## Is a determinist necessarily a realist?

General philosophy discussions. If you are not sure where to place your thread, please post it here. Share favorite quotes, discuss philosophers, and other topics.

### Is a determinist necessarily a realist?

If a person is a determinist are they necessarily a realist?
If a determinist views every act as caused, but never experiences a necessary cause, only a sufficient cause, they're assuming an act is caused outside their experience of causation, so are determinists necessarily realists?
A realist believes in a reality independent of their experience.
Inrealtime87
Member

Posts: 53
Joined: 30 Nov 2017

### Re: Is a determinist necessarily a realist?

It depends on your brand of determinism. Causal determinism has usually been associated with realism, i.e. there is an objective physical state of affairs in which one event causes another. Hume said we couldn't really know that, but others have asserted that we can know, say, that an iceberg caused the Titanic to sink.

TheVat

Posts: 6970
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills

### Re: Is a determinist necessarily a realist?

Considering things the other way around, would a realist have to be a determinist, believing their personal experience is caused by an objective reality? Or, could a realist hold a probabilistic view? That there is a probability associated with an action sequence. But if a realist held a probabilistic view, would that mean a contradiction, since realism demands "actual" things, like something exists even if there is no experience of it? The certain something exists 100%, that is what I mean by "actual". If everything certainly exists in what the realist calls an objective reality, could they have a probabilistic view?
Inrealtime87
Member

Posts: 53
Joined: 30 Nov 2017

### Re: Is a determinist necessarily a realist?

Hi Inrealtime87,

I am a Compatibilist and accept Absolute Determinism. This issue you are looking at is a simple error where some confuse Randomness with Probability. In other words, just because some aspects of our reality have a probability nature, doesn't then lead to a strong argument that Randomness must then exist.

For example, take the decimal value for Pi as 3.14159... etc.

It is absolutely deterministic.. yet since I don't know the 50th decimal digit, I'll assume that the probability that the specific 50th digit.. is a probability of one in ten.. of being the value "5".

Inrealtime87 wrote:If everything certainly exists in what the realist calls an objective reality, could they have a probabilistic view?

I would answer that with a "Yes" as it applies to me. Just don't confuse Randomness (which doesn't actually exist) with the concepts of Probability, which really do exist all around us.

(IMHO)

Back later.. have to head out now.

Best Regards,
Dave :^)

Resident Member

Posts: 3229
Joined: 08 Sep 2010
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Blog: View Blog (2)

### Re: Is a determinist necessarily a realist?

No. Since a determinist is going against the experimental results, he is indulging in wishful thinking -- hardly what you would call a realist then. Certainly they have as much right as anyone to go beyond the limits scientific knowledge to embrace what they choose to believe. But to call this realism is nothing but hypocrisy.

To be sure, in previous centuries, I have little doubt that many did indeed consider determinism to be a sign of accepting reality. They probably considered the sacrifice of what our most basic human experience tells us to be the required payment for wearing the virtue of realism. But the truth, I think, is that this is not much different than so called Christians spending time in charity work in order to fancy themselves as being Christ-like. And if they must sacrifice a little common-sense in their patently irrational theology, then this was just part of the price to pay for being "Godly." Too often the self-serving character of what people like this did was so obvious and hypocritical that it has been enough to convince those more cynical that there is no such thing as being self-less. But once again, that is just another group bending over so far backwards to an opposite extreme that they render the distinction meaningless.

So... I am a skeptic. ...even to the extreme of being skeptical of skepticism itself. That is... I am skeptical of a extremes including that of resorting to skepticism in everything. A practical realism should acknowledge the positive role of faith as well... such as the faith with which scientists follow the methodology of science in the conviction that they will find and answer eventually. And likewise a practical realism would not dismiss the most basic human experiences in favor of some purely intellectual rhetoric.

mitchellmckain
Active Member

Posts: 1310
Joined: 27 Oct 2016