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Argument From Free Will

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Argument From Free Will
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Dave B.Posts: 119Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:13 pm Gender: Male

Post Argument From Free Will

Omniscience and free will seem, to me, to be mutually exclusive. Which of these two arguments seems more valid and why?

1. If free will exists then omniscience is not possible.
2. Free will exists.
3. An omniscient god is not possible.

Or...

1. If free will exists then omniscience is not possible.
2. God is omniscient.
3. Free will does not exist.
Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:41 pm
itsdemtitansBloggerUser avatarPosts: 706Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:36 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

You might want to word 1. like

1. Free will and omniscience can't exist, because (fill in the blank)
Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:43 am
redPosts: 142Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:11 am

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

itsdemtitans wrote:You might want to word 1. like

1. Free will and omniscience can't exist, because (fill in the blank)

I have changed my mind about free will. Nobody knew enough to tell me what it meant.
Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:59 am
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

Dave B. wrote:Omniscience and free will seem, to me, to be mutually exclusive. Which of these two arguments seems more valid and why?

1. If free will exists then omniscience is not possible.
2. Free will exists.
3. An omniscient god is not possible.

Or...

1. If free will exists then omniscience is not possible.
2. God is omniscient.
3. Free will does not exist.


Neither is valid, strictly speaking. Both formulations commit obvious fallacies, the first commits the fallacies of bare assertion and begging the question, while the second commits the fallacy of bare assertion. Were validity not digital, I suppose you could say that the second commits fewer fallacies, but that would violate the law of the excluded middle.

itsdemtitans wrote:You might want to word 1. like

1. Free will and omniscience can't exist, because (fill in the blank)


That wouldn't work in a syllogism, because a syllogism needs to be the barest components. If you need a 'because' for either of your premises, you either need to establish it in a prior argument or this one. That's how axiomatically complete arguments work.

Anyhoo, the real problem here is that neither term is properly defined. What is meant by omniscience? What is meant by free will? Depending on how these terms are defined, it's fair bet that any syllogism dealing with the existence of one or both will be redundant, because their mom-existence will be established without recourse to juxtaposing them in a syllogism. For example, there's good scientific evidence that, for most definitions of free will, free will is merely an illusion. Similarly, for most extant definitions of omniscience, it's simply self-refuting, with recourse only to what we mean when we say 'knowledge', and what the limitations of knowledge are.

Ultimately, the attempt to rule out omniscience and/or free will in this manner is far more interesting because it's interesting that people will bother to engage it than because of any intrinsic interest in the argument itself.
Sat Aug 08, 2015 12:05 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2954Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

Greetings,

Dave B., you're confusing determinism with pre-determined.

Just because you know what choice someone is going to make doesn't rob them of that choice. As a chess-player, if I correctly predict what my opponent is going to play, it doesn't mean I've made that choice for him.

And, please note, I'm using the word"choice" only as a term of expression.

As hackenslash notes, libertarian "free will" is an illusion.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:08 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

Dragan Glas wrote:Dave B., you're confusing determinism with pre-determined.

Just because you know what choice someone is going to make doesn't rob them of that choice. As a chess-player, if I correctly predict what my opponent is going to play, it doesn't mean I've made that choice for him.


This doesn't stack up either. This is a common objection, but it overlooks one characteristic of omniscience, namely that it's infallible. Your prediction can potentially be wrong, because it isn't knowledge. That of an infallibly omniscient entity cannot, because it's not making a prediction, it's making a statement of knowledge. Essentially, it commits a category error.

It is certainly true that an entity that infallibly knows what I will choose before I choose it means that my choice is constrained, and I only have the illusion of choice. That's not to say that the foreknowledge itself is what constrains my choice, because that would be an egregious commission of the modal fallacy, but if here is no possibility of me choosing otherwise, then I don;'t really have a choice.

To illustrate, I have a stone in my hand, and you must choose one. Which stone will you choose?
Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:19 pm
redPosts: 142Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:11 am

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

hackenslash wrote:
Dave B. wrote:Ultimately, the attempt to rule out omniscience and/or free will in this manner is far more interesting because it's interesting that people will bother to engage it than because of any intrinsic interest in the argument itself.

