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  • mary.josie59
    We must carefully disambiguate causality from its close relatives certainty, determinism, necessity, and predictability. We have causality in the world, in the
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 1, 2009
      We must carefully disambiguate causality from its close relatives
      certainty, determinism, necessity, and predictability.

      We have causality in the world, in the sense that for every event we
      can always find preceding events that contributed to the outcome. But
      some events involve an irreducible randomness or chance. They are
      unpredictable, uncertain, and indeterministic. We can describe such
      events with the ancient concept of the uncaused cause or causa sui.

      Although almost all philosophers became language philosophers in the
      twentieth century, they have been notoriously sloppy with definitions
      of philosophical terminology. They have been especially confused when
      they attempt to prove things with logic and language about the world.

      For example, they like to say that if determinism is false,
      indeterminism is true. This is of course logically correct. Strict
      causal determinism with a causal chain of necessary events back to an
      Aristotelian first cause is indeed false, and modern philosophers know
      it, though most hold out hope that the quantum mechanical basis of
      such indeterminism will be disproved someday and declare themselves
      agnostic.

      These agnostic philosophers go on to argue that the principle of
      bivalence requires that since determinism and indeterminism are
      logical contradictories, only one of them can be true. The law of the
      excluded middle allows no third possibility. Now since neither
      determinism nor indeterminism allow the kind of free will that
      supports moral responsibility, they claim that free will is
      unintelligible or an illusion. This is the standard argument against
      free will.

      Finally, despite their claim that professional philosophers are better
      equipped than scientists to make conceptual distinctions and evaluate
      the cogency of arguments, they have confounded the concepts of "free"
      and "will" into the muddled term "free will" despite the clear
      warnings from John Locke that this would lead to confusion. Locke said
      very clearly, as had some ancients like Lucretius, it is not the will
      that is free (in the sense of undetermined), it is the mind.

      The practical empirical situation is much more complex than such
      simple black and white logical linguistic thinking can comprehend.
      Despite quantum uncertainty, there is clearly adequate determinism in
      the world, enough to permit the near-perfect predictions of celestial
      motions, and good enough to send men to the moon and back. But this
      "near" (Honderich) or "almost" (Fischer) determinism is neither
      absolute nor required in any way by logical necessity, as Aristotle
      himself first argued against the determinist atomists.

      The core idea of causality is closely related to the idea of
      determinism. But we can have causality without determinism. We call it
      "soft" causality. The departure from strict causality is very slight
      compared to the miraculous ideas usually associated with the "causa
      sui" (self-caused cause) of the ancients.

      Causality is a rhetorical tool, It is ad hoc reasoning to identify
      preceding events that contributed to a current event. We can always
      find a reason (λόγος) or reasons for events, leading to the ancient
      dictum "every event has a cause."

      And certainty, necessity, and predictability are all closely related
      to determinism, but they have their main applicability in slightly
      different fields - mathematics, logic, and physics - which gives rise
      to ambiguity when used outside those fields.

      Certainty is a powerful idea that has mesmerized philosophers, and
      especially religious leaders, throughout the ages. Belief in absolute
      and certain truth has all too often justified the most inhumane
      behavior toward those not sharing that truth and that belief.

      Certainty is the case of a mathematical probability equal to one.

      Necessity is often opposed to chance. In a necessary world there is no
      chance. Everything that happens is necessitated. In our real physical
      world nothing is necessary. There is nothing logically true of the world.

      Necessity is just a useful tool as part of our deductive reasoning in
      logic, where chance is theoretically non-existent.

      Predictability is a characteristic of law-governed phenomena. When the
      laws are expressible as mathematical functions of time, knowledge of
      the initial conditions at some time allows us to predict the
      conditions at all later (and retrospectively earlier) times.

      Predictability in like circumstances is the key to the
      hypothetical-deductive method of experimental science.

      Excerpt from:
      http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/disambiguation.html

      Mary
    • mary.josie59
      In existentialist terms, choice carries moral/ethical consequences. Responsibility & freedom underpinnings and all that, according to Sartre et al. We often
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 1, 2009
        In existentialist terms, choice carries moral/ethical consequences.
        Responsibility & freedom underpinnings and all that, according to
        Sartre et al. We often feel we could not act otherwise, when we know
        that we could have. We actually had a choice. We didn't want to live
        with the consequences. There's nothing wrong with that. Some choose
        differently, and that's where others want to tell us, we chose
        wrongly. The existential way is solitary, because we can't, don't
        need, or want to justify our decisions. Freedom and free will are not
        the same. Determinism and fate are not the same. We don't have to love
        our mistakes, or our intentions, but they do have consequences which
        are never as simple or obvious as the laws of physics.

