Is free will possible in a deterministic universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Sarkus, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Meaningless question.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    By causing stuff - such as thoughts, actions, reactions, decisions, metabolic states, other dreams, and so forth.
    That's how a causal deterministic universe works, if you recall - events cause the next events.
    Dreams would of course be among the mechanisms of self determination, in a deterministic universe. They would hardly be opponents to self determination - they are among the quintessential factors that constitute the "self". Hardly anything is more a part of one's self than one's dreams.
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    So dreams come true?
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Troll question.
    Naive materialists ask a lot of them, rather than address the content of posting.
    The content of the post being trolled was that dreams - in a deterministic universe - are physical and observable events, and like all physical events in such a universe they cause effects. They determine things. They are part of that deterministic universe.
    Among the events they cause are acts of will.
    That has implications for any analysis of freedom of will - the nonsupernatural degrees of freedom possessed by physical events at the logical level of dreams and similarly high level mental events are poorly understood and not trivial.
    The emphasis these guys place on that inane and irrelevant fact is a symptom. They keep repeating it, over and over, as if someone were claiming different.
    We - everyone here - have stipulated to a deterministic universe, same as a predetermined universe, no problem. It's a settled issue. It's been a settled issue for months now.
    That is not the same as stipulating to dubious and unsupported assumptions about freedom in such a universe.
    The assumption that freedom requires indeterminacy - violation of natural law in a deterministic universe, etc, - is the supernatural assumption.
    It is not granted.
    Those making it deny making it. They then post incomprehension of arguments from those not making it - they miss the point, post silly misrepresentations of other people's posts, troll the thread with "questions" like the one above, etc.
    Which illustrates the severe and fundamentally crippling effects of that assumption.
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I’ll respond to you ‘cos I know Baldeee really does have you on ignore...

    Perhaps before you respond you should consider what the comment was in response to. QQ asked a question and Baldeee responded quite pertinently, because QQ really is starting to question it. He stated that it is not enough to simply assume it. So you disagree with him. Yet you shoot the messenger. How brave of you.
    And I’m sure when QQ accepts as much that this little sidebar he’s taken Baldeee down will come to an end. In the meantime, have a go at QQ for being the one to question the premise that we have all otherwise agreed upon, as you say. This is, after all, a thread about his notion of “co-determinism” and if one can not respond to what the one who is promoting the theory says...?
    To which we are still awaiting something of substance from you, other than appeals to complexity etc.
    Again, you are responding cross-purpose. The issue quite clearly that you should be responding to is the sliding by QQ from the premise of determinism (that you concur we have all agreed upon) to trying to adjust the nature of that determinism to introduce a further element, thus effectively negating that premise. Note his bizarre “trinary logic” comment. Your views regarding the incompatibilist position in general have been well documented, but that is no reason to turn every sidebar into an excuse to rattle them off one more time. After all, they were wrong the first 100 times so it’s unlikely they’ll suddenly be correct.
    Of course it isn’t. By either side. One side reach it’s non-existence within a deterministic universe as a conclusion, the other side note that conclusion and come up with another notion of freedom entirely. Which is why from the outset it has been a case of different notions of freedom result in different conclusions. It’s not rocket science.
    Because they don’t make it. They conclude it, quite clearly.
    Sure, some do, just as others confuse a conclusion for an assumption.
    Some might, sure, but that is not limited to one side of the argument. Others simply disagree with you. There is a difference.
    Such as?
    Fallacy on your part, in that you’re taking individual’s adjudged weakness at discussion as being an argument against the position they hold.
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Do people exercise free will in dreams or are dreams merely causal without motivated participation by the dreamer?
  10. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Lucid dreaming.
    As for normal dreams, it depends what you mean by “motivated”.
    Can the subconscious be a motivational factor for actions?
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Only by excluding - by assumption, by explicit premise, by definition - all nonsupernatural freedom of action from the category "freedom".
    The difference is that one is limited to supernatural action by assumption (therefore irrelevant in any discussion of freedom in a deterministic universe), and the other is not (therefore relevant here).

    Since all supernatural anything is excluded by assumption, by definition, by premise, in advance, from a deterministic universe, that assumption excludes all freedom of action in such a universe by assumption.

    The assertion that this assumption is a "conclusion" - repeated in the face of quoted evidence and multiple examples including in this thread - is an example of the crippling effects of that assumption.

    Any such "conclusion" would be therefore circular reasoning - immediately invalid, not a "conclusion" but an error. And it is actually rare - most of the conclusions referred to in these meanderings are conclusions about determinism, or predeterminism, or the like, and not about "freedom". I have quoted several in which the word "freedom" does not even appear.

