Author Topic: Free will and foreknowledge  (Read 1446 times)

Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2018, 11:41:33 PM »
Quote
Why did the first person to commit evil choose to do evil?
Pride.
Why did he choose to act on the pride rather than not?

I don't understand why any theist (who affirms hell) would be a compatibilist. That means God punishes people for acting on the desires He predetermined for them to have in the first place. They couldn't refrain. It is manifestly absurd.
It's only absurd if the principle of "ought implies can" is true. As I said before, I think the only way this would work is if we deny that principle. Once you deny that principle, there's no contradiction.

Why deny such an intuitive principle instead of affirming atheism or some version of theism without hell? God is literally punishing people for what He predetermined for them to do. Why on earth would you worship a god who sets up rampant child sex abuse (in his own church), the Holocaust, famine, disease, and tortures people forever for what they couldn't help doing?

I am not responsible for my race, my gender, my place of birth. But somehow God is going to punish me for acting on the desires (which I'm not responsible for) that He set me up to have. That's absurd, and if you want to worship such a monster, I think that says something about your character.

God does not will evil, but He causes man to will either good or evil (good, by giving man the grace necessary to will good, or evil, by not giving man the grace necessary in order to will good).

You can play all the word games you want, but on divine determinism, God does will everything that happens. If He didn't want something to happen, it wouldn't happen.  Even if evil is a privation, by intentionally withholding the grace required to do good, God is causing people to sin. He arranged all the dominos, so to speak, and left empty spots knowing full well that it would lead to "evil."




If man wills evil, God punishes man... and the punishment is just, because it was man who willed the evil.

The will necessarily acts on the strongest, proximate desire -- that isn't man's fault. And the desires man has -- he didn't choose to have them. No fault + No fault = No fault. Man willed the evil, but he couldn't help but will it. The reprobate are victims of circumstance. Again, you might as well punish people for having light skin, "because it was man who had the light skin."

The fact that man could not have possibly willed good doesn't matter, since we've denied the principle that "ought implies can". Man is bound to will good, even if man cannot will good.

I deny that 2+2=4. Have fun worshiping your sadistic puppetmaster who wants rape to happen.
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2018, 07:34:11 AM »
james03 -

Looking back on it, I see that my dichotomy was wrong. The two competing classes of desire are not "the desire to quit the heroin" (drawn by the intellect) and "the desire to use the heroin" (drawn by the passions) as I had originally suggested; rather, the two competing desires are "the desire to quit the heroin for love of God" (this desire is drawn by God) and "any desire, not for love of God, to use the heroin or to quit the heroin" (this desire is drawn by creatures without God). Grace alone causes the former while both the intellect and the passions contribute to the latter: the addict who overcomes his emotional desire and chooses to quit using the heroin because he knows that it's bad is still making a "wrong choice" if his choice is motivated by his own health or his finances rather than for the love of God.
(This dichotomy might still be wrong, but I think it's at least less wrong than the other one I'd posted...)


Regardless, I'm still having a hard time following your argument, but I think I can sort of see what you're saying about the infinite states. However, there seem to be a couple of discrepancies between what I'm saying and what you're saying.

First,
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There's your error, imprecision.  What do you mean it wins out?  We have an intellect that knows heroin is wrong.  We have an emotional part that wants the heroin.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are taking the two desires to be boolean values. Each is either "present" or "absent". I, however, am taking them as magnitudes. Both desires can be present, but one is going to be greater/stronger than the other. That's what I mean when I say "wins out". The "decider" isn't a black box; it always chooses the stronger desire. So if D1 chooses to use the heroin, and if the "initial states" do not change, then D2 will also choose the heroin, and D3 will also choose to use the heroin, and so on.

