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Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 6 September 2020 and 6 December 2020. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): CaptainJoseph.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 19:23, 16 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Determinism and ethics[edit]

To argue that determinism negates morality is akin to arguing that determinism negates sex. Determinism can present no argument as to why we should or shouldn't feel emotionally compelled to behave in a certain way, it only points out that our feeling compelled to behave in any way is the result of heredity and environment and not "free will". This renders moral responsibility meaningless but not morality itself. The idea of morality being meaningful or meaningless is a value judgement and a question for philosophers, not scientists or 'logic'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:06, 4 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, i agree that morality doesn't become meaningless with determinism. In fact, determinism doesn't change anything! All we need to do is redefine "free will" as just "will". It doesn't make a difference at all because no one can even explain "free will"!Mehfoos (talk) 19:05, 6 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A mind experiment[edit]

Here's a mind experiment that i came up with, which i believe is better suited to proving Determinism than Laplace's demon: We make two exact clones of a person- let it be "A" and "B". We send the exact signals through their 5 senses for a long period of time- a few years, maybe. We subject them to exact physical conditions such as temperature humidity, etc all this while. Now, when this is being done...or to make it an easier thing to imagine: if we send some signals through their senses that provoke a reaction- the reaction from both the samples will be the same. The basic message i tend to convey is this- there is absolutely nothing magical that happens in this world. It is only rational that every event is the only possible scientifically compatible consequence of previous events. It is perfectly rational.Mehfoos (talk) 19:19, 6 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your conclusion has absolutely no consistency to the theory you proposed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:22, 3 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Paradox on Laplace's demon[edit]

"Would not knowledge of the predicted future allow one to change the predicted future (simply by consciously avoiding predictions), therefore invalidating the original predicted future and revealing determinism to be an inaccurate basis for prediction?"

Not really. If the original prediction was correct, it would have taken this into account. So if there is any deviation between the prediction and the actual outcome, then that means that the prediction was wrong. (talk) 17:21, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
beats the heck out of me. imagine an all-knowledgeable machine telling the future, e.g. that you will be at your friend's house in two hours. is the machine broke? it is supposed to tell the truth. so pretending it tells the truth, what holds you back "breaking the fate" and going somewhere else instead? I've talked about the paradox at the following places:
as I understand it, a concrete example is needed. "what could possibly be foretold, that could not consciously be avoided?" Twipley (talk) 07:25, 9 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The true basis for the theory is that what will happen is what is going to happen and you cant do a damn thing about it. Take into account this hypothetical situation. A prediction is made saying the world will end. Does you knowing the world will end change the fate of the world? The world is tied together and everyones actions are connected. Cloudblazer (talk) 15:59, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But what if I have the machine in my possession. And I ask it where I will be in two hours. Will I be able to change fate? But I shouldn't be able to, because the machine I have in my possession is not supposed to be flawed. See the paradox? Twipley (talk) 07:47, 9 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the paradox results from you giving the machine a causal role in your choice. It's like this. Suppose I build a machine to predict the future and I tell it "I am going to buy either a black bucket or a white bucket. I want you to predict which one it is, and I will then choose the opposite."
The machine can't possibly give you a correct answer because your choice is dependent on the machine's answer.
The machine still knows the correct answer, but it can't tell you while you haven't made the choice as that represents new information that changes the outcome. So suppose the machine says "black", it knows you will buy a white bucket because of that, but it's not a paradox of determinism, it's a paradox that stems from the way you're framing the problem. Think about it this way: if the machine tells you you will buy a black bucket, and you then buy a white bucket or don't buy a bucket to prove it wrong, you're still in a deterministic path where the choices you make are the product of earlier events.
Your actual choice - to visit your friend or not, to buy a black or white bucket - is going to be the result of your psychological makeup - your desire to see your friend versus your desire to prove you have free will - and the machine would be able to predict the outcome. It just can't tell you because as soon as it tells you, the new information determines a new outcome, so the act of telling makes the prediction out of date.
But for all that, I still think the idea of free will is relevant because we will probably never have enough information to make predictions to any level of relevant accuracy. If you could measure every variable when you rolled a dice you would not have any reason to bet on any number but the winning one, but as long as the situation is too complex for us to fully understand, we can make meaningful choices. (talk) 03:29, 24 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
hmmmm, that's nice talk. reminds me of that "problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." if i ever get more insight on the problem, i'll be sure to post here and let you know. by the way, for the ones interested, some more chat on the matter can be found on my talk page. Twipley (talk) 01:58, 12 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is simply the liar paradox in disguise and is troubling in virtue of that, not in virtue of being a problem for determinismIncompetnce (talk) 17:10, 28 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I honestly don't understand why people don't get the point. The point is: "You cannot make such a machine". Simple as that! What was Heisenberg's principle all about? There is no way we can predict even the exact location and momentum of an electron. And electron is not even one of the fundamental particles that we know of. There can never be any technology ever (future-proof) developed to do that. Hence the talk of this hypothetical machine is pointless! It is plain irrational! But determinism doesn't break down because it doesn't claim that the future can be predicted. All it claims is that the future is(from the bigger picture) very much fixed. One must understand that each one of us, individually need not be concerned about that, because all of our knowledge is due to perception/is a resultant of empiricism. Hence, the "bigger picture" doesn't affect us.Mehfoos (talk) 18:05, 6 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Says the person who thinks it's viable in his mind experiment to clone a person exactly and raise them at exact same conditions, all the while rolling his eyes at this thought experiment because it doesn't sound possible.-- (talk) 13:37, 13 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
True, thought experiments can make some assumptions. In this case HP, and in my case-i dunno what. Let me clarify: The main reason I don't "roll my eyes" when I read that is because it doesn't contradict itself, but this does: If you were to know the future, you changing it would make the "knowing the future"-part false. It's logically incompatible with itself as a whole. Hence it's irrational and not just "unscientific as of now". Mehfoos (talk) 18:24, 26 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps you would all enjoy David Lewis' "Paradoxes of Time Travel". As Doctor Manhattan puts it in the Watchmen movie: "Anything that CAN happen DOES happen". If we had all the information, we would know the one and only outcome of the universe. The word "possible" as we use it really just means "imaginable"- determinism would argue there is only one REAL possible future.
How does Lewis' article relate to Laplace's Demon? Our thought experiment first stated that you "see THE future". As mentioned above, we cannot allow for the idea that "you change your future" because then the first premise of our thought experiment is violated: obviously you did not see THE future! If we keep that first premise, it seems to follow that you must, by definition, witness a future that will be unavoidable.
Question: "A machine/fortune teller showed me my future of buying a white bucket. But now it's possible that I will go buy a black bucket. Paradox ensues!"
The Oracle from the Matrix Answers: "A machine/fortune teller showed you your future of buying a white bucket. Do not confuse what you can imagine doing with what is actually possible- you posses factual knowledge that you will buy the white bucket. All you can do now is understand WHY you certainly will buy the white bucket."
Tricky eh? But it seems to follow from premises "One time line" + "You saw the later end of that time line". But who knows if we will ever get to test any of this empirically: some philosophers have suggested that a machine holding all the details of this universe would have to be just as large as this universe (how else would you simulate a universe with perfect accuracy?)
Just some thoughts
Tesseract2 (talk) 03:10, 14 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looking into the future[edit]

