06-18-2010 , 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
You don't even know what an n-tuple is, do you?
Never heard of it, but I'm assuming it's just a list of elements.

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You really don't see the gigantic and blatantly obvious error you are committing here? A 2-tuple does not "exist as" a 3-tuple, and you can't say that a 2-tuple "exists within" a 3-tuple and make it meaningful (otherwise you destroy your 3-tuple and simply turn it into a multi-set, which is not the same thing).

Are you really going to hang your hat on "exists as" and "exists within" are really the exact same relationship? You simply cannot say that "X exists as Y" and "X exists within Y" with the same X and Y used in the same sense, and have this be meaningful. You will always need to alter one or the other.

"madnak exists as an SMP poster."
"madnak exists within an SMP poster."

They are NOT the same.
I'm not using the same x and y. I'm using different x and y.

If a particular process can exist as a 2-tuple, then that process can exist within a 3-tuple (or a 4-tuple, etc).

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According to you "EVERYTHING IS INFORMATION AND INFORMATION IS EVERYTHING." What is this "arrangement" of information? Is the arrangement included in everything? If so, then why not just call it information? Do you really not see the equivocation going on? Let's restate what you just said, but replace "arrangement of information" with information.

Did we consent that "an n-tuple can store any information"? Not unless you let n tend to infinity. But that would be a butchering of what an n-tuple is. But you don't know this because you don't seem to know what an n-tuple is.
I like how you removed the word "finite."
06-18-2010 , 09:11 PM
It's becoming very clear that Madnak is way out of his league on this topic

The positions are getting increasingly incoherent.
06-18-2010 , 09:13 PM
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Never heard of it, but I'm assuming it's just a list of elements.
Aren't you a physics guy? Or have at least a remote background in physics?

More importantly, have you ever bothered to look it up?

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I'm not using the same x and y. I'm using different x and y.

If a particular process can exist as a 2-tuple, then that process can exist within a 3-tuple (or a 4-tuple, etc).
Yeah. That doesn't work with n-tuples. You can't keep changing n and pretend like you're talking about the same thing the entire time.

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I like how you removed the word "finite."
You cannot contain all finite information while keeping n finite. It just doesn't work. You have to have some process by which n goes to infinity.

Think of it like this: Every positive integer is finite. But an n-tuple cannot contain all positive integers.
06-18-2010 , 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
Aren't you a physics guy? Or have at least a remote background in physics?

More importantly, have you ever bothered to look it up?
I've taken basic physics (semester 1 classical mechanics). I like physics. I definitely do not have "a background" in physics or mathematics.

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Yeah. That doesn't work with n-tuples. You can't keep changing n and pretend like you're talking about the same thing the entire time.
Okay, assuming I understand what you mean... If a process can exist as an n-tuple, then a process can exist within an (n+1)-tuple. If there's something wrong with that based on the nature of an n-tuple, then we can use vectors of n dimensions instead (if a vector of n dimensions is a process, then a vector of >n dimensions can contain that process).

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You cannot contain all finite information while keeping n finite. It just doesn't work. You have to have some process by which n goes to infinity.

Think of it like this: Every positive integer is finite. But an n-tuple cannot contain all positive integers.
I didn't say all finite information. I said any finite information.
06-18-2010 , 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
Please note the concept of choice in the second to last paragraph of the article you cited. Specifically the choice is made due to observance by an outsider to the quantum entanglement. This, I think, creates some huge problems for free will. The choice being caused by something (observance from outside the entanglement) other than the choser is not exactly free. Right?
It makes sense from a dualist perspective. The "me" that is making decisions is something more than (other than?) the "me" that is the collection of bits and pieces of the universe. Now what precisely that "outside observer" happens to be is unknown. But if the Platonic me is that which is making the observations (that is, the thing which is making manifest particular states as opposed to continuing to exist in simultaneous quantum states), this would still be consistent with free will (I think).

