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Naggash

[Plot Specific] Good and Evil, Creator and DO?

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Also the Finns know the future even when balefire is involved

 

This argument reminds me of the theological debate about the concept of free will being incompatible with the concept of an omniscient Creator.

 

Suppose that you accept the free will hypothesis. There are two different cereal boxes in front of you, and you are able to use your free will to choose what you have for breakfast today. Now think back to what you ate for breakfast yesterday. Can you change yesterday's decision? No. Does that disprove free will? No.

 

Similarly, something outside of time (or, in the case of the 'finns, somehow able to see outside the confines of time) is not incompatible with the free will hypothesis. You can imagine an entire universes timeline playing out with creatures having free agency. At the same time, something outside of that timeline can see the entire history of that universe (from say a Big Bang type beginning to however things turn out at the end) as if everybody's decisions were made and fixed like yesterday's breakfast.

 

Apart from this WoT-universe discussion, I do believe in the possibility of free will. But I also think that we are largely influenced by circumstance (upbringing, past experiences, hormones and chemicals in our brain, and various other mental limitations), so the actual expression of free would only manifest itself in very subtle ways.

You cannot change yesterday's decision because they have already been made. From the point of view of a being outside time, all decisions have already been made, even before you make them. Therefore, you have no capacity to choose differently, and therefore it does disprove free will.

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Mr. Ares,

 

Actually, if a being exists outside of time, it might be possible for them to see all points simultaneously. If so, then all points would (or could) seem to be "now". Such a being could see all events in the process of them happening.

 

But even if you take the "after" point of view, just because someone looks ahead and sees something that has happened, it doesn't negate the choices made while that thing was happening.

 

In other words, your capacity to chose is not impaired simply because someone else knows what you ended up choosing. Free will is based on a person being able to make a choice between two different outcomes. It does not require an *infinite* number of outcomes: that has to do with the scope of free will, not the existence of it.

 

In the WoT universe, the D.O.'s existence allows for people to make "negative" choices. Its existence is required because without it, there would only be one choice, and free will cannot exist when there is only one choice. As Rand sees, a world without free will is a world of puppets, not people.

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Mr. Ares,

 

Actually, if a being exists outside of time, it might be possible for them to see all points simultaneously. If so, then all points would (or could) seem to be "now". Such a being could see all events in the process of them happening.

 

But even if you take the "after" point of view, just because someone looks ahead and sees something that has happened, it doesn't negate the choices made while that thing was happening.

 

In other words, your capacity to chose is not impaired simply because someone else knows what you ended up choosing. Free will is based on a person being able to make a choice between two different outcomes. It does not require an *infinite* number of outcomes: that has to do with the scope of free will, not the existence of it.

Exactly my point - if what you are going to decide is actually already decided, then you do not have an actual choice between two outcomes, you have an illusion of choice. You cannot actually choose option B, because you have already chosen option A. Any choice you make is actually already made, and therefore you have no power to choose differently.

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Mr. Ares,

 

Actually, if a being exists outside of time, it might be possible for them to see all points simultaneously. If so, then all points would (or could) seem to be "now". Such a being could see all events in the process of them happening.

 

But even if you take the "after" point of view, just because someone looks ahead and sees something that has happened, it doesn't negate the choices made while that thing was happening.

 

In other words, your capacity to chose is not impaired simply because someone else knows what you ended up choosing. Free will is based on a person being able to make a choice between two different outcomes. It does not require an *infinite* number of outcomes: that has to do with the scope of free will, not the existence of it.

Exactly my point - if what you are going to decide is actually already decided, then you do not have an actual choice between two outcomes, you have an illusion of choice. You cannot actually choose option B, because you have already chosen option A. Any choice you make is actually already made, and therefore you have no power to choose differently.
not when you have portal worlds

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Exactly my point - if what you are going to decide is actually already decided, then you do not have an actual choice between two outcomes, you have an illusion of choice. You cannot actually choose option B, because you have already chosen option A. Any choice you make is actually already made, and therefore you have no power to choose differently.

Mr. Ares,

 

Actually, if a being exists outside of time, it might be possible for them to see all points simultaneously. If so, then all points would (or could) seem to be "now". Such a being could see all events in the process of them happening.

 

But even if you take the "after" point of view, just because someone looks ahead and sees something that has happened, it doesn't negate the choices made while that thing was happening.

 

In other words, your capacity to chose is not impaired simply because someone else knows what you ended up choosing. Free will is based on a person being able to make a choice between two different outcomes. It does not require an *infinite* number of outcomes: that has to do with the scope of free will, not the existence of it.

 

But you *did* have an actual choice at the time you made it. Why does it matter that someone else knows what you chose to do? How does that take away your choice, or make it an illusion. An illusion means that you never really had the choice, that you had only one option at the time. But if they had more than one option, then that represents a real choice, and so free will can be exercised, regardless of whether someone already knows the outcome.

 

When Tuon started passing judgement based on Min's foretelling, Min protested and basically took Tuon to task for it. Why? Because Tuon was acting on what, from her perspective, *might* happen; and while Min may never be wrong in her viewings, some of them were conditional: if you stay with this person, you will live, but if you part you will die. Siuan made that choice of her own free will, and died. But she did have free will, even though Min foretold what would happen. IMO, free will is only lost when your choices are lost, not simply because someone knows what choice you'll make.

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Mr. Ares,

 

Actually, if a being exists outside of time, it might be possible for them to see all points simultaneously. If so, then all points would (or could) seem to be "now". Such a being could see all events in the process of them happening.

 

But even if you take the "after" point of view, just because someone looks ahead and sees something that has happened, it doesn't negate the choices made while that thing was happening.

 

In other words, your capacity to chose is not impaired simply because someone else knows what you ended up choosing. Free will is based on a person being able to make a choice between two different outcomes. It does not require an *infinite* number of outcomes: that has to do with the scope of free will, not the existence of it.

Exactly my point - if what you are going to decide is actually already decided, then you do not have an actual choice between two outcomes, you have an illusion of choice. You cannot actually choose option B, because you have already chosen option A. Any choice you make is actually already made, and therefore you have no power to choose differently.
not when you have portal worlds

Portal worlds don't guarantee free will - they could be the case of a split whenever a choice is made. But they could equally be an expression of different outcomes, with each iteration of you, and of the world, being as trapped by the illusion of choice as the others. Think of it like a train coming to a set of points - the train doesn't pull the lever, it doesn't decide which set of tracks it goes down. The world trying both sets of tracks doesn't mean the train ever made a choice which one it went down, even if it thinks it has free will.

 

 

 

Mr. Ares,

 

Actually, if a being exists outside of time, it might be possible for them to see all points simultaneously. If so, then all points would (or could) seem to be "now". Such a being could see all events in the process of them happening.

 

But even if you take the "after" point of view, just because someone looks ahead and sees something that has happened, it doesn't negate the choices made while that thing was happening.

 

In other words, your capacity to chose is not impaired simply because someone else knows what you ended up choosing. Free will is based on a person being able to make a choice between two different outcomes. It does not require an *infinite* number of outcomes: that has to do with the scope of free will, not the existence of it.

 

Exactly my point - if what you are going to decide is actually already decided, then you do not have an actual choice between two outcomes, you have an illusion of choice. You cannot actually choose option B, because you have already chosen option A. Any choice you make is actually already made, and therefore you have no power to choose differently.

 

But you *did* have an actual choice at the time you made it. Why does it matter that someone else knows what you chose to do?

You've got the wrong tense - it's knowing what you will choose to do. If that is known with 100% accuracy, it means there is only one possible choice. There might be the appearance of other choices, but with a probability of zero - they will not happen, categorically. How can you be capable of making a choice if there is no other possible choice?

