Saturday, March 21, 2009

Knowing Philosophy

Last night I saw the movie, Knowing. It offers the audience a lot to think about! Near the beginning the lead character played by Nicolas Cage is giving a lecture. He offers two main points during his lesson, Randomness and Determinism.

Let's look at the first one:


Randomness is a lack of order, purpose, cause, or predictability. Randomness as defined by Aristotle is the situation, when a choice is to be made which has no logical component by which to determine or make the choice (see Buridan's ass). A random process is a repeating process whose outcomes follow no describable deterministic pattern, but follow a probability distribution such that the relative probability of the occurrence of each outcome can be approximated or calculated. For instance, the rolling of a six-sided dice in neutral conditions may be said to produce random results in that one cannot compute before a roll what digit will be landed on, but the probability of landing on any of the six rollable digits can be calculated because of the finite cardinality of the set of possible outcomes.
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One entry found.
Main Entry: 2random
Function: adjective
Date: 1632
1 a: lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern b: made, done, or chosen at random

2 a: relating to, having, or being elements or events with definite probability of occurrence
b: being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence (random sample) ; also : characterized by procedures designed to obtain such sets or elements (random sampling)

The movie offers this in order to give the idea that everything that happens in our world has no meaning or purpose. Everything is just a series of random events that have no inherent meaning. This is the belief of the main character in the movie.

In-spite of this being his belief he does offer the opposing view:


Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences.[1] With numerous historical debates, many varieties and philosophical positions on the subject of determinism exist from traditions throughout the world.
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Determinism is a name employed by writers, especially since J. Stuart Mill, to denote the philosophical theory which holds -- in opposition to the doctrine of free will -- that all man's volitions are invariably determined by pre-existing circumstances. It may take diverse forms, some cruder, some more refined. Biological and materialistic Determinism maintains that each of our voluntary acts finds its sufficient and complete cause in the physiological conditions of the organism
Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

This view is offered to claim that things happen for a purpose and a reason. The events in this life are not just random acts, but they have real meaning. There is meaning because there is purpose behind everything that occurs.

Both concepts are far more complicated than the movie shows; it only offers a small glimpse of both concepts. The person who watches the movie should take the time to look much farther into each concept.

The movie should bring about the following questions:

Is life made up of meaningless random events?

If this is true, how to we view suffering and pain?

Is life made up of determined events that have meaning?

If this is true, how do we view suffering and pain?

If everything is determined what is our role in life?

If everything in this life is determined, who determines it?

A Christian perspective on this can be found in these words:

1689 London Baptist Confession

God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.
Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 6:17; Romans 9:15, 18; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; Acts 4:27, 28; John 19:11; Numbers 23:19; Ephesians 1:3-5

Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
Acts 15:18; Romans 9:11, 13, 16, 18

Bookmark and Share
> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:42 AM   5 comments links to this post


At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who determines randomness?

Or who determines what is random and what is not?

Is randomness determined?

Can what appears random to one mind be determined by another mind which has greater knowledge?

The mind that determines something is random simply does not have enough knowledge to know it was determined.

To call something random is admission of ignorance of greater determining causes at work.

Is Determinism the same as Fate or Destiny?

Is Fatalism the same as Predestination? How might they be different?

How Sovereign is God? What is the extent of his control?

If God can do anything, does that imply he does?

Can God control every single molecule of oxygen in the air to determine where it goes and when it goes? If so, does he do this?

Does the butterfly that flaps its wings really cause a chain recation across the world starting with the air its wings move as the initial cause?

What casued the butterfly to move its wings in that way?

What caused the butterfly to be in that particvaular spot at that particular time? Random chance?

Is the first cause of everything random chance, from which then all effects are determined?

Can the first cause be determined?

Can the first cause be the ultiamte determiner?

If there's an effect, there's a cause. If there's a cause, there's a determination. If there's a determination, there's a determiner. If there's a determiner, nothing is random.

Can randomness be determined?

If randomness is determined, then is it really random?

At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible that there are no coincidences? What is providence?

Is spontenaity random or determined for lack of prior planning?

Is there order in the universe? Is there randomness?

Is order necessary? Is order good?

If order is not needed, then why is there any order at all?

If order is needed, then why is there any randomness at all?

Can randomness truly exist in a universe built on order?

Is randomness truly a lack of order, or is it only an apparent lack of order?

Is not a paradox an apparent contradiction and not an actual contradiction?

At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is order determined? Is order and determination the same?

Is order a sign of determination?

The 2nd law of Thermodynamics states that all things tend towards destruction? Is destruction chaos? Is destruction random? Or is even destruction determined?

Can chaos be determined?

Can chaos be determined to take place?

Can the chaos then be randomness?

Can randomness always result finally in the same thing? If so, then is not that even a sign of determination?

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Philosophy has no answers, only questions.

Is that true?

No. Yes.

Are those answers?


Then philosophy does have answers.

But which ones are true?

At 2:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is only one answer to it . .


There is only one book that has it all ........

"Quran" .... The word of God which could never change .Not one single alphabet has changed since ever and cannot be changed... hence 'The Truth' !


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home