Is there really a Determinism/Indeterminism Dichotomy?

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sciborg2

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« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2019, 08:27:46 pm »
And Coleridge beat us both:

“Long indeed will man strive to satisfy the inward queries with the phrase, 'laws of nature'. But though the individual may rest content with the seeming metaphor, the race cannot. If a law of nature be a mere generalization, it is included...as an an act of the mind. But if it be other and more, and yet manifestable only in and to an intelligent spirit, it must in act and substance be itself {mental}; for things utterly heterogeneous can have no intercommunion.”
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« Reply #46 on: January 10, 2019, 10:31:53 pm »
I know William James wrote about this, how indeterminism is just inner-cause but need to dig around to find the quote again...

Here are the quotes:

What does determinism profess?  It professes that those parts of the universe already laid down absolutely appoint and decree what the other parts shall be.  The future has no ambiguous possibilities hidden in its womb;  the part we call the present is compatible with only one totality.  Any other future complement than the one fixed from eternity is impossible.  The whole is in each and every part, and welds it with the rest into an absolute unity, an iron block, in which there can be no equivocation or shadow of turning.

Indeterminism, on the contrary, says that the parts have a certain amount of loose play on one another, so that the laying down of one of them does not necessarily determine what the others shall be.  It admits that  possibilities  may  be  in  excess  of  actualities,  and  that  things  not yet revealed to our knowledge may really in themselves be ambiguous.

Of two alternative futures which we conceive, both may now be really possible; and the one become impossible only at the very moment when the other excludes it by becoming real itself.  Indeterminism thus denies the world to be one unbending unit of fact.  It says there is a certain ultimate pluralism in it.
—William James


Chance is a purely negative and relative term, giving us no information about that of which it is predicated, except that it happens to be disconnected with something else—not controlled, secured, or necessitated by other things in advance of its own actual presence.  What I say is  that  it tells us nothing about what a thing may  be in  itself to call  it  “chance.”   All  you  mean  by  calling  it  “chance”  is  that  this  is not guaranteed, that it may also fall out otherwise.  For the system of other things has no positive hold on the chance-thing.  Its origin is in a certain fashion negative:  it escapes, and says, Hands off! coming, when it comes, as a free gift, or not at all. This  negativeness,  however,  and  this  opacity  of  the  chance-thing when  thus  considered ab  extra,  or  from  the  point  of  view  of  previous things or distant things, do not preclude its having any amount of positiveness and luminosity from within, and at its own place and moment.

All that its chance-character asserts about it is that there is something in it really of its own, something that is not the unconditional property of  the  whole.   If  the  whole  wants  this  property,  the  whole  must  wait till  it  can  get  it,  if  it  be  a  matter  of  chance.   That  the  universe  may actually be a sort of joint-stock society of this sort, in which the sharers have  both limited liabilities and limited powers,  is  of course a simple and conceivable notion.
 —William James
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Callan S.

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« Reply #47 on: January 11, 2019, 11:23:49 pm »
But what ensures A should always be the result? Why doesn't some event B sometimes end up as the result instead of A? The usual explanation seems to be that there are brute facts that are called "natural laws". Yet why don't the "laws" change? What keeps them in place? "Meta-laws"?

LTTP, but: The actual practice of science is that it never proves anything - it only builds up evidence. It's men that decide to commit to a conclusion, which is somewhere that the angel that is science doth fear to tread. What gives the illusion of keeping the laws in place is human arrogance in treating our committing to an idea a 'natural law' and pitch it to each other as a definite fact, rather than a gamble (albeit a gamble based on a lot of evidence)

sciborg2

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« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2019, 08:11:00 pm »
But what ensures A should always be the result? Why doesn't some event B sometimes end up as the result instead of A? The usual explanation seems to be that there are brute facts that are called "natural laws". Yet why don't the "laws" change? What keeps them in place? "Meta-laws"?

LTTP, but: The actual practice of science is that it never proves anything - it only builds up evidence. It's men that decide to commit to a conclusion, which is somewhere that the angel that is science doth fear to tread. What gives the illusion of keeping the laws in place is human arrogance in treating our committing to an idea a 'natural law' and pitch it to each other as a definite fact, rather than a gamble (albeit a gamble based on a lot of evidence)

Yeah this is how I see it, but this obscures mysteries that I think are a deeper problem for ontologies that presume some kind of bottom-up constituting of reality (so Monadism, Physicalism, Bottom Up Panpsychism).