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**At this point in writing, I heard beeping upstairs. I went up to see what it was. My oven was on fire. It was VERY on fire. I got so absorbed in this that I forgot that I had put some food under the broiler. I discovered something new: my oven has a fire alarm built in. I am not happy to have discovered this feature.
I'm glad you didn't burn down your house. It would have been no fun trying to explain this to people.

Last edited by Aaron W.; 06-18-2010 at 09:33 PM. Reason: Plus, you would have no house.
06-18-2010 , 09:26 PM
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I've taken basic physics (semester 1 classical mechanics). I like physics. I definitely do not have "a background" in physics or mathematics.
This would explain why you're not making any mathematical sense, or even coming close to it.

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Okay, assuming I understand what you mean... If a process can exist as an n-tuple, then a process can exist within an (n+1)-tuple. If there's something wrong with that based on the nature of an n-tuple, then we can use vectors of n dimensions instead (if a vector of n dimensions is a process, then a vector of >n dimensions can contain that process).
Not really. You're not saving yourself. You're actually restricting yourself to a smaller collection of objects.

Vectors in n-dimensions are just n-tuples endowed with the ability to add and subtract, and multiply by scalars.

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I didn't say all finite information. I said any finite information.
It still doesn't work. Finite is far more complicated than you realize. There is no n-tuple that can contain any finite collection of positive integers.
06-18-2010 , 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
Not really. You're not saving yourself. You're actually restricting yourself to a smaller collection of objects.

Vectors in n-dimensions are just n-tuples endowed with the ability to add and subtract, and multiply by scalars.
If that's true then the information in any n-tuple should be containable within an (n+1)-tuple.

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It still doesn't work. Finite is far more complicated than you realize. There is no n-tuple that can contain any finite collection of positive integers.
Finite information, not a finite collection of positive integers.

Assuming that a finite representation for a collection of positive integers is possible, then that representation should be encodable in an n-tuple.
06-18-2010 , 09:39 PM
[quote:me]There is no chance this can make sense, in the end. Either you make choices because of nothing (free will) or you do because of something (determinism) [/quote]

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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
This is not the position of determinism. Determinism should not be confused with cause-and-effect. Cause-and-effect still exists in a libertarian universe. Free will is not "caused by nothing." But whatever it is caused by (perhaps "agency") is not encoded within the universe. It's "somewhere else" (whatever that means). That is, the state of the universe does not contain complete information regarding "agency."
Determinism is a corollary of cause and effect being law rather than just a guideline.

In other words, cause and effect being law is sufficient for determinism. I can't think of any way in which it (cause and effect) is not required.

So, we can, for argument's purpose, exclude all cases in which cause and effect being perfect does not lead to determinism. This reduces the case I am arguing, which I am fine with.*

Free will requires that cause and effect are just a guideline. This implies randomness. The problem is that "I choose because of x" is meaningless if it is caused through randomness. "x" being anything at all other than vacuousness.

*focus here if you don't agree.
06-18-2010 , 09:45 PM
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If that's true then the information in any n-tuple should be containable within an (n+1)-tuple.
But you have to be very clear on what you mean for it be "contained within." Does the order need to be maintained? Are you allowed to insert the n+1st value in wherever you want, or does it require a canonical embedding? Is there something special about the n that you started with?

Your argument has repeatedly fallen apart when pushed for details. It's unfortunate for you that the details matter in this type of argument. Simply pointing to a physicist who writes a popular science book that makes some sort of assertion about the nature of information does not fly as some sort of justification as to why that position makes sense. Have you read the book? Did you understand it? Do you know what observations have led him to this conclusion?

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Finite information, not a finite collection of positive integers.
Your "information" at this point is in the form of rational numbers. Positive integers are a subset of the rational numbers.

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Assuming that a finite representation for a collection of positive integers is possible, then that representation should be encodable in an n-tuple.
This is a different statement than what you had before. You are now fixing your collection first, and then asserting that this particular information could be encoded into an n-tuple. Before, you had

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If an n-tuple can store any finite arrangement of information
This is false. An n-tuple can only store up to n pieces of information. There are finite numbers greater than n, so you could not store any "finite arrangement of information" in an n-tuple without changing the n over and over again.
06-18-2010 , 09:51 PM
I told you so is coming to mind.

