Existential Musings - Part 1: Determinism & Free Will

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posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:36 PM
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a reply to: Woodcarver


If i had to make a guess i would say that the universe is determined but life and conscious may be able to avoid some of it by making decisions.

You cannot have it both ways. The moment you introduce anything that can violate determinism then it's impossible to predict exactly how the future will play out, and your predictions will get less and less accurate the further in the future you go, due to the butterfly effect. The eventual fate of the universe may be determined, assuming it has an end, but there are an infinite number of paths we could take to get there.




posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:46 PM
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a reply to: AfterInfinity


That's what free will is - the extent and direction of our participation. Our conscious influence on the outcome.

What you are essentially saying is that free will is intrinsic to consciousness, meaning if you have consciousness then you automatically have free will. This is something I really should have mentioned in my opening post because it's a valid line of thought imo, because I don't really see how you could have consciousness without free will. It's a little bit like the chicken and the egg problem; what came first, free will or consciousness? Or are they simply one in the same thing?
edit on 18/4/2014 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 06:59 PM
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I chose to believe in free will because determinism sounds really boring.

To me, determinism sounds like something invented in the dark ages to keep the serfs subservient to their Lords.

There is an existential joke I like, it goes like this:

“To be is to do”—Socrates.
“To do is to be”—Jean-Paul Sartre.
“Do be do be do”—Frank Sinatra.



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 07:10 PM
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a reply to: ImaFungi


Just because we cannot predict with a high degree of accuracy doesnt mean there is no preceding event that causes it. This is bad logic on your part, and should not be a confidant assumption, if one wanted to be right.

So what event leads up to the occurrence of vacuum fluctuations? If there isn't any hidden determinism in the rules of QM, and I don't think there is, then the conclusion is inescapable: some events wont have an exact cause.
edit on 18/4/2014 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 07:24 PM
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Yes we are just pawns in the game of life, puppets to random events or the old religious proverb classic, "By the Gods will". Basically String theory.


Almost like a Christmas carol story, with the three ghosts. Past, Present, and Future. I think their is mathematical reason why the future ghost was depicted as the grim reaper, seeing as how Death likes to play chest. And in chest, it about being three steps ahead of the opponent.


Kind of symbolic really, Chest has over a million sequences to be played... But hey, I suck at math.
O yea, Deja vu also, probably more of a conscious problem any was .

Again, not so good with the math.
edit on 18-4-2014 by Specimen because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 09:04 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect


When I look at a colony of termites, to me they look to be totally programmed to do what they do. They don't make decisions, decisions are made for them it seems. And what they do is incredibly complex. But I'm not sure they even realize it...

That is a very poor analogy, ants are probably not self aware in the same way as humans. They don't exhibit any traits I would expect to see from a self aware species. They don't study science or ask questions about their own existence, they don't paint abstract artworks or build machines capable of traveling to the moon. Ants may not appreciate or realize how complex their constructions can be, but humans most certainly do realize and appreciate how complex our constructions can be.
edit on 18/4/2014 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 08:24 AM
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originally posted by: ChaoticOrder
a reply to: AfterInfinity


That's what free will is - the extent and direction of our participation. Our conscious influence on the outcome.

What you are essentially saying is that free will is intrinsic to consciousness, meaning if you have consciousness then you automatically have free will. This is something I really should have mentioned in my opening post because it's a valid line of thought imo, because I don't really see how you could have consciousness without free will. It's a little bit like the chicken and the egg problem; what came first, free will or consciousness? Or are they simply one in the same thing?


Even dogs have free will. Why do some dogs attack people and other dogs don't? Because they have learned not to. They have discovered that getting along tends to lead to a longer and happier life. So they choose to be nice because its a safer alternative, more rewarding. Granted, they rely on their instincts, but when a dog brings you its leash and sits there staring at you pointedly - or when your cat sits on your tax return and glares at you - how is that not free will?



posted on Apr, 19 2014 @ 10:01 AM
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originally posted by: ChaoticOrder
a reply to: ImaFungi


Just because we cannot predict with a high degree of accuracy doesnt mean there is no preceding event that causes it. This is bad logic on your part, and should not be a confidant assumption, if one wanted to be right.