If the Law is in Matter, rather than imposing Itself from the Outside...how is this harmony communicated between the bottom level entities?
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« Reply #49 on: February 26, 2019, 04:23:17 am »
Just thinking about this some more:

- Aren't the terms "determinism" and "random" drawn from our conception of probability. Determinism denotes 100% confidence in the subsequent event if the expected conditions are provided, whereas randomness distributes our confidence to varying values a Random Variable can take on. So nothing is in actuality determined or random, since this is the projection of a probability value born of external observation whereas causation concerns the motive power of the thing-in-itself.

- Let's say there is a unique event, a gray scale rainbow that also gives us hues of metallic sheen from "dark silver" to "dull light grey". Without successive appearances how would we even attempt to say whether the event was deterministic or random?
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« Reply #50 on: February 26, 2019, 06:17:32 pm »
- Let's say there is a unique event, a gray scale rainbow that also gives us hues of metallic sheen from "dark silver" to "dull light grey". Without successive appearances how would we even attempt to say whether the event was deterministic or random?

Isn't this sort of question the one Kant asked about Causality in response to Hume?  That is, the two events are only causally "bound" because of our mediating sense of space and time?
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sciborg2

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« Reply #51 on: February 27, 2019, 03:26:00 am »
- Let's say there is a unique event, a gray scale rainbow that also gives us hues of metallic sheen from "dark silver" to "dull light grey". Without successive appearances how would we even attempt to say whether the event was deterministic or random?

Isn't this sort of question the one Kant asked about Causality in response to Hume?  That is, the two events are only causally "bound" because of our mediating sense of space and time?

Ah, can you quote the passage, I'm not that familiar with Kant. I was thinking more about assigning values to a Random Variable, or plotting a best fit function. This can't be done when you have one unique value.
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« Reply #52 on: February 27, 2019, 01:07:18 pm »
Ah, can you quote the passage, I'm not that familiar with Kant. I was thinking more about assigning values to a Random Variable, or plotting a best fit function. This can't be done when you have one unique value.

I find it nearly impossible to read Kant directly, I am in no way smart enough for that.

Here is Scruton on Kant though:
Quote
The parts of Hume’s philosophy that most disturbed him concerned the concept of causality. Hume had argued that there is no foundation for the belief in necessities in nature: necessity belongs to thought alone, and merely reflects the “relations of ideas.” It was this that led Kant to perceive that natural science rests on the belief that there are real necessities, so that Hume’s skepticism, far from being an academic exercise, threatened to undermine the foundations of scientific thought. Kant did indeed have a lasting quarrel with Leibniz, and with the Leibnizian system. But it was the sense that the problems of objectivity and of causal necessity are ultimately connected that led him toward the outlook of the Critique of Pure Reason. It was only then that he perceived what was really wrong with Leibniz, through his attempt to show what was really wrong with Hume. He came to think as follows.
Neither experience nor reason is alone able to provide knowledge. The first provides content without form, the second form without content. Only in their synthesis is knowledge possible; hence, there is no knowledge that does not bear the marks of reason and of experience together. Such knowledge is, however, genuine and objective. It transcends the point of view of the person who possesses it, and makes legitimate claims about an independent world. Nevertheless, it is impossible to know the world “as it is in itself,” independent of all perspective. Such an absolute conception of the object of knowledge is senseless, Kant argues, since it can be given only by employing concepts from which every element of meaning has been refined away. While I can know the world independently of my point of view on it, what I know (the world of “appearance”) bears the indelible marks of that point of view. Objects do not depend for their existence upon my perceiving them; but their nature is determined by the fact that they can be perceived. Objects are not Leibnizian monads, knowable only to the perspectiveless stance of “pure reason”; nor are they Humean “impressions,” features of my own experience. They are objective, but their character is given by the point of view through which they can be known. This is the point of view of “possible experience.” Kant tries to show that, properly understood, the idea of “experience” already carries the objective reference that Hume denied. Experience contains within itself the features of space, time, and causality. Hence, in describing my experience I am referring to an ordered perspective on an independent world.