        Mary
      • nr_rajkumar
        I have just finished a bit of a heavy reading of some of the back references left by Chris Lofting on the web.  I am now inclined to think of the
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 3, 2009
          I have just finished a bit of a heavy reading of some of the back references left by Chris Lofting on the web.  I am now inclined to think of the possibilities as immense but the limited capability stands in the way of refining, sharpening the processes and procedures to come to grips with precise reality of the moment and retain the focus - whether it is "out there" or "in here" - and allow a meaningful relationship to develop  between them. 
           
          The thermodynamic time and space giving way to light and precision, the complexities, the oscillations, the yin/yang, A/Not A, the context, metaphors, the expressions they all narrow down to participation with involvement and detachment as well as it comes nearer home and to a single chain of unbroken consciousness, interpretations and potential possibilities. There is so much happening in the objective world, the subjective world and the subjective self that go under the label of  acceptance and rejection and selection and treatment - the choice available to the individual self in search of variety and certainty, in the face of the ordering and dialogue that is taking place as expression of cause and effect chain/relationship to be meaningful implies that devices representing the phenomenon of ordering, control and performance must share linear,  cohesive or purposeful or opposite relationships.
           
          NRR
           
           
           
           
           


          --- On Sun, 3/1/09, chris lofting <lofting@...> wrote:


          From: chris lofting <lofting@...>
          Subject: RE: [existlist] Freedom versus determinism
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Sunday, March 1, 2009, 7:50 AM








          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: existlist@yahoogrou ps.com
          > [mailto:existlist@yahoogrou ps.com] On Behalf Of devogney
          > Sent: Sunday, 1 March 2009 12:38 PM
          > To: existlist@yahoogrou ps.com
          > Subject: [existlist] Freedom versus determinism
          >
          > I recall a few weeks or so ago the question of freedom versus
          > determinism was being discussed here. Someone said that you
          > couldn't have it both ways. I believe we are free to have it
          > both ways. I believe it is empowering to be able to have more
          > than one paradigm through which to perceive life.

          Sure - you can work as a particular of the species and process information
          etc as a genetically- determined being OR as a singular being, 'free' to make
          choices (to a degree, your singular being is always operating WITHIN the
          bounds set by the biology).

          Consider consciousness as an agent of mediation in LOCAL contexts and that
          includes serving as a 'randomiser' of the set of behaviours available; as
          such consciousness can let you escape false reasoning by being intentionally
          'irrational' . We can interpret this as consciousness manifesting Darwin's
          mutation now internalised and working 24/7.

          > I think
          > that for some endeavors determisism can be a paradigm that
          > allows us to perceive directions and progressions. Whereas in
          > many other areas of life, the paradigm of freedom is a more
          > empowering mode. I understand in quantum physics, that in one
          > mode the universe can be seen as one energy wave, and in
          > another mode it is seen as particles.
          >

          This is a product of methodology where we cover precision vs approximation
          in the context of acts of mediation. As such HOW you observe determines WHAT
          you observe. Nothing magical about that once you understand the dynamics of
          meaning derivation in the presence of indeterminacy. The wave/particle
          duality issue is built-in to our methods of processing information and so
          will appear in experiments that touch on such in high precision across the
          microcosm, mesocosm, macrocosm. QM has been demanding of our intellects and
          so we project all possible forms of interpretation onto our experiments and
          then get surprised with the findings where such reflect more a failure to
          understand our methodology in processing information.

          > I believe the freedom to have things both ways, or maybe even
          > three or four ways is very much a part of the evolution of
          > human freedom itself.

          ? consciousness actually LIMITS freedom buy reducing the degrees of freedom
          available - it serves to suppress/repress and as such covers top-down
          dynamics of regulation to aid in making the 'best fit' choices. Since the
          brain can only deal with 7+/-2 concepts at the same time, so as we work
          through choices we drop some to pick up others - given lots of others this
          can be experienced consciously as lots of choices being available - and if
          one is ignorant of unconscious activity then a spanner can be thrown into
          the works very quickly.

          Our more differentiating parts of the brain work of probabilistic thinking,
          subjective probabilities (Bayesian statistics), high risk, partials focus,
          anti-symmetric. The subjectivity sorts the set of posssibles into a
          dimension from 'best fit' to 'worst fit'. Objectivity is useful to aid in
          refining the subjectivity and so making the dimension better fit 'reality as
          is'.

          The more choices in the set of probabilities means we exceed that 7+/-2
          limit. We are naturally attracted to the 'best fit' end of the dimension and
          so work from there 'down'. The point is that ALL of the dimension applies to
          a moment such that elements of the 'worst fit' can still contribute in a
          small way to the WHOLE experience and we can, do, often miss this (unless
          one is naturally anxious and so uses imagination to try and cover all
          possibilities - but this can lead to a failure to act!)

