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Dennett and inevitability

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  • stephnlawrnce@aol.com
    http://meaningoflife.tv/video.php?speaker=dennett&topic=freewill I think an important job that Dennett does is to show that it s not true to say your future is
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 4, 2008
      http://meaningoflife.tv/video.php?speaker=dennett&topic=freewill

      I think an important job that Dennett does is to show that it's not true to say your future is inevitable in a deterministic universe, except perhaps as a banal fact that would be true of any logical universe. 

      Firstly Dennett explains that inevitable means avoidable. Now assuming the future refers to what will happen, then it logically follows that you cannot avoid what will happen because it has to happen in order for it to be what will happen. This fact remains the same if the future could be any number of things or just one thing.

      If I and I think Dennett are looking at this the wrong way and the future doesn't refer to what will happen, then what on earth does it refer to?

      I think this line of thinking is potentially very important in the battle against belief in incompatibilist free will.

      The reason is that so many people think it's important to be able to change the future. If they new that the plain fact is the very idea is illogical, regardless of what type of universe we live in, then they could settle down and see what they can do with regards to their futures, without the nonsensical notion of wanting to change it.

      I think this would make determinism seem like much less of a threat to their freedom.


      Stephen

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    • Steve
      Hi Stephen, We can think of time as a continuous line, the past one way and the future the other way. And we are at NOW in the middle. We are moving along this
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 10, 2008
        Hi Stephen,

        We can think of time as a continuous line, the past one way and the
        future the other way. And we are at NOW in the middle. We are moving
        along this line leaving the past behind and coming into the future.
        Like a car on the highway.

        It's a nice metaphor but it ain't really like that. In a car you can
        look in the mirror and there is the road behind and you can look
        forward to see some of the road ahead. But our position in time is
        not like that. We cannot see backwards and we cannot see forwards.
        Any time we look around it is always NOW.

        We have memories of the past but they are extremely unreliable. And
        we can say certain things that exist now are evidence of past events
        but only to a degree.

        The future is only very broadly predictable. The Earth is very likely
        to continue around the Sun and to spin on its axis. So it is very
        likely we will see the sun rise tomorrow and winter will continue
        until we get to Spring. But these are probabilities only.

        The future will happen. But what will happen is unknowable. We can
        imagine the future is there with its assorted bumps and turns but
        that is only our imagination and I can most certainly encounter the
        completely unexpected.

        What I do will make a difference to the future. But I don't know what
        difference.

        What I do is determined by the past. But I don't know what those
        determinants are.

        I don't actually know very much at all!

        Steve L

        --- In naturalismphilosophyforum@yahoogroups.com, stephnlawrnce@...
        wrote:
        >
        > http://meaningoflife.tv/video.php?speaker=dennett&topic=freewill
        >
        > I think an important job that Dennett does is to show that it's not
        true to say your future is inevitable in a deterministic universe,?
        except perhaps as a banal fact that would be true of any logical?
        universe.?
        >
        > Firstly Dennett explains that inevitable means avoidable. Now
        assuming the future refers to what will happen, then it logically
        follows that you cannot avoid what will happen because it has to
        happen in order for it to be what will happen. This fact remains the
        same if the future could be any number of things or just one thing.
        >
        > If I and I think Dennett are looking at this the wrong way and the
        future doesn't refer to what will happen, then what on earth does it
        refer to?
        >
        > I think this line of thinking is potentially very important in the
        battle against belief in incompatibilist?free will.
        >
        > The reason is that so many people think it's important to be able
        to change the future. If they new that the plain fact is the very
        idea is illogical, regardless of what type of universe we live in,
        then they could settle down and see what they can do with regards to
        their futures, without the nonsensical notion of wanting to change it.
        >
        > I think this would make determinism seem like?much less of a threat
        to their freedom.
        >
        >
        > Stephen
        >
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      • stephnlawrnce@aol.com
        Hi Steve, Good to talk to you again, I hope I find you well. We can think of time as a continuous line, the past one way and the future the other way. And we
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 10, 2008
          Hi Steve,

          Good to talk to you again, I hope I find you well.
          We can think of time as a continuous line, the past one way and the
          future the other way. And we are at NOW in the middle. We are moving
          along this line leaving the past behind and coming into the future.
          Like a car on the highway.

