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Author Topic:   Free will vs Omniscience
PurpleYouko
Member
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 406 of 858 (782596)
04-26-2016 10:58 AM


A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
How about this scenario?

we can start off with a few premises which for the purposes of this exercise are assumed to be true.

Premise 1
Bill and Fred both live in a universe (the same one in case somebody gets pedantic about it) in which it is possible to accurately know the future. The laws that govern this universe are defined such as to make it possible to do so.

Premise 2 Fred has the ability to look into the future if he decides to do so and is never wrong once he has looked at it

Now Bill has to make choice between two colors Red and Blue.
Fred decides to look into the future to see which color Bill chooses. He clearly sees Bill choose Red but doesn't tell Bill.

Given the above premises, is it possible for Bill to choose Blue?
No it isn't. However Bill still thinks that he made a free choice.

What if Fred had told Bill that he would choose Red? Would that change anything? We know that Fred has to be 100% correct since it's one of the premises that we have agreed upon. (taking part in this thought exercise implies acceptance of the premises so no smart comments about not agreeing)

The only way that Bill could choose Blue is if on or other of the premises are invalid but we already accepted them as true for this exercise.
So what does that do to Free will in the first case where Bill doesn't know the outcome, and in the second case where he does?

Another way to look at it is this.
In the above defined universe (where foreknowledge of any event is possible) then all of time must be deterministic and mapped out from start to finish.
If an observer were able to look at this universe from outside he would be able to look at the order of events in any region of time and space.
He could look at it forward, backward or whatever just like we can watch a movie on a DVD player.
This observer could choose to watch any being within the universe from his/her birth to death, then watch it backward then watch it again as may times as he likes. The exact same events would take place in the exact same order each time.

Would it be reasonable to expect different events to take place each time the same lifetime is observed?
If each viewing was different then we have just invalidated the first premise that the future within this universe is knowable with 100% accuracy so it would, by definition, be identical each time the observer watches it.

Just like if you or I watch Sleepless in Seattle over and over. They will always meet up at the top of the Empire State building at the end. The future in their universe is knowable because it's all recorded history from the point of view of an outside observer.
Same thing applies to Fred in our example. Once he sees a future event it becomes (to him) inevitable recorded history. It's already inevitable anyway due to the nature of our hypothetical universe but nobody knows it till Fred looks.

The question is. Do we live in such a universe or not?
If we do then all our choices are mapped out for our entire lives before we are born.
If we don't then the future is never knowable.

It all then comes down to definitions of what free will actually means to you.
My own personal view is that in such a universe there is no such thing as free will. It is all ilusionary.
Do I believe we live in such a universe?
No not really. I don't believe that the future is knowable at all beyond what can be determined by probability.

Edited by PurpleYouko, : typo corrected


Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 3946
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


(1)
Message 407 of 858 (782612)
04-26-2016 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 403 by New Cat's Eye
04-25-2016 4:10 PM


Re: Definition of free will
Cat Sci writes:

Basically, perfect foreknowledge requires determinism.

The thing is... I agree with this. I just don't agree in the way it seems to be taken normally.

You see, normally, when we say "determinism" we think of something like "everything is set from the big bang and we're just playing out the motions." In this sense, things are determined by the unconscious way the universe simply is.

I am talking about determinism in that I agree the action/reading is 100% determined.
But what I'm saying is that it is not determined by the unconscious universe from the big bang... me choosing red is determined by me choosing red, on Wednesday.

Thomas can read into the future of Tuesday night, but since I haven't made the decision then... he won't know if I choose red or blue.
But if Thomas reads into the future after I've made my decision... if he reads on Wednesday, then he'll see that I did choose red.

But I didn't have an illusion-of-choosing-red... it wasn't determined by the unconscious universe from the big bang.
I made a real decision. On Wednesday. And at any point after Wednesday, that choice is determined.

Is that "determinism?" In a sense, yes.. the choice is "determined"... .but it's "determined" by me, making the mental decision on Wednesday. Not "determined" by the universe put in motion at the big bang.

Its because if you truly have a choice, and it has not been made yet, then it is impossible for anyone to know what that choice will be before you actually make it.

