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Compatibilism: What's that About?

DBT

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Necessity;
Necessity is the idea that everything that has ever happened and ever will happen is necessary, and can not be otherwise. Necessity is often opposed to chance and contingency. In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.

''The No Choice Principle implies that I cannot have a choice about anything that is an unavoidable consequence of something I have no control of.''

And there you go again, cherry-picking an essay you apparently did not read. I have addressed this upthread.

You miss the point. That is the nature of necessitation within a determined system. It's entailed in the definition given by compatibilists on this forum. No deviation from the big bang and ever after means that events proceed precisely what as described in the quote.

There is no wriggle room. Stomp your feet, wail and gnash your teeth, given no possible deviation or alternate action: ''In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.''

That is the point, like it or not.

It is you who misses the point. Why don’t you address the rest of the article, which refutes the opening lines that you chery-picked? It seems strange to invoke an essay or a writer that disagrees with your position, but you’ve done that inthe past, so …

No, it's you. If necessitation is refuted, the compatibilist definition of determinism is also, by default refuted.

In other words, there is no determinism as defined by compatibilists on this forum.

And as the compatibilist claim happens to be that free will is compatible with the given definition of determinism.....which you say is refuted, you have just negated the validity of compatibilism.

To repeat, the quoted definition of necessitation is equivalent to the definition of determinism as given by Marvin and Jarhyn, ie, no deviation, all events proceed as determined/necessitated.

You don't understand that the given definition of determinism, Marvin and Jarhyn, is precisely the same as the quoted definition of necessitation, or the implications for compatibilist free will?



Necessity equates to determinism as it is defined by compatibilists.

''Necessity is the idea that everything that has ever happened and ever will happen is necessary, and can not be otherwise. Necessity is often opposed to chance and contingency. In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.

What Does Deterministic System Mean?
''A deterministic system is a system in which a given initial state or condition will always produce the same results. There is no randomness or variation in the ways that inputs get delivered as outputs.'

Which equates to this:

''However, in order for determinism to be true, it must include all events. For example, determinism cannot exclude the effects of natural forces, like volcanoes and tidal waves or a meteor hitting the Earth. Determinism cannot exclude the effects of biological organisms that transform their environments, like tree seedlings changing bare land into a forest. Determinism cannot exclude the effects of deliberate choices, like when the chef prepares me the salad that I chose for lunch. All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' Marvin Edwards.

And this; Jarhyn - ''A deterministic system is a system in which no randomness is involved in the development of future states of the system.''

Now, are you saying that these definitions are not valid because they have been refuted in the article?
 
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Jarhyn

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<Continued ignorance of can vs will>
Again, you fail at the boundary of "can" and "will", which is a conversation being had quite handily without you. Maybe actually read the posts with a mind open to the possibility of compatibilism instead of repeating your assertion fallacies and religion.

It would be helpful if you could take a hint that perhaps the side that understands things well enough to actually read whole articles and think about actual state transitions and switching structures, perhaps some folks who have actually designed and debugged large scale deterministic systems, might have a pretty good handle on "determinism"
 

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Determinism means that events will proceed naturally (as if "fixed as a matter of natural law") and reliably ("without deviation"). All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.

Among these inevitable events was my reading the restaurant menu, considering the possibility of ordering the juicy steak, but recalling that I had bacon and eggs for breakfast and a double cheeseburger for lunch. So I decided that the salad would be a better choice for dinner.

It would also be inevitable that my choice would be free of coercion and free of any undue influence. No one was pointing a gun to my head. My reasoning was not distorted by mental illness. Thus, it was a choice of my "own free will", as the notion of free will is commonly understood.

Please note that causal necessity has not changed anything. Everything happened just so.

Determinism cannot exclude the effects of our deliberate choices, choices reliably caused by our own goals and our own reasoning. That would invalidate determinism.

That is not choice.

Your conclusion does not logically follow from determinism. If we assume, as I do, that all of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time, and they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment, then we must conclude that my making the choice for myself, between the steak and the salad, would inevitably be made by me of my own free will.

There is no choice to be found. You said it yourself without realizing the implications

There is no such implication from causal necessity. Causal necessity includes me choosing to order the salad rather than the steak. If you attempt to eliminate that fact, you contradict causal necessity and your notion of determinism becomes incomplete and invalid.


How is it choice when all events proceed without deviation from the big bang and how things go ever after?

What exactly is chosen, ie, there was a possible alternative, when nothing deviates from what must necessarily happen?

Do you have a choice when the conclusion was fixed before you thought about it? If your 'choice' is chocolate ice cream as determined, not by you, but all prior states of the system, is that how choice works?

A determined action is clearly not a choice.

No event is an isolated action, there are no independent agents, everything that happens is an interaction between many events. Every cause an effect and every effect a cause. A web of causality that does not allow free will.
 

Jarhyn

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If your 'choice' is chocolate ice cream as determined, not by you, but all prior states of the system, is that how choice works
You are invoking a nonsense here. We keep pointing this out.

You are part of a prior state of the system.

As such this statement decodes, in compatibilist language, to "If your 'choice' is chocolate ice cream as determined, not by you, but by you + some other stuff, is that how choice works"

I have bolded the contradiction for you.

Marvin keeps pointing out that we are a part of the state of the system. DBT keeps ignoring that fact. Who is right? Almost certainly Marvin accounting for the fact that DBT does not seem to be able to understand or spot nonsense when he spews it.
 

Marvin Edwards

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Whenever we say that "a different action could actually be instantiated" we are logically implying circumstances that are different from what they were. So, the statement becomes nonsensical if taken literally. Taken literally it turns out like this, "a different action could actually be instantiated under the same circumstances under different circumstances".

So when you say "different actions could actually be instantiated given the same circumstances" what do you mean by "given the same circumstances"? This isn't making sense.

The "same circumstances" is referring to the broader event of causal necessity, within which the more specific event of choosing was happening. In the restaurant example, within the choosing event itself, it was logically necessary that "I can choose the steak" and "I can choose the salad" were both true, thus insuring that "I could have chosen the steak" would be true after I decided to order the salad.

The "broader" same circumstances can be seen in the thought experiment of "turning back the clock". We once again return to the beginning of the choosing operation in which "I can choose the salad" and "I can choose the steak" are once again true, resulting in "I could have chosen the steak" being true. So, "I could have chosen the steak" is once again true under the exact same circumstances.

However, the statement "I could have chosen the steak" itself is implying that circumstances would have to be different in order for "I would have chosen the steak" to be true.

I take issue with this:

Whenever we say that "a different action could actually be instantiated" we are logically implying circumstances that are different from what they were.

I agree that when we say we could have done otherwise we're implying "circumstances that are different from what they were".

However in philosophical discussions about free will, when incompatibilists talk about "could have done otherwise" (also known as PAP - the principal of alternative possibilities) they most definitely are not implying "circumstances that are different from what they were".

Failure to make this distinction clear when arguing the compatibilist case will cause confusion.

Two things: First, the PAP is satisfied by the logical fact that there are always alternative possibilities, due to the very nature of the notion of a "possibility". A possibility is something that may or may not happen. If it never happens, it remains a real possibility. The fact that it never happens does not convert it to an impossibility. It simply remains something that could have happened, but never did.

A possibility exists solely within the imagination. We cannot drive a car across the possibility of a bridge. We can only drive across an actual bridge. However, a possibility serves a real function, in that we cannot build an actual bridge without first imagining a possible bridge.

A real possibility is something that we can make real if we choose to do so. Once we've determined that it is a real possibility, the fact that we never choose to actualize it does not make it impossible. It remains an actual possibility that we simply did not choose.

Second: I agree with you that it is very difficult to shake off the figurative use of "could" in "could not have been different under the same circumstances". I find myself having to recognize and make the appropriate word change after the fact, by changing "could" to "would" (or "can" to "will').

Figuratively, we have gotten into the habit of saying "could" in place of "would", because of our tendency to think that "because it would never happen, it is AS IF it could never happen". Or, "because it will not happen, it is AS IF it cannot happen". But, like all figurative statements, they are literally false.

But in reality, "I chose the salad for dinner, even though I could have ordered the steak", is considered to be true in both its parts, and not a contradiction.

Whenever choosing happens, there will always be, by logical necessity (they are required by the operation itself) at least two real possibilities to choose from, and, by logical necessity, we will be able to choose either one. This remains true even while it is causally necessary that one of these possibilities will necessarily become the single inevitable thing that we will choose, and the other possibilities will become the inevitable other things that we could have chosen, but didn't.
 

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Necessity;
Necessity is the idea that everything that has ever happened and ever will happen is necessary, and can not be otherwise. Necessity is often opposed to chance and contingency. In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.

''The No Choice Principle implies that I cannot have a choice about anything that is an unavoidable consequence of something I have no control of.''

And there you go again, cherry-picking an essay you apparently did not read. I have addressed this upthread.

You miss the point. That is the nature of necessitation within a determined system. It's entailed in the definition given by compatibilists on this forum. No deviation from the big bang and ever after means that events proceed precisely what as described in the quote.

There is no wriggle room. Stomp your feet, wail and gnash your teeth, given no possible deviation or alternate action: ''In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.''

That is the point, like it or not.

It is you who misses the point. Why don’t you address the rest of the article, which refutes the opening lines that you chery-picked? It seems strange to invoke an essay or a writer that disagrees with your position, but you’ve done that inthe past, so …

No, it's you. If necessitation is refuted, the compatibilist definition of determinism is also, by default refuted.

