Determinism vs Dependent origination

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
chownah
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by chownah » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:12 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:43 pm
justindesilva wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:42 pm
Dependant origination is the process of existence based on kamma. How can it be then deterministic?. It is also anicca dukka anatma explained through 12 nidanas.
It is deterministic in the sense it teaches about conditions and how they lead to certain outcomes. Whatever the nature of these conditions or the phenomena it attempts to explain (whether this phenomena is existence itself or a phenomena within existence) does not seem to make any difference.
Again, perhaps we need to have a definition of deterministic. That conditions may lead to a certain outcome seems to indicate just that the past influences the present and future which can be said without reference to determinism....this seems to have more to do with cause and effect and nothing at all about determinism.....unless you can provide some sort of definition which makes some sort of connection.

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:23 pm

chownah wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:12 pm
Again, perhaps we need to have a definition of deterministic. That conditions may lead to a certain outcome seems to indicate just that the past influences the present and future which can be said without reference to determinism....this seems to have more to do with cause and effect and nothing at all about determinism.....unless you can provide some sort of definition which makes some sort of connection.

chownah
It is the same definition you used when you replied to budo before. I don't see any problem with it:
For me, determinism means that all things (events) have outcomes which can be predicted from the previous conditions for all of time. This does not allow for probability of what outcome will appear.....all outcomes are 100% predictable (in theory) if the prior conditions are known.
Now, could you explain the exact difference between your own definition of determinism and DO according to your understanding?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

chownah
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by chownah » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:37 am

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:23 pm
chownah wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:12 pm
Again, perhaps we need to have a definition of deterministic. That conditions may lead to a certain outcome seems to indicate just that the past influences the present and future which can be said without reference to determinism....this seems to have more to do with cause and effect and nothing at all about determinism.....unless you can provide some sort of definition which makes some sort of connection.

chownah
It is the same definition you used when you replied to budo before. I don't see any problem with it:
For me, determinism means that all things (events) have outcomes which can be predicted from the previous conditions for all of time. This does not allow for probability of what outcome will appear.....all outcomes are 100% predictable (in theory) if the prior conditions are known.
Now, could you explain the exact difference between your own definition of determinism and DO according to your understanding?
DO can be posited to function whether the world is deterministic or not.
To me, intention strongly implies a non-deterministic world....although we could say that the arising of intention can be determined by previous conditions it does not follow that saying this necessitates that the world be deterministic in that saying that could just be wrong......
If the world is non-deterministic then DO just keeps on happening.....it doesn't really matter for the functioning of DO whether the world is deterministic or not.

Perhaps you are really trying to discuss whether DO is a determinsitic system rather than asking whether DO is the same as the world being deterministic which I think is usually what is meant by "determinism".
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by DNS » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:34 am

Buddhism doesn't fit into full-fledged free will or determinism, imo. It is more of something in the middle, although much more toward determinism, imo. Life events and apparent decisions come from past events, conditioning, upbringing, etc and Buddhism would add also from kamma.

Free will implies a soul, a permanent self, a "ghost in the machine" so to speak, some permanent entity who is making the choices, making the decisions. This is rejected by Buddhism with anatta (not-self). This is not to say that there isn't some volitional-decision making, but that decision making is conditioned and there can be some decisions made outside of that conditioning, with proper training, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration, determination, persistence (again, in my opinion).

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:07 am

chownah wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:37 am
DO can be posited to function whether the world is deterministic or not.
To me, intention strongly implies a non-deterministic world....although we could say that the arising of intention can be determined by previous conditions it does not follow that saying this necessitates that the world be deterministic in that saying that could just be wrong......
If the world is non-deterministic then DO just keeps on happening.....it doesn't really matter for the functioning of DO whether the world is deterministic or not.

Perhaps you are really trying to discuss whether DO is a determinsitic system rather than asking whether DO is the same as the world being deterministic which I think is usually what is meant by "determinism".
chownah
[/quote]

I fail to understand how DO would function whether the world is deterministic or not. If you say DO would work regardless if we believe in a deterministic world or not, then i would agree.