How does that take away your choice, or make it an illusion. An illusion means that you never really had the choice, that you had only one option at the time. But if they had more than one option, then that represents a real choice, and so free will can be exercised, regardless of whether someone already knows the outcome.

But that's precisely the point - you appear to have other options, but they are only illusory. If you could be hooked up to a supercomputer that would control your actions without you realising that your actions were being controlled from outside you would believe that you had free will. Someone asks if you'd like a cup of tea, the supercomputer decides the answer and makes the choice for you. Then you make your "decision". The choice is made before you even make it. Your apparent choice is actually a foregone conclusion. You do not have the power to change your mind, to change the outcome, to make a different decision, even if you think you do - all your decisions are made already, before you  have a chance to decide. There is only the appearance of another option, you do not have the power to take it.

When Tuon started passing judgement based on Min's foretelling, Min protested and basically took Tuon to task for it. Why? Because Tuon was acting on what, from her perspective, *might* happen; and while Min may never be wrong in her viewings, some of them were conditional: if you stay with this person, you will live, but if you part you will die. Siuan made that choice of her own free will, and died. But she did have free will, even though Min foretold what would happen. IMO, free will is only lost when your choices are lost, not simply because someone knows what choice you'll make.

In Siuan's case she had a choice, or at the very least the Patern was sufficiently in flux that the future wasn't determined. In the cases of people who didn't have conditional Viewings, who had certain ones? They didn't have a choice. The Pattern had already dictated that this thing would happen to them, and it would, no matter what they did. Conditional Viewings were an exception, not the rule - most of what Min saw, at least if she understood it, was stuff that was going to happen, and couldn't be changed. Well, unless Shai'tan was released. As for Min and Tuon, Min doesn't want those deaths on her conscience, she doesn't want to tell Tuon that she sees X and have that person executed. The fact that Tuon might not even correctly interpret the Viewing only makes things worse. If it is known what choice you will make - not just most likely make, but will, beyond any possible shadow of a doubt, make - then how can you be said to have a choice? You can choose A, or A. There is no actual B, just the appearance of a B.

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But I never claimed the "train" had free-will. I said you were wrong for saying you would never choose B. with portal worlds, B has been chosen by one version of you unless only pattern-level events create portal worlds.

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But I never claimed the "train" had free-will. I said you were wrong for saying you would never choose B. with portal worlds, B has been chosen by one version of you unless only pattern-level events create portal worlds.

But you're still not making the choice, is the point. With Portal Stones, there's a world where A happened and a world where B happened, but you didn't choose either one.

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The entire conecpt of ta'veren takes away free will. It is a thread in the pattern that drives other threads, which the pattern itself drives. "The wheel weaves as the wheel wills" as the saying goes. 

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But I never claimed the "train" had free-will. I said you were wrong for saying you would never choose B. with portal worlds, B has been chosen by one version of you unless only pattern-level events create portal worlds.

But you're still not making the choice, is the point. With Portal Stones, there's a world where A happened and a world where B happened, but you didn't choose either one.
or you chose both.

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But I never claimed the "train" had free-will. I said you were wrong for saying you would never choose B. with portal worlds, B has been chosen by one version of you unless only pattern-level events create portal worlds.

But you're still not making the choice, is the point. With Portal Stones, there's a world where A happened and a world where B happened, but you didn't choose either one.
or you chose both.

If every choice is played out, is a choice really being made?

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Well, what I take from this is that humanity has exactly one (or possibly 2) free choices:

 

A human can support the Dark One or not, as the Dark One winning precludes the continuance of the (known) pattern. Given the events of aMoL this seems to be a collective choice only.

 

(possibly) a human can go into the world of dreams in the flesh, risking final death (I am neither sure dieing in T'a'R in this way kills permanently, nor am I sure wether or not the 'Finn can see it; the one Min vision related to it seems to be conditional, i.e. Perrin, you have to be there OR Rand dies -> and presumably, the DO wins?)

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But I never claimed the "train" had free-will. I said you were wrong for saying you would never choose B. with portal worlds, B has been chosen by one version of you unless only pattern-level events create portal worlds.

But you're still not making the choice, is the point. With Portal Stones, there's a world where A happened and a world where B happened, but you didn't choose either one.
or you chose both.
If every choice is played out, is a choice really being made?
if we start debating this at a philosophical and metaphysical level then we both lose :D

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But I never claimed the "train" had free-will. I said you were wrong for saying you would never choose B. with portal worlds, B has been chosen by one version of you unless only pattern-level events create portal worlds.

But you're still not making the choice, is the point. With Portal Stones, there's a world where A happened and a world where B happened, but you didn't choose either one.
or you chose both.
If every choice is played out, is a choice really being made?
if we start debating this at a philosophical and metaphysical level then we both lose :D

Ah, but do we chose to lose, or is it pre-determined? (Sorry, I had no choice but to post that.)

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Also the Finns know the future even when balefire is involved

 

This argument reminds me of the theological debate about the concept of free will being incompatible with the concept of an omniscient Creator.

 

Suppose that you accept the free will hypothesis. There are two different cereal boxes in front of you, and you are able to use your free will to choose what you have for breakfast today. Now think back to what you ate for breakfast yesterday. Can you change yesterday's decision? No. Does that disprove free will? No.

 

Similarly, something outside of time (or, in the case of the 'finns, somehow able to see outside the confines of time) is not incompatible with the free will hypothesis. You can imagine an entire universes timeline playing out with creatures having free agency. At the same time, something outside of that timeline can see the entire history of that universe (from say a Big Bang type beginning to however things turn out at the end) as if everybody's decisions were made and fixed like yesterday's breakfast.

 

Apart from this WoT-universe discussion, I do believe in the possibility of free will. But I also think that we are largely influenced by circumstance (upbringing, past experiences, hormones and chemicals in our brain, and various other mental limitations), so the actual expression of free would only manifest itself in very subtle ways.

You cannot change yesterday's decision because they have already been made. From the point of view of a being outside time, all decisions have already been made, even before you make them. Therefore, you have no capacity to choose differently, and therefore it does disprove free will.

 

Mr. Ares, I respectfully disagree. The bald fact of knowing the future does not entail determinism or lack of freedom. It doesn't matter if the being is God, a god, a supercomputer, or whatever. Suppose God knows what you will have for breakfast tomorrow. God could know this because he knows you will freely choose pancakes. So the basis for knowledge could be the free choice itself.

 

Of course, this whole debate in this thread is assuming a particular view of freedom. There have been some philosophers who have argued that freedom is compatible with determinism. But here we are assuming what's known as "libertarian freedom."

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Well, depending on how you think the DO or Creator perceive the future, is how you will view free will vs determinism.

 

If the DO and Creator see every possible outcome of a cause, then your free will does exist.  They see every possible choice you can make, and every choice after that choice, branching off into infinity.  You still can choose to do whatever you want, the DO/Creator just know all possible choices and all possible outcomes. 

 

If however, the DO/Creator see only the future that WILL happen, then your free will does not exist, and is determined. 

 

Personally I'm with the former.

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Well, depending on how you think the DO or Creator perceive the future, is how you will view free will vs determinism.

 

If the DO and Creator see every possible outcome of a cause, then your free will does exist.  They see every possible choice you can make, and every choice after that choice, branching off into infinity.  You still can choose to do whatever you want, the DO/Creator just know all possible choices and all possible outcomes. 

 

If however, the DO/Creator see only the future that WILL happen, then your free will does not exist, and is determined. 

 

Personally I'm with the former.

