Consciousness: Egnor on determinism and free will (General)

by David Turell @, Monday, February 25, 2019, 15:18 (537 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "The question that looms before us is no longer whether free will is compatible with determinism (compatibilism vs. incompatibilism) Rather, given the fact that nature is indeterminate, is it possible that human will is not free? If human actions are not determined by physics or chemistry, what besides free will could determine them? "

DAVID: This is why I have pushed our discussion of quantum theory. Quantum mechanics are the basis of the universe.

dhw: We have had this discussion many times. Who says determinism depends entirely on physics and chemistry? Does Egnor not realize that this is a philosophical problem as well as a scientific problem? Has he never heard of cause and effect? Does he not realize that he is not just a product of physics and chemistry but also of his upbringing, his material and cultural environment and other factors that are beyond his control (including random events and encounters)? Nobody knows to what extent our behaviour and our decisions are the product of these factors. I am not arguing for or against either alternative, because as usual I see both sides, but I’m sorry, in my view this attempt to resolve the issue gets us nowhere.

DAVID: From Egnor's writings he is well acquainted with philosophy in this area of thought.

dhw: I can only comment on the information you give us.

In the articles I present he discusses philosophy and philosophers. Take a look.


DAVID: I know my thought conclusions come from my personality which is 40% inherited, 40% from childhood influence, primarily from parents, and 20% subsequent experience. I have no reason to doubt those percentages.

dhw: And a determinist can argue that all of those factors are beyond your control. Don’t get me wrong. We had long discussions with Romansh on this, and as he is a determinist, I presented arguments in favour of free will. I remain neutral, but in fairness I must say that I would never dream of blaming my bad decisions on my genes, my upbringing or the many random events that have shaped my life!

Fair enough


DAVID: Quantum confusion most play a role in how we view this since we know quantum mechanics plays a large role in our bodies.

dhw: I find quantum confusion confusing, and don’t know how it can settle the argument either way.

You are not alone. Results depend on the observer.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2194747-quantum-experiment-suggests-there-really-a...

"There are no objective facts in the world. This isn’t a statement about fake news. Rather, it is the implication of an experiment that suggests the nature of reality depends on who is looking.

"The work is rooted in thought experiments about the nature of quantum mechanics, but this is the first time one has been done in the lab, with potentially profound implications. “I am very excited about it,” says theorist Carlo Rovelli at Aix-Marseille University in France.
The experiment, carried out by Alessandro Fedrizzi at Heriot-Watt University, UK, …

Comment: Paywall blocks me from more


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