Why is that, though? You say "impossible" but your only backup is you want to take it by definition... you're saying 'it's not a real choice'... what does that mean? What if I say 'it is a real choice?' Is that all it takes to destroy that argument?

I'm not saying that I know this is the way things are... I'm saying that no one does.
I'm saying my way is a "possibility" as much as any other description of definitions... because that's all these arguments are based on... definitions.

Thomas didn't know what you'd choose, he just got lucky with his guess... so that's not really seeing the future.

And, again, you're just saying so.
I can't prove one way, and you can't prove another.
You're simply defining it as a lucky guess, and I'm simply defining it as being a valid reading of the future.

Until someone can define all these words... "choice," "illusion," "free will," "determinism..." just saying them in different contextual frames of reference doesn't mean anything.

The question is: if the future is set in stone, then are you really making your decision based on your own thoughts/feelings/experiences?

I'm saying that it's *my* decision based on my own thought/feelings/experiences that is doing the "setting in stone."

On Monday and Tuesday, my decision is not set in stone.
However, come Wednesday, the future is set in stone, once I make my decision.
And, if Tom can read the future, after I make my decision... then he will see the choice I freely made, and freely decided to set in stone from that point on, even if he does so on Tuesday. He's simply reading the "setting in stone" that I'm freely deciding to do. ...is what I'm saying

...which I just realized is the circle "And round and round we go." you describe as well.

According to the incompatibilists, if the future is actually set in stone, then your thoughts/feelings/experiences are not what making your decision is based on. You're just another rock rolling down a hill following the laws of physics with no actual input of your own.

My question stands right at the beginning of this first part.

What makes the incompatibilists come to this conclusion in the first place?

Or are you simply saying that the in compatibilists have their ideas, and the compatibilists have theirs... and neither can prove the other right/wrong because we simply don't have a way to identify (in reality) something along what we mean by "choice," "illusion," "determinism,"...?

Yeah, you probably are... which means, really, you and I are doing the exact same thing in this thread... just coming at it from different angles.

Think about it this way: If Thomas can predict what you would choose, and you haven't yet had the thoughts/feelings/experiences upon which to motivate your action, then how could that action be based on them? They haven't happened yet, and still the choice has been made...

In my idea, the response would be that Thomas isn't predicting anything, ever. He's reading. Descriptive, not prescriptive.
And he's able to read what I decide to do on Wednesday, on Tuesday... because I gave him the powers of reading the future in my example.

I started posting because Blue Jay stated a position that being able to read the future while allowing free will is impossible.
I'm not saying that it's the way it is... but I am saying that if we're talking about reading the future... it's not logically impossible to have free will exist alongside a perfect 100% reading of the future as long as there is a point in time where the "reader" is unable to read the future. That would mean God created the world let-it-play-out-all-free-willy-nilly... and then read it back to Himself a few times like a book. We're just playing out the book right now... but the book was created from our actual, real, free will.

Now, if God created everything *while also having perfect foreknowledge of everything, as He created it*... then this isn't logically possible.

That's the only point I was making. That such a scenario is logically possible.

If I have access to your motivations for your actions, then in what sense are they really yours? Wouldn't they at best be ours?

I don't understand the final question. Can you give an example?
"Access" can seem to have a large variety of meanings in this question. Read-only? Or Read-Write-Full?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 403 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-25-2016 4:10 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 410 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-26-2016 4:46 PM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3946
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 408 of 858 (782614)
04-26-2016 2:16 PM
Reply to: Message 406 by PurpleYouko
04-26-2016 10:58 AM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
PurpleYouko writes:

Premise 1
Bill and Fred both live in a universe (the same one in case somebody gets pedantic about it) in which it is possible to accurately know the future. The laws that govern this universe are defined such as to make it possible to do so.

Premise 2 Fred has the ability to look into the future if he decides to do so and is never wrong once he has looked at it

Now Bill has to make choice between two colors Red and Blue.
Fred decides to look into the future to see which color Bill chooses. He clearly sees Bill choose Red but doesn't tell Bill.

Given the above premises, is it possible for Bill to choose Blue?
No it isn't. However Bill still thinks that he made a free choice.