 

Hello Plato. Nice name for this sort of discussion :smile:

 

I still don't think this is correct. Knowing what will happen does not entail that there is no (libertarian) freedom. Such knowledge is of the future, but knowledge itself does not determine the future, or fix it. Perhaps: my having pancakes for breakfast tomorrow is a free choice I make at breakfast tomorrow. It may be true today that "tomorrow I will have pancakes for breakfast," but what makes that true, what determines that this will be true, is not God's knowledge, or the supercomputer, but my making the choice tomorrow morning. We can conceive of God, or the supercomputer, as observers of history, seeing all in a flash what will be the case, including the choices free agents make. But merely observing what will happen, from some "atemporal" point of view, doesn't itself entail that these choices aren't free.

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Also the Finns know the future even when balefire is involved

 

This argument reminds me of the theological debate about the concept of free will being incompatible with the concept of an omniscient Creator.

 

Suppose that you accept the free will hypothesis. There are two different cereal boxes in front of you, and you are able to use your free will to choose what you have for breakfast today. Now think back to what you ate for breakfast yesterday. Can you change yesterday's decision? No. Does that disprove free will? No.

 

Similarly, something outside of time (or, in the case of the 'finns, somehow able to see outside the confines of time) is not incompatible with the free will hypothesis. You can imagine an entire universes timeline playing out with creatures having free agency. At the same time, something outside of that timeline can see the entire history of that universe (from say a Big Bang type beginning to however things turn out at the end) as if everybody's decisions were made and fixed like yesterday's breakfast.

 

Apart from this WoT-universe discussion, I do believe in the possibility of free will. But I also think that we are largely influenced by circumstance (upbringing, past experiences, hormones and chemicals in our brain, and various other mental limitations), so the actual expression of free would only manifest itself in very subtle ways.

 

You cannot change yesterday's decision because they have already been made. From the point of view of a being outside time, all decisions have already been made, even before you make them. Therefore, you have no capacity to choose differently, and therefore it does disprove free will.

 

 

Mr. Ares, I respectfully disagree. The bald fact of knowing the future does not entail determinism or lack of freedom. It doesn't matter if the being is God, a god, a supercomputer, or whatever. Suppose God knows what you will have for breakfast tomorrow. God could know this because he knows you will freely choose pancakes. So the basis for knowledge could be the free choice itself.

A statement that makes no sense. If I am capable of making a choice, there exists the possibility that I will not choose pancakes. God cannot know, with absolute certainty, what I will choose, even if he knows the outcome of any choice I might make, and what I am most likely to choose. What you are saying is that God will know what I will choose before I have chosen it, and therefore I have no option to choose something different, but my will is still free because...? God's knowledge of what I will do cannot be completely accurate unless I have the option to choose to do something different. Knowledge of the sort you propose is only possible where there exists no possibility of my making a different choice, and therefore despite the claim that my will is free you merely prove that it isn't.

 

 

Well, depending on how you think the DO or Creator perceive the future, is how you will view free will vs determinism.

 

If the DO and Creator see every possible outcome of a cause, then your free will does exist.  They see every possible choice you can make, and every choice after that choice, branching off into infinity.  You still can choose to do whatever you want, the DO/Creator just know all possible choices and all possible outcomes. 

 

If however, the DO/Creator see only the future that WILL happen, then your free will does not exist, and is determined. 

 

Personally I'm with the former.

 

Hello Plato. Nice name for this sort of discussion :smile:

 

I still don't think this is correct. Knowing what will happen does not entail that there is no (libertarian) freedom. Such knowledge is of the future, but knowledge itself does not determine the future, or fix it. Perhaps: my having pancakes for breakfast tomorrow is a free choice I make at breakfast tomorrow. It may be true today that "tomorrow I will have pancakes for breakfast," but what makes that true, what determines that this will be true, is not God's knowledge, or the supercomputer, but my making the choice tomorrow morning. We can conceive of God, or the supercomputer, as observers of history, seeing all in a flash what will be the case, including the choices free agents make. But merely observing what will happen, from some "atemporal" point of view, doesn't itself entail that these choices aren't free.

The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future. In other words, it is not God's knowledge that denies free will, but God's knowledge is the proof that free will is denied. We could still lack free will even if God, or some other atemporal observer didn't exist. The choice you are going to make tomorrow morning is, from your perpective, in the future, but from a more accurate perspective it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. If you are unable to change any decision even before you have made it, then how is your will free? You have a choice of A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it. As there exists no possibility of doing something other than A, the idea that you freely chose it is laughable.

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Also the Finns know the future even when balefire is involved

 

This argument reminds me of the theological debate about the concept of free will being incompatible with the concept of an omniscient Creator.

 

Suppose that you accept the free will hypothesis. There are two different cereal boxes in front of you, and you are able to use your free will to choose what you have for breakfast today. Now think back to what you ate for breakfast yesterday. Can you change yesterday's decision? No. Does that disprove free will? No.

 

Similarly, something outside of time (or, in the case of the 'finns, somehow able to see outside the confines of time) is not incompatible with the free will hypothesis. You can imagine an entire universes timeline playing out with creatures having free agency. At the same time, something outside of that timeline can see the entire history of that universe (from say a Big Bang type beginning to however things turn out at the end) as if everybody's decisions were made and fixed like yesterday's breakfast.

 

Apart from this WoT-universe discussion, I do believe in the possibility of free will. But I also think that we are largely influenced by circumstance (upbringing, past experiences, hormones and chemicals in our brain, and various other mental limitations), so the actual expression of free would only manifest itself in very subtle ways.

 

You cannot change yesterday's decision because they have already been made. From the point of view of a being outside time, all decisions have already been made, even before you make them. Therefore, you have no capacity to choose differently, and therefore it does disprove free will.

 

 

Mr. Ares, I respectfully disagree. The bald fact of knowing the future does not entail determinism or lack of freedom. It doesn't matter if the being is God, a god, a supercomputer, or whatever. Suppose God knows what you will have for breakfast tomorrow. God could know this because he knows you will freely choose pancakes. So the basis for knowledge could be the free choice itself.

A statement that makes no sense. If I am capable of making a choice, there exists the possibility that I will not choose pancakes. God cannot know, with absolute certainty, what I will choose, even if he knows the outcome of any choice I might make, and what I am most likely to choose. What you are saying is that God will know what I will choose before I have chosen it, and therefore I have no option to choose something different, but my will is still free because...? God's knowledge of what I will do cannot be completely accurate unless I have the option to choose to do something different. Knowledge of the sort you propose is only possible where there exists no possibility of my making a different choice, and therefore despite the claim that my will is free you merely prove that it isn't.

 

 

Well, depending on how you think the DO or Creator perceive the future, is how you will view free will vs determinism.

 

If the DO and Creator see every possible outcome of a cause, then your free will does exist.  They see every possible choice you can make, and every choice after that choice, branching off into infinity.  You still can choose to do whatever you want, the DO/Creator just know all possible choices and all possible outcomes. 

 

If however, the DO/Creator see only the future that WILL happen, then your free will does not exist, and is determined. 

 

Personally I'm with the former.

 

Hello Plato. Nice name for this sort of discussion :smile:

 

I still don't think this is correct. Knowing what will happen does not entail that there is no (libertarian) freedom. Such knowledge is of the future, but knowledge itself does not determine the future, or fix it. Perhaps: my having pancakes for breakfast tomorrow is a free choice I make at breakfast tomorrow. It may be true today that "tomorrow I will have pancakes for breakfast," but what makes that true, what determines that this will be true, is not God's knowledge, or the supercomputer, but my making the choice tomorrow morning. We can conceive of God, or the supercomputer, as observers of history, seeing all in a flash what will be the case, including the choices free agents make. But merely observing what will happen, from some "atemporal" point of view, doesn't itself entail that these choices aren't free.

The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future. In other words, it is not God's knowledge that denies free will, but God's knowledge is the proof that free will is denied. We could still lack free will even if God, or some other atemporal observer didn't exist. The choice you are going to make tomorrow morning is, from your perpective, in the future, but from a more accurate perspective it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. If you are unable to change any decision even before you have made it, then how is your will free? You have a choice of A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it. As there exists no possibility of doing something other than A, the idea that you freely chose it is laughable.

