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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 my reading on the subject.
  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 statement that introspection is a valid means of gaining information is correct when you are only dealing with the elements of consciousness, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, emotion, decisions, etc. But when you then go on to say that the originating decision, the beginning of consciousness, is undetermined, is self-generated and we have the ability to actually choose differently given precisely the same conditions in that area, you must remember you are only analyzing it at the level of consciousness and the mind. On the level of physical objects, on the level of neurons and particles, such a "choice" cannot exist, because the laws of physics and thus the behavior of all physical systems are deterministic (they can only happen one way given the state of things). Actually, you are right, interestingly enough. Free will is an axiom of philosophy, in the definition of philosophy used by Objectivism- that if a question can be assessed without any special knowledge by any person with the capacity of thought then it is a philosophical question not a scientific one. Free will, the experience of having the ability to choose between different options, is something we all experience. What I am saying is that the scientific question of how that comes about is simply that we cannot possibly predict the future actions of our minds because we cannot even in theory produce a perfect replica of them to run a simulation with (thanks to quantum mechanics), and the fact that our consciousness is an emergent property of the interactions of the particles that make up our minds. Consciousness begins where Objectivism says it does, and free will really does exist on the level of consciousness, thought, and mind. How it got there is, as you said, a scientific question, and one I have attempted to answer a number of times in a way that complies both with science and Objectivism.
  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 particles, much as a table is a table as well as an object of wood, screws, nails, and glue, and is also a collection of cells, and is also a collection of subatomic particles. I can look at every object in the universe at all of the scales of understanding and experience, and some properties can only be seen at certain scales. Free will and thought only arise when I consider the perception by the mind of the actions that are occurring in the brain, just as a tornado only arises when I consider the perception by the mind of the actions of molecules of air under certain conditions. My experience and perception of volition, of the self-generated act to choose between focusing and not focusing, is created by the fact that my mind arises from the interactions of particles. To try and track back my consciousness prior to that act of volition is impossible when thinking on the level of consciousness, because that is where it begins. All that comes before is something which looses the quality of consciousness, namely the interactions of neurons and neurotransmitters in my brain. A tornado doesn't just create itself out of nowhere, but is created by the actions of air molecules in certain conditions. It is impossible to look at a tornado on the level of perception and say "where'd it come from?", but to go deeper into what created it requires me to move outside of the realm of tornadoes and into fluid dynamics and such things. Consciousness begins at the primary choice of Objectivism about focusing, just as a tornado begins when it is created. We are conscious conceptual entities, and on that level of experience we have volition. Volition exists, it is real, but it must remain in its proper context: the human mind. Might I suggest that you reintegrate reality in your own mind to take into account the extent of man's knowledge about the workings of the physical universe, of which you are a part? You seem to take what you think to be true (that the mind is different than the body or that living things have something special about them that lets them violate physical law) to take primacy over what evidence actually suggests is true about the universe.
  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 tornadoes only do that because of the interactions at the level of air molecules interacting with each other and the molecules that make up the car. Similarly, consciousness can push things around, but only because neurons and whatever else creates it are interacting. A tornado only exists when I step up a level and think on the plane of concepts and directly perceivable entities. Similarly, free will and consciousness only exists when I step up a level and think on the plane of concepts and directly perceivable entities and characteristics. The one level does not invalidate the other level as a legitimate means of understanding the world. What is missing, so far as I can tell, from Objectivism is a direct statement of this fact. Free will exists only on the level of consciousness, go deeper, to the level of neurons and proteins and particles, and it disappears. Just as "table" isn't invalidated by the fact tables are made of particles, "free will" isn't invalidated by the fact that consciousness comes from interactions of certain types of physical systems. Free will gives insight into consciousness, but gives no information at all about the universe. It is an illusion in the same sense tornadoes and tables are illusions. In reality, those things are not the core of reality (there is no "tornado particle", but simply an emergent phenomenon), but manifestations of its interactions with the brain. Table is a valid concept only because it describes what I see and interact with, but it is not a primary, it isn't the core of reality, that is particles and wave functions and physical law. Saying that a rainbow is caused by the properties of the atmosphere and water vapor along with the refraction of light does not mean that rainbow's aren't beautiful or a meaningful concept, just that they aren't basic to the nature of existence and so are an "illusion" in my use of the term.
