Interesting stuff! I'm no physics major, but it seems to that directional causality is the only obvious way by which we can differentiate the past and the future. If causailty is bi-directional, doesn't that invalidate/remove the foundation from underneath laws that appear to rely on this directionality? The main example I'm thinking of is the second law of thermodynamics, but I'm guessing there are others.
Thanks nice site hope to exchange thoughts further.
Thanks citizensearth. What makes the 2nd law interesting is the fact that the early universe has very low entropy. Given that there is a time with very low entropy, statistics and physics nearly guarantee an increase as you move away from that. Because we can remember only lower-entropy (relative to us) times and plan-and-control only higher-entropy times, we perceive time to flow "toward" the higher entropy direction.
Dear Dr. Torek,
Greetings. Thank you so very much for your interest in the lab's work. You are correct that, in Passive Frame Theory, conscious states serve an essential role for adaptive behavior. See more information here:
Best regards, EM
Thank you Dr. Morsella! Good to know. Did you get here by way of my comments on Jerry Coyne's blog whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com?
Simon Packer here.
I assume you are the poster at Sean Carroll's blog. I wrote a response to you offline but the comments section was closed. Here it is:
Your bet scenario in a deterministic universe boils down to two possible state evolutions with time; one ending with bet 1 being taken via the proposition being set as false and the other with bet 2 being taken via the proposition being set as true. There is no real choice and the bet actually taken is part of the actual path predicted and observed, reflecting the unwinding machinery of the universe. Either is self-consistent, if we leave aside for now the question of why anyone would want to take bet 1. All we are proving is that if we find we took the history ending with bet 1, then we did not take the one ending in bet 2, and the converse.
If we consider the choice of bets to be an isolated libertarian reality, occurring in an otherwise deterministic universe, we discover by placing our bet a condition of true/false for the proposition at whatever time the proposition was defined. Or we could say, we asserted that true/false condition retrospectively by our bet choice. Either way, it looks like a single libertarian intervention in a deterministic universe affects the reality of the past in some sense in this type of scenario. Put another way, even one libertarian act renders the universe non-deterministic even for the times before the act. All this assumes we can attach real meaning to a proposition in the absence of an observer defining and evaluating it at a later time. The existence of the proposition of itself has no defining effect on the future.
I do not buy into human freewill as being merely compatabilist. I see the possibility and necessity to choose to align with the will of a supernatural Outside Agency. This is a part of Biblical faith (Hebrews 11), and invokes a reality that transcends mere human 'compulsion'. Elsewhere in the NT, Paul distinguishes between two pre-existing Greek concepts concerning human nature; 'Sarx' (flesh) and 'pneuma' (spirit). 'Sarx' conforms to the impulses generated by this world. 'Pneuma' conforms to the desires and persuasions of a God we don't <i>fully</i> understand but must learn to trust. How do you enter into God's reality for you? By faith, by believing (Genesis 15v6, John 6v29). Here I'll admit to aligning <i>just a little</i> with Richard Dawkins. There are points in faith where you must choose to act on trust and not on information or understanding. That is very different to saying that faith and knowledge/understanding are mutually exclusive though.
Apologies, my initial response was a little muddled.
Thanks Simon. You've come to the right place.
Let's assume for a minute there is a God and humans can sometimes sense God's grace, using supernatural rather than natural means, and align their will with it. Wouldn't it be better to do so reliably, rather than randomly? Thus, free will *should* be compatibilist, even if the determination is by supernatural rather than natural law. Compatibilist freedom is the best kind, the kind that expresses who you really are deep inside.
So now, back to the Betting on the Past example, which can take place in a purely naturalistic universe. (Newcomers: see https://casparoesterheld.com/2017/02/06/betting-on-the-past-by-arif-ahmed/ )
You're right to say "Either is self-consistent, if we leave aside for now the question of why anyone would want to take bet 1." But that's exactly why it IS a real choice. There is no obstacle posed by the knowledge of the passive observer. The agent can do whatever he wants, confident in the knowledge that the observer can only agree that that's what the agent does.
Paul Torek is a philosopher posing as an engineer at work, and vice-versa here on the web