When the floor was opened for questions, one member of the audience questioned Dr Conway's use of the term "Free Will". She asked whether Dr Conway was "confusing randomness and free will".
In a passionate reply, Dr Conway said that what he had shown, with mathematical precision, that if a given property was exhibited by an experimenter than that same property was exhibited by particles. He had been careful when constructing his theorem to use the same term "free will" in the antecedent and consequent of his theorem. He said he did not really care what people chose to call it. Some people choose to call it "free will" only when there is some judgment involved. He said he felt that "free will" was freer if it was unhampered by judgment - that it was almost a whim. "If you don't like the term Free Will, call it Free Whim - this is the Free Whim Theorem".
True to the six questions of journalism, you're probably wondering "how many" will be inspired by my example. Remember, not having free will doesn't mean that just any old thing can be predicted. Realizing your situation doesn't make you suddenly omniscient.
But I think it'll be a lot.
But we know that elementary particles behave non-deterministically, i.e. randomly.
It would never hesitate, because even choosing which algorithm to use would be done by yet another algorithm.
Further conceive, I beg, that a stone, while continuing in motion, should be capable of thinking and knowing, that it is endeavouring, as far as it can, to continue to move. Such a stone, being conscious merely of its own endeavour and not at all indifferent, would believe itself to be completely free, and would think that it continued in motion solely because of its own wish. This is that human freedom, which all boast that they possess, and which consists solely in the fact, that men are conscious of their own desire, but are ignorant of the causes whereby that desire has been determined.—Spinoza to G. H. Schalle
I honestly don't get what you're saying. If it's in the middle of an algorithm, it would not be really hesitation. If you picture hesitation as walking back and forth with a conflicted countenance, then finally darting off in some direction, then, in the middle of an algorithm, you could have this behaviour modeled as part of the algorithm. But it would just be a model of outward appearance of hesitation. In the same way, there's a slew of things that would not and should not exists in a deterministic system, nor even illusion of these things should exists there - intent, anticipation, fear of particular outcome, preference between death and life, idea of, or an illusion of freedom or slavery. It's as if a toy train was controlled from a circuit located in another toy train, but would risk its existence in an attempt to acquire a circuit that'd control its movement from inside its own locomotive, while at the same time assigning great significance to its life. It's not that this doesn't make sense, it's just that I can't even imagine a set of assumptions, however far-fetched that would make it possible for this to begin making any sort of sense.
I'm also a developer, so that's not the source of disagreement.. Maybe I'm not a good enough developer and I don't work with sufficiently advanced algorithms? Heh.
that's just the point I'm trying to make. I'm about to go to sleep, and so I'll very likely need to flesh this out and respond to criticism in the morning, but it seems like the deterministic viewpoint comes from a logically materialistic world view, which I respect. But it then creates a passive observer in all of us outside of that material worldview, hence: dualism. In other words, it creates WAY the fuck more problems than accepting that we don't know everything yet, but that consciousness and (possibly) Free Will can and will be explained within the natural world, but that we aren't there yet.
...determinism would have to be tautological in a deterministic universe...
The concept of determinacy collapses in the absence of a complementary concept of indeterminacy.
being in a deterministic universe rendered it impossible to conceive of non-determinism.
Well, personally I believe in the Eternal Return...
A true void, simply put, wouldn't be there. Same goes for 'The Void' writ large.
'Nothing' isn't a kind of something at all; it's just a conventional way of noting the absence of certain particular things.
Indeterminism is possible because there are indeterminate events. Indeterminate events not only don't require explanation, almost by definition, they defy them.
Let's just set aside for now the inherent irrationality in positing the existence of a thing defined solely by its non-existence.
The thing that gives rise to indeterminate events is not nothing: It's just a system capable of generating indeterminate events--but if events arise, determinate or otherwise, they're not arising ex nihilo.
As I argued at the end of my last comment, would you be so quick to argue on behalf of the physical possibility of an 'Absolute Something'?
We can't 'determine' all the potential values in its decimal representation ahead of time, but if we calculate the value of Π up to a given position in the decimal representation, then it's value is to that extent determined.
Put more plainly, the claim that determinstic events are possible (that such events can exist) and the claim that indeterministic events are possible (that such events can exist) both require us to first accept the premise that events, in general, can exist, right?
...because the only strict requirement for the possibility of indeterministic events is the possibility that events can exist at all, unless the argument against indeterminism simply posits that events necessarily have to be constrained (which just embeds the assumption that events are deterministic into the argument, making it circular).
An example of this can be found in quantum entanglement, where probabilistic predictions are possible--i.e., where we can determine that a range of outcomes is possible in advance, but it's theoretically impossible to determine which of the possible outcomes will actually obtain.
If the First Constrainer would necessarily arise out of some system then simply to designate that system as deterministic would solve any problem of indeterminate things existing.
If an event A is completely constrained, we call it determinate. If an event B is to any degree unconstrained, we call it indeterminate or partially indeterminate. From there, it follows that a claim for the possibility of indeterminate events is a less extraordinary claim than a claim for the possibility of determinate events.
In both cases, the determinacy of isolated physical phenomena follows only as a natural consequence of the essential indeterminacy of the whole. Therefore, the strong deterministic view is at best tautological, and at worst, conceptually incoherent.
Forgetting about physical possibilities, and just looking at it theoretically, even if we posit absolute determinism as axiomatic of some system, then doesn't my original argument still show that the system itself renders the axiom problematic?
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