I would agree that this wording makes it seem like Bill does not have a free choice.
However... take the same scenario, and ask: where is Fred getting his information from?

If the answer is "Fred is getting his information from a determined universe that was set in motion long ago that forces Bill into choosing Red" then I would agree that Bill did not make a free choice.

If the answer is "Fred is getting his information from the free will choice that Bill makes in the future" then I would say Bill does have free will, and your implication of any "illusion" going on is silly word game.

If the answer is "I don't know, could be either, could be neither..." then I'd say you're in our current understanding of our universe

What if Fred had told Bill that he would choose Red? Would that change anything? We know that Fred has to be 100% correct since it's one of the premises that we have agreed upon. (taking part in this thought exercise implies acceptance of the premises so no smart comments about not agreeing)

I would say this:

1. If Fred is 100% correct, and Bill cannot change his answer -> proof that there is no free will, and it is a determined universe.

2. If Fred is only 100% if he never tells Bill, and when he does tell Bill... Bill can choose to match any random-pre-determined values of staying with or changing his answer (say... stays the same 13 221 times, but changes his answer 4 469 times - causing Fred to be wrong 4 469 times)... then we have proof that Fred can read the future only if he has all the information, but Bill does still have free will. That is, once Fred tells Bill, he no longer has "all the information" in order to make his future-reading as Bill's "state of mind" could possibly change. But, of course, Fred can make a second-reading (and not tell Bill) and still be 100% correct on that second-reading

3. If Fred is never right (beyond coincidence)... then Fred can't read the future

The only way that Bill could choose Blue is if on or other of the premises are invalid but we already accepted them as true for this exercise.
So what does that do to Free will in the first case where Bill doesn't know the outcome, and in the second case where he does?

Remaining within the bounds of your exercise, yes, this is the only conclusion.
What this does to free will is alter the definition of it. It becomes an "illusion" but if the illusion is real-to-us... what's the difference? Sort-of-thing. Killers still have to be removed from society, cheaters still have to be stopped... and life goes on. Just hope you got a lucky roll

The question is. Do we live in such a universe or not?

That most certainly is the question.
I don't think we've devised a way to test, yet. Step 1 - find someone who can read the future 100% of the time! Then we can test...

If we do then all our choices are mapped out for our entire lives before we are born.
If we don't then the future is never knowable.

What about parts of our future that we *want* to be determined?
That is, all other things being equal, I would like it to be extremely determined that if I go to the bank and I have the choice between a 2.9% interest mortgage and a 5.2% one... I'm going to choose the 2.9% interest mortgage every. damn. time. Not 99.9%. Every. Damn. Time.

How does something like that fit into a universe where things can be random and "every choice can be (or is, in multi-worlds or something) played out?"
Can logical consistency exist within a non-determinated universe containing random elements?

It all then comes down to definitions of what free will actually means to you.

I completely agree.

My point, however, is that if we simply take them as logical possibilities... then *logically* (as "logical" as future-reading is...) both are valid positions.
And we simply lack the required tools/knowledge to test our current universe. Perhaps such tools are not possible, even. Or maybe we just haven't found them yet.

Edited by Stile, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 406 by PurpleYouko, posted 04-26-2016 10:58 AM PurpleYouko has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16211
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


(1)
Message 409 of 858 (782620)
04-26-2016 4:45 PM
Reply to: Message 406 by PurpleYouko
04-26-2016 10:58 AM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
quote:

What if Fred had told Bill that he would choose Red? Would that change anything? We know that Fred has to be 100% correct since it's one of the premises that we have agreed upon. (taking part in this thought exercise implies acceptance of the premises so no smart comments about not agreeing)

The only way that Bill could choose Blue is if on or other of the premises are invalid but we already accepted them as true for this exercise.


This is actually a very interesting case.

Even if we assume determinism there seems to be nothing preventing Fred from telling Bill and Bill being so contrary as to choose Blue. So determinism is not sufficient.

We could assume fatalism, so Bill is fated to choose Red, no matter what, but that really does destroy any form of free will.

