On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 5:34 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>> OK, for the sake of the argument, let's suppose that you ate spaghetti
> because that's what you liked at that moment. Do you think you could have
> done otherwise?
> Now, let's suppose a gangster decides to rob a bank after considering all
> his options. Later he might be judged and told that "he could have done
> otherwise"? Could he really have done otherwise?
> At the level of the arithmetical laws, or physical laws, the answer is no.
> But we don't live at that level, so at the level of its first person
> impression the answer is yes.
OK. So that means that if you (or the ganster) were put again in exactly
the same subjective situation (same beliefs, likings, emotions, intentions,
memories, same everything) you could do otherwise?
More specifically. You are in a situation where you crave for spaghetti,
you haven't had spaghetti in the last month, you know spaghetti is good for
er ... whatever. You therefore make the decision to eat spaghetti. Now, you
are put again in exactly the same situation and ... do you really think you
could choose strawberries instead? would you choose strawberries?
> A guy rapes and tortures 10 children, could he have done otherwise? Well,
> there is a sense for some medical expert to say that he could have done
> otherwise, for the guy is judged responsible and not under some mental
> disease (for example). Now, if the guy defends himself in saying that he
> was just obeying to the physical laws, he will convince nobody, and rightly
He will convince nobody because we all believe that he (and all of us)
could have done otherwise. And we all believe that because, for some
reason, we believe it is unfair to punish someone if he cannot do
otherwise. What I'm saying is that belief in free-will is just a
justification for punishing people.
But in fact, we punish people, not because "he could have done otherwise"
but because next time, he will think twice. Next time, he will not be in
the same subjective situation: he will have the memories of his punishment
and he will take that into account.
If next time he is in exactly the same subjective situation, he will do
exactly the same. Why would he do otherwise? Why didn't he already?
Let's suppose that a person forgets everything every morning. Would it make
any sense to punish someone like that, because he just could have done
> We are determinate, but we cannot known completely our determination, so
> from our point of view there is a genuine spectrum of different
> possibilities and we can choose "freely" among them. It does not matter
> that a God, or a Laplacean daemon can predict our actions, for *we* can't,
> and have no other choice than choosing without complete information, and in
> some case it makes sense that we could have made a different choice (even
> if that is senseless at the basic ontological level, for the choice is made
> at another level, from an internal first person perspectives.
But what I'm saying here is not ontological determinism but in fact, about
the subjective experience. I'm defending that we cannot imagine ourselves
in exactly the same subjective situation and still think that we could have
done otherwise. Or something equivalent, if we were put again in exactly
the same subjective situation, would we do otherwise? I don't think so, but
If yes, why?
> To justify our acts by God Will or by Physical Laws (or Arithmetical laws)
> is the same type of level confusion, or perspective confusion, mistake. I
> would say.
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