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Re: Freedom versus determinism

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  • mary.josie59
    In existentialist terms, choice carries moral/ethical consequences. Responsibility & freedom underpinnings and all that, according to Sartre et al. We often
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 1, 2009
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      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 2 of 9 , Mar 3, 2009
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        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 3 of 9 , Mar 3, 2009
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          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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