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Thread: If every action had a random response...

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    Member Phil P's Avatar
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    If every action had a random response...

    Would you act?

    This thought came to me when we were discussing spontaneous order in Econ. The reason we have spontaneous order is that actions have predictable responses and we operate in a predictable manner to those responses. Therefore, we have spontaneous orders everywhere.

    And if we look at the opposite, that actions could produce random results, then there would be no action.
    What do you think, does this idea of spontaneous order everywhere hold water?
    "I'm so cool" - Carl Sagan

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    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    See also: causality.

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    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    I would just masturbate all the time. The possibilities would be endless.

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    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
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    "Not doing anything" is an action too so I think I would just sit somewhere and see what interesting things happen to me.

    Does this affect "interior" actions too? I'm picturing Dr. Strangelove's arm, lol.
    "Better not to feel too much until the crisis ends—and if it never ends, at least we’ll have suffered a little less, developed a useful dullness...The constant—and very real—fear of being hurt, the fear of death, of intolerable loss, or even of “mere” humiliation, leads each of us, the citizens and prisoners of the conflict, to dampen our own vitality, our emotional and intellectual range, and to cloak ourselves in more and more protective layers until we suffocate." - Toni Morrison

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    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Perhaps all is spontaneously happening of its own, and we merely project upon it that there is order by inferring that instances are connected somehow...

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    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    Perhaps all is spontaneously happening of its own, and we merely project upon it that there is order by inferring that instances are connected somehow...
    reminds me of one of my favorite quotes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Joan Didion
    We tell ourselves stories in order to live...We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the "ideas" with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.
    "Better not to feel too much until the crisis ends—and if it never ends, at least we’ll have suffered a little less, developed a useful dullness...The constant—and very real—fear of being hurt, the fear of death, of intolerable loss, or even of “mere” humiliation, leads each of us, the citizens and prisoners of the conflict, to dampen our own vitality, our emotional and intellectual range, and to cloak ourselves in more and more protective layers until we suffocate." - Toni Morrison

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    Member El D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
    And if we look at the opposite, that actions could produce random results, then there would be no action.
    This doesnt seem to be a valid inference from the former. Are you saying that actions would always produce random results so no one would be motivated to do anything? I'm lost I think.

  8. #8
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    random is a very loaded word.

    See:


    Indeterminism produces its own form of order. And there is not any one type of randomness or indeterminism.

    Oh sure you might say, that's the normal distribution, but what if everything were uniformally probabilistic? Well, uniformity is, I would say, quite orderly...

    Order can still form out of indeterminate processes. Indeed half of my old work was explicitly taking advantage of that fact...

  9. #9
    Member Phil P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    Perhaps all is spontaneously happening of its own, and we merely project upon it that there is order by inferring that instances are connected somehow...
    This would boil down to an espistemological question of how do we know what we know, correct?
    Quote Originally Posted by El D. View Post
    This doesn't seem to be a valid inference from the former. Are you saying that actions would always produce random results so no one would be motivated to do anything? I'm lost I think.
    Quote Originally Posted by ACow View Post
    random is a very loaded word.

    See:


    Indeterminism produces its own form of order. And there is not any one type of randomness or indeterminism.

    Oh sure you might say, that's the normal distribution, but what if everything were uniformally probabilistic? Well, uniformity is, I would say, quite orderly...

    Order can still form out of indeterminate processes. Indeed half of my old work was explicitly taking advantage of that fact...
    Well, indeterminism only gets its order because there is an existing determined orders on which to fall back upon. Correct? So X --> Y or Z, and Y --> ? and Z --> X. There is an order with indeterminism, but if we have just X --> ?, and X encompasses every
    possible action, then what order can we have? I was assuming random to mean that there is no distribution model to fit a set of events.
    "I'm so cool" - Carl Sagan

  10. #10
    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
    Would you act?
    I think by definition, I couldn't even exist. I certainly couldn't without order of physical laws. That notwithstanding (say the physical laws which govern the universe persist), biological creatures need actions with predictable responses to live.

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