Is there a Such a Thing as Choice

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bfz
 
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 08:58 am
Personally i beleive that everything that happens is a product of what has come before it, every decison you make is based on your decision making skills, and these are based on your interactions with other people and the environment in which you have lived. and so forth you have no choice, following on from this if the decisions people make are based on what has come before it, and the analysis of ones environment is predictable through the measuring of everything atomically could you predict the future, or would a computer bigger than the universe be needed to analyse the data from it in its enteriety and so forth this forever remain as a theory.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 12:31 pm
@bfz,
bfz;123011 wrote:
Personally i beleive that everything that happens is a product of what has come before it, every decison you make is based on your decision making skills, and these are based on your interactions with other people and the environment in which you have lived. and so forth you have no choice, following on from this if the decisions people make are based on what has come before it, and the analysis of ones environment is predictable through the measuring of everything atomically could you predict the future, or would a computer bigger than the universe be needed to analyse the data from it in its enteriety and so forth this forever remain as a theory.


Yesterday, I was in an ice-cream store, and I pointed to the chocolate bin, and said, "I'll have a pint of that". If I was not choosing vanilla, what was I doing?
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 12:58 pm
@bfz,
But some decision-making skills, at least those that are based on the use of reasoning, are learned (or not), and this can happen by chance. And these skills are then applied to specific circumstances; given the same conditions, even then the choices might be different for different people depending on their analysis of best attaining some future state.

Many choices are a matter of caprice, which may or may not have been "based" on past experiences; others are commonly said to be "thinking outside of the box" and thus independent of what one normally thinks. To say, moreover, that one's past INFLUENCES one's choices is far different from declaring that they are CAUSED by them, and then being able to point out which event or occasion in the past was the actual "basis" of the decision.

Even if one stopped Kennethamy after he left the ice-cream store and inquired of him why he chose one flavour over another, he would even when pressed for the self-analysis perhaps be unable to provide an account that would satisfy a causal criterion.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 01:09 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;123060 wrote:
But some decision-making skills, at least those that are based on the use of reasoning, are learned (or not), and this can happen by chance. And these skills are then applied to specific circumstances; given the same conditions, even then the choices might be different for different people depending on their analysis of best attaining some future state.

Many choices are a matter of caprice, which may or may not have been "based" on past experiences; others are commonly said to be "thinking outside of the box" and thus independent of what one normally thinks. To say, moreover, that one's past INFLUENCES one's choices is far different from declaring that they are CAUSED by them, and then being able to point out which event or occasion in the past was the actual "basis" of the decision.

Even if one stopped Kennethamy after he left the ice-cream store and inquired of him why he chose one flavour over another, he would even when pressed for the self-analysis perhaps be unable to provide an account that would satisfy a causal criterion.



It is not necessary to provide an explanation of why I chose in order to have chosen. In fact, when I utter the words, "I choose so-and-so" I have chosen in virtue of uttering those words. To say, "I choose so-and-so" (in appropriate circumstances) is, in fact, to choose. It is a "performative utterance".
 
bfz
 
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 05:13 am
@kennethamy,
noun 1 an act of choosing. 2 the right or ability to choose. 3 a range from which to choose. 4 something chosen. throughout this the meaning is constantly avoided is a decison truly your decision or not, i suppose this ultimately goes back to the old fashioned nature vs nurture debate. to jgweed, i dont see anything in your argument that dictates whether a person will or will not make a certain decision, it has allways been the desire of sociologists to predict social trends, however if we could analyse each individual person are they inebitably going to make the choices that they do, is it truly thinking outside the box or is it merely the minds reaction to a differnt thought stream. my only argument for thinking outside the box is in the context of Lysergic acid diethylamide which leads to brain cells forming completely random links to other parts of the brain, there have been no other example of people having truly out of the box thought it is allways related to something that has happened to them, and links that provide thought allways travel through natural streams of consciousness.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 06:56 am
@bfz,
bfz;123194 wrote:
noun 1 an act of choosing. 2 the right or ability to choose. 3 a range from which to choose. 4 something chosen. throughout this the meaning is constantly avoided is a decison truly your decision or not, i suppose this ultimately goes back to the old fashioned nature vs nurture debate. to jgweed, i dont see anything in your argument that dictates whether a person will or will not make a certain decision, it has allways been the desire of sociologists to predict social trends, however if we could analyse each individual person are they inebitably going to make the choices that they do, is it truly thinking outside the box or is it merely the minds reaction to a differnt thought stream. my only argument for thinking outside the box is in the context of Lysergic acid diethylamide which leads to brain cells forming completely random links to other parts of the brain, there have been no other example of people having truly out of the box thought it is allways related to something that has happened to them, and links that provide thought allways travel through natural streams of consciousness.



