06-08-2010 , 01:32 PM
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You're asking me to prove some definition with a process of inference when no such thing is possible. I told you to stop breaking the rules of language. I've provided reason to suspect that determinism indeed directly implies fatalism and provided reasons against your reasons. You've provided no such reasons: you keep demanding a proof which is in principle impossible and commits an egregious category mistake.
"Imply" has a particular meaning. It means that either y is a direct consequence of x or that y can be derived from x through a process of inference.

When you claim that my definition implies a script, you are claiming one of the two. The former is brainless, so I assume you mean the latter. In which case you mean there is a process of inference. Here are two references to what "imply" means in logic. Note that in BOTH CASES they fit my conditions above.

If my definition -> a script, then you should damn well be able to prove it.

This is not asking you to prove a definition, it's asking you to show the steps you referenced when you made the claim that x -> y.

Furthermore, you have provided no reasoning, not even bad reasoning, to suggest that determinism implies a script. In terms of whether determinism implies fatalism, a script implies fatalism, so you have given reasoning to support that. It's pretty easy to prove, even:

If the world is deterministic, then a script exists.
If a script exists, then the world is fatalistic.
Therefore, if the world is deterministic, then the world is fatalistic.

Congratulations, except THE FIRST PART (if the world is deterministic, then a script exists) is what I was asking you to prove (and what you CLAIMED was implied).
06-08-2010 , 01:37 PM
I've done that. I've given both the domino example and you eating a bagel vs toast in a year's time.

I've done it twice.
06-08-2010 , 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
As best as I can tell, this is the distinction that you're making:

The capacity to calculate is not the same as having calculated.

That's fine. But this distinction is not relevant to the conversation. Determinism does not require that one *HAS* calculated anything (in other words the "script" need not have been "written" somewhere). Determinism is a statement about the possibility of calculating the future state of the universe (edit: that it is always possible from any state to calculate the next state).
Your reasoning, particularly the domino-style reasoning, is based on the premise that the event in question has been determined in the past (and that this somehow prevents it from being a reality in the present). You haven't actually used logic to express this, it seems to be an appeal to the emotions of those who share your sentiment, but the way you're talking makes it sound like "it has been determined" is pretty crucial to the point.

If is hasn't been determined, and in fact can't be determined, because "determination" can't even happen in a deterministic universe (except in the most superficial of senses in which every moment determines every other moment), it seems to me your point falls to pieces.

Though, as with durka, if you'd care to make your point in step-by-step terms instead of hurling "it happened in the past therefore it can't happen in the present" (why would something happening in the past prevent it from happening in the present?), then maybe it will turn out that time isn't as critical to the whole question as I had thought.

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And what you are calling "predestination" sounds more like "a supreme being that HAS calculated the future state of the universe" (which isn't really predestination at all).
Predestination means that a supreme being has defined the future state of the universe. Whether that means "calculated" is irrelevant.
06-08-2010 , 01:42 PM
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I've done that. I've given both the domino example and you eating a bagel vs toast in a year's time.

I've done it twice.
You gave no reasoning in either case.

You said "the red domino will fall, the fact that it's red won't prevent it from falling." And you said "a magician in the past could know that you would eat a bagel, so how could you eat toast?"

The first is 100% irrelevant, the latter is a question that I answered in fairly structured terms. I could even do it in formal terms, to show you how it's done, if you like.

Neither of which qualifies as reasoning. To reason a contradiction in determinism, you would need to (using premises taken from determinism and not premises you pulled out of your ass or premises that clearly DON'T apply in determinism) say something like "if x, then y, therefore z" and so on. That's what reason looks like, not "BUT A MAGICIAN COULD HAVE PREDICTED IT MAYBE SO HOW COULD YOU BE FREEEEEEE?"

The latter is known is academic circles as "acting like Nielsio," and is quite distinct from "reasoning."
06-08-2010 , 01:47 PM
Um, seriously?

The first is entirely relevant and you did no such thing to the second example.

The domino 'redness' is to question the coherence of compatibilism by way of analogy. But the key point is whether anyone who subscribes to the determinist thesis would reject the domino structure itself as inapt. Would you? If determinism is true, how is it inapt to describe the causal structure as a series of dominoes whereby no future domino has the ability to do otherwise than what was fully determined by the initial state of the universe and the first domino's movement?

Let's start there, and don't respond with a wall of text.
06-08-2010 , 01:55 PM
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Um, seriously?

The first is entirely relevant and you did no such thing to the second example.

The domino 'redness' is to question the coherence of compatibilism by way of analogy. But the key point is whether anyone who subscribes to the determinist thesis would reject the domino structure itself as inapt. Would you?
Not only would I, I already did. In my response to it. Remember?

