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A physicist does not a philosopher make

dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 3:19:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think that goes without saying, but I came across an especially embarrassing display of ignorance which I feel needs to be exposed. It's an excerpt from an interview with Seth Lloyd, a theoretical physicist at MIT.

Here's the excerpt:

You've said that, seen in this way, the universe itself is a vast computer. If that's so, what happens to free will?

Free will is safe. Even if the universe is completely deterministic, then we (and computers, and God knows who else) possess free will. At first, the deterministic nature of the laws of physics would seem to forbid free will: No choice is available. In fact, however, the computational nature of the universe actually guarantees free will.

Let me explain. Free will arises when we make decisions - decisions that we and we alone are responsible for. For example, every morning I decide whether to have coffee or tea. The decision is mine, and mine alone. Until I make it, I have no idea whether I will have coffee or tea. My decision process is a kind of computation: I weigh the relative merits of coffee or tea, thinking about my day ahead, and then make a decision.

But exactly because the decision process is a kind of computation, the outcome of this process is intrinsically unpredictable. Why? Because any process that involves logical reasoning is intrinsically unpredictable: The result of such a process - and my eventual decision for tea or coffee - can only be determined by going through the same reasoning process oneself. Until one has actually gone through the reasoning process of making the decision, the actual decision will be unpredictable. This verbal argument can easily be made mathematically precise by restating it in terms of mathematical logic, of the sort that computers practice.

One of the most famous results of computer science is the so-called "halting problem," which states that the result of any computation is itself impossible to compute without going through the same sequence of logical steps that the computer programmed to perform the computation undergoes. Ironically, it is exactly when we are most rational and deterministic that free will shows up.

This argument is ridiculous for a number of reasons. If the universe is completely deterministic, then every state of the universe is implicit in any state, and our actions and choices are merely expressions of a system over which we have no control. Our "choices" would merely be the inevitable realization of something fixed since the beginning of the universe, and nothing more. Seth claims that free will remains intact since our actions are unpredictable beforehand. But free from prediction does not mean free in any commonly understood sense. Although it may be necessary to "go through the motions" in order to know future outcomes, that does not mean those outcomes are free. Indeed, if the universe is deterministic, they are slaves of the past. If something couldn't have been otherwise, where's the freedom? How would freedom be any different from non-freedom then? When there's only one way your life could have unfolded, "choice" is just an illusion. If the universe is deterministic, then "unpredictability" is not actually an objective feature of reality, nor does it reflect freedom on our part. It's just a consequence of our limited perspective.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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11/17/2014 4:37:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 3:19:53 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I think that goes without saying, but I came across an especially embarrassing display of ignorance which I feel needs to be exposed. It's an excerpt from an interview with Seth Lloyd, a theoretical physicist at MIT.

Here's the excerpt:

You've said that, seen in this way, the universe itself is a vast computer. If that's so, what happens to free will?

Free will is safe. Even if the universe is completely deterministic, then we (and computers, and God knows who else) possess free will. At first, the deterministic nature of the laws of physics would seem to forbid free will: No choice is available. In fact, however, the computational nature of the universe actually guarantees free will.

Let me explain. Free will arises when we make decisions - decisions that we and we alone are responsible for. For example, every morning I decide whether to have coffee or tea. The decision is mine, and mine alone. Until I make it, I have no idea whether I will have coffee or tea. My decision process is a kind of computation: I weigh the relative merits of coffee or tea, thinking about my day ahead, and then make a decision.

But exactly because the decision process is a kind of computation, the outcome of this process is intrinsically unpredictable. Why? Because any process that involves logical reasoning is intrinsically unpredictable: The result of such a process - and my eventual decision for tea or coffee - can only be determined by going through the same reasoning process oneself. Until one has actually gone through the reasoning process of making the decision, the actual decision will be unpredictable. This verbal argument can easily be made mathematically precise by restating it in terms of mathematical logic, of the sort that computers practice.

One of the most famous results of computer science is the so-called "halting problem," which states that the result of any computation is itself impossible to compute without going through the same sequence of logical steps that the computer programmed to perform the computation undergoes. Ironically, it is exactly when we are most rational and deterministic that free will shows up.