If determism is right, you should in theory be able to produce a machine which can calculate the future. But then you could be able to see what you were doing in the future. Then what about if you decide not to do it. What happens then? Does it say anything about that in this article? -- 17:40, 30 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No. Who made up such a rule? It's high time that you guys understand- the idea that the future is predictable is different form the idea that the future is fixed.Mehfoos (talk) 19:10, 6 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
oh! here he is the one that I've been looking for. :)
I'm glad to have found you! ...may I reply to MikeUpNorth: "but, would you be capable of imagining yourself not be able to not do what the machine saw you'd be doing? it's a strange paradox: the machine tells you you'll be at this place in two hours, but in reality it is mistaken because you'll not be there (because you want to change the future). Whatever people think, I myself would not be able to imagine that going somewhere else than where the machine pointed to would be impossible. I mean, your legs would be out of your control and bring you where you're supposed to be? give me a break." opinions welcomed! Twipley (talk) 07:08, 9 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Discussion moved to: [1] Twipley (talk) 17:24, 9 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are basing this on the premiss that hard determinism and free will can co-exist; it is a necessary truth that they cannot. If we accept hard determinism to be true then all human actions and behaviours are governed by an unbroken chain of prior events just like everything else. This means the ability to 'decide', as you put it, does not exist in any real sense. MikeUpNorth 09:46, 19 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Still an interesting theory but one point: this machine would have to have every single piece of information that exists (not an easy feat by any means (and probably impossible, when you consider energy cannot be created/des... i.e. you would have 2 universes going at once) including the fact that someone built the machine and looked at his/her future so the outcomes would be the same. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:44, 9 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

arguably the machine would to take into account all factors, including your reaction to the machine's prediction

This is not a issue of determinism. The problem is that such a machine could not exist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:01, 9 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Worth noting...[edit]

Using determinism as a basis for predicting the future, would not knowledge of the predicted future then allow one to change the predicted future (simply by consciously avoiding predictions), therefore invalidating the original predicted future and revealing determinism to be an inaccurate basis for prediction? Physical impossibilites aside, of course.

You could only change something if it weren't predetermined anyway. The ability of individuals to change the future arbitrarily assumes free will, which gets into the whole free will -v- determinism thing. WhiteC 18:23, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Another mention of the 'free will' vs determimism thing. Don;t forget QM doesn't allow free will either.
I'm not sure if this is the right proceedure for reviving older discussions - I've moved this section from the archive. Anyway, carrying on from the two previous entries:
The idea of determinism assumes that the future is determined, therefore if such a computer could be contrived that had the memory and ability to capture and store all the present information/rules (current state, basically) of the universe, it could predict the future with certainty for all eternity based on those conditions or causes (given some unimaginable processing power). Obviously such a computer or form of intelligence is not conceivable, but it still poses a theoretical problem.
What theoretical problem is posed by this? It's basically time travel; If you could accurately predict the future like that, you knowing the future, would be a part of the calculation and your decisions could not change the future from the prediction. If you traveled back in time, you might try to change what is going the happen, but you can't because from your original point of view, whatever you did/do in the past already happened Obviously these things are impossible, but they do not pose any theoretical problem.
The problem with this is that given an intelligent life form knows the future, it will then be possible for it to change things, rendering that future no longer true. I don't believe that free will could stop this - even if we have no free will our genetic make-up could still cause us to behave in this way. The key problem here for me is that such a machine would then have to try to take its own existence into account, which if it lead to a change in the future from its own determination of the future (a person acting on that knowledge, for example), the results could not be computed as a series of infinite loops would be created. Therefore such a calculation could never be made even in theory, if it allowed for anything acting upon that prediction in some way as to change it.
Answer: It may seem a bit paradoxical at first glance, but in theory this is how it would work. If an intelligent life form had precise awareness of the future and took action upon the present to alter that specific course of progression which his foreknowledge had revealed, the following would hold true. As you've indicated above, the course of progression in question could in fact become altered (from what this acquired information seemed to decree) by actions taken because of the awareness itself. However, the crux here is that if it were altered, the altered course of progression would not truly be an alteration of the steadfast determinative pattern. Instead, it would be the opposite: a forever-standing preset part of the progressive determinate universe. As would the intelligent life form's foreknowledge of what would have occurred absent 1) his foreknowledge, 2) his altering action, and 3) the subsequent effect upon the target outcome. The key is that any precise knowledge of the future and all that would stem from it would as well be predetermined. As such, any changes stemming from such conditional foreknowledge would in fact not be changes from what has always been the inflexible determinate course of progression. Ergo, in order to have a precisely accurate determinative awareness of what is to occur, any machine or person's calculations would be required to factor in *themselves*, their own foreknowledge, and, most importantly, whatever actions they would in fact take upon events leading to the end point in question.
Question, what is the smallest item that could be used to store information about the smallest possible particle? The answer is surely 'the smallest possible particle'. So the best computer we could hope to create that could store the information about the mass, momentum, location, etc of every particle in the universe would itself have the mass of the universe. In which case we now have a universe with twice as much mass, so where do we strore the info for the extra bits (another universe mass computer), and so on. The only option is to assume that the computer IS the universe. It is the only thing that can predict the future, and it is doing exactly that - in real time. --WBluejohn 20:40, 2 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is just the same logic as travelling back in time, in fact it is basically the same thing, as you are bringing the future 'back in time' to the present. I am unsure whether it is possible, only in theory, to calculate the future without acting upon that knowledge to change it. Richard001 09:27, 25 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Laplace's demon only works if the information of the future does not have an effect on the present state of the universe, laplace's demon must be omniscient but powerless to all within the universe otherwise laplace's demon would become a paradox, it can only exist either 1) outside the universe or 2) within the universe as a spirit who is powerless to physical events. Omniscience IS possible, Omnipotence is NOT possible because all in the universe is governed by strict unchanging physical laws, one may argue that an entity tweeked the laws of physics so everything would happen according to a plan, but the fact that the laws of physics are so simple e.g. E=mc2 and shows that they have not been tweaked as finely as one might imagine. The future is predetermined but without intent. User; Joshua Reid —Preceding unsigned comment added by Joshuareid (talkcontribs) 10:53, 9 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First Paragraph.[edit]

The current 1st para is flawed in two ways;

Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. No wholly random, spontaneous, mysterious, or miraculous events occur. The principal consequence of deterministic philosophy is that free will (except as defined in strict compatibilism) becomes an illusion; this philosophical belief is known as hard determinism. In contrast to determinism is libertarianism, which is the doctrine that voluntary actions are caused by a self free from prior causation; and indeterminism which is the theory that some or all events are not completely determined.

