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The fact that the discussion on free will versus determinism exists proves that both are only partly correct. Marx's 'We are free to do as we wish, but in circumstances not of our own choosing' applies. (talk) 18:18, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

I thought that was Schopenhauer? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
This discussion may have ended months ago, but if it didn't it's worth noting that 82.x.x.x's claim is patently false.TallMan (talk) 21:38, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
I...can't...stop...myself...typing...this... --Scherben (talk) 16:34, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

Does every event in physics have a cause[edit]

Trying to understand this point. If I fire a single photon at a pane of glass - some will pass through and some will be reflected. I know statistically the probability results but at an individual photon level what determines what happens? Can anyone here can en lighten me. A musing from an alcoholic addict? ta. --Dirk Steele (talk) 09:37, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Short answer (AIUI): We don't know. Longer answer (again, AIUI): We have several ideas (many-worlds; hidden variables; randomness), but nobody has yet found a way to make a measurement that would allow us to eliminate any of them from consideration. Hydrogen and Time (talk) 10:03, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
So why is it that many here on RW are determinists on the basis that every physical event has a predetermined cause? --Dirk Steele (talk) 10:17, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
They are? Theoretical physicists could tell you of many physical events that don't appear to have a predetermined cause, you know. Like particles coming into existence from seemingly nothing (some sort of quantum mechanical effect) and that effect actually being a force that affects objects in space. I'm no expert, since I studied practical physics myself, but my roommate was working on such a topic. Nullahnung (talk) 08:20, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
It's complicated for me. You could call me a determinist for simplicity's sake, but the real answer is that it's a false dichotomy. The concept of free will is simply incoherent, so framing determinism as its only alternative is really misguided. I suspect the free will "debate" is only reason people even care about indeterminism. Personally, I think cause-and-effect is an abstract concept that really only makes sense if you're an animal with a linear perception of time that likes to compare stimuli for some sort of coherent explanation. (talk) 09:42, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

The common concept of determinism is logically inconsistent[edit]

It is interesting, at least to me, to observe that there is a way to make the ordinary concept of determinism appear inconsistent. We do this with the assumption that events are all completely determined by natural laws and the positions of all matter at a given moment in time. We assume we have the computing power to perfectly predict future events precisely. We demonstrate that it is impossible to know the future with respect to personal autonomy. Our computer C is known to me and I can access it simultaneously during immediate experience. It tells me what I must do at every moment in the immediate future. But I am under no obligation to conform to its predictions. I can, consciously, do something other than the predicted act. This thought experiment does not establish that free will exists, but rather that determinism is too general a concept and can be made self contradictory.Ariel31459 (talk) 18:36, 30 December 2022 (UTC)

You are sort of begging the question in the assumption you can simply “choose” otherwise given such a computer existed. It’s also a basic metaphysical misconception that determinism entails prediction. Assuming the premise of what is being denied by a given stance doesn’t actually demonstrate any inconsistency in the stance itself. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 21:03, 30 December 2022 (UTC)
What question am I begging? I assume the truth of a proposition and show it leads to a contradiction. And what is a stance in your parlance? The argument is that the mental construct used for "determinism' is too vague and allows for contradictions, and is an idea from a speculative sort of folk science. Determinism entails necessity, and the necessity of an event implies a theoretical predictability. Of course everyone who thinks about it for a while will probably realize that there is no way to create the kind of information base necessary to accomplish the Laplacian goal of Laplace's Demon. The physical theory requires a predictability for the question to be any more than a language game. The question can be compared to Russell's Paradox. The problem there was anything could be a set. Not all deterministic constructs are possible. That's a problem with the concept of determinism as a scientific idea. Ariel31459 (talk) 21:24, 30 December 2022 (UTC)
You assumed in your initial argument "I have no obligation to conform to it's predictions" which implies a free choice incompatible with determinism. The determinist more often than not is rejecting this very notion to begin with (even in the context of soft determinism "free choice" is only allowable as something compatible with determinism hence "compatiablism"). It's the equivalent of arguing P but we assume ~P therefore P ^ ~ P. No duh this results in a contradiction you assumed the negation of the stance you're responding to. It would be like arguing if God exists that is inconsistent with God not existing, therefore God not existing itself is a contradiction. It's fallacious reasoning. The problem with Russell's paradox is that it was a product of Frege's initial axioms in his naive set theory. Frege didn't explicitly rule out the paradox from his theory, in fact, created the conditions to entail it. In this case the determinist position does entail that you cannot make choices incompatible with determinism. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 22:22, 30 December 2022 (UTC)
Determinism doesn't entail predictability because predictability at that level would require perfect knowledge of all physical conditions at any given moment...which is simply not physically possible. So as a scientific idea this isn't even on the table as a means to demonstrate a inconsistency in the position of determinism itself. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 22:29, 30 December 2022 (UTC)
If you really want to demonstrate the falsity of causal determinism you really only need to look at quantum mechanics because it would not matter what you knew about the initial conditions the behaviour of quantum objects is entirely probabilistic. This doesn't entail we have free will however, so it cannot be used an argument for that. Many determinists concede this and just insist that determinism still applies to macro level objects subject to classical mechanics.- Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 22:33, 30 December 2022 (UTC)
I'm getting the idea you are not reading what I have written. I already pointed that out: "Of course everyone who thinks about it for a while will probably realize that there is no way to create the kind of information base necessary to accomplish the Laplacian goal of Laplace's Demon. The physical theory requires a predictability for the question to be any more than a language game". I am pointing out that the way determinism is defined is inconsistent, not that it can't be used in science, anymore than the idea of a set must be discarded because of Russell. God has nothing to do with the argument which is simple enough. I'm assuming P and concluding -P. This means there is a problem with the construct as it is used, and therefore greater care must be taken where arguments employ determinism. Of course the problem with Russell's paradox is the definition of set, just like the problem with constructions using determinism is the definition of generalized determinism. I'm frankly surprised you don't understand that. Also, causal determinism is not false, it simply is inconsistent when applied indiscriminantly. Ariel31459 (talk) 22:39, 30 December 2022 (UTC) .
I actually read what you wrote multiple times and it becomes very apparent that you have little to no formal training in metaphysics and you don't really actually know what determinism as a position is about. I suggest spending some time on the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. [1] With that you haven't actually demonstrated any inconsistency at all, because your entire thought experiment is not a real thought experiment dealing with the assumptions and definition of determinism itself -- you have included your own assumptions and metaphysical positions into the thought experiment which is not entailed by determinism itself. This makes it not only the case that you are begging the question against determinism, but you are also, in fact, misrepresenting it. Making your entire thought experiment a response to a strawman argument. I do not see why in the hypothetical example why you wouldn't be bound to the predictions of the computer, in fact your entire thought experiment is kind of inherently incoherent as you contradict the very thing you say your computer is able to do. You just simply assume libertarian "personal autonomy" is a thing and run with it. Causal Determinism argues entirely against the idea that you have personal autonomy at that sort of level. Just because you make up an argument that possesses a contradiction does not mean that the position you are responding also possesses that contradiction. This makes your entire post a non-point, and does not illustrate what so-ever that determinism is logically inconsistent. Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 23:20, 30 December 2022 (UTC).
Also my allegation isn't that you assumed P and concluded ~P, you assumed P and you assumed ~P. If you want to demonstrate that determinism is logically inconsistent you would have to do away with the idea of personal autonomy that allows you to defy the computers predictions all together. Having that assumption is assuming the opposite of determinism (in fact that very premise assumes libertarian free will which is incompatible with determinism). That's why you are begging the question against determinism. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 23:22, 30 December 2022 (UTC)