This argument is ridiculous for a number of reasons. If the universe is completely deterministic, then every state of the universe is implicit in any state, and our actions and choices are merely expressions of a system over which we have no control. Our "choices" would merely be the inevitable realization of something fixed since the beginning of the universe, and nothing more. Seth claims that free will remains intact since our actions are unpredictable beforehand. But free from prediction does not mean free in any commonly understood sense. Although it may be necessary to "go through the motions" in order to know future outcomes, that does not mean those outcomes are free. Indeed, if the universe is deterministic, they are slaves of the past. If something couldn't have been otherwise, where's the freedom? How would freedom be any different from non-freedom then? When there's only one way your life could have unfolded, "choice" is just an illusion. If the universe is deterministic, then "unpredictability" is not actually an objective feature of reality, nor does it reflect freedom on our part. It's just a consequence of our limited perspective.

Sorry but I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one.
Freedom means precisely the ability to choose without undue constraint from current or future external influence. It's not about limited perspective so much as choosing not to look inside the brain in order to determine the choice but looking only at factors external to it.
Whether the internal mechanism for choice is deterministic or random appears inconsequential (in fact, it would need to be at least partially deterministic as randomness as consideration of merits and flaws is a pretty standard part of choice)

I don't think such a position comes so much from ignorance as from a slightly different understanding as to what it means to choose.

I'd love to respond in more detail but I don't have the time right now, could you detail a bit of what you think it means to choose so I have something to work with?
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 4:39:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 4:25:12 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:12:25 PM, mortsdor wrote:
what's important is...



Quite a profound observation.

Under determinism you're not free to will what you want (not that that even makes any sense...)

but you are free to do what you will... In fact, acting to carry out your will under determinism is unavoidable.

...

so whether or not it allows for free will depends on what you mean by free will.

However, to the extent that Determinism precludes free-will.. who cares? I do what I want! :P
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,255
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11/17/2014 4:41:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 4:37:07 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 11/17/2014 3:19:53 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I think that goes without saying, but I came across an especially embarrassing display of ignorance which I feel needs to be exposed. It's an excerpt from an interview with Seth Lloyd, a theoretical physicist at MIT.

Here's the excerpt:

You've said that, seen in this way, the universe itself is a vast computer. If that's so, what happens to free will?

Free will is safe. Even if the universe is completely deterministic, then we (and computers, and God knows who else) possess free will. At first, the deterministic nature of the laws of physics would seem to forbid free will: No choice is available. In fact, however, the computational nature of the universe actually guarantees free will.

Let me explain. Free will arises when we make decisions - decisions that we and we alone are responsible for. For example, every morning I decide whether to have coffee or tea. The decision is mine, and mine alone. Until I make it, I have no idea whether I will have coffee or tea. My decision process is a kind of computation: I weigh the relative merits of coffee or tea, thinking about my day ahead, and then make a decision.

But exactly because the decision process is a kind of computation, the outcome of this process is intrinsically unpredictable. Why? Because any process that involves logical reasoning is intrinsically unpredictable: The result of such a process - and my eventual decision for tea or coffee - can only be determined by going through the same reasoning process oneself. Until one has actually gone through the reasoning process of making the decision, the actual decision will be unpredictable. This verbal argument can easily be made mathematically precise by restating it in terms of mathematical logic, of the sort that computers practice.

One of the most famous results of computer science is the so-called "halting problem," which states that the result of any computation is itself impossible to compute without going through the same sequence of logical steps that the computer programmed to perform the computation undergoes. Ironically, it is exactly when we are most rational and deterministic that free will shows up.

This argument is ridiculous for a number of reasons. If the universe is completely deterministic, then every state of the universe is implicit in any state, and our actions and choices are merely expressions of a system over which we have no control. Our "choices" would merely be the inevitable realization of something fixed since the beginning of the universe, and nothing more. Seth claims that free will remains intact since our actions are unpredictable beforehand. But free from prediction does not mean free in any commonly understood sense. Although it may be necessary to "go through the motions" in order to know future outcomes, that does not mean those outcomes are free. Indeed, if the universe is deterministic, they are slaves of the past. If something couldn't have been otherwise, where's the freedom? How would freedom be any different from non-freedom then? When there's only one way your life could have unfolded, "choice" is just an illusion. If the universe is deterministic, then "unpredictability" is not actually an objective feature of reality, nor does it reflect freedom on our part. It's just a consequence of our limited perspective.

