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determinism or indeterminism


Itoero
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Are you rather a determinist or indeterminist?

 

I am a determinist. I consider everything as cause and effect. An indeterministic effect has a cause, which makes the process deterministic.

 

Determinism is the belief that events are caused by things that happened prior.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism

 

Indeterminism is the belief that events are not caused by things that happened prior.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indeterminism

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Determinism is the belief that events are caused by things that happened prior.

 

Surely this definition is far too simplistic?

 

I thought determinism requires prediction, given the answer to any question you might like to ask (ie sufficient prior information)

 

I drank a glass of whisky tonight.

 

To do this I must have some whisky.

 

But having some does not determine that I will drink any tonight or any other night or ever.

 

 

I am a determinist. I consider everything as cause and effect.

 

Everything?

 

Does everything have a prior cause?

 

What is the prior cause of five plus three making eight?

 

What is the prior cause of the actual time that a radium atom decays? (not the decay itself, but the time when it occurs)

Edited by studiot
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Surely this definition is far too simplistic?

Yes, but all definitions come down to that.

 

I thought determinism requires prediction, given the answer to any question you might like to ask (ie sufficient prior information)

 

I drank a glass of whisky tonight.

 

To do this I must have some whisky.

 

But having some does not determine that I will drink any tonight or any other night or ever.

There are many factors that determine when and which amount you drink. Those factors I acknowledge to be the cause.

 

Does everything have a prior cause?

 

What is the prior cause of five plus three making eight?

 

What is the prior cause of the actual time that a radium atom decays? (not the decay itself, but the time when it occurs)

There can be many possible causes. Not knowing the cause does not mean it's indeterministic.

The cause is not yet determined.

There was a time in which the cause for lightning was not determined...

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I thought determinism requires prediction, given the answer to any question you might like to ask (ie sufficient prior information)

Chaotic systems are deterministic and unpredictable, at least after some time has elapsed as the uncertainty in the prediction grows exponentially.

Edited by andrewcellini
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Chaotic systems are deterministic and unpredictable, at least after some time has elapsed as the uncertainty in the prediction grows exponentially.

 

"deterministic and unpredictable"

 

That's an interesting combination, forsooth.

 

I look forward to your filling in of the details that sit between the two.

:)

Edited by studiot
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"deterministic and unpredictable"

Excuse me if I say something wrong.

 

AFAIK, they are predictable insofar as you can take some initial conditions and forecast the systems behavior at an arbitrary future time, but in practice because the initial conditions used in the prediction only approximate their actual values the predicted trajectories can be very different from reality. The rate at which the two trajectories diverge is governed by a lyapunov exponent. That's about where my understanding of sensitivity of initial conditions in chaotic systems ends lol.

Edited by andrewcellini
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Just noticed your reply itoero, I missed it earlier.

 

 

itoero

There can be many possible causes.

 

Then surely you should state them, (but one would do).

 

Otherwise it becomes a belief system, not deductive science.

 

However you have correctly picked up that I am challenging your assertion that everything has a cause, though I do agree that you cannot have determinism without causation.

Further, although it is less obvious, every cause must have a unique result.

For if the result is not unique then it is not possible to determine which result will occur.

 

The examples I gave were to do with the ideas of necessary and sufficient and uniqueness.

 

 

andrewcellini

Excuse me if I say something wrong.

 

I have no quarrel with your perfectly polite input.

Can I just observe that one counterexample will disprove any theory that applies to 'everything'.

I was also trying to avoid chaos is this can be tricky; It is difficult to find truly indeterminate chaotic behavior and the examples I know of do not spring from limit cycles, as you mention.

Edited by studiot
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I am a determinist. I consider everything as cause and effect. An indeterministic effect has a cause, which makes the process deterministic.

 

Suppose so you have polarization filter in your hand.

And you have laser pointer in second hand.

Laser is sending beam of photons.

But they have random polarization. Or circular polarization.

