The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #151
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    If the Oracle were omniscient, he wouldn’t always be in the shower when visitors arrive.
    The Giant says: Yes, I am aware TV Tropes exists as a website. ... No, I have never decided to do something in the comic because it was listed on TV Tropes. I don't use it as a checklist for ideas ... and I have never intentionally referenced it in any way.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    My default position for any story with accurate prophecy is that the story occurs in a universe where a prophecy is a mathematically true statement (like there are unique prime factors), without necessarily telling you how it's true (like what the prime factors actually are).
    That's kind of like the idea of wishes interpreting and fulfilling themselves. It doesn't really take the implementation of wishes out of the hands of sentient beings in general so much as it turns wishes into sentient beings of their own. Similarly, it is hard to see how whatever mechanism generates prophesies does not know future events for all intents and purposes. So while an oracle may not be personally aware of future happenings, that just passes the proverbial buck.

    In the real world, the writer or game master or whoever ensures that the wish or prophesy or what have you corresponds to what happens. You can attribute the in-setting work of ensuring this correspondence to a "mindless" force, but that "unaware" force will still walk and quack in a suspiciously duck-like fashion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    I think this is more a general symptom of characters not being allowed to derive any useful information from prophecy because acting intelligently on said information would inevitably alter the foreseen future (or conversely cause it to be fulfilled in various contrived bull**** ways.) I'm not... crazy about prophetic visions as a plot device for this reason.
    Well, obviously no accurate prophesy can be self-defeating, because if it were self-defeating it wouldn't be accurate! A question about the future can't be correctly answered by any self-defeating prophesy, but it can potentially be correctly answered by any number of self-fulfilling prophesies. If you don't like that, then don't ask questions about the future! Ask questions about the present or the past instead!
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  3. - Top - End - #153
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    The way I see prophecies is that the only reason the prophecy came true at all is because of how the prophecy was interpreted in the first place.

    So many instances in fiction where the prophecy had "multiple interpretations" didn't matter. The prophecy already knew which interpretation would play out. It knew the actors that would rebel against it and in doing so lead to its conclusion. It knew the misinterpretations that would create the exact circumstances that lead to it being fulfilled. This is because there is literally no other way the prophecy could exist.

    When one looks at the future, the future changes because you looked at it. So you look again and it changes again, but simultaneously you never looked at it because it would be a paradox. The only future you can look at it therefore is the one that works out in the end for whatever reason. Looking at it is the catalyst that shifts the world in the direction of its fulfillment in the first place. Nothing you do will avert what was seen because then you wouldn't have seen it. Now there are certainly things that CAN avert the prophecy but these are actions that will NOT be taken and the prophecy already knows that. Some foil will exist to prevent its prevention, or the very act of attempting to prevent it is what will cause it to happen.

    That doesn't mean you can't fight the future. Because remember, misinterpretations can happen. You may think the prophecy spells the end of the world when really that's just what you think you saw. So you go about trying to change the future and that itself leads to the true events that you misunderstood. In fighting the future, the future changes from your perspective when actually it was the same future all along. You saw your girlfriend get killed? She only looked dead. She's fine. You fighting the future is what made that happen even though it was always going to happen that way in the first place, because the future knew you would fight it and "change" her fate.

    The verse is a troll and laughs while maniacally cackling "Just as Planned" because we're all just pawns.
    Trolls will be blocked. Petrification works far better than fire and acid.

  4. - Top - End - #154
    Dragon in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    If the Oracle were omniscient, he wouldn’t always be in the shower when visitors arrive.
    He knows he's in a parody, so making jokes like that are probably worth it to him.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    He knows he's in a parody, so making jokes like that are probably worth it to him.
    An alternative, more "serious" answer is that just because you know what your schedule is doesn't mean you can't forget it in the moment you decide "hm, time for a shower."

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    He has to activate his foresight to see what's coming up. In his day-to-day life, he doesn't bother to check what's coming up (except for when he's going to die), but when he has reason to see in the future, he does so. So he doesn't know ahead of time who Belkar is, but when he meets him, and figures out "Wow, that guy is a jerk", he'll go look in the future to see how bad he gets it, and will taunt Belkar with that knowledge.

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Resileaf View Post
    He has to activate his foresight to see what's coming up. In his day-to-day life, he doesn't bother to check what's coming up (except for when he's going to die), but when he has reason to see in the future, he does so. So he doesn't know ahead of time who Belkar is, but when he meets him, and figures out "Wow, that guy is a jerk", he'll go look in the future to see how bad he gets it, and will taunt Belkar with that knowledge.
    He actually does know ahead of time who Belkar is, because one of the first things he says before actually listening to their questions is that Belkar's going to die.