In other words, there is no determinism as defined by compatibilists on this forum.

And as the compatibilist claim happens to be that free will is compatible with the given definition of determinism.....which you say is refuted, you have just negated the validity of compatibilism.

You still didn’t read the rest of the article that you cherry-picked? And yet, in this very post to which I’m responding, you cherry pick the essay again.

Let me quote from that essay (among other salient quotes) the following:

Necessity must be limited to its proper use in logic

The problem is that causal determinism does NOT imply “necessity.” That’s an unwarranted add-on of HARD determinists, not CAUSAL determinists.

Are you seriously trying to tell us that it was NECESSARY that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK on Nov. 22, 1963, because of the big bang?

Necessity applies to formal logic. It is necessary that triangles have three sides. it is necessary that bachelors are unmarried. It is necessary that two plus two equals four. And so on.

The article you cherry-picked quotes Leibniz as distinguishing between necessary necessity and contingent necessity. The latter today is also known as physical necessity or more fancily, nomic or nomological necessity. The philosopher whom I’ve quoted previously, Norman Swartz, argues that there is no valid modal category of nomological necessity.

The article that you cherry-picked goes on to state that “…some future events that are possible do not occur by necessity from past external factors alone, but might depend on us. We have a choice to assent or not assent to an action.”

As as been argued forever now, the fact that I WILL do x, given antecedents a, b, and c, does not mean that I MUST do x, only that I WILL do x. That’s it, full stop. To confuse WILL and MUST is a modal fallacy, as I’ve explained umpteen times to no discernible effect.
 

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How is it choice when all events proceed without deviation from the big bang and how things go ever after?

You're hanging onto the figurative sense. Your argument is based upon the notion that "if the choice was inevitable since the big bang, then it is AS IF choosing never really happened".

The problem is that every figurative statement is literally false. Choosing is something that people actually do in the real world. We observe ourselves and others making choices all the time. Making choices is an indisputable event actually happening in physical reality. So, the claim that it does not exist is objectively false.

The correct analysis of causal necessity as it applies to choosing is that it is inevitable that people will be making choices and the most meaningful and relevant causes of those choices are the person's own thoughts and feelings. We assume that these thoughts and feelings will themselves be reliably caused by prior events. But as we trace back through the prior causes, they become less relevant and more incidental. The most direct cause of a deliberate action is the act of deliberation that precedes it.

A determined action is clearly not a choice.

A choice is still a choice (the output of a person's choosing operation), even though it was an inevitable choice. So, clearly, an action determined by choosing is still a choice.

No event is an isolated action, there are no independent agents, everything that happens is an interaction between many events. Every cause an effect and every effect a cause. A web of causality that does not allow free will.

The web of causality apparently does allow choosing to happen, because we see it every day. And when that choosing is free of coercion and undue influence, then it is considered to be freely chosen, a voluntary choice, an unforced choice, a choice of "one's own free will". There is no requirement that it be free of ordinary influences, free from causation, free from one's own brain, or free from anything else. Free will only requires freedom from coercion and undue influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.
 

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Whenever we say that "a different action could actually be instantiated" we are logically implying circumstances that are different from what they were. So, the statement becomes nonsensical if taken literally. Taken literally it turns out like this, "a different action could actually be instantiated under the same circumstances under different circumstances".

So when you say "different actions could actually be instantiated given the same circumstances" what do you mean by "given the same circumstances"? This isn't making sense.

The "same circumstances" is referring to the broader event of causal necessity, within which the more specific event of choosing was happening.

So by "same circumstances" you mean different circumstances.

This is a little frustrating. In the post (#2,867) that started this current sub-discussion. I specifically used the phrase "the ability to do otherwise given exactly the same circumstances" (my point was that this was an unreasonable requirement of incompatibilism). Following that post both you and pood disagreed with my objection. Although it now seems what you really meant was that we could do otherwise in the same circumstances but not exactly the same circumstances.
 

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I’ve stated this before but will now summarize.

There are various forms of determinism, and for each form it has been claimed that free will is ruled out. All of the claims run afoul of the modal fallacy.

Epistemic determinism is the claim that if there is an omniscient entity, such as god, who has infallible foreknowledge of all future contingent events, then such events cannot be contingent but are necessary, viz.:

If today it is true that tomorrow God knows you will do x, then tomorrow you must do x (no free will).

This is a modal fallacy. Here’s the corrected argument:

Necessarily (If today it is true that tomorrow God knows you will do x, then tomorrow you will [NOT MUST!] do x. If tomorrow you do y instead, then God would have foreknown THAT fact instead. (Free will restored.)

Logical determinism, also known as Aristotle’s problem of future contingents:

If today it is true that tomorrow there will be a sea battle, then tomorrow there must be a sea battle (no free will).

This is a modal fallacy. Here’s the corrected argument:

Necessarily (if today it is true that tomorrow there will be a sea battle, then tomorrow there will [NOT MUST!] be sea battle. If tomorrow there is no sea battle, then a DIFFERENT prior proposition would have been true. (Free will restored.)

Relativistic determinism, via the special and general theories of relativity:

The future exists along with the present and the past. Since the future already exists even before you “get” there, you cannot change the future. Hence what you always do, you MUST do. No free will.

This is a modal fallacy. Here’s the corrected argument:

If all you future actions are “already” true, it is because those are the things that you will [NOT MUST!] do. If you do or had done different things, then a DIFFERENT past/present/future would be true.

Causal determinism is the claim that all antecedent events entail or necessitate future events, including human acts, such that:

Given antecedents a, b, and c, I must do x.

This is a modal fallacy. Here’s the corrected argument:

Necessarily (given antecedents a, b, and c, I will [NOT MUST!] do x.) If I do y instead, than a DIFFERENT set of antecedents would have been true. (Free will restored.)

I know, DBT will be spluttering, “But, but, antecedent circumstances WEREN’T different, they COULDN’T have been different, therefore you must do what you do, yada yada. …”

But they could have been different and that is the point! They just WEREN’T different! It COULD have been the case that Hitler died in childbirth and we skip WWII and so on, but he lived and so we got WWII. All that is necessarily true in this case is that there is only ONE history; but that history is always contingent.
 

The AntiChris

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Causal determinism is the claim that all antecedent events entail or necessitate future events, including human acts, such that:

Given antecedents a, b, and c, I must do x.

This is a modal fallacy. Here’s the corrected argument:

Necessarily (given antecedents a, b, and c, I will [NOT MUST!] do x.) If I do y instead, than a DIFFERENT set of antecedents would have been true. (Free will restored.)

I know, DBT will be spluttering, “But, but, antecedent circumstances WEREN’T different, they COULDN’T have been different, therefore you must do what you do, yada yada. …”

But they could have been different and that is the point! They just WEREN’T different! It COULD have been the case that Hitler died in childbirth and we skip WWII and so on, but he lived and so we got WWII. All that is necessarily true in this case is that there is only ONE history; but that history is always contingent.
I assume this is in response to my concerns.

I'm not sure how this justifies your claim that "A subject does have the ability to do otherwise in exactly the same circumstances". What you say above is that if he does do otherwise then "a DIFFERENT set of antecedents would have been true" - it wouldn't be in exactly the same circumstances.
 

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Causal determinism is the claim that all antecedent events entail or necessitate future events, including human acts, such that:

Given antecedents a, b, and c, I must do x.

This is a modal fallacy. Here’s the corrected argument:

Necessarily (given antecedents a, b, and c, I will [NOT MUST!] do x.) If I do y instead, than a DIFFERENT set of antecedents would have been true. (Free will restored.)

I know, DBT will be spluttering, “But, but, antecedent circumstances WEREN’T different, they COULDN’T have been different, therefore you must do what you do, yada yada. …”

But they could have been different and that is the point! They just WEREN’T different! It COULD have been the case that Hitler died in childbirth and we skip WWII and so on, but he lived and so we got WWII. All that is necessarily true in this case is that there is only ONE history; but that history is always contingent.
I assume this is in response to my concerns.

I'm not sure how this justifies your claim that "A subject does have the ability to do otherwise in exactly the same circumstances". What you say above is that if he does do otherwise then "a DIFFERENT set of antecedents would have been true" - it wouldn't be in exactly the same circumstances.
Just to make sure I'm clear then, you and I are on the same page about "could" operating in the linguistic/mathematical space wherein it assumes some truth of the state which is not a given?

That it is true only of the presumed state, not necessarily the actual future state. This relationship to the state, the relationship of "if (X n U State) == State", is what makes it "could".

"Did" is determined by Could n when (X n U State) = State.

It is always the case that If X n U State == State, then..., Even when X n U State != State.

This is because the statement is not speaking to the current state but this other one being described.

So, I at the very least argue that "could" assumes something of the state and to do so is sensible so as to evaluate and decide of could, which one we will do; and thus we are back at free will: we stand here as the arbiter of this particular choice. We are the choice function and when that choice function fucks up, it either chooses to fix itself or someone will do some fixing upon it.
 

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So by "same circumstances" you mean different circumstances.

No. Within the same circumstances, we happen to encounter a choice that requires us to choose between two things that we can do, say A and B. By logical necessity, "I can choose A" is true. By logical necessity, "I can choose B" is also true. If we choose A, then it is true to say that "I chose A, but I could have chosen B".

