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What's your view on determinism?

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posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 12:45 PM
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Definition of determinism in English:
noun

Philosophy
The doctrine that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes external to the will. Some philosophers have taken determinism to imply that individual human beings have no free will and cannot be held morally responsible for their actions.
www.oxforddictionaries.com...


I put determinism in the same category as a belief in god, solipsism, atheism, and the belief that "we're all one consciousness". They are all absolutes that can't be proven true or false. So, why believe in any of them?

I think all of those beliefs somehow bring people comfort. Determinism can certainly bring people comfort. "My friends/family/colleagues aren't bad people, they just have no choice about whether to be bad or not."

Determinism turns the idea of justice completely on its head. How can someone be deserving of a prison sentence when free will was not part of why they committed a crime?

When you think about the "innocent by reason of insanity" defense...

How about being "innocent by reason of a lack of free will"? Is that not what a person is really saying when they excuse nefarious deeds by others by simply claiming determinism was the reason the bad things happened?

Determinism is one of those issues where if someone really believed in it, I think it would make it difficult if not impossible to function in society. The whole concept of being guilty of a crime would have to go out the window, would it not? How can anyone be guilty of anything when no one has free will?




posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:05 PM
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determinism wouldnt bring me any more comfort than finding out im an android and have been recalled as faulty.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:05 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

They are all absolutes that can't be proven true or false. So, why believe in any of them?


I agree. I prefer to 'not believe" but rather to consider. Somehow, belief in something, a god, an idea, or whatever seems to need to be defended in an absolute sense and that for me at least seems to be beyond my capacity. Belief allows one to be taken over by the belief I think, and what ever hope there is of free will goes out the door. Belief cuts out or at least severely limits what free will my or may not be. I think.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:15 PM
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my views on determinism, is that as human beings, we need an answer to everything. its fundamental.

so the things we cannot have plausible answers to or scientific absolutes, we classify them with an idea or assign them a 'symbol'; as in we solved for them, even by not having an answer.

its an inverse god complex, our minds cant contemplate certain questions, or imagine something that doesn't exist, or imagine nothingness. those things are normally associated with a color(black for nothingness, or 'infinity symbol) or trying to imagine something that doesn't exist inevitably leads to association with things which we know already.

so in the case of determinism-or any other 'ism' for that matter, its simply ensuring we always have an answer for what are not answerable because our most elemental, physiological basis must be met or satisfied at some level or the other- which are all derived form the most famous or quintessential of all philosophical school of thoughts (Descartes- cogito ergo sum).

free will and determinism are dichotomies which are NOT mutually exclusive.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:21 PM
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originally posted by: odzeandennz
free will and determinism are dichotomies which are NOT mutually exclusive.


Would you elaborate on that please?



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:36 PM
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a reply to: Profusion
from OP:


Some philosophers have taken determinism to imply that individual human beings have no free will and cannot be held morally responsible for their actions.


this isn't true at all, or it mustn't be true. the idea that if we have free will, then determinism is flawed. let me expand slightly, the contradicting factors here are that of a paradox, nothing more. like the grandfather effect for time traveling. though absolutely possible and plausible, the fact that if you were to travel back in time and kill your grand father then you would not have existed, or if your grandfather didn't exist, how could you have existed in the first place to travel back.

one can believe in free will and view determinism just as a by product of existence. simply because we have no other authority beyond determinism.
---- Hence, time traveling is theoretically possible, and you can also NOT choose to murder your grandfather. -----
---- view your grandfather as 'determinism' and you the time traveler as 'free will'. -----

its a slippery slope, and beyond the scope of this thread.
edit on 2-9-2015 by odzeandennz because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 02:35 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

Will determines causation or causation is determined will.

e.g. I saw your post, I took in the forces which I interpreted as your post, which I saw as your post, and with your determined will, those forces, and my own, I determined to reply to this post, and that is what you're looking at: the image of my awareness of my will.

Think of it like mixing spirits. God breathed out all this and as we breathed it in, we gained our will which we then translated/seen as our images/body. Like mixing desires. I desire to live on the beach, and I desire to live in a house, so I desire to live in a beach house. I saw your post looking for thoughts(the image of your will as you saw it and determined it), I desired to produce my thoughts in this thread (the image of my will after taking in your image of your will), and then I determined to write this post... and here it is determined.
edit on 9/2/2015 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 02:37 PM
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I used to worry a lot about this issue. I don't want to live in a deterministic universe.

Prompted by that fear to look into it, I found that most recent evidence in neurology and generative psychology do suggest we don't have free will in the traditional sense we tend to conceive of. Needless to say, that disturbed me even more. Then I began realizing my being disturbed might not be within my own purview either, and that really created a whole new can of worms.