    Now, I do think he does have to actively check, but I think he checks who is upcoming appointment are, and does background checks on them (see also that he made them pay cash upfront - also a joke, but he clearly knew who they all were), which is also why he would totally clear the dragon while booked it out of town when Xykon showed up.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-06-16 at 10:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heksefatter View Post
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  8. - Top - End - #158
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    The way I see prophecies, is that it depends on the specific story.

    It takes a lot of wishful thinking--or a very fixed attitude toward prophecies in every story--to treat the Oracle's prophecies and/or the High Priest of Odin's prophecy in this story as something other than true.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    The way I see prophecies, is that it depends on the specific story.

    It takes a lot of wishful thinking--or a very fixed attitude toward prophecies in every story--to treat the Oracle's prophecies and/or the High Priest of Odin's prophecy in this story as something other than true.
    I think this sums up my feelings as well. If you like stories that treat things as more ambiguous or try twists, that's fair, but that's not this story. Better to accept that than to tortuously try and claim we aren't supposed to view it that way.
    Last edited by Rrmcklin; 2019-06-16 at 10:11 PM.
    I'd just like to point out that saying that something unsupported is the case unless someone else can prove that it is not is an utter failure of logic. - Kish

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Reductio ad absurdum much? Of course if you only have one reasonable choice then you're most likely to take that choice--unless you're insane, of course. However, life is very rarely neatly laid out like that, and often there are multiple choices that are, on the surface, equally reasonable. I made a long car journey on Tuesday, and I explicitly made the choice to take a longer route simply because it was one I'd driven before and was thus more confident in navigating it. I could just have easily chosen to fire up the satnav and take the shorter route, and in fact I did do that on the journey back.
    Whether or not you know something, whether ahead of time or otherwise, isn't at all the same as whether it's determined by anything. Not knowing whether P equals NP doesn't mean that there's not a correct answer to "Does P = NP?" So not being able to predict all decisions ahead of time isn't evidence for libertarian free will. In other words, a universe being wholly deterministic doesn't mean that its inhabitants' actions can always be predicted. You've argued as much yourself in this very thread!

    But being able to predict some decisions ahead of time does seem like evidence against libertarian free will. Unless one seriously wants to argue "We have free will, but free will avoids doing anything that gives convincing evidence of its existence."

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    The world of Back to the Future is deterministic but chaotic (like the weather), meaning that the slightest change in the set variables meaning, i.e Marty’s dad not being rescued by Marty’s mom (an unaccounted for butterfly in Brazil), means vastly different consequences, i.e. Marty not being born (an unforeseen storm in Texas). But should one have knowledge of all the variables with the required precision, one could make perfect predictions of the system’s state at any given time.

    Yes it’s incoherent that things have changed due to their intervention, but that’s kind of the point: Marty and Doc being outsiders of the original 1955 their actions were unaccounted for in the original 1985, but the second 1955 has them and the second 1985 is therefore different from the first, but only with respect to the things they have changed! Marty ran over one pine meaning the Twin Pines Parking Lot became the Lonely Pine Parking Lot, but since neither Marty nor Doc had any further involvement in that parking’s lot history it remain otherwise exactly the same. Had that universe been non-deterministic, the second 1985 could have had anything in the place of that parking lot, but it didn’t.
    But aren't Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect all about how small initial changes propagate through everything until everything is different in a totally unpredictable way? Even if Marty had only made changes to things that were somehow totally isolated from everything else, which isn't even the case, one would expect those things to be unpredictably altered. He changed what happened to his parents enough that the odds of them conceiving Marty in particular should be astronomically low.

    Determinism is insufficient to account for how things play out. There must also be destiny, which pulls things back onto their fated paths. Except that destiny doesn't apply to time travelers, or it would arrange for them not to change anything.

    And... that's pretty much it! All of the inconsistencies produced are the result of destiny trying to apply to everything else while also not applying to time travelers, even though those objectives are fundamentally at odds with one another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Agency doesn't require metaphysical freedom; it requires a lack of metaphysical freedom, at least to a degree. For example, if our utterances were wholly constrained, but instead could be anything, we would only produce gibberish, and not even gibberish of our choosing! Random noises would not be based on our intentions, and thus would not be chosen. We are only free to use language because our utterances are constrained by our intentions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    I believe causal determinism is a requirement for free will to exist in our universe.