 

 

Sorry, but I think there is some confusion here. I claimed that the fact of God (or supercomputer) knowing the future does not entail that there is no freedom. Your response is to say (let me paraphrase) that the only possible way that there could be such knowledge is if there is no freedom. But you have moved the debate. The original issue was whether knowing the future entails determinism or lack of a particular kind of freedom (libertarian). It doesn't. Your claim here (and perhaps in earlier posts I didn't read carefully) has to do with the ground for such knowledge. Note there is a difference between knowledge and its ground--that is, explaining how someone knows something. You may not care for the distinction, and may consider it splitting hairs, but it can be an important distinction to make.

 

And so you claim: "The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future." In other words: " it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. ... You have a choice between A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it." I think that in these claims there is contained the heart of the difficulty. It seems you are conflating "possibility" and "actuality," "can" and "cannot." Simply because it is true today that I choose to have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow, does not mean that there is no other possibility. It is certainly true that it is possible for me to choose eggs, even though my actual choice will be pancakes. There is a distinction between possible choices and an actual choice. And if it is true that "tomorrow morning I choose pancakes for breakfast," this only entails that it is false that I choose eggs, or toast, or fruit, etc. It does not entail that these other possibilities are not possible choices--only that I do not in fact make these choices. So, if God knows it is true that tomorrow I choose pancakes, this certainly doesn't entail that there are no other choices available. If God knows what is true, he knows what I will choose. So, it doesn't follow that the mere fact of knowing what will happen entails that there cannot be any other possibility (as you suggest). Of course, it is extremely difficult explaining the ground of God's knowledge of the world--how do we explain omniscience? But that is a different question altogether.

 

Look back on your future. Can you change any of your choices? No. They are fixed. And yet, did you make any free choices? I think you did. And are these not free choices even though you cannot change them, that nothing can change them now? Your perspective on your future is similar to the perspective of an atemporal being, having a point of view "outside of time" (if such a perspective is possible).

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Also the Finns know the future even when balefire is involved

 

This argument reminds me of the theological debate about the concept of free will being incompatible with the concept of an omniscient Creator.

 

Suppose that you accept the free will hypothesis. There are two different cereal boxes in front of you, and you are able to use your free will to choose what you have for breakfast today. Now think back to what you ate for breakfast yesterday. Can you change yesterday's decision? No. Does that disprove free will? No.

 

Similarly, something outside of time (or, in the case of the 'finns, somehow able to see outside the confines of time) is not incompatible with the free will hypothesis. You can imagine an entire universes timeline playing out with creatures having free agency. At the same time, something outside of that timeline can see the entire history of that universe (from say a Big Bang type beginning to however things turn out at the end) as if everybody's decisions were made and fixed like yesterday's breakfast.

 

Apart from this WoT-universe discussion, I do believe in the possibility of free will. But I also think that we are largely influenced by circumstance (upbringing, past experiences, hormones and chemicals in our brain, and various other mental limitations), so the actual expression of free would only manifest itself in very subtle ways.

 

You cannot change yesterday's decision because they have already been made. From the point of view of a being outside time, all decisions have already been made, even before you make them. Therefore, you have no capacity to choose differently, and therefore it does disprove free will.

 

 

Mr. Ares, I respectfully disagree. The bald fact of knowing the future does not entail determinism or lack of freedom. It doesn't matter if the being is God, a god, a supercomputer, or whatever. Suppose God knows what you will have for breakfast tomorrow. God could know this because he knows you will freely choose pancakes. So the basis for knowledge could be the free choice itself.

A statement that makes no sense. If I am capable of making a choice, there exists the possibility that I will not choose pancakes. God cannot know, with absolute certainty, what I will choose, even if he knows the outcome of any choice I might make, and what I am most likely to choose. What you are saying is that God will know what I will choose before I have chosen it, and therefore I have no option to choose something different, but my will is still free because...? God's knowledge of what I will do cannot be completely accurate unless I have the option to choose to do something different. Knowledge of the sort you propose is only possible where there exists no possibility of my making a different choice, and therefore despite the claim that my will is free you merely prove that it isn't.

 

 

 

Well, depending on how you think the DO or Creator perceive the future, is how you will view free will vs determinism.

 

If the DO and Creator see every possible outcome of a cause, then your free will does exist.  They see every possible choice you can make, and every choice after that choice, branching off into infinity.  You still can choose to do whatever you want, the DO/Creator just know all possible choices and all possible outcomes. 

 

If however, the DO/Creator see only the future that WILL happen, then your free will does not exist, and is determined. 

 

Personally I'm with the former.

 

Hello Plato. Nice name for this sort of discussion :smile:

 

I still don't think this is correct. Knowing what will happen does not entail that there is no (libertarian) freedom. Such knowledge is of the future, but knowledge itself does not determine the future, or fix it. Perhaps: my having pancakes for breakfast tomorrow is a free choice I make at breakfast tomorrow. It may be true today that "tomorrow I will have pancakes for breakfast," but what makes that true, what determines that this will be true, is not God's knowledge, or the supercomputer, but my making the choice tomorrow morning. We can conceive of God, or the supercomputer, as observers of history, seeing all in a flash what will be the case, including the choices free agents make. But merely observing what will happen, from some "atemporal" point of view, doesn't itself entail that these choices aren't free.

The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future. In other words, it is not God's knowledge that denies free will, but God's knowledge is the proof that free will is denied. We could still lack free will even if God, or some other atemporal observer didn't exist. The choice you are going to make tomorrow morning is, from your perpective, in the future, but from a more accurate perspective it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. If you are unable to change any decision even before you have made it, then how is your will free? You have a choice of A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it. As there exists no possibility of doing something other than A, the idea that you freely chose it is laughable.

 

 

Sorry, but I think there is some confusion here. I claimed that the fact of God (or supercomputer) knowing the future does not entail that there is no freedom. Your response is to say (let me paraphrase) that the only possible way that there could be such knowledge is if there is no freedom. But you have moved the debate. The original issue was whether knowing the future entails determinism or lack of a particular kind of freedom (libertarian). It doesn't. Your claim here (and perhaps in earlier posts I didn't read carefully) has to do with the ground for such knowledge. Note there is a difference between knowledge and its ground--that is, explaining how someone knows something. You may not care for the distinction, and may consider it splitting hairs, but it can be an important distinction to make.

 

And so you claim: "The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future." In other words: " it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. ... You have a choice between A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it." I think that in these claims there is contained the heart of the difficulty. It seems you are conflating "possibility" and "actuality," "can" and "cannot." Simply because it is true today that I choose to have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow, does not mean that there is no other possibility. It is certainly true that it is possible for me to choose eggs, even though my actual choice will be pancakes. There is a distinction between possible choices and an actual choice. And if it is true that "tomorrow morning I choose pancakes for breakfast," this only entails that it is false that I choose eggs, or toast, or fruit, etc. It does not entail that these other possibilities are not possible choices--only that I do not in fact make these choices. So, if God knows it is true that tomorrow I choose pancakes, this certainly doesn't entail that there are no other choices available. If God knows what is true, he knows what I will choose. So, it doesn't follow that the mere fact of knowing what will happen entails that there cannot be any other possibility (as you suggest). Of course, it is extremely difficult explaining the ground of God's knowledge of the world--how do we explain omniscience? But that is a different question altogether.

 

Look back on your future. Can you change any of your choices? No. They are fixed. And yet, did you make any free choices? I think you did. And are these not free choices even though you cannot change them, that nothing can change them now? Your perspective on your future is similar to the perspective of an atemporal being, having a point of view "outside of time" (if such a perspective is possible).

 

 

Off topic: At least I can post an answer...my explorer keeps getting bugged....