Anyhow... the consensus seems to be (at least the scientific consensus, for the moment, which could change depending upon future studies and conflicting evidence,) "Free will is an illusion, but a persistent one from which we cannot escape because of our behavioral neurology."

Later on down the road, I realized that it appears impossible to escape entirely from illusion of one sort or another - it is our nature, or so it would seem, to create meaning for ourselves our of meaninglessness and what would otherwise me nihilism - so I just don't worry about it anymore personally.

As you said, we can't really definitively prove it one way or another, and we don't seem to be capable of extricating ourselves from the illusion of free will (if indeed it is illusory,) so I choose (lol) not to ponder it too deeply these days. We are whatever we are, and how we make peace with whatever that may be will differ from person to person.

My two cents.

Peace.
edit on 9/2/2015 by AceWombat04 because: Typos



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 03:02 PM
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There is no 'view on determinism'...



Å99



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 03:24 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

Neuroscience has been slowly but surely closing the case on whether or not free will exists. The more studies they do the more it seems that most of our decisions are made with the unconscious mind rather than the conscious one. Decisions can even be made before we are consciously aware that a decision has been made.

More or less I am on the deterministic leaning side of things. People seem to fear that without the concept of free will we couldn't hold criminals accountable for their actions, I think that idea is absurd, of course we can still hold them accountable. Whether you consciously make a choice or you unconsciously make it it's still YOUR choice, the action was still yours and the decision making processes that went into it still happened in your brain so of course you can still be held accountable.

People act as if we put people in prison based solely on the fact that they consciously (in the "front" of their brain) intended to do something wrong as opposed to trying to remove them from the general population to protect everyone else and/or to attempt to rehabilitate them. If you have bad intentions, even if not consciously aware of them at the moment, they are still yours, they are still going on in your brain. So if we let go of free will we don't lose the justice system, sure you might lose that smug sense of superiority that allows you to sit as righteous judge and jury when you hear about someone committing a crime but is that really a part of human nature we have to shield and protect?

The battle, at this point, is whether there is any glimpse of free will at all. Because it seems intuitive and logically sound that our actions are the result of a myriad of factors, including thoughts, which are not under our conscious control. The laws of physics dictate that this must be so, cause and effect, there can't be an effect that wasn't caused and so any action taken must be the sum of the parts that led to it. That isn't to say we couldn't get different effects from the same causes, merely that the math must add up.

Maybe there is a way for the conscious mind to have an effect on the subconscious and vice versa but the two aren't really separate things, they're the same thing in the way that my computer screen is part of my laptop and displays only the things I need to be aware of, the important bits, and in the meantime in the background all manner of "subconscious" processes are responsible for everything else. Whether or not the conscious and subconscious connection is a two way street, a one way street, or a round-a-bout is still somewhat under investigation but I don't see any room for free will in the typical way it's proposed.

Of course the nonexistence of free will doesn't automatically prove Determinism but determinism seems most consistent with the world we live in and even, in many ways, our own experience of being conscious beings. Thoughts and desires pop into our minds unbidden, inspiration strikes or depression rears its head without being summoned, largely our minds function without or in spite of our attempts to guide them consciously and even when it seems we succeed at guiding our thoughts and actions it's not as if the subconscious isn't there.

Like I said a lot of the issue is that we can't get around this division between subconscious and conscious, they're part of the same integrated system, and so there's nothing scary or spooky about the idea that free will doesn't exist (in the sense of free will as CONSCIOUSNESS driving behavior so that our decisions are not entirely tethered to purely natural processes and we can therefore make choices that are un-caused deterministically speaking).
edit on 2-9-2015 by Titen-Sxull because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 04:31 PM
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originally posted by: Titen-Sxull
a reply to: Profusion

Neuroscience has been slowly but surely closing the case on whether or not free will exists. The more studies they do the more it seems that most of our decisions are made with the unconscious mind rather than the conscious one. Decisions can even be made before we are consciously aware that a decision has been made.

More or less I am on the deterministic leaning side of things. People seem to fear that without the concept of free will we couldn't hold criminals accountable for their actions, I think that idea is absurd, of course we can still hold them accountable. Whether you consciously make a choice or you unconsciously make it it's still YOUR choice, the action was still yours and the decision making processes that went into it still happened in your brain so of course you can still be held accountable.


its true a lot of our decisions stem from the unconscious, in fact most are. a crude example are our smooth muscles, involuntary responses in the brain and body (i.e. digestive track, throat, eye muscles that keeps them in or out of focus).

