Is free will possible in a deterministic universe?

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

  1. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    ... cont'd
    But you don't.
    You don't, iceaura doesn't, noone else does!
    And yet it is, somehow, despite repeatedly almost begging iceaura to ignore me and discuss what he clearly wants to, my fault that he doesn't, or that anyone else doesn't?
    And you are now joining him and blaming me for him, or you, being unable to discuss those matters!
    Seriously, how stupid are you?
    No trap.
    I am fully aware, and have repeatedly stated (if you had honestly read the thread(s) as you claim) that if you change the notion of "free" then you can change the answer.
    So go and change the notion of free you want to discuss, and go and discuss it.
    Noone is stopping you.

    "Look, sire, we really must march onward to where we want to go."
    "No! We must stop and blame this person for not moving with us, despite the fact that he has repeatedly said he is happy where he is and is under no obligation to move with us! It's all his fault!"

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    You really are blinkered, aren't you.
    If you are referring to my discussion with Vociferous, well, wouldn't you know, he is trying to offer a different criticism, a different angle, a new idea to the discussion.
    So of course I'll engage with him, at least as long as I find it relevant (and that is where our latest wrangling currently resides, as to whether or not the theory of time one adheres to impacts the issue at all).
    Why would you honestly expect anything different?
    But you, you came in to complain that the thread was going in circles... and then push the thread in the same circle you think it is going in.
    That is the irony of your actions, JamesR, and a big wet puddle is forming as the irony continues to drip off.
    Me, I'll happily get on and off as I see fit, thanks.
    At the moment I have no intention of repeating my responses to flawed criticisms.
    No blockage, I assure you.
    But thanks for trying.
    Come up with something new to try out and we can discuss, if you want.
    I have suggested many times that those wishing to discuss other topics related to freewill raise new threads, with this one being about the question asked in the thread title.
    You know, whether free will is possible in a deterministic universe?
    And if people wish to discuss whether other notions of "free" can lead to free will in such a universe, noone is stopping them raising and discussing that here.
    But I am under no obligation to do so.

    So I strongly suggest you get off the miniature pony you think is your high horse, and get with the program.
    You have been put out by my unwilling to engage you on matters that have, by your own admission, been covered already.
    I get that, but now you need to get over yourself.
    And certtainly not jump on the wagon of trying to lay the blame at my door for them not discussing other notions of free will ...
    ... that is simply unacceptable from you, from iceaura, from anyone else who tries it.
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  3. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    as usual an awful lot of words but no logical substance.
    You can do better than that Baldeee..
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  5. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Well, there's no accounting for the comprehension of others.

    If it couldn't have been anything else, then there is zero justification for believing that any other time, than the present, is any less real. Just because you refuse to choose a preferred theory of time, likely to avoid needing to justify it, doesn't make your bare assertions about their relevance valid. But, no doubt, you will just continue to repeat your bare assertions to avoid engaging the argument.

    But, let's give you the benefit of the doubt.

    How would you justify any theory of time without any regard for how "set in stone" any time is? Can you? At all?

    No, no theory of time refutes causality. They merely tell us how time mediates cause and effect, not how time somehow, what, nullifies them.
    Again, if you have any alternative justification, other than how "set in stone", for preferring one theory of time over another, I'm all ears. Do tell.

    Again, then you should have no trouble justifying a theory of time without any mention of how "set in stone" any time may be. Go ahead. We're all waiting.

    I don't really care what you imagine my argument to imply.

    Quite the contrary. I actually said that every theory of time supports determinism.

