Can Determinism and Free-Will co-exist

Can Determinism and Free-Will co-exist
Kingt2
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Posted Dec 18, 2007 - 2:38 AM:
Subject: Can Determinism and Free-Will co-exist
With all of the various theories on the nature of the Universe, the role of mankind in that same universe, and the degree to which we as humans can make decisions I feel that the question "Do we have free will?" is an important one for us to speculate -at least, as important as anything else that is as of now impossible to test.

There are dozens of theories on the role of mankind in the universe, and the degree to which we are able to make our own choices, but none are truly convincing to me as they all seem so definite, with the top-two being the most so. Determinists argue with one main point:
We have a path that we must follow, and we do so under the guise of free-will. Perhaps because the nature of the universe is so that it is necessary for us to have that guise.

Free-will supporters believe that we have the freedom to do as we please with no interaction from nature.

I believe something else however. I believe that Determinism and Free-will coexist.
It is my opinion that the Universe is cyclical in nature [as everything else is] and that when one "version" ends the other begins. I believe that the universe begins and ends in a way that is repeated exactly the same way in every instance. [i will state my hypothesis on that subject later on with an annotation of [1]]

You see, I feel that, while our actions may seem to have consequential effects to us and those closest to us, we as individuals have no real impact on society as a whole. Society ebbs and flows like the ocean, and human sociology is predictable in that we may predict the rise and fall of governments, the state of the economy, and the reactions of nations to certain stimuli. So I believe that it is possible that, while we have the free will to do as we please individually, we -as a species- are on a determined path that no one individual can stop. Furthermore, I believe that if we group together to fight this sociologically determined path, that we will instead simply be following the trends of our humanity and ultimately allow the true "destiny" to come to fruition.

And, if there are in fact other life-forms, which I believe there are, they too may share the luxury of free-will, for it is inconsequential to the ultimate state of the universe.

that is not to say, however that we may not be part of the determined plan -which is most likely a state of perfection, which I will note also later in the same hypothesis as aforementioned- we may play a role in initializing some cosmic reaction, or perhaps we send a probe through a worm-hole some day, or SOMETHING; or we may simply be a collection of energy that for no reason or purpose at all has created a "society" and has begun to ponder such things.

regardless, I believe that we HAVE free will as individuals, I believe that we can do as we please, or not -if we so choose; but I think that in the grand scheme of things, we are powerless to the forces of nature, and its everlasting determination to revert to a "perfect" state.

[1] Speaking of trying to revert to a "perfect" state. Doesn't this sound like something we know about on a microscopic level? Energy vessels colliding and interacting, exchanging and re-distributing energy in a constant effort to attain a perfect state [or a state of neutrality or energyless-ness.
To describe my idea of the state of the universe I will repost my post to another thread entitled "Just a Theory":

Could it be that our universe is in the shape of a ball; A ball of enormous size that is composed of flowing, overlapping and ever-changing fabric -that is, the space-time fabric?
could it then follow that there are yet still other such balls all filled with exorbitant amounts of energy -as would be contained in a universe?
And, of course, there would most likely be universes of different sizes and perhaps of different energy make-ups. perhaps, different "charges".

do you see where I am going? It could be that there is no vessel that contains the universe, it could be that there are trillions upon trillions of universes that become the sort of electrons and protons and neutrons -and conversely the positrons, and other such anti-energy "capsules"- of an even greater existence. That would leave the still smaller galaxies and solar systems to be the make up of these electrons, quarks, leptons, and muons and other such antiparticles and neutrinos that make up said greater existence.

of course, there is no science in what I speak of, it is simple free-thought. I just thought I'd present it as a fun possibility.


So these "ball-like" universes would contain exorbitant amounts of energy, and some would not. And some would have more, and some would have less. And within each ball, there would be transfers of energy to different levels and layers [perhaps that is what worm-holes are].
anyway, these balls would likely collide since there would be many of them [just as there are many atoms and electrons and such] and they would transfer energy to one another; and some would grab energy while some would release it.

Ultimately, there would be those that would have none and then after a transfer of energy gain the ability to transfer within itself, or transfer to others. There would also be those that had energy, and finally gave it all away, to be left in a state of perfection; of stability.

Then, out of sheer happenstance, It would be struck by another universe, and energy would pour into it with enough force that the two would repel and be along their own respective ways. In this way, we may explain the Big Bang theory. That enormous explosion -of sorts- of energy.
of course, to the universes, this would all happen almost simultaneously, at a speed -to them- that would rival the speed of light -to us-. but to us, these event would take TRILLIONS upon TRILLIONS of years, given the enormity of the universe.

I am rambling now, I'd much rather hear thoughts and criticisms now so that I may either throw this hypothesis out, or build on it...
discoveryii
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 3:46 PM:

Try this link: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/
Kingt2
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 4:21 PM:

thank you for the link, I always enjoy good sites.

