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Determinism and volition, once again...

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I am struggling to understand the notion of volition.

 

Both Peikoff and Branden says that determinism is self contradictory, since that in order to obtain knowledge, one must choose to think. If a man must believe what he believes, they say, if he can't judge his judgements, how can he know that he is right? that pertains also to the theory of Determinism. (from "psychology of self esteem").

 

However, the determinist might answer, that he does agree that in order to know something one must focus, but he doesn't have to choose to focus. He will say, I did not choose to think, but I did. I know that my theory of determinism is right since while forming it, my consciousness did move from a lower level of awareness to a higher level of awareness. It was conditional, meaning that if I had all the data in the world, I can determine whether a man will think or not in 3 hours from now.

 

How would you reply on such a comment? 

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If one did not choose to think and conform to standards of evidence and logic, then one is appealing to a form of automatic conceptual knowledge i.e. revelation, mysticism.

 

One can not have 'all the data in the world' (Heisenberg) and if one did it would still not be a computable problem (no closed form mathematical solution exists even for the classical many-body problem, let alone a problem set within quantum field theory).  Determinism is a fantasy both metaphysically and epistemologically.

 

Trivially, one can make a prediction of whether a man will think or not in three hours exceeding 95% probability if one merely knows the subject's sleeping habits and makes the prediction at midnight.  A single prediction proves nothing.  To prove determinism one must perfectly predict the entire course of a man's life, and of everyone he interacts with, and everyone they interact with, .. and so on.  

 

Other threads and other arguments pertaining to volition:

 

The Illusion of Free Will

 

Weak vs. Strong Emergence

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