crispybits wrote:The analogy was throwaway, the point is that you're assuming that such a thing as a "choice" exists. Can you give me an example of how we could separate an event (the choice) from the causal chain which precedes it, without just diving into random chance and percentage probabilities? If we can't, and the choice is entirely causal and/or random rather than self-directed then it is not a choice at all. Theoretically you can assume far advanced technology and increased knowledge of neuroscience, etc. It doesn't have to be realistic with current tech/knowledge.
Well, wait a minute. Can you answer the questions, so I can understand where you're going with this?So, when do you never have any option but one? And in such a circumstance, why do you have no alternatives?
(if there's no answer to this, then your previous contention can be discarded).(recall, the person thinking about leaving their job) Are such people correct in the perception of their set of options?
(Is your answer, "well there are no choices," which is similar to saying, "these aren't the droids you're looking for"? It doesn't work, but we'll go down that road if you like, but it depends on how you answer the following questions).
Do they define their own choices?
Does "the environment" actually constrain them, or do they constrain themselves?*
*recall tidbit on locus of control.approach/methodology
So, your future path and your current options can be constrained by your own perception, as well as by the fundamental constraints (you might not be a mathematical genius, or have Y-colored skin, or whatever).
Because of these given variables, does this mean you have no free will?
Are we missing out other variables?
Have we explained the process of decision-making and outcomes correctly?
(I ask these questions because I have no idea what you're looking for. How do you determine if our system is free will or deterministic? How do you know that "choice" does not exist? What's your criteria for knowing/demonstrating? Etc. etc. etc.)
Causality and self-directed actions aren't exclusive, so the underlined doesn't make sense. What are you asking for? I can give theories which explain processes, but I need context from you, so that I can best apply its relevance to our conversation.
You never have any option except one. That's kinda the point. Our consciousness creates an illusion of choice when in reality the laws of physics make the choice for us, and then we just catch up and convince ourselves we've done it.
Lets try a different analogy (and remember these aren't meant to be taken 100% literally, they're figurative):
x = 1034
y = 2142
z = 523
Calculate 469xy + 342xz + 610yz using only a pen and paper and long multiplication - no calculators or other artifical aids.
Now the answer to that question is always going to be 1,907,064,036. It's the answer even before you start conciously working it out. But your brain doesn't have the knowledge of the answer, so it has to work it's way through it and get to the answer at the end.
It's sort of the same with choices. Causality/quantum has already determined what the decision you will make to a particular set of apparent options is at any given point in time. You can no more change that decision than you can change the answer of the maths problem during the process of working it out. Studies have shown that the brain makes this decision away from the concious thought processes, and the concious thought processes then catch up some time afterwards.
Given that you have no concious control over which option you will decide, the fact that you can convince yourself that you do is irrelevant. I could convince myself that I'm really good at beer pong, but that act of self-persuasion has no bearing on whether I am objectively any good at beer pong.
So to get to the answers for your questions:
Are such people correct in their perception of their set of options? They are correct in the way that they can perceive a set of possibilities, however these are not options, they are simply things that it would be possible for this to happen. Just like it is possible that I could get up from my computer right now, go into the shop downstairs and beat up the shop assistant. That doesn't mean that they have a choice between those options, simply that this is a list of things that are viable possibilities that could conceivably happen.
Do they define their own choices? They define what they think are decisions they are making. They are incorrect in classifying them as choices, because whatever they think about the decisions they think they are making, actually their decision was made at the start of the causal chain (however far you want to trace that back), and it was not a concious choice but merely a natural event governed by the laws of physics.
Does the environment constrain them? Reality constrains them. Reality constrains itself. They can never do anything other than what the causal chain leads them to do, even if they believe they are self-directed actors making their own decisions.
As I said, can you give me an example where the act of making a decision is not based on the causal chain that ends in the firing of certain neurons in the brain, and sometime after that by the illusion that we have conciously chosen one option over another?