Intention is linked to knowledge. Intentional actions are the actions we knowingly perform through thoughts, speech and body. DO claims ignorance (which has to do with knowledge) to be the root cause of suffering. Determinism claims ignorance of the conditions (or gaps in our knowledge) to be the reason behind the delusion of free will.

When i read Dr. David.s input on the other thread, i thought the difference between the two is clear, but when i internally began to formulate a clear answer of the difference between the two, i found it not as easy as i thought it would be.

Maybe the meaning (or the focus) of each law is different as you indiccated. Maybe determinism is trying to explain the world in an objective way, while dependent origination is an explanation of a world where suffering is arising. Also according to DO as i understand it, the world is not separate from those who experience it, and while this does not necessarily contradict with determinism, it is not usually emphasized.

Most of worldly teachings (including determinism) seem to be concerned with an objective explanation of the world. Their view of objectivity is by imagining if their theories would work whether they exist or not, and in that sense, their views are mind-independent and therefore accurate and true. On the other hand, DO seem to focus on the role of our subjectivity in shaping the world we live in, a world in which the individual is an integral part of.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

pegembara
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by pegembara » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:01 am

James Tan wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:28 am
There is Relative(free) will but Not Absolute free will .
The only freedom we have is to follow our desires or not. What happens when there are no more desires?

As for determinism - Is the radioactive decay deterministic or random?
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:29 am

pegembara wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:01 am
As for determinism - Is the radioactive decay deterministic or random?
Both, I think. ;)
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:34 am

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:19 am
I respectfully disagree. Dependent origination is in itself a fabrication which explains suffering hence the aim of Buddhist practice is to break free from it.
Dependent origination isn't just an explanation of suffering. In the "transcendental" mode it is also a way out of suffering.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el277.html
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:44 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:34 am
Bundokji wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:19 am
I respectfully disagree. Dependent origination is in itself a fabrication which explains suffering hence the aim of Buddhist practice is to break free from it.
Dependent origination isn't just an explanation of suffering. In the "transcendental" mode it is also a way out of suffering.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el277.html

Would you call it "a description with an aim"? skillful means?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by budo » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:12 am

Simple answers to Determinism vs Free will:

- The processes are deterministic, the outcomes are probabilistic
- The macro level (classical Newtonian physics) is deterministic, the micro level (quantum physics) is probabilistic
- Dependent Origination is deterministic, the outcomes of it are probabilistic

Read Stephen Hawking's book "The Grand Design" where he talks about randomness and probability at the quantum level. And here is an article that summarizes this http://www.hawking.org.uk/does-god-play-dice.html

In short, the smaller things get, the more random things become. Perhaps determinism is just an illusion of slowness, an illusion of form. For now I'll settle on the middle ground that macro = deterministic and micro = probabilistic.

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by chownah » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:31 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:07 am
chownah wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:37 am
DO can be posited to function whether the world is deterministic or not.
To me, intention strongly implies a non-deterministic world....although we could say that the arising of intention can be determined by previous conditions it does not follow that saying this necessitates that the world be deterministic in that saying that could just be wrong......
If the world is non-deterministic then DO just keeps on happening.....it doesn't really matter for the functioning of DO whether the world is deterministic or not.

Perhaps you are really trying to discuss whether DO is a determinsitic system rather than asking whether DO is the same as the world being deterministic which I think is usually what is meant by "determinism".
chownah
I fail to understand how DO would function whether the world is deterministic or not. If you say DO would work regardless if we believe in a deterministic world or not, then i would agree.
........
..........
Another way to explain what I mean by my definition:
If the world is determinate then at the present moment all thing (actions etc.) in the future are already determined or fixed.
If the world is non-determinate there there are thing (actions etc.) in the future which are NOT already determined or fixed.