If one is religious and there is something that apparently knows everything - the, past present and future - it might provide them the comfort they need in light of there being no actual evidence.
So if such an entity knows of everything happening and about to happen, then that entity must be the only cause. Such a religious person would conclude that it was not relevant what consciousness may believe it could do, because there was never an alternative.
Dave B probably had ideas along those lines.
Omniscience in the total sense of there being nothing that is not known nor can be unknown into the future, does seem a bit senseless. It could only be possessed by a single entity, and it renders the entity without purpose. Its every action becomes trivial, and it would not need to think because it already knows.
I cannot exclude the possibility that there is such an entity because I cannot prove what I just did, nor can I prove that I was not influenced to post this. I don't have any good reason to think there is such an entity, nor do I have any good reason to consider this was not my work nor my ideas.
That's about the limit of my interest.
Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:51 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2954Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

Greetings,

hackenslash wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:Dave B., you're confusing determinism with pre-determined.

Just because you know what choice someone is going to make doesn't rob them of that choice. As a chess-player, if I correctly predict what my opponent is going to play, it doesn't mean I've made that choice for him.


This doesn't stack up either. This is a common objection, but it overlooks one characteristic of omniscience, namely that it's infallible. Your prediction can potentially be wrong, because it isn't knowledge. That of an infallibly omniscient entity cannot, because it's not making a prediction, it's making a statement of knowledge. Essentially, it commits a category error.

It is certainly true that an entity that infallibly knows what I will choose before I choose it means that my choice is constrained, and I only have the illusion of choice. That's not to say that the foreknowledge itself is what constrains my choice, because that would be an egregious commission of the modal fallacy, but if here is no possibility of me choosing otherwise, then I don;'t really have a choice.

To illustrate, I have a stone in my hand, and you must choose one. Which stone will you choose?

It's more of a nuanced position of it not being pre-ordained. I'd be more inclined to illustrate it as the stone in your hand happens to match the one I choose.

I do see your point - regardless, my own was that there's no such thing as free will.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:14 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

red wrote:It could only be possessed by a single entity,


Setting aside for a moment the fact that omniscience is self-refuting, the idea that it could only be possessed by a single entity doesn't follow as far as I can tell. Could you unpack that statement for us?
Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:33 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

Dragan Glas wrote:my own was that there's no such thing as free will.


Image
Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:37 pm
Dave B.Posts: 119Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:13 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

hackenslash wrote:Neither is valid, strictly speaking. Both formulations commit obvious fallacies, the first commits the fallacies of bare assertion and begging the question, while the second commits the fallacy of bare assertion.

These weren't meant to be formal syllogisms. These are just basic arguments put forth so that we could discuss the idea of free will and omniscience and whether or not the two are mutually exclusive.

What is meant by omniscience?

Good question. I am hoping a theist will offer their definition. I would say omniscience as it's generally used in theistic discussions refers to the possession of infinite and infallible knowledge of the past, present and future.

What is meant by free will?

Again, since we are discussing these terms in a theological context, I would say that free will is simply the absence of predestination.

For example, there's good scientific evidence that, for most definitions of free will, free will is merely an illusion. Similarly, for most extant definitions of omniscience, it's simply self-refuting, with recourse only to what we mean when we say 'knowledge', and what the limitations of knowledge are.

Agreed.
Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:13 pm
redPosts: 142Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:11 am

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

hackenslash wrote:
red wrote:It could only be possessed by a single entity,


Setting aside for a moment the fact that omniscience is self-refuting, the idea that it could only be possessed by a single entity doesn't follow as far as I can tell. Could you unpack that statement for us?
Omniscience cannot be multiply owned. Assuming there were omniscience, a second entity (and beyond) is subservient to the knowledge of the omniscient one, as all objects, actions, events, thoughts and memories ("everything") - past, present and future - are the property of omniscience. A subservient entity cannot be omniscient.
Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:47 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

red wrote:Omniscience cannot be multiply owned. Assuming there were omniscience, a second entity (and beyond) is subservient to the knowledge of the omniscient one, as all objects, actions, events, thoughts and memories ("everything") - past, present and future - are the property of omniscience. A subservient entity cannot be omniscient.


I see no proper logical inferences in there, only the assertion that omniscience can't be had by more than one entity, and then several ways of saying the same thing. Why would a second entity be subservient? What's the logical basis for excluding a second entity from being omniscient, given a single omniscient entity?
Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:59 pm
redPosts: 142Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:11 am

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

hackenslash wrote:
red wrote:Omniscience cannot be multiply owned. Assuming there were omniscience, a second entity (and beyond) is subservient to the knowledge of the omniscient one, as all objects, actions, events, thoughts and memories ("everything") - past, present and future - are the property of omniscience. A subservient entity cannot be omniscient.