As I posted, when I uttered the words, "I choose so-and-so", I chose so-and-so, by uttering those words in appropriate circumstances. Whether in or out of boxes.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 09:35 am
@bfz,
Is there Such a Thing as Choice?
Answer: Yes

What did I win?

In all seriousness, even if your decisions are influenced (caused or directed, if you like) by various factors, its still a choice - even if it was motivated. You're talking about absolute free will - where choices are made completely independently of such influences.

Honestly, I'm not sure it matters. Sure, we may be processing machines of a sort only; but so what.

... just my random thoughts on the matter
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 09:59 am
@bfz,
bfz;123011 wrote:
Personally i beleive that everything that happens is a product of what has come before it, every decison you make is based on your decision making skills, and these are based on your interactions with other people and the environment in which you have lived. and so forth you have no choice, following on from this if the decisions people make are based on what has come before it, and the analysis of ones environment is predictable through the measuring of everything atomically could you predict the future, or would a computer bigger than the universe be needed to analyse the data from it in its enteriety and so forth this forever remain as a theory.
When I imagine choice, I'm thinking that I stand before several possible paths.

To say that I didn't really have a choice contradicts this. Instead I stand before only one path. So there is no choice.

It would appear that you have to make up your mind. Are there multiple paths of possibility prior to the event or not?

I think the contradiction is really a clash of perspectives... pre-event vs. post-event.

Pre-event: there are many paths, albeit phantom-like... they are possibilities whose reality is self-evident.

Post-event: there was only one path. What is the empirical foundation for the existence of the other paths?

We continuously shift from one perspective to the other. Becoming conscious of both perspectives creates perspective pudding.... a paradox.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 10:37 am
@bfz,
bfz;123011 wrote:
Personally i beleive that everything that happens is a product of what has come before it, every decison you make is based on your decision making skills, and these are based on your interactions with other people and the environment in which you have lived. and so forth you have no choice, following on from this if the decisions people make are based on what has come before it, and the analysis of ones environment is predictable through the measuring of everything atomically could you predict the future, or would a computer bigger than the universe be needed to analyse the data from it in its enteriety and so forth this forever remain as a theory.


Did you search for this topic in other threads before making a new thread? I say this because we have another thread currently active that has already delved into this quite a bit.
 
Magnus phil
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 11:57 am
@bfz,
Decision making skills can be hampered by emotions. What are emotions? I think emotions are spirits, but I don't strongly believe that. How we are affected by our emotions can be managed by our higher spiritual senses. That is why I think emotions are of a spiritual nature.

To conquer our desires is indeed a noble undertaking. It also leads us onto a spiritual journey. Thinking without feeling is something I used to be able to do, until I became plagued by emotions. I went from the autist side to schizoid side of the spectrum during my personal journey. It was a psychotic journey that led me to some truths, some deceits, and much personal growth. Luckily, I am still alive today.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 01:00 pm
@bfz,
bfz;123011 wrote:
Personally i beleive that everything that happens is a product of what has come before it, every decison you make is based on your decision making skills, and these are based on your interactions with other people and the environment in which you have lived. and so forth you have no choice, following on from this if the decisions people make are based on what has come before it, and the analysis of ones environment is predictable through the measuring of everything atomically could you predict the future, or would a computer bigger than the universe be needed to analyse the data from it in its enteriety and so forth this forever remain as a theory.


Of course there is a such thing as choice. I just chose to eat a chicken pot pie instead of a tuna fish sandwich. The question is whether or not we make choices freely and that depends on the context of the word free. Do we make choices without influence from the environment or past events - no. Can we freely make choices in the absence of coercion - yes.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 04:31 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;124145 wrote:
Of course there is a such thing as choice. I just chose to eat a chicken pot pie instead of a tuna fish sandwich. The question is whether or not we make choices freely and that depends on the context of the word free. Do we make choices without influence from the environment or past events - no. Can we freely make choices in the absence of coercion - yes.


Why should choosing freely mean free from just any causes or influence?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 07:19 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124222 wrote:
Why should choosing freely mean free from just any causes or influence?