    Without determinism, what happens next doesn’t depend on what occurred in the past.

    In other words, without determinism, things just happen because they’re going to happen.

    It’s impossible to make meaningful choices without determinism, because your choices can’t have any impact on what happens. What happens is just whatever was going to happen, regardless of your choice.
    Libertarian free will only seems to require that our intentions be uncaused, not that our actions be uncaused, so it's compatible with our intentions causing our actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Clearly there are cases where he knows quite a lot (like with Belkar’s curse).

    But I have no reason to imagine some crazy complicated mechanism that would allow him to know anything more about what would happen to Durkon, Haley, Belkar, or Elan that’s exactly what he said to them.
    How does the Oracle knowing more than he reveals require any more crazy or complicated of a mechanism than knowing the things that he does reveal? You seem to be basically implying that it's harder to make predictions that you don't share with others. Which... huh? Potential backwards causality means that "But he has to make the predictions before he can share them" isn't much of an objection in this context, but do you have some reason to think that giving information to others somehow makes it true in this case?

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Religious views on free will and determinism are as religious as religious views on the soul, and non-religious views on the soul are as non-religious as non-religious views on free will and determinism.
    Actually, let me go ahead and try to give an example of what I'm talking about, in the form of a dialogue:

    Spoiler: On the Merits of Substance Dualism
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    Prima: It seems to me that conscious experience must be something other than the behavior of matter. Our perceptions are plainly a different type of phenomenon than the movement of particles and the exchange of forces between them.

    Secunda: Nonsense. The concept of a philosophical zombie -- something in all ways physically identical to an ordinary person, but not conscious -- is like the concept of something in all ways physically identical to an ordinary cat, but not furry. Why should we believe the abstract quality of consciousness to be an abstraction of anything but the behavior of matter any more than the abstract quality of furriness?

    P: Ah, but the abstract concept of furriness is not contained within the cat's body, but within a mind. In order for the abstraction to apply, it must first exist. Our understanding of the physical requires the existence of the mental, because understanding itself falls into the latter category.

    S: But there is no rational basis to presuppose that the mental is not ultimately a subcategory of the physical, rather than a separate category. A philosophical zombie, behaving as it does by definition identically to a real person, can equally well write philosophy papers about consciousness. Do you really suppose that real persons write philosophy papers about consciousness that are correct by coincidence?

    P: Ah, well, that is an issue with epiphenomenalism. But epiphenomenalists are weirdos like that. The general understanding is that the soul affects the body, as well as being affected by it.

    S: If we are talking about a phenomenon that both causes and is caused by the behavior of matter, then I must wonder in what sense it can be considered to be non-physical. It seems to me that this "soul", if it exists, is no less material than gravity. What would distinguish it as apart from the physical universe? We have time and time again observed violations of the laws of physics as we had understood them; when this happens, we say that we got the laws wrong, and attempt to formulate laws that are consistent with our observations. It is difficult to imagine an observation that would instead have to be described by saying "This phenomenon is outside the laws of nature".

    P: The difference is that physical forces like gravity are inherently interactions between pieces of matter, and thus cannot exist without matter. I cannot conceive of gravity without physical objects, but I can conceive of a mind that does not interact with matter. In this and in countless other regards, mental phenomena are conceptually distinct from physical phenomena.

    S: But an event is a change, or changes, in state. If nothing has changed, then nothing has happened. "Matter", it seems to me, is what we call that which has states and experiences changes between them. We can imagine matter radically different from that with which we are familiar -- matter that is truly continuous rather than composed of fundamental particles, for instance -- but everything that happens must still happen to something. The mind must be embodied in something, even if it is not embodied in the brain. And I see no good reason to think that matter as we are familiar with it is somehow insufficient to serve as the hardware for the mind's software. It is difficult to see how I could be fully confident that it is sufficient without first understanding how consciousness works; and I do not understand how consciousness works. But, similarly, unless you have some sort of detailed model that explains consciousness, I do not see how you can rationally conclude that...

    And so on and so forth. None of this involves any appeal to any dogma. To the contrary, the interlocutors' dispute is entirely about what can be reasonably inferred from ordinary experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conradine View Post
    Choice involves at the very least two options. If there is only one option, it's a false choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Conradine View Post
    If my choice could be predicted with 100% certainity, that would mean I'm an automaton, not a person.
    Let me see if I've got this right: If you definitely will do everything that you will do, then you have no choice to do otherwise, and therefore no free will. Thus, you can only have free will in the present if the future is indeterminate. Is that the argument?

