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Thread: Einstein's block universe?

  1. Top | #31
    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    It is the nature of the universe that block time specifies that I have a problem with which has nothing to do with free will.
    Well the front cover article from New Scientist magazine this year (see post #16) focused on the block universe which suggests it is a scientifically plausible idea.

    ....so I mentioned that such a universe would not allow for free will either because everything would already be set and unchangeable..

    Maybe you could explain why you think a fixed unchanging block time universe would allow for free will instead of linking a site I can't communicate with.
    Even though I've read a short book about predestination recently twice I don't understand the arguments concerning free will very well. I don't see why I am required to research free will in that article
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predeterminism
    since I am apathetic on the topic. I think you claiming there is no room for free will in predeterminism isn't justified though I guess it would mean you doing research in order to address this.

    I'll try and address it anyway though my reasoning might be completely different from people who are experts in this field. One way a person could have "free will" if predeterminism is true is when the person is unaware of the choice they will ultimately make. They have the freedom to make the worst choice if they wish. This will make them see their choice as being "free" even though to those who have full knowledge of the block universe their choice was predetermined the whole time.
    Last edited by excreationist; 11-03-2018 at 10:56 AM.

  2. Top | #32
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    There is no possibility of a different outcome within a determined system, so all decisions are determined by the conditions that shape them, making the perception of choosing this option instead of that option an illusion.

    An illusion because there was never the possibility of choosing otherwise, or acting otherwise, decisions and actions being determined by the world at large acting upon the brain, itself a determined system.

    So, within a determined system, there can not only not be no free will (a poorly defined concept as it is), but no possibility of freedom of action, no possibility of 'doing otherwise'

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    ...So, within a determined system, there can not only not be no free will (a poorly defined concept as it is), but no possibility of freedom of action, no possibility of 'doing otherwise'
    From the perspective of a person, it can feel like they have free will. They can choose something that seems irrational - so they are free to do things that are against their normal preferences. I think that counts as a form of free will.

  4. Top | #34
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    ...So, within a determined system, there can not only not be no free will (a poorly defined concept as it is), but no possibility of freedom of action, no possibility of 'doing otherwise'
    From the perspective of a person, it can feel like they have free will. They can choose something that seems irrational - so they are free to do things that are against their normal preferences. I think that counts as a form of free will.
    Not really. It does count as an illusion of free will. The illusion of the ability to have made a different choice when in fact the choice that happens to be made in any given instance in time is the only 'choice' that can be made, given determinism, given the state of the system in that instance in time.....which of course includes the brain making that decision.

    But perhaps, for some, a comforting illusion none the less.

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    BTW in movies about time loops like "Groundhog Day" the other characters are all deterministic - they act in an identical way based on how the main character interacts with them.

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    Shrunken Member WAB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    ...So, within a determined system, there can not only not be no free will (a poorly defined concept as it is), but no possibility of freedom of action, no possibility of 'doing otherwise'
    From the perspective of a person, it can feel like they have free will. They can choose something that seems irrational - so they are free to do things that are against their normal preferences. I think that counts as a form of free will.
    Not really. It does count as an illusion of free will. The illusion of the ability to have made a different choice when in fact the choice that happens to be made in any given instance in time is the only 'choice' that can be made, given determinism, given the state of the system in that instance in time.....which of course includes the brain making that decision.

    But perhaps, for some, a comforting illusion none the less.
    Comforting? Perhaps for some?

    To my mind, it's a lot more comforting to consider the idea that I have no control over anything. No control, no blame. I couldn't help it, officer.

    Like Sartre said, "condemned to be free": ie, freedom entails responsibility, accountability. It's a scary prospect.
    If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to a library. - Frank Zappa

  7. Top | #37
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    BTW in movies about time loops like "Groundhog Day" the other characters are all deterministic - they act in an identical way based on how the main character interacts with them.
    The character in Groundhog day, through experience, is aware of repeating the same day over and over, so has information available to him that he would not normally have. He knows exactly what is going to happen as he steps outside, so is able to use that information to alter an event he knows will happen but can now avoid. He has a privileged perspective on unfolding events. Though not free from determinism, his repertoire of response becomes wider through trial and error.

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    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    ...
    From the perspective of a person, it can feel like they have free will.
    Just because something feels like it's so doesn't mean it is so. Something feeling right simply means that it produces less anxiety within the mind than the alternative. The goal should be to uncover the source of those feelings, which tend to be deeply ingrained unconscious beliefs.

    They can choose something that seems irrational - so they are free to do things that are against their normal preferences. I think that counts as a form of free will.
    There's usually a rational reason for choosing to do something irrationally. Even if it's just a misguided attempt to prove one has the ability to act irrationally.

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