On Topic:

 

I agree with you in almost everything, but I'll try to give my own "vision" of what omniscience means.

My point of vew as a Creator would be a big, complex pattern made of choices. I, as an omniscient being, would see this pattern complete at all times, but the pattern itself would be dynamic. So yes, I know everything but I see EVERY existing possibility and when someone makes a choice that fragment of the pattern would unravel. That or (this is what I fully support but the other opcion seems possible to me)an already fixated, static pattern because I know what you will choose, but I myself haven't anything to do with you choosing that. You have free will to choose the path you prefer, I simply know what you will choose because I know and comprehend you better than anyone. I'm God and omniscient after all.

 

I don't know if I'm being stupid over 9000 but that's how I think it works. Yes, if God exists it knows everything, but that doesn't mean I don't have control over my future.

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Also the Finns know the future even when balefire is involved

 

This argument reminds me of the theological debate about the concept of free will being incompatible with the concept of an omniscient Creator.

 

Suppose that you accept the free will hypothesis. There are two different cereal boxes in front of you, and you are able to use your free will to choose what you have for breakfast today. Now think back to what you ate for breakfast yesterday. Can you change yesterday's decision? No. Does that disprove free will? No.

 

Similarly, something outside of time (or, in the case of the 'finns, somehow able to see outside the confines of time) is not incompatible with the free will hypothesis. You can imagine an entire universes timeline playing out with creatures having free agency. At the same time, something outside of that timeline can see the entire history of that universe (from say a Big Bang type beginning to however things turn out at the end) as if everybody's decisions were made and fixed like yesterday's breakfast.

 

Apart from this WoT-universe discussion, I do believe in the possibility of free will. But I also think that we are largely influenced by circumstance (upbringing, past experiences, hormones and chemicals in our brain, and various other mental limitations), so the actual expression of free would only manifest itself in very subtle ways.

 

You cannot change yesterday's decision because they have already been made. From the point of view of a being outside time, all decisions have already been made, even before you make them. Therefore, you have no capacity to choose differently, and therefore it does disprove free will.

 

 

Mr. Ares, I respectfully disagree. The bald fact of knowing the future does not entail determinism or lack of freedom. It doesn't matter if the being is God, a god, a supercomputer, or whatever. Suppose God knows what you will have for breakfast tomorrow. God could know this because he knows you will freely choose pancakes. So the basis for knowledge could be the free choice itself.

A statement that makes no sense. If I am capable of making a choice, there exists the possibility that I will not choose pancakes. God cannot know, with absolute certainty, what I will choose, even if he knows the outcome of any choice I might make, and what I am most likely to choose. What you are saying is that God will know what I will choose before I have chosen it, and therefore I have no option to choose something different, but my will is still free because...? God's knowledge of what I will do cannot be completely accurate unless I have the option to choose to do something different. Knowledge of the sort you propose is only possible where there exists no possibility of my making a different choice, and therefore despite the claim that my will is free you merely prove that it isn't.

 

 

 

Well, depending on how you think the DO or Creator perceive the future, is how you will view free will vs determinism.

 

If the DO and Creator see every possible outcome of a cause, then your free will does exist.  They see every possible choice you can make, and every choice after that choice, branching off into infinity.  You still can choose to do whatever you want, the DO/Creator just know all possible choices and all possible outcomes. 

 

If however, the DO/Creator see only the future that WILL happen, then your free will does not exist, and is determined. 

 

Personally I'm with the former.

 

Hello Plato. Nice name for this sort of discussion :smile:

 

I still don't think this is correct. Knowing what will happen does not entail that there is no (libertarian) freedom. Such knowledge is of the future, but knowledge itself does not determine the future, or fix it. Perhaps: my having pancakes for breakfast tomorrow is a free choice I make at breakfast tomorrow. It may be true today that "tomorrow I will have pancakes for breakfast," but what makes that true, what determines that this will be true, is not God's knowledge, or the supercomputer, but my making the choice tomorrow morning. We can conceive of God, or the supercomputer, as observers of history, seeing all in a flash what will be the case, including the choices free agents make. But merely observing what will happen, from some "atemporal" point of view, doesn't itself entail that these choices aren't free.

The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future. In other words, it is not God's knowledge that denies free will, but God's knowledge is the proof that free will is denied. We could still lack free will even if God, or some other atemporal observer didn't exist. The choice you are going to make tomorrow morning is, from your perpective, in the future, but from a more accurate perspective it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. If you are unable to change any decision even before you have made it, then how is your will free? You have a choice of A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it. As there exists no possibility of doing something other than A, the idea that you freely chose it is laughable.

 

Sorry, but I think there is some confusion here. I claimed that the fact of God (or supercomputer) knowing the future does not entail that there is no freedom. Your response is to say (let me paraphrase) that the only possible way that there could be such knowledge is if there is no freedom. But you have moved the debate. The original issue was whether knowing the future entails determinism or lack of a particular kind of freedom (libertarian). It doesn't. Your claim here (and perhaps in earlier posts I didn't read carefully) has to do with the ground for such knowledge. Note there is a difference between knowledge and its ground--that is, explaining how someone knows something. You may not care for the distinction, and may consider it splitting hairs, but it can be an important distinction to make.

 

And so you claim: "The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future." In other words: " it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. ... You have a choice between A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it." I think that in these claims there is contained the heart of the difficulty. It seems you are conflating "possibility" and "actuality," "can" and "cannot." Simply because it is true today that I choose to have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow, does not mean that there is no other possibility. It is certainly true that it is possible for me to choose eggs, even though my actual choice will be pancakes. There is a distinction between possible choices and an actual choice. And if it is true that "tomorrow morning I choose pancakes for breakfast," this only entails that it is false that I choose eggs, or toast, or fruit, etc. It does not entail that these other possibilities are not possible choices--only that I do not in fact make these choices. So, if God knows it is true that tomorrow I choose pancakes, this certainly doesn't entail that there are no other choices available. If God knows what is true, he knows what I will choose. So, it doesn't follow that the mere fact of knowing what will happen entails that there cannot be any other possibility (as you suggest). Of course, it is extremely difficult explaining the ground of God's knowledge of the world--how do we explain omniscience? But that is a different question altogether.

 

Look back on your future. Can you change any of your choices? No. They are fixed. And yet, did you make any free choices? I think you did. And are these not free choices even though you cannot change them, that nothing can change them now? Your perspective on your future is similar to the perspective of an atemporal being, having a point of view "outside of time" (if such a perspective is possible).

The problem is not that I am conflating possibilities and actualities, it is that you are conflating actual possibilities with the illusion of possibility. Take your pancakes as an example - your choices are to eat pancakes for breakfast, or to eat pancakes for breakfast. Sure, you have cereal in the cupboard, you have some bread so you can make toast, and it is from this that you draw the illusion of choice - you say that you could, if you chose, have something other than pancakes. The problem is there is no actual chance of you having something other than pancakes. That you will have pancakes is a certainty, it is the only possible option. So how do you have free will? An option that you are incapable of exercising is not an option at all. There exists no possibility that you could have something else. You are incapable of having something else - not because you are being forced to have that, not because there is nothing else to eat, but because the decision was already made, in the moment of the creation of the universe your every actions has already been mapped out and decided. Absolute foreknowledge does not cause a deterministic future, but a deterministic future is required for that foreknowledge to exist, therefore foreknowledge does preclude free will. You haven't truly got to grips with the contradiction at the heart of your position. Before you are even born, your every choice is already made, yet you still have free will. Saying that you are free to choose in the moment of choosing is absurd - in the moment of choosing, your choice has already been made, the outcome has already observed, it has already happened. To a being outside time, your choices that you have yet to make, and the choices you have already made are the same. So either you can change the decisions in your past, or you cannot change the decisions in your future.