I also described it as inapt for different reasons in my big post about time.

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If determinism is true, how is it inapt to describe the causal structure as a series of dominoes whereby no future domino has the ability to do otherwise than what was fully determined by the initial state of the universe and the first domino's movement?
First because nothing ever was determined in determinism. There is no "moment of determination," and even if there were it would be in the future as much as in the past. (Which my time post explains clearly, iyam.)

Second because the domino is a domino - if it were an intelligent computer program then it would be relevant.

Third because you're assuming linear unidirectional causation, which determinism doesn't (at least not always) assume.

Fourth because the property of redness you are ascribing to the domino is supposed to be an analogue for the property of choice in humans! Yes, if "redness" is the ability to choose, then the red domino can choose!

Fifth because the property of the domino doesn't actually affect the chain of dominoes - whereas the ability to choose DOES affect the chain of events in determinism. If you had changed the mass of the domino, THAT would have been more analogous (if the domino were so heavy that it did not fall over when the prior domino struck it, or so light that it was unable to knock the next domino over).

That's probably enough, though I think I've raised all of them before. I'm pretty sure virtually all of the compatibilists here called out your domino example as inapt, in fact, but I don't want to dig back that far.

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Let's start there, and don't respond with a wall of text.
I'm sorry, maybe I should only have listed one of the reasons your analogy doesn't apply, instead of five.

Regardless, an analogy doesn't qualify as reasoning, it's more like an "intuition pump" for when there's an intuitive concept that your opponent "isn't getting."
06-08-2010 , 02:10 PM
...sigh...

I give up.

(1: the big bang can be described as the 'moment' of determination. For your argument to work you need to posit an infinite universe or at least some for of infinitism.)

Just curious...what's your education and familiarity with both logic and philosophy?
06-08-2010 , 02:14 PM
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I already said this. It's not the definition or the function that's not time-dependent, it's the resolution of outcomes or what I'm going to call the "determination" of events.
Uh huh... in other words, you're changing the terminology mid-stream.

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For this thread I'll use the narrowest definition I can think of, "every state of the universe can be expressed as a function of every other state of the universe in some systematic and non-arbitrary way."

That's a pretty strong position, but I'm confident that it's still highly compatible with most notions of responsibility and choice (certainly compatible with control, regret, etc).

If that's too complicated, we can take a slightly broader subset that may be more intuitive:

Every state of the universe at any time tf=x can be systematically expressed as a function of the state of the universe at any time ti<x. That is, there is some function that, taking the values of all variables (particle positions and velocities, etc) in the universe at time ti and the time tf as arguments, describes the values of all the variables in the universe at time tf.
So all of this that you put in about time dependence right at the very beginning is stuff that I should have ignored for the ENTIRE THREAD. Because it seems to me that your presentation of reverse-time-implications is WHOLLY INCONSISTENT with what you have presented here.

I'll be honest. It feels like you're just making up crap as you go.
06-08-2010 , 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
I'll be honest. It feels like you're just making up crap as you go.
It's not fair for me to make this accusation without being very clear about why I'm making it.

You see, very clearly, that you have introduced time dependence in your presentation of "determinism."

You have also said

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The future causes the past just as much as the past causes the future, and the present is merely an arbitrary token.
And you have made this the centerpiece of your very long post (#600), and summarized in the following way:

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In summary, YOU DON'T GET TO USE YOUR VIEW OF TIME IN CRITIQUING DETERMINISM, BECAUSE THE DETERMINIST VIEW OF TIME IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM YOUR OWN.
Somewhere between here and there, you changed an opinion because if a special understanding of time was so important to "determinism" (whatever it is that you REALLY mean), you would NEVER have introduced the forward time dependence at the very beginning.
06-08-2010 , 02:33 PM
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...sigh...

I give up.

(1: the big bang can be described as the 'moment' of determination. For your argument to work you need to posit an infinite universe or at least some for of infinitism.)
What is special about the big bang? Why is it any more the "moment" of determination than yesterday night or April 15, 2077 (or the moment at which the universe is destroyed)?

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Just curious...what's your education and familiarity with both logic and philosophy?
Reading a lot, and doing exercises.
06-08-2010 , 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
Uh huh... in other words, you're changing the terminology mid-stream.

So all of this that you put in about time dependence right at the very beginning is stuff that I should have ignored for the ENTIRE THREAD. Because it seems to me that your presentation of reverse-time-implications is WHOLLY INCONSISTENT with what you have presented here.

