AOne of the ways of looking at catagories of existence, things which all things that exist must have as characteristics, is to term them as polar pairs. For example, determinism and indeterminism would be the two ends of a set, a polar pair. It also seems that if this is so that a particular instance could be given a value to represent that instance's relative position on that catagorical polar pair. It is possible that all things can be expressed by a definition that rates the position of those things on the scale of all polar pairs, and that this would be a symbolic name for each existing thing, much as a cartesian graph represents the terms of a value for the points position on each axis, such as (X,Y,Z,W). Each instance of existence would be represented by a symbolic name with a value for each polar pair representing a catagory, such as (X0,X1,X2,X3...Xn) where the value N equals the number of polar pairs, the number of catagories, less one.
The idea that existence could be catagorized in such a way seems to me startalizingly simple, at least until I think about the fact that imaging of graphs in large dimensions is amazingly difficult. The inability of computers to deal with anything but greatly simplified models of weather patterns is an example that shows that a graph that represents all polar pairs of existence, surely a greater number than the number of variables in the atmospheric model, would be far beyond the capability of even the most powerful computers available.
In a related way, I wonder if it could not be said that history could be represented in a cartesian graph using opportunity as an axis and choice as a value. This would provide a cartesian, symbolic way in which to speak of points in process that would include all variables of existence and possibilty in the very definition of this symbolic name. Obviously, I am speaking of an incredibly large number of variables; probably, to be imaginative, as many variables as there can be.
As I become increasingly, perhaps irreverently, technical, I can't help but continue. There is a way to speak of dynamic changes in terms of cartesian systems by using the idea of a Vector. A vector is a scalar that has a length and a direction and an origin. A scalar is basically a line that has one dimensional value, for example distance. Vectors can be added subtracted and manipulated in a variety of ways. If a cartesian graph were drawn with opportunity as the axis and each choice a value then we speak of points in process as cartesian points, we can also speak of history as being the resultant Vector that is derived from the addition of all the points in process that lead up to the present moment in sequence, in order of process.
Speaking of History as a Vector, which I will herein call History/Tendency (H/T), that results from the addition of all the choices in process that could be called the causes of the total Vector, leads to the idea that each new choice, which I will herein call Free Will (FW), will be, from the stand point of the future, added to H/Ti to create H/Ti+1 where i is the value of intention, or perhaps the force of will, which is the sum of intention of all vectors included in H/Ti, and 1 is the unit that represents the value of intention applied to FW.
An example of the Force of Intention as applied to a vector, at least in this sense, would be like the idea of 'inelasticity' in Hospers. The amount of inelasticity would be greater for an H/T that included abuse and major trauma. This conforms with the idea that stress is the major cause of imprint vulnerability: the greater the intention, the greater the change, the greater the resultant inelasticity. Just as an average becomes more difficult to effect the more values are summed, so does the resultant vector become more 'inelastic' as greater intention is applied to H/T overriding the change applied by FW, even if the change applied by FW were to be in the opposite direction.
FW would be in no way effected by the H/T except in the determination of origin and at the time when they were added together. The determination of origin could be thought of as a pathway that must have a beginning, the beginning would then perforce determine what paths were available to be trodden on. For example, if my origin were my birth in a third world country then rocket science would be not one of my immediately available choices. This would then function like a Choice-Net, where choices could be catagorized by the strength of intention needed to reach them: from any given H/T I could then say that I have available to me a certain set of choices given a certain amount of effort applied to FW.
When talking about paths and processes, I can't seem to get out of my head the image of a computer program. Fortunately, this is not such a bad thing to have in mind.
A computer program is a Heuristic Process, a process of choices in a specific order. From a particular process a particular result can be expected. The computer will process a series of commands as a group, called a program, one at a time. At any one time the computer will be at a particular point in a program, but not everywhere at once, much as we travel thru the process of our choices thru time.
To be bold, our life is spent travelling down Heuristic Processes much as a computer travels command by command thru a program.
One interesting aspect of computer science is the attempt to develop ways to find out if a program has any 'bugs' in its structure, or mistakes. One mistake in particular is called an Infinite Loop. This particular mistake causes the computer to repeat a set of commands indefinitely, or at least until the power breaks down or some outside method is applied toward the termination of the routine. An unfortunate aspect of the Infinite Loop that was discovered is that there is no way for a computer, even anexternal 'watchdog' computer, to know when an infinite loop is occuring, since the actual pattern is unrecognizably different from the normal operation of the computer travelling thru the process of the program. Computers cannot from any given point in a process determine the ultimate outcome of the process.