Second,
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If you have to decide, it is not deterministic.  If you deliberate, it is not deterministic.  If you can change your mind, it is not deterministic.  If you can "try again" and again, and again, it is certainly not deterministic.
It seems you're overlooking the fact that our decisions are made in time, and that over the course of time our desires can (and do) change. Even from one moment to the next, our desires change. Since the "initial states" are in flux (e.g. passions might be really strong one moment and considerably weaker the next moment; or our intellectual knowledge can change from moment to moment due to new information being brought to our attention which we hadn't considered just moments earlier; and at any moment God could give us grace or we could lose grace), then the "decision" is going to go back and forth for some time until it eventually settles on something. This is why D1 chooses to use the heroin but a moment later D2 chooses to not use the heroin: because the initial states have changed in that time. And even once the will has stopped wavering, the man can still look back on his decision with regret, since his "initial states" may have changed again since then.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 07:58:24 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2018, 08:47:52 AM »
Quote from: Michael
Why did he choose to act on the pride rather than not?

He freely chose to act out of pride, rather than obey the voice of God. Just like obstinate atheists do. Free will is the ultimate explanation of an evil action. God left us to determine for ourselves whether we will love Him and our neighbor and be good, or fight against Him and forget our duties and become evil.

Sir 15:14 "God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel.
15 He added his commandments and precepts.
16 If thou wilt keep the commandments and perform acceptable fidelity for ever, they shall preserve thee.
17 He hath set water and fire before thee: stretch forth thy hand to which thou wilt.
18 Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him:"

If the will is not free, then nobody should take anything you say seriously, as you are just predetermined by blind matter to do and say all that you do - which means neither morality nor rationality, both of which presuppose the possibility of a real choice, would exist.

You are the charioteer and you can, if you would only make the effort, move the horse to the left or the right. But you are like a man who wants to throw away the reins and be freely led astray by every passion rather than control and direct the horse part of the chariot (as the spirit does and should control and direct the flesh in man) where it should go.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 08:52:43 AM by Xavier »
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Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2018, 12:59:28 PM »
Quote
The "decider" isn't a black box; it always chooses the stronger desire.

Addiction is not the best example, because it is questionable whether it is mortal sin.  Let's use stealing.

Intellect:  This is not good.  There is a desire to do the good, but it is not emotional.  It is instead love of God, even for the heathen, since God is the Form of the Good.
Emotion + Intellect:  The money buys me nice things, which I want.

I don't see these conditions changing.  The intellect is correct in desire 2, the money buys nice things.  And the emotion doesn't change.  Having the nice thing gives the person happiness.

And yet the person can change his mind and quit stealing.  A deterministic machine will never choose otherwise, because it can not apprehend the immaterial.  What is the FEELING of happiness?  That is immaterial.  The deterministic machine would just have an electrical resistance at a certain level which prevents the movement of an electron.  What is "the good"?  You'd have to think up of some "evolution survival strategy" which again must be reduced to a resistance to an electron in a separate neural circuit.  These don't change, and yet people try again, or decide differently.  If I am a heathen, I can then introduce an override decider which functions on separate circuits to overcome some of the problems with the deterministic model, however I'm now on the path to infinite deciders (and I haven't solved the immaterial reality present, but that is a different topic). 

We know, because "we"/ "you" contain immaterial souls (and these are the pronouns that refer to the immaterial soul), that this view of life is wrong.  There is a Love of Goodness (God) and there are feelings, which are immaterial interpretations of material neural patterns.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2018, 01:25:49 PM »
You know now that you have me thinking about this, I'm sniffing out a logical fallacy: begging the question.

The heathens argument is summarized as this:  Because we don't have free will, anything bad that befalls us  due to bad choices is evil.  But in your view God is omnipotent, so this reduces in the end to God being the source of evil.  This is a contradiction in Christian belief, therefore Christianity is revealed to be false.

This is known as "begging the question" (which is usually erroneously used for "raising the question").

We prove that God exists and is Good through other arguments.  This is the argument the heathen must deal with.

Since God exists and is Good, it is necessary that we have free will.

