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Freedom and Determinism

Freedom and Determinism

Fourteenth lecture for a course on science.

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GeorgeMatthews

January 25, 2018
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  1. Freedom and Determinism The laws of physics made me do

    it! George Matthews CC 2017
  2. The Scientific World View

  3. The Scientific World View ! Nature is law-governed.

  4. The Scientific World View ! Nature is law-governed. ! Scientific

    explanations are mechanistic.
  5. The Scientific World View ! Nature is law-governed. ! Scientific

    explanations are mechanistic. ! Science is reductive.
  6. Newton’s Laws of Motion

  7. Newton’s Laws of Motion 1. An object in uniform motion

    tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by forces.
  8. Newton’s Laws of Motion 1. An object in uniform motion

    tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by forces. 2. Changing the momentum of an object (accelerating it) requires application of a force such that F = ma.
  9. Newton’s Laws of Motion 1. An object in uniform motion

    tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by forces. 2. Changing the momentum of an object (accelerating it) requires application of a force such that F = ma. 3. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
  10. What’s the better explanation?

  11. What’s the better explanation? 1. The planets we can see

    move in circles because it is in the nature of perfect things to move in circles.
  12. What’s the better explanation? 1. The planets we can see

    move in circles because it is in the nature of perfect things to move in circles. 2. All planets move in ellipses because all things with mass exert gravitational attraction on one another.
  13. Our place in the universe? Insignificant.

  14. What’s the better explanation?

  15. What’s the better explanation? 1. Thunder is the sound of

    Thor’s chariot, lightening comes from his hammer.
  16. What’s the better explanation? 1. Thunder is the sound of

    Thor’s chariot, lightening comes from his hammer. 2. Thunder is the shock wave generated by the disruption of air masses resulting from the sudden movement of electrically charged particles in a lightening strike.
  17. Do things to please the gods? Pointless.

  18. What’s the better explanation?

  19. What’s the better explanation? 1. Living things move, grow and

    reproduce because they are animated with a life-force or immaterial soul.
  20. What’s the better explanation? 1. Living things move, grow and

    reproduce because they are animated with a life-force or immaterial soul. 2. Living things do all that they do as a result of the complex interactions of molecular machinery.
  21. Life after death? Not happening.

  22. What’s the better explanation?

  23. What’s the better explanation? 1. I did it because I

    freely chose to do it.
  24. What’s the better explanation? 1. I did it because I

    freely chose to do it. 2. I did it because of the complex interplay of genetic, environmental and physiological forces acting on my brain and body.
  25. Punishment for crimes? Try preventing or treating it instead.

  26. reductionism What is the Heart, but a Spring; and the

    Nerves, but so many Strings; and the Joynts, but so many Wheeles, giving motion to the whole Body? – Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651
  27. scientific determinism We may regard the present state of the

    universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is com- posed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes. – Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1814
  28. determinism and freedom

  29. determinism and freedom true or false? ! A meaningful life

    requires real choices.
  30. determinism and freedom true or false? ! A meaningful life

    requires real choices. ! Responsible adults make up their own minds.
  31. determinism and freedom true or false? ! A meaningful life

    requires real choices. ! Responsible adults make up their own minds. ! To explain something is to say what caused it to happen.
  32. determinism and freedom true or false? ! A meaningful life

    requires real choices. ! Responsible adults make up their own minds. ! To explain something is to say what caused it to happen. ! Human behavior can be explained.
  33. Buridan’s Ass ? If there is no difference between these

    equidistant bales of hay and the donkey has no inner biases towards left or right it will not be able to choose one or the other and will starve. How are we any different?