Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

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Mega85
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Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby Mega85 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:31 pm UTC

If the future already exists, does that allow for free will? Presentism, where only the present exists, not the past or the future, and growing block universe where the past and present exist, but not the future certainly allow free will, but what about eternalism, where the past, present and future all exist?
Last edited by Mega85 on Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby doogly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:42 pm UTC

So, what do you mean by "free will" and "exists" ?
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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby p1t1o » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:42 pm UTC

Shall we pause for a group viewing of "Arrival"?

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby WibblyWobbly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:56 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:Shall we pause for a group viewing of "Arrival"?

Can we? I meant to see it in theaters, but missed out because I prefer not to leave my apartment.

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:14 pm UTC

The short story ("Stories of Your Life") is substantially better, IMO.
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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby WibblyWobbly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:18 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:The short story ("Stories of Your Life") is substantially better, IMO.

Actually, thank you for reminding me that the movie was based on a short story. I had planned to check that out, but had kind of forgotten about it. A collection of short stories is even better.

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:25 pm UTC

I'm not sure you need to read it before you see the movie, though. There are three main differences between the story and the movie:
1. The movie adds grandiose dramatic tension - there's no tension in the story.
2. The movie takes a gradual reveal in the short story and turns it into a plot twist.
3. The movie minutely changes the plot but in ways that greatly simplify (and IMO, diminish) the philosophical questions and implications raised in the story.

However, it's still pretty entertaining, and is a good and unique science-fiction film. If you're going to experience both, I might even suggest seeing the movie first, just to experience the twist as the movie creators wanted you to.
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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:20 pm UTC

@Mega

For certain definitions of "free will" and "exist", the logical conclusion is that free will does exist.
For certain definitions of "free will" and "exist", the logical conclusion is that free will does not exist.
For certain definitions of "free will", the logical conclusion is that free will is contradictory and can't exist even if the future exists.

Once we understand that we can think about the problem all of these different ways, we can start to ask what each of them "gets us".

Since this is the science thread, we'll start with questions of phenomenality. Are there any circumstances where various answers to the questions "is eternalism true?" and "do we have free will" affect what expect to observe in the word?

Next we'll do consequentialism. Consider situations the truth of these statements should matter. Now in these situations, if all parties agree on the truth of these statements, what happens?

Finally intuitionism. All of our intuitions can't be right, just like we can't believe everything we see. But an empiricist can believe whatever allows the most of what they see to be true. And the intuitionist can believe what allows the most of their intuitions to be true.
Last edited by Quizatzhaderac on Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:00 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby Xanthir » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:53 pm UTC

Yeah, last time this topic came up, we just circled round the definition of "free will" again. You're stuck with either defining it as "containing randomness" (which does not comport with our standard notions of "free will"), or going epiphenomenal, and asserting that there's an uncaused soul-like entity floating around, capable of effecting the material world but not bound by material cause and effect.

"Free will" is an incoherent concept at the level of physics. It's a name we give to a social phenomenon, like "beauty" or "sadness", and has meaning only in reference to psychology.
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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby doogly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:21 pm UTC

yeah, it's really quite simple. If you are wondering whether the free will exists the way the strong force exists, the answer is no. absolutely not. if you are asking whether it exists the way cake exists, sure. go to town. and these answers are both totally independent of however you want to say time exists.
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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby WibblyWobbly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:24 pm UTC

doogly wrote:yeah, it's really quite simple. If you are wondering whether the free will exists the way the strong force exists, the answer is no. absolutely not. if you are asking whether it exists the way cake exists, sure. go to town. and these answers are both totally independent of however you want to say time exists.

I find the existence of cake, however, to be a far more interesting and critical question in my day-to-day life.

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby Tub » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:38 pm UTC

If you really believe so, then try going without the strong force for a day.

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby WibblyWobbly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:41 pm UTC

No, I'm all about the strong force. Free will is less of a pressing concern to me, is what I meant. Strong force is best cake.

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:00 pm UTC

Isn't "presentism" as you've described it just the A-theory of time, and therefore inconsistent with Einstein's special theory of relativity?

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby doogly » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:15 pm UTC

just looked at the wiki, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-series_and_B-series, so i am not a pro on these guys, but they say
" Moreover, the assertions made according to this modality imply the temporal perspective of the person who utters them. This is the A-series of temporal events."
so if you acknowledge that you're not in conflict with relativity. though you would also need to refer to things as space-like separated, so you gotta add a word.

i think it's all just a matter of taste, except that the block universe which puts the past and future on unequal footing is unjustified by physics.
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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:35 pm UTC

Well there is nothing wrong with tensed verbs, but A-series descriptions are different from the "A-theory of time." Wikipedia does have an article on the B-theory, wherein it attempts to distinguish between the A-theory and presentism:

The labels, A-theory and B-theory, are derived from the analysis of time and change developed by Cambridge philosopher J. M. E. McTaggart in "The Unreality of Time" (1908), in which events are ordered via a tensed A-series or a tenseless B-series. It is popularly assumed that the A theory represents time like an A-series, while the B theory represents time like a B-series. The terms A and B theory are sometimes used as synonyms to the terms presentism and eternalism, but arguably presentism does not represent time being like an A-series since it denies that there is a future and past in which events can be located.


So I guess there is some distinction, but either way, both presentism and any A-theory propose the existence of a unique present, which directly contradicts special relativity.

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Re: Eternalism. Does it allow free will?

Postby p1t1o » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:41 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Well there is nothing wrong with tensed verbs, but A-series descriptions are different from the "A-theory of time." Wikipedia does have an article on the B-theory, wherein it attempts to distinguish between the A-theory and presentism:

The labels, A-theory and B-theory, are derived from the analysis of time and change developed by Cambridge philosopher J. M. E. McTaggart in "The Unreality of Time" (1908), in which events are ordered via a tensed A-series or a tenseless B-series. It is popularly assumed that the A theory represents time like an A-series, while the B theory represents time like a B-series. The terms A and B theory are sometimes used as synonyms to the terms presentism and eternalism, but arguably presentism does not represent time being like an A-series since it denies that there is a future and past in which events can be located.


So I guess there is some distinction, but either way, both presentism and any A-theory propose the existence of a unique present, which directly contradicts special relativity.


Its all so clear to me now! /s

This entire subject I think I will add to my "Let someone else worry about this, you've got snacks to eat." category of things.


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