Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Strong Determinism

New paper on Strong Determinism, a concept different from superdeterminism:
In this paper, I focus on strong determinism. According to Penrose (1989), it is “not just a matter of the future being determined by the past; the entire history of the universe is fixed, according to some precise mathematical scheme, for all time” ...

On an intuitive level, we can say that the multiverse of the Everettian Wentaculus has “more branches” than that of the Everettian Mentaculus. The Everettian Wentaculus multiverse has all the branches that the Everettian Mentaculus one has and more. Speaking loosely, all the nomological possibilities of the Everettian Mentaculus multiverse will be embedded somewhere in the actual Everettian Wentaculus multiverse. However, on the Everettian Wentaculus, there is no fundamental nomic contingency or possibility beyond the actual fundamental world. If notions of contingency, chance, probability, and counterfactual make sense in this world, they have to be emergent at the level of branches and subsystems in the multiverse. It is important to appreciate that the theory does not contain any notions of probability or typicality at the fundamental level of physics. Hence, this is a proposal that completely eliminates the Statistical Postulate in fundamental physics.39

I could not make any sense out of this.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Roger,

    You said:

    >> "New paper on Strong Determinism, a concept different from superdeterminism:"

    Shshsh... The author is: "also an associate editor of the journal Foundations of Physics". [Source: , accessed right now.]

    In the abstract of this paper, the author says:

    >> "Even if strong determinism fails to be true, it is closer to the actual world than we have presumed, with implications for some of the central topics in philosophy and foundations of physics."

    In the context, it was not immediately clear to me whether the author was actually asserting the truthhood of "strong determinism" or denying the same. So, I tried to browse through the paper rapidly; failed in doing so [the paper is 32 pages long]; and then ended up at the Conclusion section, where the author says:

    >> "Strong determinism holds when the actual world is the only nomologically possible world. There are many reasons to be interested in strong determinism. As illustrated by the Lone-Particle World and the Mandelbrot World, it enables strong explanations and strong predictions. It also raises vexing questions about the status of causation and counterfactuals. The Everettian Wentaculus, the first realistic and simple strongly deterministic theory, teaches us that strong determinism may well be true but does not always have the features we naively expect of it.[51]

    Even if strong determinism fails to be true, it is closer to the actual world than we have presumed, with implications for a variety of topics in philosophy and foundations of physics. Thus, it would be a mistake to regard it as impossible. This paper has explored only some aspects of strong determinism; it has much more to teach us. Regarding determinism, Earman (1986) writes:

    `[D]eterminism wins our unceasing admiration in forcing to the surface many of the more important and intriguing issues in the length and breadth of the philosophy of science. (p.21)'

    Strong determinism is admirable for the same reason."

    OK. I have precisely one comment.

    You [Roger] have "naively" regarded "Strong Determinism" as a "concept". It obviously does not qualify to be a concept. Not yet, anyway. Perhaps, as of today, it does not even aspire to be a concept.

    Enough said. [Who knows what the future might hold? Etc.]


    PS: Among younger philosophers of physics from your country, Prof. Charles T. Sebens is much better [even if he is employed in CalTech, which is in California, USA]. Sebens too doesn't always reach very definitive conclusions (and the times when he does reach some such, those are not of much use in understanding either the physics or the philosophy better; e.g., see his papers on the QM spin). But at least the problems he picks up tend to be at least mildly interesting, and yes, his writing does tend (until of the instant) to be more on the unambiguous side. Give his papers a shot, if you wish to.