  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 nature, thought and/or mind is an emergent property of the physical system of the brain but does not change the fact that the particles obey the laws of physics and only the laws of physics. I have never seen an emergent property that actually changes the rules or entities which generate it. In fact, that seems impossible by the nature of an emergent property. That would be magic, not emergence. Thought does not push particles around; particles move around, and that is experienced by us as our thoughts and consciousness. Thought and consciousness are legitimate concepts, they are "real", but it is necessary to acknowledge the process which generates them, and that is physical law. Edit: That is why I say you are arguing for the primacy of consciousness, that consciousness comes first, then existence. Existence exists, consciousness comes from existence, or more particularly the interactions of particles in the brain according to physical law. To say that thought, which arises from interactions, then changes the interactions, is simply false, that would require a change in the laws of physics. The interactions happen according to physical law, and thought is the experience. To flip it around is to place consciousness before existence. My attempt to explain volition is my acknowledgment of the impossibility of tracking the mind (on the level of mind) back beyond the primary choice in Objectivism, and also that the mind is an emergent property that cannot defy physical law. Volition and the supremacy of the laws of physics both can coexist only because consciousness is an emergent property.
  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 going on which I have not successfully explained. Regardless of what physics eventually tells us about the universe, it seems impossible that it would not be a deterministic universe, and so how volition can arise from deterministic operations must be explained somehow. That's what I am trying to do. Your last sentence (refuting my paranthetic inference) is an assertion of the primacy of consciousness. You claim that thoughts can move the matter of the brain around. How? They'd then have to be above the matter, not an emergent property. Emergent properties are abstractions we create by observing the behavior of the system, emergent properties cannot change the rules of the system that creates them, they can't push the components around in a way they wouldn't have behaved according to the laws of physics. To say that consciousness or thought can push the particles around is primacy of consciousness, not primacy of existence. I am asking for Objectivism to create such an interpretation. Physicists know that the universe is deterministic (even if it was random in some way at some level I don't think that would be good for volition either). Given that knowledge, Objectivism needs to address how volition or free will could possibly arise from deterministic processes, because it doesn't seem possible. My attempt to do that is to say that free will is the result of the fact that the human brain cannot experience the actual processes that make it up, our emotions and thoughts come from physical processes, we can't actually experience the processes themselves. As a result, our decisions can only be tracked back (on the level of thought) to the choice to focus or not to focus, and it cannot be said that those thoughts were "determined" by anything prior, they were self-generated on the level of the mind. Therefore, it is legitimate when discussing human behavior and the human mind to talk of volition and free will, to say they are axiomatic. I do not believe it is a contradiction to say that free will comes from the nature of the mind while acknowledging that the mind is only an emergent property of a deterministic system and so our actions couldn't really have been different at the time we made them (because thoughts cannot move matter, only the other way around, otherwise we have the primacy of consciousness). The mind has volition, the brain does not.
  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 require a hidden variables interpretation of quantum mechanics, such as the Bohm interpretation. Why? Because only those types of interpretations meet their requirements. The axiom of identity requires an entity to be a particular thing, namely that something is a particle or a wave, but not both, and it must be in a definite position. The Bohm interpretation and other hidden variables interpretations of quantum mechanics are deterministic. Everything in the future follows from the present state. Humans have nothing in them which doesn't eventually get down to physics, and so to say that humans are somehow able to behave nondeterministically, when everything that makes them up is deterministic, seems blatantly false. Similarly, the law of causality in Objectivism states that an entity will act in the same way given the same context because it acts according to its nature. So the very statement of causality (which comes from the axiom of identity, which it is my understanding comes prior to the axiom of consciousness) dictates a deterministic universe (since things couldn't go a different way than they do, because things act according to their natures in a given context). Now, all that does not really seem to have much of a bearing on human decision making, since our experience of free will, the innate unpredictability of human behavior, and the fact that it is impossible to track our thinking back any further than the choice of to focus or not to focus (in our minds), all work together to make free will a legitimate concept which is a necessary assumption for evaluating human behavior. I don't think I have ever said it wasn't really, since I acknowledged "choices" and "decision-making" as self-evident and a requirement for everything else. Perhaps reducing the human mind to the level of an assortment of subatomic particles doesn't actually explain its behavior in any meaningful way, as you pointed out by calling it "greedy reductionism." But it is true, because physics describes what makes everything up and how it behaves at the smallest of scales. You yourself admitted that free will is an emergent property, and so arises out of the laws of physics. Our free will, the fact that the fundamental mental action of the mind is the the decision to focus or not to focus, arises from all of those deterministic processes. It is meaningless to describe human behavior as simply the result of the laws of physics, since it provides no insight and, by the nature of our minds, cannot actually be experienced. As such, volition is an axiom, on the level of concepts/mind. All I ask is that Objectivists and the philosophy of Objectivism more generally acknowledge the distinction between volition and free will as a feature of our consciousness, and the idea that the human mind actually breaks the laws of physics somehow and behaves on some level not in accordance with the deterministic laws of physics (which is what is required by saying that things could actually turn out differently than they did, since that would mean that some event on the level of physical objects occurred differently at some level, which requires the laws of physics to be broken). Perhaps that is too much to ask, but I think it is a legitimate way of reconciling Objectivism's requirements for physics (as well as all scientific knowledge humanity has to this date) and the idea of free will. Free will describes mental behavior, but physics describes what actually happens in the brain. Is that a legitimate compromise (I don't think that is the best word)?