 

My point of vew as a Creator would be a big, complex pattern made of choices. I, as an omniscient being, would see this pattern complete at all times, but the pattern itself would be dynamic. So yes, I know everything but I see EVERY existing possibility and when someone makes a choice that fragment of the pattern would unravel. That or (this is what I fully support but the other opcion seems possible to me)an already fixated, static pattern because I know what you will choose, but I myself haven't anything to do with you choosing that. You have free will to choose the path you prefer, I simply know what you will choose because I know and comprehend you better than anyone. I'm God and omniscient after all.

 

I don't know if I'm being stupid over 9000 but that's how I think it works. Yes, if God exists it knows everything, but that doesn't mean I don't have control over my future.

God doesn't require omniscience. Omniscience doesn't preclude free will, depending on what is meant by omniscience - knowing every choice that could be made, knowing all the outcomes to all those choices, but not knowing which potential future is the real one until it happens, that allows free will. Knowing what will happen requires that there exists no possibility of it not happening, of it happening differently. Thus there are no possibilities, only certainties - what will happen, and what will not. Thus, no ability to choose between different possibilities.

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Also the Finns know the future even when balefire is involved

 

This argument reminds me of the theological debate about the concept of free will being incompatible with the concept of an omniscient Creator.

 

Suppose that you accept the free will hypothesis. There are two different cereal boxes in front of you, and you are able to use your free will to choose what you have for breakfast today. Now think back to what you ate for breakfast yesterday. Can you change yesterday's decision? No. Does that disprove free will? No.

 

Similarly, something outside of time (or, in the case of the 'finns, somehow able to see outside the confines of time) is not incompatible with the free will hypothesis. You can imagine an entire universes timeline playing out with creatures having free agency. At the same time, something outside of that timeline can see the entire history of that universe (from say a Big Bang type beginning to however things turn out at the end) as if everybody's decisions were made and fixed like yesterday's breakfast.

 

Apart from this WoT-universe discussion, I do believe in the possibility of free will. But I also think that we are largely influenced by circumstance (upbringing, past experiences, hormones and chemicals in our brain, and various other mental limitations), so the actual expression of free would only manifest itself in very subtle ways.

 

You cannot change yesterday's decision because they have already been made. From the point of view of a being outside time, all decisions have already been made, even before you make them. Therefore, you have no capacity to choose differently, and therefore it does disprove free will.

 

 

Mr. Ares, I respectfully disagree. The bald fact of knowing the future does not entail determinism or lack of freedom. It doesn't matter if the being is God, a god, a supercomputer, or whatever. Suppose God knows what you will have for breakfast tomorrow. God could know this because he knows you will freely choose pancakes. So the basis for knowledge could be the free choice itself.

A statement that makes no sense. If I am capable of making a choice, there exists the possibility that I will not choose pancakes. God cannot know, with absolute certainty, what I will choose, even if he knows the outcome of any choice I might make, and what I am most likely to choose. What you are saying is that God will know what I will choose before I have chosen it, and therefore I have no option to choose something different, but my will is still free because...? God's knowledge of what I will do cannot be completely accurate unless I have the option to choose to do something different. Knowledge of the sort you propose is only possible where there exists no possibility of my making a different choice, and therefore despite the claim that my will is free you merely prove that it isn't.

 

 

Well, depending on how you think the DO or Creator perceive the future, is how you will view free will vs determinism.

 

If the DO and Creator see every possible outcome of a cause, then your free will does exist.  They see every possible choice you can make, and every choice after that choice, branching off into infinity.  You still can choose to do whatever you want, the DO/Creator just know all possible choices and all possible outcomes. 

 

If however, the DO/Creator see only the future that WILL happen, then your free will does not exist, and is determined. 

 

Personally I'm with the former.

 

Hello Plato. Nice name for this sort of discussion :smile:

 

I still don't think this is correct. Knowing what will happen does not entail that there is no (libertarian) freedom. Such knowledge is of the future, but knowledge itself does not determine the future, or fix it. Perhaps: my having pancakes for breakfast tomorrow is a free choice I make at breakfast tomorrow. It may be true today that "tomorrow I will have pancakes for breakfast," but what makes that true, what determines that this will be true, is not God's knowledge, or the supercomputer, but my making the choice tomorrow morning. We can conceive of God, or the supercomputer, as observers of history, seeing all in a flash what will be the case, including the choices free agents make. But merely observing what will happen, from some "atemporal" point of view, doesn't itself entail that these choices aren't free.blockquote>

The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future. In other words, it is not God's knowledge that denies free will, but God's knowledge is the proof that free will is denied. We could still lack free will even if God, or some other atemporal observer didn't exist. The choice you are going to make tomorrow morning is, from your perpective, in the future, but from a more accurate perspective it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. If you are unable to change any decision even before you have made it, then how is your will free? You have a choice of A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it. As there exists no possibility of doing something other than A, the idea that you freely chose it is laughable.

 

Sorry, but I think there is some confusion here. I claimed that the fact of God (or supercomputer) knowing the future does not entail that there is no freedom. Your response is to say (let me paraphrase) that the only possible way that there could be such knowledge is if there is no freedom. But you have moved the debate. The original issue was whether knowing the future entails determinism or lack of a particular kind of freedom (libertarian). It doesn't. Your claim here (and perhaps in earlier posts I didn't read carefully) has to do with the ground for such knowledge. Note there is a difference between knowledge and its ground--that is, explaining how someone knows something. You may not care for the distinction, and may consider it splitting hairs, but it can be an important distinction to make.

 

And so you claim: "The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future." In other words: " it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. ... You have a choice between A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it." I think that in these claims there is contained the heart of the difficulty. It seems you are conflating "possibility" and "actuality," "can" and "cannot." Simply because it is true today that I choose to have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow, does not mean that there is no other possibility. It is certainly true that it is possible for me to choose eggs, even though my actual choice will be pancakes. There is a distinction between possible choices and an actual choice. And if it is true that "tomorrow morning I choose pancakes for breakfast," this only entails that it is false that I choose eggs, or toast, or fruit, etc. It does not entail that these other possibilities are not possible choices--only that I do not in fact make these choices. So, if God knows it is true that tomorrow I choose pancakes, this certainly doesn't entail that there are no other choices available. If God knows what is true, he knows what I will choose. So, it doesn't follow that the mere fact of knowing what will happen entails that there cannot be any other possibility (as you suggest). Of course, it is extremely difficult explaining the ground of God's knowledge of the world--how do we explain omniscience? But that is a different question altogether.

 

Look back on your future. Can you change any of your choices? No. They are fixed. And yet, did you make any free choices? I think you did. And are these not free choices even though you cannot change them, that nothing can change them now? Your perspective on your future is similar to the perspective of an atemporal being, having a point of view "outside of time" (if such a perspective is possible).

The problem is not that I am conflating possibilities and actualities, it is that you are conflating actual possibilities with the illusion of possibility. Take your pancakes as an example - your choices are to eat pancakes for breakfast, or to eat pancakes for breakfast. Sure, you have cereal in the cupboard, you have some bread so you can make toast, and it is from this that you draw the illusion of choice - you say that you could, if you chose, have something other than pancakes. The problem is there is no actual chance of you having something other than pancakes. That you will have pancakes is a certainty, it is the only possible option. So how do you have free will? An option that you are incapable of exercising is not an option at all. There exists no possibility that you could have something else. You are incapable of having something else - not because you are being forced to have that, not because there is nothing else to eat, but because the decision was already made, in the moment of the creation of the universe your every actions has already been mapped out and decided. Absolute foreknowledge does not cause a deterministic future, but a deterministic future is required for that foreknowledge to exist, therefore foreknowledge does preclude free will. You haven't truly got to grips with the contradiction at the heart of your position. Before you are even born, your every choice is already made, yet you still have free will. Saying that you are free to choose in the moment of choosing is absurd - in the moment of choosing, your choice has already been made, the outcome has already observed, it has already happened. To a being outside time, your choices that you have yet to make, and the choices you have already made are the same. So either you can change the decisions in your past, or you cannot change the decisions in your future.

