Freedoom (Prelude-1)

The most provocative way to begin this would be to say: The reception of metaphysical inquiries into freedom and fate is often similar to that of HBD. These questions are unwanted. They unsettle too much. The rejoinders they elicit are typically designed to end a distressing agitation, rather than to tap opportunities for exploration. Not that this should be in any way surprising. Such problems tend to tilt the most basic foundations of theological, cultural, and psychological existence into an unfathomable abyss. If we cannot be sure where they will lead — and how could we be? — they wager the world without remainder. Give up everything and perhaps something may come of it.

When construed as a consideration of causality, relating a conception of ‘free will’ to naturalistic models of physical determination, the battle lines seem to divide religious tradition from modern science. Yet the deeper tension is rooted within the Western religious tradition itself, setting the indispensable ideas of eternity and agency in a relation of tacit reciprocal subversion. The intellectual abomination of Calvinism — which cannot be thought without ruin — is identical with this cultural torment erupting into prominence. It is also the dark motor of Western (and thus global) modernity: the core paradox that makes a horror story of history.

If the future is (already) real, which eternity implies, then finite or ‘intra-temporal’ agency can only be an illusion. If agency is real, as any appeal to metaphysical liberty and responsibility demands, eternity is abolished by the absolute indeterminacy of future time. Eternity and agency cannot be reconciled outside the cradle of a soothing obscurity. This, at least, is the indication to be drawn from the Western history of theological convulsion and unfolding philosophical crisis. Augustine, Calvin, Spinoza are among the most obvious shock waves of a soul-shattering involvement in eternity, fusing tradition and catastrophe as doom.

“Do you think you were predestined to become a philosopher?” Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft was asked:

Yes, of course. Predestination is in the Bible. A good author gives his characters freedom, so we’re free precisely because we were predestined to be free. There’s no contradiction between predestination and free will.

Outside in still has a few questions to pursue …

June 9, 2014admin 75 Comments »
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75 Responses to this entry

  • Mai La Dreapta Says:

    If the future is (already) real, which eternity implies, then finite or ‘intra-temporal’ agency can only be an illusion.

    Wait. No. That doesn’t actually follow.

    It is quite possible that the future exists, has a definite determined shape, and is known entirely by one or more eternal agents, but that its shape is still determined by free will of time-bound agents. Assume that the future is like the past, but that free will exists: it is still the case that you cannot change the past, but the actions which you undertook in the past were nonetheless free and remain free. The fixity of the past does not mean that past choices were unfree; likewise, the fixity of the future does not mean that present and future choices are unfree.

    Philosophizing on this manner tends to turn opaque, because we want to smuggle in temporal language like “the future already exists”, ascribing grammatical tense to eternity. This is a false view of eternity and leads towards the absurdities and monstrosities discussed above.

    FWIW, I’m rather agnostic concerning the question of whether or not libertarian free will exists, but I’m pretty certain that the future exists and is fixed in much the way that the past exists and is fixed. However, as illustrated above, I don’t feel like the latter answers the former.

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    “I’m pretty certain that the future exists and is fixed in much the way that the past exists and is fixed.”

    That is 19th century physics, not 20th century or 21st century physics.

    According to quantum physics, the nature of even present reality is not fixed beyond what has been observed. As for the future, the number of possibilities that all follow perfectly by the laws of physics from the present state quickly explodes into infinity.

    [Reply]

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    In the timeless many worlds formulation of QM, the future is still fixed, you just can’t know which future you’ll “end up in”.

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    Presumely you end up in every single one. Which you is “you” of course is impossible to say from the outside.

    Many Worlds still would not foreclose on choice. Why can’t my choices dictate which of the infinitely many worlds contain the real me?

    Many Worlds is pure theology, having not a thread of evidence or a single successful prediction in its favor; it would seem the Copenhagen Interpretation is far likelier to be true, simply by parsimony. Many Worlds is the most un-parsimonious thing ever conceived in science.

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    @Dan

    Copenhagen needs to add epicycles to handle quantum computers, and has a huge amount of ambiguity about when exactly “collapse” occurs. Otherwise it contains all the same machinery as many worlds. Many worlds is just Copenhagen where the superpositions are allowed to get arbitrarily big without ever collapsing. MW is simpler.

    Not that it matters; they make the same predictions; Copenhagen just has some bullshit casting of the bones at the end where you pretend the other configurations magically stop existing.

    >Many Worlds still would not foreclose on choice. Why can’t my choices dictate which of the infinitely many worlds contain the real me?

    AFAICT, this is meaningless.

    admin Reply:

    “Why can’t my choices dictate which of the infinitely many worlds contain the real me?” — They all think they’re the real you.

    James James Reply:

    Dan, your understanding of QM appears limited. Yudkowsky has a good introduction: http://lesswrong.com/lw/r5/the_quantum_physics_sequence/

    Dan Reply:

    @James, I studied Quantum at Cornell. Did you study physics formally? Did Yudkowski?

    Yudkowski suffers from a misconception common to all this.

    The Copenhagen interpretation doesn’t say that all but one state disappears. They were never states to begin with. They were only probabilities.

    It just says,

    (1) Here is this probabilistic wavefunction that works for the time leading up to an event. (True)

    (2) Now we make an observation and it has one state only (True)

    That’s it. The Copenhagen interpretation takes what we know so far and stops cold. It can’t possibly be wrong if it doesn’t say anything beyond these simple things.

    Copenhagen says the wavefunction collapses, and people say it is vain to think I caused that, but such talk misses the point. The wavefunction wasn’t real to begin with. It is only probabilities, but as soon as there needs to be a real answer, there is one. Maybe the word ‘collapse’ was an unfortunate word choice by Bohr or whoever coined it, because it makes people think that something real is collapsing, but that was never what was meant.

    The Copenhagen Interpretation says that the wavefunction is not a real thing. It is just a mathematical tool. It happens that the particles in the world follow this mathematical pattern. That is our observation.

    It is the Many Worlds people who say that the wavefunction is real and that every bit of probably a particle had in its past must have a universe attached to it (or something like that), but the Copenhagenists never said the wavefunction was real. They are probabilities, but probabilities are okay as long as you aren’t presently interpreting things.

    Copenhagen just says that the wavefunction works, and that your observation is real. We have high observational confidence on both of these. Copenhagen goes no further than what we already pretty much know.

    Well what happened to the wavefunction? Where is it going forward? This is not even a sensical question to ask because the wavefunction was never real. It was just a mathematical equation that worked really well in giving probabilities.