A determinate world does not necessarily have to function through cause and effect....it may be that there are hard wired things that are "causes" and others that are "effects" of those "causes" but it doesn't have to be that way.....it could just be that we are pre-determined to view events that way but that it is totally meaninless and if you think about it the idea of "cause" sort of has the implication that there are different possible outcomes and the "cause" creates one of them to actually happen and this is sort of a ridiculous idea if the world is determinate and there are no possible alternatives to what happens in the past, present, and future.

So....to ask how DO works is kind of silly in a determinate world without cause and effect......and in a determinate world WITH cause and effect it is sort of silly too in that if things are pre-determined then asking the question of how they work is for most purposes not relevant in that the ultimate answer is that they work because the world is determinate in a way so that it works.

IN a determinate world (either with or without cause and effect) things could happen in a way so that we would think that DO works....or doesn't work.....depending on whether we are buddhists or not and all the while thinking that but for our inclinations we might not be buddhists or not....or course other might say that it is not but for our inclinations but rather that it is but for fate and these people would be putting more stock in determinism but them putting more stock in determinism says absolutely nothing about whether the world is determinate or not with or without cause and effect.
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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:14 pm

chownah wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:31 pm

Another way to explain what I mean by my definition:
If the world is determinate then at the present moment all thing (actions etc.) in the future are already determined or fixed.
If the world is non-determinate there there are thing (actions etc.) in the future which are NOT already determined or fixed.

A determinate world does not necessarily have to function through cause and effect....it may be that there are hard wired things that are "causes" and others that are "effects" of those "causes" but it doesn't have to be that way.....it could just be that we are pre-determined to view events that way but that it is totally meaninless and if you think about it the idea of "cause" sort of has the implication that there are different possible outcomes and the "cause" creates one of them to actually happen and this is sort of a ridiculous idea if the world is determinate and there are no possible alternatives to what happens in the past, present, and future.

So....to ask how DO works is kind of silly in a determinate world without cause and effect......and in a determinate world WITH cause and effect it is sort of silly too in that if things are pre-determined then asking the question of how they work is for most purposes not relevant in that the ultimate answer is that they work because the world is determinate in a way so that it works.

IN a determinate world (either with or without cause and effect) things could happen in a way so that we would think that DO works....or doesn't work.....depending on whether we are buddhists or not and all the while thinking that but for our inclinations we might not be buddhists or not....or course other might say that it is not but for our inclinations but rather that it is but for fate and these people would be putting more stock in determinism but them putting more stock in determinism says absolutely nothing about whether the world is determinate or not with or without cause and effect.
chownah
Thanks for the interesting input, but i think a determinate world without cause and effect is not determinism, but fatalism. The main similarity between determinism and DO is that both acknowledge cause and effect. Also determinism, according to my understanding, does not say that things are pre-determined. What it says is that if we know all the conditions affecting an object, we can accurately predict its future.

In an attempt to expand on your point, causality itself is ultimately conditioned, hence scientific experiments require control and human intervention to be proven. A scientific experiment begins with an observation where a causal relationship is detected, then a hypothesis is created. The process of falsification is a process of purification through isolating causes from other correlated phenomena. Somehow we know that what we identified as causes don't exist in a vacuum, but are themselves outcomes. So, in a way, a scientific experiment creates its own conditions to succeed.

Take experiments on medicine for example. To approve a new medicine, a positive causal relationship should be determined through giving the medicine to a number of people and reporting their feedback. If a high number of people give positive feedback, then the relationship is accepted to be causal. Usually, not a %100 of people give a positive feedback, but this is usually explained by other conditions related to individual patients in which the medicine did not work. Falsification happens through creating a control group which are given a fake medicine (placebo). If the first group does not report a much higher positive feedback than the control group, then the medicine would not be approved. Ironically, the phenomena of placebo (positive feedback due to the suggestive power or believing in the healing effect of the medicine) is used because it is believed to be a causal relationship.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by justindesilva » Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:09 am

Paticca samuppada explains the cause and effect of existence.
If we follow that
Avijja paccaya sankara ( karma fabrications are conditioned by ignorance) &
Sankara paccaya vingnana ( consciousness is conditioned by karma fabrications) which follows conditions to jati which conditions jara marana then we can see that there is no determinism but only conditioning.

