View Single Post
  #112  
Old 08-07-2019, 06:15 PM
begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 13,267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
As I said before, you must be using an unorthodox definition of "decision". Normally it is nonsensical to talk of a person making a decision where only one option is presented. Could you elaborate on this?
A choice is a selection between multiple possible options, and when the deterministic meat robot named begbert2 is staring at those two plates, it is considering multiple possible options. The processes it uses to assess the options are deterministic, yes, and in the end a single specific outcome will be decided upon, but that outcome was chosen from among several options. And the fact that in the end only a single one of those choices was picked doesn't mean there weren't multiple options being considered and selected from.

Look at it this way: by your argument, you have never made a choice in your life. Because when you look back, you only selected one of the possible options, and that's the one you selected. That's the one option that occurred; only one outcome took place, and none of the others.

In hindsight, one outcome was inevitable, because it was the one outcome you didn't evit. (Avoid). Foresight is the same way: you look into the future, and only see one outcome. In both cases it doesn't mean that other options weren't considered and chosen from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Having stipulated that your "choices" are all pre-determined, I can only guess that you have redefined "choice". In my understanding of the word, a choice between one option only is no choice at all. It is not even a Hobson's choice. Your mental cognition could not, or should I say will not result in you eating the ghost peppers; that would be physically impossible. You do not have it in your power to eat the ghost peppers, or to eat neither. You think you can choose otherwise, but to the demon this is demonstrably false because it is physically impossible for you to "choose" anything except the strawberries. You say that is a choice, but how can it be a choice if you have not the power to effect an alternative result?

You say "if my mental math had mechanically resulted in me eating the ghost peppers", but this is moot because if the demon predicts that you will eat the strawberries, your mental math cannot result in you eating the ghost peppers.
You demonstrate awareness that "could not" and "will not" don't mean the same thing. Which is correct. And in this discussion, it's very important.

That's the subtle thing about this - free will doesn't require you to choose a different option - it only states that you have to have been able to pick a different option if you wanted to. And that still applies here - it's just that you don't want to. The scenario in question, between a desirable thing and an undesirable thing, it can occur within any model of free will. Choosing the desirable thing doesn't automatically mean you don't have free will. You only lack free will if you didn't have the ability to choose differently even if you had wanted to.

In the deterministic model, if I had wanted to eat the death peppers I could have done so. But I didn't - and that fact is observable by examining my brain state. The mind works on sensible rules - the mind, the desires of the mind, determines what it chooses. To argue that that's not the case is to say that humans are completely random, which conflicts with all evidence. Which means that we do indeed have state that determines our actions - under any non-absurd cognition model, even one involving souls.

The Demon simply has an insider line into our internal state. It doesn't change that state - if I had wanted to eat peppers, it couldn't do anything about that. But I didn't, so it saw my choice coming, based on knowing what I want, based on knowing my mental state.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I'm not bothered when you bring up predeterminism, and I am not necessarily bothered with the union of predeterminism and free will (depending on the definition of free will). I am bothered when you say predeterminism is compatible with the ability for people to make decisions or choices, because it would seem that makes a contradiction.
Again, it depends on how the predetermination works. If your actions are predetermined against your will, where an external force is manipulating your environments or even your thoughts to force you to kill your father and screw your mother, then that's incompatible with free will because it posits an external force you aren't free from. But if your fate is predetermined by your own actions and choices, as in my model, then that's not an abrogation of free will - that's you making your own bed and lying in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
A lack of appealing alternatives does not remove the apparent incohesiveness of your own philosophy. One alternative is found in dualism. Another alternative is found by rejecting free will. Yet another alternative is a rejection of free will and determinism.
And, of course, there's making a closer examination and determining that what was apparently incohesiveness, wasn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Here you are redefining "choice" to include a situation where only one path is physically impossible, or perhaps I misunderstand. How can it still be a choice if it is physically impossible to select any other option? Assuming predeterminism, I could only say he did something terrible, or that he appeared to choose to do something terrible, not that he chose to do something terrible.
But he did make choices. He made his bed and lay in it - and just because the train wreck would be predictable to a sufficiently informed outside observer doesn't mean he didn't do it himself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I don't understand you. Metaphysically you are saying that everything, everything can be determined by the previous state of the universe. That includes the murderer's state of mind. The murderer's state of mind at the moment he fires into a schoolhouse can be determined with 100% accuracy by looking at the state of the universe at the previous instant. The murderer's state of mind at the previous instant can be determined by looking at the state of the universe the instant before that. Etcetera until we reach the point where the murderer's mind exists in one instant and does not exist in the previous instant, or if you want to avoid the sorites paradox, at some point the murderer did not exist at all yet with enough information we could extrapolate exactly when and where he will shoot schoolchildren. There is no room for alternatives - our prediction, if we were as informed as Laplace's demon, would be exact.

For you to assign culpability is then to redefine culpability, because in the normal sense of the word there is no culpability when one has no power to effect an alternative; there is no culpability if one has no choice.
Whether or not you can predict it, it's still the murder's mind making the troublesome decision calculations - the choices. It doesn't matter that he only chose one course of action in the end, or that other people's choices resulted in him being born. His choices were still his own, and he definitely still made them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Let's say you had a neurological disorder which caused you to constantly pinch and unpinch your thumb and forefinger as if you were using a television remote. This specific disorder also makes it so that your brain is essentially hotwired to consciously perform this action; you want to pinch your fingers together. I place an unarmed button-style nuclear detonator in your hand, such that it cannot be removed, and tell you not to press the button or millions of people will die. Your neurological disorder means you want to press the button anyways, so you do so. Your "decision" takes place entirely within your head. I tell you the button will be armed in one minute. One minute later some city blows up. I am obviously a monster, but I escape while you are caught by the authorities. Assuming you can prove exactly what happened, do you have any sort of culpability?

~Max
Okay, this is a response to not understanding that just because you are predictable that doesn't mean you still aren't taking your own actions. This is not a proper analogy, because in your analogy I never make any decisions that lead to the negative outcome. That very much does not apply to people who make the choice to murder on their own with their own minds.

Last edited by begbert2; 08-07-2019 at 06:16 PM.