 

My point of vew as a Creator would be a big, complex pattern made of choices. I, as an omniscient being, would see this pattern complete at all times, but the pattern itself would be dynamic. So yes, I know everything but I see EVERY existing possibility and when someone makes a choice that fragment of the pattern would unravel. That or (this is what I fully support but the other opcion seems possible to me)an already fixated, static pattern because I know what you will choose, but I myself haven't anything to do with you choosing that. You have free will to choose the path you prefer, I simply know what you will choose because I know and comprehend you better than anyone. I'm God and omniscient after all.

 

I don't know if I'm being stupid over 9000 but that's how I think it works. Yes, if God exists it knows everything, but that doesn't mean I don't have control over my future.

God doesn't require omniscience. Omniscience doesn't preclude free will, depending on what is meant by omniscience - knowing every choice that could be made, knowing all the outcomes to all those choices, but not knowing which potential future is the real one until it happens, that allows free will. Knowing what will happen requires that there exists no possibility of it not happening, of it happening differently. Thus there are no possibilities, only certainties - what will happen, and what will not. Thus, no ability to choose between different possibilities.

 

 

 

Your argument goes something like this (very roughly stated):

(1) Foreknowledge requires a "deterministic universe"

(2) If a universe is "deterministic," then there are no other ("real?") possibilities (i.e., there is only one causal line of events exists?)

(3) If there are no other possibilities, then there is no libertarian freedom

(4) Hence, foreknowledge entails that there is no libertarian freedom.

 

There are a few difficulties with this argument. The whole thing hinges on the claim that the universe must be deterministic for there to be foreknowledge, and that this deterministic structure must be understood in a very specific way: as causal determinism. This point, on what sort of "determinism" must be at play in your argument, is a bit muddled (so maybe you don't really mean causal determinism), but this is precisely the issue that is being debated. Here's the question: What is it that determines my choice? In order for your argument to work, you need to say that choices are not determined by the people themselves--you need to say that my choice to have pancakes tomorrow is not determined by me tomorrow morning.  But what is the basis for saying that I do not determine my choice? This is your basis: that foreknowledge is incompatible with an agent determining his own choice. The problem is that this just assumes your conclusion and doesn't provide a reason for your conclusion. You've gone in something of a circle.

 

You attack the same problem from a different angle: at other places in what you wrote you seem to suggest that my choice tomorrow morning for pancakes cannot be free, since it is the one and only possible choice. I don't like this way of stating it, since it seems to confuse possibility and actuality. Rather: among the possible choices only one is in fact the actual choice made. We can say only one possibility will be the outcome. But what makes this the case? Perhaps it is my choice that makes it so. My choice tomorrow morning is the "truth-maker" for the truth today that "tomorrow I will choose pancakes for breakfast." So, the fact that "only one possibility is going to be actual," and that this is fixed, says nothing about whether or not there is freedom. It all depends upon what makes the proposition true. (note: this is a very complex issue though)

 

You deny what I've just said when you claim: "the decision was already made, in the moment of the creation of the universe your every actions has already been mapped out and decided." Ok, let's say this is the case. "Mapped out" and "decided" imply that every detail is in place beforehand--let's say this is the map the creator consults to "see" the entire scope of the universe, "foreknowing" every event, every choice, etc. How does this entail that there is no freedom in the world? It doesn't. Perhaps "the map" includes that at a time X I will freely choose pancakes for breakfast. There is no inherent incompatibility here between such a highly detailed "map" and freedom. In order to make a case that freedom is incompatible you need to say that the creator personally decided every single detail in the map, and then personally caused every single detail in the map to be the case. But that's really another sort of argument.

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Also the Finns know the future even when balefire is involved

 

This argument reminds me of the theological debate about the concept of free will being incompatible with the concept of an omniscient Creator.

 

Suppose that you accept the free will hypothesis. There are two different cereal boxes in front of you, and you are able to use your free will to choose what you have for breakfast today. Now think back to what you ate for breakfast yesterday. Can you change yesterday's decision? No. Does that disprove free will? No.

 

Similarly, something outside of time (or, in the case of the 'finns, somehow able to see outside the confines of time) is not incompatible with the free will hypothesis. You can imagine an entire universes timeline playing out with creatures having free agency. At the same time, something outside of that timeline can see the entire history of that universe (from say a Big Bang type beginning to however things turn out at the end) as if everybody's decisions were made and fixed like yesterday's breakfast.

 

Apart from this WoT-universe discussion, I do believe in the possibility of free will. But I also think that we are largely influenced by circumstance (upbringing, past experiences, hormones and chemicals in our brain, and various other mental limitations), so the actual expression of free would only manifest itself in very subtle ways.

 

You cannot change yesterday's decision because they have already been made. From the point of view of a being outside time, all decisions have already been made, even before you make them. Therefore, you have no capacity to choose differently, and therefore it does disprove free will.

 

 

Mr. Ares, I respectfully disagree. The bald fact of knowing the future does not entail determinism or lack of freedom. It doesn't matter if the being is God, a god, a supercomputer, or whatever. Suppose God knows what you will have for breakfast tomorrow. God could know this because he knows you will freely choose pancakes. So the basis for knowledge could be the free choice itself.

A statement that makes no sense. If I am capable of making a choice, there exists the possibility that I will not choose pancakes. God cannot know, with absolute certainty, what I will choose, even if he knows the outcome of any choice I might make, and what I am most likely to choose. What you are saying is that God will know what I will choose before I have chosen it, and therefore I have no option to choose something different, but my will is still free because...? God's knowledge of what I will do cannot be completely accurate unless I have the option to choose to do something different. Knowledge of the sort you propose is only possible where there exists no possibility of my making a different choice, and therefore despite the claim that my will is free you merely prove that it isn't.

 

Well, depending on how you think the DO or Creator perceive the future, is how you will view free will vs determinism.

 

If the DO and Creator see every possible outcome of a cause, then your free will does exist.  They see every possible choice you can make, and every choice after that choice, branching off into infinity.  You still can choose to do whatever you want, the DO/Creator just know all possible choices and all possible outcomes. 

 

If however, the DO/Creator see only the future that WILL happen, then your free will does not exist, and is determined. 

 

Personally I'm with the former.

 

Hello Plato. Nice name for this sort of discussion :smile:

 

I still don't think this is correct. Knowing what will happen does not entail that there is no (libertarian) freedom. Such knowledge is of the future, but knowledge itself does not determine the future, or fix it. Perhaps: my having pancakes for breakfast tomorrow is a free choice I make at breakfast tomorrow. It may be true today that "tomorrow I will have pancakes for breakfast," but what makes that true, what determines that this will be true, is not God's knowledge, or the supercomputer, but my making the choice tomorrow morning. We can conceive of God, or the supercomputer, as observers of history, seeing all in a flash what will be the case, including the choices free agents make. But merely observing what will happen, from some "atemporal" point of view, doesn't itself entail that these choices aren't free.blockquote>

The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future. In other words, it is not God's knowledge that denies free will, but God's knowledge is the proof that free will is denied. We could still lack free will even if God, or some other atemporal observer didn't exist. The choice you are going to make tomorrow morning is, from your perpective, in the future, but from a more accurate perspective it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. If you are unable to change any decision even before you have made it, then how is your will free? You have a choice of A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it. As there exists no possibility of doing something other than A, the idea that you freely chose it is laughable.

lockquote>

 

Sorry, but I think there is some confusion here. I claimed that the fact of God (or supercomputer) knowing the future does not entail that there is no freedom. Your response is to say (let me paraphrase) that the only possible way that there could be such knowledge is if there is no freedom. But you have moved the debate. The original issue was whether knowing the future entails determinism or lack of a particular kind of freedom (libertarian). It doesn't. Your claim here (and perhaps in earlier posts I didn't read carefully) has to do with the ground for such knowledge. Note there is a difference between knowledge and its ground--that is, explaining how someone knows something. You may not care for the distinction, and may consider it splitting hairs, but it can be an important distinction to make.