    There are other examples of this. Imaginary numbers have great usefulness in some parts of physics mid-calculation but typically don’t have real world meaning and those parts which drop out for your final physical result. Nobody constructs elaborate worlds for the tragically lost imaginary terms to dwell in. Maybe Schrodinger should have labeled his equation imaginary to remind the whole world that it is only a mathematical tool.

    Copenhagen is by far the most parsimonious. It doesn’t attempt to explain why anything happens. It just says, here is what we observe, full stop. Maybe Copenhagen makes no sense, but it is on far more solid footing because it cuts off discussion with what we observe. It isn’t wrong, it just leaves a giant question mark in the middle. You don’t get closer to being right by just filling in the blank without more observations.

    Copenhagen draws a tight box around what we know. Many Worlds is an attempt to draw extensions that tell a fabulous story, but there is not one thing it can predict which you can test that is not already part of QM.

    Many Worlds seems very conveeenient because anything you want to be there that you don’t find can simply be put into another universe. Sounds an awful lot like a spirit world. The medieval theologians talked about this first, you know.

    I thing the mistake made by the Copenhagen people was to call it an ‘interpretation.’

    There really was no interpretation: it was just the math and that’s it. It should have been called the math-only, results-only, non-interpretation approach.

    Mai La Dreapta Reply:

    I don’t believe that QM actually precludes what I’m saying. In particular, I don’t think that QM actually requires time-asymmetry, and an eternal non-time-bound observer may simple observe that a particle has undefined (but statistically constrained) properties at certain points in the timeline, and definite properties at other points in the timeline. I’m not quite sure how this works out mathematically, but I’m not an expert in QM.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    This is great stuff … but I’m not convinced. Metaphysical libertarianism seems to require time asymmetry (past / future) which is deleted sub specie aeternitatis.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 4:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    I feel that the traditional discussions of ‘freedom’ are self-contradictory. But I’ve broached the topic recently, whilst writing on another area. FWIW, here it is:

    From “The Paradox of Desire” (work in progress)

    Desire is frequently spoken of in the context of liberation – the desire for freedom. For such propositions to be meaningful, specification of the utilised concepts would be necessary. Often, in both ‘spiritual’ and ‘political’ discourses, this is not the case.
    The ‘desire for freedom’ could be said to have the following metaphysical structure. Something along the lines of a ‘subject’, requires not to be coerced by a ‘constraint’. If the ‘constraint’ is not clearly specified, it would be difficult for the ‘subject’ to ascertain whether or not autonomy from the ‘constraint’ is achievable or not.
    Let us not forget to specify what is meant by the ‘subject’.
    If it is determined that some set of processes, whether those of physiological embodiment, cultural expression, and so forth, go some way to constituting the ‘subject’, then it would follow that for the ‘subject’ to desire ‘freedom’ from’ these, would approach the realms of self-contradiction.(1) This could amount to a desire for self-denial.(2)

    So, it follows, that without this double specification, the notion of ‘freedom’ is ambiguous. Freedom is always ‘freedom’ from x’, anything else is emotive, or sloganeering.(3)

    [Footnotes:
    (1)For the Mind-Body dualists. If a ‘spiritual’ source of subjectivity is valorised, to the detriment of somatic-cultural instantiation, this does not necessarily obviate the relation between the subject and its somatic-cultural instantiation. Similarly, if somatic-cultural instantiation is valorised, this does not necessarily exhaust subjectivity and its ‘spiritual’ possibilities.

    (2) Of course, this introduces notions of composite identity and variability of the elements said to compose an identity. For instance, if a ‘subject’ makes compensatory alterations because of illness or an ‘undesirable’ feature, has their ‘identity’ changed?

    (3) As a side note, one could say that the ’emotive’ desire for an unspecified ‘freedom’ is the result of social alienation, a desire vulnerable to sloganeering?]

    [Reply]

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    @Artxell Knaphni

    “If it is determined that some set of processes, whether those of physiological embodiment, cultural expression, and so forth, go some way to constituting the ‘subject’, then it would follow that for the ‘subject’ to desire ‘freedom’ from’ these, would approach the realms of self-contradiction.”

    Oh, to be young and “possess” beliefs free of contradiction!

    “So, it follows, that without this double specification, the notion of ‘freedom’ is ambiguous. Freedom is always ‘freedom’ from x’, anything else is emotive, or sloganeering.”

    Your point?

    Does the transmission of meaning preclude words devoid of ambiguity and infused with emotion?

    Oh and all communication is in some sense sloganeering.

    “(1)For the Mind-Body dualists. If a ‘spiritual’ source of subjectivity is valorised, to the detriment of somatic-cultural instantiation, this does not necessarily obviate the relation between the subject and its somatic-cultural instantiation. Similarly, if somatic-cultural instantiation is valorised, this does not necessarily exhaust subjectivity and its ‘spiritual’ possibilities.”

    One might claim that valorizing the spiritual source of subjectivity does obviate the relation between the subject and its somatic-cultural instantiation. As a sufficiently “hard” mind-body dualist, though, I happen to know that a claim does not make it so.

    [Reply]

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    That should have read:
    Does the transmission of meaning preclude the use of all words except those devoid of ambiguity and infused with not even a trace of emotion? Ya know.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 4:56 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dan Says:

    Be careful not to get stuck on a 19th century physics model of determinism. Quantum physics and much else in the 20th century has demonstrated that the universe is totally non-deterministic, and yet we continue to assume determinism.

    A non-deterministic universe has a big impact on this topic.

    I don’t buy the many worlds nonsense at all because it violates Occam’s Razor in the ugliest possible way.

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    And in any case, in the many worlds hypothesis, you still basically get have every possible outcome, including ones where the old monarchies are smoothly restored and you are made king.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Many-worlds is religion for Yudkowskys.

    The basic foundation of science is prediction vs. observation. Will we ever observe another world? By definition, we cannot. Even if we assume it’s true in some metaphysical sense, it makes exactly zero difference to how we must treat this world.

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    “Many-worlds is religion for Yudkowskys.”

    By that do you mean that Yudkowsky has Many-Worlds as his religion or that he dismisses it as religion? Sorry for being ignorant. I can’t follow every blog.

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    Okay, I think I get your comment. Yudkowski calls Many Worlds religion, you are saying. That seems to be accurate.

    Alrenous Reply:

    Unfortunately, he doesn’t. He buys many-worlds completely. Ahem:

    The debate should already be over. It should have been over fifty years ago. The state of evidence is too lopsided to justify further argument. There is no balance in this issue. There is no rational controversy to teach. The laws of probability theory are laws, not suggestions; there is no flexibility in the best guess given this evidence. Our children will look back at the fact that we were STILL ARGUING about this in the early 21st-century, and correctly deduce that we were nuts.