To complicate matters, Free Will lives in the immaterial realm, and science has no tools to deal with the immaterial world.  What is an immaterial impediment to immaterial Grace in material terms?
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 
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Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2018, 02:25:04 PM »
Quote from: Michael
Why did he choose to act on the pride rather than not?

He freely chose to act out of pride, rather than obey the voice of God. Just like obstinate atheists do. Free will is the ultimate explanation of an evil action. God left us to determine for ourselves whether we will love Him and our neighbor and be good, or fight against Him and forget our duties and become evil.
But what is the explanation for the initial choice to be evil? If pride, then that begs the question of why he acted on the pride rather than not. If free will, then that begs the question of why he used his free will to choose evil rather than good.

On what basis did the will swerve towards evil over good? Just saying "free will" doesn't answer it, since I'm asking why the free will did what it did. That's just saying "he chose A because he chose A," but what was the explanation?

The will moves based on what the intellect perceives as being valuable or desirable in some sense. To be free, it seems like you'd have to choose what you desire, and that choice itself would be baseless or based on a 2nd-order desire. If there is no second-order desire to act on desire A rather than B, then it seems like a roll of the die which one wins out. The agent-self, in a state above its two initial desires, suddenly lands on one rather than the other, because...zilch.

Quote
If the will is not free, then nobody should take anything you say seriously, as you are just predetermined by blind matter to do and say all that you do - which means neither morality nor rationality, both of which presuppose the possibility of a real choice, would exist.
One can be an atheist determinist without being a materialist. There's also idealism, panpsychism, and substance dualism. I oscillate between materialism, panpsychism, and idealism. 

Quote
You are the charioteer and you can, if you would only make the effort, move the horse to the left or the right. But you are like a man who wants to throw away the reins and be freely led astray by every passion rather than control and direct the horse part of the chariot (as the spirit does and should control and direct the flesh in man) where it should go.

So the charioteer has control over the horse, but does the charioteer have control over the way it controls the horse? The charioteer's manner of control is based on its nature, so to be ultimately responsible, it seems like the charioteer must have a deeper self that controls how the self behaves, but then the charioteer inside the charioteer will move the inner horse based on its nature -- so to responsible, there must be an inner, inner charioteer that controls how the inner one behaves. Regress. Or it moves without basis -- randomly.

We prove that God exists and is Good through other arguments.  This is the argument the heathen must deal with.
Those arguments have been dealt with, actually. Plus, one can be a theist (or supernaturalist) and a moral nihilist at the same time. So even if God exists, the argument against free will is still there.
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2018, 03:39:24 PM »
Why deny such an intuitive principle instead of affirming atheism or some version of theism without hell? God is literally punishing people for what He predetermined for them to do. Why on earth would you worship a god who sets up rampant child sex abuse (in his own church), the Holocaust, famine, disease, and tortures people forever for what they couldn't help doing?
Atheism is not an option since the existence of God is proven.
Theism without hell - I don't know. But subjectively speaking, why not go with Pascal's wager? If hell doesn't exist, we suffer no harm in falsely believing that hell exists.
Why worship the puppet master? Because man owes worship to God. God's being a puppet master is irrelevant.
But as I said before, I myself am not certain that compatibilism is correct, and neither am I certain that what follows (that God is a puppet master) is correct. Compatibilism is my current opinion as a non-philosopher/non-theologian who hasn't extensively studied these things--my opinion very well may change as I receive new information: I will gladly switch back to libertarianism if the libertarianists can show that God's foreknowledge is not incompatible with libertarian free will.


Intellect:  This is not good.  There is a desire to do the good, but it is not emotional.  It is instead love of God, even for the heathen, since God is the Form of the Good.
Emotion + Intellect:  The money buys me nice things, which I want.