I see no proper logical inferences in there, only the assertion that omniscience can't be had by more than one entity, and then several ways of saying the same thing. Why would a second entity be subservient? What's the logical basis for excluding a second entity from being omniscient, given a single omniscient entity?
Can 2 people be in control?
If an omniscient entity sets a cast for everything, where does any possibility for further omniscience dwell?
I'm not a logician nor philosopher, so am just putting my thoughts into some order. So I will try to think of answers to your questions.
Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:20 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

red wrote:Can 2 people be in control?


Not seeing the relevance of that question. Can two entities possess the same knowledge?

If an omniscient entity sets a cast for everything, where does any possibility for further omniscience dwell?


I wonder if you're conflating omniscience and omnipotence? I could see a case being made that only one entity could be omnipotent (although I'd have to see a sound argument for that), but I don't see any barrier to two entities possessing the same degree of knowledge.
Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:24 pm
redPosts: 142Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:11 am

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

hackenslash wrote:
red wrote:Can 2 people be in control?


Not seeing the relevance of that question. Can two entities possess the same knowledge?

If an omniscient entity sets a cast for everything, where does any possibility for further omniscience dwell?


I wonder if you're conflating omniscience and omnipotence? I could see a case being made that only one entity could be omnipotent (although I'd have to see a sound argument for that), but I don't see any barrier to two entities possessing the same degree of knowledge.
I admit that I have defined omniscience in a particular way which includes (conflates) omnipotence. I determined that an entity able to know of all things and events - past present and future - can only know if they control those events. Maybe it's abusing meanings, but I could otherwise just say a three letter word and I prefer not to.
You are certainly using "knowledge" in a sense which I am not - mine is a totality of information wherein there is not a scintilla unknown or, importantly, unknowable into the future.
Any second entity (or greater) in the equation would have 2 options. It knew "more" because it knew of other entities, or less (for an obvious reason).
Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:57 pm
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

Image
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:09 am
redPosts: 142Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:11 am

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

hackenslash wrote:
red wrote:Can 2 people be in control?


Not seeing the relevance of that question. Can two entities possess the same knowledge?

I realise my answers are clumsy. I had never really given this much thought before so trying to justify every sense is not coming to me in a flash, so to speak.
The above was really about decision making rather than knowledge per se. However, I have used a definition of omniscience which goes beyond what we call knowledge. Effectively I have created an entity overseeing a continuum within which everything within is "known". There's no beginning nor end because the entity is beyond those concepts. (and this is only what I am imagining so as to put my head in the space of deists)
Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:11 am
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

red wrote:I realise my answers are clumsy. I had never really given this much thought before so trying to justify every sense is not coming to me in a flash, so to speak.
The above was really about decision making rather than knowledge per se. However, I have used a definition of omniscience which goes beyond what we call knowledge. Effectively I have created an entity overseeing a continuum within which everything within is "known". There's no beginning nor end because the entity is beyond those concepts. (and this is only what I am imagining so as to put my head in the space of deists)


None of the Deists that I know claim the Creator, if one exists, is omniscience.
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:15 am
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Argument From Free Will

I admit that I have defined omniscience in a particular way which includes (conflates) omnipotence.


Well, that only works if you take the statement 'knowledge is power' literally but, of course, knowledge isn't literally power, it merely empowers.

I determined that an entity able to know of all things and events - past present and future - can only know if they control those events.


I don't see how that follows.

You are certainly using "knowledge" in a sense which I am not - mine is a totality of information wherein there is not a scintilla unknown or, importantly, unknowable into the future.


In the technical literature, knowledge is usually defined as 'justified true belief' (although I loathe that particular definition). Strictly, I define knowledge as 'established facts'. I see no reason why two entities, whether having commensurate abilities in other areas or not, would be precluded from holding the same knowledge.

Any second entity (or greater) in the equation would have 2 options. It knew "more" because it knew of other entities, or less (for an obvious reason).


That's a false dichotomy, not least because knowledge of other entities would come under the rubric of omniscience.

I'm still not seeing any good logical foundation to support the idea that the omniscience of one entity precludes the same level of knowledge in another.
Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:17 am
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