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❶Is there nothing left that could sway our belief toward or against determinism?

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Bell criticized Einstein's work in his famous Bell's Theorem which proved that quantum mechanics can make statistical predictions which would be violated if local hidden variables really existed.

There have been a number of experiments to verify such predictions, and so far they do not appear to be violated. Better and better tests continue to verify the result, including the " Loophole Free Test " that plugged all known sources of error and the " Cosmic Bell Test " that based the experiment cosmic data streaming from different directions toward the Earth, precluding the possibility the sources of data could have had prior interactions.

However, it is possible to augment quantum mechanics with non-local hidden variables to achieve a deterministic theory that is in agreement with experiment. Bohm's Interpretation, though, violates special relativity and it is highly controversial whether or not it can be reconciled without giving up on determinism.

More advanced variations on these arguments include Quantum contextuality , by Bell, Simon B. Kochen and Ernst Specker in which argues that hidden variable theories cannot be "sensible," which here means that the values of the hidden variables inherently depend on the devices used to measure them. This debate is relevant because it is easy to imagine specific situations in which the arrival of an electron at a screen at a certain point and time would trigger one event, whereas its arrival at another point would trigger an entirely different event e.

Thus, quantum physics casts reasonable doubt on the traditional determinism of classical, Newtonian physics in so far as reality does not seem to be absolutely determined. This was the subject of the famous Bohr—Einstein debates between Einstein and Niels Bohr and there is still no consensus. Adequate determinism see Varieties , above is the reason that Stephen Hawking calls Libertarian free will "just an illusion".

All uranium found on earth is thought to have been synthesized during a supernova explosion that occurred roughly 5 billion years ago. Even before the laws of quantum mechanics were developed to their present level, the radioactivity of such elements has posed a challenge to determinism due to its unpredictability.

One gram of uranium , a commonly occurring radioactive substance, contains some 2. Each of these atoms are identical and indistinguishable according to all tests known to modern science. Yet about times a second, one of the atoms in that gram will decay, giving off an alpha particle. The challenge for determinism is to explain why and when decay occurs, since it does not seem to depend on external stimulus. Indeed, no extant theory of physics makes testable predictions of exactly when any given atom will decay.

At best scientists can discover determined probabilities in the form of the element's half life. That is, it explicitly and uniquely predicts the development of the wave function with time. So if the wave function itself is reality rather than probability of classical coordinates , then the unitary evolution of the wave function in quantum mechanics, can be said to be deterministic. But the unitary evolution of the wave function is not the entirety of quantum mechanics.

Asserting that quantum mechanics is deterministic by treating the wave function itself as reality might be thought to imply a single wave function for the entire universe , starting at the origin of the universe.

Such a "wave function of everything" would carry the probabilities of not just the world we know, but every other possible world that could have evolved. For example, large voids in the distributions of galaxies are believed by many cosmologists to have originated in quantum fluctuations during the big bang. See cosmic inflation , primordial fluctuations and large-scale structure of the cosmos.

However, neither the posited reality nor the proven and extraordinary accuracy of the wave function and quantum mechanics at small scales can imply or reasonably suggest the existence of a single wave function for the entire universe. Quantum mechanics breaks down wherever gravity becomes significant, because nothing in the wave function, or in quantum mechanics, predicts anything at all about gravity. And this is obviously of great importance on larger scales. Gravity is thought of as a large-scale force, with a longer reach than any other.

But gravity becomes significant even at masses that are tiny compared to the mass of the universe. A wave function the size of the universe might successfully model a universe with no gravity. Our universe, with gravity, is vastly different from that which is predicted by quantum mechanics alone. To forget this is a colossal error.

Objective collapse theories , which involve a dynamic and non-deterministic collapse of the wave function e.

Ghirardi—Rimini—Weber theory , Penrose interpretation , or causal fermion system s avoid these absurdities. The theory of causal fermion systems for example, is able to unify quantum mechanics , general relativity and quantum field theory , via a more fundamental theory which is non-linear, but gives rise to the linear behaviour of the wave function and also gives rise to the non-linear, non-deterministic, wave-function collapse.