Sorry but I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one.
Freedom means precisely the ability to choose without undue constraint from current or future external influence. It's not about limited perspective so much as choosing not to look inside the brain in order to determine the choice but looking only at factors external to it.

Please explain how our will is free if there is only one course it can take, and if that course was determined before we were born.
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 4:44:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 4:39:31 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:25:12 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:12:25 PM, mortsdor wrote:
what's important is...



Quite a profound observation.

Under determinism you're not free to will what you want (not that that even makes any sense...)

but you are free to do what you will... In fact, acting to carry out your will under determinism is unavoidable.


That's not what is meant by free will. Free will means that our will is...erm, free i.e., not determined in advance.
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 4:48:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 4:44:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:39:31 PM, mortsdor wrote:: :
you are free to do what you will... In fact, acting to carry out your will under determinism is unavoidable.



That's not what is meant by free will. Free will means that our will is...erm, free i.e., not determined in advance.

yeah, acknowledged that it can depend upon what you mean by free will...

And spoke to such a definition:

At 11/17/2014 4:39:31 PM, mortsdor wrote:
so whether or not it allows for free will depends on what you mean by free will.

However, to the extent that Determinism precludes free-will.. who cares? I do what I want! :P

dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 4:51:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 4:48:09 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:44:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:39:31 PM, mortsdor wrote:: :
you are free to do what you will... In fact, acting to carry out your will under determinism is unavoidable.



That's not what is meant by free will. Free will means that our will is...erm, free i.e., not determined in advance.

yeah, acknowledged that it can depend upon what you mean by free will...

And spoke to such a definition:

At 11/17/2014 4:39:31 PM, mortsdor wrote:
so whether or not it allows for free will depends on what you mean by free will.

However, to the extent that Determinism precludes free-will.. who cares? I do what I want! :P



There's only one reasonable definition of free will. Namely, a will that is free, where "free" is understood as "not fixed". Free will implies choice, and choice implies more than one possible outcome.
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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11/17/2014 4:59:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Wow, isn't that what I put forth in a thread a few weeks ago? I didn't know that that was an established view. Interesting.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

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mortsdor
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11/17/2014 5:01:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 4:51:17 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
There's only one reasonable definition of free will. Namely, a will that is free, where "free" is understood as "not fixed". Free will implies choice, and choice implies more than one possible outcome.

Determinism does not preclude choice...

As we all know, choosing occurs...
Determinism just means that choosing process occurs in a manner different than what you suggest.
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 5:46:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Under determinism, free will amounts to the notion that "we are free to do that which we must do/must have done." It's complete nonsense, and just goes to show that you can't have your cake and eat it too.
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 5:51:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 4:59:03 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
Wow, isn't that what I put forth in a thread a few weeks ago? I didn't know that that was an established view. Interesting.

Clearly you're a genius.
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 6:43:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 5:01:34 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:51:17 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
There's only one reasonable definition of free will. Namely, a will that is free, where "free" is understood as "not fixed". Free will implies choice, and choice implies more than one possible outcome.

Determinism does not preclude choice...

As we all know, choosing occurs...

Only at a superficial level. For instance, someone can "choose" to have vanilla instead of chocolate ice-cream, but if they choose vanilla, then choosing chocolate was never actually an option, but only appeared to be an option.

Determinism just means that choosing process occurs in a manner different than what you suggest.
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 7:17:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 6:43:16 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 5:01:34 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:51:17 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
There's only one reasonable definition of free will. Namely, a will that is free, where "free" is understood as "not fixed". Free will implies choice, and choice implies more than one possible outcome.

Determinism does not preclude choice...

As we all know, choosing occurs...


Only at a superficial level. For instance, someone can "choose" to have vanilla instead of chocolate ice-cream, but if they choose vanilla, then choosing chocolate was never actually an option, but only appeared to be an option.

Who cares if such free-floating choice exists? Who cares if such free will exists?

