Determinism

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Captain Canada, Aug 14, 2001.

  1. Captain Canada Stranger in Town Registered Senior Member

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    Are all events caused?

    If so, what are the implications for free will?

    If events aren't caused, they must be random.

    If all events are either random or caused, what are the implications for free will?

    Free will begins to sound like a myth to give us all the illusion of control over our lives. Is everything really determined?

    How can something be random? Maybe just a pattern to complex to detect.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. Merlijn curious cat Registered Senior Member

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    Interesting topic!
    Not often somebody raises the question of what room there is left for a free will in a non-deterministic world, unfortunately.

    I do not think the "traditional" free will exists. BUT there is room for something like a free will, I believe.
    Our brains are information-processing devices. And they function in such a manner that they may very well produce a 'virtual computer' that is not directly dependent on the processes of the brain. I have to come up with a good analogy, let me think. Hmm maybe the ant colony is the best (I first encountered this analogy in Hofstadter's Gödel Escher Bach, but earlier when I heard about Gaya, etc.).
    The ants may behave in according to simple rules. the ant colony as a whole has a much more complex pattern of behaviour. N.B. this is an analogy!

    Later more (?)
    ~Merlijn
     
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

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    Is a random number generator deterministic or not? According to chaos theory, even radom number has a pattern that is too complex for us to calculate. (Of course a random number starts from a seed number).

    I think the free will is a local variable that is like a random number whose cause starts from a seed that has an effect. The seed itself is based on prior seeds and so on.

    Consider a global case. No matter what you do, the sun will go supernova or life on this planet may cease to exist or the world will continue to rotate around the sun...so your free will could be a subset within a primal set of the formation of galaxy and so on...
     
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  7. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    There you go again, kmguru ...

    Yes a 'random number generator' is deterministic. That is why they are pseudo-random number generators! Oh, and Chaos Theory has nothing to do with pseudo-random number generation. And as for 'a' random number ... there is nothing to calculate; it is a single number. Now, if you are referring to how the 'seed' number is chosen, that is another matter.

    Since you seem to be confused and out of your depth in this area, I heartily suggest that you go to the following site and do a little reading.

    http://random.mat.sbg.ac.at/

    Oh, by the way; What is a 'radom number'? I'm not familiar with that kind of number.

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  8. kmguru Staff Member

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    Chaos is qualitative in that it seeks to know the general
    character of a systemÕs long-term behavior, rather than
    seeking numerical predictions about a future state. What
    characteristics will all solutions of a system exhibit? How
    does this system change from exhibiting one behavior to
    another?
    Chaotic systems are unstable since they tend not to resist
    any outside disturbances but instead react in significant
    ways. In other words, they do not shrug off external
    influences but are partly navigated by them.
    The variables describing the state of a system do not
    demonstrate a regular repetition of values and are therefore
    aperiodic. This unstable aperiodic behavior is highly
    complex since it never repeats and continues to show the
    effects of the disturbance(s).

    These systems are deterministic because they are made up
    of few, simple differential equations, and make no
    references to implicit chance mechanisms. This is not to be
    completely equated with the metaphysical or philosophical
    idea of determinism (that human choices could be
    predetermined as well).
    Finally, a dynamic system is a simplified model for the
    time-varying behavior of an actual system. These systems
    are described using differential equations specifying the
    rates of change for each variable.
     
  9. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    More on Chaos:

    Edward Lorenz would stretch the definition of chaos to include
    phenomena that are slightly random, provided that their much
    greater apparent randomness is not a by-product of their slight true randomness. In other words, real-world processes that appear to be behaving randomly perhaps the falling leaf or the flapping flag should be allowed to qualify as chaos, as long as they would continue to appear random even if any true randomness could somehow be eliminated.

    What this means is when we make slight changes to a system at one time, and the later behavior of the system may soon become
    completely different. In Lorenz meteorological computer modeling, he discovered the foundation of mainstream chaos: that simply-formulated systems with few variables could display highly complex behavior that was unpredictable and unforseeable. He saw that slight differences in one variable had profound effects on the outcome of the whole system. In Chaos parlance, this is referred to as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. In real weather situations, this could mean the development of a front or
    pressure-system where there never would have been one in
    previous models. In differential plotting this took on a new form
    called a strange attractor. Initial conditions need not be
    the ones that existed when a system was created, but may be the ones at the beginning of any stretch of time that interests an
    investigator.

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    ...and stupidity knows no bounds...

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  10. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    " ...and stupidity knows no bounds... "

    How very true, kmguru.

    What do your last two posts on this thread have to do with pseudo-random number generation?

    Oh, and by the way ... I left a little something for you on the 'Monoliths' thread. Too bad you didn't check it out before posting on this thread.

    Bye

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  11. kmguru Staff Member

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    I did not say anything about pseudo-random numbers. When did you start that topic?...

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  12. kmguru Staff Member

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    Here is what I said that you disected to bits:

    Is a random number generator deterministic or not? According to chaos theory, even random number has a pattern that is too complex for us to calculate. (Of course a random number starts from a seed number).

    to calculate ...meaning to arrive at the number

    Since the discussion is on the deterministic and random number side...they are related to Chaos theory. Read all the material and you will understand.

