A sensitive topic, but I have no choice?

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Postby Whosawhatsis » Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:02 pm

Sans_Deity wrote:Hard determinism is the position that determinism and free will are incompatible. Soft determinism is the compatiblist's position.

I didn't mean anything else by it. Determinism is the primary issue...and if you feel that determinism and free will are incompatible, that's hard determinism. Compatibilism is synonymous with soft determinism.

I lean toward a compatibilist stance as well, but I think those terms are ill-conceived. It seems to me that determinism is determinism, and the question is not whether determinism is compatible with free will, but rather whether free will is compatible with determinism, if that makes any sense. That is, it is not the definition of determinism that is in question, but the definition of free will.

I think a better terminology would be hard free-will and soft free-will. Hard free-will necessarily would involve a soul or some other supernatural (or at least non-naturalistic, if there's a distinction to be made between those terms) force, whereas soft free-will resides in the incalculability of the factors -- everything from the intricacies of psychology via neurochemistry to quantum states and chaos theory -- that influence the decision. If all of these factors could be measured (and according to the uncertainty principle, they cannot), the decision could theoretically be calculated and the output would be the same every time for a given data set. The infeasibility of these calculations and the measurements required to make them make the independent-agent model useful, and valid in the sense that newtonian physics are still valid.

Does that make sense? Does someone have a different idea of what the difference between hard and soft determinism could be?
I was offered a penny for my thoughts, so I gave my two cents. I got ripped off!
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