Let's think some more about how it might work if causality is a factor (which must be the case for any form of Free Will). Fred's vision cannot fix isolated parts of the future - all the relevant causal factors must be either fixed or restricted so as to guarantee the outcome foreseen. That includes anything Fred tells Bill that is relevant to Bill's choice. So, Fred is as trapped as Bill - If Bill is going to be contrary, Fred cannot tell Bill what his choice will be - it is implicit in the vision of the future that he will not.

But that seems to undermine Fred's Free Will.

But, there is one option left, although outside a strict reading of the parameters of the experiment, it's not so far out that it should be ignored. Fred's vision is conditional on his choice of what, if anything to tell Bill. Fred can know that whatever he tells Bill, Bill will choose the opposite.

But this option still leads to a problem for the apologist. If Fred tells Bill, then he is dictating Bill's choice. And he is therefore responsible for that choice. But in the common view of God, Gods knowledge would be all encompassing, as would his influence. Everything choice would be like Bills choice, with God at the root of every causal sequence. Even chance events do not offer an escape since they must also be fixed in advance. Worse, by common belief God not only created everything else, but also intervenes in the universe, controlling it to a greater degree than if he merely created it.

It is quite telling that Phat has to depict God as a mere passive observer, implicitly denying Gods role as creator as well as the Trinity (for Jesus acted in the universe) and many Biblical events. It is the only escape from the problem that does not deny Free Will.


This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 410 of 858 (782621)
04-26-2016 4:46 PM
Reply to: Message 407 by Stile
04-26-2016 1:46 PM


Re: Definition of free will
But what I'm saying is that it is not determined by the unconscious universe from the big bang... me choosing red is determined by me choosing red, on Wednesday.

What is it about you choosing that makes it different from the determinations of the unconscious universe? Cannot the unconscious universe determine what you will choose?

I guess that's really the ultimate question though, isn't it?

Is that "determinism?" In a sense, yes.. the choice is "determined"... .but it's "determined" by me, making the mental decision on Wednesday. Not "determined" by the universe put in motion at the big bang.

When I say determinism, I'm talking about being put in motion at the big bang and not just that something was determined by somebody.

Its because if you truly have a choice, and it has not been made yet, then it is impossible for anyone to know what that choice will be before you actually make it.

Why is that, though? You say "impossible" but your only backup is you want to take it by definition... you're saying 'it's not a real choice'... what does that mean? What if I say 'it is a real choice?' Is that all it takes to destroy that argument?

In order for you to actually be making the choice yourself, it cannot be known what you have chosen until you actally make it. Otherwise, in what sense is it actually you doing the choosing yourself?

I'm saying that it's *my* decision based on my own thought/feelings/experiences that is doing the "setting in stone."

Then how can the decision be known before you've had your own thought/feelings/experiences?

Its not set in stone until you do make the decision, so how could anyone know what it is before that happens?

Doesn't it have to be set in stone before you've had your own thought/feelings/experiences, in order for the person to be able to predict it?

And if they can predict it before you've had your own thought/feelings/experiences, then doesn't that mean that something else is setting it in stone?

if Tom can read the future, after I make my decision... then he will see the choice I freely made, and freely decided to set in stone from that point on, even if he does so on Tuesday. He's simply reading the "setting in stone" that I'm freely deciding to do.

Except that you haven't done it yet, 'cause it's in the future. So how can it be set in stone already?

And if it is, then how could your own thought/feelings/experiences that haven't happened yet do the setting?

According to the incompatibilists, if the future is actually set in stone, then your thoughts/feelings/experiences are not what making your decision is based on. You're just another rock rolling down a hill following the laws of physics with no actual input of your own.

My question stands right at the beginning of this first part.

What makes the incompatibilists come to this conclusion in the first place?

Because of the second part; you never make any decisions, you're just following an unbroken chain of events leading back to the beginning.

Or are you simply saying that the in compatibilists have their ideas, and the compatibilists have theirs... and neither can prove the other right/wrong because we simply don't have a way to identify (in reality) something along what we mean by "choice," "illusion," "determinism,"...?

Yeah, you probably are... which means, really, you and I are doing the exact same thing in this thread... just coming at it from different angles.

Yup, but as long as we know that's what we're doing then who cares.