The passage in bold is somewhat WK:POV and also dealt with much better under the "nature of determinism" section.

It also fails to clarify the difference between determinism and fatalism. The question of the relationship between determinism and predictability should also be dealt with.1Z 17:43, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have shortened the first paragraph. It is not possible or desirable to explain all the complexities of determinism-libertarianism-compatibilism in the introduction. 1Z 21:51, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is no difference between determinism and fatalism. The page is flawed. (talk) 08:16, 21 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree to that- technically there is no difference between determinism and fatalism. Mehfoos (talk) 18:10, 6 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed... I've added the following bit (in bold) to the final sentence of the first section: "Determinism should not be confused with self-determination of human actions by reasons, motives, and desires, nor with predestination, which specifically factors the possible existence of God into its tenets; moreover, determinism explicitly does not suggest that prediction is possible, whatever the means- this is a separate, epistemological, question."; also, I've deleted the box with picture of gears, as the gear metaphor and accompanying text are totally misleading- determinism does not, in fact, make any assertions as to the possibility of predicting anything... that is a separate view entirely and this kind of comment should only be included when discussing Laplace's demon or in the "Quantum mechanics and classical physics" section of the article, etc. Buckwheatandgrits (talk) 19:50, 3 April 2011 (UTC) (this is showing up as a minor edit in my watchlist- I must have done something wrong; here's another changelog entry) Buckwheatandgrits (talk) 15:32, 4 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Determinism vs Fatalism[edit]

It is acknowledged, in the second paragraph no less, that people generally mistake determinism for fatalism - and vice versa. I think given this popular misconception, a fuller explanation of the differences between causal determinism and fatalism is warranted.

For example, the following from the Fatalism page sums it up succinctly: "Therefore, in determinism, if the past were different, the present and future would differ also. For fatalists, such a question is negligible, since no other present/future/past could exist except [that which] exists now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:16, 29 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that the point needs cleaning up. Also, determinism just involves predictability (say, in a mathematical or theoretical sense). There is no necessity for causality, ie, there is no need for a cause of everything. The fact that a pendulum is here now is not caused by it being there then, it is just following a completely determined path. When two balls collide, one is not the cause of the collision.
The problem is that you get these religious arguments that something had to cause the universe to exist. It is just deterministic, it doesn't need a cause. The past does not cause the future, but a theoretical complete knowledge of the past in determinism would allow you to predict the future. (Except that the means of predicting it would have to be part of that past!) Mike0001 (talk) 11:07, 22 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Obviously the past does cause the future. If at a given moment you are falling through the air next to a tall building, the future (in which you are on the ground, dead) was caused by the past (in which you jumped off the building); if you hadn't jumped, you would have lived therefore your actions (past) caused your death (future). Determinism does not allow you to predict the future completely because the causes of any event are unimaginably complex but clearly the future is somewhat predictable because once you have jumped off the building you can predict with certainty that you are going to hit the ground and die.

First Cause[edit]

The article says:

"(2) There is no event A0 prior to which there was no other event, which means that we are presented with an infinite series of causally related events, which is itself an event, and yet there is no cause for this infinite series of events."

This is seriously misleading. An "infinite series of causally related events" is not "itself an event". This is senseless because in reality an infinite group of events would have no limits (no start, no end). One can always "add" one more event into the series. [EPLeite 01:26, 23 August 2008 (UTC)]

The statement fails to take into account the nature of an infinite series as truly infinite, instead treating it as a real number. RealityRipple (talk) 12:39, 17 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Am I the only one who doesn't see the logic behind "A further problem is that an infinite series of events before any particular event would make it impossible for the event to occur. If there are an infinite number of yesterdays, how do you get to today?" Perhaps this should be replaced with a general question about the nature of flowing time? Tesseract2 (talk) 02:16, 25 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think this whole section verges on the OR and should probably be removed. NBeale (talk) 10:40, 25 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. The phrasing fails to take into account the true nature of infinity and instead treats it as a "number" which has to have cause or begginning, when that has no reason to be the case. The "infinite number of yesterdays" don't outlaw the possibility of a today. It is a form of the problem of the halfs (when an arrow to reach to it's destination must first travel half of it's path, and then -or before- half of that half, etc.) but phrased into the form of a logical fallacy (because the arrow does reach it's destination). Therefore in my opinion it should be contested with a response as those said in here or removed altogether. Nobody is contesting it, and the statement plus the whole "first cause" section is completely uncited (besides the quantum part, but at least that one is mostly scientific unlike the other one that is theological). -- (talk) 14:59, 3 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A version of this paaradox was presented by Kant, so it has some provenance. But I don't find it very convincing: it seems to disappear if you label "now" as 0, 1 second ago as -1 and so on. 1Z (talk) 18:35, 3 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's ORish and dubious logic, I think it should go. 1Z (talk) 19:01, 3 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Because of consensus and lack of opposition, I have removed the most OR statement and added citemarks to the section. -- (talk) 17:22, 4 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One further idea to take into account with the concept of a First Cause, which is that most theories state that space and time are, if not inseparable, at least quite tied together, so linear cause-and-effect as we are used to observing can easily be said to not have existed prior to the Big Bang, and any conjecture on the nature of anything at that "time" is only capable of being conjecture. RealityRipple (talk) 05:32, 17 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NPOV on Cognitive Sciences[edit]

Not every emergentist cognitive scientist defends determinism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:08, 9 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The above statement is pov. There is no references given to back the above stated assertion. However the passages regarding emergentist perspctive in the article have been stated with references. thanks Robin klein (talk) 18:24, 22 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cleanup and rewrite[edit]

Huge mess that needs immediate attention. Viriditas (talk) 09:06, 16 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Wow, this page was way too long so I've created some archives. If you want restart an archived discussion, please do not edit the archive but start a new section on the current talk page. Astronaut (talk) 20:48, 23 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Free will in theology[edit]

There should perhaps be a short mention on the debate of Free will in theology, which is largely related to the question of determinism. ADM (talk) 12:59, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Deleted section[edit]