    The net result is to verify my observation about the supernatural assumption: The fact that conclusions about determinism are immediately and without acknowledgment referred to as conclusions about freedom verifies the existence (and crippling effects) of that underlying assumption.
    Your mistaking that post for an "argument" against a "position" looks like yet another symptom of the crippling effects of the supernatural assumption.
    It's not an argument, and it has nothing to do with a "position".

    And how is it that you guys can make that claim, indulge that approach, apparently understand that concept in abstract - even falsely in practice - without recognizing that the majority of your contention with QQ is exactly that fallacy? You even continued that approach after it was pointed out to you, by me among others, above. You steadfastly refuse to recast QQs approach in stronger form, or deal with what his approach includes minus the aberrant vocabulary etc.

    This isn't simple stupidity, see. That's visible. Some other factor has to be involved. My suggestion - looking at what all this common error stuff has in common otherwise - that these coordinated and mutually reinforcing errors of fact and comprehension illustrate the effects of the common errors of naive materialism, including - especially - that stubborn supernatural assumption.

    As noted: it's not rocket science. It's error at the very base, the assumptions.
    James R likes this.
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    But entities in that universe - beings with the necessary capabilities - do decide. And that's what we're talking about.

    These decisions, by these entities, are the subject of the thread. The free will of the universe, if any, is not. Like predeterminism vs determinism, it's just another obsession of the naive materialists, stuck in the rut they dug themselves when they decided to ignore the implications of mental capabilities in the physical world.
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It can be established that they are excluded only as a conclusion of the two premises that are used: the definition of freedom, and the premise of predetermination. That's what you fail to understand.
    It is entirely relevant, and continues to be relevant, as it is a conclusion stemming from a perfectly coherent and adequate definition of what it means to be free, and a deterministic universe. If someone asked me if I was free if every move I made, every thought I had ever had and will ever have was predetermined from the start of time, I'd say no - but that I might feel like I was. There really is no other notion of freedom. Write4U suggested that any other notion is really just about flexibility, not freedom. So no, the notion of freedom, the one we all seem to conclude is impossible in a deterministic universe, is very pertinent, very relevant.
    We have excluded the supernatural, yes, by subsequent agreement, not by initial premise, certainly not by definition. I and others were happy to conclude that freedom (as defined) does not exist and leave it that. You brought up the claim that we were assuming it was supernatural, so we have since agreed mutually that we are not going down any path supernatural.
    You have singularly failed to provide any evidence that the assumption was made, and every time you have tried to you have either reached it as a conclusion (pointed out and detailed each time you have tried that tactic), or simply attacked your own strawman version of the initial argument, reformulating it so that it was then a form that you attack. So none of this blatant bullshit that you have provided "quoted evidence" or provided any such examples. You simply haven't.
    And since it was demonstrably not included within the premises, any more than Socrates being considered mortal is included in the premises when he is defined as a man, your entire argument along this line is fallacious, a strawman.
    Furthermore, circular reasoning is more than often valid. It is an informal fallacy, not a formal one. But hey, what's one more slip in your understanding of such basic logic.
    And that's entirely understandable once you bother to stop treating this thread as if it is just an extension of the previous ones. It really isn't. If the discussion about QQ's "co-determinism" (see that word in there?) requires the discussion of determinism and/or predeterminism then that is what will be discussed.
    No, it simply means that the initial argument has been accepted by both parties to the discussion. FFS, QQ even stated quite categorically that his there is no freedom in a deterministic universe. That is the conclusion he reached from the logic. For you to then wrap that conclusion into the definition of determinism and claim circular reasoning is simply dishonest on your part, if not just woefully ignorant of what has been said in this thread.
    It is a straight forward appeal to what you see as consequence. If it is not, why bother repeating it as often as you do? No, it is an appeal to consequence, trying to attack the other's position by criticising the consequence you see.

    Your fallacy has been correctly identified in you, and it is not what my contention is with QQ. To be able to do that I'd at least need to understand what QQ is actually on about. At the moment I don't. Every time I think I'm getting somewhere he throws another angle at it and just muddies the water again.
    To do that I would need to understand his approach. I don't. The aberrant vocabulary gets in the way. The closest I get is that he's discussing a cog in a watch.
    It's not stupidity, it's merely confusion as to what he means, plain and simple. He says one thing then contradicts himself, then comes up with some spurious comment that seems to have no relevancy whatsoever. If you can thrash your way through the brambles, good for you.
    When you actually get round to pointing out an error, I'll be all ears. Until then, I'll leave you to your appeals to complexity, and your dishonest ways.
    No, it's just your error in recognising a conclusion when it smacks you in the face, and not then wrapping it up in the assumptions. But if that's really the best you've got, I guess we shouldn't expect much more from you than appeals to complexity and your mantra of "crippling effects of the supernatural assumption".

