Is a deterministic universe a predestined universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I like that explanation. Especially the notion of us having made all our choices simultaneously. This preserves our agency as free actors while suggesting an implicate order (as per Bohm?) that unfolds itself thruout the events of the universe. I'm also interested in the relationships of past, present, and future events to each other on the 4 dimensional plane. Is there interaction between them? Can future events change past events? Certain experiments with quantum entanglement suggest as much. The mystery just gets deeper and deeper the more we ponder it.
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  3. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Suggest that they can (beyond the realm of tiny, fleeting quantum events, anyway) and say hello to every single time travel paradox ever conceived. To escape such madness, you either need something like a chronology protection conjecture, or grounds to declare time travel to be physically impossible (presentism doesn't have this problem, because it necessarily is impossible).
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    There is at least adequate determinism at the macroscopic level, allowing Newtonian calculations to plant a space probe on Titan years in advance. However, since AD advocates seem to largely rely upon interpretations of QM that endorse randomness at the microphysical level, acceptance of a rival view like Max Tegmark's (below) would apparently delete its inclusion of that form of indeterminism.

    Question (Dozier): When describing "Level III Multiverses", you state that on a quantum scale, all of the possible outcomes of a specific event actually happen, though each possibility occurs in a different parallel universe. We percieve that only one of the possibilities really occured, as we are observers in only one universe. In this way, there is no randomness to the outcome of an event, as all possible outcomes happen. But is it randomness that determines in which multiverse I, as a concious observer, will perceive the event in?

    Answer (Tegmark): That's a good question with a good answer: no, a different "you" will perceive (different outcomes of) the event in each of the parallel universes. Suppose a quantum measurement can produce outcomes 0 or 1. Then after the measurement, there's two parallel universes, each with a "you" with all memories you had before the measurement, one with the added memory of measuring "0" and one with the added memory of measuring "1". There's nothing random about this. Don't ask "how do I know which of the two guys is me?" - they both are.

    My current actions being dependent upon antecedent states doesn't mean that there is an "ultimate" algorithm or set of formulas outputting and rigidly regulating all events over time -- "containing", in a sense, an unalterable future already folded up within itself. And it is still this body that is specifically manufacturing its own decisions and tendencies, not a general agency or puppet master "out there" somewhere controlling it in heteronomic fashion. The interdependency of phenomena doesn't really equate to a biological organism not being responsible for its own life and deeds; the organization that enables it to function in the first place is confined to its body, not distributed over the whole environment (as if its "will" resided in an "outsider").

    Of course, the mathematical structures of Tegmark's mathematical realism would amount to the same as an algorithm strictly determining the future (but an eternalism covering more than just the single temporal path of a block universe, etc). Julian Barbour's version lacks such defined paths for all the "parallel" versions of the world; the latter are instead an abstract set of all possible, static states of the world that compete (in evolution-like fashion) for which will become the next "Now". Those past states of the universe still "are", but the path taken from one to the other beforehand is not preserved, apart from records in the environment, and brain memories. Thus Barbour's declaration of the "end of time", the latter concept referring to "nows" traditionally being connected in such a framework or structure ("time").

    But these eternalism romps would feature each "moment" of you (or possible state / configuration) already "existing" rather than truly, causally popping-in and popping-out in succession. This actually makes the interdependent influences (in varying contexts / degrees) upon everything else in the universe into more of the "illusion". All the diverse entities (or the developing stages of their possible configurations) are embedded together in (or constitute) a structure, but they don't literally influence each other or have "receptive windows" (that is, what one experiences of the "world" in a particular "now" was already present in the body state of that "now"; pre-coordinated with what others experience, in a manner of speaking, vaguely similar to Leibniz's pre-Established Harmony).
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  7. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    On face value, 'free will' seems like a good thing to have, yet if it remains only in its mention state then it isn't referring to anything but itself, so the proponents must move toward a usage, which would be such as saying what the will would be free of. Is it free of depending on something, such as inputs? It is merely free of coercion? Until then, it is or is assumed to be in quotes.

    Does it come from a soul? Well, that is another use-mention error, and so we should say 'soul'. Besides, that 'soul' would just be another input.

    Is 'free will' 'random'? One would have to show how 'random' could be, plus how it would make for 'free'.

    Finally, a fear of being robotic doesn't help to make 'free will' be so.

    Also, not that the coerced/responsible dichotomy is orthogonal to determined/undetermined, which is why in compatiblism they can have determinism to be completely compatible with their definition of 'free', which to them just means no coercion.

    If terms like 'free' are not defined then there is no basis for discussion. Free of what?

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