    If that's so, then I have to wonder... Do you think that the past is indeterminate? Or do you think that everyone now dead never exercised free will in life? After all, if they definitely did everything that they did, then they had no choice to do otherwise, and therefore no free will, right?

    The idea that there's one definitive past seems to be widely held conventional wisdom. But predestiny doesn't seem to be any more of a problem for free will than postdestiny. And how can you believe in the latter but not the former? There's no reason to think that this exact moment in time is special such that the expanse of time before it is different than the expanse of time after it, is there? Like... "The universe has had one definitive sequence of events, up until right... now! No, now! No, NOW! No, wait... right NOW!" etc. Hopefully you get the point: The phrase "the present" has referred to a different time every time that you've said it, and there's no reason to think that any particular "present" is special.

    This is the question implicitly raised by time travel into the past. That scenario prompts you to judge the past by the same standards as the future by positing the past becoming the future relative to your "personal timeline". But time travel isn't a necessary part of the question. Instead of asking "If you were to visit the past, would you not see events unfold as destined?", we can just say "Hey, didn't events unfold as destined in the past?"

    Earlier I drew a distinction between predeterminism and predestination, which I really should have explained further. See, by "predeterminism" I mean that the future is determined by -- in a sense, encoded in -- the present. By "predestination" I mean that there are non-tautological truths about the future, just like there are non-tautological truths about the present. The primary argument for this is from the law of excluded middle. E.g either I will have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow, in which case it is predestined that I shall, or I will not have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow, in which case it is predestined that I shall not. A lot of people take predestination in this sense for granted because they take the law of excluded middle for granted. And the idea that some things are going to happen is pretty compelling. After all, if instead nothing is going to happen, doesn't that mean that there is no future, and time is coming to an end right now? No, wait, now! No, wait, right n... etc. (Again.)

    But of course a dichotomy is false when based on a hidden, unnecessary assumption. The above assumes that there's either a future or no future. But there are numbers other than one and zero! Perhaps more than one possible future is real. Maybe in one of them I have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow but in another I don't. In that case, "I" effectively becomes ambiguous, because there will be more than one "me". In other words, "I will have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow" has more than one meaning, because "I" has more than one meaning. Like saying "The dog fetched the ball" when there are multiple dogs and multiple balls and nothing really picks any of them out as "the".

    And if time only branches forwards and not backwards, then there are multiple futures but only one past, and without the present being special. Because in that case, each past moment had multiple futures of its own that aren't part of your timeline, because they lie on alternate branches.

    Here's the kicker, though: If they are indeed real, then all of those alternate futures are all part of the totality of everything that will exist, so it's really just predestined that all of those different versions of events happen! And if the present determines which futures are possible, and all of those futures happen, then the present actually determines the total future too; all future events, taken together, are collectively predetermined. It's just that each future version of you only gets to experience one version of history, just like you're presently unaware of all of the alternate presents where things went differently.
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  11. - Top - End - #161
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Everything is not pre-determined. Why? Because [spoilers].

    If you want to look at it one way though, everything is predetermined literally on account of the fact that its a story written by someone who isn't just rolling dice to figure out what happens next.
    Last edited by Squire Doodad; 2019-07-02 at 08:25 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    But being able to predict some decisions ahead of time does seem like evidence against libertarian free will. Unless one seriously wants to argue "We have free will, but free will avoids doing anything that gives convincing evidence of its existence."
    Um, yes, that's my entire argument, so not sure why you're seemingly contradicting me? The example I gave was intended to show that, with thousands of people making free will decisions every moment of every day, it's just infeasible to somehow predict what will happen, any more than we can reliably predict the weather.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    The act of prophecy is what makes the prophecy true.

    There is a range of infinite possibilities for the future. And this remains the case - until the present, when it becomes known. Once it is known, then the range of possibilities collapses, into a single outcome that is now "true". Prior to that, it is simply "uncertain".

    Under typical circumstances, this outcome only becomes known in the present. The timeline becomes set once the future rolls into the present. But if one engages in prophecy or divination - when one looks forward into the future, one gains knowledge of what is to come. And so by the same mechanism, gaining knowledge of the future then sets the one "true" outcome of the future. It is thus by gaining knowledge of the future that makes it the future.

