, when I think of hobbies, I think of RC cars, model trains and such, but 'Hobby Lobby' is simply an arts and crafts store. Both labels seem incorrect to me.
Karpel Tunnel wrote:
July 20th, 2018, 5:10 pm
The other poster is correct, the most common forms of determinism fit your position. A steel ball does not have internal causes, what you call will. So when it moves in the pinball machine it is moved just by external forces, as restricted by its mass, etc. You however have internal causes, in addition to external ones. This is recognized by every determinist I have ever known. They recognize that unlike the steel ball, internal changes in our set in motion chains of causes and effects also. It's just that these are utterly determined.
An internal cause not of the will might as well be called external in terms of this discussion. If what you call 'internal' causes are, as you say, utterly determined, then they are external to the will, to me, to my soul if you wish. So, you have not recognized free will in the least, but rather acknowledged that some causes external to the will come from inside the body, and some from outside. A will can never not be free, or it is not a will by definition. If I 'will' something, it means that I (me, my soul) wish it to be true, and decide to take action to put it in motion. A reflex action is not a demonstration of will, for example.

I struggle to even frame the discussion in terms that imply there is no free will, because I think it is self-evident that I have it by my very participation in the discussion (a la Descartes). It is ridiculous to me to suggest that I only perceive free will as some weird trick being played on me by reality. The fact that I think I have it tells me I must.
Burning ghost wrote:
July 21st, 2018, 12:47 am
My freedom being limited does not make it non-existent.
Exactly! It scarcely matters to what extent you are in control, but that you have some power to choose is the important thing. I would take things a step further and say that you can work on your will, and strengthen it by exerting it, as you could weaken it by not bothering to use it. If you study stoic philosophy and take it to heart, or engage in cognitive behavioral therapy, or a 12 step program, then you might be inclined to agree.

All of human history is built on the idea that you can choose, and therefore have moral responsibility to try to be a good person, and legal accountability for your actions. The proliferation of this idea that we lack free will would lead us to a frightening world full of lawyers, constrained only by the bounds of the letter of the law strictly through the deterrent threat of punishment, without a conscience or any respect for the spirit of the law. How can you try to do the right thing if you believe you can't even try?

As someone fully convinced I have a free will, it's hard to think that I could like or trust someone who was fully convinced that they did not have one. However, I can scarcely conceive that there is a person fully convinced that they can not choose, as they are forced by reality to perceive they are choosing all the time. They can choose to see their choices as an illusion, perhaps, but it's hard to think they can persist in that view, or that they don't think they have choices at some level of consciousness, no matter what they tell themselves or others.

Presumably, most of the free will deniers would not believe in God. They may look at those who say they know God is real and conclude they are fooling themselves, that deep down they must have doubts, or perhaps not really believe, but only wish for God to exist. I view the deniers of free will in much the same way. I think they are fooling themselves, and deep down they must know that they have a free will. The question is why they want to go against their own will. Freedom from responsibility is all that comes to mind, but it seems a very poor trade for giving up choice.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 21st, 2018, 9:42 am

chewybrian wrote:
July 21st, 2018, 6:35 am
An internal cause not of the will might as well be called external in terms of this discussion. If what you call 'internal' causes are, as you say, utterly determined, then they are external to the will, to me, to my soul if you wish. So, you have not recognized free will in the least, but rather acknowledged that some causes external to the will come from inside the body, and some from outside. A will can never not be free, or it is not a will by definition. If I 'will' something, it means that I (me, my soul) wish it to be true, and decide to take action to put it in motion. A reflex action is not a demonstration of will, for example.
Sure, if you say this, someone can say that there is a difference between a reflex action and a pondered decision. I think it is also confusing to say the will is external. External to what. The will would be those internal processes and forces that lead in certain directions. Whenever we look at cause and effect we pick a starting point. There is no problem with looking at a sequence starting with the will, as long as we realize that that starting point is arbritrary and itself part of a chain of causes and effect.
I struggle to even frame the discussion in terms that imply there is no free will, because I think it is self-evident that I have it by my very participation in the discussion (a la Descartes). It is ridiculous to me to suggest that I only perceive free will as some weird trick being played on me by reality. The fact that I think I have it tells me I must.
Does your sense of free will mean that your decisions are not completely compelled by what in you and outside of you came before them?

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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by chewybrian » July 21st, 2018, 10:22 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
July 21st, 2018, 9:42 am
There is no problem with looking at a sequence starting with the will, as long as we realize that that starting point is arbritrary and itself part of a chain of causes and effect.
If I am part of the chain, then I am nothing human. You are simply denying free will. Why bother labeling it something you won't allow it to be? My decision is not one more link in the chain, but a fork in the road. I may have powerful incentives to make the 'rational' choice, and it is often too obvious to ignore, or I may have developed very strong habits, yet I still have a choice.
Karpel Tunnel wrote:
July 21st, 2018, 9:42 am
Does your sense of free will mean that your decisions are not completely compelled by what in you and outside of you came before them?
Yes, free will is free. People do not possess artificial intelligence, they have the real deal. So, you'll never be able to predict my actions with certainty. I will not simply weigh the inputs and take the choice that scores highest. I can introspect, contemplate, allow emotion to rule, follow dogma, try something new for the sake of adventure, or just get things wrong.

People are ends, not means, and that important distinction falls away without free choice. No choice means no accountability, and the world becomes a police state where only the threat of punishment can deter an immoral action. Your only incentive not to hurt me for your own gain would be the chance you'd be caught and receive a punishment outweighing the gain. Is that the world you think we should be working toward?
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Choose Your Own Determinism

Post by Burning ghost » July 22nd, 2018, 1:25 am

Chewy -

Predicted or not whatever happens in the lifetime of te human race is a speck. We’re able to comprehend some quite unbelievable things, we have stumbled across phenomenon that contradict our everyday perception of “causality” and we’re utterly confounded by the concepts of “space and time.”

It seems dogmatic to me to declare anything other than a curious field of vague understanding built upon a general sea of ignorance. Whatever, we’re here and that is so obviously obvious that when you try and break down what “being here” really expresses we’re faced with something akin to surprise, awe or plain confusion. For whatever machination of evolution/nature we’re able to appreciate “stuff” becasue we’re able to anchor our thoughts in a spaciotemporal manner and than is the long and short, the instant and eternal of it! Haha! I laugh because there are no referential analogies beyond those of measures of space and time.
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