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by chownah » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:40 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:14 pm
chownah wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:31 pm

Another way to explain what I mean by my definition:
If the world is determinate then at the present moment all thing (actions etc.) in the future are already determined or fixed.
If the world is non-determinate there there are thing (actions etc.) in the future which are NOT already determined or fixed.

A determinate world does not necessarily have to function through cause and effect....it may be that there are hard wired things that are "causes" and others that are "effects" of those "causes" but it doesn't have to be that way.....it could just be that we are pre-determined to view events that way but that it is totally meaninless and if you think about it the idea of "cause" sort of has the implication that there are different possible outcomes and the "cause" creates one of them to actually happen and this is sort of a ridiculous idea if the world is determinate and there are no possible alternatives to what happens in the past, present, and future.

So....to ask how DO works is kind of silly in a determinate world without cause and effect......and in a determinate world WITH cause and effect it is sort of silly too in that if things are pre-determined then asking the question of how they work is for most purposes not relevant in that the ultimate answer is that they work because the world is determinate in a way so that it works.

IN a determinate world (either with or without cause and effect) things could happen in a way so that we would think that DO works....or doesn't work.....depending on whether we are buddhists or not and all the while thinking that but for our inclinations we might not be buddhists or not....or course other might say that it is not but for our inclinations but rather that it is but for fate and these people would be putting more stock in determinism but them putting more stock in determinism says absolutely nothing about whether the world is determinate or not with or without cause and effect.
chownah
Thanks for the interesting input, but i think a determinate world without cause and effect is not determinism, but fatalism. The main similarity between determinism and DO is that both acknowledge cause and effect. Also determinism, according to my understanding, does not say that things are pre-determined. What it says is that if we know all the conditions affecting an object, we can accurately predict its future.
.....
.....
Determinism as I have defined it subsumes fatalism. I define determinism to mean what it says pretty much i.e. it is the belief that all things and actions are determined and that there is nothing which can cause a deviation from that determination. The two most common views as to what "makes" the determination are God (or gods) and cause and effect. But in absolute terms it is not necessary to define how or why or what "makes" the determination....feeling the necessity of this is in my view mostly just an expression of a delusional self much like the concept of the delusional self as taught by the buddha. Anyway, I think that my definition is pretty much the broadest one and pretty much is devoid of restrictive qualification while allowing for different "flavors" of determinism to be defined and discussed so that people can discuss their own more limited and qualified type of determinism which they might like to discuss.

I have suggested a couple of times that people bring a definition of determinism and finally you have (without declaring it) started to define your preferred flavor which is pretty knottily tied up with cause and effect. I really do think that your thoughts are mostly springing from cause and effect....you interpret DO as being cause and effect (I'm neither disputing nor agreeing with this) as many/most/nearly all people do and you have chosen causal determinism it seems to be your flavor for the purposes of your discussion and it is a good choice if you want to make a case that determinism (actually causal determinism it seems although you seem reluctant to just come out and declare it) and DO are very similar or even the same....because then they are both examples of cause and effect.

With respect to "Also determinism, according to my understanding, does not say that things are pre-determined. What it says is that if we know all the conditions affecting an object, we can accurately predict its future.": If the future can be accurately predicted then this is equivalent to the future being fixed or predeterimined. I think that the difference between thinking in terms of predetermined and thinking in term so of accurate prediction of the future is how time is considered.

To say that things are predetermined is simply to take time as the fourth dimension and doing so allows the view of all things throughout time and space as fixed much like material things are usually seen to be fixed or condensed in space while I am incorporating time as another dimension bring the view that a predetermined world is of a four dimensional fixation or condensation.

