20100901

Fatalism, Indeterminism, and Lamarckism

The question has been asked with regard to the distinction between fatalism and indeterminism: There are two different mistakes of overemphasis that one can make in philosophy—solipsism and fatalism. With solipsism, of course, one believes microcosmically that one controls one’s own destiny, while with fatalism one believes macrocosmically that the universe control’s one’s destiny. The truth is univironmental determinism: what happens to a thing is determined by the infinite matter in motion inside of it and the infinite matter in motion outside of it. Environmental determinism, derived from classical mechanics and classical determinism, ignored the microcosm (it was believed to be inert) and overemphasized the macrocosm. It was fatalistic. Systems philosophy ignored the macrocosm and overemphasized the microcosm. It was solipsistic.

Many folks today have been propagandized by the solipsism engendered by systems philosophy. You can tell by their plentiful use of the word “self.” This is what tripped up Prigogine and many others (Borchardt, 2008). To understand the world properly, however, we need to consider the thing and its environment in their interactions. Even Newton’s object traveling in a straight line is not responsible for its initial or continued motion. That motion is completely dependent on the univironment. It does not continue in a straight line if there is something in the way; the object does not knock that something out of the way unless there is matter in motion inside the object. If that something within the macrocosm is minute, we might think mistakenly that the object is then “’self-determined.” This cannot be, because even a less dense macrocosm is a contributor to the univironmental interaction we are observing. Thus, in sports, for instance, the success of the offense is equally a result of the failure of the defense.

None of this is “neo-Lamarckian,” of course, because Lamarck, like Darwin, was a classical mechanist, overemphasizing the macrocosm, often to a ridiculous extent. Univironmental determinists, had they been present at the time those theories were devised, would have insisted that an equal amount of attention be paid to the microcosms involved. With such grounding, genetics would have appeared sooner and they would have gotten around to explaining biopoesis also a lot sooner than it was done. Eventually, they might have even realized that Neo-Darwinism is only an inadequate, special case of the universal mechanism of evolution: univironmental determinism.

Reference:

Borchardt, G., 2008, Resolution of the SLT-order paradox: Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance (http://scientificphilosophy.com/Downloads/SLTOrder.pdf), v. 5, no. 1.

9 comments:

Zog Kadare said...

Can you answer a basic question for me please: If you were a mathematician would you say that the number one corresponds precisely to anything?



The way you present solipsism and fatalism it sounds like the same thing, from the point of view of conceptualization in reason.

that is : The free will of God is fate: To the extent that one controls the fatalistic externals one is self identified with God, to the extent that the externals rule one is under the auspices of fate.

Glenn Borchardt said...

Zog:

Thanks for the questions.

1. The number one is an idealization of a particular xyz portion of the universe. Each portion contains matter, which is defined as that which contains other matter, ad infinitum. When folks say such things as "precisely anything," they often are expressing the desire to find an ultimate particle, one without parts. This is based on the indeterministic assumptions of certainty and finity.

2. You say “The way you present solipsism and fatalism it sounds like the same thing, from the point of view of conceptualization in reason. That is : The free will of God is fate: To the extent that one controls the fatalistic externals one is self identified with God, to the extent that the externals rule one is under the auspices of fate.”

My comment: Remember that the central concept of “The Scientific Worldview” is Univironmental Determinism (UD): Whatever happens to a microcosm (an xyz portion of the universe) is dependent on the interaction between the infinite matter in motion within and without. In TSW, we assume that there is no such thing as free will, defined as uncaused effects. Thus, what people describe as “free will” is simply the “feeling of freedom” that one gains when acting on or “controlling” the macrocosm. How we do this is the result of a concatenation of events having occurred in our past as well as a concatenation of events having occurred within the macrocosm during its past. As conscious beings, we have the opportunity to observe the UD interactions that have occurred in the past. We can use that history of microcosm and macrocosm to predict the results of our actions in the future to a certain degree (never perfectly because of INFINITY and UNCERTAINTY). The proscription of solipsism and fatalism is a reminder that both the microcosm and macrocosm must interact for action to occur. Overemphasizing one over the other invariably leads to errors in prediction.

Zog Kadare said...

1. So you are saying that the mathematician has assumed a deterministic world, but can have no firm basis for this? (They run into sub-atomic randomness etc.)
But, surely they are aware of this? Or do you say mathematicians are idiots?

2. At a certain point (xyz) there must always be a "within"?

"uncaused effects." i.e. Transcendence?

But, if so, why is it useful to differentiate Transcendence from Infinity and Uncertainty?