 

And so you claim: "The knowledge would only be possible where there is no freedom to choose a different future." In other words: " it is a choice that has already been made, and you therefore cannot change it. ... You have a choice between A or A - there appears to be a B, but you cannot choose it." I think that in these claims there is contained the heart of the difficulty. It seems you are conflating "possibility" and "actuality," "can" and "cannot." Simply because it is true today that I choose to have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow, does not mean that there is no other possibility. It is certainly true that it is possible for me to choose eggs, even though my actual choice will be pancakes. There is a distinction between possible choices and an actual choice. And if it is true that "tomorrow morning I choose pancakes for breakfast," this only entails that it is false that I choose eggs, or toast, or fruit, etc. It does not entail that these other possibilities are not possible choices--only that I do not in fact make these choices. So, if God knows it is true that tomorrow I choose pancakes, this certainly doesn't entail that there are no other choices available. If God knows what is true, he knows what I will choose. So, it doesn't follow that the mere fact of knowing what will happen entails that there cannot be any other possibility (as you suggest). Of course, it is extremely difficult explaining the ground of God's knowledge of the world--how do we explain omniscience? But that is a different question altogether.

 

Look back on your future. Can you change any of your choices? No. They are fixed. And yet, did you make any free choices? I think you did. And are these not free choices even though you cannot change them, that nothing can change them now? Your perspective on your future is similar to the perspective of an atemporal being, having a point of view "outside of time" (if such a perspective is poss

ible).

The problem is not that I am conflating possibilities and actualities, it is that you are conflating actual possibilities with the illusion of possibility. Take your pancakes as an example - your choices are to eat pancakes for breakfast, or to eat pancakes for breakfast. Sure, you have cereal in the cupboard, you have some bread so you can make toast, and it is from this that you draw the illusion of choice - you say that you could, if you chose, have something other than pancakes. The problem is there is no actual chance of you having something other than pancakes. That you will have pancakes is a certainty, it is the only possible option. So how do you have free will? An option that you are incapable of exercising is not an option at all. There exists no possibility that you could have something else. You are incapable of having something else - not because you are being forced to have that, not because there is nothing else to eat, but because the decision was already made, in the moment of the creation of the universe your every actions has already been mapped out and decided. Absolute foreknowledge does not cause a deterministic future, but a deterministic future is required for that foreknowledge to exist, therefore foreknowledge does preclude free will. You haven't truly got to grips with the contradiction at the heart of your position. Before you are even born, your every choice is already made, yet you still have free will. Saying that you are free to choose in the moment of choosing is absurd - in the moment of choosing, your choice has already been made, the outcome has already observed, it has already happened. To a being outside time, your choices that you have yet to make, and the choices you have already made are the same. So either you can change the decisions in your past, or you cannot change the decisions in your future.

 

>My point of vew as a Creator would be a big, complex pattern made of choices. I, as an omniscient being, would see this pattern complete at all times, but the pattern itself would be dynamic. So yes, I know everything but I see EVERY existing possibility and when someone makes a choice that fragment of the pattern would unravel. That or (this is what I fully support but the other opcion seems possible to me)an already fixated, static pattern because I know what you will choose, but I myself haven't anything to do with you choosing that. You have free will to choose the path you prefer, I simply know what you will choose because I know and comprehend you better than anyone. I'm God and omniscient after all.

 

I don't know if I'm being stupid over 9000 but that's how I think it works. Yes, if God exists it knows everything, but that doesn't mean I don't have control over my f

uture.

God doesn't require omniscience. Omniscience doesn't preclude free will, depending on what is meant by omniscience - knowing every choice that could be made, knowing all the outcomes to all those choices, but not knowing which potential future is the real one until it happens, that allows free will. Knowing what will happen requires that there exists no possibility of it not happening, of it happening differently. Thus there are no possibilities, only certainties - what will happen, and what will not. Thus, no ability to choose between different possibilities.

 

 

Your argument goes something like this (very roughly stated):

(1) Foreknowledge requires a "deterministic universe"

(2) If a universe is "deterministic," then there are no other ("real?") possibilities (i.e., there is only one causal line of events exists?)

(3) If there are no other possibilities, then there is no libertarian freedom

(4) Hence, foreknowledge entails that there is no libertarian freedom.

 

There are a few difficulties with this argument. The whole thing hinges on the claim that the universe must be deterministic for there to be foreknowledge, and that this deterministic structure must be understood in a very specific way: as causal determinism. This point, on what sort of "determinism" must be at play in your argument, is a bit muddled (so maybe you don't really mean causal determinism), but this is precisely the issue that is being debated. Here's the question: What is it that determines my choice? In order for your argument to work, you need to say that choices are not determined by the people themselves--you need to say that my choice to have pancakes tomorrow is not determined by me tomorrow morning.  But what is the basis for saying that I do not determine my choice? This is your basis: that foreknowledge is incompatible with an agent determining his own choice. The problem is that this just assumes your conclusion and doesn't provide a reason for your conclusion. You've gone in something of a circle.

 

You attack the same problem from a different angle: at other places in what you wrote you seem to suggest that my choice tomorrow morning for pancakes cannot be free, since it is the one and only possible choice. I don't like this way of stating it, since it seems to confuse possibility and actuality. Rather: among the possible choices only one is in fact the actual choice made. We can say only one possibility will be the outcome. But what makes this the case? Perhaps it is my choice that makes it so. My choice tomorrow morning is the "truth-maker" for the truth today that "tomorrow I will choose pancakes for breakfast." So, the fact that "only one possibility is going to be actual," and that this is fixed, says nothing about whether or not there is freedom. It all depends upon what makes the proposition true. (note: this is a very complex issue though)

 

You deny what I've just said when you claim: "the decision was already made, in the moment of the creation of the universe your every actions has already been mapped out and decided." Ok, let's say this is the case. "Mapped out" and "decided" imply that every detail is in place beforehand--let's say this is the map the creator consults to "see" the entire scope of the universe, "foreknowing" every event, every choice, etc. How does this entail that there is no freedom in the world? It doesn't. Perhaps "the map" includes that at a time X I will freely choose pancakes for breakfast. There is no inherent incompatibility here between such a highly detailed "map" and freedom. In order to make a case that freedom is incompatible you need to say that the creator personally decided every single detail in the map, and then personally caused every single detail in the map to be the case. But that's really another sort of argument.

 

I don't know why what I wrote ended up nested in the quote. Weird. And it happened again here! Haha! 

Edited by TheBigCheese

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God doesn't require omniscience. Omniscience doesn't preclude free will, depending on what is meant by omniscience - knowing every choice that could be made, knowing all the outcomes to all those choices, but not knowing which potential future is the real one until it happens, that allows free will. Knowing what will happen requires that there exists no possibility of it not happening, of it happening differently. Thus there are no possibilities, only certainties - what will happen, and what will not. Thus, no ability to choose between different possibilities.

 

I think you're wrong. God REQUIRES omniscience. Its'a a fundamental part of what "God" is or means. And I think knowing everything that will happen not because you don't have free will but because I know what you will choose in virtue of my limitless knowledge (which includes limitless knowledge about the psyque of a person and so implies knowing how that person will act) is a much perfect omniscience than knowing everything just because its written and you cannot change it.

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