    We have embarrassed our Earth long enough by failing to see the obvious. So for the honor of my Earth, I write as if the existence of many-worlds were an established fact, because it is. The only question now is how long it will take for the people of this world to update.

    Sane? Mature?

    Yudkowsky and similar thinkers think metaphysics is an empty set. Many-worlds is pure metaphyics. And yet…

    Dan Reply:

    “We have embarrassed our Earth long enough by failing to see the obvious. So for the honor of my Earth, I write as if the existence of many-worlds were an established fact, because it is. The only question now is how long it will take for the people of this world to update.”

    What a low grade intellect. What a narrow-minded man. He condemns the whole world as idiots for not accepting as fact something that has not a thread of evidence in its favor and then pretends to be some ultra-rationalist.

    James James Reply:

    “not a thread of evidence in its favor”
    Wrong: he presents quite a bit of evidence here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/r5/the_quantum_physics_sequence/

    Alrenous Reply:

    James, I note that none of those are experiments. Where’s the many-worlds Michelson and Morley?

    Dan Reply:

    @James, the problem with Many Worlds is that it seems to be the opposite of parsimonious. It is the pure antithesis of Occam’s Razor. I mean what could be more messy than the entire universe branching a zillion different ways every zillionth of a second (a huge number of particles collide in every instant) and each of those universes branching a zillion times in a zillionth of a second. In one second, our universe would surely have divided into more universes than there are particles in this universe. And after not much time, these would start to be quite different from each other. What a mess. How are you conserving anything that way? And not so much as a hint of observational support.

    Yudkowski is not a physicist, just a dabbler and a young lad too. I think it is cool how a young boy can get such a cult following, but do think for yourself. He doesn’t seem to have the mind of a scientist on this, because a scientist with a theory doesn’t write off the majority of the physics community as eeedjits (only around 18% accept Many Worlds according to one survey I saw) for not accepting his theory when no experiment so far has been done in support of it.

    QM is strange and counterintuitive and that bothers Yudkowski. That is understandable. But to me adding infinitely many universes only makes things worse.

    Alrenous Reply:

    Which is more likely:

    A) A steelmanned Copenhagen interpretation says states are disappearing, and that can’t be right.

    B) Scientists don’t understand what Nature is telling them and they’re blaming it on Nature instead of their inability to listen.

    I like physics stackexchange because it confirms all my biases.

    Dan Reply:

    …the “paradox” is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality “ought to be.”

    – Feynman in 1965

    I find it a little depressing that Yudkowski can (a) write off the greats of physics as ‘an embarrassment to our Earth’, and (b) be the center of a community that calls itself rationalist.

    Remember, when Feynman said that, Copenhagen was already 40 years old, and he was under 10 when Copenhagen was formalized. He was not part of an old generation slow to come around, he grew up with this stuff.

    Sensei Jim sometimes suggests various civilizational peaks may already be in the rear-view mirror. I hope physics is not one of them, but what do we have:
    – String theorists have been burning through their mathematical tires for God knows how many decades with not one grain of empirical prediction backed by results.
    – The Many Worlds people have likewise been calculating endlessly for naught.
    – The particle people found exactly one particle which they were pretty sure was there.

    I think you have academic degeneracy in physics similar to what you have in the humanities. In the humanities early social victories made people heroes and now people pile on to every more ridiculous things in search of similar glory. In physics, it is also like that.

    In my opinion, telling the world about astonishing apparently non-deterministic quantum physics should be enough fun for any physicist. Instead, you have this discovery almost a hundred years old that would excite the world and maybe help us over the nihilistic hump of modern times, which just kind of languishes. Instead physicists just keep it to themselves and look at it with mistrust.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    A “non-deterministic universe” implies time asymmetry, no? It makes no difference to the question at the metaphysical level.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 5:33 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    This seems to hide a more important point, which is, if we know there is an Eternity and there is a Time, but do not know how their relation works, by definition we have obscurity. Unless we can propose some experiment, some mechanism by which to ferret out how something can be in some way ‘already-existent’ and yet ‘not-yet-determined’ in a meaningful way, speculation must give way to honesty, and honesty must confess mystery.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Yes, but ‘mystery’ might be an exploratory expedition which hasn’t been undertaken yet.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    indeed; and man maps the oceans by sailing the coasts. Neither Babel, which goes up into Heaven nor physical science, which digs into the earth are sufficient. Beachcombing on the shores of eternity seems like a slacker’s profession, and so it is.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Sounds beautiful though (sign me up!)

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 6:27 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    @ Mai La Dreapta @ Dan @ Land

    http://alrenous.blogspot.com/2012/07/free-will-vs-god-of-gaps.html

    The epistemic impinges on the ontologic. Until you have a time-telescope, the future is unobservable, thus unknowable, thus does not exist. In Newtonian determinism you can get around this, but: quantum mechanics. There is no fact of the matter about whether the electron will be found to be spin up or spin down until the moment the state is set. (Only a fact about averages.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 6:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • Freedoom (Prelude-1) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 8:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Why it’s embarrassing even to be associated via the Internet with such characters.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 10:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    @ Most of the above

    Re-read:

    When construed as a consideration of causality, relating a conception of ‘free will’ to naturalistic models of physical determination, the battle lines seem to divide religious tradition from modern science. Yet …

    And then re-construe.

    admin – I’m struggling to grasp eternity (which seems reasonable). Are we going to get more than a prelude?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Lots of prelude … then something (Gnon willing).

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 10:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • MLR Says:

    I feel I’m way in over my head on this, but if I come at it from another angle (you all have the more … philosophically articulate angle covered, so I’ll go in a more narrative direction), maybe there’ll be something someone here can make something more of.

    The best conception of free will I’ve come across was told as a story of an old bald man. He lifted his hand in the air and said aloud, “If there be a God in Heaven, let Him bring my hand down.” And in that moment, a fly came and landed on his head…

    Perhaps not adequate to the task, here, but it’s been MY answer to the matter of free will as I struggled with the theology of (first) Catholicism, and (later) Baptist fundamentalism, all of which seemed to place so much emphasis on this notion of “free will,” which never settled well with me. I was convinced from the earliest age I can remember that God must have some “extra” bit of truth He was holding back from those who claimed to be His followers.