  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 for the origin of volition. Roger Penrose and a number of other scientists have suggested that consciousness may arise due to micro tubules in our nuerons which act in a way as quantum computers, as well as the structure of our neurons in the brain. This seems to be supported by recent evidence that anasthesia does not stop brain activity, but does interact with certain substances on the microtubules. If anasthesia prevents the quantum interactions in the microtubules which give rise to consciousness from taking place, then that would explain why anasthesia actually works. If that hypothesis (and it is only a hypothesis it seems for now) is correct, then the uncertainty (for whatever reason you like to choose, even if you subscribe to a hidden variables interpretation) of quantum mechanics is given wide expression in the brain, actually interacting to create the enormously complex and unpredictable "self-generated" action of the mind. In the end, it is all just the movement of particles according to the laws of physics, but the specific arrangement of the interactions is such that it can create nondeterministic, yet not truly random, (that is, bound by physical laws but the outcome is always uncertain by the nature of reality) results on the macroscopic level of behavior. Now, is that an agreeable explanation for how a brain composed of particles whose movement is controlled by physical laws can be both not deterministic and not random, and have what you call volition? That is, I think, my best attempt at reconciling the world of physics and volition I've ever come up with.
  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? And I don't mean nondeterministic in the sense you can't predict its behavior, I mean one that isn't even in principle predictable, no matter if you could "somehow" produce a perfect model of the entire system. It doesn't, even in principle, seem possible that deterministic interactions of particles can produce truly nondeterministic behavior. What I am asking is what creates that decision, what comes before. I am not asking "what on the conceptual/mind level causes it" for I understand that likely is unanswerable. But something must cause it. Some context, when combined with the nature of the mind, causes a person to come to a particular decision, including whether to focus more or less. I understand we may not know what it is, we may never know, but I don't see how one can legitimately deny that such a context must exist, that there must be an actual cause for the behavior. I'm only 18 and from 5-15 my primary (almost sole) interest was physics and more generally the natural sciences (I've expanded somewhat now obviously), so perhaps I am simply unable (for now) to break out of that mode of thinking about the world. In my view, free will may "exist" if you are analyzing only on the conceptual/mental level, as you said the decision to focus or not is not actually reducible to anything prior on the psychological level. In that sense you could say that it is "self-generated" or "self-moved" and not dependent on prior things in the mind (except perhaps previous experiences that may have conditioned you to tend to focus or not focus). Much as Peikoff argued that "blue" is not invalid simply because it describes the experience of a particular interaction between the physical system of our eyes and the physical system of the outside world, it is simply the mental experience of it, I think perhaps I can reconcile (intellectually) free will and physics by saying that free will is the experience of the processes of our minds. Meaning, that it is impossible to track back psychologically the cause of the decision to focus or not to focus, and that can be said to cause "free will", but on the purely material level, our minds are extraordinarily complex deterministic systems. Just as the fact that blue can be explained at a lower level but that does not invalidate blue, or that a table can be described at the purely material level but that does not invalidate our concept of table, free will is valid but is the result of a feature of consciousness and that consciousness can be described as a physical system without invalidating the concept of "free will." I'm not sure if that attempt at reconciliation is self-consistent though, or what Objectivism is trying to describe. Again, it may just be an inability to move beyond my deep intellectual "training" with the natural sciences that prevents me from coming to terms with free will in Objectivism.