I today deleted this section cause it was not cited an in my opinion is misleading:

By now we not only see that we are unable to describe a very large piece of reality exactly but we also moved from direct to statistical formulations of physical laws. Many of today's scientists still understand physical laws as rules that drive the world and believe there must be some most basic rules all the others are derived from, but this view is much weaker now than in Newton's era. [This quote needs a citation]
  • You have to present the science that states that there are weaker believe in determinism now, rather than in Newtons era.
  • You have to discuss the part of reality that we cannot describe exactly. What effect does this have on the life as such. The most of this is annulled on molecular level.
  • Stephen Hawking thinks that there also may be room for determinism within Quantum_mechanics:
“These quantum theories are deterministic in the sense that they give laws for the evolution of the wave with time. Thus if one knows the wave at one time, one can calculate it at any other time. The unpredictable, random element comes in only when we try to interpret the wave in terms of the positions and velocities of particles. But maybe this is our mistake: maybe there are no positions and velocities, but only waves. It is just that we try to fit the waves to our preconceived ideas of positions and velocities. The resulting mismatch is the cause of the apparent unpredictability.”
(A Brief History Of Time by Hawking)

-- Hogne (talk) 11:35, 27 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The reason modern physics is not as deterministic as in Newton's time is because of two of the three fundamental theories of physics; Quantum Mechanics and Thermodynamics. However, these theories introduce the concept of probability for completely different reasons and in completely different ways. And both can be disposed of if you want!

If you want to get rid of probabilities in QM you only need to realize that all probabilities here are introduced not by the theory itself but by it's philosophical interpretation. If you simply chose to adhere to any of the minority interpretations of QM that are deterministic you don't have to view QM as probabilistic at all. You will for sure have to accept some other very weird things in the process, but all probabilities can disappear from QM if you really want.

If you want to get rid of probabilities in Thermodynamics you only need to realize that all probabilities here are introduced as a means to reduce very complicated calculations into a form that are manageable and indeed solvable. The only prize we have to pay for this is that the results are not certain anymore, only probable in nature. Until quite recently probabilistic reasoning in thermodynamics was also only seen as an heuristic and not a fundamental and indispensable ingredient in the theory. Now Chaos Theory has taught us that the problems involving many interacting particles (three is enough) are really theoretically unsolvable without probabilistic reasoning. We can therefore now talk about Deterministic Chaos, meaning theoretical (mathematical) systems that are indeed deterministic but where we nevertheless need to invoke the probability concept to calculate the evolution of any quantity larger than a mathematical point. In this way 'determinism' and 'indeterminism' aren't seen as contradictory concepts today, as they originally were.

So for these reasons physicist of today are more sympathetic towards indeterminism than physicists two centuries ago. But it's still true that physical theories are stated in a "deterministic" way. The physicist then, when applying the theory, introduces probabilities as an aid. Either as an aid in interpreting the deterministic theory (QM), or as an aid in solving the complicated equations the theory produces (thermodynamics).

iNic (talk) 00:24, 14 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bad Philosophy[edit]

This article seriously needs rewriting. First of all, determinism and causality are two wholly separate issues and should not be treated as being the same thing. Second, we need proper definitions of what we mean by determinism before we launch into all the "Free Will" stuff. I suggest someone with the time and the motivation read John Earman's Primer on Determinism and then rewrite the begining of this article so that it isn't quite so philosophically naive and misleading.Incompetnce (talk) 17:13, 28 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Views of Koch, Polkinghorne et al.[edit]

Hi Snalwimba. Christof Koch is not "speculation presented as fact". Nor for that matter is Polkinghorne. There seems to have been a real change in attitudes in the last few years, and I think you would struggle to find a first-rate neuroscientist who now claimed that the brain was deterministic. If so, please add the refs. NBeale (talk) 19:49, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Somewhat like what critics of Questions of Truth contend, this section is a moulinex of two fields, Quantum indeterminacy and Biological determinism creating a funny grey goo. It may sell but it ain't WP and there is no need for that section to be there at all. If by Determinism in biology we mean Biological determinism then we link to that but this article is about the philosophy not the mechanics. It is plainly stated elsewhere in say Genetic determinism that few go with strong Biological determinism - it is refer to as a strawman (we cite "The Myth of Genetic Determinism" in A Devil's Chaplain by you-know-whom). This section on Determinism and biology is superfluous and insufficiently nuanced to correctly reflect the material. Ttiotsw (talk) 07:38, 7 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The trouble is that the article on biological determinism is in terrible shape and needs a lot of work to make it worthwhile, which I for one certainly don't have time to do. The view that the brain is non-deterministic which is now mainstream was not at all so a few years ago, indeed much of the discussion of freewill is about "compatbilism" which is now a dead letter. This is of course different from "it's all in the genes" or "it's all in the environment" which I agree are now straw men. The idea of the deterministic brain is still quite widespread amongst non-specialists. NBeale (talk) 19:16, 7 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let's not forget that a minority of physicists subscribe to hidden variables that (conceivably) may yet throw determinism back into the mix. I'm also a little uneasy that QoT is being cited here as an authority on this topic by (surprise, surprise) an authority on QoT. Last I read, this source's treatment of the subject was being roundly spanked. Surely we can find references to support this (ostensibly) widely-held view in the primary scientific literature rather than the deep gray? --PLUMBAGO 16:55, 9 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well Grayling knows nothing about physics. Polkinghorne may be said to be parti pris although QoT is a WP:RS. But Koch is completely mainstream. Also is hidden variables bring back determinism this would apply to everything, not just the brain. The majority view as late as the 1990s was that indeterminism applied at the quantum scale but not at the neuron scale. I have another ref as well which I'll add, and I'm sure there are more. NBeale (talk) 18:40, 9 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The biological question cannot be settled when the physical question is not, and it is not. I am toning down the hype in the addition. 1Z (talk) 21:08, 9 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Polkinghorne is not a biologist and QoT is a semi-theological work, not primary mainstream science. I'm pulling the ref. 1Z (talk) 21:08, 9 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The new reference (Lewis & MacGregor, 2006) is a much better source. Good find. It's not only primary literature, but it's also more conservative and even-handed in its references to chaos and quantum indeterminism. It might be better to source a statement from this than use the rather over-reaching one of Koch's that is currently in the article. Although a deterministic, neorealist interpretation of QM is not much favoured, Koch's statement precludes it out of hand. I would imagine that he's a lot more cautious in a formal scientific publication rather than a book. Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 12:37, 10 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Things have actually moved on quite a bit between 06 and 09. Koch and Polkinghorne are both highly notable, and since this is in the field of how quantum mechanics may scale up through chaotic systems this is well within Polkinghorne's area of expertise. Plus QoT has heavyweight scientific endorsement and this is AFAIK the first time a plausible explanation for how the quantum uncertainties can be amplified to neural scales had been published - so (although I must declare an interest as co-author) I really think it is only fair to leave it in. NBeale (talk) 12:58, 10 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hmmm. While Koch is a neurobiologist, I'd much prefer some writing from him that was from a peer-reviewed publication instead of a book, largely for the reason I mention above (he may, of course, say the same thing there, but I expect more cautious utterances). And as much as Polkinghorne is an expert on QM, it's not obvious that this translates into expertise in the biological determinism discussed here. The Lewis & MacGregor source seems better given (a) it's a paper and not a book, and (b) the background of its authors is much closer to the topic at hand. If Polkinghorne has published on this topic in the scientific literature, then that would be a more appropriate source than QoT. --PLUMBAGO 14:13, 10 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not suggesting Polk instead of L&M 2006 but I think it should stand alongside. Again, although not formally "peer reviewed" QoT carries endorsements from Nobel Laureates Hewish and Phillips and NIH Director Francis Collins (all of whom read it beforehand!) and it is highly unlikely that L&M got a similar level of scrutiny. NBeale (talk) 16:05, 10 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oops. I forgot about all this. Sorry. Anyway, it really doesn't matter who "reviewed" QoT before its publication — the point remains that QoT is primarily a book with a strong theological core, one that ranges widely over science topics instead of being a specific treatment of biological determinism, and one whose authors are experts in subjects other than biology. If QoT is summarising a scientific viewpoint that is expressed more fully elsewhere, ideally within the scientific literature (since this is a science article), then these other sources should be used instead. QoT, at least judging from its website and blurb, is not at all an obvious source for this topic. Were the article section a meditation on determinism and theology (as a lower section is) then, yes, it would be a good source. But this section focuses on science, so a book whose main motivation lies in theology (and, more specifically, one flavour of this), is not going to be a good source. 1Z, and [[User:Snal