 

Photons hitting polarization filter are reflected, or passing through.

One photon pass through,

other photon is reflected,

yet another pass through,

yet another is reflected.

50% from billions of photons per second is passing through,

50% from billions of photons per second is reflected.

 

You have one photon initially: will it be reflected? will it pass through?

Are you rather a determinist or indeterminist?

 

post-100882-0-09015100-1474251451_thumb.png

(it looks better underwater, as each separate beam is visible)

Edited by Sensei
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Just noticed your reply itoero, I missed it earlier.

 

 

Then surely you should state them, (but one would do).

 

Otherwise it becomes a belief system, not deductive science.

People developed math as a way to study our environment and to communicate with each other.

That forms the basic cause for five plus three making eight.

 

"Prehistoric artifacts discovered in Africa, dated 20,000 years old or more suggest early attempts to quantify time. The Ishango bone, found near the headwaters of the Nile river (northeastern Congo), may be more than 20,000 years old and consists of a series of tally marks carved in three columns running the length of the bone."

"The idea of the "number" concept evolving gradually over time is supported by the existence of languages which preserve the distinction between "one", "two", and "many", but not of numbers larger than two."

"The earliest evidence of written mathematics dates back to the ancient Sumerians, who built the earliest civilization in Mesopotamia. They developed a complex system of metrology from 3000 BC. From around 2500 BC onwards, the Sumerians wrote multiplication tables on clay tablets and dealt with geometrical exercises and division problems. The earliest traces of the Babylonian numerals also date back to this period."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_mathematics#Prehistoric_mathematics

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That forms the basic cause for five plus three making eight.

 

 

In my post#2 I asked specifically for the prior cause for three events.

 

The first one five plus three making eight has no cause, it just is.

But it is deterministic because of this

 

 

Five plus three always was and always will be and is eight.

 

The second specific instance concerned radioactive decay.

This just happens.

Moreover it demonstrates a particular aspect of causes in general.

 

If an occurrence has a cause, then in theory you can prevent the occurrence by removing the cause.

 

But it is not possible to prevent radioactive decay, so I suggest this occurrence has no cause.

Nor is it possible to determine when the decay will happen.

 

My final example worked the other way round.

 

I wanted a glass of whisky (cause) and I possessed the means so I had one, but this was not deterministic since I might have ended up not drinking the whisky.

 

So I offered instances of determinism but no cause, neither cause nor determinism, and of cause but no determinism.

 

You have (rightly in my opinion) posted this as a philosophy discussion and I am simply exploring the logical implications of your simplification.

 

It is a good subject to debate.

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RE #8

Can a photon polarized to reflect, instead tunnel through the barrier? And, how do apparently random quantum events affect macroscopic causality? Is it possible the butterfly effect scales down to an analogous "quantum effect; thus, making some events truly random?"

 

If quantum effects do not affect causality because they are statistically predictable, then how does a butterfly cause a hurricane? Wouldn't the group of butterflies mask the effects of one.

Edited by EdEarl
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Suppose so you have polarization filter in your hand.

And you have laser pointer in second hand.

Laser is sending beam of photons.

But they have random polarization. Or circular polarization.

 

Photons hitting polarization filter are reflected, or passing through.

One photon pass through,

other photon is reflected,

yet another pass through,

yet another is reflected.

50% from billions of photons per second is passing through,

50% from billions of photons per second is reflected.

 

You have one photon initially: will it be reflected? will it pass through?

Are you rather a determinist or indeterminist?

 

attachicon.gifPolarization Filter.png

(it looks better underwater, as each separate beam is visible)

Doesn't this show the wave behavior of light? The waves oscillate in different directions, the polarization filter filters out waves depending on its properties.

If you want to know what a photon is going to do, you have to measure it but then you collapse the wave.

You can only measure the footprint of a wave.

It's like in Young's double slit experiment. If you want to know through which slit a photon goes, you need to place a detector but the detector (measurement) collapses the interference pattern.