When did I say that in order to choose freely you need to be free from any causes or influences? Maybe you misinterpreted what I wrote.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 07:25 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;124330 wrote:
When did I say that in order to choose freely you need to be free from any causes or influences? Maybe you misinterpreted what I wrote.


I did not say you wrote it. I simply wrote that freedom does not mean that. And there are people who write that kind of thing. What is ordinarily meant by doing something of your own free will is freedom from compulsion, not freedom from causation. But some people seem to thing that because all compulsions are causes, that all causes are compulsions. Not you, of course.
 
ACB
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 10:28 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124333 wrote:
I did not say you wrote it. I simply wrote that freedom does not mean that. And there are people who write that kind of thing. What is ordinarily meant by doing something of your own free will is freedom from compulsion, not freedom from causation. But some people seem to think that because all compulsions are causes, that all causes are compulsions. Not you, of course.


The interesting question is what compels and what does not. Some physical objects, e.g. a person pushing me, can compel me to move. Others, e.g. a single electron in my brain, apparently cannot, but a billion electrons possibly can.

How massive does an object (or group of objects) have to be in order to compel me? Is there a critical size, or are there gradations of compulsion? Do all physical objects/causes (no matter how small) compel to some extent?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 11:33 am
@ACB,
ACB;124369 wrote:
The interesting question is what compels and what does not. Some physical objects, e.g. a person pushing me, can compel me to move. Others, e.g. a single electron in my brain, apparently cannot, but a billion electrons possibly can.

How massive does an object (or group of objects) have to be in order to compel me? Is there a critical size, or are there gradations of compulsion? Do all physical objects/causes (no matter how small) compel to some extent?


If I want to do something, then I cannot be compelled to do it. You really have to present examples of compulsion. Your question is far too abstract. Again, causing me to do something is one thing, but compelling me to do something is another thing. Compulsion is either restraint or constraint.
 
YumClock
 
Reply Thu 4 Feb, 2010 10:39 pm
@bfz,
In regards to the original poster:
The Uncertainty Principle of quantum physics states, at least partially, that certain parts of the universe are impossible to predict. Therefore, no computer could ever predict with perfect accuracy any event any amount of time in the future. In short amounts of time this is negligible, but during the spans of universes the uncertainty will cause observable or even substantial differences.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 08:54 pm
@ACB,
ACB;124369 wrote:


How massive does an object (or group of objects) have to be in order to compel me? Is there a critical size, or are there gradations of compulsion? Do all physical objects/causes (no matter how small) compel to some extent?


Excellent question. It occurs to me, though. What if a single electron can compel you, but so minutely as to remain undetected?
 
ACB
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:08 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124380 wrote:
If I want to do something, then I cannot be compelled to do it.


But you can be compelled to want to do it in the first place, as in hypnotism. So, wanting does not prove non-compulsion.

kennethamy;124380 wrote:
Again, causing me to do something is one thing, but compelling me to do something is another thing.


Is it? Well, we first need a rigorous definition of compulsion. And, as I have noted above, a subjective criterion (i.e. "wanting") will not suffice. We need an objective criterion, hence the relevance of physical objects such as electrons. And then, since physical objects come in a continuum of sizes, will we have to say that there is a continuum of degrees of compulsion, and that all physical causes compel to some extent?

Or will we conclude that objects below a certain mass do not compel? And where there is no straightforward physical compulsion, must we invoke random quantum factors to explain human actions?

These are deep waters. :puzzled:
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:24 am
@ACB,
ACB;125731 wrote:
But you can be compelled to want to do it in the first place, as in hypnotism. So, wanting does not prove non-compulsion.



Is it? Well, we first need a rigorous definition of compulsion. And, as I have noted above, a subjective criterion (i.e. "wanting") will not suffice. We need an objective criterion, hence the relevance of physical objects such as electrons. And then, since physical objects come in a continuum of sizes, will we have to say that there is a continuum of degrees of compulsion, and that all physical causes compel to some extent?

Or will we conclude that objects below a certain mass do not compel? And where there is no straightforward physical compulsion, must we invoke random quantum factors to explain human actions?

These are deep waters. :puzzled:


Does it follow that if you are compelled to want to do X, and you do X because you want to, that you are compelled to do X? Is compulsion a transitive relation?

Well, suppose it is. Then if you are compelled to want to do X, then if you do X, then you are compelled to do X. But, what if you are not compelled to want to do X. What then? It doesn't seem to me that the electron question has much to do with compulsion. How would one electron, or a mass of electrons compel me to do anything (unless I was hit by lightening)?
 
 

 
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