So what event leads up to the occurrence of vacuum fluctuations? If there isn't any hidden determinism in the rules of QM, and I don't think there is, then the conclusion is inescapable: some events wont have an exact cause.


Just because I, we, science doesnt know what event leads up to the occurrence of vacuum fluctuations, doesnt mean the rational assumption is that no event leads up to them. The rational assumption, is that all known events have causes (even if they are entirely and extremely intricate and vast and fast and large space encompassing and quick time encompassing and small and complex) so these most likely have causes as well.

There is no logical reason to assume otherwise. A statement cannot be expressed in any way, that would infer that a non nothing essence/material/substance of any kind could do something or be affected 'by nothing' for no reason. There is always a (non moral/god/intent) 'reason' why things happen.

To reply more to the total nature of your OP regarding free will. Determinism exists in the sense that "Something has to happen", free will exists in the sense that; it appears that conscious beings have 'knowledge', or the knowing that something has happened, something is happening, and something has to happen, and they there for can make choice, or intend, or compel, things they then want to happen.

Interesting examples I think are sports, maybe the duel between a hitter and pitcher in baseball, or the championship game of the best basketball teams composed of the best players. So much minute physical data and real time computation, guessing and checking, guessing what the opponent may do, trying to outsmart him. Something like a basketball game where 100 shots are taken over the span of an hour, trying to get a sphere into a slightly bigger circle, from various distances, while opponents try and stop you, each step, each dribble, each move of the opposing player, every second counts, there are plays to try and create a sense of stability, or determination, but largely it is up to the drive and will of each player in each moment, you can say that when there is a basketball game it is determined that people will play basketball, you can say it is determined the rules will be followed, its determined the laws of physics will be obeyed, but I dont think every basketball game that has ever been played was determined before hand.

But you know... I do see it both ways.... because maybe 'the end of something' , like the end of the game is determined, like a whole chunk of event. But it can be determined step by step. Like frames of film. It is determined that the 30 minute mark of the frames of film will be played before the 35 minute mark, and that must be played before the 45 minute mark. Likewise, little by little a basketball game is determined, each planck second, determination is occurring, and maybe in that sense it can even be said that free will is determined.

Because each player has their limited abilities, their physical attributes which they cannot accede, and their mental, modes of thinking about how they shoot, how they think to move their bodies, the limitations they set themselves in their omition of potential knowledge of how to do something better or more cunning. So if you think of a basketball video game which has a Cpu setting, that can play two teams, and it has their stats, it isnt nearly powerful enough to simulate the exact occurrence of two teams, and there are so many factors (sheer amount of factors are important in this discussion, limitations and breadth of opening within the realm of what is being limited) like personal matters, sleep schedule, every little thing of how the body is feeling that day. So 2 teams can play each other 100 times, and yea who knows... And then throw luck in the mix why dont ya.



posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: ChaoticOrder

Very poor in what regard?
The point was to show that termites don't have free will. They do what they do because they are "programmed" to do it that way. Without even realizing it. Instinct guides them. What if we are programmed in a similar way?
Just because we are self aware doesn't change the fact that we are bound by the rules of our existence.

Is free will universal or not? Or does it occur to only those with a certain level of consciousness? Does that even matter?

Sure we can make our own decisions, but only within a very limited construct. We are given the options to choose from. Maybe we have figured out ways to cheat the system here and there, but make no mistake we are bound by the rules of interaction that the universe has set forth for us.

I didn't decide when I would exist nor what form I would take. I didn't get to choose anything about myself other than the decisions I make during my lifetime, which I would argue are still somewhat influenced by environmental factors (like genetics). Not everyone can be a Rembrandt, Einstein, or Frank Lloyd Wright. Nature decides that. Its only up to us to realize it.

And I won't decide when I move on from this existence either. (although some do) That will be determined by nature.

I would love to be able to fly to another world like superman, but I can't very well do that at will, now can I?

So what do you mean by free will?
edit on 21-4-2014 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)





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