Indeterminism: What It Is, and What It Isn’t

I want to briefly remark on the concept of indeterminism:

It is sometimes stated that we have two choices: determinism in the strict sense, or probabilistic indeterminism. This could not be further from the truth. Simply because a system is not strictly deterministic does not mean that the only other option is probability, or “lawlessness,” as some have put it. Agent causation is another option (note: it is possible to redefine and subsume agent causation under one of the two former options, but it is not necessary to do so).

That said, it seems to me that the attempt to formulate the problem in this way is not mere carelessness, but, in fact, a deliberate attempt by strict determinists to belittle their opponents. Most anti-determinists do not propose that simple probabilistic indeterminism is the right way to go, but rather endorse some form of agent causation, as mentioned above. If you can convince your audience, however, that your opponents are arguing for nothing more than “simple indeterminism” (i.e., the probabilistic form of indeterminism), then you avoid having to actually take on your opponents arguments, seemingly strengthening your own position.  It is worth noting that some of the arguments that get labeled as indeterminism in this way are actually only arguments against the strictest form of determinism.

This kind of rhetoric is highly counterproductive, and should be attacked whenever it is identified.

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