Process patterns in H/T determine available choices but future paths, resultant vectors, are indeterminable from a process that is not yet complete. No matter how determined the path, now matter how etched in stone, the H/T may be, there is no way to determine the outcome of the process still being run. The process is determined, but the outcome is determinable only in hindsight. It is the case that within a process exists the conditions of determined process and indetermined end.
I have already spoken about how the origin point of a vector is determined by the H/T which is the equivalent of determining the choices available to FW.
H/Tn+1 is not derivable from H/Tn, as stated in my computer example, which is the same as saying that it is indetermined.
FW is the real-time, present, point in process when the choice path is chosen which results in the addition of FW to H/T moving the process forward one step. This FW vector is limited only in the available choices, but the resulting direction is not caused ultimately by H/T or any derivable force outside of that point in process.
The H/T is determined, FW is the present point in process, and the ultimate end of process is indetermined: Past, Present and Future. It is the case that both Determinism and Indeterminism are true and compatable, and at the same time Free Will is true and compatable with everything too. Everything living in one big harmonious compatable and true happy whole.
Free Will, Determinism and Indeterminism are all Synergistically linked and interconnected.
BGriogair, I am amazed. Do you lay awake nights thinking things like this? If so I think you may want to look into therapy, however in order to avoid being accused of an argument ad hominem I will make a good faith effort to deal the the substance of your theory.
Unfortunately, I don't think that I have the qualifications to try to refute your evidence, but I do wonder if the simple superimposition of complex filters onto data, revealing interesting ways to relate previously known information, necessarily shows anything conclusive. Merely saying that something looks interesting when thought of in a certain way doesn't seem to me to be saying anything really meaningful. I'm not quite sure what I'm objecting to here, so I will try another tack.
Well, you do have good examples for why you find that both determinism and indeterminism coexist in a system simultaneously, but your support for Free Will is somewhat lackluster. Short of simply saying, defining, Free Will as that peresent moment in time, you do very little to convince me that Free Will exists. I think that the course of your 'future vector' could still be determine by the past.
Your example of a computer program is interesting, indeed, but here I think you may have popped open a can of worms. A computer's path is determined as you say, and the fact that the infinite loop cannot be detected does not change the fact that the course of the process can be known, and if you know the process you will be able to find that that infinite loop was a determined result of the previous steps. Dis-, ir-regardless of whether you know where you are, if I know enough about the causes of a resulting action, I can then determine the resulting action. If I know the whole program then I know that there will be an infinite loop if I examine it carefully with the necessary information about how the computer works. If I could not do this in the computer example, then infinite loops would be, for all intents and purposes, invisible to me, but this is not so. I can look at some programs and recognized that an infinite loop has been created. The lack of sophistication in computer detection of this phenomena does not indicate that it cannot be detected.
So, I hold that, by using your own example, I have shown that everything is determined and that there is no free will nor is there any indetermined part to this either.
There is another side that would question your use of the idea of a program as thinking too rigidly about the way the whole process of time works, and that it would be too bold to define time as defintely structured in much the same way as is a computer program. I think that this would lead to the ultimate questioning of whether anything is determined at all, since to say it is determined requires the superimposition of such rigid models and such models by their very nature are more simplistic than the thing for which they model. The ultimate point of this line of reasoning would be that you should not so fully confuse the map with the territory, as in General Semantics, and that using filters and paradigms to deal with data doesn't imply necessarily that the data is in fact that way in totality.
I'm afraid that I have been overzealous and have raised two objection to your theory.
COnce again, I am pleased to be able to interact with such a mind as yours. Indeed you have raised at least three objections, but I hope that you don't feel in the slightest way that I would not invite such adroit help in fine tuning my ideas.
Your example of knowing the whole program allowing you to know the results de facto is an interesting one. This brings to mind one of the major objections that I have to most pure deterministic views. The point at which you know a whole system is when the end of the process is reached. In order to know all of the information necessary, it seems to me, to know and be able to determine the causes of any action come after the action takes place. This may be a place when my computer analogy fails.
It seems to me that the vast majority of deterministic thought assumes knowledge about causes and actual resulting actions that is tantamount to hindsight.