 

The wave-particle duality is the cause for the odd behavior of photons.

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Doesn't this show the wave behavior of light? The waves oscillate in different directions, the polarization filter filters out waves depending on its properties.

If you want to know what a photon is going to do, you have to measure it but then you collapse the wave.

You can only measure the footprint of a wave.

It's like in Young's double slit experiment. If you want to know through which slit a photon goes, you need to place a detector but the detector (measurement) collapses the interference pattern.

 

The wave-particle duality is the cause for the odd behavior of photons.

But knowing a reason for a general behavior does not make individual expressions of that behavior deterministic. You can't know which way any individual photon will go ahead of time no matter how much information you have, and that is including all possible hypothetical sources of information, not just a result of us not being able to do it technically.

 

On the quantum level, there are non-deterministic processes that involve an element of probabilistic randomness. And there are mathematical proofs demonstrating that it isn't just a technical limitation that we haven't figured out yet.

 

We don't live in a clockwork universe and events are not perfectly deterministic.

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RE #8

Can a photon polarized to reflect, instead tunnel through the barrier? And, how do apparently random quantum events affect macroscopic causality? Is it possible the butterfly effect scales down to an analogous "quantum effect; thus, making some events truly random?"

 

If quantum effects do not affect causality because they are statistically predictable, then how does a butterfly cause a hurricane? Wouldn't the group of butterflies mask the effects of one.

An example of quantum activity affecting one's life is a radioactive isotope one ingests or inhales that gets into the blood stream and an atom decays emitting energy and particles (the quantum butterfly) that causes a neuron to fire that in turn causes a cascade of other neurons to fire. We are bombarded every day with low level radiation that sometimes causes cancer and other physiological changes and our thoughts.

 

Most of the time we make changes based on our environment and experience, but sometime thoughts occur for random reasons.

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RE #8

Can a photon polarized to reflect, instead tunnel through the barrier? And, how do apparently random quantum events affect macroscopic causality? Is it possible the butterfly effect scales down to an analogous "quantum effect; thus, making some events truly random?"

 

In correct configuration (rotation) of polarization filter,

linear polarized photon will be reflected with ~100% chance,

or will pass through with ~100% chance, after rotating polarization filter 90 (or 270) degrees from above configuration.

 

It's visible easily with some LED/LCD computer monitors, and some cell phones.

Not all, but these which are emitting linear polarized photons from their display.

 

The all which I have here 4 LCD/LED monitors/TV exhibit it.

Samsung Galaxy S5 just to some level (visible darker display but not full black like with monitors/TV).

 

We can hold polarization filter covering something on the monitor, spin it, and suddenly black color appears,

then continue spinning, and display is starting to be visible, then 90 degree from above, it's in the full brightness.

Edited by Sensei
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Are you rather a determinist or indeterminist?

 

I am a determinist. I consider everything as cause and effect. An indeterministic effect has a cause, which makes the process deterministic.

 

Determinism is the belief that events are caused by things that happened prior.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism

 

Indeterminism is the belief that events are not caused by things that happened prior.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indeterminism

 

At big scale it's clear that things are deterministic. But I haven't made up my mind if at microscopic level ("quantum") level things are deterministic chaotic or indeterministic chaotic.

Based on rational reasoning, all things are likely deterministic chaotic. But intuitively we appear to have free will; is that just due to lack of human predictability or due to inherent randomness? So, I'm on a logical level more a determinist, but on an intuitive level more an indeterminist!

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But knowing a reason for a general behavior does not make individual expressions of that behavior deterministic. You can't know which way any individual photon will go ahead of time no matter how much information you have, and that is including all possible hypothetical sources of information, not just a result of us not being able to do it technically.

 

On the quantum level, there are non-deterministic processes that involve an element of probabilistic randomness. And there are mathematical proofs demonstrating that it isn't just a technical limitation that we haven't figured out yet.