Choosing for Reasons exists, choosing in concert with your Will exists.

Suggesting a dis-connecting, free-floating, choice doesn't exist if determinism is true is accurate... but Who Cares?

Similarly one can say that the common conception of God doesn't have Free Will in that capacity because he can only choose what he would choose, can only choose what his Omniscient and Omnibenevolent self Would choose, since his all-perfect, all-good, all-knowing Nature would ensure his proper choice...

Who cares whether free will in such a capacity exists though?
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 7:37:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:17:27 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 6:43:16 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 5:01:34 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:51:17 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
There's only one reasonable definition of free will. Namely, a will that is free, where "free" is understood as "not fixed". Free will implies choice, and choice implies more than one possible outcome.

Determinism does not preclude choice...

As we all know, choosing occurs...


Only at a superficial level. For instance, someone can "choose" to have vanilla instead of chocolate ice-cream, but if they choose vanilla, then choosing chocolate was never actually an option, but only appeared to be an option.

Who cares if such free-floating choice exists? Who cares if such free will exists?

Choosing for Reasons exists, choosing in concert with your Will exists.

Suggesting a dis-connecting, free-floating, choice doesn't exist if determinism is true is accurate... but Who Cares?

Similarly one can say that the common conception of God doesn't have Free Will in that capacity because he can only choose what he would choose, can only choose what his Omniscient and Omnibenevolent self Would choose, since his all-perfect, all-good, all-knowing Nature would ensure his proper choice...

Since God can do what he wants - since whatever God wants he does - doing what he doesn't want would amount to "wanting what he doesn't want", which is a clear contradiction.


Who cares whether free will in such a capacity exists though?

Ah yes, the old "who cares" argument. Who cares if our will is actually free? Only the vast majority of people.
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 7:40:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:37:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Since God can do what he wants - since whatever God wants he does - doing what he doesn't want would amount to "wanting what he doesn't want", which is a clear contradiction.

Same with people.

Who cares whether free will in such a capacity exists though?

Ah yes, the old "who cares" argument. Who cares if our will is actually free? Only the vast majority of people.

Only a whole bunch of silly people? oh... well, too bad for them.
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 7:45:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:40:11 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:37:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Since God can do what he wants - since whatever God wants he does - doing what he doesn't want would amount to "wanting what he doesn't want", which is a clear contradiction.

Same with people.

But in the case of people, what we want would itself be determined by natural forces beyond our control. We'd merely be along for the ride. On the other hand, God's will is not a function of anything.


Who cares whether free will in such a capacity exists though?

Ah yes, the old "who cares" argument. Who cares if our will is actually free? Only the vast majority of people.

Only a whole bunch of silly people? oh... well, too bad for them.
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 7:47:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:45:03 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:40:11 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:37:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Since God can do what he wants - since whatever God wants he does - doing what he doesn't want would amount to "wanting what he doesn't want", which is a clear contradiction.

Same with people.


But in the case of people, what we want would itself be determined by natural forces beyond our control. We'd merely be along for the ride. On the other hand, God's will is not a function of anything.

God is not usually said to be in control of his nature.

he cannot choose to be Not all knowing, not all powerful, or not omnibenevolent...
He simply IS those things.

Those are the things that would determine his choice.
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 7:50:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:47:37 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:45:03 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:40:11 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:37:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Since God can do what he wants - since whatever God wants he does - doing what he doesn't want would amount to "wanting what he doesn't want", which is a clear contradiction.

Same with people.


But in the case of people, what we want would itself be determined by natural forces beyond our control. We'd merely be along for the ride. On the other hand, God's will is not a function of anything.

God is not usually said to be in control of his nature.

he cannot choose to be Not all knowing, not all powerful, or not omnibenevolent...
He simply IS those things.

Those are the things that would determine his choice.

They don't determine his choice, they are just logical restrictions. They determine what God's will cannot be (contradictory) but they do not determine what God's will is.
the_croftmeister
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11/17/2014 7:55:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 4:41:36 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:37:07 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
Sorry but I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one.
Freedom means precisely the ability to choose without undue constraint from current or future external influence. It's not about limited perspective so much as choosing not to look inside the brain in order to determine the choice but looking only at factors external to it.