These theories suggest that a deeper understanding of the theory underlying quantum mechanics shows the universe is indeed non-deterministic at a fundamental level. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Nomological determinism. This article is about the general notion of determinism in philosophy. For other uses, see Determinism disambiguation. Not to be confused with Fatalism , Predeterminism , Predictability , or Theological determinism.

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Amor fati Calvinism Causality Chaos theory Digital physics Emergence Eternalism False necessity Fatalism Fractal Game theory Ilya Prigogine Interpretation of quantum mechanics Many-Worlds interpretation Neuroscience of free will Notes from Underground Open theism Predestination Philosophical interpretation of classical physics Radical behaviorism Voluntarism Wheeler—Feynman absorber theory Types of determinism [ edit ] Genetic determinism Biological determinism Psychological determinism Social determinism Cultural determinism Economic determinism Logical determinism Geographic determinism Historical determinism Technological determinism Environmental determinism Theological determinism Predeterminism.

The Scandal in Philosophy. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Winter edition. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Winter ed. For a discussion, see Robert C. A Short Introduction to Philosophy 8th ed. Another view of determinism is discussed by Ernest Nagel Alternative descriptions of physical state". The Structure of Science: Problems in the Logic of Scientific Explanation 2nd ed.

Retrieved 20 December Retrieved 19 December On this doctrine events throughout eternity have been foreordained by some supernatural power in a causal sequence. Pre- determinism at the Planck scale". Quantum Theory provided a beautiful description of the behaviour of isolated atoms and nuclei and small aggregates of elementary particles.

Modern science recognized that predisposition rather than predeterminism is what is widely prevalent in nature. Far Western Philosophy of Education Society.

See for example Ormond, A. Science of Artificial Neural Networks. However, predeterminism is not completely avoided. If the codes within the genotype are not designed properly, then the organisms being evolved will be fundamentally handicapped.

Retrieved 22 December Dictionary of World Philosophy. A weaker version holds that, though not predestined to happen, everything that happens has been eternally known by virtue of the divine foreknowledge of an omniscient divinity. If this divinity is also omnipotent, as in the case of the Judeo-Christian religions, this weaker version is hard to distinguish from the previous one because, though able to prevent what happens and knowing that it is going to happen, God lets it happen.

To this, advocates of free will reply that God permits it to happen in order to make room for the free will of humans. Encyclopedia of science and religion.

Theological determinism constitutes a fifth kind of determinism. There are two types of theological determinism, both compatible with scientific and metaphysical determinism. In the first, God determines everything that happens, either in one all-determining single act at the initial creation of the universe or through continuous divine interactions with the world.

Either way, the consequence is that everything that happens becomes God's action, and determinism is closely linked to divine action and God's omnipotence. According to the second type of theological determinism, God has perfect knowledge of everything in the universe because God is omniscient.

And, as some say, because God is outside of time, God has the capacity of knowing past, present, and future in one instance. This means that God knows what will happen in the future.

And because God's omniscience is perfect, what God knows about the future will inevitably happen, which means, consequently, that the future is already fixed. VanArragon 21 October Key Terms in Philosophy of Religion. Continuum International Publishing Group. Theological determinism, on the other hand, claims that all events are determined by God.

On this view, God decree that everything will go thus-and-so and ensure that everything goes that way, so that ultimately God is the cause of everything that happens and everything that happens is part of God's plan.

We might think of God here as the all-powerful movie director who writes script and causes everything to go accord with it. We should note, as an aside, that there is some debate over what would be sufficient for theological determinism to be true. Some people claim that God's merely knowing what will happen determines that it will, while others believe that God must not only know but must also cause those events to occur in order for their occurrence to be determined.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Spring ed. We particularly agree that they are negligible when considering the causally determined will and the causally determined actions set in motion by decisions of that will.

