Lack of Freewill doesn't mean lack of choice

The truth of the lack of free will is not in conflict with the concept, the necessity of choice. Rather, it is because of this absence of free will that we are bound by this necessity.

Great opening sentence! Now let’s have the rest of the paragraph.

Welcome to the Dope. :wave:t4:

Sure, but this sounds like a fancy way of talking about Hobbesian Choices, choices that aren’t in fact actually choices at all.

“Evacuate this burning building now or else be burned.”

No, there is functionally and experientially no difference in a choice made by a free and autonomous agency that can choose to eschew the dilemma of choice (which of course is itself a choice) altogether and a choice made by a nearly impossible to ascertain combination of factors that renders the person unable to escape the necessity to make the choice. Goddamn, that was bloviating and horribly verbose and bordering on incomprehensible. Let me try to clarify.

Simply put, the absence of free will doesn’t take away the true choice, it simply doesn’t allow the choice not to be grappled with and ultimately made.

I think I kind of, kind of get what you mean here. It might be a lot clearer if you gave a few examples of how this choice/no-free-will thing works in real life. Can you give us a few hypothetical (or even real life) cases of how lack of free will doesn’t take away choice?

Seems to me you have two choices in the matter:

  • determinism
  • probabilism

And you’re severely limited in the latter.

By lack of choice, are you talking about a deterministic universe or something else?

Am I right in interpreting this as some variant on saying that free will comes in degrees? In other words, freedom of choice isn’t an absolute thing, and that you can have varying degrees of free will as a result?

It’s deterministic but not in the way most typically discussed. At least in low-level discussions about free will and the lack thereof. Now these have been, until this thread, just my short-lived thoughts on the matter. This is the first time they’ve been recorded outside my head. So these ideas are very rough and fluid and probably leading to dead ends. But the thoughts have excited me so I want to expand upon them and see where they lead.

Yes, it’s a form of Determinism but here it’s the nature of the Determined that is more complicated. What is determined for us is that we have no choice but to make choices. That makes perfect sense in my head, is it not translating here? Someone mentioned Probabilism, I’m sorry I’m not well versed in these philosophical tomes. Is that in any way similar to what I’m trying to articulate?

It seems that this idea is a form of Determinism that incorporates non-deterministic elements. I know enough not to say in-deterministic because that refers to chance and that’s not at play here. So what is Probabilism?

Is this what Rush meant by “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”?

Seriously, I think what the OP is saying is, you can choose whether to have eggs or pancakes or skip breakfast altogether, but it doesn’t change the ultimate fact that you have no true free will. Right…?

I just posted a fairly long post and an automated mod hid it? Huh? What’s that about? I think it would answer your question somewhat.

No, you cannot choose not to decide. You can choose but you are predetermined to make a choice and cannot escape that fate. But what way you choose, in the choice you must make, is not predetermined

And wtf is Rush? Limbaugh is taking up some heady stuff these days. Wow

That’s funny, my wife tells me I avoid important decisions all the time. Of course, then she gives me the ultimatum you just did, so maybe you’re right.

Not sure if I’m being whooshed, but just in case, I was referring to this Rush, and this song…

Yeah, the other Rush isn’t making taking up heady stuff or making choices these days…

It seems to me that it all depends on how you define “choice” and/or “free will.”

Yes I agree. I think I’ve defined choice decently haven’t I,? How would you define free will?

Bad joke. It was an “y’all old” joke. I know Rush

I disagree.

Alice is leaning off a balcony maybe two floors above ground, contemplating a jump. Bob is standing down below and is in a position to break her fall if she jumps.

Alice must make the decision to jump or not to jump. That much is a given, by the hypothetical. According to you, it is predetermined that Alice must make this decision but the outcome is not itself predetermined.

Bob will only have to make the decision to break her fall if Alice actually jumps. Whether Bob has to make his decision is predicated on the outcome of Alice’s decision to jump. That outcome is not predetermined (see above), therefore it is not predetermined that Bob must make a decision. But according to you, Bob is predetermined to have to make a choice.

This is a direct contradiction.


I’ve always said that we don’t have free will- but we do have a completely convincing illusion of free will.