Glenn Borchardt said...

Zog:

Your questions:

1. So you are saying that the mathematician has assumed a deterministic world, but can have no firm basis for this? (They run into sub-atomic randomness etc.)

[In general, mathematicians assume an indeterministic world, that is, they think in ideal forms, which do not exist. When they run into randomness, which occurs everywhere, not just in the sub-atomic world, they have a tendency to chose the indeterministic assumption of certainty over the deterministic assumption of UNCERTAINTY (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything). They have a tendency to treat randomness as a singular cause. This fits with classical mechanics and classical determinism, which incorrectly assumed finite universal causality: that there were finite number of causes for each effect. But, as assumed under CAUSALITY, there are actually an infinite number of causes for each effect. These cannot be handled well by mathematics, so the general tendency is to assume finity instead of INFINITY. BTW: That is why our mathematical theory of the universe insists that it is finite.]

But, surely they are aware of this? Or do you say mathematicians are idiots?

[I have not read much indicating that mathematicians are aware of this. Remember, mathematicians, such as Einstein and Hawking, for instance, are very good at working with the ideal world. They have no objection to hypothesized 4-dimensional objects, curved empty space, matterless photons, immaterial fields, and the creation of something from nothing. They were not idiots—as any IQ test would have shown. Were they wrong? Of course. In math, if you start with the wrong assumptions, you will end up with the wrong result. Those of us who actually work with the real world see mathematical physics as just plain silly. The explosion of the universe from nothing! My word!]

2. At a certain point (xyz) there must always be a "within"?

[In an infinite universe, all xyz portions of the universe are infinitely subdividable. There always is matter within (remember, empty space is an idea, not a reality, just like solid matter is an idea, not a reality).]

"uncaused effects." i.e. Transcendence?

[There are no uncaused effects. Because matter is infinitely subdividable, there always will be and infinite number of material causes for any effect. Just because we cannot know all of them does not make them “transcendent.” They are just like all the other causes we already know. In other words, “Transcendence” is BS. Don’t waste your valuable time on it.]

But, if so, why is it useful to differentiate Transcendence from Infinity and Uncertainty?

[It is not useful to even discuss silly ideas such as transcendence.]

Zog Kadare said...

Thanks for the answers.

"Remember, mathematicians, such as Einstein and Hawking," Usually at this point someone says, "Einstein was a physicists, not a mathematician." As if a distinction between empirical science and idealism were being invoked (or something of the kind)- perhaps in reference to the respect given to the actuality of the H-bomb etc. (at least by the public i.e. Einstein is Einstein).

"Those of us who actually work with the real world see mathematical physics as just plain silly." ?

I can certainly see this in regard to M-theory speculations or what have you ("gravity is "hiding" in the seventh dimension etc.).

rickdoogie said...

I like the hornets stirred up by Zog, and I enjoyed your answers, Dr. Glenn. I've always thought, since I was young and "losing my religion", that our biggest human problem is this insane actualizing of our idealizations. "In the beginning was the word." We began to worship our words. And then "The word became flesh."
One problem with the popular understanding of quantum mechanics is that it reifies what is purely a mathematical concept: "randomness". In fact, there are many ideas in modern physics and cosmology that try to claim that mathematical constructs exist in actual reality. For example, the concept of zero or "empty space", dark energy, multiple dimensions, singularities, ...
All of these famous mathematicians aren't stupid. The problem with very intelligent people is that they are so good at coming up with amazingly convoluted rationalizations to back up their un-admitted prejudices and tacit assumptions. We don't go astray from lack of intelligence as much as we go astray from lack of introspection and self-knowledge. We need to openly acknowledge our basic assumptions and principles. That is the gist and great breakthrough of Dr. Borchardt's philosophical approach to science. Please correct me if I am misstating that.
The search for truth requires humility.
Many modern cosmologists believe in the primacy of chance, to the exclusion of causality. They start from the fact that our limited senses and technology place limits on what we can observe, and they extrapolate that into a belief that anything we can't observe is happening by "pure chance". They reason; "If we can't trace the cause, there is no actual cause."
But, they want their cake and to eat it too; they claim that we have causality in the realm that we can observe, measure, and predict, but anything that is too large, too small, too fast, or too slow for us to observe is based on absolute chance.

Glenn Borchardt said...

Rick:

Thanks for the comment. You hit the nail right on the head. I agree entirely. Looks like you thoroughly understand univironmental determinism. I look forward to more of your especially well-written contributions.

Glenn

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