          It's a nice metaphor but it ain't really like that. In a car you can
          look in the mirror and there is the road behind and you can look
          forward to see some of the road ahead. But our position in time is
          not like that. We cannot see backwards and we cannot see forwards.
          Any time we look around it is always NOW.

          Yes! I think this is what we get confused about, we sometimes think we are looking at the future and therefore changing it when we prevent what we are looking at. I think realising this is not true is what all the talk about being here now is about. 

          We have memories of the past but they are extremely unreliable. And
          we can say certain things that exist now are evidence of past events
          but only to a degree.

          Yep

          The future is only very broadly predictable. The Earth is very likely
          to continue around the Sun and to spin on its axis. So it is very
          likely we will see the sun rise tomorrow and winter will continue
          until we get to Spring. But these are probabilities only.

          Yes and it's very interesting to think in what sense, we are talking about when we say it's very likely. Say the sun disappeared 7 and half minutes ago, in what sense is it very likely that it is there now?

          The future will happen. But what will happen is unknowable.
           
          Yes people have always thought unpredictability or lack of knowledge is a key component in this debate and it is, just not in the way most think.

          We can
          imagine the future is there with its assorted bumps and turns but
          that is only our imagination and I can most certainly encounter the
          completely unexpected.

          Yep

          What I do will make a difference to the future. But I don't know what
          difference. 

          We can work things out like if I wear my gloves my hands will be warmer than if I don't, with some degree of certainty, although we could get it wrong. Someone maybe caused to be envious of my gloves, take them and put my hands in the snow:-)

          But seriously imagining what would happen if ......... seems to be our main tool for gaining some control over our futures.

          What I do is determined by the past. But I don't know what those
          determinants are.

          I don't actually know very much at all!

          Yep

          Stephen



          -----Original Message-----
          From: Steve <steve_loir@...>
          To: naturalismphilosophyforum@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 9:26
          Subject: [naturalismphilosophyforum] Re: Dennett and inevitability

          Hi Stephen,

          We can think of time as a continuous line, the past one way and the
          future the other way. And we are at NOW in the middle. We are moving
          along this line leaving the past behind and coming into the future.
          Like a car on the highway.

          It's a nice metaphor but it ain't really like that. In a car you can
          look in the mirror and there is the road behind and you can look
          forward to see some of the road ahead. But our position in time is
          not like that. We cannot see backwards and we cannot see forwards.
          Any time we look around it is always NOW.

          We have memories of the past but they are extremely unreliable. And
          we can say certain things that exist now are evidence of past events
          but only to a degree.

          The future is only very broadly predictable. The Earth is very likely
          to continue around the Sun and to spin on its axis. So it is very
          likely we will see the sun rise tomorrow and winter will continue
          until we get to Spring. But these are probabilities only.

          The future will happen. But what will happen is unknowable. We can
          imagine the future is there with its assorted bumps and turns but
          that is only our imagination and I can most certainly encounter the
          completely unexpected.

          What I do will make a difference to the future. But I don't know what
          difference.

          What I do is determined by the past. But I don't know what those
          determinants are.

          I don't actually know very much at all!

          Steve L

          --- In naturalismphilosoph yforum@yahoogrou ps.com, stephnlawrnce@ ...
          wrote:
          >
          > http://meaningoflif e.tv/video. php?speaker= dennett&topic= freewill
          >
          > I think an important job that Dennett does is to show that it's not
          true to say your future is inevitable in a deterministic universe,?
          except perhaps as a banal fact that would be true of any logical?
          universe.?
          >
          > Firstly Dennett explains that inevitable means avoidable. Now
          assuming the future refers to what will happen, then it logically
          follows that you cannot avoid what will happen because it has to
          happen in order for it to be what will happen. This fact remains the
          same if the future could be any number of things or just one thing.
          >
          > If I and I think Dennett are looking at this the wrong way and the
          future doesn't refer to what will happen, then what on earth does it
          refer to?
          >
          > I think this line of thinking is potentially very important in the
          battle against belief in incompatibilist? free will.
          >
          > The reason is that so many people think it's important to be able
          to change the future. If they new that the plain fact is the very
          idea is illogical, regardless of what type of universe we live in,
          then they could settle down and see what they can do with regards to
          their futures, without the nonsensical notion of wanting to change it.
          >
          > I think this would make determinism seem like?much less of a threat
          to their freedom.
          >
          >
          > Stephen
          >
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          today.
          >


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