    The oracles, the prophets, and the seers are - without realizing it, without understanding it - writing the future that they are trying to foresee. They foresee an outcome - and that outcome becomes known - and thus the future is set.

    So what is the mechanism? How is the future outcome decided?

    In the present - under normal circumstances - the single "true" outcome is created by the collective decisions and acts of the living beings who experience it. Consciously or unconsciously, they build their timeline, their decisions ultimately resulting in one true outcome. The present is a construct of the decisions and acts of all. As they gain knowledge of it, they collectively create the outcome.

    Similarly, then, we can deduce that when the future is foretold, the future outcome is set by those who are gaining knowledge of it. But in the present, all beings gain knowledge of the present simultaneously. When seeing the future, only the seer and the questioner are they who are gaining knowledge of the future. And subconsciously, it is their minds which determine the outcome. As the only two minds who are gaining the knowledge of the outcome, they have great influence and power over what that outcome will be.

    Those who seek to know the future - the questioners - are necessarily anxious. Concerned. Worried. Apprehensive. Afraid. Frightened enough of the future to seek to use arcane magics to know the future.

    And it is these minds that shape the future in their acts of divination. Is it any wonder then, that prophecies and oracles in fantasy stories only seem to portend doom, disaster, death, and the greatest of worries come to life?

    When that priest of Odin foresaw a young dutiful honest dwarf bringing death and destruction - he made that future real.

    And when the gods seek to foresee if the Snarl would destroy their latest iteration of the mortal world - each time, they make those futures real.

    It is our worries and fears, amplified by the forces of magic and divination, that look forward into the future, and its range of infinite, uncertain possibilities - and selects the worst of the outcomes.



    //The preceding nonsense brought to you by stealing concepts and ideas wholesale from multiple works of sci-fi and fantasy
    "Nothing is impossible ... if it can be ... contrived."

  14. - Top - End - #164
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Just because there is a way to view the future, it doesn't mean free will is absent.

    Imagine an event. A thousand decisions detemine its outcome, and people make them on the fly continuously. I go into the futue not knowing the results of my actions and choices, making the best decisions I can. Then I see the results. If I see the results first I still have to make the best decisions I can, on the fly, to achieve the results. And so will everyone else.

    Nothing has changed. I still have to exercise free will to achieve the forseen event.

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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    The oracle knew durkon would be dead when he returned home.

    I can’t see why that should mean the oracle knew durkon would be a vampire.
    Last edited by Dion; 2019-07-05 at 12:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    {scrubbed}
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-07-13 at 10:32 AM.
    I'd just like to point out that saying that something unsupported is the case unless someone else can prove that it is not is an utter failure of logic. - Kish

  17. - Top - End - #167
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Imagine a statement about he future. A million billion possible futures may exist where that statement is true.

    Just because a statement about the future is true that doesn’t mean that only one possible future exists.

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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    I think what really happened was that the Kobold got a peek at the Giant's storyline notes.
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  19. - Top - End - #169
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwhouk View Post
    I think what really happened was that the Kobold got a peek at the Giant's storyline notes.
    The Giant tells Tiamat, and Tiamat tells The Oracle, and The Oracle tells us (through the comic).

    Which makes perfect sense to me, because not everything is predetermined. The Giant still has a thousand billion possible futures to choose from, and can even change his mind on major plot lines.

    The statements conveyed from The Giant to Tiamat to The Oracle to us just have to be technically true in the end, somehow.

  20. - Top - End - #170
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    The Giant tells Tiamat, and Tiamat tells The Oracle, and The Oracle tells us (through the comic).
    In that case, the Oracle absolutely knew that Durkon was going to be a vampire.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-07-06 at 10:41 AM.
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  21. - Top - End - #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    In that case, the Oracle absolutely knew that Durkon was going to be a vampire.
    How so? Just because the Giant knew, doesn't mean he told Tiamat or that Tiamat told the oracle.
    Last edited by Doug Lampert; 2019-07-06 at 11:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    In that case, the Oracle absolutely knew that Durkon was going to be a vampire.
    And the problem with that is...?

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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    And the problem with that is...?
    Nothing whatsoever.
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    In that case, the Oracle absolutely knew that Durkon was going to be a vampire.
    That’s... actually pretty cool.

    It helps answer a question I’ve had for a while of “what is ACTUALLY pre-determined in OotS”.

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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    That’s... actually pretty cool.