To say if we know all the conditions affecting an object, we can accurately predict its future is simply saying that first a prediction is made with adequate knowledge and then we wait to see that we were correct. This just means that you are going to float along the river of time and then see that what you predicted from your perfect knowledge was correct. Floating on the river of time is not necessary if one has perfect knowledge.....isn't a statement made from perfect knowledge not actually a "prediction"....rather it is a certainty. Your scenario sounds like the predicter is not quite sure. Isn't a "prediction" taken from perfect knowledge actually a statement of fact? Is a statement of fact about some future event in some way less determined than a statement of fact about the past?....or present?

Finally, to illustrate the degree of reliance this thread has had on cause and effect, just strip the thread of all reliance on it and see what remains....I think it will be mostly my posting.....seems like this thread as most posts have approached it is actually about cause and effect.
chownah

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Re: Determinism vs Dependent origination

Post by Bundokji » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:55 pm

chownah wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:40 pm
Determinism as I have defined it subsumes fatalism. I define determinism to mean what it says pretty much i.e. it is the belief that all things and actions are determined and that there is nothing which can cause a deviation from that determination. The two most common views as to what "makes" the determination are God (or gods) and cause and effect. But in absolute terms it is not necessary to define how or why or what "makes" the determination....feeling the necessity of this is in my view mostly just an expression of a delusional self much like the concept of the delusional self as taught by the buddha. Anyway, I think that my definition is pretty much the broadest one and pretty much is devoid of restrictive qualification while allowing for different "flavors" of determinism to be defined and discussed so that people can discuss their own more limited and qualified type of determinism which they might like to discuss.

I have suggested a couple of times that people bring a definition of determinism and finally you have (without declaring it) started to define your preferred flavor which is pretty knottily tied up with cause and effect. I really do think that your thoughts are mostly springing from cause and effect....you interpret DO as being cause and effect (I'm neither disputing nor agreeing with this) as many/most/nearly all people do and you have chosen causal determinism it seems to be your flavor for the purposes of your discussion and it is a good choice if you want to make a case that determinism (actually causal determinism it seems although you seem reluctant to just come out and declare it) and DO are very similar or even the same....because then they are both examples of cause and effect.

With respect to "Also determinism, according to my understanding, does not say that things are pre-determined. What it says is that if we know all the conditions affecting an object, we can accurately predict its future.": If the future can be accurately predicted then this is equivalent to the future being fixed or predeterimined. I think that the difference between thinking in terms of predetermined and thinking in term so of accurate prediction of the future is how time is considered.

To say that things are predetermined is simply to take time as the fourth dimension and doing so allows the view of all things throughout time and space as fixed much like material things are usually seen to be fixed or condensed in space while I am incorporating time as another dimension bring the view that a predetermined world is of a four dimensional fixation or condensation.

To say if we know all the conditions affecting an object, we can accurately predict its future is simply saying that first a prediction is made with adequate knowledge and then we wait to see that we were correct. This just means that you are going to float along the river of time and then see that what you predicted from your perfect knowledge was correct. Floating on the river of time is not necessary if one has perfect knowledge.....isn't a statement made from perfect knowledge not actually a "prediction"....rather it is a certainty. Your scenario sounds like the predicter is not quite sure. Isn't a "prediction" taken from perfect knowledge actually a statement of fact? Is a statement of fact about some future event in some way less determined than a statement of fact about the past?....or present?

Finally, to illustrate the degree of reliance this thread has had on cause and effect, just strip the thread of all reliance on it and see what remains....I think it will be mostly my posting.....seems like this thread as most posts have approached it is actually about cause and effect.
chownah
Was not that your own definition :shrug:
For me, determinism means that all things (events) have outcomes which can be predicted from the previous conditions for all of time. This does not allow for probability of what outcome will appear.....all outcomes are 100% predictable (in theory) if the prior conditions are known.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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