"I could have chosen B" is true because it implies that under different circumstances I would have chosen B instead of A.

Within the same circumstances we can imagine different circumstances.
 

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Just to make sure I'm clear then, you and I are on the same page about "could" operating in the linguistic/mathematical space wherein it assumes some truth of the state which is not a given?...

I'm afraid I'm struggling to follow the point you're attempting to make. It doesn't help that I don't actually use the word "could" in the piece you quoted. Could you have another go but but pitched at a slightly less technical (layman's terms) level?
 

The AntiChris

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So by "same circumstances" you mean different circumstances.

No. Within the same circumstances, we happen to encounter a choice that requires us to choose between two things that we can do, say A and B. By logical necessity, "I can choose A" is true. By logical necessity, "I can choose B" is also true. If we choose A, then it is true to say that "I chose A, but I could have chosen B".

"I could have chosen B" is true because it implies that under different circumstances I would have chosen B instead of A.

Within the same circumstances we can imagine different circumstances.
You're not really addressing the points I'm attempting to make (my fault I guess).

Of course, within a set of circumstances I could choose A or B, but that identical set of circumstances will always (if determinism is true) result in the same choice - there exists no ability to do otherwise in identical circumstances. It follows therefore that different actions will never be instantiated given the same circumstances.

That we could contemplate other choices is of no interest to incompatibilists, their focus of concern is that we will always only ever make the same choice and conclude (mistakenly in my view) that we are not truly free.
 

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Of course, within a set of circumstances I could choose A or B, but that identical set of circumstances will always (if determinism is true) result in the same choice

Correct.

- there exists no ability to do otherwise in identical circumstances.

There is the "ability" to do otherwise, however you "will" not do otherwise, even though you "could".

It follows therefore that different actions will never be instantiated given the same circumstances.

Correct. You've used the word "will", which is exactly right. If you had said different actions "can" never be instantiated it would be incorrect. What "can" happen is not the same as what "will" happen.

That we could contemplate other choices is of no interest to incompatibilists, their focus of concern is that we will always only ever make the same choice and conclude (mistakenly in my view) that we are not truly free.

Contemplating other choices is the basis for words like "can", "ability", "possibility", "option", etc. If you use any one of those words we will be no longer talking about actualities, but instead about possibilities. Possibilities exist solely within the imagination (you know, that place where we contemplate things).

And a question for you: What do you mean by the term "truly free"?
 

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That parcel of BS that does nothing exactly ever
Apparently you did nothing exactly ever than either because where you see nothing happen, ostensibly because you slacked off at your job I see neurons increasing and decreasing charge potentials all over the place: I see objects doing things.

This is because you have FAILED MISERABLY in observing that every "subjective thing" is also an object. Every single one.

"Tall" is "subjective" between people: it means something different to me than you normally.

But when I define "tall", we can objectively say whether something meets that subjective definition. Because while you do not consider the thing subjectively "tall" it is unarguably "3 meters in length".

Fundamentally, we cannot say that there is an objective standard of beauty either, but we can objectively say whether something meets a subjective standard of beauty.

When we get to such precise things as "NAND gate" and "requirement" we are in fact talking about general object types which have objectively met those definitions.

This is what you seem to not want to acknowledge. That it isn't subjective that these objects have these properties.

It's just not up for subjective debate whether the dwarf feels happy. "Happy" for the dwarf is defined to semantic completeness.

What makes him happy
is arbitrary, subjective, but the happiness itself is objectively happening.
I actually earned something from the failed notion of introspection. The idea that anything subjective is something objective is ludicrous. That which is subjective is perceived by one, the same one who is receiving second hand evidence of reality by way of evolving senses. Obviously no actual realty there nor real objects. There are only second hand interpretations of only what is sensed.

You need to explain away why there are difference between reality and perceptions to dismiss differences between reality and subjectivity. Unless experiments independent of filtering by a mind are conducted there is no way to achieve such. That is why Introspection or anything involving product of mind isn't science.
 

The AntiChris

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- there exists no ability to do otherwise in identical circumstances.

There is the "ability" to do otherwise, however you "will" not do otherwise, even though you "could".

I guess this all hangs on "ability".

According to determinism a specific state of affairs (SoA) will only ever produce one outcome - that SoA has no capability (ability) to produce any other outcome. There is no possibility that it "could".

And a question for you: What do you mean by the term "truly free"?
I mean that imaginary state of affairs that exists only in the minds of some incompatibilists (such as DBT) who insist there is no freedom in a deterministic universe. What did you think I meant?
 
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Necessity;
Necessity is the idea that everything that has ever happened and ever will happen is necessary, and can not be otherwise. Necessity is often opposed to chance and contingency. In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.

''The No Choice Principle implies that I cannot have a choice about anything that is an unavoidable consequence of something I have no control of.''

And there you go again, cherry-picking an essay you apparently did not read. I have addressed this upthread.

You miss the point. That is the nature of necessitation within a determined system. It's entailed in the definition given by compatibilists on this forum. No deviation from the big bang and ever after means that events proceed precisely what as described in the quote.

There is no wriggle room. Stomp your feet, wail and gnash your teeth, given no possible deviation or alternate action: ''In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated.''

That is the point, like it or not.

It is you who misses the point. Why don’t you address the rest of the article, which refutes the opening lines that you chery-picked? It seems strange to invoke an essay or a writer that disagrees with your position, but you’ve done that inthe past, so …

No, it's you. If necessitation is refuted, the compatibilist definition of determinism is also, by default refuted.

In other words, there is no determinism as defined by compatibilists on this forum.

And as the compatibilist claim happens to be that free will is compatible with the given definition of determinism.....which you say is refuted, you have just negated the validity of compatibilism.

You still didn’t read the rest of the article that you cherry-picked? And yet, in this very post to which I’m responding, you cherry pick the essay again.

Let me quote from that essay (among other salient quotes) the following:

Necessity must be limited to its proper use in logic

The problem is that causal determinism does NOT imply “necessity.” That’s an unwarranted add-on of HARD determinists, not CAUSAL determinists.

Are you seriously trying to tell us that it was NECESSARY that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK on Nov. 22, 1963, because of the big bang?

That is precisely what the definition of determinism that Marvin gave states and entails. Also entailed in Jarhyn's.

Have you not read it?

I have quoted it numerous times. Perhaps you don't understand it or its implications.

Here it is again; ''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.

Do you see the bit where he states that events ''proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.''

Do you understand the implications of this claim? And that it's not just me saying it?

Do you understand the implications of all events proceeding without deviation from the big bang to this moment?

That if all events proceed without deviation from the big bang to this moment without deviation, the big bang is time t and the way things go ever after are fixed by natural law.

Plus, as explained numerous times, the terms hard determinism and soft determinism refers to free will, not the given definition of determinism, which stands as given.




Necessity applies to formal logic. It is necessary that triangles have three sides. it is necessary that bachelors are unmarried. It is necessary that two plus two equals four. And so on.

The article you cherry-picked quotes Leibniz as distinguishing between necessary necessity and contingent necessity. The latter today is also known as physical necessity or more fancily, nomic or nomological necessity. The philosopher whom I’ve quoted previously, Norman Swartz, argues that there is no valid modal category of nomological necessity.

The article that you cherry-picked goes on to state that “…some future events that are possible do not occur by necessity from past external factors alone, but might depend on us. We have a choice to assent or not assent to an action.”

As as been argued forever now, the fact that I WILL do x, given antecedents a, b, and c, does not mean that I MUST do x, only that I WILL do x. That’s it, full stop. To confuse WILL and MUST is a modal fallacy, as I’ve explained umpteen times to no discernible effect.


You miss the point. If all events proceed without deviation from the big bang to this point, as defined by compatibilists, everything that happens, happens necessarily. Without deviation means that every incremental state of the world is entailed by its prior state and id just as fixed as triangles having three sides and two plus two equals four.

The problem here is that you have not grasped the nature and significance of determinism, not according to what I say, but what is entailed in the given definition.

''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.

I did not cherry pick the article. The quote simply represents the given definition of determinism; no deviation, all events entailed by the prior state of the system, no choice, no alternate action....like three sides to a triangle and two plus two equals four....


Necessitation;
''Determinism is an example: it alleges that all the seeming irregularities and spontaneities in the world are haunted by an omnipresent system of strict necessitation.'' - J. W. N. Watkins, "Between Analytic and Empirical," Philosophy, vol. 32, no. 121, p. 114:
 
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DBT

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How is it choice when all events proceed without deviation from the big bang and how things go ever after?

You're hanging onto the figurative sense. Your argument is based upon the notion that "if the choice was inevitable since the big bang, then it is AS IF choosing never really happened".

It's not figurative. If determinism is true, as you yourself define it, it is literal and objective.
There is no 'as if' - there are literally, objectively, no alternate actions.

That is what 'no deviation' entails. If there is some deviation, chosen or not, your definition is false.

The problem is that every figurative statement is literally false. Choosing is something that people actually do in the real world. We observe ourselves and others making choices all the time. Making choices is an indisputable event actually happening in physical reality. So, the claim that it does not exist is objectively false.

Again, if the world is determined, that events proceed without deviation from the big bang to the present moment and beyond, what we see are people acting out their determined actions.

We are no privy to the underlying casual activity which is the evolving state of the system, prior state to current state to future state, what we see are the inevitable actions of the process of - ''these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.
 