However, if determinism is all encompassing, we shouldn't limit it to just humans. does a tree grows where it does because of some pre determined cause; what about the animal kingdom? do animals behave the way they do due to determinism. No, to simply put it. a deer in the wild, can think and roam freely and migrate.

we cant limit certain studies to just humans and exclude other thinking, living creatures.
put a man in the middle of a field and his supposed next steps are pre determined, and put a dog in the same field which way it goes isn't.

determinism and free will are not two separate operatives clashing with each other, there is no duality there.
we are pre determined to live, think, eat, mate and emote; however there are no pre deposition to how we do all these things, nor are we required to do all these things at all.

------ we have the free will to define what determinism is. we are doing it right now.


If I were to associate myself with an 'ism' in philosophy, it would be existentialism. But that school of thought also collapses on its hind legs in arguing with itself.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 04:52 PM
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I prefer to look at determinism, like the old literary view of Destiny and/vs Fate. Destiny would be more of a view of free will, in the sense, where it not really written in stone, till it is written on the stone, or one tries to change fate because it twhere their destiny to try, and fate would so have it that way...

Fate more or less the end result of things, however the twist, that motions where set into motion before it began, which is more like eventuality, and which is why its often associated with Death, or even Life for that matter. Kind of like idea of Alpha and Omega.

edit on 2-9-2015 by Specimen because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 05:23 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

There are some who are clinically insane but for the rest of us we have freewill.

We have freewill and can make any choice we want to, however many consequences are predetermined by our inherited morals.

The only reason that anyone would think differently is because most people act on impulse without reasoning their actions.

This does not mean that people can't reason every action, it simply means most people have never explored the reasoning part of the mind.

The mind is similar to a muscle the more you use it the stronger it gets. The person who acts on impulse has a weak reasoning mind. However the one who reasons each action strengthens the reasoning part of the mind until it becomes the stronger of the two forces.

The choice is yours, continue to act on impulse with a weak mind or start reasoning before you act. Reflect on the outcome of your actions until the reasoning mind outweighs the impulsive forces.

Temperance is one of the foundations of philosophy.


edit on 2-9-2015 by Isurrender73 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 05:44 PM
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I would have to agree with Nietzsche. The free or un-free wills are myths. It is simply a matter of strong and weak wills.

Determinism is simply the notion of cause and effect, and utilizing the principle of sufficient reason. It doesn't necessarily mean we are pushed around by the past.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 05:50 PM
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At any given time, a person knows a specific amount of facts and guidelines.

At any other time, that same person has a different collection of facts and theories, especially if he has been thinking or reading or experiencing something new.

In order for determinism to work in all cases upon an individual, a person would have to be the same in all of those cases, and presumably the forces of determinism would have to be the same also.

Some people and situations are subject to determinism, but not all human activity.

Variety is the enemy of determinism.

BTW thank you for the definition. It clarified things I have heard that were somewhat blurry.
edit on 2-9-2015 by Semicollegiate because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 06:31 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

I think the true illusion is randomness. I would say free will exists when an entity has the ability to act from it's awareness and emotion. Awareness is the only thing I can truly know and experience; so, that's real. I feel emotions. I do things, and attempt to do things from my emotions and awareness. Hence, I have free will.

Let's compare my situation with a wind-up toy (chattering teeth as an example). We wind it up, the spring drives the actions completely. As far as I can tell (mostly based on instinct), it has no knowledge or desire. If my assessment is correct, wind-up toys have no free will.

How about a very complex machine, such as a chess engine? It seems to make decisions. What are these decisions based on? If they come from emotion it has will; otherwise, not.

How about an animal? As near as I can tell, animals have emotions. Their knowledge (and hence awareness) seems more limited however. Their actions seem driven more by instinct and reflex than decision. They may not have free will to the degree that we do. I'm sure they have some though.

What of the predictable man who is very set in his ways. I'd say as long as he's doing predictable things from his feelings and beliefs, he has as much free will as the most wild unpredictable free spirit. What he wants and decides simply happens to be easy to predict.

What about the raving madman trapped in his endless nightmare? As random as his actions are, he doesn't know what he's doing. He doesn't have free will.

I've always believed everything in the universe is completely deterministic. I view future and past as different directions, just as forward or backward. What's seen as the future from one point, will be viewed as the past from another. So you will do things in the future, just as you have done things in the past. The only difference is: you can't see the future looking forward from the past, but you can see the past looking back from the future.

I've always had these notions of time and free will. I've never seen anything contradictory in these beliefs.

The nature of randomness I think, is worthy of another thread. I view it in terms of informational and computational complexity.



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