    Lots of bare assertions. Meh.
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  7. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    You know, instead of losing your shit, you could simply take your own advice. Try begging yourself to ignore them, instead of vice versa. Exercise just a little will power, even if you're only externally determined to do so by this very post.
  8. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    As we'll see as we continue through your post...
    It's for you to explain and justify the relevance.
    You haven't yet done that.
    Simply asserting it, as you have done...
    Existence is a separate issue entirely to whether the events are set in stone or not.
    Imagine an old-school film projector... each moment on a different frame - whether what is in that frame is constantly changing or not.
    We observe the present moment - and it exists at that moment.
    But what of the moments to come, the moments past?
    If the projector destroys all the film as it progresses through, then the frame that has been projected no longer exists.
    If the projector also requires the film for the current moment to be created "on the fly", so to speak, no matter how set in stone the scene depicted, no matter how much leeway there is to change what is projected or not, then there is no future frame that actually exists.

    Since what is, and will be, actually projected is either determined by what was previously projected (determinism) or not (indeterminism), it is simply the deterministic nature of the frame that is relevant, and not whether the previous frame still exists, nor whether future frames yet exist.

    Just to be clear for anyone else reading, are you admitting that the theory of time has no bearing on whether the universe is deterministic or not?
    I don't use any justification at all.
    I have no preference at all.
    None of the theories impacts upon the deterministic nature of a system.
    Thus none of them impact upon whether or not free will is possible in a deterministic universe.
    Thus the theory of time is an irrelevancy to this discussion.
    If you mean can I explain how any particular theory of time has no bearing on whether the theory allows determinism or not, sure, already have just above.
    But since you seem to be insisting upon the relevance of the theory of time to the question of whether freewill is possible in a deterministic universe, how about you, for once, explain how it is relevant, given that the only thing relevant would seem to be the compatibility of the nature of determinism and freedom.
    The implication is not imaginary.
    And since the issue of whether free will is possible in a deterministic universe relies upon the nature of determinism, and you readily admit that all the theories of time support determinism, perhaps, finally, you can explain why/how the theory of time is in any way relevant to the question at hand?
    Or are you just going to run around in more circles regarding the theory of time, spouting how relevant it is, without ever providing support for its relevance to the issue?
    I mean, if the plate I eat my dinner on all support my allergy to tomatoes... on what basis is the plate relevant to whether I throw up after eating tomatoes or not?
    Surely the relevant factors are the tomatoes, and my reaction to them?

    So, again, of what relevance is this multi-page sidetrack into the nature of time actually relevant to the question?
    Well, feel free to demonstrate the opposite.
    I don't need to show how something is not question-begging, nor do I need to justify the premise of the question being asked.
    We are assuming a deterministic universe, after all.
    If, as you seemed to previously imply, although you have now corrected yourself, that a theory of time might disallow determinism, then we no longer allow that theory of time, due to the question asked and the premise of the question (i.e. deterministic universe).
    That particular theory of time would then be no more relevant than a sidetrack into issues of quantum mechanics and how our universe is indeterministic.
    But now you have indeed clarified yourself and said that every theory of time supports determinism.
    So now you just have to explain and support the relevance of the theory of time to the question at hand.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
  9. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You have confused yourself, it seems.
    If they discuss my posts then, as long as they are raising something new, I will happily engage.
    If they simply regurgitate that which has been dealt with before, not so much.
    What I am being accused of, however, and what you think a few capitalised letters is "losing my shit" over, is stopping them from discussing other notions of what it means to be free, such as "degrees of freedom" found in orbiting Teslas, or in thermostats.
    I would indeed probably ignore posts that head in that direction (other than to occasionally question how they could consider such things genuinely free).
    But my ignoring them or not has no bearing on whether they can or do discuss other notions of "free".
    That is entirely down to them.
    Yet I find myself standing accused for their inaction, and I will defend myself against such.
    So you'll have to excuse a few capitalised letters; if that is what it takes for the message to get across, then so be it.
  10. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Why's it any of your business what others choose to discuss? Quit being a busybody.
  11. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    You just quoted me as explaining the relevance. And as we see below, you completely fail to show how any theory of time can be justified without recourse to how "set in stone" any time may be.

    You didn't answer the question. You haven't/couldn't justified any theory of time. Just as I thought.

    It's also just plain contradictory to claim a scene is somehow "set in stone" for a film that has not yet been made. That's just preposterous on the face of it.