Please explain how our will is free if there is only one course it can take, and if that course was determined before we were born.

I don't really care to continue this if you're going to ignore my questions before we've even begun to understand each other's positions. I'll repost the part of my comment that you chose to ignore for the benefit of readers (with one minor correction)

the_croftmeister wrote:
Whether the internal mechanism for choice is deterministic or random appears inconsequential (in fact, it would need to be at least partially deterministic as consideration of merits and flaws is a pretty standard part of choice)

I don't think such a position comes so much from ignorance as from a slightly different understanding as to what it means to choose.

I'd love to respond in more detail but I don't have the time right now, could you detail a bit of what you think it means to choose so I have something to work with?

I realise that you began to sketch an answer in a post to someone else (see below) so I'll respond as if that were directed at me (not now, but later when I have time). I would really appreciate some more detail though.

dylancatlow wrote:
There's only one reasonable definition of free will. Namely, a will that is free, where "free" is understood as "not fixed". Free will implies choice, and choice implies more than one possible outcome.
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 7:58:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:50:52 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:47:37 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:45:03 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:40:11 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:37:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Since God can do what he wants - since whatever God wants he does - doing what he doesn't want would amount to "wanting what he doesn't want", which is a clear contradiction.

Same with people.


But in the case of people, what we want would itself be determined by natural forces beyond our control. We'd merely be along for the ride. On the other hand, God's will is not a function of anything.

God is not usually said to be in control of his nature.

he cannot choose to be Not all knowing, not all powerful, or not omnibenevolent...
He simply IS those things.

Those are the things that would determine his choice.

They don't determine his choice, they are just logical restrictions. They determine what God's will cannot be (contradictory) but they do not determine what God's will is.

Does God not choose the best possible way of doing things?

How could he do otherwise given his nature?
He couldn't do otherwise!? His "perfect in every way" decision flows directly forth from his "perfect in every way" nature... To suggest he'd choose anything but the Best choice is beyond ludicrous... He simply Wouldn't do such a thing, because his nature is to do what's best.
the_croftmeister
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11/17/2014 8:06:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:58:59 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:50:52 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:47:37 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:45:03 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:40:11 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:37:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Since God can do what he wants - since whatever God wants he does - doing what he doesn't want would amount to "wanting what he doesn't want", which is a clear contradiction.

Same with people.


But in the case of people, what we want would itself be determined by natural forces beyond our control. We'd merely be along for the ride. On the other hand, God's will is not a function of anything.

God is not usually said to be in control of his nature.

he cannot choose to be Not all knowing, not all powerful, or not omnibenevolent...
He simply IS those things.

Those are the things that would determine his choice.

They don't determine his choice, they are just logical restrictions. They determine what God's will cannot be (contradictory) but they do not determine what God's will is.

Does God not choose the best possible way of doing things?
What if there is no such thing, just a set of ways that are no worse or better than each other, and a set of ways that are worse than all of those.

How could he do otherwise given his nature?
He couldn't do otherwise!? His "perfect in every way" decision flows directly forth from his "perfect in every way" nature... To suggest he'd choose anything but the Best choice is beyond ludicrous... He simply Wouldn't do such a thing, because his nature is to do what's best.
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 8:10:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 8:06:40 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
What if there is no such thing, just a set of ways that are no worse or better than each other, and a set of ways that are worse than all of those.ture is to do what's best.

Certainly an omniscient being would have a lot more things to consider here...

but perhaps there would be some instances in which there isn't one better answer.

- - -

HOWEVER, certainly you think there are some decisions that ARE of consequence...

So, god's only got free-will for the inconsequential ones?

Or could the All-good, all knowing god plausibly choose the Less-Good options?
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 8:12:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:55:28 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:41:36 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 4:37:07 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
Sorry but I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one.
Freedom means precisely the ability to choose without undue constraint from current or future external influence. It's not about limited perspective so much as choosing not to look inside the brain in order to determine the choice but looking only at factors external to it.


Please explain how our will is free if there is only one course it can take, and if that course was determined before we were born.

