The deck could be stacked in many different ways, but it is not, just like our universe is already stacked in only one way. I am now very confused and that’s a sign for me to stop.
Ok to continue, join in if you wish. So the stack of cards could be stacked in many different ways but given it’s nature and the preceding and surrounding circumstances it could not. So my theory of options, which is a work in progress and has changed recently, is that the options are logical possibilities in the same way as in the card example. But to be clear none of the options that we don’t select are accessible given our nuture and our nature.
My guess is the main reason you think choosing is illusory if determinism is true, is that the other options aren’t accessible. But I think if we observe ourselves choice making it doesn’t in fact look like they are (I’ll come back to that). One question I would be interested to know your answer to, is what use would accessible options be to us? After all we must pick one and if when we are choosing one, others are accessible to us, it seems to be useless, as we are stuck with the one we pick.
There is another sense that options are possible and that is in the epistemic sense, which is given what we know about the world it could be the case that we will pick any of them. There are two reasons why the options can’t be logical possibilities alone. The first is that apparently it is logicaly possible that you could go to dinner with Marilyn Monroe tomorrow but clearly you wouldn’t consider this possibility, as you know you can’t access it from the circumstances that you are in because she is dead. Also if you knew which option you were going to pick, there would be no point in deciding between the alternatives.
So options are:
1) Logical possibilities. (I think)
2) Epistemic possibilities. (I know)
3) Not could get to those circumstances from these circumstances type possibilities unless we in fact do. (leaving out randomness) (I know)
So if we observe ourselves choosing and what we see fits with my description of options, then they may well not be illusions. Especially as I think it is 3) that is of most concern. We can observe our choice making from different angles. Firstly we can look back on the choice, when we do, does it look like the other options were accessible? It doesn’t to me, it always looks like there was something about the circumstances preventing me from picking any other option.
We can stay with the process and experience it moment by moment but then we just have one thing happening after the other and we don’t get any sensation that anything else could be happening.
Or we can look ahead to the things we could do but my claim is there is no illusion here either because we could if the ways we could is understood correctly. We could if it becomes our will to do so (logical possibility) and it becoming our will to do so is possible given what we know about the circumstances we are in. (epistemic possibility)
All it becoming our will to do so means is if it becomes the winner of the selection process. It is the winner, if our brain, as a result of the process, sends signals to our arms and legs and stuff and we act.
Thus I think we do go through a process of working out which epistemic/logically possible alternative is best and act accordingly and there is no illusion, just a muddle over what could means.