  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 understanding of all the individual elements and a computer to run the simulation allows you to predict its macro-level behavior. That does not mean I deny the macro-level behavior, I simply state that it is predictable given full knowledge of the underlying components. That theoretical possibility of predicting the systems behavior based on full knowledge its state and the nature of all of the components is what I mean by "determinism." I have thought it possible I am misunderstanding what Objectivism means by free will and volition, since my interpretation doesn't seem to change anything else about it. My question is what causes someone to choose one thing over another when they have free will? If I can make a different decision, why did I pick the way I did? I don't see how the cause can be anything other than randomness (on some level) or a "deterministic" process. Even at the level of focusing v. not focusing, the same alternative seems to apply. Also, why can there be no "checking" if things are determined? Obviously I can "check", that is look over my thinking. I will either see a flaw or not. Either way, why exactly does it make my conclusion invalid if my conclusion couldn't have come out any other way? My process if I have free will, looking over my thinking (and maybe looking over my looking over my thinking, etc.) to see if I can spot an error, seems equally possible if I don't have free will. If I haven't tried to check my thinking, regardless of if I have free will or not, I can't be confident my thinking is correct. We know that there is no automatic truth detector in human consciousness, so what makes my conclusion "there is no error" any more valid if I have free will? Maybe I'm just being thick-headed, but I'm just not understanding.
  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 originally. That does not seem possible. Grames (and Thomas to a lesser extent): I understand that events are simply the action of entities acting in accordance with their nature in a context. I never meant that actions cause other actions, simply that given a state of things (all the entities in the universe and their arrangement), then only one outcome can come from that. I am familiar with emergent properties, and I do not deny that they exist. My point is that if an entity (man) is composed of other entities (particles) who behave according to predictable laws, then the larger entity is "deterministic", at least in the sense that its behavior can in principle be determined given full knowledge of everything which makes it up. Consciousness exists, and is an emergent property of certain types of extremely complex physical systems. The ability to make decisions which are not predictable based on simple external observation of the entity and its behavior (which is free will in my opinion) is also an emergent property of certain types of extremely complex physical systems. I still haven't seen anyone address exactly why it is impossible to have knowledge if there is no actual possibility of coming to a different conclusion given the context of the decision. The only way we can ensure we are thinking rationally is to attempt to check our reasoning as best we can, and/or asking others to check our reasoning. I see no reason why that would be impossible without free will. Sure, you may not have been able to come to a different conclusion, given the context of the decision, but that does not mean you cannot reassess your reasoning, or that someone else cannot attempt to verify it. With or without free will, the only way I can know if I am thinking rationally is if I perceive that I am thinking rationally because I cannot find any contradictions or unaccounted for information (so far as I can tell), and no one around me can successfully point out a contradiction in my thinking. As is pointed out so many times by Objectivists, you must continually verify your ideas and work to integrate your knowledge into a noncontradictory whole. If you do that so far as you can tell, what does it matter (in terms of the validity of your thinking) if you have free will or not? I don't see anything about free will that gives you an automatic detector of truth, and so if you are thinking rationally as best you know and no one can point out a flaw, how can anyone say that you are not? What makes free will necessary for the discovery of truth? Why can't you just fact-check? I am trying to refine my ideas, I'm not evading, to the best of my knowledge, nor am I attempting to purposely play devil's advocate. Edit: DavidOdden- My argument is as follows: Free will (which is the ability to make decisions whose outcome is not controlled entirely by your memories, beliefs, state of your body, and the state of the world around you at the time of the decision) reduces to randomness. The only means to check our thinking to ensure we are using reason is equally applicable with or without free will, and so knowledge and reason are not dependent on free will (as here defined), and as a result it is possible to logically deny it and therefore it is not axiomatic. As a result, and given the fact that the mind is an emergent property of a physical system and therefore its behavior is governed by the laws of physics, free will as here defined does not exist. However, since knowledge and reason are still possible and there acquisition and use are still dependent on human decisions, the rest of Objectivism is left untouched and whole. -I know that's not quite what you asked for, but that is as small as I can make my argument.