    I’ve since arrived at a set of understandings. First, that we have, in some sense, a characteristic that sets us apart from the angels and the beasts, what could be called “free will,” but that it responds to the strongest force place on us (the fly landing on a bald head); second, that God is in control of those forces, and that He guides those forces in the interest of His perfect plan for each of us; third, that that perfect plan is to guide us to Apokatastasis – the final restoration – of all, to God, through Christ; lastly (as it applies to the scope of this discussion), that this understanding can only be arrived at as a function of the Holy Spirit, who imparts understanding to each of us as befits our part in that perfect plan, that understanding of Christ’s salvific Act is not for you to understand as a function of your logic or brain, but will happen – perhaps after you’ve died – in His good time, that He is the “author and finisher of your faith.”

    I’m not sure what contributions these observations may have to any one of you, or to this discussion. I make them because it is my conviction that any understanding of eternity that is in line with God (who in the whole of our revealed records of Him is described with many adjectives, but only as ONE abstract noun: just, but not Justice, holy, but never Holiness; only, ever, “God is love.”) ought reasonably to be expected to impart “a peace that passes all understanding.”

    No Calvinist heresy or Catholic … ahem … inadequacy can impart this.

    For me, reading Origen of Alexandria and Gregory of Nyssa was my version of … well, Filmer, Carlyle and Evola.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 11:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bryce Laliberte Says:

    Will is but the interface of the person with the world. There is no contradiction between the freedom of that will and the determinacy or indeterminacy of the future (qua present) either way, it just depends on what we mean by “free”. Perhaps I am growing rusty on the question of free will, but it just seems far more fraught than it ought to be. The first question ought to be “What would a free will look like?” followed by “What would an unfree will look like?” I don’t think we can mean anything by the question. We have free wills insofar as we are able to do what we want, and inasmuch as there is a continuity of the self metaphysically with the sociopolitical reality his self is necessarily embedded in (even and especially including the community of future selves he (already?) is (was?), then we can consider constraint to only be in the case that there is something external to the self imposing a limits on the self’s potentialities; but then where does the self start and end? How can I have free will if I am always, to a necessary degree, not aware of the entirety of myself (because Godel, and fuck him btw) and thus even my own access to my internal constitution is constrained?

    So, in short, what the hell is freedom anyway?

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    “So, in short, what the hell is freedom anyway?”

    Precisely!

    [Reply]

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    Your sentence structure and reasoning is dangerously close to academic philosophy, comrade.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Compatibilist free will is obviously compatible with determinism. Hence the name. I have desires and purposes and I act as an agent to further them, in predictable ways. But libertarian free will, what is that? It sounds more free, but what does it actually mean to make a choice that isn’t determined by a purpose or a goal I have. I haven’t read any libertarian free will theorists who have adequately accounted for how a choice can be meaningful but not fully constrained by my character and purposes.

    [Reply]

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    Philosophy makes more sense when I pretend that all those named positions on such questions are just straw-men for characterization, and that no one actually believes any of it. To suggest that anyone actually believes in libertarian free will or whatever else would be too silly for me.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    The positions are incredible, but since they lack stable alternatives, to avoid them sincerely is to plumb the Pyrrhonian abyss — and few are down for that. Hard determinism, rigorously pursued, leads to scarcely less tenable positions than anthropo-metaphysical libertarianism. I’ll get onto super-determinism in this series, as soon as I can — it’s fascinating, but also utterly insane.

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    >Hard determinism, rigorously pursued, leads to scarcely less tenable positions than anthropo-metaphysical libertarianism. I’ll get onto super-determinism in this series, as soon as I can — it’s fascinating, but also utterly insane.

    Disagree that it’s weird. Thus I look forward to your treatment of it.

    Hard determinism is fully compatible with what we generally observe.

    Consider a game of life board or something like it. We know that such rules are turing complete, and thus you could in principle embed an intelligent agent in such a world. We further know that it is utterly deterministic to the point where you can often skip ahead without actually calculating intermediate states (see hashlife).

    Still the life-embedded agent can make free choices and can experience the same kind of stuff we do, to the extent that that means anything at all. That we could stop the world and extrapolate what the agent will think and do, run it multiple times forwards and backwards, and so on doesn’t change its experience of having free choice.

    I find no tentacles leaking in from Outside here though, so I’m excited to see what you do with it.

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    The question of free or unfree will is bound to the question of desire, for certain. And the answer to the question is embedded in anthropology. If am desiring what it is that it is natural for me to desire, I will what is natural for me to will. In that way, I am not constrained by unnatural things to will something other than what is natural. But what if I do not desire what is natural? Then in that case, am I inherently unfree? No, so long as I can deliberate and discover the natural desire and fix my will to it. In hard determinism, I am unfree if I cannot actually even decide to change my mode of being, if the changes in it are rooted outside my will. Any determinism that steps back far enough to say that my choice was going to happen anyway and thus isn’t really a choice is also not really a determinism anymore, since by definition it’s saying that my choice is still my choice and is thus ‘determined’ only in that I, being who I am, was bound to make that determination in that situation. If, however, it asserts that no such choice actually occurred and that indeed it was not merely that I was, because of who I am, bound to make a choice of this sort, but because something external to my person (including bodily fluctuations, environmental conditions) caused that apparent choice, it has determined the greater by the lesser, and would be likened to this parable:

    There was a king, but that king made no choices but those which the peasants made. Who was this king?

    In this sense, the democratic way of thinking itself contributes to determinism, where the world is perceived to always flow bottom to top, the greater things just being an amalgamation and reducible to the lesser, as the will of the state being just an agglomeration of the wills of individuals within it.

    The more nuanced view is that the will is free or unfree to the extent that the person is able to follow its nature and is not constrained by external forces to follow other courses. In the case when the nature is in a mode of being against its nature (for instance, the very definition of sin itself) is it able to, except by external forces acting on it, correct itself? If no, then freedom is denied.

    Thus there are two kinds of freedom and two kinds of willing; the first is natural, which is different than the second, of opinion. Now the natural kind is good but absent the that of opinion may come to disappear. And the freedom of opinion is good but absent the former might also come to disappear, as in the cases of things like addiction, slavery, and so forth.

    Without an idea of nature you only have freedom of opinion, that is, a freedom which is only demonstrated in the person’s ability to change their mode of being. Therefore you only have change as a demonstration of freedom. Freedom then would only be ‘do I change myself? Or am I changed by another?’ if the latter, I am unfree and must resolve to remove any restraint on my ability to change myself without being changed by others.

    In short, I think that neoreaction or DE needs to resolve the problem of ‘natures’ introduced by evolution itself; and only in this way re-moor freedom in nature and thus be able to properly define license and liberty again and say what the end of freedom is, rather than simply to get lost in breaking down every barrier to the most vocal victim’s freedom to choose.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 11:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Drfitforge Says:

    Free will is a single roll of the die. Predestination is the long term average.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 1:20 am Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    “If the future is (already) real, which eternity implies, then finite or ‘intra-temporal’ agency can only be an illusion.”

