Will I have Salad or pizza for lunch? I've been putting on weight, I should have salad... but the pizza smells great... but my girlfriend would be pissed if I had pizza as she is on a diet... and the pizza is more expensive... and the TV told me that'd I'd get Heart disease if I ate lots of junk food...
Determinism is complicated. The amount of factors that effect a decision are immense, but they are all from pre-programming, past experiences, genetics, anything that has led to the moment you are in right now. just because some of them are brought to consciousness they get labeled "free will" rather than instinct... you still arrive at a decision based on knowledge and environment.
All systems in the universe respond in predictable ways (if they didn't science wouldn't work AT ALL), some of them are very very complicated, like the brain, and seem random before further research, but if we are to believe that science can actually explain the whole universe then we should reject free will - as free will would be completely ruining the predictability of the universe in any location where self aware beings could come in and enact their free will.
Hah, I love that we keep coming back to this discussion. I'm gonna send you a request to join my new group, maybe you can help me decide on how things really work in probably the most important way - how we determine what is good/bad and right/wrong.
Anyway sadly no, I haven't read DDI by DD. What I've read of Dennett's I've loved, but I am too busy writing these days to actually do much reading. I've got a lot of catching up to do. But the points you bring up are spot on. Even viruses may have choice. Obviously we've got a lot more choice, but this is a matter of difference of degrees, not differences in kind. People who argue for free will must really misunderstand what determinists mean by our arguments. We are not saying that choice does not exist, but neither are we saying that it is "free" as in unconstrained by reality and natural causes. But you've got to admit, it is sort of weird to say that we have choice but that it is more of an illusion than anything else. As weird as it may be, however, and as weird as evolution is and even existence (which is really quite bizarre if you think about it), the notion of free will makes still less sense. Weirdness abounds!
@Wanderer. Sorry if thats how you read my argument, let me clarify, I am arguing that the idea of "free will would be completely ruining the predictability of the universe", ie. it does not fit in the picture and determinism is a much more sensible and compatible system for understanding human thought.
"What seems to be the problem with strict determinism? is it that it doesn't really translate well into the workings [and illusion] of choice in regards to the human psyche"
I agree completely, people want to hold onto the idea of free will because thats how it "feels" when they make a decision. but it is an illusion. This is exactly the argument one of my philosophy tutors came out with to me (which was shocking from someone so educated in the subject!) she couldn't accept, regardless of my structured arguments, that how it feels to make choices could in fact be an illusion, and just continued to re-affirm her faulty premise as proof of her point of view.
People don't want to let go of free will, it makes them feel like they no longer have any control over there own lives.
The quantum mechanics thing did cross my mind... I don't see how a plausible theory could be formulated in that direction though. I would of thought that any appeal to that would lead to us believing that all decisions are made at random or something... I have no idea!
Have you seen arguments made like this?? if anything, I'd think it would still eliminate free will and just be a different sort of "indeterminate determinism" lol. if such a thing could be imagined.
i only have a basic understanding of Quantum Mechanics though, so a bit of assumption going on here.
I am a big fan of the 'hidden variable' theory in QM. Things may appear to be random because there is a limit to our perception, based on the fact that any perception must be by a singular consciousness which is only a small localized part of the universe. Appearing random and being random are two different things. This randomness, according to the hidden variable theory, is caused by an unseen and not known about 'hidden' variable, beyond the limit of our ability to perceive and predict. And this conundrum is only relevant when measuring things in extreme exactitude. It is logically impossible to use the method of science, based on reason, which is based on causality and noncontradiction, to prove that this process is invalid or that randomness is possible.
It is refreshing to see others that are not fooled by the quantum hype.