Short leash and all of that jazz.
06-18-2010 , 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
Determinism is a corollary of cause and effect being law rather than just a guideline.

In other words, cause and effect being law is sufficient for determinism. I can't think of any way in which it (cause and effect) is not required.

So, we can, for argument's purpose, exclude all cases in which cause and effect being perfect does not lead to determinism. This reduces the case I am arguing, which I am fine with.*

Free will requires that cause and effect are just a guideline. This implies randomness. The problem is that "I choose because of x" is meaningless if it is caused through randomness. "x" being anything at all other than vacuousness.

*focus here if you don't agree.
I don't know what you mean by "cause and effect being perfect." Do you mean that every effect is fully computable/predictable given a full knowledge of the state of the universe immediately preceding the moment of the effect?

You're also doing the same thing madnak did, which is to say that everything that is not determined is "random." But then when you use the word "random" you mean it to imply things in the coin-flipping sense of random (which has other implications).

For a decision to be not determined simply means that there is not enough information in the universe to perfectly predict the decision.
06-18-2010 , 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
I believe the more traditional position ends up invoking a weird time sense. I don't think it's necessarily wrong, but it is a lot harder to explain.
Yes, typically the arguments goes towards some sort of time discussion. But I have yet to see one that has been satisfying. There still are too many issues.

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It's not determinism in that your future actions are not solely dependent upon the state of the universe right now. However, God knows the decisions you "will have made" when the time comes.
But the issue is that the effect (the choice made) precedes the cause (the free will agent). So although the claim is that actions are supposedly not dependent on the universe "now", as it is in determinism, there is something other than the free will agent that allows for the future to be "determined" as it would have to be in order for God to know before the agent exists.

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To wrap your mind around it, it's as if you're playing a game in which every decision corresponds to picking a particular card from a deck. So for breakfast, you've got a card labeled "bagel" and another labeled "toast" and "yogurt" or whatever else you've got. You then pick the card and that becomes your decision. And then the consequences of that decision are played out until your next decision. So at every junction, you are legitimately making your decision.
I understand what you are saying, but the problem becomes, what cards are actually available to me. If God knows that tomorrow I will pick the "bagel" card, then was the "toast" card in the actual range of possibilities?

If there is only one actual world, the one that God knows, then there are no actual worlds in which I can pick the "toast" card, which means that I do not have the ability to choose otherwise, therefore I do not have free will.

However, God sees the game as if it's already over. That is, he sees the stacks of cards that correspond to people's decisions, and when he lines up those decisions in time, he can "watch" the universe play itself out. The analogy gets a little difficult when you insert the fact that God is monkeying around by influencing certain decisions in time, because the question ends up being "Did God override free will?" whenever he acts. So he's interacting "in time" with everyone else, but is also able to see what it looks like after everyone has finished making their decisions. This is where things get hand-wavy.[/QUOTE]
06-18-2010 , 10:12 PM
Durka,

Could you look at these arguments and tell me what you think? EDF stands for "Eternal Definite Foreknowledge", in other words God Knows the future exhaustively and the future contains no possibilities.

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P1) If God possesses EDF, the definiteness of all events eternally precedes their actual occurrence.

P2) Actuality is distinct from possibility in that actuality is characterized by definiteness, while possibility is characterized by indefiniteness.

P3) Thus, all events are actual before they are actual.

Conclusion: It is absurd to say that an event is actual before it is actual, thus (reductio ad absurdem) God does not possess EDF.
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P1) Nothing contingent is uncaused.

P2) The definiteness of the actual world is contingent.

P3) The definiteness of the world is caused (from P1).

P4) If God possesses EDF, the world was perfectly definite (in God’s mind) an eternity before the world existed.

P5) The world can’t be the cause of its own definiteness, for it did not exist from eternity.

P6) God must be the sole cause for the world’s definiteness, or the world is not contingent.