    The notion of ‘eternity’ only indicates an endless series of events. The notion of the ‘real’, or ‘reality’, indexes the ‘(act)ual’, the ‘existent’, the ‘true’.
    These subsidiary constitutive concepts, whether as epistemological representation or ontological posit, are essentially dependent on defining limitations to mean anything at all. If one is unable to circumscribe them semantically in any effective way, they are only transcendental presuppositions, projections of anthropic, empirical conceptuality.
    They are all inherently ‘evaluative’. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are only ‘subjective’: ‘evaluation’ is a ‘cosmic’ process, like any other. But they are inalienably tied to a thought of finitude & localisation. Such a thought is unsuited to any consideration of that which seems to transcend its customary domains. It’s ‘really’ a question of contextualisation. The reason the tradition has such ‘problems’, is because it attempts to reduce that which exceeds ‘objectivity’, the very ‘ground’ of the ‘objective’, i.e., the ‘limited’, to an ‘internal’, or ‘local’, understanding which can only incessantly affirm the ‘objective’ categories
    that it imagines it ‘knows’. New understanding is necessary, not circularity of the same ignorance.

    “[E]ternity implies [that] the future is (already) real”
    “[A]n endless series of events” implies the ‘reality’ of the ‘future’?

    [IF] ‘reality’ is supposed to be that which is not contingent on ‘subjective’ vagaries, then it just ‘is’ what it is, it doesn’t evaluate itself, or go about declaring “I’m real, I’m real!”. It isn’t a ‘subject’. That’s the bog-standard, scientific, realist view. So, if that’s the case, it doesn’t evaluate. It doesn’t make errors which require correction to be in accord with the ‘truth’. Whatever it does, is ‘true’, by definition, it is after all, ‘reality’. Additionally, there is no need for it to consider questions of ‘existence’, because it is all, already. ‘Existence’ is always ‘existent to-‘, it’s an apprehension (not necessarily ‘subjective’), an ontological declaration that can only be meaningful if there is a possibility of categorical uncertainty concerning the status of a ‘thing’ or ‘event’. ‘Reality’ is supposed to be every(thing), the possibility of uncertainty would be an ‘internal’ operation, at best, not necessarily a defining attribute, according to much scientific & metaphysical belief, anyway. ‘Reality’ may manifest ‘uncertainty’, but the occidental ontological tradition, on the whole, sees it as the systematics of ‘what is’, time-independently. That is to say, the minimal conglomeration (Occam) of forces & logics necessary to produce the totality of ‘manifest’ ‘Reality’, throughout its temporal ‘existence’. Of course, the notion of ‘manifestation’ is problematic. It only has sense ‘within’ the ‘real’: that is, x is manifest to y. Reality cannot ‘manifest to ‘itself’,
    without bifurcation. Bifurcation produces partial realisations, not ‘Reality’. You can see how ridiculous all this is: but that’s the tradition for you. So, if ‘manifestation’ is the operation of interacting ‘partial realisations’, it’s nonsensical to talk about ‘Reality’ being manifest, in toto. Similarly, the notion of ‘actuality’ is likewise an operation ‘within’ ‘Reality’: one set of ‘forces’ being ‘actual’ for another? It wouldn’t make sense for ‘Reality’, as a ‘whole’, to be ‘actual’, there is nothing else for the relation to obtain (except ‘illusion’, lol, [return of the ‘subject’, anyone?]). In addition, if you’re going to talk about the ‘actual’, you need acts or actions. But it can be seen that any action 1) dissolves into increasingly diminutive sub-actions, until it reaches quantum levels, where, therein, it is ‘bootstrapped’ into ‘existence’, as a necessity of ‘macro’ cosmic laws, perhaps? 2) or is itself a sub-action helping to constitute a ‘greater’ action. 3) etc. I could go on. The point here is that there is always a constitutive context
    for every action, that the ‘Real’ would include such contexts, as they would be held to be actually existent & true (this would apply to occidental conceptions of the divine, too.) The essential point is that Reality, as a whole, cannot be considered actual, because it subsumes the metaphysics of actuality. Actuality is always ‘actual to-‘. Basically, all these metaphysical concepts circulate around a self-referential economy, mutually confirming each other.

    So, when it is asserted “[E]ternity implies [that] the future is (already) real”, is anything being said? We can assume, given the host’s explicitly stated metaphysical allegiances, that the “real” in question is not one dependent on epistemological considerations, though such may clarify access to it. As far as can be ascertained, for the ‘future’ to be “already ‘real'”, to be ‘contained’, somehow, in the ‘present’ (I put to one side the issue of the constitution of any notion of the ‘present’, as well as its possible contingency upon what would amount to some form of ‘apprehension’) would require a metaphysics of potentia, together with that of a programmatic determinism – the future is already written. While it seems reasonable to assume, based on empirical considerations, that the ‘future’ is likely to be structured by forces & laws, as the past & present seem to be, that eventuality occurs through the varying degrees of homogeneous transformation necessary for a metaphsics of continuity, it is
    difficult to ascertain what relation this would have to Eternity, to an endless series of events? Whether finite or infinite, either duration would have no necessary or logical bearing on the question of the current presence of a prewritten future. Unless one
    looks at it in this way. If finite in duration, a limited programme of instructions is being played out: if infinite in duration, there is the possibility of proliferation, feedback & infinite variation. If such were to be the case, this would admit of no final definition or objectification of not only the eternal future, but of the present & past, too. So, such an ‘Eternity’ would actually imply the ‘unreality’ of past, present & future, as no definitive objectification – of either past, present or future – into a limited ‘Reality’, would be possible.

    As to the full statement, NL: “If the future is (already) real, which eternity implies, then finite or ‘intra-temporal’ agency can only be an illusion.”, this is answered by my earlier comment: “If it is determined that some set of processes, whether those of physiological embodiment, cultural expression, and so forth, go some way to constituting the ‘subject’, then it would follow that for the ‘subject’ to desire ‘freedom’ from’ these, would approach the realms of self-contradiction.”
    Or, bluntly, if you see yourself only as an example of ‘limited determination’, how can you be free of ‘determination’ as well?

    Whilst writing this, I see that quantum physics & ‘Many Worlds’ theory have been cited. Yes, quantum physics does vitiate traditional conceptions of determinacy, but they were stupid, anyway, in principle. Theoretical consideration alone shows that.