    Here is a good book on Chaos: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...7824176/sr=1-9/ref=sc_b_9/002-8156657-5491237
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2001
  13. piffi Nixed Price Rack Registered Senior Member

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    69
    hmm.. I think kmguru and Chagur need to find something else to talk about...
     
  14. Captain Canada Stranger in Town Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    484
    It appears that kmguru and Chagur are pre-destined to annoy each other. Determinism proved?

    Or is kmguru exercising his free will? I suggest that each Chagur post acts as a cause, setting in motion a chain of events (a pattern too big for us mere mortals to see) that concludes with a kmguru reply. If only we had the ability to see the pattern clearly, all posts would become superfluous (as they increasingly are already).

    Surprise us all you two. Prove free will by posting a message no one would expect....
     
  15. Bebelina Feminazi Messiah Valued Senior Member

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    4,997
    Free will-heart-destiny

    Is my own home made solution for this dilemma. We must have free will to be able to follow our hearts, which will lead us to our destiny.
     
  16. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I'm finding their exchange to be very interesting and educational. Quick! Someone prod them into another quarrel.
     
  17. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Hi, Captain Canada ...

    I would have to say, rather than a matter of free will, it is more in line with determinism, or rather, patterned behavior. My posting an objection to something he has stated elicits a response that instead of being a thoughtful reply simply attempts to reinforce his questioned position.

    I guess it has something to do with boredom when nothing particularly interesting is being discussed on any of the forums. It's my cyber-version, so to speak, of 'Pin the tail on the donkey' which I find rather amusing at times.

    I don't know if this reply meets the level of proof you expected, but I'm quite sure it will elicit, unless I miss my guess, an emotional response, possibly a tirade, from kmguru.

    Take care.

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  18. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2001
  19. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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  20. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    2,235
    Hi, Bowser ...

    Checked both sites out ... In my opinion, the first one is a decent site for someone who wants to get to the meat of the subject. The second seems a bit 'light-weight' and a touch 'new wave'.

    I guess I have a thing about trying to equate, or explain, human psychology with mathematical concepts. I'm old school and still consider psychology 'soft science' (very soft) even though it does interest me.

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  21. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Hey,

    I've never given chaos much study beyond a basic understanding and definition. I did write a screensaver which used a random number generator (rand.h was the header, I think). Anyway, I wonder if the two, mind and chaos, cannot be associated. I think the idea is deserving of a closer look.
     
  22. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    6,151
    I suppose I should throw this in the mix...

    <i>"Are all events caused?

    If so, what are the implications for free will?

    If events aren't caused, they must be random.

    If all events are either random or caused, what are the implications for free will?

    Free will begins to sound like a myth to give us all the illusion of control over our lives. Is everything really determined?

    How can something be random? Maybe just a pattern to complex to detect.

    Any thoughts?"</i>

    Okay, okay, okay... So, I accidentally step on your toe. Is that a predestined event? Maybe so... Now your reaction...what will your reaction be? Will you scream and give me an ugly look (.W.), or will raise your foot and stomp on my toe? Is your reaction predestined? Are your actions a matter of freewill? If time repeats, will you make the same choices each and every time?

    I suspect that mind exists independent of physical events, even though it is affected by events and plays a role in causing those events.
     
  23. kmguru Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,757
    Hi Bowser:

    I am baack...Unfortunately Chagur is right. the first site has some meat in it. Though he will find fault in my statements even when I compliment him, here it goes:

    In another thread he said about how Russians are ahead in automated systems. I agreed with him as to their strength in mathematics and automation (they practically invented it). Automation is "System Dynamics" which is divided into simple as in "linear" and complex as in "non-linear".

    The Chaos Theory is about Non-linear Systems Dynamics (Crisp will agree to that). The maths are pretty heavy. Even my college professor had trouble.

    The first site talks about "Lyapunov exponents". Sounds like the Russians struck again.

    We use Non-linear Systems Dynamics (which we call Non-linear Control System) in aerospace, refinery, chemical and most process industries. For example, a waste water treatment facility collects waste water (duh!) and cleans it. To neutralize and treat the water it goes through various processes. Since one does not know what chemical composition the water is at any given moment and how much water is coming in, it is a non-linear process. The software and equipment is used to try to linearize the process as much as possible. But sometimes the system can breakdown in case of heavy rain or over or under demand.

    That is a simple example. Here is another. Say Intel is selling its P4 chips at certain price. Based on how they price thier chips over the last 2 years (I am oversimplifying here) AMD decided to bring thier M5 chip to the market with certain price point. Based on projected sales of AMD chip and the PC market, the wallstreet has an estimation of AMD earnings in the next quarter. Now the market disturbance enters into the picture. If the disturbance is small, both Intel and AMD can manage their business (including layoff option). But if the disturbance is very large, then both of thier companies may not be able to level out the Accounts Receivable side. So if it hits unexpectedly like now, Intel will drop thier price. AMD has to follow suit, hanging onto their teeth. This is a microcosm of the big picture - that affects their suppliers and customers and new technology, needs to replace PCs...etc that are called variable and there are too many of them.

    It is a Chaos my friend...and that is Non-linear Systems Dynamics in a nutshell - which is my day job. I can explain how that affects stock market, oil refineries or oil/gas processing on a platform OR when you send a probe to Jupiter and how difficult it is to control - some other time....
     

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