I have always seen myself as a compatibilist of sorts; that is what this idea is based off of. My thoughts are that even though Human society has a determined path, or a final outcome, we as individuals have free will to do as we please. I believe that our sociology is one that regardless of what we do as individuals will follow a determined, and predictable path. [almost asimovian in theory, but not quite, because I do not believe that WE could possibly predict such things, but I believe that nature -and the laws inherent in the same- must be able to]

"But," one might question, "What about individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr. who led people to stand up and CHANGE the path we were on, we certainly can not account for individuals when dealing with society as a whole.."
To that I respond, "People like MLK do NOT propose a threat to the trends of our sociology, they are our sociology. We have always had individuals who -in times of despair- have risen up and changed the way our society was headed. There has never, and will never be a time where the oppressed stay silent forever, and so it follows that they will always do this as it is part of our sociology.
the PC apeman
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 5:09 PM:

Kingt2 wrote:
And, if there are in fact other life-forms, which I believe there are, they too may share the luxury of free-will, for it is inconsequential to the ultimate state of the universe.


Presumably you mean other intelligent life-forms. Yes? (Otherwise I'd recommend a stroll in the woods or adopting a pet.) Do you feel free will is a product of intelligence? Or is intelligence only necessary to utilize or catalyze free will?

I've yet to grasp compatibilism as anything other than a semantic sleight of hand. This idea of yours that determinism is both a foundation and an emergent top slice of bread in a free will sandwich is interesting. But I still can't get over the feeling that there is no meat there.
Kingt2
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 5:34 PM:

Yes, of course, my mistake. I meant other intelligent life-forms.

I believe that everything has the ability to have free-will, but not everything can utilize that privilege.

Basically what I am implying is that though free-will exists and we are all able to utilize it, that whatever we do with our free-will is inconsequential on the ultimate scale of universal determinism, because our sociological trends push us in our natural direction with a force that individual free-will could not possibly interfere with the natural path.
the PC apeman
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 5:58 PM:

Kingt2 wrote:
Basically what I am implying is that though free-will exists and we are all able to utilize it, that whatever we do with our free-will is inconsequential on the ultimate scale of universal determinism, because our sociological trends push us in our natural direction with a force that individual free-will could not possibly interfere with the natural path.


Then it would seem that sociological trends are more than the sum of individuals' actions. What is the extra ingredient?


Kingt2
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 6:12 PM:

The extra ingredient -I assume- is simply the nature of the human psyche. I see the sociological trends as -more-or-less- the actual determined path [or at least the part of the Universal path that we are to fulfill]
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 6:33 PM:

Kingt2 wrote:
The extra ingredient -I assume- is simply the nature of the human psyche. I see the sociological trends as -more-or-less- the actual determined path [or at least the part of the Universal path that we are to fulfill]


I'm not sure I understand. Is the human psyche in conflict with free will? In other words, is it possible for an individual to observe these trends and freely choose to act otherwise? How is is not possible for enough individuals to do so and thereby alter the trend?

When you say fulfill, are you assuming a teleological path or merely one determined state-to-state?
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 6:58 PM:

It is my opinion that the singular human psyche is free, but the collective "psyche" of human-kind in general is following the path that is necessary due to our make up, our instincts, and the general nature of us as a species.

It is my opinion that, as animals and organisms we have certain traits that on a macro scale lead us on only one path [one that may change due to necessity in nature, but not due to us]

this is where I am still trying to develop my thoughts. This is where I am divided.
On the one side I could say that ALL things are determined and that if a virus wipes out 50% of the human population, it was to balance out the equation [perhaps a series] that leads to the ultimate end of our universe.
On the other side I could claim that the plan is pliable, and that if that same virus wiped out 50% of our population, the plan would change, and our trends would still follow a single path, just an altered one.

I am leaning towards the latter since the first would imply that ALL other events are determined by nature except our decisions, and I do not believe that we could possible play such a major role in the universe.

My current take is that just as humans have sociological trends, so too does the universe on a macro scale. Just as one individual's variance from the sociological trend wouldn't make a large ripple, nor would the variance of our small society in the grand scheme of the universe...

To me though, this seems like a cop-out, saying that what we do doesn't matter... [sorry, my thoughts are a bit disorganized...]
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Posted Dec 20, 2007 - 7:14 PM:

I think that what I am trying to say here is that I believe in determinism due to the nature of things.
I believe that the human society has a determined path due to the nature of our kind. Yes, that "end" is open to change but only as a result of outside stimuli. WE can not change the plan -And if a point comes that we find out that there is a plan and try to change it, we would -due to our nature- be still following it, as that revolt would surely be accounted for within our psyche.

Expand this out to the larger masses of the universe, the planets. they may change because of meteors or shifting of plates [if they have them, etc] but that is the nature of their existence; and seeing as planets have no free will, they are simply cogs in the natural machine that is our universe.. So, as we get larger and larger, we see that our free will has no even measurable impact on the state of the universe.

So, in essence, our path is determined by our nature; and within that nature lay our capacity for free-will [which is the cause for many of the societal trends we see]
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