In article <1991Nov14.025844.16...
@unislc.uucp (Trent Tobler) writes:
> Hi James!
> jbr...@sleepy.bmd.trw.com writes:
>> Free Will argument: The Being has put something in box B because he knows
>> that I will choose box B, therefore I choose box B.
> I disagree. This is weak free will (as opposed to strong free will). Weak
> free will is considered deterministic. Strong free will, a choice independant
> of any cause including the prediction of the being, would say that the being
> could not predict my choice. Weak free will, simply that of being presented
> with two or more options and picking one based on cause/learning/intelligence,
> would mean that the Being could determine, is a deterministic point of view.
OK, I accept your classification of my position as "weak" free will. In fact,
as we have discussed before, (weak) free will and (weak) determinism are simply
two sides of the same coin. Free Will _____ Determinism: the conjunctive that
goes in the blank is "and" and not "exclusive or". More on this after your
>> Determinism argument: What I choose makes no difference, the boxes' contents
>> are the way they are, so I choose both boxes.
> This again, is slightly incorrect. IF the world is deterministic, and this
> being had a way to predict the future with a great accuracy, he would be
> able to predict that I would 'choose' both boxes (weak free will) and
> would not have placed the $1M in box B. However, if I choose only box B,
> the being would also have been able to determine (<-note root word in
> deterministic) that this would have been my choice and placed the $1M in
> the box.
So therefore an omniscient being predicts your choice regardless of you have
free will or your choices are determined. Now is the time to clarify the
two types of free will you mentioned and the two types of determinism that
Working definitions in regard to omniscience:
Determinism: 1. (Strong) Persons have no freedom of action, for the being
has determined (chosen for them) what they will do. All their decisions
are forced decisions. Strong Determinism precludes free will of any
2. (Weak) Persons have freedom of action, for the being only determines
(identifies) what their decisions will be. No decisions are forced.
Weak Determinism does not preclude weak free will.
Free Will: 1. (Strong) Persons have freedom of action, and their decisions
cannot be known in advance. This type of free will (absolute
autonomy of action) does preclude determinism of any type. This is
the type of free will that the anti-omniscience debaters always
assumed was Free Will back during the Free Will vs. Omniscience
discussions last summer.
2. (Weak) Persons have freedom of action, and their decisions can
be known or identified in advance by a sufficiently shrewd being or
an omniscient one. This type of free will is compatible with weak
determinism described above.
As I stated last summer, and will rephrase here in light of the above working
definitions, weak free will and weak determinism (allowing for omniscience)
are not contradictory. Only the strong types preclude the other. This may
be the solution to the semantics dilemma I ran afoul of when this was debated
last. Thanks, Trent, for pointing out the strong/weak distinction; I think
that this may clear up some of the misunderstanding.
And for the case of omniscience, I submit that the causality IS reversed.
Remember, omniscience is not simply "looking ahead" or "predicting the future",
it is looking back at the event before the event takes place. The event (or
decision in this case) is the cause, and the being's prior action is dependent
on that decision/cause. The paradox is resolved in the *nature* of the being
itself, in the essence of what omniscience is. The being does not choose what
to put in the box until he experiences your decision. Then he puts the prize
there according to the rules so that you get only what the rules allow for.
> I still think I would prefer fowling (you know, throw a duck in it :) up the
> beings prediction and use the outcome of some quantum affect that had a 50%
> probability to decide what to choose (the hypothetical flipping of the coin).
> Trent Tobler - ttob...@csulx.weber.edu
Many tried to assert last summer that strong free will is essentially the
same as randomness, like the QM example you give. The idea was that the
person would choose as arbitrarily as possible to preclude any possibility
of an omniscient prediction. But the problem with this is that human
decisions are rarely, if ever, arbitrary on anything, especially if the
choice really matters. If I choose a Coke over a Pepsi, it's because I
really wanted a Coke. If I choose to buy a car, it's the best fit to
a set of criteria I've established beforehand. Human decisions are hardly
ever random. Close friends can usually predict with near exacting accuracy
what a person will do in a given situation. They are not contraining
(forcing) the person's choice, they are merely identifying (determining)
what that person's *free* choice will be under the circumstances. An
omnipotent, omniscient God can certainly determine all of our choices in
like manner without forcing our decisions in any way. Therefore, whether
(as a theist) one believes in strong determinism or free will with weak
determinism, omniscience on the part of God does not present a problem.
Only if you believe in a strong (random/arbitrary) type of free will is
the idea of God and omniscience necessarily precluded.