If I were to walk down a garden path choosing randomly from several subsidiary pathways that lead in similar directions, when I reach the end I might look back and see only the path that I had trodden and not recognize that there were many alternate paths available. I might think to my self, if I were a determinist, that I was actually meant to travel to the point at which I looked back.
As an aside, this has also been one way in which I have objected in the past to the assumption that our perceptions as a species necessarily reflect reality. Saying, for example, that an organism must be able to see reality in order to survive means necessarily that a higher level organism such as ourselves is able to perceive reality doesn't quite make as much sense as I think it is supposed to make. All that this says is that the model is more complex, but not necessarily more accurate, which is much the same as your exhortation about maps and territory.
The fact that we can look back in time and see the causes of a particular resultant action; and the fact that in hindsight, once a thing is done it is done, things seems immutable; does not make it so.
Indeed, to go about this in an random order, your first objection makes some sense, but if the application of paradigms were not useful then this would call into question all knowledge gained by science. While the model may only reflect part of the thing it is meant to represent, the information is still useful. We have used the application of paradigms in so many useful ways, even this computer upon which I am typing this, that I am hesitant to agree that there is no rationale for this type of thought process.
While I would tend to agree with what you say in your third objection to the extent that a computer program is far too simple a structure to encompass all the vaguarities and nuances of all the causes of and interrelationships between all points in time, I do think that the lessons learned on that level can be applied to the more complex model of a graph with something close to an infinite number of axes.
I think overall my point is that to say that ultimately and absolutely things are either determined or indetermined opens a barrel of monkeys and that perhaps the problem with both absolute views is that they are absolute. I arrived at this theory from the modest beginnings of thinking about how the problems I saw in determinism and indeterminism stem from the same reliance on absolute thinking. If opposites are polar pairs then things are not at one end or the other, but rather partake of both qualities in different measures. That is my point in saying that all three qualities are synergistically linked.
(Bonus Gunk I wanted to say after re-reading my essay but didn't have time to re-write into the paper properly. )
o In Campbell, the discussion of Moral Effort brings to mind the idea in my theory of the force of intention on FW in that Moral Effort could be rendered asDi/t or the change of intention over time. The idea of Strongest Desire could be thought of in terms of H/T and that the idea of genuine freedom, in Campbell, could be rendered as Di/t and the change of direction (DÐFW/t ?) in terms of FW.
In the Campbell sense, then, the idea of Responsibility in my model of determinism would be represented proportional to Di/t and DÐFW/t. This simply means that the greater the change between H/Ti and H/Ti+1 then the greater the Moral Responsibility, whether weal or ill.
Talking of the similarities between Campbell's Libertarianism and my theory has me want to clarify what I see as the most fundamental difference between the two. The essense of Campbell's argument against the Dilemma of Determinism is to point out that, while the two absolutes of Determinism and Indeterminism may in fact happen, there is still a third alternative, which Campbell terms 'Creative Activity.' This alternative slips him thru the Horns of that Dilemma.
The view which I am attempting to hold is that there are in fact no Horns to this Dilemma at all. Refering back to the example I gave that showed that both Determinism and Indeterminism exist simutaneously, I can say that the absolute, meaning the total absence of the opposite, does not occur. Since all states have determined and indetermined characteristics there is no point at which either polar pair is totally absent from the process.
o The Argument from Predictability states that the more is known the more we can predict about the actions of the Agent and that this in turn shows a fault in Libertarianism since a truely Free Act would not be predictable due to the idea that it must diverge from the character of the Agent in order to be Free. The idea of inelasticity of averages that I spoke of earlier does in fact reveal a solution, in this theory, to any questions in this regard. The effects ofH/Ti can be shown graphically to effect the resultant vector H/Ti+1 but that FW is in no way determined except in relation to origin. This means that the known history will determine the choices available and give a good basis for predictability of a general area of solution for any known, or suspected, value of intention, much as I know how far a thief could drive my car on the gallon of gas left in the tank but do not know where exactly to look for my car, I know the outer limit of the possible resultant vector but do not know the exact vector.
o According to the conclusions raised above about the non-existence of the Horns of the Dilemma, I feel safe to say that, in a similar way to Campbell's response, I am safe from the Argument from Randomness. The idea that lack of any determinism, any causes, would cause a total de-evolution into a random state is absurd if I in fact refute the idea of the absolutes in the first place. Since there is no totally caused nor totally uncaused action the mistaken notion inherent in the Argument from Randomness doesn't even enter the picture, but if it did I would most likely find myself responding in a way much similar to that of Campbell's response.