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Choice and freedom

 
 
Cyracuz
 
Reply Sat 19 Oct, 2013 11:06 am
I read that while we are free to choose, we are not free from the consequences of our choices. This was delivered as a"universal paradox". Rolling Eyes

I started thinking about choices that are forced on us. Sometimes we have to make choices when we do not want to.

Being presented with a choice can be just as restrictive to freedom as it can be empowering. It seems it depends entirely on the choice, or perhaps the options.
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 4,015 • Replies: 53
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Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Oct, 2013 03:26 pm
@Cyracuz,
Need to know more about the specific direction of your thinking before I can respond in any meaningful fashion.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Oct, 2013 06:44 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Well, we generally think of having a choice as a good thing.
But in this time we live in, we have 15 different packs of ham to make our choice from. We have to decide on nine million things that are more or less irrelevant.

I guess what I am getting at is that we think having a choices makes us happier and expands our feeling of freedom.
But at some point it starts having the reverse effect. Choice isn't automatically a good thing. There has to be meaning to it, or else it's just a lot of additional work for the mind without any real reward.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Oct, 2013 07:31 pm
@Cyracuz,
Yes, I agree.Having choices forces one to make a decision. And not all decisions are easy to make. There is always the fear that the decision one makes will be the wrong one. Is that about what you were driving at?
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Oct, 2013 08:46 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
That is certainly one way having choices can impact negatively. If you have three options, finding the one that suits you is far simpler than if you have twenty options. The effort needed to discover what separates these twenty different options from each other is considerable, and there is way more room for second guessing and doubt.
This doesn't sound like much trouble when it comes to one single choice.
But in everyday life we are bombarded by choices, many of them utterly inconsequential, and it adds up.
0 Replies
 
AtheisticMaterialist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Oct, 2013 04:19 pm
I am a determinist, so I believe that the future is unchangeable. I guess that means that we don't have free will.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Oct, 2013 04:54 pm
@AtheisticMaterialist,
I agree; but as long as we have the illusion of free will, we will inevitably be in a position to need to make a seeming choice. Whether or not that choice is predetermined is another matter, largely irrelevant to Cyracuz's question.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Oct, 2013 08:19 pm
@AtheisticMaterialist,
Quote:
I am a determinist, so I believe that the future is unchangeable.


How do you reconcile that with the knowledge that "the future" is merely mental imagery created by minds living in the present?

Also, if you believe the future is unchangeable, does that mean that you believe your choices don't matter?
Or do you believe that whatever decision you end up making was preordained somehow, and all your mental work was just wasted effort?
Abishai100
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Oct, 2013 06:49 pm
@Cyracuz,
Game Theory in mathematics encourages people to think about choice and decision-making in terms of economics.

For example, I may choose to open a bistro business, but the happiness of my choice to do so is tempered by the economic risks posed by the competitive market.

One idea then is to characterize choice in terms of risk probability analysis.

The storyline presented in the danger-themed Hollywood (USA) movie "Hellraiser" (1987) reflects this normalization.
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Oct, 2013 07:14 pm
@AtheisticMaterialist,
Quote:
I am a determinist
Very few and far between. Do you not find the state somewhat depressing
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Oct, 2013 07:27 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
I am a determinist, so I believe that the future is unchangeable.


Quote:
How do you reconcile that with the knowledge that "the future" is merely mental imagery created by minds living in the present?
Cyr that's really a good q, one I had never before entertained so eager to read Mat's response on this point

Quote:
Also, if you believe the future is unchangeable, does that mean that you believe your choices don't matter?
Clearly choices matter in any case. But I see Cyr where your q is going as the inference his choice isn't really a choice

Quote:
Or do you believe that whatever decision you end up making was preordained somehow, and all your mental work was just wasted effort?
Best q yet Cyr, one of the reasons I asked whether Mat's viewpoint might be depressing. He might respond that regardless of such considerations he was unable to act otherwise

In this connection however, I did once know another determinist, who maintained that in spite of his belief he found life very interesting
0 Replies
 
Abishai100
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Nov, 2013 11:25 am
@Cyracuz,
Anthropologists have discussed the way primitive civilizations feel when they come in contact with the technological sophistication of advanced civilizations during periods of colonialization.