wibma|Snalwibma]] before him, were right to favour more relevant sources. And I'd still prefer something from Koch that's from a more staid publication too (but can't find anything). Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 11:58, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What possible relevance lies in the fact that several distinguished people agreed to "endorse" QoT? Such argument from authority has no bearing on the (ir)relevance of a book about religion and science in a section of the article that is concerned with biological determinism. As Plumbago says, it is very far from an obvious source on the topic, and its insertion here looks like some pretty desperate self-citation! Especially now that there is a source from something much more suitable (even though not perfect), the QoT reference should be deleted. SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 12:18, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Peer review consists essentially of getting people to look at a paper and "endorse" it or otherwise. And this is an article about philosophy - not a scientific paper about biology. As for "desperate self-citation" Koch has joined a collaboration based on the work in Appendix B of QoT which is how I have a copy of his Chapter. NBeale (talk) 14:35, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The section of the article in question is about science. 1Z (talk) 14:37, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well somebody has an interestign interpetation of "absence of objections". 1Z (talk) 17:00, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All these objections arrived after I had noted the "absence of objections". Ah well :-) NBeale (talk) 18:06, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is clearly the case that several of the objections made above were made before your re-insertion. 1Z (talk) 20:37, 16 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quantum Mechanics[edit]

This section is almost completely unrefed and reads like OR. I have put in some fact tags, straightened out some dubious wording and removed the assertion that "That is, the quantum mechanical problem can always be solved to a given accuracy with a large enough computer of predetermined precision, while the classical problem may require arbitrarily high precision, depending on the details of the motion." which may or may not be true in a very restricted sense with the 3 body problem, but is certainly not true in general and would need some v good refs. But the whole section needs lots of work. NBeale (talk) 07:04, 24 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"This does not mean determinists are against punishment of people who commit crimes because the cause of a person's morality (depending on the branch of determinism) is not necessarily themselves."

Anyone else think this doesn't make sense? Surely if the cause of a person's morality is not necessarily themselves, then the determinist, if anything, would be against punishment? The sentence is completely contradictory.-- (talk) 19:33, 9 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regardless of whether or not free will exists, training is demonstrated to work. For examples of this, we can look at the domestication of animals. It then becomes clear that the notion of punishment does not hinge on free will, merely on memory and whatever process makes memory into future action.

I really came to say that the section on Quantum Mechanics is a bit questionable. I could not continue reading it after "Consequently, even a very small error in knowledge of initial conditions can result in arbitrarily large deviations from predicted behavior. Chaos theory thus explains why it may be practically impossible to predict real life, whether determinism is true or false. On the other hand, the issue may not be so much about human abilities to predict or attain certainty as much as it is the nature of reality itself.", which is true as far as it goes but has absolutely no bearing on the predictability of a system. It is an argument meant to attract the reader into believing it because it sounds complicated, even though the conclusion has nothing to do with the preceding text. Maybe it is a good idea to remove this or reword it so that it actually supports it's own claim? Alternatively I could be missing a crucial logical step that makes it seem like nonsense in which case it might be a good idea to rewrite it so it includes that step. (talk) 23:28, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Future Predictions,maybe not.[edit]

If we could predict what is going to happen in the future right now, then, isn't just another molecular or energy change that affects the future just like neurochemicals in our brain? But in fact, nothing has changed due to energy keeps moving forward and time keeps moving forward. Unless you paused time got out of the system like god and then meddled with a few things and came back and unpaused time.

If it is inside the framework of the Determinism theory, nothing can be changed. It's just an illusion of free will. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:53, 16 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is your point? (talk) 23:29, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Separating Necessitarianism from Causal, Physical, and Mechanical Determinism[edit]

The lengthy opening paragraph under Varieties combined and confused different determinisms in other Wikipedia entries. They now have separate paragraphs.

Here is the original version in case we want to recover some material to other sections.

Causal (or nomological) determinism is the thesis that future events are necessitated by past and present events combined with the laws of nature. Such determinism is sometimes illustrated by the thought experiment of Laplace's demon. Imagine an entity that knows all facts about the past and the present, and knows all natural laws that govern the universe. Such an entity might be able to use this knowledge to foresee the future, down to the smallest detail.[1] Simon-Pierre Laplace's theory is generally referred to as "scientific determinism" and predicated on the supposition that all events have a cause and effect and the precise combination of events at a particular time engender a particular outcome.[2] This causal determinism has a direct relationship with predictability. Perfect predictability implies strict determinism, but lack of predictability does not necessarily imply lack of determinism. Limitations on predictability could alternatively be caused by factors such as a lack of information or excessive complexity. An example of this could be found by looking at a bomb dropping from the air. Through mathematics, we can predict the time the bomb will take to reach the ground, and we also know what will happen once the bomb explodes. Any small errors in prediction might arise from our not measuring some factors, such as puffs of wind or variations in air temperature along the bomb's path. Cmsreview (talk) 15:10, 6 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Suppes, P., 1993, “The Transcendental Character of Determinism,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 18: 242–257.
  2. ^ Hawking, Stephen. "Does God Play Dice?". Retrieved 2008-11-16.