Instead it leads us to accept a new form of determinism: Given the state of a system at some time, the laws of nature determine the probabilities of various futures and pasts rather than determining the future and past with certainty. Therefore the soul stands to the activities of the individual agent's body as does the creator of the universe to the universe.

It is natural to wonder whether chaotic behavior carries over into the realm of systems governed by quantum mechanics as well. Interestingly, it is much harder to find natural correlates of classical chaotic behavior in true quantum systems see Gutzwiller Some, at least, of the interpretive difficulties of quantum mechanics would have to be resolved before a meaningful assessment of chaos in quantum mechanics could be achieved.

The popularization of chaos theory in the relatively recent past perhaps made it seem self-evident that nature is full of genuinely chaotic systems. In fact, it is far from self-evident that such systems exist, other than in an approximate sense. Nevertheless, the mathematical exploration of chaos in dynamical systems helps us to understand some of the pitfalls that may attend our efforts to know whether our world is genuinely deterministic or not.

Is there nothing left that could sway our belief toward or against determinism? There is, of course: Metaphysical arguments on this issue are not currently very popular. But philosophical fashions change at least twice a century, and grand systemic metaphysics of the Leibnizian sort might one day come back into favor.

Conversely, the anti-systemic, anti-fundamentalist metaphysics propounded by Cartwright might also come to predominate. As likely as not, for the foreseeable future metaphysical argument may be just as good a basis on which to discuss determinism's prospects as any arguments from mathematics or physics. John Earman's Primer on Determinism remains the richest storehouse of information on the truth or falsity of determinism in various physical theories, from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics and general relativity.

Here I will give only a brief discussion of some key issues, referring the reader to Earman and other resources for more detail. Figuring out whether well-established theories are deterministic or not or to what extent, if they fall only a bit short does not do much to help us know whether our world is really governed by deterministic laws; all our current best theories, including General Relativity and the Standard Model of particle physics, are too flawed and ill-understood to be mistaken for anything close to a Final Theory.

Nevertheless, as Earman stressed, the exploration is very valuable because of the way it enriches our understanding of the richness and complexity of determinism. Despite the common belief that classical mechanics the theory that inspired Laplace in his articulation of determinism is perfectly deterministic, in fact the theory is rife with possibilities for determinism to break down. One class of problems arises due to the absence of an upper bound on the velocities of moving objects.

Below we see the trajectory of an object that is accelerated unboundedly, its velocity becoming in effect infinite in a finite time. An object accelerates so as to reach spatial infinity in a finite time. Never mind how the object gets accelerated in this way; there are mechanisms that are perfectly consistent with classical mechanics that can do the job. In fact, Xia showed that such acceleration can be accomplished by gravitational forces from only 5 finite objects, without collisions.

No mechanism is shown in these diagrams. But now recall that classical mechanics is time-symmetric: Clearly, a world with a space invader does fail to be deterministic. A second class of determinism-breaking models can be constructed on the basis of collision phenomena. The first problem is that of multiple-particle collisions for which Newtonian particle mechanics simply does not have a prescription for what happens.

Consider three identical point-particles approaching each other at degree angles and colliding simultaneously. That they bounce back along their approach trajectories is possible; but it is equally possible for them to bounce in other directions again with degree angles between their paths , so long as momentum conservation is respected. Moreover, there is a burgeoning literature of physical or quasi-physical systems, usually set in the context of classical physics, that carry out supertasks see Earman and Norton and the entry on supertasks for a review.

A failure of CM to dictate a well-defined result can then be seen as a failure of determinism. In supertasks, one frequently encounters infinite numbers of particles, infinite or unbounded mass densities, and other dubious infinitary phenomena. Coupled with some of the other breakdowns of determinism in CM, one begins to get a sense that most, if not all, breakdowns of determinism rely on some combination of the following set of physically dubious mathematical notions: The trouble is, it is difficult to imagine any recognizable physics much less CM that eschews everything in the set.