 

We don't live in a clockwork universe and events are not perfectly deterministic.

Isn't it possible that we will one day be able to predict the behavior of a single photon?

In my post#2 I asked specifically for the prior cause for three events.

 

The first one five plus three making eight has no cause, it just is.

But it is deterministic because of this

 

 

Five plus three always was and always will be and is eight.

 

The second specific instance concerned radioactive decay.

This just happens.

Moreover it demonstrates a particular aspect of causes in general.

 

If an occurrence has a cause, then in theory you can prevent the occurrence by removing the cause.

 

But it is not possible to prevent radioactive decay, so I suggest this occurrence has no cause.

Nor is it possible to determine when the decay will happen.

 

My final example worked the other way round.

 

I wanted a glass of whisky (cause) and I possessed the means so I had one, but this was not deterministic since I might have ended up not drinking the whisky.

 

So I offered instances of determinism but no cause, neither cause nor determinism, and of cause but no determinism.

 

You have (rightly in my opinion) posted this as a philosophy discussion and I am simply exploring the logical implications of your simplification.

 

It is a good subject to debate.

I'm sorry I only gave one cause:)

"Then surely you should state them, (but one would do)."

 

* Five plus three makes eight because that's what math tells us. Math and science evolved out of language. Without language, math and science don't exist.

 

"The origins of mathematical thought lie in the concepts of number, magnitude, and form. Modern studies of animal cognition have shown that these concepts are not unique to humans. Such concepts would have been part of everyday life in hunter-gatherer societies. The idea of the "number" concept evolving gradually over time is supported by the existence of languages which preserve the distinction between "one", "two", and "many", but not of numbers larger than two."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_mathematics#Prehistoric_mathematics

 

The Piraha language has probably not even a word for 'one' or 'two'. It seems they use relative terms like 'few' and 'fewer'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirahã_language#Numerals_and_grammatical_number

 

Math (and science) is how we interpret and study things...just like we use language to communicate and use fingers to play the piano. Properties of humans could not be present before humans developed.

 

*Not knowing the cause for radioactive decay does not mean there isn't one.

 

*If you end up not drinking whisky then there is a cause why you are not drinking whisky. There can be many reasons.

Maybe you want ice in your whisky and you don't have any ice in your freezer.

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studiot

and of cause but no determinism.

 

You are not reading my words correctly.

 

 

itoero

*If you end up not drinking whisky then there is a cause why you are not drinking whisky. There can be many reasons.

Maybe you want ice in your whisky and you don't have any ice in your freezer.

 

I showed a cause, but to be deterministic the cause must always lead to the result.

In this case it did not so there was a cause, but it was not deterministic as I said.

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But knowing a reason for a general behavior does not make individual expressions of that behavior deterministic. You can't know which way any individual photon will go ahead of time no matter how much information you have, and that is including all possible hypothetical sources of information, not just a result of us not being able to do it technically.

 

On the quantum level, there are non-deterministic processes that involve an element of probabilistic randomness. And there are mathematical proofs demonstrating that it isn't just a technical limitation that we haven't figured out yet.

 

We don't live in a clockwork universe and events are not perfectly deterministic.

Wouldn't a four dimensional (eternal) block universe with an "embedded" future (meaning it "has already happened", but we still haven't experienced it) nullify all of the above? It may be true that one can not predict or calculate the future, but that future could very well be deterministic (predetermined, as in it already exists). The chaos theory simply explains why it may be practically impossible to predict real life (no?), which may be due to the nature of reality..?

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Wouldn't a four dimensional (eternal) block universe with an "embedded" future (meaning it "has already happened", but we still haven't experienced it) nullify all of the above? It may be true that one can not predict or calculate the future, but that future could very well be deterministic (predetermined, as in it already exists).