Modern Perspective in Biology[edit]

I liked the headline in Biology for Modern Perspectives in this article the best. I wish some one would expand it. I think it is interesting because it says that you can't predict what you will do even if you were set in a controlled environment.


We can only think of God from a human point of view. If God knows the end from the beginning he knows a person`s life. But that person still has free will and a choice whether to choose him or not. It`s an example of if you were given a chance to do something you really wanted and you took it and you went through the steps. and then you think later well, what would have happened to me if I didn`t take this chance? What would`ve been different? Would I have ended up somewhere completely different? But, at the same time you never have regrets in life, because you choose what you want and live with those choices. I believe after you have done something bad and you serve your time it should be dropped because, it was the past and you were already punished for what you did or didn`t do. Are there still consequences? Should there be consequences? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:05, 21 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

fatalism for lols[edit]

i made a small edit to fatalism, adding "and temporally unstable airplane engines" after miracles. if anyone can say how being hit by an airplane engine falling from the sky (or being hit by an airplane engine falling from a position that that airplane is not yet in - hence the temporal the movie) is not fatalistic, or more or less relevant than miracles, then i'd be happy to hear it. for the bewildered, it's a donnie darko reference.

p.s. on a like note, i stopped myself from adding "or a deranged plot" at the end of the proceeding predictability section (talk) 13:15, 5 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Under the "Quantum mechanics and classical physics" section, the article states:

"...For determinism to hold, every uranium atom must contain some internal "clock" that specifies the exact time it will decay. And somehow the laws of physics must specify exactly how those clocks were set as each uranium atom was formed during the supernova collapse."

This "argument" is ridiculous. Each atom having an "internal clock" is one of an infinite amount of solutions to this problem, so claiming that "for determinism to be true, this MUST happen EXACTLY in this way" is absurd (and also non-NPOV). This "argument" is claiming knowledge that cannot (yet) be known.

I would fix it now, but I'm not quite sure what to do with the rest of that paragraph. Thoughts? Jamesa7171 (talk) 07:21, 24 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed and did some rewriting. Check it out - I even added a picture. Actually, this whole article could use some pictures...will add more...-Tesseract2 (talk) 16:50, 24 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe some clarification:

“The challenge for determinism is to explain why and when decay occurs, since it does not seem to depend on external stimulus.”

The above written text may do some good with some clarification on the part of the editor/ readers, in the light of the following links, which maybe be summarized as- determinism doesn’t entail predictability.

As such radioactivity could be a completely deterministic process, yet unpredictable in practice. Also given measurement problem in quantum mechanics is yet to reach a consensus, one may mention that the reason for unpredictability is not yet well understood.

The links:



3> (talk) 14:22, 26 November 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nice edits, but I don't see the relevance of the original concept.
The Strong Interaction has a spatial range limit and, due to the Uncertainty Principle, a temporal range limit. That is, there is a limit to the time pions (which mediate the Strong Interaction between baryons) can exist as well as a limit to the range in which they can act.
The specific timing of the decay could be calculated, but only if we had access to the details of the relevant particles. Measurement isn't possible at such a scale, so we cannot have access to those details.
The point being, rather than respond to a dubious claim, why include it at all? 2604:2D80:DE09:D400:BCAF:5E86:D00F:D0AE (talk) 17:30, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Many changes[edit]

I read through the entire determinism page recently and (being a determinist) found the treatment fragmented. The goal of my re-writing has been to make the page more enjoyable and clear. I realize I have made many edits, but I am ready to discuss (and in some cases) every decision I have made.

I should also point out that I plan to tackle the "implications" section next chance I get (it needs way more links to moral viewpoints). -Tesseract2 (talk) 11:08, 25 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


User:R'n'B added a {dn} tag to the lede, and I'm wondering what he thinks needs disambiguating. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 05:45, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good question. Actually, this article has received a lot of editing since that January tag (not the least of which include my substantial re-writes in recent months). I will remove that tag for now, but certainly any more recent tags/criticisms may be made. -Tesseract2 (talk) 07:03, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What needs disambiguating is the link to state, which I realize may have been hard to figure out since I put the tag immediately following that link. :-) What meaning of state is intended? If there is no intention to direct the reader to one of the relevant articles listed on the disambiguation page state, then both the link and the template should be removed. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 10:14, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've removed that link for now, but Stevertigo can easily put it back with a more specific page in mind.-Tesseract2 (talk) 14:55, 7 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Slight alteration[edit]

The sentence "The argument called indeterminism (otherwise "nondeterminism") negates causality as a factor and contradicts deterministic argument" was changed to "The argument called indeterminism (otherwise "nondeterminism") negates causality as a factor and opposes the deterministic argument" in that "contradicts" appeared a weasel word suggesting that indeterminism shows a flaw in determinism, yet does not keep this balanced in that determinism can show a flaw in indeterminism also. The way the sentence appeared, just seemed slightly inappropriate for a balanced approach. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:10, 3 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Determinism and Deism[edit]

Is there any reason for me to believe that hidden variables and determinism in QM are anything more than a way for an omniscient deity to stay "king of the hill"? If so, please point that out in a way that those of us who are not omniscient can readily understand. The current arguments are notable for dying off mid-thought, like a poisoned cat.

"On the macro scale it can matter very much whether a bullet arrives at a specific point at a specific time; there are analogous quantum events that have macro- as well as quantum-level consequences. It is easy to contrive situations in which the arrival of an electron at a screen at a certain point and time would trigger one event and its arrival at another point would trigger an entirely different event. (See Schrödinger's cat.)" So what? An S. box is assembled by persons, and has whatever consequences it has by human design. The word "contrive" here is just a little too accurate. For natural occurrences in which the outcomes have not been contrived by human efforts, connecting probabilistic causes to subsequent effects, and then speculating on counter-factual "couldabins" is just a good way to waste time when bored. (Oops! Sorry if that was too much truth there!) -- TheLastWordSword (talk) 23:00, 29 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If any current unknown seems like an argument for a god to you, it would be no use to discuss it. The argument is circular: God exists, therefore there are unknown things. There are unknown things, so god exists. A lack of understanding is not an argument inherently in favour of or against god, making your starting question moot. (talk) 23:36, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scientific issues and article quality[edit]