A ball may spontaneously start sliding down this dome, with no violation of Newton's laws. Reproduced courtesy of John D. Norton and Philosopher's Imprint.

Finally, an elegant example of apparent violation of determinism in classical physics has been created by John Norton As illustrated in Figure 4 , imagine a ball sitting at the apex of a frictionless dome whose equation is specified as a function of radial distance from the apex point.

This rest-state is our initial condition for the system; what should its future behavior be? Clearly one solution is for the ball to remain at rest at the apex indefinitely. But curiously, this is not the only solution under standard Newtonian laws. The ball may also start into motion sliding down the dome—at any moment in time, and in any radial direction.

And it does not, unlike some supertask examples, require an infinity of particles. Still, many philosophers are uncomfortable with the moral Norton draws from his dome example, and point out reasons for questioning the dome's status as a Newtonian system see e.

Two features of special relativistic physics make it perhaps the most hospitable environment for determinism of any major theoretical context: The former feature, including a prohibition against tachyons hypothetical particles travelling faster than light [ 4 ] , rules out space invaders and other unbounded-velocity systems.

The latter feature makes the space-time itself nice and stable and non-singular—unlike the dynamic space-time of General Relativity, as we shall see below. For source-free electromagnetic fields in special-relativistic space-time, a nice form of Laplacean determinism is provable. Unfortunately, interesting physics needs more than source-free electromagnetic fields. IV surveys in depth the pitfalls for determinism that arise once things are allowed to get more interesting e.

Defining an appropriate form of determinism for the context of general relativistic physics is extremely difficult, due to both foundational interpretive issues and the plethora of weirdly-shaped space-time models allowed by the theory's field equations. The simplest way of treating the issue of determinism in GTR would be to state flatly: Here we will briefly describe some of the most important challenges that arise for determinism, directing the reader yet again to Earman , and also Earman for more depth.

What is the further structure a space-time needs? Typically, at least, we expect the time-direction to be distinguished from space-directions; and we expect there to be well-defined distances between distinct points; and also a determinate geometry making certain continuous paths in M be straight lines, etc.

All of this extra structure is coded into g , the metric field. So M and g together represent space-time. T represents the matter and energy content distributed around in space-time if any, of course. Yet, the new model is also a perfectly valid model of the theory. This looks on the face of it like a form of indeterminism: GTR's equations do not specify how things will be distributed in space-time in the future, even when the past before a given time t is held fixed.

Usually the shift is confined to a finite region called the hole for historical reasons. This is a form of indeterminism first highlighted by Earman and Norton as an interpretive philosophical difficulty for realism about GTR's description of the world, especially the point manifold M.

See the hole argument and Hoefer for one response on behalf of the space-time realist, and discussion of other responses. For now, we will simply note that this indeterminism, unlike most others we are discussing in this section, is empirically undetectable: The separation of space-time structures into manifold and metric or connection facilitates mathematical clarity in many ways, but also opens up Pandora's box when it comes to determinism.

The indeterminism of the Earman and Norton hole argument is only the tip of the iceberg; singularities make up much of the rest of the berg. For example, near the center of a Schwarzschild black hole, curvature increases without bound, and at the center itself it is undefined, which means that Einstein's equations cannot be said to hold, which means arguably that this point does not exist as a part of the space-time at all! Some specific examples are clear, but giving a general definition of a singularity, like defining determinism itself in GTR, is a vexed issue see Earman for an extended treatment; Callender and Hoefer gives a brief overview.

We will not attempt here to catalog the various definitions and types of singularity. Different types of singularity bring different types of threat to determinism.

Generally, no violation of determinism looms outside the event horizon; but what about inside? Another way for a model spacetime to be singular is to have points or regions go missing, in some cases by simple excision.

The resulting spacetime satisfies Einstein's equations; but, unfortunately for any inhabitants, the universe comes to a sudden and unpredictable end at time E. For discussion of precise versions of such a requirement, and whether they succeed in eliminating unwanted singularities, see Earman , chapter 2.