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The idea that anything subjective is something objective is ludicrous
Ah, so you then believe "a painting of a pipe" (subjective) is not also a piece of canvas with various materials applied to it stretched over a square frame of wood with several square frames of cardboard laid atop it, a pane of glass laid upon that, and a wooden frame assembled around all of it with a wire across the back?

You deny this is the case?

Again FDI loudly proclaiming that objects aren't objects.
 

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DBT, don’t you find it ludicrous to quote Marvin Edwards, who is a compatibilist like me and disagrees with you? Why do you quote so many people, inlcluding links offsite, who don’t actually agree with your position?

I’ll attend to the rest of your stuff later, but in the meantime I suggest you cut the condesencsion, which at this point borders on trolling. The fact of the matter is I know far more about all this stuff than you do, whether you like it or not.
 

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I guess this all hangs on "ability".

According to determinism a specific state of affairs (SoA) will only ever produce one outcome - that SoA has no capability (ability) to produce any other outcome. There is no possibility that it "could".
So I've been trying to simplify my language for a while, and I will admit, it is HARD because this is a very hard thing to communicate concisely:

"Could", for me and for most, does not operate in the context of "Actual state of affairs".

First we take all the "regular laws" of the universe and keep them.

Then, we take all the state of the universe, copy that, and assume something of it. I will call this "image" of the state of affairs StateB.

So, in a lot more words than normal "could" is "in this moment he will IF the SoA is StateB."

Let's assume that this is not the case for the sake of discussion, that SoA is not StateB.

It is a TRUE statement that "in this moment he will IF the SoA is StateB."

It will always a true statement. It will have always have been a true statement. This is because the statement does not say anything about the actuality of the SoA being StateB, it only discusses IF it were. It will always have been true that he "could".

What will not be true is that SoA is StateB, and thus while he could, he will not.
 

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That is precisely what the definition of determinism that Marvin gave states and entails. Also entailed in Jarhyn's.

Have you not read it?

I have quoted it numerous times. Perhaps you don't understand it or its implications.

Here it is again; ''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.

Do you see the bit where he states that events ''proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.''

Do you understand the implications of this claim? And that it's not just me saying it?

DBT,

You ask me this question, and it boggles the mind. My irony meter doth explode.

Have YOU read, what I have written on this subject? Most recently, for chrissake, just upthread — I refer you to my posts numbered 2,956 and 2,959. Astonishingly, here you quote from that first post, which, along with the second post, gives you the answer to the question you are now so ludicrously asking!

Is that you are deliberately obtuse, or just have reading comprehension difficulties? In the spirit of charity I will assume the latter, and in so doing condescend to you as you do to others.
 

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As I have stated before — many times! — Marvin and I are in almost perfect substantive agreement, but we do have a terminological dispute. As I just explained upthread, and many times before, I do not recognize a modal category called “causal necessity.” Is that clear enough, DBT? You know, I was just talking about that … nomic necessity, nomological necessity, physical necessity … how did you miss that, DBT?
 

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I guess this all hangs on "ability".

Yes. So, what is an "ability"? It is something that you "can" do if you choose to do it. It is not something that you "will" do. You may choose to do it or you may choose not to do it. In either case, whether you do it or not, you retain the ability to do it. The ability does not disappear if you choose not to do it.

According to determinism a specific state of affairs (SoA) will only ever produce one outcome

Correct.

- that SoA has no capability (ability) to produce any other outcome. There is no possibility that it "could".

The fact that only one thing will happen does not logically imply that it was the only thing that was "possible" or the only thing that "could" have happened. The fact that only one thing will happen only implies that it is the only thing that would happen.

Generally speaking, a given state of affairs has no "capabilities" at all to do anything. However, a person (which may in some sense be regarded as a state of affairs) has the ability to perform the choosing function.

Within the rational causal mechanism we find concepts specifically used by different functions to accomplish their work. For example, the addition function inputs a series of numbers, adds them together, and outputs a sum. In a similar fashion, the choosing function inputs a series of options, evaluates and compares them, and outputs a choice.

A first step in the choosing process is to consider what we have the ability to do and what we simply cannot do. If we determine that we do not have the ability to implement a given option, then it is impossible to us, and we exclude it from further consideration.

All of the surviving options are considered real possibilities, because we do have the ability to actually accomplish that option if we choose to do so. The next step would be to estimate the likely result of choosing each option. Finally, we would choose the option that we believe will produce the best result for us.

The choosing operation, like addition, logically requires at least two inputs. For addition, we require at least two numbers. For choosing, we require at least two options. For addition, it must be possible to add the two numbers. For choosing, it must be possible to choose either option. These are true by logical necessity, because they must be true in order for the function to work.

The fact that we will choose only one option does not logically imply that we could not choose the other option. We had the same ability to choose one option as we did to choose the other.
 

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DBT,

You ask me this question, and it boggles the mind. My irony meter doth explode.

Have YOU read, what I have written on this subject? Most recently, for chrissake, just upthread — I refer you to my posts numbered 2,956 and 2,959. Astonishingly, here you quote from that first post, which, along with the second post, gives you the answer to the question you are now so ludicrously asking!

Is that you are deliberately obtuse, or just have reading comprehension difficulties? In the spirit of charity I will assume the latter, and in so doing condescend to you as you do to others.
Personally, I assume the former, though I don't think "the DBT that is talking to us" is exactly "the DBT that is being deliberate about the obtuseness."

There are various processes "in other people's minds." Sometimes these processes are "visible to the agent which speaks back to you" and others are not.

To exemplify this, I will use an immediate example:

I have an employee.

This employee was interacting with a coworker.

This employee was flirting with the coworker.

This employee did not know that they were flirting.

It in fact took them some time to figure out that they ever had been flirting with their coworker.

The process that sought to flirt, wanted to flirt, and flirted was visible in the basis and nature of this intent, to their active conscious agent, the one which if you ask "what is it you are doing right now?" Would respond with perfect honesty in all it's awareness "talking about ___".

This piece, this "ego", of course, has the ability to reason and learn. It has the ability to observe the state of the senses and memory, if not the state of this other process whose existence is "to flirt" and which is being "given the horn" so to speak in this event of flirtation.

After a little while and several mentions of a boyfriend already existing, though, the coworker figured out what they were doing.

While this process of "FLIRT" was exerting control, it was not visible to the ego that it was happening at all.

Of course, he can learn to keep a better eye on "flirt". And he better, or he's not going to remain an employee.

As such, I think a much more powerful and buried element of DBT operates here. I think it's a piece born of an existential crisis resolved only through dissolution of the ego and the ignoring of their power to control their actions.

This piece directs their response and also a large measure of their attention, I gather, namely refusing to contribute some necessary element of attentive weighting to even allow consideration of such. Perhaps it has even severed attentive control, or he has never first established it but it is only all the more his loss.
 

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Your argument is based upon the notion that, if the choice was inevitable since the big bang, then it is AS IF choosing never really happened.

It's not figurative. If determinism is true, as you yourself define it, it is literal and objective.

The test between literal and figurative is simply to objectively observe what is actually happening in the real world. For example, we watch people in the restaurant reading the menu and placing their orders. This corresponds to the definition of "choosing". From the Oxford English Dictionary: "To take by preference out of all that are available; to select; to take as that which one prefers, or in accordance with one's free will and preference."

Each customer in the restaurant, who orders the dinner they prefer from those available on the menu, is choosing. That is what is literally happening.

To claim that it is not really happening is objectively false. Thus the only way to account for your claim is figurative thinking.
 

The AntiChris

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I guess this all hangs on "ability".

Yes. So, what is an "ability"? It is something that you "can" do if you choose to do it.

This is a possible sense of "ability" but I would have thought the context in which I've used the word made it quite clear this is not how I've used it (the stipulation "in exactly the same circumstances" should have left you in no doubt that I was deliberately eliminating any possibility of alternative choosings).

Variations on the expression "ability to do otherwise under identical conditions" are quite common in hard incompatibilist criticisms of free will so I don't think my use of the word is particularly idiosyncratic.

The problem for me is that when you claim that we can do otherwise and DBT insists that we can't you're not talking about the same thing.
 

Marvin Edwards

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So, what is an "ability"? It is something that you "can" do if you choose to do it.

This is a possible sense of "ability" but I would have thought the context in which I've used the word made it quite clear this is not how I've used it

Do you have any specific definition of "ability" that is different from the one I gave?

(the stipulation "in exactly the same circumstances" should have left you in no doubt that I was deliberately eliminating any possibility of alternative choosings).

How is choosing possible without at least two real possibilities to choose from?

Whenever a choosing event shows up in the causal chain, there will always be at least two real possibilities to choose from, and it will always be possible to choose either one.

The method by which the incompatibilist eliminates possibilities is by claiming that anything that will not happen cannot happen.

The problem for me is that when you claim that we can do otherwise and DBT insists that we can't you're not talking about the same thing.

Then it sounds like you must make a choice. Think it over. Perhaps you'll find better words than mine.
 

The AntiChris

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So, what is an "ability"? It is something that you "can" do if you choose to do it.

No, it's not. I don't have the ability to run a 4 minute mile. Of course, if I'd trained hard and were a little younger... I can't just choose an ability into existence.

(the stipulation "in exactly the same circumstances" should have left you in no doubt that I was deliberately eliminating any possibility of alternative choosings).

