You have the illusion of freewill only as an aware point on a timeline.This is incorrect reasoning. The past is always immutable, but the future is not the past. The fact that I cannot change anything I have already done does not mean that I cannot change what I may do in the future. There is nothing "inevitable" about a decision you haven't made yet, though it there might be a strong tendency toward one choice or another. That is to say, we don't have complete free will (anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking, or rewire some other habit, can attest to this). What we have is the ability to pick an outcome we want to see and then work towards it. And there is nothing inevitable about the outcome, though one might be more likely (or much more likely) than others.
Every decision you have made was inevitable. Look back along that timeline. Did you ever make a different decision?
Every decision you will make in the future will be subject to the same inevitability, and while you might "feel" that you have a choice, that "feeling" is an illusion.
The choice you make will be the one you were always going to make, even if your "here and now" "fixed on the timeline perception" cannot pick it.
Of course this doesn't stop us from living our life as though we have complete freewill.
Gill, Imagine that on two separate occasions you find yourself in exactly the same circumstances, facing exactly the same decision.Anf, that's a little confusing. If the occasions are separate, either in space or time, then the circumstances aren't exactly the same.
Okay - I'm bringing in the "save-state universe" argument again....
For some reason Gill seems unable or unwilling to engage with me. Can't think why.....
Imagine that the entire universe can be "saved", like a giant computer game, and can be "reloaded" to that point without the reload having any effect on the universe itself. (Just a fancy way of setting up the background for the thought experiment, to be able to isolate and repeat a particular set of conditions).
Okay....so. Save the state of the universe just before making a choice. Make your choice. Reload the universe, and make the choice again.
Was the choice the same, or different? Will it always
be the same, or can it be different every time?
Because every moment in the universe comes with a particular set of circumstances, answering the above question for our one chosen save point will answer for ANY save point.
My contention is that in exactly the same circumstances, a person who has exactly the same thoughts and memories and upbringing and stimulation, in exactly the same environment and in exactly the same physical and mental state, will ALWAYS - ALWAYS make the same decision, UNLESS there is some random factor involved. So "choice" is either deterministic, or random )or a stochastic combonation of the two).
The opposing argument must perforce be that there is some element in "choice" that is neither determined, nor random. That there is something other than these choices that means that - in the save game state - a different decision can be made each time that is NOT the reslut of a random fluctuation, but is equally NOT the necessary product of what has gone before.
I've raised this example a few times on this forum. I've never, to my recollection, had it refuted. We normalyl go off on a tangent such as "what do you mean by moment....?" or some such.
So Gill.....what is YOUR counter to the "save-game universe" argument? You propose "free will"....can you explain how that works, in the context of my argument?