# Re: free will and mathematics

```On 6/1/2012 8:59 AM, John Clark wrote:
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```On Thu, May 31, 2012  meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
<mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:```
```
> Look up 'teleology'.

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Why? I already know it means things happen for a purpose, although it is never made clear who's purpose were talking about or what his purpose is supposed to be. One thing is clear, they had a purpose for a reason or they had a purpose for no reason, there is no third alternative.
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But is you have a purpose, even for no reason, it doesn't follow that your
actions are random.

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> Almost any reason a person will give

If he has a reason then he is deterministic.
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You keep equating 'having a purpose', 'having a reason' and 'being determined', but I don't think they are the same thing. If your purpose is to win money at poker your optimum strategy includes some random actions.
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> for their actions will be a reference to some future state.

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I did it because I desire to be in state X and I believe my present action will bring that about; and my desire and my belief have a cause or they do not have a cause, there is no third alternative.
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People who believe in 'free will' also agree that their decisions and beliefs and actions have causes or not. The difference is they believe that the causes are immaterial.
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> In a deterministic world all physics is time reversible

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Not necessarily, in a deterministic world X and Y will always produce Z, but Q and T could also always produce Z, so if you detect the existence of Z you can't reverse things and figure out what the world was like in the past, you don't know if it was a world of X and Y or a world of Q and T. In a universe like that you could predict the future but you wouldn't know what happened in the past. Of course this is really moot, we probably don't live in a deterministic world, some things happen for no reason, some things are random.
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> the question is whether this reason in terms of future purpose had a
*physical*
cause.

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I don't understand your emphasis, even information is physical, it determines entropy and takes energy to manipulate. I don't know what on earth would a non physical cause be like but I do know that the non physical cause would itself have a cause or it would not have a cause, there is no third alternative.
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> Believers in 'contra causal free will' suppose that it did not, that my
'soul' or
'spirit' initiated the physical process without any determinative physical
antecedent.

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A belief that was enormously popular during the dark ages and led to a thousand years of philosophical dead ends; not surprising really, confusion is inevitable if you insist on trying to make sense out of gibberish.
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It was, and is, enormously popular. It's not gibberish since it can be empirically tested. The idea that all events are either physically determined or random is relatively recent. Before it was recognized how complex the activity of physical systems can be and how physically complex biota are it was reasonable to suppose there was something extra-physical about people and animals that made them unpredictable but purposeful.
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> they think some events are physically uncaused

So they think it had no cause
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No they think the cause is an immaterial spirit.

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> but not-random

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So they "think" it happened for no cause and didn't happen for no cause and once again we enter into the merry world of gibberish.
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> because they are purposeful.

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Then the purpose is the cause, and the purpose exists for a reason or the purpose exists for no reason, there is no third alternative.
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> it is hard to eliminate the possibility that a 'spirit' might influence
the
distribution of these random events

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Then of course they would not be random but determined by the spirit, and the spirit influenced those things for a reason or for no reason, there is no third alternative.
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> I think the apparent markers of 'free will', unpredictability and
purposefulness,
are easily explained without invoking 'spirits'.

Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string "free will" means and neither do
you.

John K Clark
```
```
There's no point explaining something to someone determined not to understand.

Brent

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