How is choosing possible without at least two real possibilities to choose from?

This doesn't seem to follow from I said. I'm not eliminating choices, I'm eliminating multiple choosings. A single choosing is still a choice.

The method by which the incompatibilist eliminates possibilities is by claiming that anything that will not happen cannot happen.

You surely can see that the difference between 'will never happen' and 'cannot happen' exists only in the mind of philosophers. There's no practical distinction. This is only a problem if you think that could have done otherwise is a deal breaker for compatibilism. I don't.

The problem for me is that when you claim that we can do otherwise and DBT insists that we can't you're not talking about the same thing.

Then it sounds like you must make a choice. Think it over. Perhaps you'll find better words than mine.

I think I sense a little irritation here which is a shame because I genuinely think you present one of the most clearly thought through and persuasive defenses of compatibilism I've come across (I think it was probably my original link to your site that initiated your invitation to IIDB). It just seems to me that your exchanges with DBT have got a little bogged down recently and don't seem to be making any progress. I'm suggesting that one possible way forward is to challenge DBT's assumption that 'couldn't do otherwise' (in his sense of the expression) really does not threaten free will.
 

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... I don't have the ability to run a 4 minute mile. Of course, if I'd trained hard and were a little younger... I can't just choose an ability into existence.

Then you currently do not have that ability. Right now, that is an impossibility, something that you cannot accomplish, even if you chose to.

(the stipulation "in exactly the same circumstances" should have left you in no doubt that I was deliberately eliminating any possibility of alternative choosings).
How is choosing possible without at least two real possibilities to choose from?
This doesn't seem to follow from I said. I'm not eliminating choices, I'm eliminating multiple choosings. A single choosing is still a choice.

Okay, I'm getting lost in that set of thoughts. Perhaps if we used the term "possibilities" for the list of available things we can choose from and the term "choice" for the output of the choosing operation.

A real possibility is one that you are able to actualize if you choose to do so. If you are able to actualize it, but choose not to do so, then it remains something that you could have done.

When simply choosing to do something, the two possibilities are (a) do it and (b) don't do it. That's what I'm guessing a "single choosing" would mean. But, like I said, I'm not sure I'm following you in that series of comments.

You surely can see that the difference between 'will never happen' and 'cannot happen' exists only in the mind of philosophers.

No. The distinction must be maintained to make sense of what we are saying. For example:

There's no practical distinction.

There is a significant practical distinction. For example, if something cannot happen then it will not happen. But if something will not happen, and we do not know that it will not happen, then we had better be prepared in the possibility that it does happen. For example, people in areas prone to hurricanes board up their houses just in case. The possibility that it will happen is sufficient to cause action.

On the other hand, if we know for certain that it will happen, then the notions of possibilities and things that can happen never come to mind.

The only practical use of the context, the logic, and the language of possibilities is to deal rationally with matters of uncertainty. Either we don't know what will happen, or, in the case of free will, we do not know what we will choose.

The fact that we find ourselves using the language of possibilities as often as we do is the result of the many things we are uncertain about.

... I'm suggesting that one possible way forward is to challenge DBT's assumption that 'couldn't do otherwise' (in his sense of the expression) really does not threaten free will.

For me, it is simpler to demonstrate that "could have done otherwise" is always true when choosing happens. DBT's (and other incompatibilist's) only justification is grounded in figurative speech. Their argument, when made explicit, is simply this: if our choice was always inevitable, then it is AS IF we had no choice, and it is AS IF choosing never happened, and it is AS IF someone or something else had made that choice before us, before we were born. Like all figurative statements, each of these claims is literally false. And we can demonstrate it is false by watching people in a restaurant making choices, right before our eyes.

Their only response is "Well, who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?"
 

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... I'm suggesting that one possible way forward is to challenge DBT's assumption that 'couldn't do otherwise' (in his sense of the expression) really does not threaten free will.

For me, it is simpler to demonstrate that "could have done otherwise" is always true when choosing happens.
Yes, we're back to "could have if I'd wanted to" (in other words if circumstances were different) and I can't imagine even the the most die-hard incompatibilist disagreeing with you but they'll just say that's not what they mean by could do otherwise.

Anyway, I think I'm just about done for now.

Cheers.
 

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No, it's not. I don't have the ability to run a 4 minute mile. Of course, if I'd trained hard and were a little younger... I can't just choose an ability into existence
Well, you can, but it takes some work.

You can't choose it by saying "I shall run a four minute mile".

You can choose it by cutting your feet off, replacing them with carbon fiber blades, doing a fuckton of physical therapy to relearn how how to run, do a bunch more work training, and so on.

From certain points certain choices get very hard to make, perhaps impossible depending on the choice.

There is a philosophical separation, a boundary that exists at the point of "I can do these things to get X" vs "while these things can be done to get X, I cannot do them."

This hinges on "could" of the vein "if I decided in some moment", and the other is just unavailable at the get-go.

I see a specific weight on "if I decided..." Vs other things because of the nature of regulatory control: one operates on a choice function over which the entity will arbitrate, and other things, all the other things operate on "I have no decision on".

This is what the hard determinist loses function from: they proclaim, erroneously, that they have no decision on things; they proclaim that there is no "if I decided" that could possibly make sense.

They do not lose but rather abdicate both the power and responsibilities of decision making. Of course as a society, just like with 'sovereign citizens' abdicating the social contract, we don't care that folks try to so abdicate: we recognize what they do not, regardless, that they have responsibility, and we perhaps shall judge them more harshly for such abdication.

It is the difference between "if I decided to" and "if something I have no control over". One is a decision and the other is wishing.
 

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The idea that anything subjective is something objective is ludicrous
Ah, so you then believe "a painting of a pipe" (subjective) is not also a piece of canvas with various materials applied to it stretched over a square frame of wood with several square frames of cardboard laid atop it, a pane of glass laid upon that, and a wooden frame assembled around all of it with a wire across the back?

You deny this is the case?

Again FDI loudly proclaiming that objects aren't objects.
How is a painting like a subjective experience. A subjective experience is a mind interpreting what sensed/communicated. A painting on a canvas is a material object. It is only when it is processed by the being that it becomes a subjective experience.

'splaining to Jarhyn using subjective experience to insist what another wrote is actually objective?.
 

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A painting on a canvas is a material object.
Man, it would sure be nice then if you could take this recognition and turn it towards a computer, specifically the computer on my floor in my office with a number of bits flipped in very particular ways.

I keep trying to explain that much: one of these things is not unlike the others...

In fact that it is "a painting of a pipe" is the subjective part. I would think you could understand such a simple concept.
 

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No, it's not. I don't have the ability to run a 4 minute mile. Of course, if I'd trained hard and were a little younger... I can't just choose an ability into existence
Well, you can, but it takes some work.

You can't choose it by saying "I shall run a four minute mile".

You can choose it by cutting your feet off, replacing them with carbon fiber blades, doing a fuckton of physical therapy to relearn how how to run, do a bunch more work training, and so on.

From certain points certain choices get very hard to make, perhaps impossible depending on the choice.

There is a philosophical separation, a boundary that exists at the point of "I can do these things to get X" vs "while these things can be done to get X, I cannot do them."

This hinges on "could" of the vein "if I decided in some moment", and the other is just unavailable at the get-go.

I see a specific weight on "if I decided..." Vs other things because of the nature of regulatory control: one operates on a choice function over which the entity will arbitrate, and other things, all the other things operate on "I have no decision on".

This is what the hard determinist loses function from: they proclaim, erroneously, that they have no decision on things; they proclaim that there is no "if I decided" that could possibly make sense.

They do not lose but rather abdicate both the power and responsibilities of decision making. Of course as a society, just like with 'sovereign citizens' abdicating the social contract, we don't care that folks try to so abdicate: we recognize what they do not, regardless, that they have responsibility, and we perhaps shall judge them more harshly for such abdication.

It is the difference between "if I decided to" and "if something I have no control over". One is a decision and the other is wishing.
I really do understand the distinction you're making here. I do understand, and fully accept and endorse, the sense of "ability to do otherwise" that Marvin and others on the compatibilist side present here.

I'm just not sure it's sufficiently persuasive to sway those (such as DBT) who insist that the mere fact that we never will do otherwise robs us of free will - it's an irrational position, but a fervently held one.
 

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DBT, don’t you find it ludicrous to quote Marvin Edwards, who is a compatibilist like me and disagrees with you? Why do you quote so many people, inlcluding links offsite, who don’t actually agree with your position?

What's ludicrous is that you still haven't grasped that we agree on the given definition of determinism.

I agree with the definitions given by both Marvin and Jarhyn.

We all agree on the terms.

The issue here is not the given definition of determinism, that we all agree on, but that compatibilists define free will in a way that circumvents the terms. Defining free will as acting without force or undue influence, regardless that the terms of determinism necessitate the will to act and its related action, ie, that neither the will to act or the following action is freely willed.

It's right there in the given definition of determinism: all actions proceed without deviation as entailed, not freely willed.

Yet the flawed definition of free will is asserted regardless. That is absurdity of compatibilism for you.


I’ll attend to the rest of your stuff later, but in the meantime I suggest you cut the condesencsion, which at this point borders on trolling. The fact of the matter is I know far more about all this stuff than you do, whether you like it or not.


There is nothing to attend to.