 

Einstein believed in Block Universe:

 

Karl Popper about his encounter with Einstein:

<< The main topic of our conversation was indeterminism. I tried to persuade him to give up his determinism, which amounted to the view that the world was a four-dimensional Parmenidean block universe in which change was a human illusion, or very nearly so. He agreed that this had been his view, and while discussing it I called him "Parmenides".... >> (Karl Popper, Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography.Routledge Classics. Routledge. pp.148–150).

 

Einstein quotes:

 

<< From a "happening" in three-dimensional space, physics becomes, as it were, an "existence" in the four-dimensional "world". >> (Albert Einstein. "Relativity: The Special and the General Theory." 1916. Appendix II Minkowski's Four-Dimensional Space ("World") (supplementary to section 17 - last section of part 1 - Minkowski's Four-Dimensional Space).

 

<< Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent "now" objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence. >> (Albert Einstein, "Relativity", 1952).

 

<<...for us convinced physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a persistent one." >> ( Letter to Michele Besso family, March 21, 1955. Einstein Archives 7-245).

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[..]

*Not knowing the cause for radioactive decay does not mean there isn't one.

 

*If you end up not drinking whisky then there is a cause why you are not drinking whisky. There can be many reasons.

Maybe you want ice in your whisky and you don't have any ice in your freezer.

 

I agree, only it's generally assumed that such decisions are the result of a multiple causes - such as don't have any ice and you are too tired to go to the shop, or the shops are closed, and so on. A bit like with the weather, which is assumed to be causal but still difficult to predict, with many input variables.

Wouldn't a four dimensional (eternal) block universe with an "embedded" future (meaning it "has already happened", but we still haven't experienced it) nullify all of the above? It may be true that one can not predict or calculate the future, but that future could very well be deterministic (predetermined, as in it already exists). The chaos theory simply explains why it may be practically impossible to predict real life (no?), which may be due to the nature of reality..?

 

I'm not sure if a predestined future is the same as a fully causal future.... Can't block universerists assume predestined random processes?

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Einstein believed in Block Universe:

 

Karl Popper about his encounter with Einstein:

<< The main topic of our conversation was indeterminism. I tried to persuade him to give up his determinism, which amounted to the view that the world was a four-dimensional Parmenidean block universe in which change was a human illusion, or very nearly so. He agreed that this had been his view, and while discussing it I called him "Parmenides".... >> (Karl Popper, Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography.Routledge Classics. Routledge. pp.148–150).

 

Einstein quotes:

 

<< From a "happening" in three-dimensional space, physics becomes, as it were, an "existence" in the four-dimensional "world". >> (Albert Einstein. "Relativity: The Special and the General Theory." 1916. Appendix II Minkowski's Four-Dimensional Space ("World") (supplementary to section 17 - last section of part 1 - Minkowski's Four-Dimensional Space).

 

<< Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent "now" objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence. >> (Albert Einstein, "Relativity", 1952).

 

<<...for us convinced physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a persistent one." >> ( Letter to Michele Besso family, March 21, 1955. Einstein Archives 7-245).

 

"Einstein believed in Block Universe:"

 

An other great minds did not

 

Betrand Russell

 

post-74263-0-34075900-1474457731_thumb.jpg

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I'm not sure if a predestined future is the same as a fully causal future.... Can't block universerists assume predestined random processes?

Indeterminism​ as per Popper's plea to Einstein (as referred to earlier)? The obvious advantage of an eternal block universe with determinism is that it is uncomplicated and clear-cut. No causal- or for that matter any deviations from a reality that already exists imply no paradoxes and no complications.

 

An other great minds did not

I read it, but I cannot pinpoint any specific argument or opinion.

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Yes, only it does not make sense...something along the line of "universal causation bolsters our belief that what happened before will happen again". I don't see how it is relevant in this context.


"Causation in the old sense no longer has any place in theoretical physics"

Explain to me why this is significant i.t.o. an eternal block universe with determinism, i.e. why do you think it is a statement of criticism against the last-mentioned.

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