Conclusion: I cannot be the cause of the definiteness of my own actions: I cannot be self-determining.
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P1) Self-determination means that the self determines its actions, or it has no clear meaning. Regarding any genuinely free act, in other words, by definition the free agent ultimately determined that an action within the category of possibilities (“possibly this or possibly that”) would become something within the category of actualities (“certainly this and certainly not that”).

P2) Retroactive causality does not occur.

P3) Hence, the determinateness given to an action by a self-determining agent cannot precede that agent’s self-determination (let alone eternally precede it!).

Conclusion: The determinateness of the acts which an agent self-determines cannot exist before the agent gives these acts determinateness. Hence the determinateness of such acts are not there to be known by God or anyone else as anything other than possibilities prior to the agent’s act of self-determination (let alone an eternity prior!).
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P1) The fundamental distinction between possibility and actuality is that of indefiniteness and definiteness.

P2) Self-determination is the power to change possibility into actuality, thus indefiniteness into definiteness.

P3) If EDF is the case, then every event is definite before it occurs.

P4) There is no indefiniteness to the future.

Conclusion: The self has no power to change possibilities into actualities, indefiniteness into definiteness. That is, the self has no self-determination.
06-18-2010 , 10:18 PM
I would need context. Where is this from?
06-18-2010 , 10:24 PM
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I would need context. Where is this from?
A very short essay from here:

http://www.gregboyd.org/essays/essay...hical-support/

I have looked at these a lot, and have not found anything that I would say could refute all of them, and none of them depend on God being "inside" of time. But I am not a philosopher, so I am curious at to your opinion.
06-18-2010 , 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Jibninjas
But the issue is that the effect (the choice made) precedes the cause (the free will agent). So although the claim is that actions are supposedly not dependent on the universe "now", as it is in determinism, there is something other than the free will agent that allows for the future to be "determined" as it would have to be in order for God to know before the agent exists.
Yeah, that's the weird time sense where you wave your hands and since we only exist "in time" we experience our decisions in a time-like manner. But since God exists outside of time, he views the decisions differently. After all, what do "before" and "after" and "now" mean to something that is outside of time (or alternatively phrased, exists at all points in time simultaneously)?

Again, I completely agree that there is a large amount of hand-waving in this position.

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I understand what you are saying, but the problem becomes, what cards are actually available to me. If God knows that tomorrow I will pick the "bagel" card, then was the "toast" card in the actual range of possibilities?
It's kind of a mad-lib. You can make your decisions "in advance" of the story, and then watch your choices play out in the telling of the story. Of course, mad-libs often end up being nonsense stories, so that analogy falls apart rather fast. How do you actually make a decision "in advance" for an unspecified situation? I have no idea.

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If there is only one actual world, the one that God knows, then there are no actual worlds in which I can pick the "toast" card, which means that I do not have the ability to choose otherwise, therefore I do not have free will.
The "evidence" of the choices that you didn't make would have to look something like the pile of cards that you didn't choose. I don't know what that would look like in reality, but in the analogy there seems to be a way of understanding it.
06-18-2010 , 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaron W.
I don't know what you mean by "cause and effect being perfect." Do you mean that every effect is fully computable/predictable given a full knowledge of the state of the universe immediately preceding the moment of the effect?
Given Laplace's demon, yes. IRL, not really, but it doesn't really matter to my view. It might matter to your view, I think.

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You're also doing the same thing madnak did, which is to say that everything that is not determined is "random." But then when you use the word "random" you mean it to imply things in the coin-flipping sense of random (which has other implications).
I mean it in the more pure sense. A coin's landing is detemined by rotation, air pressure (including variations in wind pressure) and gravity. These things exist in the physical world and are determined. Free will requires randomness, not uncertainty in measurement or prediction.

