Is there really a Determinism/Indeterminism Dichotomy?

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sciborg2

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« on: October 27, 2018, 07:26:54 pm »
Indeterminism, as described in philosophy/science texts, suggests things happen for no reason at all or at best prior factors cause an inexplicable event that is probabilistic without further explanation being possible. (This assumes that indeterminism is part of nature & not just an expression of causal ignorance of course.)

But while it's obvious indeterminism is nonsensical, determinism actually contains the same arbitrariness hidden under brute assertions. The logical argument for determinism is that things happen for a reason, and that an event A can be accounted for by some set of necessary/sufficient prior events (a.1, a.2,...., a.N).

Yet the way to find out what set of prior events accounts for A requires back tracking from A and continually reducing the elements of the set until the removal of some event a.X in the set of all priors (a.1, a.2,...., a.Infinity) results in A not occurring.

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"?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 07:31:04 pm by sciborg2 »
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2018, 07:36:21 pm »
But while it's obvious indeterminism is nonsensical
Why is this obvious?

sciborg2

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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2018, 07:41:55 pm »
Why is this obvious?

How can something happen for no reason at all? Maybe nonsensical if the wrong word, but while I can understand inner/final causation I cannot fathom how something can happen without any cause.

Perhaps it's the distinction Aristotle makes between efficient causation (billiard ball type causality) and final causation (the unit's internal movement toward a goal)?

I know William James wrote about this, how indeterminism is just inner-cause but need to dig around to find the quote again...
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2018, 08:08:57 pm »
Why is this obvious?

How can something happen for no reason at all? Maybe nonsensical if the wrong word, but while I can understand inner/final causation I cannot fathom how something can happen without any cause.

Perhaps it's the distinction Aristotle makes between efficient causation (billiard ball type causality) and final causation (the unit's internal movement toward a goal)?

I know William James wrote about this, how indeterminism is just inner-cause but need to dig around to find the quote again...
Not sure I understand the final causation thing, but I don't see why things necessarily need a reason. In fact, isn't reason in some sense just kind of a man made heuristic? God might not need it...

sciborg2

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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2018, 10:05:48 pm »
Why is this obvious?

How can something happen for no reason at all? Maybe nonsensical if the wrong word, but while I can understand inner/final causation I cannot fathom how something can happen without any cause.

Perhaps it's the distinction Aristotle makes between efficient causation (billiard ball type causality) and final causation (the unit's internal movement toward a goal)?

I know William James wrote about this, how indeterminism is just inner-cause but need to dig around to find the quote again...
Not sure I understand the final causation thing, but I don't see why things necessarily need a reason. In fact, isn't reason in some sense just kind of a man made heuristic? God might not need it...

Well God as Prime Mover would be the reason in a theistic metaphysics.
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TaoHorror

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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2018, 02:59:27 am »
I think "without reason" in this case meaning things "just happen" and impossible to discover/discern source - not reason as aim/drive/motivation. Atoms moving truly randomly is nonsensical as it's movement is the resolution of forces, so the other forces are the reason it's moving in the direction it currently does. I don't know much about indeterminism, but if it's more than there's a limit to what we can determine, beyond making source indeterminable due to our limitations as in "it just happens", then it's nonsense.
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2018, 12:30:15 pm »
Well, for me, I have a hard time imagining what comes between the chain of cause and effect.  At the macro-level, I don't think there really is anything there.  But there is the possibility of some "indeterminacy" at the quantum level, if I understand it correctly.

The question then is how much does quantum indeterminacy influence macro-level determincy?  The answer can't really be zero, or a hundred, percent though so it must be some murky amount in-between.
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sciborg2

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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2018, 07:15:16 pm »
I don't think there is any reason for macro-level consistency, which I'd hold is different than determinism since we lack an explanation for why quantum level effects aren't seen across the macro-world. That's made worse by, if I understand the science, there are macro-level superpositions observed.

Regarding forces, it makes me think of something Feynman said in his lectures, that attempting to define "force" results in a circular reasoning. IIRC - don't have the books - the problem is we conjecture forces from measurement then say forces are what gave us the measurements.

I believe there seems to also be a new philosophical appreciation for the arbitrariness that must underlie physics, AFAICTell that is what Meillassoux means when he speaks of "Hyper Chaos"....also Hyper Chaos just sounds cool  8)
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2018, 06:42:35 pm »
Well, for me, I have a hard time imagining what comes between the chain of cause and effect.  At the macro-level, I don't think there really is anything there.  But there is the possibility of some "indeterminacy" at the quantum level, if I understand it correctly.

The question then is how much does quantum indeterminacy influence macro-level determincy?  The answer can't really be zero, or a hundred, percent though so it must be some murky amount in-between.
I think it has to be 100%. Imagine something macro scale like a mutation caused by radiation. This can give an observable macro scale phenotype but it's caused by a stochastic quantum event, i.e. a particle breaking a chemical bond in DNA somewhere.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 06:45:46 pm by TLEILAXU »

TaoHorror

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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2018, 07:12:03 pm »
Well, for me, I have a hard time imagining what comes between the chain of cause and effect.  At the macro-level, I don't think there really is anything there.  But there is the possibility of some "indeterminacy" at the quantum level, if I understand it correctly.

The question then is how much does quantum indeterminacy influence macro-level determincy?  The answer can't really be zero, or a hundred, percent though so it must be some murky amount in-between.
I think it has to be 100%. Imagine something macro scale like a mutation caused by radiation. This can give an observable macro scale phenotype but it's caused by a stochastic quantum event, i.e. a particle breaking a chemical bond in DNA somewhere.