I'll be honest. It feels like you're just making up crap as you go.
06-08-2010 , 02:36 PM
I agree that this move to time-dependence appears very ad hoc and not just non-standard but not motivated by any independent reason for supposing that it's relevant.

Could you attempt to provide such an argument?
06-08-2010 , 02:37 PM
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What is special about the big bang? Why is it any more the "moment" of determination than yesterday night or April 15, 2077 (or the moment at which the universe is destroyed)?

Reading a lot, and doing exercises.
Ah, so basically nothing, then.

As far as your future actions, nothing; as far as your apparent argument that there must be a single 'moment', everything.
06-08-2010 , 02:40 PM
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See post #609.
06-08-2010 , 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
It's not fair for me to make this accusation without being very clear about why I'm making it.

You see, very clearly, that you have introduced time dependence in your presentation of "determinism."
Huh? No, I have never done any such thing.

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Somewhere between here and there, you changed an opinion because if a special understanding of time was so important to "determinism" (whatever it is that you REALLY mean), you would NEVER have introduced the forward time dependence at the very beginning.
First of all, there is nothing "special" about this understanding of time. This is how I assumed time works from the time I was a child. You are the one who has all the baggage involved. That baggage has no place in your attempts to refute determinism - I'm sticking to the simplest and most natural perspective partly because that's most intuitive for me and partly because a simple perspective should be the best way for you to express your reasoning, if you have any reasoning to express in the first place.
06-08-2010 , 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
See post #609.
I don't see you pointing out any inconsistencies.
06-08-2010 , 02:50 PM
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I don't see you pointing out any inconsistencies.
If you do not understand how you've changed your ENTIRE POSITION from forward time dependence as a component of determinism to some arbitrary time independent distinction of the "determination" of an event, then your head is too far up your butt for us to have a meaningful conversation.

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Except that you have written a particular understanding into your original definition.

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This is how I assumed time works from the time I was a child. You are the one who has all the baggage involved. That baggage has no place in your attempts to refute determinism - I'm sticking to the simplest and most natural perspective partly because that's most intuitive for me and partly because a simple perspective should be the best way for you to express your reasoning, if you have any reasoning to express in the first place.
In other words, I'm not arguing against determinism, but madnakian-special-determinism which should not be confused with madnakian-special-determinationism.
06-08-2010 , 02:57 PM
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I agree that this move to time-dependence appears very ad hoc and not just non-standard but not motivated by any independent reason for supposing that it's relevant.
Non-standard? Have you ever taken physics? I'm going to go ahead and guess "no."

In terms of relevance - you are using assumptions pulled from nowhere in your attempt to make your argument. That isn't allowed. It really doesn't matter whether you use my system to work things out, what matters is that you don't pull premises out of a hat in order to support your assertions. I'm trying to give you ammunition by revealing as many of my premises as possible (since, given that your goal is to establish that my position is internally contradictory, you SHOULD be trying to use my premises to prove a contradiction - that's how it works, generally), but if you don't need the ammo then fine. Go at it. Just don't use any premises I (or at least some compatibilist) haven't explicitly okayed first.

Either that or stop making claims about the specific logic of my position.

If providing greater detail on my position (something you should relish considering your basic claim) bugs you, then I'll stop.

Your assumptions about time are still not justified - you don't need to accept my assumptions about time either, but yours are not fair to play.
06-08-2010 , 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
If you do not understand how you've changed your ENTIRE POSITION from forward time dependence as a component of determinism to some arbitrary time independent distinction of the "determination" of an event, then your head is too far up your butt for us to have a meaningful conversation.
Cite me ever expressing forward time dependence.

I think you just have trouble with context, frankly.

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In other words, I'm not arguing against determinism, but madnakian-special-determinism which should not be confused with madnakian-special-determinationism.
You're arguing against general determinism.

If all forms of determinism are fundamentally incompatible with choice, then any specific form of determinism is also incompatible with choice. If your claim is valid, then you should be able to argue against ANY form of determinism.

In fact, you should be able to argue against determinism in the abstract, and use arguments that apply to all forms.

What you can't do is use a strawman, bust it up, and call it a day.

Again, if you want to do away with my assumptions about time, that's fine. But you still don't get to use your assumptions about time.

You don't get to claim "proposition A and proposition B are contradictory," and then come in and use proposition C to establish that! Particularly if the person who accepts proposition A and proposition B rejects proposition C.

I don't care if you can prove that determinism, choice, and (some third premise that you've pulled from midair) are mutually incompatible. You're claiming that determinism and choice, just determinism and choice, are incompatible. You shouldn't need to invoke anything else in order to establish that.
06-08-2010 , 03:14 PM
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Cite me ever expressing forward time dependence.