Definitions of determinism have been given and agreed on. The issue is that some seek to circumvent the terms of their own definition.

You, yourself do not appear to understand the nature and implications of determinism as defined by your own comrades in compatibilism.
 

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As I have stated before — many times! — Marvin and I are in almost perfect substantive agreement, but we do have a terminological dispute. As I just explained upthread, and many times before, I do not recognize a modal category called “causal necessity.” Is that clear enough, DBT? You know, I was just talking about that … nomic necessity, nomological necessity, physical necessity … how did you miss that, DBT?

It doesn't matter what you recognize or don't recognize. What you fail to grasp is that if all events without deviation - which is the definition given by Marvin and Jarhyn - they must necessarily proceed without definition. There cannot be deviations without breaking the terms of the definition.

So, without any possibility of alternate actions - which are deviations - everything that happens must necessarily happen.

Can you not understand this? It's not hard to grasp.

Don't get hung up on terminology or words. Just try to realize that 'no deviation' means that what happens must happen precisely as determined.

Anything else would be a deviation, which would falsify the given definition of determinism.
 

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No, it's not. I don't have the ability to run a 4 minute mile. Of course, if I'd trained hard and were a little younger... I can't just choose an ability into existence
Well, you can, but it takes some work.

You can't choose it by saying "I shall run a four minute mile".

You can choose it by cutting your feet off, replacing them with carbon fiber blades, doing a fuckton of physical therapy to relearn how how to run, do a bunch more work training, and so on.

From certain points certain choices get very hard to make, perhaps impossible depending on the choice.

There is a philosophical separation, a boundary that exists at the point of "I can do these things to get X" vs "while these things can be done to get X, I cannot do them."

This hinges on "could" of the vein "if I decided in some moment", and the other is just unavailable at the get-go.

I see a specific weight on "if I decided..." Vs other things because of the nature of regulatory control: one operates on a choice function over which the entity will arbitrate, and other things, all the other things operate on "I have no decision on".

This is what the hard determinist loses function from: they proclaim, erroneously, that they have no decision on things; they proclaim that there is no "if I decided" that could possibly make sense.

They do not lose but rather abdicate both the power and responsibilities of decision making. Of course as a society, just like with 'sovereign citizens' abdicating the social contract, we don't care that folks try to so abdicate: we recognize what they do not, regardless, that they have responsibility, and we perhaps shall judge them more harshly for such abdication.

It is the difference between "if I decided to" and "if something I have no control over". One is a decision and the other is wishing.
I really do understand the distinction you're making here. I do understand, and fully accept and endorse, the sense of "ability to do otherwise" that Marvin and others on the compatibilist side present here.

I'm just not sure it's sufficiently persuasive to sway those (such as DBT) who insist that the mere fact that we never will do otherwise robs us of free will - it's an irrational position, but a fervently held one.
I figured you probably did. I just figure it's good to have a well laid out conversation, mostly because my coworkers and friends I occasionally end up having this conversation with (usually much more productively), I generally get through on these points, and practicing them here makes it easier to deliver there.

In such situations, I can do it by asking questions and actually getting buy-in on the primitive elements before building them into "free" and "will", or even sticking with "met requirement" and "algorithm" until I can just point out fact that these forms are the same as those of "free" and "will", that "can" is "would, of StateB" and that math can be done on the calculated value "SoA U X", on "StateB" sensibly, and that this is in fact the whole point of studying physics in the first place: to learn how to operate such math forward more reliably and with fewer errors on the  generalized state and so to be able to calculate more "could" on "SoA".

Then, I've only met one hardline hard determinist in my days who ever said as much, and that was... A few months before this thread kicked off, before I had distilled my understanding to here, and I did not budge them.

The issue is that this person I met also sets off my "uncanny valley" alarm bells, not dissimilarly from that patronizing PNG file DBT was going on with posting, and his D&D character was screaming "psychopath" with his tropes: he had a character who was always friendly and kind and downright bland, and a "dark side" character he could summon that loved havoc and violence that he wanted to progress towards giving more freedoms to, and which would eventually just be able to come out and express itself violently
 

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Your argument is based upon the notion that, if the choice was inevitable since the big bang, then it is AS IF choosing never really happened.

Your definition of determinism entails the no choice principle. The events of the universe, the world, human affairs, etc, must - according to the given terms - proceed without deviation.

No alternatives equates to no choice.



It's not figurative. If determinism is true, as you yourself define it, it is literal and objective.

The test between literal and figurative is simply to objectively observe what is actually happening in the real world. For example, we watch people in the restaurant reading the menu and placing their orders. This corresponds to the definition of "choosing". From the Oxford English Dictionary: "To take by preference out of all that are available; to select; to take as that which one prefers, or in accordance with one's free will and preference."

Sure, that is how we see the world and how we communicate with each other.

This is not about communication, but a question of the ultimate nature of the world, if deterministic, how determinism relates to our thoughts and actions; whether we have free will.



Each customer in the restaurant, who orders the dinner they prefer from those available on the menu, is choosing. That is what is literally happening.

To claim that it is not really happening is objectively false. Thus the only way to account for your claim is figurative thinking.

They are not choosing, not if their selection and action is entailed before they even think about it, and the option they take, rather than being freely chosen, is fixed by prior states of the system.

The term ''Free Will'' implies the ability to choose, to have actual realizable options whenever you are presented with them.

Yet, given the given terms, that is not possible.

Consequently, compatibilists are left with 'acting without being compelled or unduly influenced.'

”If the neurobiology level is causally sufficient to determine your behavior, then the fact that you had the experience of freedom at the higher level is really irrelevant.” - John Searle.
 

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The issue here is not the given definition of determinism, that we all agree on, but that compatibilists define free will in a way that circumvents the terms. Defining free will as acting without force or undue influence, regardless that the terms of determinism necessitate the will to act and its related action, ie, that neither the will to act or the following action is freely willed.

The definition of determinism makes no mention at all of free will. We agree that determinism reasonably asserts that all events are the reliable result of prior events, such that every event is necessitated by prior causes.

The chain of reliably caused events can, and does, contain events in which we decide for ourselves what we will do, while free of coercion and undue influence. And since free will is defined as such an event, it fits naturally within that causal chain.

The incompatibilists define free will as a choice we make for ourselves while free of causation. And nobody really uses such a definition of free will outside of this debate, because no event is ever uncaused.

The notions of moral and legal responsibility for one's actions is linked to the first definition of free will (freedom from coercion or undue influence) and not to the second (freedom from causal necessity).

So, the incompatibilists use the second definition (freedom from causal necessity) which makes free will impossible, while the compatibilists use the practical definition (freedom from coercion and undue influence) which is not just compatible with a deterministic universe, but is also compatible with the notions of moral and legal responsibility.
 

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Your argument is based upon the notion that, if the choice was inevitable since the big bang, then it is AS IF choosing never really happened. The problem is that choosing does happen. We can walk into any restaurant and watch people choosing what they will order for dinner.

Your definition of determinism entails the no choice principle.

Determinism only entails that all events will reliable be caused by prior events, forming an unbroken "chain" of causation from any point in the past to any point in the future.

There is nothing in the definition of determinism that excludes the event of a person choosing for themselves what they will have for dinner. It is just another event, just like every other event, reliably caused by prior events, and reliably causing subsequent events (for example, the chef preparing the dinners that were ordered).

The "no choice principle" is not a valid principle, due to the simple fact that choosing from a menu of options actually happens in the real world (and, it happens deterministically, of course).

The events of the universe, the world, human affairs, etc, must - according to the given terms - proceed without deviation.

Absolutely.

No alternatives equates to no choice.

But there are always alternatives, and choices, within the choosing operation itself. So, "no alternatives", is simply false, and "no choice" continues to be false as well. Both alternatives and choices are found indelibly written within the causal chain.

The test between "literal" and "figurative" is simply to objectively observe what is actually happening in the real world. For example, we watch people in the restaurant reading the menu and placing their orders. This corresponds to the definition of "choosing". From the Oxford English Dictionary: "To take by preference out of all that are available; to select; to take as that which one prefers, or in accordance with one's free will and preference."

This is not about communication, but a question of the ultimate nature of the world, if deterministic, how determinism relates to our thoughts and actions; whether we have free will.

But, when we use figurative thinking and speaking, we distort the truth about the actual nature of the world and what is actually happening.

They are not choosing, not if their selection and action is entailed before they even think about it, and the option they take, rather than being freely chosen, is fixed by prior states of the system.

What you continue to miss is that determinism means that, it was entailed and fixed, that the event in which they decided for themselves what they would order for dinner, would actually happen in the real world, exactly as we saw it happening in the restaurant.

The term ''Free Will'' implies the ability to choose, to have actual realizable options whenever you are presented with them.

Both the ability to choose and the menu of actual realizable options are right there, in the restaurant, for all to see.

Yet, given the given terms, that is not possible.

Apparently, you're wrong about that. We cannot say that the menu, the restaurant, or the people choosing are "not possible", because we're standing there looking at it. The correct understanding of determinism would lead us to conclude that it was inevitable that each person would be making that choice for themselves, and would do so while free of coercion and undue influence. It is not necessary (and actually impossible) to be free of causation in order to be free of coercion and undue influence.

”If the neurobiology level is causally sufficient to determine your behavior, then the fact that you had the experience of freedom at the higher level is really irrelevant.” - John Searle.

