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Free to choose
Posted: 13 January 2009 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 166 ]
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George - 13 January 2009 02:18 PM

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.  blank stare

Ok.

Stephen

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Posted: 15 January 2009 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 167 ]
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George,

StephenLawrence - 13 January 2009 02:24 PM
George - 13 January 2009 02:18 PM

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.  blank stare

Ok.

Stephen

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.

Stephen

[ Edited: 15 January 2009 12:32 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 15 January 2009 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 168 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 January 2009 12:29 PM

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…

I don’t think we are “choosing” one. I imagine when we feel there are more that one possible answers to a question, the brain is running (mechanically) several different “races” after which only one makes it—that’s when your wife answers “I do.” If, however, we cannot make a decision, or as we say “we cannot find a solution to our problem”, we sometimes get depressed. Perhaps depression is a result of two neurons (?  confused) bumping into each other and physically hurting us (themselves), just like two cars passing through an intersection at the same time will result in an accident.

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Posted: 10 March 2009 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 169 ]
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Stephen:

“Free” choices made on a foundation that is not coerced. It would need to be established that the foundation
is built on the foundation of freedom to start. Freedom from fear,prove that they had the choice that lead to where they are now,etc.

For instance on this world a Jewish lady in a concentration camp was tricked into existence in that camp. It behooves
the authority to prove to the lady that from now on she makes her choices in a non coerced environment.

Spence

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Posted: 29 July 2012 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 170 ]
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StephenLawrence - 23 December 2006 07:32 PM

Do people here believe we are free to choose?

For the record I do as long as choose means: pick one out as the best from previously considered options.

What does free to choose mean to you?

The reason I ask is that I just read this article.

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8453850

The writer seems to think that if we don’t have free will then we are not free to choose but why?

Stephen

I understand that it is grammatically proper for me to speak of my feelings, your feelings, our feelings, etc.—all the powerful emotions. But—Some grammarian help please: Is it proper for anyone to speak of, my willings, your willings, etc? Perhaps not.

Regardless, in a series of talks that, as part of my teaching ministry, I often gave, I also, often said this: If, in relating to people today—and feel free to include your family—you felt, and still feel,  depressed, angry, whatever, let me assure you: I do not believe that you are entirely responsible for your feelings. However, let me ask you now: What about your “willings” for tomorrow? That is, what do you now intend, or will to do about this now or in the near future? IMO, I am very responsible for what I consciously will and intend to do about the way I feel, my feelings.

A lot of people said that thinking about this helped them manage their emotions.

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Posted: 29 July 2012 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 171 ]
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Hi RevLGKing,

RevLGKing - 29 July 2012 12:29 PM

However, let me ask you now: What about your “willings” for tomorrow? That is, what do you now intend, or will to do about this now or in the near future? IMO, I am very responsible for what I consciously will and intend to do about the way I feel, my feelings.

What do you mean by responsible for what you consciously will?

Stephen

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Posted: 29 July 2012 08:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 172 ]
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StephenLawrence - 29 July 2012 01:00 PM

Hi RevLGKing, ... What do you mean by responsible for what you consciously will?

Stephen

I am responsible for what I purposely intend, think, say and do.

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Posted: 29 July 2012 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 173 ]
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RevLGKing - 29 July 2012 08:16 PM
StephenLawrence - 29 July 2012 01:00 PM

Hi RevLGKing, ... What do you mean by responsible for what you consciously will?

Stephen

I am responsible for what I purposely intend, think, say and do.

I should have been clearer what do you mean by responsible?

Stephen

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