Farewell to determinism

An interesting post on why determinism is false. As someone who is not a hard determinist, I agreed with the author until toward the end when he declared that “superdeterminism” would imply that we can’t know anything about physics. I’m not a superdeterminist, but this didn’t seem to follow for me. I’m also a little suspicious of the references to free will and religion at the end.

The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics comes up in the comments, and some argue that this post is more epistemic (about what we can know) than ontological (about what actually is). To me, this raises the question, if the universe is epistemically indeterministic, isn’t any assertion of ontological determinism essentially just a supposition, an untestable hypothesis?

Scientia Salon

Ilc_9yr_moll4096by Marko Vojinovic


Ever since the formulation of Newton’s laws of motion (and maybe even before that), one of the popular philosophical ways of looking at the world was determinism as captured by the so-called “Clockwork Universe” metaphor [1]. This has raised countless debates about various concepts in philosophy, regarding free will, fate, religion, responsibility, morality, and so on. However, with the advent of modern science, especially quantum mechanics, determinism fell out of favor as a scientifically valid point of view. This was nicely phrased in the famous urban legend of the Einstein-Bohr dialogue:

Einstein: “God does not play dice.”

Bohr: “Stop telling God what to do with his dice.”

Despite all developments of modern science in the last century, a surprising number of laypeople (i.e., those who are not familiar with the inner workings of quantum mechanics) still appear to favor determinism over indeterminism. The point of this…

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