I don't really care to continue this if you're going to ignore my questions before we've even begun to understand each other's positions. I'll repost the part of my comment that you chose to ignore for the benefit of readers (with one minor correction)


I didn't ignore them, I just don't see how they support your assertion in light of my points. The idea that one is "free" when all of their "choices" couldn't have been made otherwise doesn't seem to be semantically consistent.

the_croftmeister wrote:
Whether the internal mechanism for choice is deterministic or random appears inconsequential (in fact, it would need to be at least partially deterministic as consideration of merits and flaws is a pretty standard part of choice)

I don't think such a position comes so much from ignorance as from a slightly different understanding as to what it means to choose.

I'd love to respond in more detail but I don't have the time right now, could you detail a bit of what you think it means to choose so I have something to work with?

I realise that you began to sketch an answer in a post to someone else (see below) so I'll respond as if that were directed at me (not now, but later when I have time). I would really appreciate some more detail though.

A choice is the nonrandom actualization of one potential out of many. In order for a choice to be legitimate, there can't be only one possible outcome. Otherwise, there is no "choice" involved, since you couldn't have done otherwise.
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
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11/17/2014 8:13:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
That is, regardless as to whether some options may be equivalently "good"...

some decisions of importance must be made...

God's nature causes him to choose what's best in these cases,
Therefore in these cases (the important ones) God's could NOT choose otherwise.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,255
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11/17/2014 8:15:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 7:58:59 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:50:52 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:47:37 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:45:03 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:40:11 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 7:37:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Since God can do what he wants - since whatever God wants he does - doing what he doesn't want would amount to "wanting what he doesn't want", which is a clear contradiction.

Same with people.


But in the case of people, what we want would itself be determined by natural forces beyond our control. We'd merely be along for the ride. On the other hand, God's will is not a function of anything.

God is not usually said to be in control of his nature.

he cannot choose to be Not all knowing, not all powerful, or not omnibenevolent...
He simply IS those things.

Those are the things that would determine his choice.

They don't determine his choice, they are just logical restrictions. They determine what God's will cannot be (contradictory) but they do not determine what God's will is.

Does God not choose the best possible way of doing things?

The best possible way of doing things (morality) is defined by the will of God. At least, that's the only consistent interpretation.


How could he do otherwise given his nature?
He couldn't do otherwise!? His "perfect in every way" decision flows directly forth from his "perfect in every way" nature... To suggest he'd choose anything but the Best choice is beyond ludicrous... He simply Wouldn't do such a thing, because his nature is to do what's best.
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 8:19:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 8:15:38 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
The best possible way of doing things (morality) is defined by the will of God. At least, that's the only consistent interpretation.

His will being determined by his nature.
He cannot act in opposition to his will.

How could he do otherwise given his nature?
He couldn't do otherwise!? His "perfect in every way" decision flows directly forth from his "perfect in every way" nature... To suggest he'd choose anything but the Best choice is beyond ludicrous... He simply Wouldn't do such a thing, because his nature is to do what's best.
dylancatlow
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11/17/2014 8:21:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 8:19:01 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 8:15:38 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
The best possible way of doing things (morality) is defined by the will of God. At least, that's the only consistent interpretation.

His will being determined by his nature.
He cannot act in opposition to his will.


He's free, just not free to contradict himself (as should be obvious in any case).

How could he do otherwise given his nature?
He couldn't do otherwise!? His "perfect in every way" decision flows directly forth from his "perfect in every way" nature... To suggest he'd choose anything but the Best choice is beyond ludicrous... He simply Wouldn't do such a thing, because his nature is to do what's best.
mortsdor
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11/17/2014 8:28:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/17/2014 8:21:12 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/17/2014 8:19:01 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/17/2014 8:15:38 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
The best possible way of doing things (morality) is defined by the will of God. At least, that's the only consistent interpretation.

His will being determined by his nature.
He cannot act in opposition to his will.


He's free, just not free to contradict himself (as should be obvious in any case).

When I pointed out that People are free to follow Their Will (which itself is determined), but not free to contradict their will...
{When I said, what You're now saying about God...}

You said I was using an erroneous definition of free will, and suggested that free will was linked with having genuine choices between options that were legitimately possible potential selections at the end of the choosing process.

God's nature (on issues of consequence at least) determines his will and determines his choices.