    The ‘Many Worlds’ interpretation is merely the stubbornness of the Occident’s substance addiction, the desperation to cling to a metaphysics of substantia, in ‘erroneous’ ways. Rather than see the essential contingency of the very notion of ‘world’, the desire to remain within the comforting orbit of ignorantia, only multiplies its primary obsession, as a knee-jerk reaction. I’m not saying it isn’t ‘true’ or possible, I am saying that the ways these ‘things’ are talked about are wilfully half-baked & biased, primitive, even.

    NL: “It is also the dark motor of Western (and thus global) modernity: the core paradox that makes a horror story of history.”

    Substance addiction (the Calvinist obsession with a materialist semiotics of salvation?) produces ignorance, ignorance produces a horror story of history. Hence, the contemporary obsession with Lovecraft, an irony if ever there was one, it’s not ‘love’ that
    is crafted, but hate, lol. The obsession with productivity characteristic of modern kapitalism (Calvinism) is so driven to produce a heaven of commodities, that it hallucinates an infinity of ‘worlds’ in its unceasing affirmation of kapitalist materialist mantras, all the while creating hell on Earth.

    I’ve posted this video before, it’s definitely relevant here.

    Mereological Nihilism – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_6hEOX_6u8 (long version)

    science-ontology1-mereological-nihilism-2-kirk-07-reedit-09.wmv – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9LuunwKReM (short version)

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “The notion of ‘eternity’ only indicates an endless series of events.” — This is totally not getting it. Eternity is the Outside of time (or perhaps, time-in-itself — the transcendental edge of time).

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    “”“The notion of ‘eternity’ only indicates an endless series of events.” — This is totally not getting it. Eternity is the Outside of time (or perhaps, time-in-itself — the transcendental edge of time).””

    What would “time-in-itself” be? Isn’t that an unwarranted essentialisation? Even Kant would only say it was a ‘transcendental condition’ of experienced events. If one abandons the reifying metaphsical insistence of ‘event-talk’ or ‘object-talk’, as it were, deflates their hegemony, there is a ‘natural’ segue into ‘eternity’, for all temporal referentiality ceases, or at least the belief in its absoluteness does. Time, too, is a contingent metaphysical concept. If one then wishes to base a claim of time’s reality on some ‘internal sense of time’, it would be difficult to do this without resorting to ‘objective’ examples. Time is a concomitant of eventuality, of objective events. All objective events are contingent. Thus time, being a concomitant, shares in this contingency. If you appeal to its status as a ‘transcendental condition’, a la Kant, then you accept ‘it’ cannot be objectified in any ‘real’ sense: ‘it’ is the condition for all objectification, or at least one of them. If you cannot objectify ‘it’, you can’t oppose it, except formally, through its nominal negation. But such a negation would be impossible to specify objectively. Thus, time is not real. So, does that mean ‘Eternity’ is real? lol The ‘reality’ of Time is only metonymically confirmed by the contingencies of objectivity, of objective conception. You can only go “Outside of time”, if you relinquish the metaphysical worship of obsessive ‘objectification’, the ritualistic practices of ‘reification’, a la Zen.

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    Or you could travel at light-speed. lol

    admin Reply:

    Background.

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    @admin

    “”The notion of ‘eternity’ only indicates an endless series of events.” — This is totally not getting it. Eternity is the Outside of time (or perhaps, time-in-itself — the transcendental edge of time).”

    Bingo.

    One must be mortal to experience time, after all.

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    @Shlomo Maistre

    “”The notion of ‘eternity’ only indicates an endless series of events.” — This is totally not getting it. Eternity is the Outside of time (or perhaps, time-in-itself — the transcendental edge of time).”

    Bingo.

    One must be mortal to experience time, after all.”

    “Mortality” is an appellation for the convention of limited identity. You can’t derive anything from it, except anthropic pathos. It isn’t a clarification, or refutation.
    Time is inextricably linked to eventuality: no events, no time. But all ‘eventuality’ is linked to the metaphysics of identity, & all identities are contingent, ‘dependently originated’, as the Mahayana say.
    Light is outside of time, & it’s empirical, too. So I’m not saying Eternity is unreal, in the empirical sense.

    If you both push the Platonic essentialisation argument for Eternity, all the carefully crafted insularities of Neoreactive immanence are going to unravel. ‘Outside in – Involvements with Ideality’ lol

    There’s another response further down, but I haven’t really argued against the ‘transcendental Eternity’ concept, because I could see the fuller context admin referenced, with the “Background” link. He’s building the ‘history of ideas’ structure first.

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 1:55 am Reply | Quote
  • Metamorf Says:

    Some posits:

    – “Free will” is a redundancy.

    – Agency is defined by will, just as mechanism is defined by cause (the random, as it appears it stochastic mechanisms, is just a limiting case of the causal).

    – There is no room for agency as such within a scientific or empirical orientation, since “will” can only mean an irreducible, uncaused cause that stands outside of causal/random chains.

    – But agency/will is the very basis of a moral orientation, which in turn is indispensable for the functioning of beings in a cultural social formation, since without it there is no way to structure one’s behavior.

    – Hence, “will” (or “free will”) and determinism (including the random) are entirely compatible in the sense of both being basic or required principles of explanation within different orientations to experience.

    – And “eternity” in the sense of predestination, whether interpreted as a consequence of Einsteinian space-time or divine omniscience, is incoherent, and time, yes, is asymmetric.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    And “eternity” in the sense of predestination

    In the linked Calvinism post, predestination is described as the action of eternity upon history – not sure what to coherently make of that just now, but it’s worth ruminating on.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    free will is simply a term used to distinguish between ‘appearance of will’ and ‘actuality of will’ – given the invisible nature of minds and such, it is a valid distinction.

    [Reply]

    Metamorf Reply:

    What then distinguishes between ‘appearance of free will’ and ‘actuality of free will’? And how does “the invisible nature of minds and such” bear upon the distinction?

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    appearance of will, not appearance of free will. Free will cannot be determined by appearances, is what I’m saying.

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 2:50 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    I thought Schopenhauer had settled this question 201 years ago.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Clearly not to the world’s satisfaction.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 5:00 am Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    [Teabreak]

    Master: I am wondering about something… that is whether your benefactor would have been cuckolded because it was written up above or whether it was written up above because you cuckolded your benefactor.

    Jacques: The two were written side by side. Everything was written at the same time. It is like a great scroll which is unrolled little by little.

    You can imagine, Reader, to what lengths I might take this conversation on a subject which has been talked about and written about so much for the last two thousand years without getting one step further forward. If you are not grateful to me for what I am telling you, be very grateful for what I am not telling you.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 3:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    @

    “Background.”