The most problematic kinds of singularities, in terms of determinism, are naked singularities singularities not hidden behind an event horizon. When a singularity forms from gravitational collapse, the usual model of such a process involves the formation of an event horizon i.

A universe with an ordinary black hole has a singularity, but as noted above, outside the event horizon at least nothing unpredictable happens as a result. A naked singularity, by contrast, has no such protective barrier.

In much the way that anything can disappear by falling into an excised-region singularity, or appear out of a white hole white holes themselves are, in fact, technically naked singularities , there is the worry that anything at all could pop out of a naked singularity, without warning hence, violating determinism en passant.

While most white hole models have Cauchy surfaces and are thus arguably deterministic, other naked singularity models lack this property. Physicists disturbed by the unpredictable potentialities of such singularities have worked to try to prove various cosmic censorship hypotheses that show—under hopefully plausible physical assumptions—that such things do not arise by stellar collapse in GTR and hence are not liable to come into existence in our world.

To date no very general and convincing forms of the hypothesis have been proven, so the prospects for determinism in GTR as a mathematical theory do not look terribly good. As indicated above, QM is widely thought to be a strongly non-deterministic theory.

Popular belief even among most physicists holds that phenomena such as radioactive decay, photon emission and absorption, and many others are such that only a probabilistic description of them can be given. The theory does not say what happens in a given case, but only says what the probabilities of various results are. So, for example, according to QM the fullest description possible of a radium atom or a chunk of radium, for that matter , does not suffice to determine when a given atom will decay, nor how many atoms in the chunk will have decayed at any given time.

The theory gives only the probabilities for a decay or a number of decays to happen within a given span of time. Einstein and others perhaps thought that this was a defect of the theory that should eventually be removed, by a supplemental hidden variable theory [ 6 ] that restores determinism; but subsequent work showed that no such hidden variables account could exist.

At the microscopic level the world is ultimately mysterious and chancy. Ironically, quantum mechanics is one of the best prospects for a genuinely deterministic theory in modern times! Everything hinges on what interpretational and philosophical decisions one adopts. The evolution of a wavefunction describing a physical system under this equation is normally taken to be perfectly deterministic.

There are several interpretations that physicists and philosophers have given of QM which go this way. See the entry on quantum mechanics. The collapse process is usually postulated to be indeterministic, with probabilities for various outcomes, via Born's rule, calculable on the basis of a system's wavefunction.

The once-standard Copenhagen interpretation of QM posits such a collapse. The reason is simple: In David Bohm created an alternative interpretation of non relativistic QM—perhaps better thought of as an alternative theory—that realizes Einstein's dream of a hidden variable theory, restoring determinism and definiteness to micro-reality. In Bohmian quantum mechanics , unlike other interpretations, it is postulated that all particles have, at all times, a definite position and velocity.

As much as any classical theory of point particles moving under force fields, then, Bohm's theory is deterministic. In one sense this is a philosopher's nightmare: Fortunately, we can safely assume that neither is perfectly correct, and hope that our Final Theory has no such empirically equivalent rivals.

In other senses, the Bohm theory is a philosopher's dream come true, eliminating much but not all of the weirdness of standard QM and restoring determinism to the physics of atoms and photons.

The interested reader can find out more from the link above, and references therein. This small survey of determinism's status in some prominent physical theories, as indicated above, does not really tell us anything about whether determinism is true of our world.

Instead, it raises a couple of further disturbing possibilities for the time when we do have the Final Theory before us if such time ever comes: Second, we may have reason to worry that the Final Theory, if indeterministic, has an empirically equivalent yet deterministic rival as illustrated by Bohmian quantum mechanics.

Some philosophers maintain that if determinism holds in our world, then there are no objective chances in our world. Strict determinism means complete predictability in principle, if not in practice of events and only one possible future. Adequate determinism provides statistical predictability, which in normal situations for physical objects approaches statistical certainty. An example of an event that is not strictly caused is one that depends on chance , like the flip of a coin.