I don't see these conditions changing.  The intellect is correct in desire 2, the money buys nice things.  And the emotion doesn't change.  Having the nice thing gives the person happiness.
Think of them as magnitudes. Maybe one day my desire for nice things is twice as strong as my desire to do the good, so I am willing to steal. But the next day my desire for nice things decreases and my desire to do the good increases, so I'm no longer willing to steal.

To add complexity, usually there are more contributing factors than just two. I might have a desire for nice things, a desire to do the good, a fear of going to prison if I'm caught, a fear of the dishonour it could bring me, a perceived yet false need for money, etc., all of which contribute to my desire to steal or not to steal. If any one of these contributing factors changes, and if the will is deterministic, then the choice of the will could change.

And if St. Augustine is right, the only contributing factor which is morally relevant is grace. Because again, given the correct starting conditions,  determinism would say that pretty much anybody--with or without grace--can refrain from stealing. But only those with grace can make a good choice. It follows that those who lack grace, who nevertheless refrain from stealing, are not making a good choice. (Of course, to refrain from stealing is less evil than stealing, but it's only good if done with grace. To say otherwise is to suggest that some good things come from man rather than from God.)


On what basis did the will swerve towards evil over good? Just saying "free will" doesn't answer it, since I'm asking why the free will did what it did. That's just saying "he chose A because he chose A," but what was the explanation?

The will moves based on what the intellect perceives as being valuable or desirable in some sense. To be free, it seems like you'd have to choose what you desire, and that choice itself would be baseless or based on a 2nd-order desire. If there is no second-order desire to act on desire A rather than B, then it seems like a roll of the die which one wins out. The agent-self, in a state above its two initial desires, suddenly lands on one rather than the other, because...zilch.
The will (according to libertarianism) is self-moving. Desires draw the will, but the will alone is what makes the decision.

If you think that this is a problem, I'll point out that determinism isn't any better off:
If the will's choice follows deterministically from desires, then this begs the question, What accounts for the desires?
If you're not a theistic compatibilist, you'll end up in an infinite regress.
If you're a theistic compatibilist, you'll arrive at God as the first cause, which begs the further question, Why does God cause desires?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 03:55:23 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2018, 05:00:31 PM »
Quote
Think of them as magnitudes. Maybe one day my desire for nice things is twice as strong as my desire to do the good, so I am willing to steal. But the next day my desire for nice things decreases and my desire to do the good increases, so I'm no longer willing to steal.

So "Freedom of Desire" instead of Freedom of the Will?  Call it what you want.

But the choice for stealing is a calculation that doesn't change.  What can change is the desire to do Good (Love God), and yes that comes from Grace.

Quote
If free will, then that begs raises the question of why he used his free will to choose evil rather than good.

Do you see the layering you are doing?  "He" "uses" his free will.  I love how the heathen has to resort to theistic ideas, because there's no way to escape reality.

No, he chooses to do evil and reject God.  What free will means is that he is under no compunction to do this.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

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Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2018, 05:03:23 PM »
Quote
It follows that those who lack grace, who nevertheless refrain from stealing, are not making a good choice.

It is a good choice, but it is not a supernatural good since it lacks Charity.  It still has merit in this world and the next.  However it does nothing w.r.t. getting you to heaven.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 

Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2018, 05:25:44 PM »
Why deny such an intuitive principle instead of affirming atheism or some version of theism without hell? God is literally punishing people for what He predetermined for them to do. Why on earth would you worship a god who sets up rampant child sex abuse (in his own church), the Holocaust, famine, disease, and tortures people forever for what they couldn't help doing?
Atheism is not an option since the existence of God is proven.
It isn't.

Quote
Theism without hell - I don't know. But subjectively speaking, why not go with Pascal's wager?
Really? You got Catholics who hold that Protestants go to hell, and vice versa. Then you have Islam. And if God foreknows I am hellbound, I can't change His foreknowledge. Also, there could be a trickster god who only lets atheists into heaven. You may say that's absurd, but it's no more absurd than a god who claims to be just but punishes people for what He made them do in the first place.

