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Doubt

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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12 April 2019 09:01
 

Whether the universe is deterministic or not is impossible to know. Either you believe in a deterministic universe or you believe in a non-deterministic universe. But free will and a deterministic universe are mutually exclusive: free will can’t exist in a deterministic universe. Nor can God or magic or GAD’s butt fairies, for that matter. Belief in a deterministic universe is therefore inconsistent with belief in free will, God, magic or GAD’s butt fairies.

Belief in a non-deterministic universe, on the other hand, is entirely consistent with belief in free will, God, magic and GAD’s butt fairies. I’m introducing a new product designed especially for people with butt fairies: ASD’s Nondeterministic Universe Toilet Paper. But I need a spokesperson to promote it. How about it, Anal?

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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12 April 2019 09:11
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 12 April 2019 09:01 AM

Whether the universe is deterministic or not is impossible to know. Either you believe in a deterministic universe or you believe in a non-deterministic universe. But free will and a deterministic universe are mutually exclusive: free will can’t exist in a deterministic universe. Nor can God or magic or GAD’s butt fairies, for that matter. Belief in a deterministic universe is therefore inconsistent with belief in free will, God, magic or GAD’s butt fairies.

Belief in a non-deterministic universe, on the other hand, is entirely consistent with belief in free will, God, magic and GAD’s butt fairies. I’m introducing a new product designed especially for people with butt fairies: ASD’s Nondeterministic Universe Toilet Paper. But I need a spokesperson to promote it. How about it, Anal?

I think, sometimes cleans your ass, sometimes it doesn’t, will be a hard sell for TP.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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12 April 2019 20:12
 

You never know, I might sell twice as much that way.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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12 April 2019 21:32
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 12 April 2019 08:12 PM

You never know, I might sell twice as much that way.

HAHA! That’s good marketing!

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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19 April 2019 16:15
 
Brick Bungalow - 11 April 2019 05:59 PM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 06 April 2019 02:26 PM

Actually, I’ve always thought it’s determinism that’s incoherent, thus making the whole problem of free will—libertarian or otherwise—as incoherent as the libertarian position taken in isolation.

No physical law entails necessity outside of certain idealizing stipulations, and the idea that we can ever derive one that explains the entirety of the causal structure of the universe, absent idealizing conditions, is pure science fiction.  As such, that the universe actually obeys this (underivable) physical law is a metaphysical stipulation, not a known property of physical reality.  Determinism as the obedience to this metaphysical principle is therefore a non-starter.  Drop the metaphysics—as one should—and the “problem” invoked by determinism disappears with it.  In other words, with the disappearance of determinism, so goes the “problem” of free will.

And I’d go even further to banish the hobgoblin of determinism, and thus put the question of our freedom—or not—on a better basis.  Properly understood, physical laws don’t even specify necessity in a sequence of events.  Rather they describe with varying degrees of approximation the behavior of kinds of phenomena.  As idealizations of these kinds, the laws are universal and necessary.  As means for solving actual physical problems, i.e. explaining actual events, the laws are useful means to predictable outcomes.  But they are not reflections of some intrinsic causal structure of the universe.  The appearance that they are is simply an illusion propagated by the fact that they work so well. 

At the end of the day, I think it’s something like a miracle that we are able with remarkable realism to determine many things in nature that cannot happen, without the laws reflecting those limits being determinable of all things that do in fact happen.  In any case, I’m pretty sure this is how physicists who aren’t doing philosophy think of their own laws.  As I see it, it’s the philosophers and their addiction to the notion of “cause” that lends credence to the metaphysics that is determinism, not the actual practice of physics.  In actual physics, cause is a logical notion, not an ontological one. Once an event is situated into a continuous history of other events, the notion of cause falls away and what you’re left with is an explained outcome that could have been “caused” by anything.

So, if determinism is metaphysical nonsense and libertarian self-causation is incoherent, what’s left of the “problem” of free will?  Why even invoke this thing we’re calling “will” to explain our freedom, or not?  Why not just explain the rather obvious ways in which we are free along with the rather obvious ways in which we are not, with special attention to the blending of the two at the limits of our experience?

It’s a chestnut that we pass along to the next class of philosophy students. It isn’t a problem to solve. It’s a stone to sharpen our minds against. I think it’s like trying to decide if the universe is finite or infinite or whether or not there is a god. We don’t find answers to these questions. We find the perimeter of our imagination.

Perhaps we see this differently, you and I.  For my part I find the free will debate as imaginatively sterile second only to the Gettier problem, warrant, and the subsequent epistemology cottage industry that emerged after 1963.  And to that point, it is only one step—and a marginal one at that—above Kuhn, paradigms, and the incommensurability problems since 1963 (the Quine-Duhem thesis is a close 4th).  So, as see it, the usual fare over “free will” is not a stone to sharpen our minds on; it is a silly dilemma forced on two generations of philosophy students, whereas the real work is done in law and the practical decisions people make as they assign responsibility—or not—for the behaviors we can all observe—and account for, or not.  As far as I can tell, the free will debate a la analytic philosophy (see the Stanford Encyclopedia, 2.0 onward) has contributed nothing worthwhile toward illuminating the ways in which we are free, and the ways in which we are not.  Instead it’s just self-satisfied intellectual masturbation from a cadre of intellectuals where nothing is at stake in what they do, even by the relatively low standards of academic truth.  But maybe you have a different experience and have read sources I have not….?

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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19 April 2019 16:16
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 12 April 2019 09:01 AM

Whether the universe is deterministic or not is impossible to know. Either you believe in a deterministic universe or you believe in a non-deterministic universe. But free will and a deterministic universe are mutually exclusive: free will can’t exist in a deterministic universe. Nor can God or magic or GAD’s butt fairies, for that matter. Belief in a deterministic universe is therefore inconsistent with belief in free will, God, magic or GAD’s butt fairies.

Belief in a non-deterministic universe, on the other hand, is entirely consistent with belief in free will, God, magic and GAD’s butt fairies. I’m introducing a new product designed especially for people with butt fairies: ASD’s Nondeterministic Universe Toilet Paper. But I need a spokesperson to promote it. How about it, Anal?

I am not sure what I’d be endorsing here.  If it’s “free will is real because indeterminism is true,” I’m afraid business ethics require I pass, for I don’t believe that.  Although not stated so specifically in my last post, that statement is but one aspect of a false problem, as I see it.  “Indeterminism” can be as much metaphysics as determinism, in that any attempt to describe the causal structure of the universe as whole falls—under the Anal view—under metaphysics, not physics.  But, if your toilet paper wipes away all metaphysical speculation as such, then sign me up.  I’ll wholeheartedly endorse that product.

 
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