I am really trying hard not to edit this article, so please help me avoid it! But the top level lede elements only refer to philosophical issues, and a search for the words science and physics reveals them to be way down in a section. The term Statistical mechanics does not appear in the article! Hello? And the only reference for support of determinism is the Einstein Bohr letter? And the term Butterfly effect is not even mentioned. Hello? Hello? And Heisenberg is mentioned in passing just once? Overall, I am very unhappy with the scientific aspects of this article, but do not want to edit it - it will take serious work to fix it. But let the reader be warned, and hopefully those who edit here will begin to fix it in time. At the very least the lede should mention science/physics, etc. History2007 (talk) 20:42, 3 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. So far as I'm concerned, the Bell test experiments have proved that Classical Determinism has been scientifically falsified. Period! And "chaos" will always exist because of the fundamental impossibility of making measurements past the level of Quantum Uncertainty. While Probabilities can be very accurate, they will never equate with the Certainty associated with Classical Determinism. Also, it is known that some biological structures are fine enough to be directly affected by Quantum Uncertainty --Evolution can find an advantage in such things, if a critter being chased by a predator can tap into the foundational randomness of the Universe to jump in unpredictable-even-in-theory ways. And, once such a mechanism for survival begins to exist, Evolution can play with it until Free Will begins to exist. It is both ironic and funny that various people have opposed the idea of Quantum Uncertainty, while simultaneously supporting the idea of Free Will. But since it is the former that allows the latter to exist, I have no sympathy for them! V (talk) 15:49, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So your conception of free will is such that the source of it could be random? (talk) 23:02, 5 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I (some random person) did my best! If you guys/girls know more about quantum mechanics than my idle interest, let me know. I especially need input in the places where I left "clarification needed"-Tesseract2(talk) 04:15, 10 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would suggest reading Loopholes in Bell test experiments. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:51, 3 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You have confused a lack of understanding ('"chaos" will always exist because of the fundamental impossibility of making measurements past the level of Quantum Uncertainty', etc) with law - the theory speculates that this isn't possible, but that doesn't mean it's fundamentally impossible. Furthermore, Evolution will always only find solutions that are 'good enough'. That is the kind of search algorithm it essentially is. Nothing says that the "randomness" we're seeing isn't pseudorandom, seeded by a variable we haven't seen yet. Assuming chaos exists because we currently lack understanding (or assuming that it doesn't exist because the opposite is equally true) is not solid logical footing. (talk) 03:29, 4 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

About the introduction[edit]

Hi! This is about the introduction. We cant talk about "the beginning of the universe" anymore. Don't know what else could be said.-User talk:Twofeetofclay 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Cosmogony?? -Tesseract2(talk) 16:14, 1 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This article is complete nonsense and doesn't explain determinism[edit]

I had never heard of a "determinist" ideology until reading this article. And if there really is some strange religion using the term, why does deterministic also redirect here?

I have always understood deterministic to mean that a closed system's entire state is predictable. Meaning that we understand the relation between information considered part of the system.

The article kind of touches on that but then starts talking about some strange ideology. Also: It continuously refers to time as though all state was relative to time. Which is an oversimplification and just commonly observed in day-to-day life. A system could be deterministic and have no time. In electronic circuits time is often not considered a part of the paradigm because electrons move fast enough that we don't usually notice the delay between state changes. In fact, we typically dub something "realtime" as an exception to that. (talk) 15:30, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

EDIT: It seems that what I was expecting is in other articles: and

So, I update my critique: Are these categorized correctly? Actually.... what is this article even about? It appears to just take a basic principle of information which has real meaning in thermodynamics and engineering, then claim it as an area of philosophy. So what's going on? Are people labeling thermodynamics as a belief system and calling themselves "determinists"? If that's the case, can we just have an article "Determinism (religion)" or something and not making it so confusing and redundant? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:04, 20 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know where you're getting off with "ideology" and "religion", but determinism as a concept long predates modern science and as such has a large history outside of its use in contemporary physics. This article is about determinism in its broadest philosophical sense (or rather, in its many senses, both historical and contemporary), and so it the proper primary topic for the name "Determinism" simpliciter. As you've found, there are other articles about more specific senses of determinism, and they are (or should be if they're not) linked from this article's subsections. --Pfhorrest (talk) 03:34, 21 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Should be section discussing moral impications — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crystalfile (talkcontribs) 15:35, 7 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The general discussion is whether or not it voids morals at all. It can be summarised in one sentence and it is implicitly in the text - what exactly needs discussing? (talk) 23:39, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tolerant environments free will.[edit]

Most psychologists appear to believe that free will is an illusion and after-justification, but metastudies by Kurt Fischer, Christina Hinton and others at "Mind, Brain and Education" have linked the prevalence of extreme recoveries after brain damage (that are unexplainable by established neurological and psychological theories) to unusually tolerant social environments. This can be explained by the model that social pressure to justify one's actions leads to justifications that paralyze an underlying ability of practically unlimited self-correction. This is explained in greater detail on the pages "Moderating the free will debate" and "Brain" on Pure science Wiki, a wiki devoted to the scientific method unaffected by academic prestige. (talk) 13:21, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Martin J SallbergReply[reply]

Aside from the flimsy conclusion ('this can be' <- weasel words), this experiment doesn't say anything about free will. (talk) 23:41, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Section on cause and effect[edit]

This section males no connection with the subject of determinism, and further, has nothing to do with its header, Cause and effect. It should be rewritten to make it pertinent, or removed. Brews ohare (talk) 17:42, 25 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There being no movement or comment on this observation, I have deleted this section. Brews ohare (talk) 16:09, 2 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree with that and a good deletion, but be careful "Physics broadly construed" is how your topic ban is phrased. ----Snowded TALK 16:32, 2 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clockwork universe theory[edit]

In the article Clockwork universe theory there is text which in my opinion properly belongs to this article, since it has to do with present-day determinism rather than with centuries-old mechanical world view. Please mind that there is a discussion about it going on at Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard#Clockwork universe theory. The gist of the discussion is on whether science (especially quantum mechanics) has refuted determinism. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:37, 3 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Classical Physics (Newtonian) is not a deterministic theory[edit]

Newtonian physics is not a deterministic theory; it has been proved false for more than 2 decades. One simple example is the "dome". There are other examples, such as "space invaders". I am far from qualified to edit the page, however, I urge someone more qualified to correct it: even though many people believed (and still believe) that Classical Physics is deterministic, such proposition is false, and western philosophers and scientists who based their belief of determinism on classical physics were wrong (of course that is a matter of adjusting the theory). (talk) 00:16, 1 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can't conclude whether or not you actually know what you're talking about from what you wrote. It might be a good idea to provide a brief outline of your supporting facts before posting an argument. (talk) 23:44, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Highly misleading mistake[edit]