During these events, cultures confront the challenging complexity of feeling humiliated by technological ambition. Is their freedom compromised? Can human beings feel overwhelmingly motivated to become more intelligent? Why do human societies contemplate genetic enhancement?

Perhaps freedom is related to prioritization.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Nov, 2013 03:15 pm
@Abishai100,
It seems to me freedom is a quite subjective sense of being able to live and act on your own terms.
0 Replies
 
AtheisticMaterialist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 06:16 pm
@Cyracuz,
I don't believe that "The future is merely mental imagery created by minds living in the present? ". I just believe that the future is unchangeable. Here, think of it this way, If you have a scenario, play it out, and then you play it out again, every time you play it out the outcome will be the same. Doesn't that mean that the future can't be changed? (Sorry for the delay, I had school)

AtheisticMaterialist
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Nov, 2013 06:25 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Yeah, I realize now that it's irrelevant to the question. I was just looking for something on determinism vs free will, and saw "choice and freedom" so I guess that's why.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Nov, 2013 11:47 am
@AtheisticMaterialist,
Quote:
If you have a scenario, play it out, and then you play it out again, every time you play it out the outcome will be the same.


I would not imagine such a scenario, because it isn't representative of the real world. Lets say the scenario is that you program a machine to pick out some random numbers. If it indeed plays out the same again and again, why are the numbers different each time?

Also, if you are going to do something in the future, you may sit now and "look forward to it". But you cannot actually do it until the time you decided upon has become "now". Before that moment, that future only existed in your mind.
So the future is not written. It doesn't even exist yet. The entirety of time itself is only one immeasurably small moment that we call the present.

dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Nov, 2013 12:36 pm
@AtheisticMaterialist,
Quote:
every time you play it out the outcome will be the same. Doesn't that mean that the future can't be changed?
Mat, it certainly does seem that way, doesn't it

However, all the conditions of the experiment might have to be reproduced exactly, and since that's impossible, maybe we've explained why determinism is meaningless
AtheisticMaterialist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Nov, 2013 04:13 pm
@dalehileman,
Quote:
all the conditions of the experiment might have to be reproduced exactly, and since that's impossible, maybe we've explained why determinism is meaningless
It's a hypothetical. It doesn't matter if you can or can't reproduce the exact situation. Take right now as the situation. IF you could back and 'replay' this moment it would still be the same because we would make the exact same 'choices' again. That means that when we make a choice, we couldn't have made any other choice. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you couldn't have made any other decision, than is really a choice?
AtheisticMaterialist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Nov, 2013 04:25 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
lets say the scenario is that you program a machine to pick out some random numbers. If it indeed plays out the same again and again, why are the numbers different each time?

They are different because each time you click the button (or however you start the process) it is in a different situation. I am not a programmer, but I do know that so called "random" number generators aren't random. They go through a process of CHOOSING a number. If you could go back to the point in time where you started the process, and you did it again, the outcome would be the same.
Quote:
The entirety of time itself is only one immeasurably small moment that we call the present.

Do you even know what time is? Time is the order of events, if the present was the only part in time than that would be the only event. If that was the only event then nothing else would ever happen.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Nov, 2013 05:10 pm
@AtheisticMaterialist,
Quote:
IF you could back and 'replay' this moment it would still be the same because we would make the exact same 'choices' again.
But Mat of course you can't. It seems that the fewer the conditions the more determined, the more conditions, the less. Maybe an infinite number of conditions then perfect freedom

Just wild speculation. I suspect it will eventually be shown that the entire issue is one of semantics
 

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