  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 free will is axiomatic without making an argument for it. My point is that it can be logically denied, and therefore is not axiomatic (certainly not like the main three axioms of Objectivism, which cannot be logically denied). I also explained how the appearance and experience of free will is a necessary result of the nature of every computational system, regardless of form. Again, I refer you back to my previous post, paragraph 2. If you are so inclined, explain why you cannot verify rationality without free will, and why our experience of free will cannot be explained by the nature of our minds as computational systems, as well as my other points if you wish. Simply declaring someone to be irrational without actually pointing out why and how their claims are actually irrational. If someone tries to refute your position, simply saying "I'm right so you must be wrong" doesn't seem to be a rational response.
  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 do at any particular time. This doesn't have to be well reasoned, in fact it often isn't. However we still make a decision about what to do. This explains neatly why we will always experience free will, and why it is a necessary element of any consciousness. Second, physical systems (which include the brain), are governed by the laws of physics. That is all. Everything in the universe is based on matter, energy, space, and time. Even if you wished to include elements we do not yet know, such as soul-stuff or what have you, it still must obey rules which determine its behavior explicitly. This results logically in determinism. Finally, free will is a self-contradictory concept. Free will is the ability to make a decision that is not controlled entirely by prior events and the current state of things. This means that it follows no real rules, that it can behave unpredictably (even more than subatomic particles, for free will can't even be constrained by a probability function). It is random. Free will as an idea is based, at its core, on some level of randomness in the operation of the human mind when coming to conclusions and making decisions. Is that really any better than something totally controlled by the laws of physics? The argument for why volition is axiomatic is dependent on it being impossible to rationally refute. The argument is essentially that reason requires volition in order to be valid. Why is that the case? Reason must only conform to reality to be valid, it must only follow the rules of logic. How does one know, whether volition exists or not, that one has come to a rational conclusion? They examine all of their assumptions, their conclusions, etc. and make sure that there are no contradictions and that everything they know has been integrated. They may even ask others to check their reasoning to make sure they are not overlooking anything. And at that point, they can rest fairly confident that they are thinking rationally, though they must continually reassess in order to make sure that holds true. Now, where does free will actually play a role there? Why is it necessary? Can't I just as easily say "I have to the best of my ability that I know of integrated all my knowledge, checked for all facts, and made sure there are no contradictions" if there is no free will as if there is? And can't I ask someone else to check my reasoning to make sure it is valid? What makes randomness necessary in that process? I see no reason why a deterministic viewpoint conflicts with Objectivism anywhere else. You still must check your facts as best you know how to in order to ensure you are thinking rationally. You still can use the same checking mechanisms. Man is still a rational animal that thinks on the level of concepts, and because they can make mistakes in reasoning still must rationally check to make sure they aren't making those mistakes (no one said that just because the mind is deterministic means it necessarily outputs only true or valid ideas and concepts, far from it). He still must focus and use reason to survive, leading to the various virtues, and the ultimate result that the initiation of force is anti-human-life. That result means that it is logically legitimate for people to use force against aggressors, since the aggressor is acting for death anyway. This still leads to the same principles in politics and art. Nothing changes, so far as I can tell. The only thing that changes in the entire Objectivist system is that it is now in alignment with itself. Its final contradiction is resolved. Peikoff in OPAR argues that the mind is based in the brain which is a physical system, and it doesn't matter if science eventually can deconstruct all mental processes into their physical counterparts, it does not invalidate the mental processes. If Objectivism is in no way opposed to the mind being based on solely physical processes controlled by the laws of physics, then an advocacy of the existence free will is not a legitimate position for it to hold. The only legitimate way one may still uphold volition or "free" will is if one reduces it simply to "will", and volition to "coming to a conclusion or selection from a number of seemingly-possible options (seeming possible only when you have not had time to work through the necessary processes of selection yet)." I do not see any conflict with Objectivism with my position. My guess as to why Rand and Peikoff and most Objectivists have not let go of this contradiction is because the concept of free will is too near and dear to Western Civilizaiton's heart to be eliminated as a contradiction to itself and to our understanding of the universe.
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