# Is free will possible in a deterministic universe?

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

1. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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The numbers in brackets represent the human path
x=0
x=1
Humans evolve:
x=2(1) x=3(2) x=4(3) x=5(4)
Birth of self-(c0)(pre)determination ( human age at about 6 months or there abouts)
x= 6(10)
x=7( 1900.88876)
x=8(2123)
x=9(12)
x=10( whatever)
and so on....
Essentially humans could be considered a wild card (life) in an other wise ordered (dead) deck.
Maybe the above is a little too cryptic for you but others may get the gist of it...I'm sure a better way of using math could be considered.
I'll think on it and see if something better can be formulated...

Last edited: Oct 21, 2019

3. ### BaldeeeValued Senior Member

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While you do, do you accept that even before the deterministic system examples gets to 1000, 1001, 1002... etc, we know with certainty that it will get there, that those will be the numbers it reaches, in that order, at that time, before it goes on to other numbers?
Do you accept that the deterministic system examples is predetermined like that?
I’ll assume your answer is “yes” because it will save me time waiting, and if your answer is “no” then the issue is more fundamental.

So, if you accept that the system is predetermined, that every step is set in stone from the moment of the initial condition, do you think that the human path is similarly as predetermined from the outset?
Or do you think the human path can go 1, 2, 3, 4... or 1, 3, 4, 5... or 1, 98, 63, 2012... etc, the path only determined at the point of choosing the next step at each junction?
Do you think that the human path is not set in stone in its entirety, is not thus predetermined, along with the rest of the system?

Last edited: Oct 21, 2019

5. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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Using your abstraction one could easily state that the human evolution of "path" self-(pre)(co)determination is set in stone... yes...and in fact it is essential that this be the case.
You wouldn't have the ability to argue the case if it were not...

Last edited: Oct 21, 2019

7. ### BaldeeeValued Senior Member

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1,995
So, just to be clear, you agree that the path the human takes was set in stone from the outset, from before the human ever came on the scene?
You agree that the path the human takes was thus predetermined before the human exists, and that the human can only ever follow the path that has been set in stone?
I just want you to be clear in what you are agreeing to here.

8. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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The path to self determination is indeed set in stone in your abstracted universe and so are the infinite path ways available for him to predetermine at his leisure.
No. He follows his own path as he was predetermined by your abstract universe to do.
He HAS to learn to self determine or die trying...there is no escaping this predetermined requirement.

9. ### BaldeeeValued Senior Member

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Then you do not understand what it means for something to be predetermied, despite repeated efforts to educate you.
And thus it becomes impossible to have a meaningful conversation with you when predetermination is at the centre of the issue.

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nonsense!

11. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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Baldeee
Seriously and honestly,
Perhaps you can explain why it is impossible that the universe has predetermined that humans learn to predetermine for themselves?

12. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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lol just started watching Dirk Gently.
topical!!

13. ### BaldeeeValued Senior Member

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It's a futile exercise until you can understand, and get to grips with, what it means for something to be predetermined.
Nothing you have said thus far suggests you do understand it.
Until you do you will continue to speak gibberish on this matter.
And I no longer have the patience to help try to raise you above your clearly willful ignorance.

14. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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so you have no answer to the question and seek to claim higher ground of some sort of authority when you have none...
well done!

you see, we all see, that you can not arbitrarily limit 14 billion years of determinism because it doesn't fit in to your failed abstraction.
There is ample evidence to support the fact that humans have evolved to self-(pre)(co)determine to serve their own needs.
• There is no need to invoke indeterminism.
• There is no violation of the principles of C&E.
• There is no break down of predetermination.
• There is however an addition of greater complexity and diversity of outcome. (infinite)
The quality of freedom is totally relative to the learning capacity of humans. The more you learn the more free you are. Knowledge is power and so is ability and skills.
The power is to self-pre-co-determine your own existence to the best of your learned ability.

Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
15. ### BaldeeeValued Senior Member

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1,995
If you consider it a surrender to remove myself from the path of your incessant stream of wilful ignorance, then so be it, I surrender.
Yet you will remain ignorant.
C'est la vie.

16. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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your choice... yes? or is it the universal puppeteer you refer to?
or more precisely is it a choice you have co-determined with the universal pre-determination?

17. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,805
Yep. It's just the latest one - the one central to the matter under discussion.
No, I do not detail the action of the car or the light or the driver.
You deny its existence. You deny the existence of a choice between two different capabilities that exist simultaneously as the driver approaches the traffic light. You have explicitly denied any significant difference between a driver and a brick, approaching the light.
You are expected to have read the posts you respond to, as well as your own.

I have now pointed to, described, and referenced, exactly where and when and how you invoke backwards causality more than twenty times over the past few months, and several right here

- briefly, again: whenever you claimed the future color of the light affects the existence and nature of capabilities in the driver now. That is you claiming the future affects the present in a universe you have assumed is causally deterministic. You do it., baldee does it, the entire lot of you do that.
But our discussion would not have been directly relevant to the thread topic, as the discussion of the driver's capabilities is.
Including the existence of a choice to be made made among various existing and mutually exclusive capabilities by the driver, according to criteria the driver will encounter in the future.
It's all in the "script", right?
That appears to be false, by direct observation and logical necessity. The driver logically must, and appears to in observation, possess the necessary degrees of freedom in decision making to allow them to select the appropriate capability in response to the future color of a traffic light - even in that one grossly oversimplified illustrative example. So any nonsupernatural freedom - that is, one not based on acting contrary to physical law and determining cause - must be involved at that point, just as observation indicates.
With complete and unlimited "relation" to all determining elements up to the moment of decision - at which point the decision and its consequent willed action join with the rest in becoming the determining past of the next action. The narrowness is in time, a single chosen moment of observation prior to any action involving the light.
No. There is no state with only one possible past.
Meanwhile: Description such as that would of course include the capabilities and choices and degrees of freedom that existed during the time described.
You appear to be confusing description with causation - that's the only visible way for you to duck the foolishness of having declared backwards causation.

This may be key: capabilities exist, physically. Like shoe sizes and eye colors, they can in theory be observed. They do not vanish from the present if destroyed in the future, any more that one's current weight becomes an illusion if it changes a week from now - whether anyone knew it would or not.

18. ### CapracusValued Senior Member

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1,297
No, they don’t say that, they say that it is assumed to be the case. Like I said before, there are no professional physicists who would portray the Copenhagen interpretation as a definitive explanation of the our underlying reality, especially considering that a pillar of the interpretation states that accurate empirical analysis of quantum states is not possible. Less than half the physicists in a poll favored the Copenhagen interpretation over other interpretations, but that doesn’t translate to it being considered a proven explanation of our underlying reality. The Copenhagen interpretation is empirically no more valid than it’s deterministic alternatives, and any honest physicist would acknowledge this fact.

There was no consensus among the 149 survey participants. While 39 per cent supported the so-called Copenhagen interpretation, the conventional picture of quantum mechanics, 25 per cent supported alternatives and 36 per cent had no preference at all. In addition, many weren’t sure they understood what certain interpretations described.

https://www.newscientist.com/articl...t-agree-on-what-the-quantum-world-looks-like/