Also:
Quote
The physical science of Kant’s day seemed to assume a priori the existence of universal causation, and of reciprocal interaction. It assumed that it must explain, not the existence of matter, but the changes undergone by it. It assumed the need for a law of conservation, according to which, in all changes, some fundamental quantity remains unaltered. It is just such assumptions, Kant thought, that had guided Newton in the formulation of his laws of motion. Kant therefore attempts, in deriving his principles, to establish the “validity of universal laws of nature as laws of the understanding” (F. 74), arguing further that all the fundamental laws of the new astronomy can be seen, on reflection, to rest on principles that are valid a priori (F. 83).
The attempt to uphold the Newtonian mechanics is mixed with an attack on Hume’s skepticism about causality. Kant tries to show that causal relations are necessary, both in the sense that it is necessary that objects enter into them (there is no event without a cause), and also in the sense that they are themselves a species of necessary connection.

But I think I misunderstood what your example was after.  If we can't place "difference over time" then certainly we can't say if something was deterministic or random, it just is as it is at a given time.  But I might again be misunderstanding what you are saying.
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sciborg2

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« Reply #53 on: February 27, 2019, 05:58:00 pm »
Ah, can you quote the passage, I'm not that familiar with Kant. I was thinking more about assigning values to a Random Variable, or plotting a best fit function. This can't be done when you have one unique value.

I find it nearly impossible to read Kant directly, I am in no way smart enough for that.

Here is Scruton on Kant though:
Quote
The parts of Hume’s philosophy that most disturbed him concerned the concept of causality. Hume had argued that there is no foundation for the belief in necessities in nature: necessity belongs to thought alone, and merely reflects the “relations of ideas.” It was this that led Kant to perceive that natural science rests on the belief that there are real necessities, so that Hume’s skepticism, far from being an academic exercise, threatened to undermine the foundations of scientific thought. Kant did indeed have a lasting quarrel with Leibniz, and with the Leibnizian system. But it was the sense that the problems of objectivity and of causal necessity are ultimately connected that led him toward the outlook of the Critique of Pure Reason. It was only then that he perceived what was really wrong with Leibniz, through his attempt to show what was really wrong with Hume. He came to think as follows.
Neither experience nor reason is alone able to provide knowledge. The first provides content without form, the second form without content. Only in their synthesis is knowledge possible; hence, there is no knowledge that does not bear the marks of reason and of experience together. Such knowledge is, however, genuine and objective. It transcends the point of view of the person who possesses it, and makes legitimate claims about an independent world. Nevertheless, it is impossible to know the world “as it is in itself,” independent of all perspective. Such an absolute conception of the object of knowledge is senseless, Kant argues, since it can be given only by employing concepts from which every element of meaning has been refined away. While I can know the world independently of my point of view on it, what I know (the world of “appearance”) bears the indelible marks of that point of view. Objects do not depend for their existence upon my perceiving them; but their nature is determined by the fact that they can be perceived. Objects are not Leibnizian monads, knowable only to the perspectiveless stance of “pure reason”; nor are they Humean “impressions,” features of my own experience. They are objective, but their character is given by the point of view through which they can be known. This is the point of view of “possible experience.” Kant tries to show that, properly understood, the idea of “experience” already carries the objective reference that Hume denied. Experience contains within itself the features of space, time, and causality. Hence, in describing my experience I am referring to an ordered perspective on an independent world.

Also:
Quote
The physical science of Kant’s day seemed to assume a priori the existence of universal causation, and of reciprocal interaction. It assumed that it must explain, not the existence of matter, but the changes undergone by it. It assumed the need for a law of conservation, according to which, in all changes, some fundamental quantity remains unaltered. It is just such assumptions, Kant thought, that had guided Newton in the formulation of his laws of motion. Kant therefore attempts, in deriving his principles, to establish the “validity of universal laws of nature as laws of the understanding” (F. 74), arguing further that all the fundamental laws of the new astronomy can be seen, on reflection, to rest on principles that are valid a priori (F. 83).
The attempt to uphold the Newtonian mechanics is mixed with an attack on Hume’s skepticism about causality. Kant tries to show that causal relations are necessary, both in the sense that it is necessary that objects enter into them (there is no event without a cause), and also in the sense that they are themselves a species of necessary connection.

But I think I misunderstood what your example was after.  If we can't place "difference over time" then certainly we can't say if something was deterministic or random, it just is as it is at a given time.  But I might again be misunderstanding what you are saying.

Hmmmm....I think we are sorta getting toward the same picture. Kant seems to take faith in the regularity/reproducibility which leaves the Unique Event - which we will from here call Excession in honor of Iain M. Banks - outside of a proper causal picture.

It must enter into some causal relationships, which is how we can sense it and mark its existence at all, but the classification of this causal relation cannot be put into a determinate function nor assigned a random variable.

