I know this has been discussed before, but I have read Sam Harris' book Free Will and Michael Shermer's book The Believing Brain, and I must say that I agree with both authors. Studies show that our brains make a decision on an unconscious level three tenths of a second and sometimes more before we even consciously know we're going to act. To take a short quote from Shermer's book: "The neural activity that precedes the intention to act is inaccessible to our conscious mind, so we experience a sense of free will. But it is an illusion, caused by the fact that we cannot identify the cause of the awareness of our intention to act".

Tags: Free, Harris, Michael, Sam, Shermer, Will

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It's a deduction about an ontological state of the universe (if all events are causal). It's a deduction about "what exists". E=MC2 is a deduction about what energy entails...ontologically. Existence claims do not imply "induction" only. 

To begin with, causality requires multiple states, so it can't exist as a state of the universe.

It simply means the state of the universe being entirely causal. A state of your body is that it's made up of atoms -- you can say a state is made up of multiple other states. In fact unless reducing down to the smallest quark, we do this for everything.

You're using different definitions for words like "exists" and "states" without realizing it. A state of the universe could be defined as a particular physical configuration. Only one state exists at any given time, so a multiple of states cannot "exist", except in conception. To empirically exist is to be sensed, or be able to be sensed, so existence requires induction. A state of atoms, on the other hand, can comprise other states of atoms, provided that the hierarchy of states are within one state of the universe. This sort of state of states is inadequate as an analogy to determinism, which is not any physical configuration at all.

We could, for example, say "books exist", but there is no metaphysical substance called "books" (despite Plato); this is a linguistic classification expressing that various objects sharing certain properties that can be identified as a book exists. When we say that "books" exist, the 'exist' is a different definition than when we say that a particular book exists.

Likewise, E=MC^2, while true, is an analytical fact, a numerical representation. It is incoherent to say that E=MC^2 exists unless one imagines some metaphysical form. You would say that energy exists, but not E.

You're using different definitions for words like "exists" and "states" without realizing it. A state of the universe could be defined as a particular physical configuration. Only one state exists at any given time, so a multiple of states cannot "exist", except in conception.

A state refers explicitly to something (e.g. the state of X is ...). 

To empirically exist is to be sensed, or be able to be sensed, so existence requires induction.

Don't confuse existence for evidence. Empirical evidence needs to be filtered through inductive or deductive reasoning, and points TO the existence of something. And even induction requires some deductive notions at base.

A state of atoms, on the other hand, can comprise other states of atoms, provided that the hierarchy of states are within one state of the universe. This sort of state of states is inadequate as an analogy to determinism, which is not any physical configuration at all.

Determinism represents a physical configuration

We could, for example, say "books exist", but there is no metaphysical substance called "books" (despite Plato); this is a linguistic classification expressing that various objects sharing certain properties that can be identified as a book exists. When we say that "books" exist, the 'exist' is a different definition than when we say that a particular book exists.

If "that book exists" is true, it logically follows that "books exist".

Likewise, E=MC^2, while true, is an analytical fact, a numerical representation. It is incoherent to say that E=MC^2 exists unless one imagines some metaphysical form. You would say that energy exists, but not E.

There is no difference between E and the word "energy". Again, words and symbols categorize. E=MC2 simply means energy is the same thing as mass times the speed of light sqaured. It's a description of what "exists" (of the energy that exists).

Again, all words are a "representation". When we use a word we are "referring" to something else (an object, an action, a composition, a quality, an interaction, a property, a relation, etc). In ontology these can all be said to "exist". 

But this is semantic. What must be understood is that determinism would be an ontological claim. It's a claim about what would "exist". Same with free will. It's an ontological claim. It's a claim about an ability that would "exist" (it's just a false claim).

Do not confuse "is true" with "exists". 1=1 is true. The number 1 does not exist unless you're a metaphysician.

When we use a word we are "referring" to something else (an object, an action, a composition, a quality, an interaction, a property, a relation, etc). In ontology these can all be said to "exist".

This is incorrect. An object exists. Actions, compositions, qualities, interactions, relations don't exist. An object is said to have certain properties. The properties are classifications of senses that describe the object. Properties are not things in themselves, despite being nouns. This is an artifact of language.

Actions, compositions, qualities, interactions, relations don't exist.

You need to study ontology a little here, because the claim that "objects" exist is no different that the claim actions, compositions, qualities, interactions, relations exist. If an object is said to have certain properties, we are saying those properties "exist". Again, your idea of "things" is incorrect if it only pertains to objects. And certainly these other "things" exist. To say that an event takes place but doesn't exist misunderstands that "existence" is implies in "taking place".

You really do need to think about what it means to say "

Actions, compositions, qualities, interactions, relations don't exist.