    NL: “If the future is (already) [Platonically] real, which [a hypostasised, ‘4D’] eternity implies, then finite or ‘intra-temporal’ agency can only be an illusion [from the perspective of this valorised ‘Platonic reality’].”

    This distribution of semantic-conceptual emphases is the only way to render the statement consistently meaningful, but it turns you into a Platonist, not the mercenary of cruel immanences you are wont to portray. But, I guess, it’s common currency in the speculations of theoretical physics, so jibes well with the ‘technocommercial’. Plus, it’s the kind of hypostasised affirmation of objectivity (universe as a 4D block, etc.) that’s a good prelude* (proto-commodification) to the commodity games* you support.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 5:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    A satisfying account of free will must accept dualism, as the will is a fundamentally subjective phenomenon. Any attempt to create a purely physical account is going to feel wrong for the simple reason that it is.

    From the perspective of physics, free will is the creation of a fact. There is no fact of the matter whether the electron will collapse into spin up or spin down, until the measurement-interaction occurs, which then creates the fact. However, it is physically impossible to tell the difference between randomness and will. The only definitive way to know if the electron is being random or making a choice is to be that electron. If you are that electron, it’s easy to tell if you have practical (not cosmic) free will – agency. If it seems like you could have chosen otherwise, generally that’s because it’s true.

    Though it seems that will and randomness aren’t actually different at the lowest levels of subjectivity, similar to the way the physical forces unify at high energies.

    [Reply]

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    @Alrenous

    “A satisfying account of free will must accept dualism, as the will is a fundamentally subjective phenomenon. Any attempt to create a purely physical account is going to feel wrong for the simple reason that it is.

    From the perspective of physics, free will is the creation of a fact. There is no fact of the matter whether the electron will collapse into spin up or spin down, until the measurement-interaction occurs, which then creates the fact. However, it is physically impossible to tell the difference between randomness and will. The only definitive way to know if the electron is being random or making a choice is to be that electron. If you are that electron, it’s easy to tell if you have practical (not cosmic) free will – agency. If it seems like you could have chosen otherwise, generally that’s because it’s true.

    Though it seems that will and randomness aren’t actually different at the lowest levels of subjectivity, similar to the way the physical forces unify at high energies.”

    This is actually brilliant.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    The problem is it isn’t brilliant. It’s the straightforward result of consistently applying a physics mindset to the philosophy of mind and freedom. The result is mainly intuitive.

    You get no scholar status points for believing stuff like this. Which is a problem, since it’s true.

    [Reply]

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    @Alrenous

    “The problem is it isn’t brilliant. It’s the straightforward result of consistently applying a physics mindset to the philosophy of mind and freedom. The result is mainly intuitive.

    You get no scholar status points for believing stuff like this. Which is a problem, since it’s true.”

    What a theologian means by “man acts by the grace of G-d” is basically the corollary/flip-side of what a physicist (of sorts) means when he says “there is no fact…until the measure-interaction occurs, which then creates the fact”.

    It’s been well said that physics is the only real science – all the rest are basically stamp collecting. Likewise, I’d say that theology is the only real philosophy – the rest is just rhetoric.

    I’d dare suggest that Maistre himself could find little in Alrenous’ exposition to disagree with:

    We are all bound to the throne of the Supreme Being by a flexible chain which restrains without enslaving us. The most wonderful aspect of the universal scheme of things is the action of free beings under divine guidance. Freely slaves, they act at once of their own will and under necessity: they actually do what they wish without being able to disrupt general plans. Each of them stands at the center of a sphere of activity whose diameter varies according to the decision of the eternal geometry, which can extend, restrict, check, or direct the will without altering its nature.

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 7:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • scientism Says:

    If only you could all be Wittgensteinians. Then the real work could get done.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    [Thunder; Ascenscion Parish]

    A hand – Wittgenstein’s hand – blasting out of the earth. A middle finger [directed at all Wittgensteinians].

    ‘How did you know who it was directed at?’

    ‘It’s the difference between seeing and seeing as.’

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 7:59 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    In general people don’t like metaphysics. In grad school I took a class on “post-metaphysics,” and that I was surprised to learn was actually about the Frankfurt School and Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action. Habermas ignores the most important philosopher, Hume, and Hume’s idea that reason follows passion, and not the other way around. The Left thinks passion comes from reason, which any thinking person with a smidge of honesty knows is untrue. Metaphysics gets in the way of equality, social justice, etc, therefore the foundation of Leftist thought is “post-metaphysics.”

    Habermas’s second argument against Metaphysics is that Heidegger was a Nazi, lol.

    A couple of non-sequitur thoughts:

    As a young man I wondered aloud about the insignificance of humanity relative to the scale of the universe. My high school shop teacher replied by telling me his best friend killed himself after asking similar (metaphysical) questions.

    The DSM-5 has a category called Borderline Personality Disorder. It lists criteria to diagnose someone as mentally ill, such as: “chronic feelings of emptiness,” and “identity disturbance.”

    Anyone who wonders too much about identity or free will could be diagnosed as mentally ill. Most famous philosophers and artists could probably be diagnosed with BPD, but, paradoxically, those people who wonder are precisely the ones who create identity for all non-wonderers.

    [Reply]

    scientism Reply:

    “I am sitting with a philosopher in the garden; he says again and again ‘I know that that’s a tree’, pointing to a tree that is near us. Someone else arrives and hears this, and I tell him: ‘This fellow isn’t insane. We are only doing philosophy.'”

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 11th, 2014 at 1:56 am Reply | Quote
  • Orlandu84 Says:

    @admin “Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft was asked:

    Yes, of course. Predestination is in the Bible. A good author gives his characters freedom, so we’re free precisely because we were predestined to be free. There’s no contradiction between predestination and free will.”

    Peter Kreeft also thinks that Thomism can be successfully wedded to phenomenology in order to create a super philosophy. I find both positions untenable and a little crazy. For Kreeft does not understand how Thomas combines Aristotle’s immediate conception of nature with Plato’s transcendent. You might substitute “present” for “immediate” and “eternity” for “transcendent” and mean the same thing.

    How does Thomas do this? Thomas first notes that God is the First Cause. As such God enables all that exists outside of Him to participate in Being in particular ways and particular times. Thomas then understands human free will on account of having intellect and judgment. Man acts most freely for Thomas when he knows fully. Thomas replies to the obvious objection thusly:

    But it does not of necessity belong to liberty that what is free should be the first cause of itself, as neither for one thing to be cause of another need it be the first cause. God, therefore, is the first cause, Who moves causes both natural and voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes He does not prevent their acts being natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does not deprive their actions of being voluntary: but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them; for He operates in each thing according to its own nature.