So the reality among physicists regarding the subject, is that no faction is in a position to make a definitive claim on what QM actually describes.
But the empirical observation doesn’t exclusively support those assumptions. Assuming fundamental indeterminacy doesn’t make it true, or even reasonably defensible by adherents.
Even the physicists who favor the Copenhagen interpretation will admit that they can’t accurately describe the complete dynamics of the quantum realm, they don’t even think they're knowable. All they know is that applying its rules yields practical results.
Observations of QM can be assumed to be indeterministic, and can be justifiably assumed not to be, so to assume otherwise would be a sign of ignorance.
But it doesn’t have any greater significance than the rest.
You don’t have to detail it, their associated action is implied by their inclusion.
I don’t deny choice, or the elements that define it, I just use a more objective description of it. Choice is human action motivated by imagined alternatives, those imagined alternatives are analogous to the elemental forces that act on a brick.
The future color of a traffic light and the action of a driver in that same environment will be as determined by the universe, no backwards causality at play. The sum of universal conditions that determines the future color of the traffic light also implies the nature of the driver in the past. That isn’t reverse causality, it’s the inherent connection of all moments in a deterministic system.
But you can’t assume the nature of the human element without also considering the nature of all other associated environmental elements. The reason you make assumptions of alternatives is because of the lack of complete relational understanding of all environmental elements.
Yes, every elemental aspect of the action you call choice is scripted, which means that it wasn’t a selection between alternatives, but a determined singular act and outcome.
But you previously admitted that the act of selection is completely scripted, so why is there an assumption of the driver doing anything other than going through the motions of making a selection that has already been made? The initial universal conditions programmed the driver to act as they do, just like you program an alarm clock to go off at a future time. Would you claim that the alarm clock made a choice to go off?
But that willed action is a determined universal expression, not a human selection of actual alternatives.
Of course all futures in a determined system have definite pasts. Now who’s suggesting backwards causality?

In a determined system a capability is what the system dictates for any given moment. There is no capability for size 12 when the system dictates size 10, or blue eyes when brown are mandated, or for a driver to stop when the system determines go.

19. ### TheFroggerBannedValued Senior Member

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...what if the car breaks-down, and CANNOT go?

20. ### BaldeeeValued Senior Member

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To me choice is the process we go through that involves imagining possibilities as if there is not one mandated outcome.
E.g. Outcome A is mandated by the previous state of the system.
We choose between imagined possibilities, or imagined capabilities of A, B, C, and D, lacking the knowledge that A is the mandated outcome, and believing we can genuinely select from among them.
The process of the choice results in outcome A.
The outcome, while we believe it was arrived at freely, and the outcome selected from what we believe are genuine alternatives, was predetermined from the outset.
Every step of the process by which we conclude on A is similarly scripted.
Exactly.
The view iceaura has here is like if you roll a die but cover the outcome with your hand, then the die still has the capability of being any number from 1 to 6.
No, the result of that die roll is already determined, with no capability of being anything other than what it is already determined to be.
There is no capability of being anything else.
The removal of the hand to reveal the output does not determine through “backwards causation” what the capability was (e.g. only capable of being the 4 it landed on).
And in a deterministic system, every event, every output of every interaction, has already been determined from the moment of the initial state.
As humans, we just have our hands covering the result, until such time as the event actually transpires.
And only when we remove our hands can we recognise what the capability was.
But we don’t need to know what it was to be able to say that it was already determined and couldn’t be anything else.
But perhaps a given moment could have had more than one possible past?
I.e. while a deterministic system is such that every output is completely determined by its causes, it might be true that this does not hold in reverse.
E.g. a simple system that adds one to each state would be deterministic in reverse.
But a system that is the square of the previous state would not be... e.g. If one state is 5 then the next is 25, but in reverse the state of 25 could be reached by either +5 or -5.
It would be indeterministic in reverse.
But while iceaura said “there is no state with only one possible past”, this depends entirely on the nature of the system, and is not, afaik, a truism of a deterministic system per se.

21. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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I think you realy need to clearly define what a cause is.

22. ### CapracusValued Senior Member

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I don’t think so, given that moments are not simply snapshots of a system, but samples of its action and defining elements.
But since the process is also a factor in the moment of each state, the two would not be identical moments. When you preform various determined actions, whether mathematically or physically, the information regarding those actions will be present in every moment of the system. I’m not sure how negative quantities would translate into an actual description of a real system. If the system contains 25 marbles, reversing the process could yield -5 marbles?

23. ### VociferousValued Senior Member

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No, you're the one who just admitted to arguing that human will is analogous to a mathematical function. And it's a complete straw man to lay that at my door.

Chemistry? What part of "QM experiment" do you not understand? Chemistry is a complete non sequitur.