Libertarianism does not say that pshysical deteminism is false nor that "free will" in the sense meant here is possible.
Libertarisniam means that free will in sense of free of coercion can and should exist. That's all!
Please correct that picture and correct the article. (talk) 23:49, 12 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The problem with Quantum theory[edit]

The key problem with Quantum Theory's questioning of determinism is the simple fact that where QT looks at an event and sees happenings that appear to have no cause, it assumes that they are causeless - positing a quasi-supernatural "god of the gaps" which it calls "randomness" when a more honest response would simply be "we don't know what happens there". (talk) 13:45, 30 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First, WP:NOTAFORUM. Second, QM says nothing like that, see e.g. Interpretations of quantum mechanics#Comparison of interpretations. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:11, 30 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reference to general relativity[edit]

The section "Modern scientific perspective" should consist a reference to general relativity and a view suggested by it, that past, present and future are equally real, the issues of which for example an Eternalism article talks about. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:50, 9 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Confusing content re quantum physics[edit]

The second paragraph in the section “Quantum realm” is way below the standards of an encyclopedia. Much sounds like beating around the bush and some is misleading. For example: All science arises from measurement, so there is nothing significant about quantum mechanics also arising from measurement. The fact that quantum mechanics “determines probabilities” does not make quantum mechanics in any way deterministic; after all probability theory determines probabilities, but from this it does not follow that probability theory is about deterministic systems. The fact that some quantum phenomena are deterministic (“ the probability of finding the particles in that path is one”) is irrelevant too; if there are non-deterministic events in a system then this system is non-deterministic - not if there are deterministic events in a system then this system is deterministic. That quantum physics has found many applications such as in building computers is also misleading. In fact computer designers have to work hard in order to avoid quantum effects causing computers to malfunction by rendering their functioning non-deterministic. Dianelos (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 11:02, 4 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sjö remove Charles Goodman[edit]

Sjö why you removed my editing about Goodman?

2de0 (talk) 21:55, 9 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Other matters of quantum determinism" should be cited or removed[edit]

The content of this section appears to be original research, and the style of writing is highly opinionated.

Phrases like "absurdities," and "To forget this is a colossal error." need to be reworded or removed.

Most egregious is: "These theories suggest that a deeper understanding of the theory underlying quantum mechanics shows the universe is indeed non-deterministic at a fundamental level."

Determinism is a heavily debated topic and this section of the article reads like an argument (or, more accurately, an assertion) in favor of one side. It has been contested since November 2017 and August 2018. I suggest it be removed entirely, as it doesn't contribute significantly to the article's content. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:33, 20 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Superdeterminism should be referenced and given a short introduction in this article[edit]

I would do it myself, but I do not feel qualified, since I have no expertise in philosophy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:03, 10 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Natural Determinism[edit]

1. distinction: Evolutionary Natural Determinism, which deals with issues such as natural disasters, epidemics, tectonic plate - or climate changes, and their impact on the deterministic determination of plant and animal species. Instinctive Natural Determinism, in which genes and behavior determine the deterministic course of events.

2. counterparts: With Evolutionary Natural Determinism we can state that for many things man has overcome determinism, so far. Think of: industrialized agriculture, medicines, energy supply, building dams, ... With Instinctive Natural Determinism it depends on the capacity of the being to be able to understand his genes and behavior in order to be able to overcome the deterministic course of his life with a Free Will. Think of: Critical Thinking versus Emotional Thinking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:1812:C04:7900:59B3:B7BD:1EE1:3404 (talk) 09:05, 24 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Significance of smell research[edit]

That some animals, perhaps including human beings, are capable of smelling the difference between deuterated and undeuterated versions of the same molecule at equivalent partial pressures seems to have implications for the role of quantum processes in nervous systems, and hence, if one subscribes to a truly nondeterministic quantum mechanics, for the role of nondeterministic processes in the biological systems that govern behavior. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Seanmichaelragan (talkcontribs) 19:51, 1 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No it doesn't. It means that their chemical reactivity is different, and that's all. To suppose that there is some function behind our ability to smell a particular molecule is absurd. We can smell many molecules that never existed during human evolution. (talk) 19:05, 21 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quick update[edit]

Provide more information about Determinism and hope people get the right conceptual about Determinism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CaptainJoseph (talkcontribs) 04:12, 11 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article issues and classification[edit]

Where to begin? The article is:
  • 1)- marked as possibly containing WP:original research (2010),
  • 2)- unsourced statements (2014 & 2022),
  • 3)- "minor POV problems" (Dec 2022),
  • 4)- style issues (April 2022) and,
  • 5)- possibly contains weasel-worded phrases (Dec 2022)
Fails multiple areas of the B-class criteria. Much more and it will be a net negative. -- Otr500 (talk) 22:44, 14 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links[edit]

There are seven entries in the "External links". Three seems to be an acceptable number and of course, everyone has their favorite to add for four. The problem is that none is needed for article promotion.
  • ELpoints #3) states: Links in the "External links" section should be kept to a minimum. A lack of external links or a small number of external links is not a reason to add external links.
  • LINKFARM states: There is nothing wrong with adding one or more useful content-relevant links to the external links section of an article; however, excessive lists can dwarf articles and detract from the purpose of Wikipedia. On articles about topics with many fansites, for example, including a link to one major fansite may be appropriate.
  • WP:ELMIN: Minimize the number of links. -- Otr500 (talk) 22:49, 14 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

References #27 & #75[edit]

They are the same. I don't know how to fix such things 2604:2D80:DE09:D400:BCAF:5E86:D00F:D0AE (talk) 16:43, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reference #29[edit]

Links to Wikipedia article, not the relevant paper. That article has a similar reference by Vaidman, but for 2018 not 2002. I'm not sure to which paper #29 is referring. 2604:2D80:DE09:D400:BCAF:5E86:D00F:D0AE (talk) 16:48, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"recursive causal splitting"[edit]

This comment is with regard to the following line as well as its reference—which seems to be this paper (see above section, 'Reference #29' on this Talk page). "This theory is sometimes described with the example of agent based choices but more involved models argue that recursive causal splitting occurs with all particle wave functions at play." Firstly, "is sometimes" is more weasel-wordy than saying by whom specifically. But, more importantly, I couldn't find any terms related to recursion in the paper. So, even as a well educated reader, I have no idea what is meant by this phrase. How then is this supposed to help teach anyone? Please elucidate, rewrite, or remove. 2604:2D80:DE09:D400:1C0:793:75E5:9481 (talk) 18:15, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]