TL, I love it, but I'm not as well versed in this science as you are - can you explain it in layman's terms so I can understand your example better?
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2018, 07:22:54 pm »
Well, for me, I have a hard time imagining what comes between the chain of cause and effect.  At the macro-level, I don't think there really is anything there.  But there is the possibility of some "indeterminacy" at the quantum level, if I understand it correctly.

The question then is how much does quantum indeterminacy influence macro-level determincy?  The answer can't really be zero, or a hundred, percent though so it must be some murky amount in-between.
I think it has to be 100%. Imagine something macro scale like a mutation caused by radiation. This can give an observable macro scale phenotype but it's caused by a stochastic quantum event, i.e. a particle breaking a chemical bond in DNA somewhere.

TL, I love it, but I'm not as well versed in this science as you are - can you explain it in layman's terms so I can understand your example better?
A chemical bond breaking would be a quantum event right? So my point is just that these events can influence macroscale phenomena, i.e. the transition doesn't go away, everything is quantum, it's just that at different scales things we see some things and others not so much. Like, gravity. It's the weakest of all forces by far, we only really see it at big scales, but it doesn't mean that it's not there at small scales.

sciborg2

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« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2018, 07:35:38 pm »
Well, for me, I have a hard time imagining what comes between the chain of cause and effect.  At the macro-level, I don't think there really is anything there.  But there is the possibility of some "indeterminacy" at the quantum level, if I understand it correctly.

The question then is how much does quantum indeterminacy influence macro-level determincy?  The answer can't really be zero, or a hundred, percent though so it must be some murky amount in-between.
I think it has to be 100%. Imagine something macro scale like a mutation caused by radiation. This can give an observable macro scale phenotype but it's caused by a stochastic quantum event, i.e. a particle breaking a chemical bond in DNA somewhere.

TL, I love it, but I'm not as well versed in this science as you are - can you explain it in layman's terms so I can understand your example better?
A chemical bond breaking would be a quantum event right? So my point is just that these events can influence macroscale phenomena, i.e. the transition doesn't go away, everything is quantum, it's just that at different scales things we see some things and others not so much. Like, gravity. It's the weakest of all forces by far, we only really see it at big scales, but it doesn't mean that it's not there at small scales.

Great example, much better stated than my attempt. <<insert appropriate emoji>>
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« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2018, 07:40:31 pm »
I think it has to be 100%. Imagine something macro scale like a mutation caused by radiation. This can give an observable macro scale phenotype but it's caused by a stochastic quantum event, i.e. a particle breaking a chemical bond in DNA somewhere.

Well, that example is well and good, because it's very clear how one change in this case leads to a replication error, that can then be evident when extrapolated out.

However, when there are 100 billion neurons, or so, it is less clear that "chance" is what determines the outcome 100% of the time.  If it the case then that the quantum indeterminacy is the only thing governing our actions, how do we survive?  Surely the blind indeterminate quantum effects are agnostic to hunger, so how could we ever know to take actions necessary to survive?  Or how could we ever predict anything, if all cause is indeterminate?  I just don't see how 100% is realistic in most cases here.
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2018, 07:54:00 pm »
I think it has to be 100%. Imagine something macro scale like a mutation caused by radiation. This can give an observable macro scale phenotype but it's caused by a stochastic quantum event, i.e. a particle breaking a chemical bond in DNA somewhere.

Well, that example is well and good, because it's very clear how one change in this case leads to a replication error, that can then be evident when extrapolated out.

However, when there are 100 billion neurons, or so, it is less clear that "chance" is what determines the outcome 100% of the time.  If it the case then that the quantum indeterminacy is the only thing governing our actions, how do we survive?  Surely the blind indeterminate quantum effects are agnostic to hunger, so how could we ever know to take actions necessary to survive?  Or how could we ever predict anything, if all cause is indeterminate?  I just don't see how 100% is realistic in most cases here.
I'm so out my depth but I'll try my best  8) I think at it's core it's just a statistical thing, i.e. on average every x will be doing y. On average this particular receptor is in this conformation etc.

Quote
Surely the blind indeterminate quantum effects are agnostic to hunger, so how could we ever know to take actions necessary to survive?
I view it more like as a huge clusterfuck of chemical reactions that happen because the universe is trying to maximize entropy. Of course the how and whys of how exactly this happens is too complex for me, but in my view the fundamental answer to everything is entropy.

On a tangent, one of my favorite pop-sci related objects regarding this subject is this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Untoik6c_gs
It makes me feel things inside, particularly the line at 3:16
« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 08:02:00 pm by TLEILAXU »

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« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2018, 08:37:50 pm »
I'm so out my depth but I'll try my best  8) I think at it's core it's just a statistical thing, i.e. on average every x will be doing y. On average this particular receptor is in this conformation etc.

Well, I am not a mathematician at all and don't aspire to be one, really.  But doesn't this undermine your point that indeterminacy drives 100% of actions, if we are instead governed by weights of averages?  So then things are determinate, on average, yes?

I view it more like as a huge clusterfuck of chemical reactions that happen because the universe is trying to maximize entropy. Of course the how and whys of how exactly this happens is too complex for me, but in my view the fundamental answer to everything is entropy.

OK, but that doesn't explain our human desire to avert, prevent, and directly reverse entropy?
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasūrimbor . . . 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