I started posting because Blue Jay stated a position that being able to read the future while allowing free will is impossible.

I started posting because I saw an incompatibilist and a compatibilist arguing about whether or not free will and determinism can coexist...

Neither of you are right, and both of you are wrong Just kidding, this is all just a bunch of silly philosobabble.

In my idea, the response would be that Thomas isn't predicting anything, ever. He's reading. Descriptive, not prescriptive.
And he's able to read what I decide to do on Wednesday, on Tuesday... because I gave him the powers of reading the future in my example.

If he is describing something that is already set in stone, then how can the action that hasn't taken place yet be the thing that is setting it in stone?

If I have access to your motivations for your actions, then in what sense are they really yours? Wouldn't they at best be ours?

I don't understand the final question. Can you give an example?

Let's get some context first. This question really only matters in the sense of moral responsibility, otherwise it doesn't really matter if you yourself are making the choice or if you're really just blindly following the universe's determinations. I agree that either way is possible and that we can't really know, and outside of any context the discussion is pointless.

So, let's say we are observing 100 rocks rolling down a hill and one of them runs into a tree. You're the tree cop and you want to punish that rock for running into the tree.

The incompatibilist would argue that since the rock is just following the laws of physics, it had no choice in hitting the tree, so you shouldn't punish it.

The compatibilist (you) would argue that it still was the one that had the experiences that lead to hitting the tree, so that still counts as its own choice under its own free will, so you still get to punish it.

Now, let's say that I am sitting back in time when all the rocks are at the top of the hill. I can see the future and see all the paths that all the rocks will take and can point to the one that is going to hit the tree.

From the perspective of moral responsibility, don't both me and the rock both have the experiences that lead up to it hitting the tree, and if I don't do anything to prevent it, but instead simply stand by and watch it happen, then don't I bear some of the moral responsibility?

If I know what you are going to do, then the choice is not simply yours, it's both of ours and I should bear some of the responsibility.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 407 by Stile, posted 04-26-2016 1:46 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 419 by Stile, posted 04-28-2016 11:45 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 411 of 858 (782622)
04-26-2016 4:53 PM
Reply to: Message 406 by PurpleYouko
04-26-2016 10:58 AM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
What if Fred had told Bill that he would choose Red? Would that change anything?

Bill would try to choose Blue to prove Fred wrong, but that course of action would be the twist that ended up causing him to choose Red in the first place.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 406 by PurpleYouko, posted 04-26-2016 10:58 AM PurpleYouko has not yet responded

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 412 of 858 (782623)
04-26-2016 5:17 PM
Reply to: Message 406 by PurpleYouko
04-26-2016 10:58 AM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
In the above defined universe (where foreknowledge of any event is possible) then all of time must be deterministic and mapped out from start to finish.

This is the crux of the argument for people who believe foreknowledge is linked to no free choice. In my opinion, you haven't proved this to be true, because your scenarios silently build this impossibility in.

What if Bill knows what Tim will do only because Fred from the future showed Bill a film of Tim deciding and then carrying out his action. My contention is that under these circumstances, Fred's reporting does not affect Tim's free will.

If you don't buy that idea, what about my other idea that the multi-universe reality where every decision is made and that such decisions cause branching of into new universes. In that case, free will might be unaffected by foreknowledge.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 406 by PurpleYouko, posted 04-26-2016 10:58 AM PurpleYouko has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 413 by PaulK, posted 04-27-2016 12:32 AM NoNukes has responded
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 16211
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 413 of 858 (782637)
04-27-2016 12:32 AM
Reply to: Message 412 by NoNukes
04-26-2016 5:17 PM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
quote:

What if Bill knows what Tim will do only because Fred from the future showed Bill a film of Tim deciding and then carrying out his action. My contention is that under these circumstances, Fred's reporting does not affect Tim's free will.

That is covered in the post. How do you deal with the case where your new character Tim is shown the film ? Is it possible for Tim to decide differently ? Or are there some restrictions that prevent such a scenario ?

quote:

If you don't buy that idea, what about my other idea that the multi-universe reality where every decision is made and that such decisions cause branching of into new universes. In that case, free will might be unaffected by foreknowledge.