And this is why we use the restaurant example, Dr. Searle. We can set subjectivity to the side, and describe the objectively observed behavior. Each customer picked up the menu, containing many options, and from these options produce a single dinner order, which they communicated to the waiter. We observed that no one was holding a gun to their head. And as far as we could tell, each was behaving rationally, so no one was subject to any significant mental illness or other form of undue influence. So, we can objectively state that they were free to make this decision for themselves. Not "free of causation", of course, but certainly "free of coercion and undue influence". Thus, we conclude that they acted "of their own free will", as free will is commonly understood. And, finally, the waiter presented each one with a bill for their dinner, holding them responsible for their deliberate act (ordering their dinner).

How they felt about their experience is irrelevant to the notion of free will. What we objectively observed is sufficient to establish the fact of free will. And we may assume perfectly reliable cause and effect held true throughout all of these events.
 

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Your argument is based upon the notion that, if the choice was inevitable since the big bang, then it is AS IF choosing never really happened. The problem is that choosing does happen. We can walk into any restaurant and watch people choosing what they will order for dinner.

Actions are not chosen, they are determined. Each action is entailed by the prior state of the system.

You may be able say 'chosen' if there was a selection. Unfortunately, that's not the case. As there are no possible alternatives, each and every state of the system being entailed by its prior state, no choice exists.

That is the no choice principle in determinism.


Your definition of determinism entails the no choice principle.

Determinism only entails that all events will reliable be caused by prior events, forming an unbroken "chain" of causation from any point in the past to any point in the future.

The given definition of determinism stipulates that events are fixed by the prior state of the system. That certainly is reliable. So reliable that it eliminates alternatives and choice.


There is nothing in the definition of determinism that excludes the event of a person choosing for themselves what they will have for dinner. It is just another event, just like every other event, reliably caused by prior events, and reliably causing subsequent events (for example, the chef preparing the dinners that were ordered).

Nobody chooses for themselves because everybody and everything is an aspect of the system as it evolves without deviation.

No independent or autonomous decisions are possible.


The "no choice principle" is not a valid principle, due to the simple fact that choosing from a menu of options actually happens in the real world (and, it happens deterministically, of course).

It's entailed in the given terms: ''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.

''A deterministic system is a system in which no randomness is involved in the development of future states of the system.'' - Jarhyn

The 'No Choice Principle' is just another way of saying ''causally necessary'' and ''no randomness is involved in the development of future states of the system.''

The events of the universe, the world, human affairs, etc, must - according to the given terms - proceed without deviation.

Absolutely.

Including the implications for the notion of free will.

No alternatives equates to no choice.

But there are always alternatives, and choices, within the choosing operation itself. So, "no alternatives", is simply false, and "no choice" continues to be false as well. Both alternatives and choices are found indelibly written within the causal chain.

There are no alternatives. ''Without deviation' rules out alternatives. As pointed out, each option, menu list, to be a doctor, lawyer, chemist, must necessarily be realized, not chosen. Nobody chose to be Einstein or Hawking, events, life the world produced these geniuses, their genetic makeup, circumstances and life experiences shaped and formed their personalities, drives and ambitions.

The test between "literal" and "figurative" is simply to objectively observe what is actually happening in the real world. For example, we watch people in the restaurant reading the menu and placing their orders. This corresponds to the definition of "choosing". From the Oxford English Dictionary: "To take by preference out of all that are available; to select; to take as that which one prefers, or in accordance with one's free will and preference."

It has the appearance of choosing. Given the terms and conditions of determinism, that appearance is an illusion.

Each customer has only one possible action. Bob (makeup, personality, taste in food, how he feels on the day) must necessarily order steak, his wife Betty, being on a health kick, wanting to slim, feeling bloated, must necessarily order salad. Each and every customer according to their state and condition in that instance in time, no deviation.

All the options on the menu are ordered, but not freely willed or freely chosen.

Not freely chosen because there was never a possibility of anything else.

''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.

''A deterministic system is a system in which no randomness is involved in the development of future states of the system.'' - Jarhyn




This is not about communication, but a question of the ultimate nature of the world, if deterministic, how determinism relates to our thoughts and actions; whether we have free will.

But, when we use figurative thinking and speaking, we distort the truth about the actual nature of the world and what is actually happening.

No we don't. Our figurative or abstract thinking is entailed by the state of the system as it evolves because nothing is external the system is at work. The brain is an aspect of the system and its abilities are determined by its makeup.

What we think is a matter of information - external inputs - interacting with neural architecture as it processes the information, producing thoughts, feeling, imagination, projecting ideas and 'options' that may or may not be realizable for you.


They are not choosing, not if their selection and action is entailed before they even think about it, and the option they take, rather than being freely chosen, is fixed by prior states of the system.

What you continue to miss is that determinism means that, it was entailed and fixed, that the event in which they decided for themselves what they would order for dinner, would actually happen in the real world, exactly as we saw it happening in the restaurant.

I don't miss it, I reject it. I reject it because it contradicts the given terms and conditions of a determined system.

''Over the past few decades, gathering evidence from both psychology and the neurosciences has provided convincing support for the idea that free will is an illusion. (Read this and this, but for a contrarian view, also read this.) Of course, most people can’t relate to the idea that free will is an illusion, and there’s a good reason why. It feels as if we exercise free will all the time. For instance, it seems that you are exercising free will in choosing to read this article. Similarly, it seems that you exercise free will when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating tasty-but-unhealthy food, or when you overcome laziness to work out at the gym.

But these choices do not necessarily reflect free will. To understand why, consider why you sometimes deny yourself an unhealthy-but-tasty snack. It’s because you were, at some point in your life, made to recognize the long-term negative effects of eating such food. Perhaps you noticed that consuming unhealthy food makes you feel heavy, or that regularly consuming such food makes your blood pressure shoot up. Or perhaps your doctor told you that you need to stop eating unhealthy food; or maybe you read about the negative effects of consuming unhealthy food in a magazine. In other words, you deny yourself the pleasure of consuming unhealthy food because of exposure to external inputs—feedback from your body or from others—over which you had no control. Had you been exposed to a different set of inputs—e.g., despite consuming unhealthy food, your health did not suffer, or your doctor never dissuaded you from eating unhealthy food—you wouldn’t deny yourself the pleasure of eating tasty-but-unhealthy food.

If you think carefully about any decision you have made in the past, you will recognize that all of them were ultimately based on similar—genetic or social—inputs to which you had been exposed. And you will also discover that you had no control over these inputs, which means that you had no free will in taking the decisions you did. For instance, you had no choice in where, to whom, and in what period of time, you were born. You also had no choice in the kind of neighbors and friends to whom you were exposed during early childhood. You therefore had no choice in how you made your decisions during that time.''




The term ''Free Will'' implies the ability to choose, to have actual realizable options whenever you are presented with them.

Both the ability to choose and the menu of actual realizable options are right there, in the restaurant, for all to see.

Different people, different actions, each (necessarily) according to their own state and condition in that time and place.

Yet, given the given terms, that is not possible.

Apparently, you're wrong about that. We cannot say that the menu, the restaurant, or the people choosing are "not possible", because we're standing there looking at it. The correct understanding of determinism would lead us to conclude that it was inevitable that each person would be making that choice for themselves, and would do so while free of coercion and undue influence. It is not necessary (and actually impossible) to be free of causation in order to be free of coercion and undue influence.

You miss the point.

Each and every customer must necessarily order the meal that was determined by an interaction of their own physical and mental makeup in that place and instance in time....and of course, each and every customer is in a different state and condition, different needs, wants, states, etcetera, etcetera; “It might be true that you would have done otherwise if you had wanted, though it is determined that you did not, in fact, want otherwise.” - Robert Kane


''The brain directs our body’s internal functions. It also integrates sensory impulses and information to form perceptions, thoughts, and memories. The brain gives us self-awareness and the ability to speak and move in the world. Its four major regions make this possible: The cerebrum, with its cerebral cortex, gives us conscious control of our actions. The diencephalon mediates sensations, manages emotions, and commands whole internal systems. The cerebellum adjusts body movements, speech coordination, and balance, while the brain stem relays signals from the spinal cord and directs basic internal functions and reflexes.''
 

Marvin Edwards

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Your argument is based upon the notion that, if the choice was inevitable since the big bang, then it is AS IF choosing never really happened, and it is AS IF we had no choice, and it is AS IF the choice was already made by someone or something else . The problem is that these figurative statements are literally false. Choosing does happen. We can walk into any restaurant and watch people choosing for themselves, from a literal menu of alternative choices, what they will order for dinner.

Actions are not chosen, they are determined.

And what determines the actions? Choosing to do that action.

It is not "either chosen or determined", but both. That's how determinism works. The menu determines that we must make a choice. The choosing determines what we will order for dinner. An unbroken chain of causes and effects.

Each action is entailed by the prior state of the system.

Yes. And it goes like this:
1. The state of the system was that we were hungry, which entailed we would decide to go to the restaurant.
2. The state of being in the restaurant entailed that we would browse the menu of realizable possibilities.
3. The state of facing multiple possibilities entailed that we would consider what to order.
4. The state of having considered what we would order entailed fixing our will upon ordering the salad.
5. The state of having fixed our will upon having the salad entailed us telling the waiter, "I will have the Chef Salad, please".
6. The state of having eaten the salad entailed that we would be presented with a bill for our meal.
7. The state of having responsibility for the bill entailed us paying the cashier on the way out.