    YES!!! Because if it did, you would obviously whine about it being irrelevant for not sticking to your stipulation of a deterministic universe. Remember, the question here, as you've repeatedly said, is whether free will exists in a deterministic universe. So obviously, anything that denies determinism is not relevant. So it's puzzling why you're so avidly avoiding a theory of time.

    And don't try any bullshit like claiming it's irrelevant because it has no bearing on whether the universe if deterministic, as you've repeated demanded that we stipulate to that. So again, refusing to engage with arguments for free will is just begging the question.

    You have repeatedly demanded that we cannot question the determinism of the universe stipulated in this thread.
    So now you're intellectually dishonest enough to try claiming that something is only relevant if it does question that determinism. You really don't seem to care how much you have to blatantly contradict yourself to avoid arguments you don't like.

    If free will is possible in a deterministic universe, my contention, any argument for free will cannot undermine determinism itself. This should be plainly obvious, but apparently bears saying.

    The theory of time has no bearing on whether a system is deterministic, but it does have bearing on free will. By denying its relevance, you are simply precluding free will, by fiat, without argument or justification.

    No one asked you to "explain how any particular theory of time has no bearing on whether the theory allows determinism or not". You're erecting a straw man to avoid the actual question put to you. I'm not about to waste my time with an argument you've repeatedly proven yourself too intellectually dishonest not to immediately dismiss as "irrelevant". Grow a spine and select the theory of time you think best supports your argument already. Hell, just default to the theory of time supported by physics (sans QM), that time is a dimension on par with those of space.

    Since already asked and answered, I have zero reason to think any elaboration wouldn't go right over your head as well. Either engage with the argument, and show how your argument justifies a particular theory of time, or just continue to prove your intellectual dishonesty. Your choice.

    And that seems to typify most of your arguments in this thread. No justification and indifferent to how much you beg the question. Meh.
  12. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Thank you!
    It isn't my business (unless they choose to address what I have written).
    Yet I am being singled out as the reason that those others are not choosing to discuss things between themselves!
    I am not stopping them, and I never have.
    I'm being far from it!
    I'm addressing direct discussion of what I have written.
    If people wish to knock on my door, that is their choice.
    But for those people to knock on my door and blame me for them not going and knocking on other people's doors so that they can discuss other things, that's unwarranted.
    If you think that is me being a busybody, then I pity your ability to judge.
  13. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Even if it's about you, why should you care? Especially when it seems to get you so riled up.
    I have people on ignore, mostly so I'm not inundated with their inane notifications, but I still read a lot of it. And because I've simply chosen to, I'm not compelled to respond to any old thing they write, even directly commenting on what I've said. It's a much more adult strategy than whining about their posts.

    Either respond or don't. Don't whine about it.
  14. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I know it's what you think you've explained, but as I have explained to you, you don't actually explain anything of the sort.
    Just simply asserting.
    You are simply ignoring the justification provided.
    Where in what I typed do I make recourse to how "set in stone" anything is?
    I don't.
    In the film analogy there is a difference that you seem oblivious to between the frame and what is on that frame.
    The frame is time - it either exists prior to being displayed or it doesn't, and it either exists after it is displayed or it does not.
    What is on that frame is irrelevant to that.
    So - where is the recourse to anything being "set in stone"?
    I have justified all 3 as being equally irrelevant, once one separates (in the analogy) what is displayed and the frame in which it sits.
    If you're struggling to understand, perhaps ask questions rather than just throw your toys out of the pram.
    Ah, an appeal from incredulity.
    Is that really all you have?
    Because the issue is irrelevant.
    As explained.
    You are the one refusing to engage.
    You think it is relevant, and I have explained why I think it isn't.
    You have yet to address that in any meaningful way.
    You even admit that every theory you have offered allows a deterministic system.
    So, please, from that base, how do you propose that the theory of time one adopts is relevant?
    All your whining thus far is contradictory: you claim that the theory one adopts is relevant (despite not yet showing how) yet you admit that all of the theories allow a deterministic system - and thus have no bearing on the nature of the universe in question.
    What is it about this simple conclusion that you don't grasp?
    If we question it then we are no longer answering the question asked, but instead asking about a different universe.
    I have no issue if you want to discuss that in another thread, but let's keep this one on track, shall we, rather than continue along irrelevancies.