See my previous post for an analysis of this possibility.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 412 by NoNukes, posted 04-26-2016 5:17 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 414 by NoNukes, posted 04-27-2016 1:29 AM PaulK has responded

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 414 of 858 (782640)
04-27-2016 1:29 AM
Reply to: Message 413 by PaulK
04-27-2016 12:32 AM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
That is covered in the post. How do you deal with the case where your new character Tim is shown the film

The film is a recording of Tim exercising his free will. But why is there a requirement to show Tim the film?


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams


This message is a reply to:
 Message 413 by PaulK, posted 04-27-2016 12:32 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 415 by PaulK, posted 04-27-2016 1:40 AM NoNukes has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16211
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 415 of 858 (782641)
04-27-2016 1:40 AM
Reply to: Message 414 by NoNukes
04-27-2016 1:29 AM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
quote:

The film is a recording of Tim exercising his free will. But why is there a requirement to show Tim the film

There is no requirement to show Tim the film, but there is certainly a requirement to consider that case - or, if it is impossible, to explain why it would be impossible to do so.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 414 by NoNukes, posted 04-27-2016 1:29 AM NoNukes has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 7630
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 416 of 858 (782644)
04-27-2016 2:05 AM


Its seems to me that there's a big difference bewteen knowledge of the future and whether the future has been determined. Knowing the future means you see what happened from a future perspective, like looking backward out of a car window. From that perspective its only the past that is determined. Bill always chooses red because that is in fact what happened regardless of possible interventions. He can't choose any other colour because red is what you saw him choose.

As was argued months ago, if you add probability and true randomness to your universe you can have indeterminate or at least probablistic outcomes but still know what happened.

You know that Bill chose red because that's what you saw him do from the future, the fact that he tossed a coin to choose - so the outcome at that point could not be predicted - doesn't affect the fact that from the perspective of the future, you know he chose red.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


  
PurpleYouko
Member
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 417 of 858 (782666)
04-27-2016 10:35 AM
Reply to: Message 412 by NoNukes
04-26-2016 5:17 PM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
quote:
This is the crux of the argument for people who believe foreknowledge is linked to no free choice. In my opinion, you haven't proved this to be true, because your scenarios silently build this impossibility in.

The reason for my entire scenario was to examine the tightly controlled premises that are necessary for it to be possible to accurately know the future.
For it to be possible to know the future with 100% accuracy it follows that the future must be inherently knowable. If it isn't then foreknowledge is not even an option.
In my scenario the future is knowable. I am just exploring the ramifications of such a universe.
I'm sure that you will agree that it isn't possible to change the past. Right?
That means a logical extension of my premise of a knowable future is that ALL future is already known by somebody in that future's future so it's all somebody's history.
You probably won't agree with that step though. A lot of people don't.
So how about this? Fred builds a robot spy machine that will follow Bill for his entire life. (on a grander scale we could envision a vast army of these things that will record ALL time) He then builds a time machine that is able to retrieve the spy machine from any future time and bring it back to the present. Maybe that's how he can see into the future. Who knows?
So now Fred has access to video of every instant of time for the rest of Bill's life (potentially everyone who ever lives life too)
This scenario makes all future into recorded history. It is therefore unchangeable. It doesn't matter if Bill (or Tim) are informed about their futures or not. Every action, every choice they will ever make is already recorded. they are effectively living in Fred's past.
Same thing would happen if Fred were to travel to the distant future and look at all the past before returning. he knows what everyone will do at every step along their lives.
I contend that in such a universe (regardless of whether Fred has actually seen it or not) all actions are mapped out and unchangeable. You will do what you will do and there's not a damn thing you can do to change that. All free will would effectively be illusory. We would all be blissfully unaware that we really have no choice in whatever we do as each decision would feel like our own. Only being informed of those choices ahead of time would destroy the illusion. If Fred truly saw Bill choosing blue then that is recorded history and is unchangeable. he is going to choose blue and there is nothing he can do to change that
If this were not the case then you would not be living in a universe in which the future is inherently knowable as Fred's knowledge would be wrong, hence invalidating the premise.
Does that seem like a paradox? possibly. It will need a lot more work to determine if it truly is one I think.
If it does turn out to generate a genuine paradox then we just answered our question as that would mean that at least one of my premises are invalidated and such a universe is not possible.
quote:
If you don't buy that idea, what about my other idea that the multi-universe reality where every decision is made and that such decisions cause branching of into new universes. In that case, free will might be unaffected by foreknowledge.