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For a decision to be not determined simply means that there is not enough information in the universe to perfectly predict the decision.
??!!?? There is a difference between determining (predicting and/or understanding and/or viewing) and determined (being caused by a previous state). Despite that lack of clarity of the English language in differentiating the two, I hope you can see the difference.
06-18-2010 , 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jibninjas
Durka,

Could you look at these arguments and tell me what you think? EDF stands for "Eternal Definite Foreknowledge", in other words God Knows the future exhaustively and the future contains no possibilities.
This is Lutheranism, right?
06-18-2010 , 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
Given Laplace's demon, yes. IRL, not really, but it doesn't really matter to my view. It might matter to your view, I think.
We'll just put it aside for now. It was a question seeking clarity on what you were asserting. If this becomes an issue, we can always come back to it and look more deeply at it.

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I mean it in the more pure sense. A coin's landing is detemined by rotation, air pressure (including variations in wind pressure) and gravity. These things exist in the physical world and are determined. Free will requires randomness, not uncertainty in measurement or prediction.
Yeah... this is definitely where we're hung up. Instead of "coin-flipping" we can just take "quantum spin" which is about as purely random as anything we can possibly conceive of given our current understanding of the universe.

Are you still going to assert that free will requires "randomness" in this sense?

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??!!?? There is a difference between determining (predicting and/or understanding and/or viewing) and determined (being caused by a previous state). Despite that lack of clarity of the English language in differentiating the two, I hope you can see the difference.
The position that compatibilism is false equates the two. That is, if you can perfectly predict every event (ie, capable of determining the outcome of any situation given complete information about the state of the universe), then the outcome is determined (ie, it's the only thing that can possibly happen). The God conversation is an example of this. If God perfectly knows all of our decisions, then the claim is that this is determinism.

Also, just for emphasis:

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determined (being caused by a previous state)

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determined (being fully caused by a previous state)
This is to prevent confusion. There can be necessary conditions for the effect (I can't choose a bagel unless I have a bagel) but they may not be sufficient conditions to be the cause (the existence of a bagel in the pantry does not force me to choose it).

I want to be very careful and explicit with "cause and effect" vs. "determinism." They are similar-sounding on the surface, but represent very different concepts.
06-19-2010 , 09:05 AM
Meh, I have a hard time parsing that argument since it seems to depend on a number of specialized concepts to some particular form of christianity with which I'm not all that familiar.

My intuition is that it's just fancy handwaving.

I'm always extremely skeptical of fast 'deductive' arguments like that without supporting prose to clearly explain all of the steps involved.
06-19-2010 , 10:03 AM
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Meh, I have a hard time parsing that argument since it seems to depend on a number of specialized concepts to some particular form of christianity with which I'm not all that familiar.

My intuition is that it's just fancy handwaving.

I'm always extremely skeptical of fast 'deductive' arguments like that without supporting prose to clearly explain all of the steps involved.
I am not quite sure what specialized concepts you are referring to. Did you read the full essay I linked? As I explained, EDF just means that God knows the future completely and that there are no possibilities.

What I like about the arguments is the simplicity. I am not quite sure how much more explanation there could be. I thought the essay went over everything.

And this is not specific to any form of christianity, but if you want to associate it with something it would probably be associated with the theology of open theism.

As far as "handwaving", I don't think so. I have spent quite some time and don't see any handwaving. I have presented these to other theists that hold to the classical view of God's omniscience and it's compatibility and I can never get anyone to address them. If these arguments have any weak points I know that you can point them out. So that is what I was hoping for.
06-19-2010 , 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BrianTheMick
This is Lutheranism, right?
Are you referring to EDF? This is actually a very commonly held view of God's omniscience that spreads across a lot of denominations.
06-19-2010 , 10:42 AM
The first premise of the first argument is false. The effect does not precede the cause.

It's an equivocation on 'precedes'. There.

The second premise is no good either. What sense of actuality/possibility are they using? What sense of definiteness/indefiniteness are they using? Do you see why I said that there are unexplained concepts?
06-19-2010 , 10:45 AM
First premise of 2nd argument begs the question (it's basically Aristotle and then Aquinas on the cosmological argument for the "prime mover"). Why must a contingent thing be caused? This goes back to Aristotle's metaphysics on coming-to-be and passing-away. There's no obvious absurdity to assert the contrary: some contingent things are uncaused.
06-19-2010 , 11:22 AM
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