    It helps answer a question I’ve had for a while of “what is ACTUALLY pre-determined in OotS”.
    Yeah. Burlew holds his cards for a long time, I wouldn't be surprised if you told me "Julio was originally introduced with the idea that he was involved with Elan's dad". Still, the idea that Durkon's plot has been determined by a single pun, and that there's a story and character (and more, of course, but more indirectly) that is created for the sole purpose of fulfilling that goal? That is impressive.
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Libertarian free will only seems to require that our intentions be uncaused, not that our actions be uncaused, so it's compatible with our intentions causing our actions.
    To expand on this point:

    One might think that the only way in which our intentions can be free is for them to be random or semi-random. Sure, we can look at whether our actions are determined by our intentions, but the only question with regard to our intentions themselves is whether they're undetermined. Right?

    Well, no. Just like how we can look at whether our actions are determined by our intentions, we can look at whether our intentions are determined by our intentions. We often intend for ourselves to have certain intentions later on, don't we? And if someone currently intends as they intended to intend, then their intentions are free in just the same way in which their actions are free when they act as they intended to act.

    Gandhi wants not to commit murder. As a result of this desire, he also wants his mind not to change such that he wants to commit murder, as then he might murder someone, which he wants not to do. Gandhi's mind may be more "free" in a metaphysical sense if it has the potential to rebel against itself and spontaneously decide to murder someone, but such potential certainly seems to reduce Gandhi's agency.

    The kicker here is that some people apparently prefer that their intentions be quasi-randomized. So for them, that randomization does correspond to more agency! But not because one's intentions being more of a crapshoot generally grants people more agency or constitutes freedom in any generally desirable sense. Rather, it's because we're more free when our minds behave more as we want them to, and for whatever reason, they want their minds to be randomized at least a little.

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Um, yes, that's my entire argument, so not sure why you're seemingly contradicting me?
    I'm not even sure what you mean by "that" at this point. If you mean that libertarian free will is a jealous phenomenon, then I'm arguing that jealous phenomena are, in general, not real, and there doesn't seem to be any good reason to think that this is an exception.

    If, on the other hand, "that" is meant to refer to my argument that libertarian free will isn't real, then in what way do I seem to be contradicting you?

    If I come off as weirdly trying to disagree with you despite not contradicting anything you say, you're not just imagining that. And the reason for it is that you came off as weirdly trying to disagree with Fyraltari despite not contradicting anything that he said. My implied disagreement was with your implied disagreement. If you disagree with Fyraltari for some unstated reason, what is that reason? If you don't disagree with him, then why is your reply phrased like an attempted rebuttal?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Of course! Whatever the author wants to have happen, will be exactly what happens.

    On a more serious note, here’s my personal head canon for any fictional universe with “true” prophecies which are otherwise unexplained:

    The fictional universe is not deterministic, and are an infinite uncountable set of possible futures. But the fictional setting also has “strange attractor statements”, which are statements that converge to true in all (or most) futures.

    In other words, there might be a billion billion billion different ways that prophecy might be true. And for most of them, people might say, “huh! I guess that, given that specific wording, that prophecy did technically turn out to be a true statement after all. That’s ironic!”

    There’s no way to know *how* a prophecy becomes true, and the characters in the story still have a huge amount of freedom to choose their future. But regardless of what path is chosen, the prophecy (usually) comes true (somehow).

    Unless the author explains different, I just figure that for whatever reason, the physical laws of a particular fictional universe are setup to make these hypothetical strange attractors exist, and to give some entities the ability to perceive them. But they don’t actually predict the future in a meaningful way.
    This is how I rationalize it as well.

    In a setting of mine, the Fates can't brute force the future into a specific path, but they can see every possible future, and thus only make a prophecy if it comes true in every possible future in which the prophecy is made (since the very act of revealing it to the world changes the future and can influence its completion, in an Oedipus Rex fashion).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish View Post
    If the Oracle were omniscient, he wouldn’t always be in the shower when visitors arrive.
    Just because people have schedules doesn’t mean they can stick to them
    He can know they are turning up at 10 am and decide to shower and get freshly cleaned clothes ready but take too long
    Omniscience doesn’t equal omnipotence
    With regards to other points made here
    Back to the Future - my reading of the underlying reasoning is that entity causing the change is resistant to that change as long as they allow the flow of time to create the possibility that they would still exist
    Marty changes his parents futures. In one possibility he did so in such a way they never got together and so he could have become a loop in time that is cut out of the flow and faded. What happens is he gives them a better life. This causes his brother and sister to have better outcomes. However, for this all to have happened requires a Marty who was shaped by that other timeline. Does that timeline exist still? Perhaps. But in the new timeline Marty has existed previously and seemingly with the same general personality. It would be fascinating to see how he coped with his life - there would be daily issues of memories he should have. Maybe they slowly filter through and his first life becomes a dream?
    Of course the reasoning behind all of this is simple - any time travel story requires a view point character who cannot change his being and so allows the viewer or reader to understand that changes that have been made. There are exceptions in many short stories about time travel, but in those the change is emphasised in the narrative.
    Generally the time traveller is immune to the changes to avoid paradox - the best example is doctor who where it’s all waived away by the concept of the Vortex and artron energy.
    Last edited by mjasghar; 2019-09-01 at 04:21 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #179
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Whether or not you know something, whether ahead of time or otherwise, isn't at all the same as whether it's determined by anything. Not knowing whether P equals NP doesn't mean that there's not a correct answer to "Does P = NP?" So not being able to predict all decisions ahead of time isn't evidence for libertarian free will. In other words, a universe being wholly deterministic doesn't mean that its inhabitants' actions can always be predicted. You've argued as much yourself in this very thread!

    But being able to predict some decisions ahead of time does seem like evidence against libertarian free will. Unless one seriously wants to argue "We have free will, but free will avoids doing anything that gives convincing evidence of its existence."


    But aren't Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect all about how small initial changes propagate through everything until everything is different in a totally unpredictable way? Even if Marty had only made changes to things that were somehow totally isolated from everything else, which isn't even the case, one would expect those things to be unpredictably altered. He changed what happened to his parents enough that the odds of them conceiving Marty in particular should be astronomically low.

    Determinism is insufficient to account for how things play out. There must also be destiny, which pulls things back onto their fated paths. Except that destiny doesn't apply to time travelers, or it would arrange for them not to change anything.

    And... that's pretty much it! All of the inconsistencies produced are the result of destiny trying to apply to everything else while also not applying to time travelers, even though those objectives are fundamentally at odds with one another.



    Libertarian free will only seems to require that our intentions be uncaused, not that our actions be uncaused, so it's compatible with our intentions causing our actions.


    How does the Oracle knowing more than he reveals require any more crazy or complicated of a mechanism than knowing the things that he does reveal? You seem to be basically implying that it's harder to make predictions that you don't share with others. Which... huh? Potential backwards causality means that "But he has to make the predictions before he can share them" isn't much of an objection in this context, but do you have some reason to think that giving information to others somehow makes it true in this case?


    Actually, let me go ahead and try to give an example of what I'm talking about, in the form of a dialogue:

    Spoiler: On the Merits of Substance Dualism
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    Prima: It seems to me that conscious experience must be something other than the behavior of matter. Our perceptions are plainly a different type of phenomenon than the movement of particles and the exchange of forces between them.

    Secunda: Nonsense. The concept of a philosophical zombie -- something in all ways physically identical to an ordinary person, but not conscious -- is like the concept of something in all ways physically identical to an ordinary cat, but not furry. Why should we believe the abstract quality of consciousness to be an abstraction of anything but the behavior of matter any more than the abstract quality of furriness?

    P: Ah, but the abstract concept of furriness is not contained within the cat's body, but within a mind. In order for the abstraction to apply, it must first exist. Our understanding of the physical requires the existence of the mental, because understanding itself falls into the latter category.

    S: But there is no rational basis to presuppose that the mental is not ultimately a subcategory of the physical, rather than a separate category. A philosophical zombie, behaving as it does by definition identically to a real person, can equally well write philosophy papers about consciousness. Do you really suppose that real persons write philosophy papers about consciousness that are correct by coincidence?

    P: Ah, well, that is an issue with epiphenomenalism. But epiphenomenalists are weirdos like that. The general understanding is that the soul affects the body, as well as being affected by it.

    S: If we are talking about a phenomenon that both causes and is caused by the behavior of matter, then I must wonder in what sense it can be considered to be non-physical. It seems to me that this "soul", if it exists, is no less material than gravity. What would distinguish it as apart from the physical universe? We have time and time again observed violations of the laws of physics as we had understood them; when this happens, we say that we got the laws wrong, and attempt to formulate laws that are consistent with our observations. It is difficult to imagine an observation that would instead have to be described by saying "This phenomenon is outside the laws of nature".

    P: The difference is that physical forces like gravity are inherently interactions between pieces of matter, and thus cannot exist without matter. I cannot conceive of gravity without physical objects, but I can conceive of a mind that does not interact with matter. In this and in countless other regards, mental phenomena are conceptually distinct from physical phenomena.

    S: But an event is a change, or changes, in state. If nothing has changed, then nothing has happened. "Matter", it seems to me, is what we call that which has states and experiences changes between them. We can imagine matter radically different from that with which we are familiar -- matter that is truly continuous rather than composed of fundamental particles, for instance -- but everything that happens must still happen to something. The mind must be embodied in something, even if it is not embodied in the brain. And I see no good reason to think that matter as we are familiar with it is somehow insufficient to serve as the hardware for the mind's software. It is difficult to see how I could be fully confident that it is sufficient without first understanding how consciousness works; and I do not understand how consciousness works. But, similarly, unless you have some sort of detailed model that explains consciousness, I do not see how you can rationally conclude that...

    And so on and so forth. None of this involves any appeal to any dogma. To the contrary, the interlocutors' dispute is entirely about what can be reasonably inferred from ordinary experience.



    Let me see if I've got this right: If you definitely will do everything that you will do, then you have no choice to do otherwise, and therefore no free will. Thus, you can only have free will in the present if the future is indeterminate. Is that the argument?

    If that's so, then I have to wonder... Do you think that the past is indeterminate? Or do you think that everyone now dead never exercised free will in life? After all, if they definitely did everything that they did, then they had no choice to do otherwise, and therefore no free will, right?

    The idea that there's one definitive past seems to be widely held conventional wisdom. But predestiny doesn't seem to be any more of a problem for free will than postdestiny. And how can you believe in the latter but not the former? There's no reason to think that this exact moment in time is special such that the expanse of time before it is different than the expanse of time after it, is there? Like... "The universe has had one definitive sequence of events, up until right... now! No, now! No, NOW! No, wait... right NOW!" etc. Hopefully you get the point: The phrase "the present" has referred to a different time every time that you've said it, and there's no reason to think that any particular "present" is special.

    This is the question implicitly raised by time travel into the past. That scenario prompts you to judge the past by the same standards as the future by positing the past becoming the future relative to your "personal timeline". But time travel isn't a necessary part of the question. Instead of asking "If you were to visit the past, would you not see events unfold as destined?", we can just say "Hey, didn't events unfold as destined in the past?"

    Earlier I drew a distinction between predeterminism and predestination, which I really should have explained further. See, by "predeterminism" I mean that the future is determined by -- in a sense, encoded in -- the present. By "predestination" I mean that there are non-tautological truths about the future, just like there are non-tautological truths about the present. The primary argument for this is from the law of excluded middle. E.g either I will have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow, in which case it is predestined that I shall, or I will not have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow, in which case it is predestined that I shall not. A lot of people take predestination in this sense for granted because they take the law of excluded middle for granted. And the idea that some things are going to happen is pretty compelling. After all, if instead nothing is going to happen, doesn't that mean that there is no future, and time is coming to an end right now? No, wait, now! No, wait, right n... etc. (Again.)

    But of course a dichotomy is false when based on a hidden, unnecessary assumption. The above assumes that there's either a future or no future. But there are numbers other than one and zero! Perhaps more than one possible future is real. Maybe in one of them I have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow but in another I don't. In that case, "I" effectively becomes ambiguous, because there will be more than one "me". In other words, "I will have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow" has more than one meaning, because "I" has more than one meaning. Like saying "The dog fetched the ball" when there are multiple dogs and multiple balls and nothing really picks any of them out as "the".

    And if time only branches forwards and not backwards, then there are multiple futures but only one past, and without the present being special. Because in that case, each past moment had multiple futures of its own that aren't part of your timeline, because they lie on alternate branches.

    Here's the kicker, though: If they are indeed real, then all of those alternate futures are all part of the totality of everything that will exist, so it's really just predestined that all of those different versions of events happen! And if the present determines which futures are possible, and all of those futures happen, then the present actually determines the total future too; all future events, taken together, are collectively predetermined. It's just that each future version of you only gets to experience one version of history, just like you're presently unaware of all of the alternate presents where things went differently.
    You know, if I could meet some pf those other mes, I wpuld probably attempt to severey injure them for being so lucky.
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    Default Re: Is everything pre-determined in OOTS world?

    Maybe prophecy is Dune style.

    The future is fixed at the point that a prescient individual observes it. So only things specifically observed by a prescient like the Oracle are determined and anything not so observed are still undetermined.

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