That is quite possible as an alternative to my scenario, however it is incompatible with my premises.
In a branching universe where every decision generates a new branch for each possible decision then everybody has absolute foreknowledge of at least one possible future don't they. A pure guess would guarantee that you got it right for one possible future.
However, Fred could not possibly know the future any more. he would just see one potential branch which is utterly worthless as a means of foretelling the future.
As you propose, a multi-universe such as this would certainly mean that free will was real and completely unaffected by any individual's foreknowledge but that is because true foreknowledge would be impossible in that multiverse. The best you could do would be to attempt to make the future match your prediction by coercing or persuading others to make choices compatible with your vision of the future. Lots of people do that all the time now.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 412 by NoNukes, posted 04-26-2016 5:17 PM NoNukes has not yet responded

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 Message 418 by 1.61803, posted 04-27-2016 5:17 PM PurpleYouko has not yet responded

  
1.61803
Member (Idle past 20 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 418 of 858 (782693)
04-27-2016 5:17 PM
Reply to: Message 417 by PurpleYouko
04-27-2016 10:35 AM


Re: A slightly different (but mostly the same) way of looking at it
Hi Purple Youko, Interesting topic,

http://www.last.fm/group/Determinism/forum/83915/_/376961

I ran across discussion on this link with a thought experiment:

quote:
Suppose that a new car is to be given away by your local community association on Saturday night. Every adult in the community is eligible. In the undetermined universe, the winner of the car will be drawn at random by computer selection from the list of community adults at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night and the winner announced over the local FM radio station. In the determined universe, the computer random selection has already been made but the name of the winner is being maintained secret in the vault of the community association until 8:00 p.m. Saturday night when it will be announced over the radio. For the average person in the community the emotional impact of the contest is identical whether an undetermined or determined universe exists. His odds of winning are the same and he listens to the radio announcement with the same anticipation. For a person who believes the universe to be undetermined, there is no point to any action relating to his winning. He might just as well stay in bed until 8:00 p.m. Saturday. However, for a person in the determined universe and believing that the universe is actually determined, he might break into the community association safe, see if he is the winner, and if not, substitute his name as the winner.

The moral of this example is two-fold. First, the emotional rejection of a determined universe is false. If a person operates outside of knowledge, that is on faith, he cannot distinguish between an undetermined and determined universe. Secondly, a person acting on knowledge will realize that it is only in a determined universe that his specific actions can be considered important and effective. In an undetermined universe none of his actions can effect the outcome which he desires.


In the movie Minority Report the precogs knowledge is in a conditional future. But if one knows the future then one can change it. IOW if the precogs predict a certain future whats to say it is not their foreknowledge/predictions that are driving the events?

Some think that omnipotence of knowing will introduce a infinite loop of causality because the knowing affects the chain of events. Thats seems to be the paradox.

Does nature abhor a paradox? For the current time being the universe seems to be infinite and indeterminate, this could be wrong though based on who you talk to so I am not starting a shit storm. I saw a documentary called
Particle Fever Depending on the weight of the Higgs Boson
the universe would be either caotic and unknowable or symmetrical and more information forthcoming. To heavy and the answers would possibly not be found in this universe or completely arbitrary giving way to multiverses and craziness. It came out right in the middle of the two critical values known as the Goldilocks zone. As if once again nature refuses to let go of all her secrets. I believe we can not know everything, Maybe*we are not meant to. If we did, like in the example above what would be the point of setting a alarm clock at all and getting out of bed. How boring it would be, kinda like that Twilight zone episode where the guy goes to Hell but thinks he is in Heaven because he wins every game, he gets everything he wants and he knows every outcome. At the end of the show he says something like "Man if I knew heaven would be like this I'd rather of gone to hell." And the devil says my dear fellow what ever made you think you were in heaven?