    Now, if you want to get back to discussing QQ's "co-determinism" with him, as you seem to understand what he's talking about, I'll leave you to it.
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Sure, they go through the process. So what? Noone's denied that.
    The subject of this thread is "co-determinism" between the universe and an entity with "self-determination". With one contrary view, from what has been understood of what QQ has said, being that it is no more than a description of a cog in a watch.
    Agreed. Noone has discussed the universe having freewill, other than of course you in your continuing attempt to set up a strawman.
    Obsession, no, but entirely relevant to this thread. Predeterminism, after all, speaks directly to the freedom (not mere flexibility) within any system, whether in a deterministic universe or not. Nor is there any rut where I am, but thanks for the concern. Yours, on the other hand, looks deep, as you redefine notions to make yourself more comfortable.
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    That may be, but I doubt it would qualify as free will.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Good to hear.
    Not too long ago, right here, people who suggested that the process of a driver deciding between mutually exclusive capabilities was significant were openly mocked and called names and so forth. Process was irrelevant, and observations of it were illusions, said the naive materialists.
    So: progress.
    Every single one of my posts reminding you of the irrelevance of the future behavior of the universe to some discussion of a human decision and act of will - driver stopping for a red light, say - was in response to your posting. You have had to be reminded of the irrelevance of the universe's future determination of events and future behavior more than anyone else here - even the other naive materialists have been less prolific with that bs than you.
    Which you have chosen to deal with in a weak and poorly presented form, rather than the stronger forms at hand - exactly the fallacy you mistakenly attributed to my post.
    It's not relevant at all. It's been stipulated to, months ago, and assumed by everyone here in every post - (barring the weak form of QQ's approach, which is unnecessary). It's something we all have in common, not an issue with anyone.
    And you bring it up over and over and over, for no apparent reason - obsessively.
    In a deterministic universe, such as the one assumed here by everybody the entire time, it speaks only to supernatural freedom, without addressing nonsupernatural freedom.
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    That is not an act of free will, that's a deterministic response to a causal condition, IMO.

    Have you ever not stopped at a red light? Could you have stopped if you had wanted to? Why did you not want to stop at the red light?

    Will you not stop at a red light in the future? If not, where is your exercise of free will if you never use it to counteract a prior causality.

    The key is not if you can do other than what you do, the key is that you never do other than what you do, and that is never from unmotivated free will, but always from prior causal pressures, external or internal.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Mocked? Called names? If you say so. Progress? Not really. If you'd been paying attention this has been said from the outset. Noone has denied the process. Ever. And observations of the process have never been considered illusory, if you had understood the argument properly. And if you had read their posts. So progress? Not in your keeping up.
    Once again, the issue is not with regard the process. Never has been. Every time you posted the example of the driver stopping for a red light, say, I told you as much. And the universe's determination of events, future or otherwise, is absolutely key to the discussion. It points precisely to the lack of freedom (as opposed to flexibility) in that process. There is no bs there. Just your disagreement. And there are no naive materialists here, just your jaundiced opinion.
    If you want to go ahead and tell QQ what it is he is actually proposing with his theory, feel free. I will wait until he has actually clarified it, if it's alright with you, and respond to the words he actually uses, and the thoughts he actually puts down. That's not a fallacy. And it's not the fallacy you were caught out on.
    It is relevant. It's because it has been stipulated to, and assumed, that it is therefore relevant to bring it up when QQ proposes something that blatantly goes against it. Now, if you want to sit down with QQ and thrash out his "theory" so as to avoid such slips, go for it. Until then, I'll bring it up whenever it is relevant to the discussion.
    I get that you don't want to talk about it - so I ask yet again, for something like the fifth time - why do you keep responding to my posts? Discuss with QQ what you want to about his theory. That's what this thread is for. That's surely what you'd prefer, right? But no, for some reason you just keep trotting out your mantra, keep trotting out your fallacies, and barely give the actual thread topic any attention at all. Hey ho.
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Your definition of freedom is the supernatural assumption - a defiance or independence or contradiction of what has been causally and naturally determined by the deterministic universe (many quotes, explicit analysis, done deal). You thereby exclude it from our agreed, stipulated, deterministic universe - by definition, by assumption, by premise. That is, as you rightly point out, an assumption - one of your premises. You endorsed the explicit description of it as a premise - Baldee's clear posting.
    There is at least one suggested - You have seen it posted, right in front of you, more than once. You have complained about its otherness - as if having a nonsupernatural notion of freedom were somehow changing the subject, or invalid because it wasn't the same as yours.
    Pretending to draw that as a conclusion, after assuming it as a premise, is silly. Flagrantly silly. Not a serious argument.

