I don't understand why the 'free will' thing keeps popping back up again and again. Either you don't have it or you do and it will not change the way you behave. If you suddenly learned that you do not possess 'free will' will you just out of a window???? Are you not going to put bad people in prison????? Or are you going to just continue doing what you have been doing???? What would the universe look like if it was not predictable or only predictable to a variable degree? Can you imagine such a universe? 

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By "old material", I am referring to the fact that the whole idea and debate is moot in light of modern science.

I know something of modern science, and yet I can't see how it is moot. You aren't trying to find freedom in randomness (quantum mechanics), are you? Randomness doesn't rescue free will any more than determinism does.

As for your assessment of philosophy, attitudes aren't facts. You're attitude is irrelevant.

Quantum mechanical effects are arguably not random based on the precise definition of the word. They are just indeterminate. This is simply a consequence of our perceptual limitations that are defined by physical law. A random system's current state is independent of its prior states or surrounding conditions. An unpredictable system is one that an observer is simply unable to determine the next state of the system even if the system isn't actually random; the observer simply doesn't know the nature of the system well enough to figure it out. The common fallacy is to assume a system's nature to be random without any evidence to support that conclusion. 

I see, but that still doesn't seem to rescue free will from the jaws of determinism. In fact, perhaps quite the opposite.

Not only was the rescue a failure, but it looks like it's been chewed up, swallowed, and thoroughly digested :)

There is no rescue attempt.  The whole point is that the basis of the whole thing is framed wrong.  I can't rescue an answer when the question is wrong in the first place. And I never even mentioned quantum mechanics as I don't see how it applies until one is a good thousand strokes into the masturbatory session.

As for your assessment of my attitude on philosophy? That in itself is irrelevant to the fact that philosophy is more irrelevant than ever as a way for discovery. If you are fond of it, then I mean no offense to you personally.  But, what has philosophy done for us lately, really? Other than continue to rehash age old arguments that have no application to reality like free will versus determinism? That is like applying the "chicken or egg" question to biology and expecting it to be one or the other when it is both and neither.  The question is wrong and we know this.  And in knowing more, we can ask better questions.

But all that aside, I don't think you understand my point at all.  You seem to think I am searching for freedom in some principle of uncertainty or by denigrating philosophy.  That is not the case. In fact, I've often argued that free will is an absurd concept.  But determinism argued to a fatalistic conclusion is only a little less absurd to me. There are many more and better questions to be asked than "free will or determinism".

Given that those at the leading edge of science are all philosophers, I don't get your point. The physicists and cosmologists are working on the nature of reality and existence. These are philosophical questions, and a lot of it is sheer speculation.

Plato saw the reality of the senses as basically unreal. Underlying that world was a reality far different from appearance. That was a couple thousand years ago. Today physicists also talk about a reality that is far different from appearance, and almost totally based on speculation rather than measurement.

Today's philosopher-scientists give us explanations which are almost pure conjecture and speculation: string theory, multiple dimensions (I believe 11 is the most commonly given number nowadays), branes, and an infinitude of universes.

This is all philosophy even if you don't call it as such. A rose is a rose by any other name.

So you are wrong, my friend.

I beg your pardon, but those people are scientists, not philosophers.  If you definition of philosophy is so broad that it entails all who ask questions, then we are all philosophers and it means nothing to be one.  But make no mistake, those on the leading edge of science are scientists with specialized knowledge and training.  Just because they speculate or hypothesize doesn't turn them into something else.  To question is all part of the scientific method.  Let's face it; science has replaced philosophy and that is my whole point.

And string theory?  That is the example you use after I invoke Lawrence Krauss?  Geez. Talk about a swing and a miss.

Just to add, Krauss often teases Brian Greene for the speculative nature of string threory.  And string theory is not an accepted theory and, technically, not even a theory.  It is a hypothesis.  And this hypothesis is not "pure speculation" since it has mathematical roots.  It isn't like they decided which number they liked best to assign as the number of dimensions.  It came from the math that they have worked out.  There is no way to test it so all one can do at this point is wank on about it.  It is all very probably bullshit anyway and that is a lot of what philosophizing gets you. 

And one more thing I find humorous and must point out is that you hold up string theory as this gold standard of "philosophy science".  The thing is, they didn't just run the math and discover extra dimensions.  No, they ran the math and the math didn't compute so they invented dimensions in order to make the equations work.  That and it being untestable is why many dismiss string theory.

If philosophy is mental masturbation, then string theory is mathematical masturbation.

Oh, so you base whether someone is something on whether they have attained a PhD? So, you can't be a writer without obtaining a writing certificate from a university?

I'm curious to know, why can't someone be BOTH a scientist and philosopher.

You are talking patent nonsense. One can be both a philosopher and a writer and a scientist. Even if you don't call yourself such.

Philosophy has always been about being a "lover of knowlege" (which is what "philosopher" means).

Oh, so you base whether someone is something on whether they have attained a PhD?

I guess if a person gets an MD, they are a doctor, right?  Or they obtain their JD then they are a lawyer. If they get their PhD in Astrophysics, they are a scientist.  Right?  To some degree it does matter.   

I'm curious to know, why can't someone be BOTH a scientist and philosopher.

 

I never said that couldn't happen.  But philosophy doesn't bring anything useful to the table that the scientific method doesn't already possess. 

Science has important roots in philosophy which is why there are some aspects of it that are so similar.  You mention Plato, a philosopher.  But what he did is not comparable to what Darwin, a Natural Philosopher, did.  Only in the most basic way is it even comparable; they ask big questions and seek to answer them.  But in how they seek to answer them is so vastly different that to equate these philosophies as being equally valid ways to discover the objective nature of the universe is silly.  And we have progressed beyond natural philosophy into modern science.

Philosophers don't do science. Scientists do.  And if in the heart of a scientists lurks a philosopher then that is all just peaches and cream.  But they aren't practicing philosophy and they are not making important discoveries using philosophy.  They are doing this all using science.

 

 

As with many things free will is the "solution" to a problem religion created itself. It may be a nice philosophical argument, but in the real world it's irrelevant

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