I think you just have trouble with context, frankly.
Post #102 paragraphs 4 AND 5. The ones I've been repeatedly quoting to you.

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You're arguing against general determinism.

If all forms of determinism are fundamentally incompatible with choice, then any specific form of determinism is also incompatible with choice. If your claim is valid, then you should be able to argue against ANY form of determinism.

In fact, you should be able to argue against determinism in the abstract, and use arguments that apply to all forms.
As I said, it feels as if you're making up crap as you go. You're now telling me that I'm not supposed to argue against the definitions of determinism you put forth, but whatever definitions you choose to use at the moment that you use them. You've changed your definitions and thrown out all sorts of arbitrary things to try to salvage your position.

I'm done... again... for real... again.
06-08-2010 , 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
Post #102 paragraphs 4 AND 5. The ones I've been repeatedly quoting to you.
We've been over paragraph 5. I admit that was unfortunate, but I expected you to pay more attention to the more technical definitions, particularly the first one (as I explicitly said the other two were just for people who had trouble understanding).

Paragraph 4 is theoretically compatible with time-dependence. This doesn't mean that it implies time-dependence. As I said right in the paragraph, it's a broader subset of determinism than my original definition. But it is 100% compatible with that initial definition. The fact that you can express the future as a function of the past doesn't imply that you can't express the past as a function of the future.

Obviously the first definition (all times can be expressed as functions of all other times) is a subset of the second definition (all times can be expressed as functions of any past times), which is a subset of the totality of views that (self-described) determinists hold.

C'mon, you're supposed to know math, this should be obvious. I don't know where you get that paragraph 4 implies time-dependence, it certainly does not.

I mean, I write a clearly (and necessarily) time-independent definition in paragraph 1. Then in paragraph 2, I explain that this definition might be too confusing for some readers and is extremely narrow. So in paragraph 3 I say I'm going to offer an alternative explanation that is broader and hopefully easier. And in paragraph 4 I do so. In paragraph 5 I give a summary in "everyday terms."

What part of this isn't clear? If you had thought that paragraph 1 and paragraph 4 were contradictory, why didn't you bring that up AT THE TIME? It can literally be proved mathematically that you are wrong.

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As I said, it feels as if you're making up crap as you go. You're now telling me that I'm not supposed to argue against the definitions of determinism you put forth, but whatever definitions you choose to use at the moment that you use them. You've changed your definitions and thrown out all sorts of arbitrary things to try to salvage your position.

I'm done... again... for real... again.
You only need to argue against either of the original definitions. Since I've been waiting for your proof for HUNDREDS OF POSTS NOW, I figure you must be waiting for something else before you actually go ahead and support your position. So I'm throwing out whatever you may be waiting for.

If you don't need anything else, THEN GO AHEAD AND DEMONSTRATE YOUR CLAIM THAT MY DEFINITIONS ORIGINALLY GIVEN ARE INTERNALLY CONTRADICTORY.

But you can't, because you already exited stage right with an entire thread full of 100% rhetoric and 0% logic.

Which really just confirms what I knew from the start - if there were a logical contradiction in compatibilism, somebody would have published a proof by now. There was never any logic to your position in the first place, and no definitions would have made support for your claim forthcoming, because it's simply false.
06-08-2010 , 05:06 PM

cliffs for me - are you a Dennett style compatibilist?
06-08-2010 , 05:14 PM
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But you can't, because you already exited stage right with an entire thread full of 100% rhetoric and 0% logic.
It's a shame that this is philosophy and not math. Were this math, you would have to define what a "function" is in a meaningful way, and what "systematic" and "non-arbitrary" mean. And "proof" would take on a whole different character.

Give me an example of a statement that is in contradiction with

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"Every state of the universe can be expressed as a function of every other state of the universe in some systematic and non-arbitrary way."
that is not simply the negation of that statement. If you can do this in a reasonable way, then I'm willing to read through all of your posts AGAIN with all reference to time-dependence removed. If you cannot do this, I've demonstrated that your definition of determinism is meaningless.

Edit: It's ironic that you called that definition "the most narrow" when it's turning out to be "the most broad."

Edit #2: Why can't I stay away? I think there's something in the combination of both arrogance and error that gets under my skin. madnak, I really want you to see how wrong you are about your position being anything remotely sensible. It has almost nothing to do with free will now.

Last edited by Aaron W.; 06-08-2010 at 05:41 PM.
06-08-2010 , 06:51 PM
06-08-2010 , 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by lagdonk
+1,

I would like to jump back in, but I don't think I'm smart enough

m