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nanite1018

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Everything posted by nanite1018

  1. I have decided I will withdraw from this discussion and reassess my position, gain new knowledge on the position of Objectivism, and then come back and present my position. I just went and bought Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (as well as every other nonfiction book by Rand, my only Objectivist/Rand readings to date are Atlas Shrugg and OPAR). I've also purchased a book on free will/determinism by another philosopher (Daniel Dennett) to see what he has to say about reconciling them. Thank you everyone for bearing with me this far, and I will get back to this discussion after I finish
  2. Thomas M. Movias: My issue with the traditional conception of free will is that the idea we could do something else given the exact same arrangement of matter, our beliefs, ideas, the world around us, etc., requires that the laws of physics are somehow broken (since they are deterministic). I have explained, as crizon has now as well, that my experience of free will does not mean it is actually real. Just because I think I could really have made a different choice given exactly the same conditions doesn't mean I actually could, just that my mind cannot predict its own behavior in advance. Your
  3. You seem to be against reductionism (which can include emergence), which is the basic tenet of all scientific knowledge. I observe reality, entities, like a table, tornado, and myself. I think and try to understand how they work. I eventually get to laws of physics and such ideas as atoms and quarks and perhaps even strings or loops of space-time. I understand that tables, tornadoes, and myself are all simply collections of those more "fundamental" (in a scientific sense) entities. A man is a man, but he is also a collection of cells, and a certain pattern of interactions among subatomic parti
  4. A tornado and hurricane are deterministic precisely because they arise solely from deterministic processes. Just because I cannot predict a tornado from simply looking at quantum mechanics, does not mean that it does not follow directly from it and is somehow not deterministic. Any system, no matter how complex, is bound by physical law and is thus deterministic. That does not mean it is possible to predict its behavior (Heisenberg ensures that well enough), but it does mean that it obeys laws of physics and only laws of physics. Tornadoes do push things around, hurling cars and so forth. But
  5. Thoughts are manifestations of material processes. There is not actual thing, say a particular molecule, or an object which is a "thought." A thought is the pattern of matter in the brain, the way the particles making up the brain interact, etc. Emergent properties do not change the rules at lower levels, they arise from them. Just as classical physics is an emergent property of quantum mechanics but does not violate quantum mechanics, or an ant colony is an emergent property of the biology of ants and their interaction with their environment but does not actually change their biology or their
  6. This is actually surprising, because I've met several Objectivists (not on this forum, in person at my university), and they all seemed to agree that quantum mechanics violated the axioms, particularly identity, in most of its interpretations, and agreed that Bohm was the only one which did not violate the axioms. I need the song and dance because I am trying to integrate my knowledge. Physics requires determinism, yet my own perception of my mind is that I have volition. Physics is a description of how all material things behave, and my brain is made of matter. Clearly there is something
  7. Now this seems like I might be getting somewhere. I am saying that volition is a feature of our consciousness, that consciousness starts at the decision to focus or not to focus. My point is that consciousness arises from a certain type of physical system, which is governed by laws, and so technically that "choice" is "caused" by the physical processes that make it up. However, we can't track it back any further in our own minds. I acknowledge that reducing it to physics does not explain exactly how "free will" operates in the mind, what causes it. The axioms of Objectivism pretty much
  8. I agree that we appear to have volition. And the idea that we make decisions, that is, select from among a number of options we present ourselves, is also one I recognize. The idea of a "prime-mover" has no analogue in the physical world, and there is nothing fundamentally different about a human than a rock, except complexity and life. Life obviously doesn't call for volition, bacteria don't seem to have "volition" in the way you and other Objectivists use it. The enormous complexity of the human mind compared to other living things (even dolphins and chimps), provides a possible explanation
  9. What you have pointed out, the enormous complexity that actual determinism can result in, is, to me, at least a partial argument for how determinism can easily explain the vast complexities of human behavior. I acknowledge that simulations aren't ever perfect, and perhaps it is not possible to create a model of a human mind in a computer (though there is no reason to believe it is impossible with advanced nanotechnology), but that does not mean that the mind is not "deterministic." My main issue is how can a nondeterministic behavior arise out of the interactions of totally deterministic parts
  10. Is it really a fallacy? An ant colony is an emergent system. If I know the nature of each of the ants, the rules governing each of their behavior (the chemical trails and whatnot left behind by others, etc.), and the state of the system now, then why is it not possible to then plug that into a computer and figure out the behavior of the colony under various conditions in the future? My understanding is that is possible, and therefore the colony is "deterministic". It has macro-level behavior that cannot be explained by only looking at the macro-level (free will/volition in humans), but a full
  11. Thomas: Introspection is a valid means of understanding how my mind operates. I never said we do not create possible courses of action and then proceed to come to a decision. That is what I said we do, but I do not think that is what is meant by "free will." Free will, in my understanding, is when you could have come to a different decision given the context of the decision. Meaning, given all your memories, all of your experiences, your thoughts, beliefs, the state of your body, and the world around you at the time of your decision, you could still have made a different decision than you had
  12. This is a problem I have often seen with Objectivists. Instead of actually addressing any of my points, you simply write it off as irrational and a result of me not exerting an effort to "conform [my] mind to reality." You simply state, without explanation, that volition is axiomatic. Why is that so? I explained that the process by which you verify the rationality of your conclusions is a process that must occur regardless of how you have free will or not, see my original post for the details (paragraph 5). My point was that it can occur whether there is free will or not. You cannot state that
  13. I believe that "volition" or "free will" is of no consequence to Objectivism, and I believe reason dictates that free will simply does not exist. My argument is as follows: First, it is obvious that we experience the feeling of having free will. This can be explained simply: a system cannot know its future state without going through the intermediate states. The brain cannot model itself any faster than it can actually process information. In our lives we create options, possible future courses of action, and analyze each one as a possibility, eventually arriving at a decision about what to
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