Freedom — Determinism Indeterminism
For example, one can take a box and say that if everything is causal inside that box, the box is a deterministic system, regardless if there are indeterministic events outside of the box. Or a temporal time partition can be made. I also go over why these are the only two ways in my book. And once we assess both of these, we can recognize what they mean for free will.
Or in present tense: The ability to choose between more than one viable option or action, in which that choice was up to the chooser. But keep in mind that if you use these words, that some may have different ideas surrounding their meanings. Or better yet, drop the term and just talk about causal and acausal events. And there is no middle ground here. There is no event that is neither caused nor uncaused, as these are in opposition.
Frontiers | Can Physics Make Us Free? | Physics
If one does apply, the other must not. But if not, just make sure you know what another is talking about when they use these terms before your criticize based on a different and often irrelevant definition. This is truly one of the best posts because it directly clears up the confusing definitions of the words.
I will be linking to it many times over. For the free will debate as well as for physics , this is certainly what these words commonly reference. We can simply say if all events have a cause , the type of free will required for strong moral responsibility is out, and non-caused or probabilistic events we have no control over cannot establish this type of free will either. There are whole categories of events, well known to math, science of all persuasions and engineering that are caused yet not deterministic.
My favored example for the free will phenomenon is GPS. There is no deterministic solution for the GPS problem. That is a three body gravitational problem, a problem too complex for any strict analytical solution. It uses a step following step estimation technique, and the output is always a unique approximation. Then you are not using the term as it applies to A the free will debate or B physics. For quantum interpretations, whether the universe is deterministic or indeterministic depends entirely on if there are some events that have no causal variable or not. If a deterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics is the case, all upper-level science is deterministic as well under that usage including GPS.
GPS really uses a non-linear chaotic system, and chaos theory is considered entirely deterministic. Regardless, for the free will debate, there is a specific usage which refers to causal determinism — always, and for good reason. Causal probability is epistemic, not ontic e. Brian Underconsideration in Space-time and Particle Physics. Placek, Tomasz Branching for general relativists.
Placek, Tomasz Comparative similarity in branching space-times. Placek, Tomasz Laplace's demon tries on Aristotle's cloak: on two approaches to determinism. Placek, Tomasz and Muller, Thomas Counterfactuals and historical possibility. Placek, Tomasz On the modal aspects of causal sets. Primas, Hans Basic elements and problems of probability theory. Raju, C. Rescher, Nicholas Underdetermination. Romero, Gustavo E. Foundations of Science, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Analysis, 72 2. Saunders, Simon Tense and Indeterminateness. Saunders, Simon Chance in the Everett interpretation.
Seevinck, M. An Inquiry into Quantum and Classical Correlations. Shanahan, Daniel Reality and the Probability Wave. International Journal of Quantum Foundations, 5. Srinivasan, Radhakrishnan Comment on "On the logical consistency of special relativity theory and non-Euclidean geometries: Platonism versus formalism". Srinivasan, Radhakrishnan On the logical consistency of special relativity theory and non-Euclidean geometries: Platonism versus formalism. Stoeltzner, Michael Bell, Bohm, and von Neumann: Some philosophical inequalities concerning No-go Theorems and the axiomatic method. Stoica, Cristi Smooth Quantum Mechanics.
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The Logica Yearbook More information and software credits. RSS 1. RSS 2. Filling in the details of the story of how such self-governors arise, and giving a full account of what kind of an entity it ultimately is, is a huge undertaking, that is bound to remain largely speculative. However, even if the current ideas are thus inevitably incomplete, it is not hard to find them credible, or at least pointing to the right direction.
Various levels and aspects of agency are recognized and studied by biology, psychology, and other empirical sciences, and even though there is still a lot to find out and explain, there is little doubt that all of this will be fully consistent with the basic physical understanding of the world.
To remove the air of mysticism around the notion one needs to substantiate it with a solid, and completely natural account of free will. The first thing to note is that this discussion is taking place in a perfectly classical, deterministic setting. Now, one could point out, and rightly so, that the most basic physical level is quantum mechanical, which in turn entails that physics is fundamentally indeterministic, and that it would therefore be a mistake to discuss the issue of free will in a deterministic setting.
There are many things to be said about this objection. First, it is not at all self-evident what precisely the determinism-indeterminism dichotomy amounts to, especially in the current context e. It is quite well-know that even Newtonian mechanics allows the possibility of indeterministic dynamics e. Additionally, both special and general relativity leave room for indeterminism—the former case is maybe not that widely known cf.
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But more importantly, when you move from the classical realm to quantum physics, things don't become any more straight forward. Although it is the typical, received view that quantum mechanics is fundamentally indeterministic—to the point where quantum indeterminism is thought to give us the only real basis for the idea of objective probability—the issue is far from settled.
What's striking about this view, as the argument presented by Einstein et al. However, the theoretical results of Bell [ 25 — 27 ], and their subsequent empirical tests [ 28 , 29 ] have shown us that no local hidden-variable theory—i. In other words, our current theoretical and empirical understanding of quantum mechanics suggests that if there exists a deterministic formulation of quantum mechanics, it will be non-local.
And therefore, as long as one is prepared to accept non-locality something that Einstein et al.
And in fact, Bell himself cf. So even on the traditional Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics can be deterministic—at the price of locality. Moreover, and more to the point, Bell [ 33 — 35 ] also admitted that even local hidden-variable formulations of quantum mechanics could still be consistent with his theoretical results. Now, this is a crucial, and often neglected issue in the foundations of quantum physics. The traditional understanding of quantum mechanics assumes that the experimenter is free to make any given measurement.
And given this assumption, the indeterministic dynamics of the elementary particles follows as the recent theoretical results of Conway and Kochen [ 36 , 37 ] make explicit. However, why should one be justified in making such an assumption? And more burningly: isn't this the very issue that we're faced with in relation to the problem of determinism and free will? However, at the same time it must be acknowledged that it is clear that if the whole idea of agential freedom is questioned, one cannot expect to give a satisfactory answer to the question by simply assuming such freedom.
And this, ultimately, is the reason why the discussions on free will and physics are typically assuming a deterministic—i. According to the naturalistic view on the mind, all our mental states and processes, our conscious decisions among them, are grounded on electro-chemical processes in neurons and neural networks.
Although nerve cells seem tiny to us, they are huge on a quantum scale. True, neurons are composed of particles at smaller physical scales, and ultimately of things at quantum scale.
temprimfemata.cf However, the relevant level to consider here is the level of neuron, and neuron to neuron communication; the initiation and propagation of action potentials—the basis of all mental processes—are macrophysical events, perfectly explainable in classical terms [ 41 ]. This is the main physical reason to suppose that quantum physics can be safely ignored in neuroscientific and psychological contexts. To be clear, it is true that quantum indeterminacies, supposing that they are objective in the first place, cannot be completely ignored at macroscopic scales.
However, it is clear that the current neurosciences do not trade on quantum indeterminacies. But more importantly, even if they would, it is all but clear how that would affect the problem of free will. The fundamental problem is that the idea of free will does not seem to be incompatible only with determinism, but also with indeterminism: random events are not willed. And this, to be clear, is yet another, purely conceptual, reason to be skeptical of the appeals to quantum physics in this context: replacing the determinism of classical physics with the indeterminacy of quantum physics would not, in itself, take us any step closer to solving the problem of free will.
It is thus important to realize that the issue we are faced with the problem of free will is multifaceted in a very profound way.