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    If it questions the determinism it is irrelevant in as much as we are only interested in allowing those aspects that allow the determinism, as I have repeatedly explained.
    Your delve into the theory of time is irrelevant because any of the theories one adopts has no impact on that deterministic nature.
    It's like asking someone to pick a number between 1 and 10: if someone wishes to expand the selection beyond 1 and 10 then that is irrelevant to the question asked; and if someone asks whether we are to respond in English or French is also irrelevant to the question asked.
    Do you comprehend that much?
    Thus anything that questions the legitimacy of determinism, or whishes to discuss any system that is not deterministic, it is irrelevant to the discussion.
    Similarly, if someone wishes to go down the path of arguing about something that has no bearing on the question, like the theory of time, which you have explicitly agreed does not impact the nature of determinism being discussed, then it is also irrelevant.

    Now, if you wish to try to claim that one of the theories of time allows free will, and you are able to explain how, provide argument for, while the universe remains a deterministic system: go right ahead.
    That is for you to pick a theory, and to argue accordingly.
    No contradictions, as shown.
    Just you remaining irrelevant with your desperate need for me to adopt a theory of time, despite me claiming its irrelevance (for arguments given) and you unable/unwilling to show why it is relevant to a deterministic system.
    It is obvious, so I await your efforts in supporting your contention.
    I've given reasons for denying its relevance.
    If you want to show how it is relevant then the onus is on you to do that!
    How many more times do I have to say that?
    If you think it is relevant, get on and actually support why you think it is!
    You did.
    Something being "set in stone" is an aspect of determinism, not existence.
    Asking for a theory to be justified, in the context of this thread (i.e. the deterministic universe) simply means to justify that existence without recourse to its deterministic nature.
    I have done that via analogy.
    No, I'm answering the question I think you have asked.
    They all do.
    It is thus an irrelevancy to my argument.
    Have you not figured that out yet?
    All three theories you proposed match that description.
    Since from my perspective it is you who is refusing to engage with this discussion, you who seems utterly unable to support why any particular theory is relevant to the question asked (your contention) despite being offered every opportunity, and even here you prejudge so as to give you an excuse not to provide... what am I to think of your hypocrisy with regard labelling someone else dishonest.
    You don't grasp how this works, really, do you!
    If you wish to claim that my argument is question-begging, that I am concluding something that I have assumed, that is for you to show.
    And don't get me wrong, I am very interested to be shown where the question-begging is, if you can be bothered to show where.
    As for justifying the premises... no, we're not here for sound arguments, only valid ones.
    Justification of premises is thus unwarranted.

    But hey, make whatever excuses you want to not answer.
  15. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Why should I care if someone responds to something I say???
    You do know this is a forum for discussion, right?
    If I wasn't interested in what people responded with, I'd use Twitter, or some such.
    You seem under the impression that I somehow feel duty-bound to reply.
    Apologies if I have given you that incorrect impression.
    Just because I may (however bizarrely) consider a response to me to be my business, no, I don't feel duty bound to respond.
    But I wouldn't generally post something if I wasn't interested in what was said in return.
    You know, as part of a discussion.
    But I'm weird like that.
    You don't get it, do you.
    I have been, ridiculously, accused of being the reason people aren't talking between themselves about the areas that they want to talk about.
    While I am flattered that people think I have that much influence over what people do and do not post on this site, it remains a ridiculous accusation.
    If you consider me having taken objection to that as whining, so be it.
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  16. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    You know, you can have a discussion without becoming personally invested to the point of losing your shit. Especially with strangers on the internet.
    You can choose to respond to only those people who remain on-topic, by your lights.