Edited by 1.61803, : fix link

Edited by 1.61803, : maybe*


"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

This message is a reply to:
 Message 417 by PurpleYouko, posted 04-27-2016 10:35 AM PurpleYouko has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3946
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 419 of 858 (782747)
04-28-2016 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 410 by New Cat's Eye
04-26-2016 4:46 PM


Re: Definition of free will
Cat Sci writes:

What is it about you choosing that makes it different from the determinations of the unconscious universe? Cannot the unconscious universe determine what you will choose?

I guess that's really the ultimate question though, isn't it?

Yeah, I think so.

To other people observing me? I don't think there's a difference.
To me? I'd feel better if I'm the one actually making the decision instead of playing out something-else's script.

But... the universe isn't always to my liking

In order for you to actually be making the choice yourself, it cannot be known what you have chosen until you actually make it. Otherwise, in what sense is it actually you doing the choosing yourself?

If you are right about this, then I am wrong.
If you are wrong about this, then I am right.

Which, as we know, is the entire compatibilist, incompatibilist argument.
The question can be rephrased to: If I'm not making the choice, who is?

And, again, the answer defines the situation into the compatibilist or incompatibilist side.

As well, without a test of reality that we currently don't have, we can't tell.

I can define my example to be one or the other... but that's just definitional cheating.

Then how can the decision be known before you've had your own thought/feelings/experiences?

It's not, it's being read after I've had my own thought/feelings/experiences. That's just how time travel and future reading works. You get the "after" sooner than ordinarily understood.

Think of time as just another dimension. All of time has already "been decided" and we're just experiencing the present as we move along the path. The only issue is who did the initial deciding? Universe -> determinism -> compatibilist. Me -> non-determinism -> incompatibilist.

Perhaps you have an issue with understanding how I could make the choice before I experience it? Well, the mysteries of the universe are great. My point isn't to show that this is true... I have no process for how this might be accomplished. My point is only to show that it is logically possible. Which it is. So are unicorns.

You have no issue with someone reading the past and seeing decisions I've already made?
Same thing, just into the future. I understand that seeing the future in a similar-to-the-past kind of way isn't "socially normal" but, well, there's nothing about being "logically possible" that requires it to be as-generally-understood.

If I know what you are going to do, then the choice is not simply yours, it's both of ours and I should bear some of the responsibility.

Ah, Time Cop

Yes, I think the moral responsibility is shared. And, I have no issues with a "Time Cop," actually... *IF* you can prove that the future-readings are never, ever wrong. Which is, really... a pretty big if.

I mean, I kind of do that now, even.
If I'm standing beside someone with a gun, and they point it at my friend. I'm going to tackle them and force their arm down.
And I don't even have a 100% reading of the future, there... But I'm sure as hell not going to wait until after the gun is actually fired to do something about it.

Your example, to me, is the same thing, just more time and less obviousness about it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 410 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-26-2016 4:46 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 422 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-28-2016 2:17 PM Stile has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 648 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 420 of 858 (782748)
04-28-2016 11:52 AM
Reply to: Message 399 by Blue Jay
04-25-2016 12:42 PM


Re: Puppets or Prodegies?
BlueJay writes:

Perfect prognostication works only if the future is set in stone.
Free will implies that the future is not set in stone.
The two phenomena are not compatible.

I agree with much of what Stile has been saying, except that I disagree with your first claim above.

Perfect prognostication also works if someone has perfect knowledge, even where free will is active.

Suppose I know that you hate liver&onions, but that you love chocolate cake. If someone gives you a menu with just these two items, I can know with a very high degree of confidence that you will choose the chocolate cake. (And if I truly had perfect knowledge of your thoughts and inclinations, I could know this perfectly.). Yet you are free to choose either one. Your free will is not impacted or reduced.

I suppose you could say that even though you have free will, the future is "set in stone" by your own inclinations and desires. In this case, I agree with Stile: you still have free will.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 399 by Blue Jay, posted 04-25-2016 12:42 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 421 by PaulK, posted 04-28-2016 12:23 PM kbertsche has responded

  
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