And going back to our discussion of "Hyperchaos" one might even say anything that can be modeled by a random variable is, in fact, a blending of Order & Chaos, and thus a blending of the concepts "determinisim" & "randomness". And none of that gives us understanding of the relata, b/c external modeling tells us nothing about cause just as modeling possible reappearances of the Excession mathematically won't tell us *why* it appears.

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« Reply #54 on: February 27, 2019, 06:14:03 pm »
Hmmmm....I think we are sorta getting toward the same picture. Kant seems to take faith in the regularity/reproducibility which leaves the Unique Event - which we will from here call Excession in honor of Iain M. Banks - outside of a proper causal picture.

It must enter into some causal relationships, which is how we can sense it and mark its existence at all, but the classification of this causal relation cannot be put into a determinate function nor assigned a random variable.

And going back to our discussion of "Hyperchaos" one might even say anything that can be modeled by a random variable is, in fact, a blending of Order & Chaos, and thus a blending of the concepts "determinisim" & "randomness". And none of that gives us understanding of the relata, b/c external modeling tells us nothing about cause just as modeling possible reappearances of the Excession mathematically won't tell us *why* it appears.

Hmm, in trying to understand this, I actually sort of maybe understand why, in Bakker-verse, the No-God cannot be apprehended.  It's facile to see why temporal beings, like Kellhus, don't have the temporal framework to do so.  But why Ajokli doesn't is a bit more of a mystery.  But the answer is the same, he perceives based off his own temporal-spatial paradigm, which seems to encompass "all of time" but doesn't.  In the "same way" that our temporal-spatial paradigm generally fails to account for all of 4D non-Euclidean space-time.

But on what you are actually saying, is that determinate or random designation are essentially not objective designations, but rather our perceptual-cognitive method for fitting phenomena into our spatial-temporal paradigm?

I fear that my shit-level ability in abstraction is holding us back here though.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasűrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

sciborg2

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« Reply #55 on: February 27, 2019, 07:41:51 pm »
Hmmmm....I think we are sorta getting toward the same picture. Kant seems to take faith in the regularity/reproducibility which leaves the Unique Event - which we will from here call Excession in honor of Iain M. Banks - outside of a proper causal picture.

It must enter into some causal relationships, which is how we can sense it and mark its existence at all, but the classification of this causal relation cannot be put into a determinate function nor assigned a random variable.

And going back to our discussion of "Hyperchaos" one might even say anything that can be modeled by a random variable is, in fact, a blending of Order & Chaos, and thus a blending of the concepts "determinisim" & "randomness". And none of that gives us understanding of the relata, b/c external modeling tells us nothing about cause just as modeling possible reappearances of the Excession mathematically won't tell us *why* it appears.

Hmm, in trying to understand this, I actually sort of maybe understand why, in Bakker-verse, the No-God cannot be apprehended.  It's facile to see why temporal beings, like Kellhus, don't have the temporal framework to do so.  But why Ajokli doesn't is a bit more of a mystery.  But the answer is the same, he perceives based off his own temporal-spatial paradigm, which seems to encompass "all of time" but doesn't.  In the "same way" that our temporal-spatial paradigm generally fails to account for all of 4D non-Euclidean space-time.

But on what you are actually saying, is that determinate or random designation are essentially not objective designations, but rather our perceptual-cognitive method for fitting phenomena into our spatial-temporal paradigm?

I fear that my shit-level ability in abstraction is holding us back here though.

Nah you got it. That is what I'm saying, we are mistakenly reifying our probability assessments onto the event sequences happening in the Actual.

And so when someone asks "What is neither deterministic nor random?" it's asking "What is an event that I can never assign any probability to?"...which is an impossible question, b/c you can always assign some probability even if it's - as in the case of an Excession - nothing more than an attempt to translate your qualia of confidence into mathematical terms.

Perhaps more importantly, assignment of probability says nothing about the actual causal powers at play where we have to explain both what happened but also why something else didn't happen...a very tall order...
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« Reply #56 on: February 27, 2019, 09:03:02 pm »
Nah you got it. That is what I'm saying, we are mistakenly reifying our probability assessments onto the event sequences happening in the Actual.

And so when someone asks "What is neither deterministic nor random?" it's asking "What is an event that I can never assign any probability to?"...which is an impossible question, b/c you can always assign some probability even if it's - as in the case of an Excession - nothing more than an attempt to translate your qualia of confidence into mathematical terms.