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I will gladly switch back to libertarianism if the libertarianists can show that God's foreknowledge is not incompatible with libertarian free will.
Not going to happen.

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The will (according to libertarianism) is self-moving. Desires draw the will, but the will alone is what makes the decision.
Why does the will self-move towards evil over good? Just saying "free will" doesn't tell me anything. If the will determines how the will moves, that leads to A regress. Why did the will will itself to will A? Did it will itself to will itself to will A? At some point, you're going have to choose based on the initial nature of the will or it's moving to A over B inexplicably. Randomly.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 05:45:43 PM by Michael »
 
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Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2018, 05:43:25 PM »
Quote
Do you see the layering you are doing?  "He" "uses" his free will.  I love how the heathen has to resort to theistic ideas, because there's no way to escape reality.

I'm simply asking for the explanation for the first evil choice -- the first evil act of will. You haven't given one; you've just told me that free will was involved, but you haven't told me why the free will did A over B.

Quote
No, he chooses to do evil and reject God.  What free will means is that he is under no compunction to do this.
He chose evil. Why did he choose evil?
 

Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2018, 07:01:54 PM »
Quote
He chose evil. Why did he choose evil?
Pride.  He chooses what he wants over what is good, that is, he rejects God.

But let's be very precise:

He chooses NOT to cooperate with grace because he rejects God.  He prefers the evil act, which he would have to give up.

When the heathens take over a government and invariably come to the conclusion that millions must die, they KNOW it is evil.  When heathen women dye their hair blue, dress like crap, then scream their vitrole against the patriarchy, by which they mean Christendom, they know they are vile.

It is a demonic hatred against God.  They reject His Grace.
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Offline Michael

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2018, 07:42:33 PM »
Quote
He chose evil. Why did he choose evil?
Pride.  He chooses what he wants over what is good, that is, he rejects God.

Granted the pride, why did he choose to act on it and rebel instead of resisting it and obeying? If the pride caused him to rebel, then he couldn't have done otherwise unless he freely chose to be prideful. If he could have done otherwise, then pride doesn't fully explain why he chose to rebel, since he could have chosen to obey with the pride still in place.
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He prefers the evil act, which he would have to give up.
Well you can't choose your preferences, or life would be a lot easier. I could just choose to prefer work over leisure, or the taste of feces over ice cream...
 

Offline james03

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2018, 08:02:17 PM »
Quote
Granted the pride, why did he choose to act on it and rebel instead of resisting it and obeying?

I having problems with your terminology.  Act on "it"?  There is no "it".  He chooses to turn his back on the good and picks to do the evil, because that is his preference.  We call that pride.

All humans have this defect.  Those who are Predestined are saved from this flaw in the end (we sin 7 times a day at least), those who aren't are left in their natural state.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Free will and foreknowledge
« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2018, 08:55:23 PM »
You guys are going around in circles.  "Why did A do B?"  "Because he chose to do B."  "Why did he choose to do B?"  "Because he has free will and made that choice."  "Why did he make that choice?"  "Because that was his preference."  "Why was that his preference?"  "Because that is what he chose to do."  Etc.

Here's the conundrum.  Thomism/scholasticism simply doesn't have the answer.

The only rational explanation for why a will chooses evil over good, or good over evil, is because it is desired (e.g. valued) more.  If there is no rational explanation for why a will chooses what it does, then humans are simply not rational animals.  Their choices are simply random.  Which makes Christianity a farce - evil deeds as well as good are at bottom the result of bad luck.

But, if desires are chosen by the will, that leads to an infinite regress.  The desire chosen is the desire that is desired more.  And that desire is the desire that is desired more.  And on to infinity.

And, if desires are not chosen by the will but are random, but the will must act according to them, then at bottom choices are still random even if there exists a first-order explanation.

All this forces the conclusion that there is something in humans that 1) is not an act of the will, 2) determines acts of the will by determining desires, and 3) is self-explanatory.