    And claiming something does not exist, after complaining about it existing, is another in what has become a common form of self-contradiction: nonexist/trivial, nonexist/"other notion", nonexist/objectionable, nonexist/determined, nonexist/illusion, etc.
    James R likes this.
  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No, it is simply a definition. It is only later concluded that it is impossible within a deterministic universe. Conclusion. Not assumption. No circular reasoning. It really shouldn't take 100s of posts for you to understand this, yet here we are.
    The definition is not the issue. The premise is not the issue. It is only when combined with the other premise of the deterministic universe can it be seen to not be possible. Hence conclusion. Every time you have tried to show how it is an assumption you have done nothing but shown it to be a conclusion. The one time you successfully showed it to be an assumption was the wholly dishonest reformulation. Go figure.
    Becuase I don't see it as freedom in this context. It is more rightly termed along the lines of flexibility. I haven't complained about it, I just find it rather trivial, finding it as one does in a thermostat. Hark, is that an appeal to complexity I hear trundling down the road?
    No pretence, no assuming it as a premise. Your insistence to the contrary is the only thing silly here, iceaura. Demonstrably fallacious on your part. And dishonest in effort as well.
    You have to parse what is being said to exist or not. Processes, yes; freedom, no. You can redefine freedom to mean akin to flexibility, and yes, that exists, but is it really freedom? No, not really, in my view. It exists as an illusion of that freedom, sure. It exists as another notion of that freedom, sure. But is it really freedom? No, but others call it that. See, no contradiction, self- or otherwise. You just have to keep up.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I do.
    Suit yourself. It is a very small step.
    You have. You have denied the existence of the capabilities involved, for example. You called them "illusions".
    Yes, it is. That is where the degrees of freedom are involved, where the willed behavior is chosen, and so forth.
    You were being willfully stupid, and denying things in front of you. I did not, for example, post the act of stopping as the example - that was you, moving the timeline to cover your avoidance of the central issue. ("A driver approaches a traffic light - - - - " You guys have never - not once - dealt with that situation. You have always changed some key detail, screwed up the basics).
    It most certainly does not. It begs the central questions and avoids the main issues of nonsupernatural freedom.

    The only freedom it points to as lacking is supernatural freedom - the decider not doing what it "must" do, the decider doing something different in exactly the same circumstances, etc. Unfortunately, that is your definition of freedom itself, your assumption of the nature of "genuine" or "actual" freedom - that supernatural ability.
    You choose to argue against the weakest presentation. And you mistake the nature of QQ's proposals, accordingly.
    (In your derision you also miss the fact that his side comments are occasionally telling - for example, that your relegation of observation to "illusion" relegates the observer as well, and all their "conclusions" and "determinism", thereby obviating your entire argument and viewpoint at one stroke. I made that same observation, back a ways - used a metaphor: snake eating its tail.)
    Discussing QQ's theory is what I'm doing - starting with putting it on more solid conceptual footing. He - like you - assumes that freedom by definition cannot exist in a deterministic universe, that obedience to natural law precludes freedom. As with the naive materialists generally, that assumption screws up his arguments from the gitgo; in his case, his attempts to find a loophole via the "self" - because of that assumption he has to separate that self from the universe to find freedom in it, and he has no clear way of doing that.

    But you don't have to accept that confused framing and vocabulary, simply for the advantage it gives you in argument - you could consider his points from a stronger basis.
    James R likes this.
  22. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    of course Sarkus can not see that if the outcome is an illusion then the process that leads to it is also...
    he will try to evade and duck for ever on that point and never actually discuss why that is so...
    This is because the moment he does, his entire belief in his version of determinism falls on it's face unless he includes a self determined actor.
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Well, time to learn something.
    The definition is assumed. It is a premise. And it excludes freedom from a deterministic universe, which we have also assumed. We assumed no supernatural actions, nothing doing other than it must. You defined freedom as doing other than one must. Hello?
    So your "conclusion" (not the one you actually arrived at, the one visible to readers, but your present assertion of what you meant) was assumed from the beginning.
    It doesn't become a conclusion by being combined with another premise. It remains an assumption. Only the conclusion is a conclusion. Go back and read your arguments, or Baldee's clearer explication. Your conclusions are about determinism, the implications for freedom you then assume (later) to have been "concluded", automatically, without argument - yet more evidence of the role that assumption plays in naive materialism, if any were needed.

    You never - nowhere, not once - justify, argue for, or even notice as an issue, your definition of freedom as a supernatural ability, your supernatural assumption.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019

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