    In short, free will is not godhood! Human beings have a particular way of being (immediate conception) that is meant to be related to an absolute (transcendent conception). For God makes human beings what they are, free will included. Free will as a created thing cannot be separated from God’s causation without horrible effects, which is what sin does. Because God is the First Cause, His influencing your will is neither unnatural or involuntary – He is God. How often does God cause people to change their minds? Unless you do not believe in sin, it would appear that God allows people to do all sorts of stupid and evil things all the time. Consequently, I find that the more interesting problem is explaining sin in a way that respects human and divine agency.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 11th, 2014 at 12:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • Shlomo Maistre Says:

    @Artxell Knaphni

    ““Mortality” is an appellation for the convention of limited identity.”

    Could you clarify what you mean by limited identity? What would “unlimited” identity look like? Obviously a man’s “identity” pertains to his social roles – his relationships with others – as the term is typically used.

    “You can’t derive anything from it, except anthropic pathos. It isn’t a clarification, or refutation.”

    Anthropic pathos could mean a few different things. I’ll reply to one thing you may mean by this: the idea that man’s mortality in some sense demonstrates that the physical domain is compatible with the conscious life that perceives it is absurd. It is a tautology.

    I’ll also note that nothing can be derived inductively, least of all an alleged anthropic pathos.

    “But all ‘eventuality’ is linked to the metaphysics of identity, & all identities are contingent, ‘dependently originated’, as the Mahayana say.”

    Well, sure. My mortality is not a component of my identity – and yet I’m mortal nonetheless!

    “Light is outside of time, & it’s empirical, too. So I’m not saying Eternity is unreal, in the empirical sense.”

    Light is empirical because it can be observed? Mmmmmk.

    And I try to avoid saying anything at all “in the empirical sense” 🙂

    “If you both push the Platonic essentialisation argument for Eternity, all the carefully crafted insularities of Neoreactive immanence are going to unravel. ‘Outside in – Involvements with Ideality’ lol”

    Feel no need to argue for Eternity. Personally I try to observe what is, understand what must be. Time is experienced only by mortal beings. It’s certainly not some endless cascade of events – it’s the lack of events, it’s infinite, it’s an endless void you cannot even conceive of.

    Some things are beyond human understanding.

    [Reply]

    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    @Shlomo Maistre

    {AK} Sorry about the delay. Although I wrote this fairly quickly, after your post, I’ve held it back, to explore the issues more fully. I didn’t want to restrict things to glib refutations. The issues deserve deeper consideration.

    (SM) “Could you clarify what you mean by limited identity? What would “unlimited” identity look like? Obviously a man’s “identity” pertains to his social roles – his relationships with others – as the term is typically used.”

    {AK} Quite simply, all ‘identification’ indexes some form of structural or logical ‘limitation’, because a selectivity of inclusion & exclusion occurs. If a notion of identity is subscribed to, & any of its attributes involve finite extensions in time, then the identity has characteristics of temporal limitation, & it is a ‘limited identity’. But note, this ‘limitation’ is supervenient on a system of chronological conventions. So, “Mortality” is an appellation for the convention of limited identity.”
    An ““unlimited” identity” would be ‘one’ that transcends limits, is not bound by whichever specific limitation is under consideration. If you’re suggesting an identity without any limits whatsoever, how would identification be possible?
    My use of ‘Limited identity’ is, effectively, a tautology, as reminder of context.

    (SM) “Anthropic pathos could mean a few different things. I’ll reply to one thing you may mean by this: the idea that man’s mortality in some sense demonstrates that the physical domain is compatible with the conscious life that perceives it is absurd. It is a tautology.

    I’ll also note that nothing can be derived inductively, least of all an alleged anthropic pathos.”

    {AK} “Anthropic pathos” refers to the culture of ‘human’ expressions concerning ‘mortality’.
    When i said, “You can’t derive anything from it, except anthropic pathos. It isn’t a clarification, or refutation.”, I meant within the context of that specific dispute. Though, I’m sure, if I thought about it, I could find something. But it would involve considerable recontextualisation.

    (SM) Well, sure. My mortality is not a component of my identity – and yet I’m mortal nonetheless!

    {AK} Are there two senses of “mortality” there: factual & ideal?
    A living ‘identity’ cannot experience its own physical non-existence as a ‘fact’, only as an ‘idea’?

    In any case, that’s not what was meant.
    That “eventuality’ is linked to the metaphysics of identity” means that the very positing of an event involves the conferral of identity, of significance, of a ‘limited’ role, to that ‘event’, in ensuing discursivities of thought, communication, & ‘experience’. That “all identities are contingent, ‘dependently originated'” means, or suggests, that this positing & conferral are not absolute, they are systematic & conventional. This indicates their interpretative nature, other systems are possible, convention does not preclude radically different interpretations.

    (SM) “Light is empirical because it can be observed? Mmmmmk.

    And I try to avoid saying anything at all “in the empirical sense” :)”

    {AK} “it’s empirical, [TOO].”

    (SM) “Feel no need to argue for Eternity. Personally I try to observe what is, understand what must be. Time is experienced only by mortal beings. It’s certainly not some endless cascade of events – it’s the lack of events, it’s infinite, it’s an endless void you cannot even conceive of.

    Some things are beyond human understanding.”

    {AK}
    “it’s the lack of events” – So nothing happens.
    “it’s infinite” – So it doesn’t have limits.
    “it’s an endless void you cannot even conceive of” – It appears that you’ve just conceptualised ‘it’.

    The concept of an actually eternal universe (one full of actions), “without beginning or end”, is an “endless cascade of events”.
    That might not be the formal definition used by NL, but I used it within my comment, & it’s valid in that context, & any other, if used consistently. Was my erroneous interpretation, of NL’s use, significant for the argument? Was it truly an error, even as an interpretation?
    No, not really.
    See next comments to NL.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 12th, 2014 at 6:07 am Reply | Quote
  • Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » Quote notes (#91) Says:

    […] — as tagged — means no more than fate, as we have begun to explain, or at least to […]

    Posted on June 23rd, 2014 at 3:55 pm Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    Secretions of Eternity: The Secrecy of Eternal Agency

    http://visionfiction.theotechne.com/WordPress/?p=713

    I can double post it, if you like, but it’s quite long.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 16th, 2014 at 1:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • Liberdade (Prelúdio-1) – Outlandish Says:

    […] Original. […]

    Posted on October 18th, 2016 at 11:19 pm Reply | Quote

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