    Where? Can you quote it, or did you just infer it?
    Yes, that is whining. Literally crying about how unfair the perceptions of others are.
  17. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Just demonstrably over your head. Now you could prove me wrong, by having the intellectual honesty to engage and pick a theory of time. Quit shadowboxing arguments you're obviously afraid to deal with and engage already. Simple as that.

    Look, until you choose to engage, with some degree is intellectual honesty, I really can';t get through to you. Just keep humming with your fingers in your ears.

    Again, no one asked you that. Waving your arms about how irrelevant something is is not actually justifying any theory of time. Theories of time exist because there is some reason to justify each. You seem completely unaware of this fact, and willfully so.

    No, it's literally contradictory to claim something that does not yet exist somehow exists enough to be "set in stone". Simple logic.

    Quit shadowboxing arguments you're afraid to deal with head on.

    No, you have yet to engage with the simple question. Can you justify a theory of time? Simple question, Quit dodging it.

    My point exactly. Since I am not denying determinism, it makes no sense why you patently refuse to engage with the theories of time.
    I presume you'd agree that determinism is the laws of physics played out over time. So why are you so cagey about addressing time? It's an entire half of your argument.

    No, you'll just claim any argument is irrelevant, as you've repeatedly done. You're going to have to show a little intellectual honesty to regain any goodwill here. If that doesn't interest you, kick dirt.

    Snipped a lot more empty arguments about irrelevancy.
  18. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Right, so posting a few capitals is "losing my shit".
    Got it.

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    I do choose to respond to only those people who remain on-topic... or who make ridiculous accusations that I feel need addressing.
    Or at least those who think they're remaining on-topic - hence my continuing with you.
    Note how this thread has done well to avoid going down the irrelevancy of indeterministic universes, for example.
    Inferred, and it is quite obvious.
    When someone complains the thread, and myself in particular, is going round in circles due to not using another notion of "free", when everyone else is quite capable of using a different notion if they want to but don't subsequently discuss it, the accusation is clearly inferred.
    Apologies if you think that standing up for oneself and countering such accusations is whining.
    "Literally crying about...."
    Chalk up another person that literally doesn't know the meaning of "literally".

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  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    The actual topic of this thread is not about freewill nor determinism.
    It is about how some people fail to see how limiting their use of logic somehow justifies their position.
    It is how the offer to discuss is a fraud as there is nothing to discus due to that childish limitation of logic use.
    You have repeatedly refused to address the issues I and others have raised, simply because you can not refute them.
    The initial starting conditions have predetermined that the ability to learn how to self-predetermine to various degrees evolves in humans.

    Do you have any logical reason to show that this is impossible and if so how so?

    Or do you want to go on discussing your self imposed limited use of logic and reasoning?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  20. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    So in the previous post you advise to only respond to those on topic, and then you ask me to pick a theory of time that is irrelevant to the discussion.
    Oh, I'm sure you think it is relevant, only you haven't actually detailed why.
    Yes, I'm sure you're happy to lay that at my door for being "demonstrably over my head" - but, you know what, until you actually post something about why it is relevant, I have no reason to treat it as such.
    I'm the one who is being intellectually honest.
    I have given you explanation as to why I consider the theory of time irrelevant.
    You, on the other hand, simply refuse to engage on that.
    You want it to be taken as a given that it is relevant, but you need to show that it is.
    And even if it is relevant I am still under no obligation to pick a theory of time.
    You are quite capable, I assume (or perhaps therein lies the real issue), of talking about each and any of the theories of time in relation to the question of this thread.
    Or have I got that wrong?
    Perhaps it really is that you're scared of realising that they are ultimately irrelevant to the issue?
    Who knows - because you have yet to engage.
    And you have the gall to accuse me of intellectual dishonesty!
    Theories of time exist because there is no reason to discount them.
    They are also unfalsifiable.
    There is no reason to discount any of them in this discussion, relevancy aside, yet you are putting the onus on me to pick one, even though you should be quite capable of running with one, or all of them, on your own, to demonstrate its relevance.
    Can you do that?
    Are you going to?
    Yeah, of course, your unwilling is my intellectual dishonesty!