Perhaps more importantly, assignment of probability says nothing about the actual causal powers at play where we have to explain both what happened but also why something else didn't happen...a very tall order...

Hmm, well, I have a great deal of "trouble" with the idea that anything is actually random, that is, completely absent any causal relation at all.  That seems, in my mind, to denote the problem of "something from nothing."

If I am following your line of thinking though, is this the same sort of question as to asking about Mathmatical Realism.  If I remember correctly, isn't there a way to think about the fact that math is never wrong, because math is the thing with which we are conceptualizing the phenomena.  So, sort of like, if all we had as sense organs were eyes, eyes could never be wrong, because eyes are all we would have to verify what eyes would see.

I'm not sure that I buy that, but I think one could make the case.  So, determinate and probabilistic might be the same sort of things.  Categories that we place on things as tool to make "sense" of them, but not fundamental properties of things themselves.

If that makes sense in this context.  This topic quickly seems to slip from my conceptual grasp every time I try to hold it, do I'm never sure where I am, where I am going or where I came from...
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasűrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

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« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2019, 02:45:30 am »
Nah you got it. That is what I'm saying, we are mistakenly reifying our probability assessments onto the event sequences happening in the Actual.

And so when someone asks "What is neither deterministic nor random?" it's asking "What is an event that I can never assign any probability to?"...which is an impossible question, b/c you can always assign some probability even if it's - as in the case of an Excession - nothing more than an attempt to translate your qualia of confidence into mathematical terms.

Perhaps more importantly, assignment of probability says nothing about the actual causal powers at play where we have to explain both what happened but also why something else didn't happen...a very tall order...

Hmm, well, I have a great deal of "trouble" with the idea that anything is actually random, that is, completely absent any causal relation at all.  That seems, in my mind, to denote the problem of "something from nothing."

If I am following your line of thinking though, is this the same sort of question as to asking about Mathmatical Realism.  If I remember correctly, isn't there a way to think about the fact that math is never wrong, because math is the thing with which we are conceptualizing the phenomena.  So, sort of like, if all we had as sense organs were eyes, eyes could never be wrong, because eyes are all we would have to verify what eyes would see.

I'm not sure that I buy that, but I think one could make the case.  So, determinate and probabilistic might be the same sort of things.  Categories that we place on things as tool to make "sense" of them, but not fundamental properties of things themselves.

If that makes sense in this context.  This topic quickly seems to slip from my conceptual grasp every time I try to hold it, do I'm never sure where I am, where I am going or where I came from...

Yeah I think the idea things happen for no reason is quite strange...but then the reason has to include why something else doesn't happen...

I do like your point regarding Mathematical Realism, though I do think Math is real in some "Platonic" sense the mistake as you say is to try and claim applied math is describing the Actual rather than talking within a (very useful) language.

I think we're on the same page here, admittedly a precarious one given we are both treading into waters than are at the edge of contested philosophy.
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« Reply #58 on: March 20, 2019, 07:37:16 pm »
Let's say I throw a ball in an arc in my backyard. The arc of the ball is classic and thus held to be theoretically predictable.

But there's an electron helping to constitute whose positional cloud is held to be inherently unpredictable and thus the possible positions are probabilistic.

So I am translating the probability space of the electron by my tossing of the ball. Isn't this thus neither fully deterministic nor indeterministic? Heck, since we can assign a Random Variable to the position of the electron isn't that itself not truly random in the sense of Hyperchaos?
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« Reply #59 on: March 20, 2019, 07:44:22 pm »
Let's say I throw a ball in an arc in my backyard. The arc of the ball is classic and thus held to be theoretically predictable.

But there's an electron helping to constitute whose positional cloud is held to be inherently unpredictable and thus the possible positions are probabilistic.

So I am translating the probability space of the electron by my tossing of the ball. Isn't this thus neither fully deterministic nor indeterministic? Heck, since we can assign a Random Variable to the position of the electron isn't that itself not truly random in the sense of Hyperchaos?

I'm afraid you have lost me here.

So, in the first case, you throw the ball with a certain force, at a certain angle, and there are certain forces upon it, which renders it's path relatively certain.

I'm not sure where you are going from here though.  By tossing the ball, you toss all of it's electrons too.  They, I think, only have a certain range of distance from the constitute nuclei, so each electron is still probabilistic in it's location along the path of that ball.  I don't see how being in a moving object or a stationary one changes things here.

Although, again, I think I am missing your point entirely.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasűrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira