Browsing by Subject "determinism"

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  • Pernu, Tuomas K. (2017)
    A thoroughly physical view on reality and our common sense view on agency and free will seem to be in a direct conflict with each other: if everything that happens is determined by prior physical events, so too are all our actions and conscious decisions; you have no choice but to do what you are destined to do. Although this way of thinking has intuitive appeal, and a long history, it has recently began to gain critical attention. A number of arguments have been raised in defense of the idea that our will could be genuinely free even if the universe is governed by deterministic laws of physics. Determinism and free will have been argued to be compatible before, of course, but these recent arguments seem to take a new step in that they are relying on a more profound and concrete view on the central elements of the issue, the fundamental laws of physics and the nature of causal explanation in particular. The basic idea of this approach is reviewed in here, and it is shown how a careful analysis of physics and causal explanation can indeed enhance our understanding of the issue. Although it cannot be concluded that the problem of free will would now be completely solved ( or dissolved), it is clear that these recent developments can bring significant advancement to the debate.
  • Vilmi, Annika; Gibert, Corentin; Escarguel, Gilles; Happonen, Konsta; Heino, Jani; Jamoneau, Aurelien; Passy, Sophia I.; Picazo, Felix; Soininen, Janne; Tison-Rosebery, Juliette; Wang, Jianjun (2021)
    Patterns in community composition are scale-dependent and generally difficult to distinguish. Therefore, quantifying the main assembly processes in various systems and across different datasets has remained challenging. Building on the PER-SIMPER method, we propose a new metric, the dispersal-niche continuum index (DNCI), which estimates whether dispersal or niche processes dominate community assembly and facilitates the comparisons of processes among datasets. The DNCI was tested for robustness using simulations and applied to observational datasets comprising organismal groups with different trophic level and dispersal potential. Based on the robustness tests, the DNCI discriminated the respective contribution of niche and dispersal processes in pairwise comparisons of site groups with less than 40% and 30% differences in their taxa and site numbers, respectively. In the observational datasets, the DNCI suggested that dispersal rather than niche assembly was the dominant assembly process which, however, varied in intensity among organismal groups and study contexts, including spatial scale and ecosystem types. The proposed DNCI measures the relative strength of community assembly processes in a way that is simple, easily quantifiable and comparable across datasets. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the DNCI and provide perspectives for future research.
  • Elzein, Nadine; Pernu, Tuomas K. (2017)
    Supervenient libertarianism maintains that indeterminism may exist at a supervening agency level, consistent with determinism at a subvening physical level. It seems as if this approach has the potential to break the longstanding deadlock in the free will debate, since it concedes to the traditional incompatibilist that agents can only do otherwise if they can do so in their actual circumstances, holding the past and the laws constant, while nonetheless arguing that this ability is compatible with physical determinism. However, we argue that supervenient libertarianism faces some serious problems, and that it fails to break us free from this deadlock within the free will debate.
  • Paukkonen, Ville Erkki Juhana (2005)
    I argue that technological determinism is one of the most important philosophical theories of technology and thus should be studied in length. Traditionally technological determinism is conceived as a doctrine included by technological autonomy or vice versa. However, we should make a distinction between these two claims about technology; I defend a specific version of technological determinism but reject technological autonomy. The question of technological determinism is whether technology is one of the prime movers of society or not. To get a clear picture of the concept of technological impact, we should look into a general philosophical discussion of determinism. The traditional metaphor of determinism has been a Laplacean determinism which sees the world as great clockwork which makes it possible to predict any future state from the sufficient knowledge of present state. This makes free will impossible. However, we may take a compatibilist view on determinism, and maintain that things are both caused and still humans have free will. In relation to technological determinism this means that there is no contradiction in saying that technology changes culture, but we may still have some powers to influence technology. Our idea of technology also affects our understanding of technological determinism. That is why I explicate Jacques Ellul’s theory of characterologies of technology and criticize them by using Andrew Feenberg’s theory of instrumentalisation. Thus I hope to reach a coherent view of essential features of technology which I shall call modified technological essentialism. Traditional understanding of technological determinism has overemphasized the role of instrumental rationality as a threat to traditional human values. Although technology may diminish some old values it necessarily creates new ones. This is why the characterisation of technology is so important for our understanding of technological determinism; the question whether technology is neutral or value-laden determines our understanding of technology’s impact on society. From this viewpoint technological voluntarism, belief that technology is essentially neutral collection of instruments to whatever ends we may pursue, is the directly opposite view on technological determinism.