Existence simply means "being" or "to be". Also (like all words), the very word "exists" is conceptual. So for you to say X doesn't exist because it's conceptual, is no different than saying "existence doesn't exist", which is self-contradictory. 

I agree with you on that one, Jonathan.

What Jonathan has explained here reminds me of a variation of what Alan Watts has said here...

Alan Watts - Determinism and Karma

Jonathan said: 

Likewise, E=MC^2, while true, is an analytical fact, a numerical representation. It is incoherent to say that E=MC^2 exists unless one imagines some metaphysical form. You would say that energy exists, but not E.

To which Trick replied: 

There is no difference between E and the word "energy". Again, words and symbols categorize. E=MC2 simply means energy is the same thing as mass times the speed of light sqaured. It's a description of what "exists" (of the energy that exists).

This is tricky, because I'm sure when Jonathan said, "Energy exists, but not 'E'," he was not referring to the word 'energy,' but actual energy. While Trick replied there's no difference between the 'E' and the word "energy." Yes, this is true, there's no difference in that they're both symbols, perhaps one is just in an abbreviated form, but basically no difference. They're both symbolic, but Jonathan's point was, or at least my interpretation of his point was, that  the abstract concept represented by the symbol is not the same as energy in actuality.

It's sort of like how it's said of the the mathematical theory of everything model for our universe is a posteriori knowledge. Would it then hold that determinism would be a posteriori knowledge, too? After all, it's only a conscious mind that can consider this "ontological claim." It's only a conscious mind that can consider determinism, free will, or any such concept, because without the mind there's no one to know.

Energy can be sensed E=MC^2 is a priori.

E=MC2 is addressing the composition of what "exists". E and MC2 is just another way to saying what "energy" is.

If I was to say W=water, then W exists just as much as water exists. If I was to say W=H2O, then H2O exists just as much as W and "water" exists. And these "exist" in actuality. The symbols ("water", "W", and "H2O") don't exist in "reality, but they all reference something that does.

The understanding of E=MC2 is also based on a posteriori observation. We model such deductively, but we verify it inductively. If our empirical evidence didn't correlate with our deductive model, our deductive model is incorrect (e.g. if our model of mass and light speed aren't consistent with what we observe). Same with H2O, if the chemical compsition of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen doesn't make water (in our observation), then water=H2O is incorrect, and H2O doesn't exist as "water". If it does make water then H2O exists as water. Ther is no distinction simply because we are using a different symbol to represent it.

Regardless, when addressing what "exists" that can be done both a priori and a posteriori. If I were to say "only non-married bachelors exist" I'm using a priori knowledge to assess the existence of married bachelors (there are none) and non-married bachelors (if bachelors exist they are not married). For a posteriori, If I were to say brains exists in cows, I can infer such existence through prior observation of the biology of cows. Ontology isn't exclusive to one or the other.

Also 1=1 is true because of the law of identity (logic) same as apple=apple. 1 can be used to describe a count of what exists (1 apple in a basket). this means that 2 apples don't exist in the basket so "1" is an important qualifier surrounding what in fact "exists" (it helps describe the ontological claim)

The difference is that, for the most part, we are not measuring actual energy when we apply the generalization E=MC^2. These symbols refer to purely theoretical quantities and, while they required observation to derive, they require no observation to conceive and utilize. It denotes a relation that does not ontologically exist. Only things exist. While water and H2O can both be said to be referents to a physical thing, E=MC^2 gets no such honor.
I think it's extremely odd to say that ideas with no physical basis share the same 'existence' as things that actually occur in reality. Are you by any chance an idealist, one who doesn't believe in the external world?

"we are not measuring actual energy when we apply the generalization E=MC^2"

No, we are describing actual energy that exists in the universe. We are addressing what "exists". The ontology of the matter.  You don't have to be "measuring" something to be addressing existence. And who said they have "no physical basis"??...this is "physics". E=MC2 is part of "physics". It's a description of what "physically" exists. To say the E=MC2 has no physical basis is to suggest that it's not physics.

That's what equations in physics do, they address the "physical". For example, special relativity addresses the various relation needed for objects in motion ---> how such needs to "exists". It also addresses the ontology of "space-time". General relativity addresses the ontology of gravity, etc. This is all part of "physics" 

Various equations regarding QM address how particles behave, etc - physics (the physical). It's all about matter and energy.

I'm a realist, and a materialist. Physics addresses the ontology of matter and energy. That includes all of those symbols and equations. 

I just think you are missing what the word "exist" applies to. In fact, it doesn't just apply to what "exists, but also what doesn't "exist". For example, colorless pink square circles don't exist - is a claim on what doesn't exist. It's a claim addressing an ontological impossibility. And that can be deduced without looking at every fathomable area in space for colorless pink square circles.

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