          Chris
          http://members. iimetro.com. au/~lofting/ myweb/AbstractDo main.html
















          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • louise
          Mary, Thanks for your research work and selection. It is a clarifying excerpt, and a useful site in general. Good to know you re here to help steady the
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 3, 2009
            Mary,

            Thanks for your research work and selection. It is a clarifying
            excerpt, and a useful site in general. Good to know you're here to
            help steady the ship, as once again the list weathers a storm.

            Louise

            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "mary.josie59" <mary.josie59@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > We must carefully disambiguate causality from its close relatives
            > certainty, determinism, necessity, and predictability.
            >
            > We have causality in the world, in the sense that for every event
            we
            > can always find preceding events that contributed to the outcome.
            But
            > some events involve an irreducible randomness or chance. They are
            > unpredictable, uncertain, and indeterministic. We can describe such
            > events with the ancient concept of the uncaused cause or causa sui.
            >
            > Although almost all philosophers became language philosophers in the
            > twentieth century, they have been notoriously sloppy with
            definitions
            > of philosophical terminology. They have been especially confused
            when
            > they attempt to prove things with logic and language about the
            world.
            >
            > For example, they like to say that if determinism is false,
            > indeterminism is true. This is of course logically correct. Strict
            > causal determinism with a causal chain of necessary events back to
            an
            > Aristotelian first cause is indeed false, and modern philosophers
            know
            > it, though most hold out hope that the quantum mechanical basis of
            > such indeterminism will be disproved someday and declare themselves
            > agnostic.
            >
            > These agnostic philosophers go on to argue that the principle of
            > bivalence requires that since determinism and indeterminism are
            > logical contradictories, only one of them can be true. The law of
            the
            > excluded middle allows no third possibility. Now since neither
            > determinism nor indeterminism allow the kind of free will that
            > supports moral responsibility, they claim that free will is
            > unintelligible or an illusion. This is the standard argument against
            > free will.
            >
            > Finally, despite their claim that professional philosophers are
            better
            > equipped than scientists to make conceptual distinctions and
            evaluate
            > the cogency of arguments, they have confounded the concepts
            of "free"
            > and "will" into the muddled term "free will" despite the clear
            > warnings from John Locke that this would lead to confusion. Locke
            said
            > very clearly, as had some ancients like Lucretius, it is not the
            will
            > that is free (in the sense of undetermined), it is the mind.
            >
            > The practical empirical situation is much more complex than such
            > simple black and white logical linguistic thinking can comprehend.
            > Despite quantum uncertainty, there is clearly adequate determinism
            in
            > the world, enough to permit the near-perfect predictions of
            celestial
            > motions, and good enough to send men to the moon and back. But this
            > "near" (Honderich) or "almost" (Fischer) determinism is neither
            > absolute nor required in any way by logical necessity, as Aristotle
            > himself first argued against the determinist atomists.
            >
            > The core idea of causality is closely related to the idea of
            > determinism. But we can have causality without determinism. We call
            it
            > "soft" causality. The departure from strict causality is very slight
            > compared to the miraculous ideas usually associated with the "causa
            > sui" (self-caused cause) of the ancients.
            >
            > Causality is a rhetorical tool, It is ad hoc reasoning to identify
            > preceding events that contributed to a current event. We can always
            > find a reason (λόγος) or reasons for
            events, leading to the ancient
            > dictum "every event has a cause."
            >
            > And certainty, necessity, and predictability are all closely related
            > to determinism, but they have their main applicability in slightly
            > different fields - mathematics, logic, and physics - which gives
            rise
            > to ambiguity when used outside those fields.
            >
            > Certainty is a powerful idea that has mesmerized philosophers, and
            > especially religious leaders, throughout the ages. Belief in
            absolute
            > and certain truth has all too often justified the most inhumane
            > behavior toward those not sharing that truth and that belief.
            >
            > Certainty is the case of a mathematical probability equal to one.
            >
            > Necessity is often opposed to chance. In a necessary world there is
            no
            > chance. Everything that happens is necessitated. In our real
            physical
            > world nothing is necessary. There is nothing logically true of the
            world.
            >
            > Necessity is just a useful tool as part of our deductive reasoning
            in
            > logic, where chance is theoretically non-existent.
            >
            > Predictability is a characteristic of law-governed phenomena. When
            the
            > laws are expressible as mathematical functions of time, knowledge of
            > the initial conditions at some time allows us to predict the
            > conditions at all later (and retrospectively earlier) times.
            >
            > Predictability in like circumstances is the key to the
            > hypothetical-deductive method of experimental science.
            >
            > Excerpt from:
            > http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/disambiguation.html
            >
            > Mary
            >
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