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    "Set in stone" in this context simply means that when something does exist it will exist in a way that has already been decided by what either currently exists or what has existed.
    Just because something will exist in a certain way does not mean that it can be said to currently exist.
    I've already explained why I consider the theory of time one adoptes to be irrelevant.
    That is not shadowboxing, it's simply me pointing to your position lying prone on the canvas.
    Now, if you wish to make an actual argument supporting the relevancy of the theory of time to this question, please proceed.
    I'm waiting.
    Tell you what, why not proceed to show the difference to the question of free will in a deterministic universe from the point of view of each of the different theories.
    That way you can surely demonstrate that there is relevancy to the theory of time one adopts.
    Can you do that?
    Or are you just going to make yet more excuses for not supporting your own position?
    I don't need to.
    I see no relevancy in the theory of time to the matter in hand.
    The onus is on you to justify the relevancy of it, despite you agreeing that all of the theories allow a deterministic universe.
    My argument, and subsequent conclusion, rests solely upon the nature of that determinism.
    One doesn't need to know about the theory of time any more than the price of eggs.
    Ball is in your court.
    Because I consider the theories of time irrelevant, as explained.
    If you don't think they are irrelevant, put your case forward.
    Don't be so hypcoritically dishonest as to lay your inability and unwillingness to do so at my door.
    Because the theory of time one adopts, for the umpteenth time, is irrelevant, as already explained.
    Whether the past or future exist is irrelevant to the relationship of what currently exists (or what will exist) to what has existed (or does exist).
    It is that relationship that is key, not whether the past and/or future can be said to currently exist.
    That relationship is found wholly within the nature of determinism, not within the theory of time supporting it.
    So once again you are using me as an excuse not to engage.
    You are intellectually dishonest, and a hypocrit.
    Post your argument.
    I will certainly show you where I think your error is, or, heaven forbid, where I might actually agree with you, because that is the way of discussion.
    But until you have the decency to post something that you think supports the relevancy of the theory of time, you're just whining.
    Let's get this straight: you are the one advocating the relevancy of the theory of time. to this debate.
    The onus is squarely on you to post why you think that, to support it.
    If you won't or, to be more generous, can't support the claim of relevancy, then what do you expect me to do?
    I certainly don't need to pick a theory to humour you in the meantime, especially when I have provided argument supporting the irrelevancy of the matter.
    The onus is on you, Vociferous.
    Stop whining and play ball.
  21. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Inferred does not equate to implied. Seems you may be imagining things.
  22. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    You're the only one who seems to think a theory of time is irrelevant to causal determinism, even though time is the only other mediator of causality other than the laws of physics.

    It's demonstrably over your head when you can't even seem to fathom the simple fact that time is a crucial aspect of causality. Cause > time > effect.
    Pretty damn simple, if you're not willfully obtuse or lacking in comprehensive faculty.

    You certainly seem to think you have, but unless you can argue that time is completely immaterial to causation, you have not. And if you could argue that time was irrelevant, you would be undermining your own stipulation to determinism.

    You're essentially just repeating "time is irrelevant to causation" over and over. It's ridiculous.

    I'm putting the onus on you to realize that time is crucial to causation.
    I can, and have, ran with all of them. But since that didn't penetrate with you, I'm forced to find some other means to get you to engage the simple argument. So participate already.

    And physics does have a preferred theory of time, which belies your claim that there's no reason to discount any of them.
  23. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Yet the inference drawn was valid.
    Go figure.
    But since I don’t recall ever stating or implying that inferred and implied were the same, perhaps you can indicate where you think I have done so?
    Or are you just hitching a ride on the Band Wagon Irony?

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