If the outcome is only probable, not certain, then the event can be said to have been caused by the coin flip, but the head or tails result itself was not predictable. So this causality, which recognizes prior events as causes, is undetermined and the result of chance alone. We call this "soft" causality. Events are caused by prior uncaused events, but not determined by events earlier in the causal chain, which has been broken by the uncaused cause. Determinism is critical for the question of free will.

Strict determinism implies just one possible future. Chance means that the future is unpredictable. Chance allows alternative futures and the question becomes how the one actual present is realized from these alternative possibilities. The departure required from strict determinism is very slight compared to the miraculous ideas associated with the " causa sui " self-caused cause of the ancients. Even in a world that contains quantum uncertainty, macroscopic objects are determined to an extraordinary degree.

But the macroscopic "laws of nature" are just statistical laws that " emerge " when large numbers of atoms or molecules get together. For large enough numbers, the probabilistic laws approach practical certainty. Determinism is an emergent property. Newton's laws of motion are deterministic enough to send men to the moon and back.

Our Cogito Model of the Macro Mind is large enough to ignore quantum uncertainty for the purpose of the reasoning will. The neural system is robust enough to insure that mental decisions are reliably transmitted to our limbs.

We call this determinism, only ineffective for extremely small structures, "adequate determinism. Belief in strict determinism, in the face of physical evidence for indeterminism, is only tenable today for dogmatic philosophy.

We survey ten modern dogmas of determinism. Phillipa Foot argued that because our actions are determined by our motives, our character and values, our feelings and desires, in no way leads to the conclusion that they are pre -determined from the beginning of the universe.

The presence of quantum uncertainty leads some philosophers to call the world indetermined. But indeterminism is somewhat misleading, with strong negative connotations, when most events are overwhelmingly " adequately determined. There is also no problem imagining a role for randomness in the brain in the form of quantum level noise.

Noise can introduce random errors into stored memories. Noise could create random associations of ideas during memory recall. This randomness may be driven by microscopic fluctuations that are amplified to the macroscopic level.

Our Macro Mind needs the Micro Mind for the free action items and thoughts in an Agenda of alternative possibilities to be de-liberated by the will. The random Micro Mind is the "free" in free will and the source of human creativity. The adequately determined Macro Mind is the "will" in free will that de-liberates , choosing actions for which we can be morally responsible. Determinism must be disambiguated from its close relatives causality , certainty , necessity , and predictability.

The term sic determinism is first attested in the late fourteenth century, "to come to an end," also "to settle, decide," from O. Determination as a "quality of being resolute" dates from


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Hard determinism (or metaphysical determinism) is a view on free will which holds that determinism is true, and that it is incompatible with free will, and, therefore, that free will does not exist.

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Hard-determinists are called "hard" because their position is very strict; all events in the universe (including those of man) are strictly determined. Consequently, there is no such thing as moral responsibility since it is considered by them to be incompatible with determinism.

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Feb 12,  · Hard Determinism: Absolutely everything happens as a result of something else, through cause and effect, and there are no random elements to the universe. Basically, the cause of any action can be traced back almost infinitely to the original state of the onlinepersonalloansforpeoplewithbadcredit.cfg is truly onlinepersonalloansforpeoplewithbadcredit.cf: Resolved. Determinism, especially the variation of "soft" determinism (cf. William James) or compatibilism, is supported as a theory of free will by a majority of philosophers, each with special vested interests in one or more of the many determinisms.

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The distinction between “hard determinism” and “soft determinism” was first made by the American philosopher William James (). Both positions insist on the truth of determinism: that is, they both assert that every event, including every human action, is the necessary result of prior causes operating according to the laws of nature. The hard incompatibilists hold that both determinism and free will do not exist, the libertarianists that determinism does not hold, and free will might exist, and the hard determinists that determinism does hold and free will does not exist.