Each action was entailed by the prior state of the system.

You may be able say 'chosen' if there was a selection.

There was a literal menu of selections and one of those items on the menu was selected.

Unfortunately, that's not the case. As there are no possible alternatives, each and every state of the system being entailed by its prior state, no choice exists.

We've just demonstrated once again that choice not only exists, but that it is compatible with determinism.

That is the no choice principle in determinism.

I couldn't find any reference to a "no choice principle". I think what you are talking about is the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP). And, since the restaurant menu clearly presented us with alternative possibilities, and each customer chose for themselves the possibility they wanted for dinner, the PAP is fully satisfied.

There is nothing in the definition of determinism that excludes the event of a person choosing for themselves what they will have for dinner. It is just another event, just like every other event, reliably caused by prior events, and reliably causing subsequent events.

Nobody chooses for themselves because everybody and everything is an aspect of the system as it evolves without deviation.

Because we objectively observe people routinely choosing for themselves what they will do, we must conclude that the only "truth" to your claim is found in figurative thinking and figurative speech. Because of determinism, it seems AS IF nobody "really" chooses.

The test between "literal" and "figurative" is simply to objectively observe what is actually happening in the real world. For example, we watch people in the restaurant reading the menu and placing their orders. This corresponds to the definition of "choosing". From the Oxford English Dictionary: "To take by preference out of all that are available; to select; to take as that which one prefers, or in accordance with one's free will and preference."

It has the appearance of choosing. Given the terms and conditions of determinism, that appearance is an illusion.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck, and not just an illusion.

The real illusion, that people are not making choices, is created by taking figurative notions literally.
 

DBT

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It has the appearance of choosing.

Can you describe real "choosing".

A real choice means that an alternate action is possible. Determinism does not allow the ability to choose otherwise.

Once again:

If you accept regulative control as a necessary part of free will, it seems impossible either way:
1. Free will requires that given an act A, the agent could have acted otherwise
2. Indeterminate actions happens randomly and without intent or control
3. Therefore indeterminism and free will are incompatible
4. Determinate actions are fixed and unchangeable
5. Therefore determinism is incompatible with free will

Actions, of course, proceed as determined, neither freely willed or freely chosen.
 

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It has the appearance of choosing.

Can you describe real "choosing".

A real choice means that an alternate action is possible. Determinism does not allow the ability to choose otherwise.

Once again:

If you accept regulative control as a necessary part of free will, it seems impossible either way:
1. Free will requires that given an act A, the agent could have acted otherwise
2. Indeterminate actions happens randomly and without intent or control
3. Therefore indeterminism and free will are incompatible
4. Determinate actions are fixed and unchangeable
5. Therefore determinism is incompatible with free will

Actions, of course, proceed as determined, neither freely willed or freely chosen.
So no,you can't describe "real choosing" because the kind of choosing you demand to do is literally not real according to your broken and nonsensical definition of "possible" and "choice".

It sounds like you don't know what you are talking about.
 

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Your argument is based upon the notion that, if the choice was inevitable since the big bang, then it is AS IF choosing never really happened, and it is AS IF we had no choice, and it is AS IF the choice was already made by someone or something else . The problem is that these figurative statements are literally false. Choosing does happen. We can walk into any restaurant and watch people choosing for themselves, from a literal menu of alternative choices, what they will order for dinner.

Every action is inevitable. That is entailed in the given definition of determinism: no deviation from the big bang to the present moment and beyond makes every action inevitable.

If the World is under the sway of determinism, everything happens as determined, not willed or subject to change. Change is a deviation.

The process is not figurative. Events must necessarily proceed without deviation, as you have defined it.

Actions are not chosen, they are determined.

And what determines the actions? Choosing to do that action.

No, it's entailed by the prior state of the system, which is entailed by the prior state of the system right back to time t.

You can take any point as time t and everything proceeds as determined by the state of the system at that point.

There is no choice. Every action is fixed by prior state. Thoughts, feelings, everything.

Input entails the action and the associated thoughts and feelings. The action is initiated before it's brought to consciousness.

I've supplied more than ample information from neuroscience to show the sequence of events that drive behaviour.


It is not "either chosen or determined", but both. That's how determinism works. The menu determines that we must make a choice. The choosing determines what we will order for dinner. An unbroken chain of causes and effects.

Choice implies the ability to do and choose otherwise. Determinism negates the ability to do and choose otherwise.

choice
[tʃɔɪs] NOUN

  1. an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.


Each action is entailed by the prior state of the system.

Yes. And it goes like this:
1. The state of the system was that we were hungry, which entailed we would decide to go to the restaurant.
2. The state of being in the restaurant entailed that we would browse the menu of realizable possibilities.
3. The state of facing multiple possibilities entailed that we would consider what to order.
4. The state of having considered what we would order entailed fixing our will upon ordering the salad.
5. The state of having fixed our will upon having the salad entailed us telling the waiter, "I will have the Chef Salad, please".
6. The state of having eaten the salad entailed that we would be presented with a bill for our meal.
7. The state of having responsibility for the bill entailed us paying the cashier on the way out.

None of this has an alternative possibility, all of these events must necessarily proceed as determined (and defined in the given definition).

To claim chosen would require the possibility of having done otherwise.

Choice: 1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.


Each action was entailed by the prior state of the system.

Which denies choice.

Choice: 1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.


You may be able say 'chosen' if there was a selection.

There was a literal menu of selections and one of those items on the menu was selected.

The determined item, each according to the state and condition of each customer. None having the ability to do otherwise, as entailed by your given definition of determinism.

Choice: 1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities.


Unfortunately, that's not the case. As there are no possible alternatives, each and every state of the system being entailed by its prior state, no choice exists.

We've just demonstrated once again that choice not only exists, but that it is compatible with determinism.

You asserted choice in the face of a reality that denies all possibility of doing otherwise, which is the essence meaning of choice'

Choice: 1 - an act of choosing between two or more possibilities is the very opposite of ''All of these events, including my choices, were causally necessary from any prior point in time. And they all proceeded without deviation from the Big Bang to this moment.'' - Marvin Edwards.


That is the no choice principle in determinism.

I couldn't find any reference to a "no choice principle". I think what you are talking about is the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP). And, since the restaurant menu clearly presented us with alternative possibilities, and each customer chose for themselves the possibility they wanted for dinner, the PAP is fully satisfied.

There is nothing in the definition of determinism that excludes the event of a person choosing for themselves what they will have for dinner. It is just another event, just like every other event, reliably caused by prior events, and reliably causing subsequent events.

1 Compatibilism and the no choice principle

''The difference between determinist and indeterminist views of history. The distinction between physically possible futures and futures which have a physically possible connection to the actual world. The idea that quantum mechanical indeterminacy is compatible with many parts of the world being deterministic ‘for all intents and purposes.’

Van Inwagen notes that the fact that there is only one physically possible future if determinism is true has led many people to think that there is a conflict between free will and determinism. He imagines the compatibilist replying to this perceived incompatibility roughly as follows: we can say that a future is open to us just in case, were we to make some choice, that future would be realized. It can be true that many futures are open to us, in this sense, even if only one future has a physically possible connection to the actual state of the world. Does free will really require anything more than that many futures are open to us, in this sense of open?

Van Inwagen thinks that it does. He defends the view that free will is, despite the compatibilist’s best efforts, genuinely in conflict with the possibility of free will. He says: “...compatibilists can make their doctrine seem like robust common sense only by sweeping a mystery under the carpet ...I believe that it is possible to lift the carpet and display the hidden mystery. The notion of ‘not having a choice’ has a certain logic to it. One of the principles of this logic is, or so it seems, embodied in the following thesis, which I shall refer to as the No Choice Principle:

Suppose that p and that no one has (or ever had) any choice about whether p. And suppose also that the following conditional (if-then) statement is true and that no one has (or ever had) any choice about whether it is true: if p, then q. It follows from these two suppositions that q and that no one has (or ever had) any choice about whether q.
...The No Choice Principle seems undeniably correct. How could I have a choice about anything that is an inevitably consequence of something I have no choice about? And yet ...the compatibilist must deny the No Choice Principle.”
 

Jarhyn

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Again, DBT failing to understand "choice", "possibility", and "ability".

For the peanut gallery, this post contains exactly the thing DBT fails to understand:
I guess this all hangs on "ability".

According to determinism a specific state of affairs (SoA) will only ever produce one outcome - that SoA has no capability (ability) to produce any other outcome. There is no possibility that it "could".
So I've been trying to simplify my language for a while, and I will admit, it is HARD because this is a very hard thing to communicate concisely:

"Could", for me and for most, does not operate in the context of "Actual state of affairs".

First we take all the "regular laws" of the universe and keep them.

Then, we take all the state of the universe, copy that, and assume something of it. I will call this "image" of the state of affairs StateB.

So, in a lot more words than normal "could" is "in this moment he will IF the SoA is StateB."

Let's assume that this is not the case for the sake of discussion, that SoA is not StateB.

It is a TRUE statement that "in this moment he will IF the SoA is StateB."

It will always a true statement. It will have always have been a true statement. This is because the statement does not say anything about the actuality of the SoA being StateB, it only discusses IF it were. It will always have been true that he "could".

What will not be true is that SoA is StateB, and thus while he could, he will not.
 
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