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A new alternative

hlehman's picture

In class on Thursday we discussed human behavior and decision making as random or deterministic as produced by an algorithm.  In another class I also debated this concept and my professor brought up a new alternative.  He used the term “statistical” implying that our choices are non-determinant and the best we can do is find levels of certainty around a complex process that is full of chance (in reference to evolution in general). 

I like this idea of describing our actions as statistical and non-determinant- that we cannot say if something is necessarily produced by random or deterministic algorithms, yet a weird combination of the two.  I think that it is very difficult to feel comfortable with the idea that everything we do is determined and our choices are beyond our control, so if we use this “statistical” method we can account for our actions to a certain degree and include our own random aspect. 

After reading other posts, it seems that many people are struggling with this idea and I think that the best solution is to not simply disregard the question, but think of it in a different way.  Don’t stress about how we make our choices and what is really the driving force behind our actions, but focus on the choices themselves and what we do in the present.  We do have the agency to decide- whether it is based on random motives or a deterministic process.  Right now, for example, I’m struggling with a few decisions and keep changing my mind and finding new options.  I think that in the end, however, if I concentrate on the present and how I’m truly feeling, I will be able to make a responsible and satisfying decision, “meant to be” or not. 

 

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