For what I understand, determinism is based on the assumption that free will is not possible.

So, I would conclude that a determinist has not the power to modify his future, and whatever decision he takes, it is just a consequence of something external to him.

So, is there any logic for a determinist to make any effort to survive? Why making any effort to study, work, earn money, protect his child, etc. if he has no power to decide?

  • Why does a determinist need "power"? She is made to do what she does by deterministic laws, including "making" efforts and decisions. Same as an indeterminist, btw, assuming that determinism is true. – Conifold Feb 22 '20 at 10:07
  • @Conifold Under such perspective you are suggesting that free will is the consequence of determinism. That does not answer my question, just nullifies the meaning of determinism. – RodolfoAP Feb 22 '20 at 10:57
  • Compatibilist free will is compatible with determinism, I do not see why it is a "consequence" of it or "nullifies" its meaning. And with it, one can do under determinism whatever one can do under libertarian free will, that excludes it, make efforts, decisions, etc. They are empirically indistinguishable, just what those things mean metaphysically is different. But there are already plenty of questions on compatibilist free will here, I do not see how this one is different. – Conifold Feb 22 '20 at 11:08
  • Compatibilism is a questionable position (you've said it); it is illogical (it seems related to creationism and religion). So, the argument here is sustaining that free will is compatible with determinism based on a quasi-religious justification... – RodolfoAP Feb 22 '20 at 17:26
  • Actually, most physicalists and atheists are compatibilists, because they think that determinism is strongly supported by physics. Dennett is a typical example. Libertarians are more common among the religiously inclined, but there are non-religious ones, like Kane. – Conifold Feb 23 '20 at 11:27

If someone is a true determinist, then they hold for some variant of eternalism, the future is no different to the present and the past, modifying it is meaningless. That does not imply they act without self-motivation or agency, the external in your question assumes they are separate from the rest of the univers, you can solve that by understanding they are as much driven toward their actions as would a ball move in compliance to the physical laws, they will to act as much as the ball wills to move, but nothing grants you the right to assume the ball is moved by an external force (except for a physical representation of the mechanic laws), you might as well believe the ball actively wills to move in accordance with the gravity force direction. In this sense, the logic to decide is the logic of existence, your Will equates your Nature exactly, no more no less.

The questions remains however: why is it possible then to imagine different natural outcomes? I would think a determinist will answer by refuting that such an act of imagination is either impossible (you could draw a penrose triangle but never actualize it) or irrelevant (before a ball moves, it might go everywhere, except it only could/will go in a specific direction);

The take-away is this: if you want to understand determinism, you've got really to understand it's deterministic, being a determinist while keeping with extra-deterministic ideas does not pan out. You could also just reject it and that's fine.

  • "if you want to understand determinism, you've got really to understand it's deterministic" or just "determinism is deterministic". This is also a compatibilist argument. – RodolfoAP Feb 22 '20 at 17:31
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    Anytime you try to reconcile free will and determinism you end-up with some form of compatibilism. – Gloserio Feb 22 '20 at 19:48
  • "If someone is a true determinist, then they hold for some variant of eternalism, the future is no different to the present and the past, modifying it is meaningless." This does not follow at all. "If I jump from the cliff, I die" is determinist. In the present I live, in the future, after jumping, I am dead. The two states are not the same. And the difference is very meaningful to me. – armand Jan 28 at 2:27

A determinist is an impossible creature. It is logically impossible to claim or believe that determinism is true.

A determinist believes in his own inability to believe anything. There is no concept of belief in determinism.

A determinist makes effort to tell others that determinism is true. There is no concept of effort in determinism.

  • Such grand general statements should be followed by either a supporting argument or a reference to one. – armand Jan 28 at 2:34
  • A claim or a belief both have two possible truth values. Determinism does not include any concept of alternative possibilities. An effort implies two possible outcomes, a success or a failure. – Pertti Ruismäki Jan 28 at 12:47

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