The incoherency of libertarian free will

Dizerner

Well-known member
Ok so the determiner isn't determined by the influences. So nothing determines the determiner. That means the decision was arbitrary(without reason) does it not?

The reason is the will; that is, the reason is the ability to choose. If you define the will as "without reason" than you are preloading the terminology to make the will not a reason.
 

Simpletruther

Well-known member
The reason is the will; that is, the reason is the ability to choose. If you define the will as "without reason" than you are preloading the terminology to make the will not a reason.
But to say the will is the reason doesn't explain why one choice is made over another.

If given two possible choices x and y, and the reason given for either is chosen is (the will), then either choice is equally likely because they have the same reason. And choice is arbitrary/random It seems.
 

zerinus

Well-known member
I noticed you did not demonstrate that it is not true therefore you have not demonstrated evidence against it. ...
To me it is self-evident that it is not true, therefore if you believe that it is true, the burden is on you to demonstrate that it is true, not on me me to prove otherwise. 2+2=4 is a self-evident truth. If you think that 2+2=5, the burden is on you to prove it, not on me to disprove it. Let’s illustrate with a simple example. Take these commandments of the decalogue:
  • Thou shalt not kill.
  • Thou shalt not steal.
  • Thou shalt not bear false witness. Etc.
Let us suppose that I am placed in a situation to break one of these rules without being caught. Let us suppose I am in the grocery store doing my shopping, and have the option of taking something without paying for it, and without being caught. Do I have the absolute libertarian freewill to decide for myself whether to break the commandment of God and steal something, or not to? I think that I have the absolute, 100% libertarian freewill to make that decision. To me, that is a self-evident truth. It is like 2+2=4. If you think that I don’t have that libertarian freewill, the burden is on you to demonstrate that I don’t, not on me to demonstrate that I do.
 
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Dizerner

Well-known member
But to say the will is the reason doesn't explain why one choice is made over another.

If given two possible choices x and y, and the reason given for either is chosen is (the will), then either choice is equally likely because they have the same reason. And choice is arbitrary/random It seems.

Probabilities can only be leveraged in the way you are using them when you know the source of the determinations. You are working your logic backwards from the effect to the cause. If something is not predictable by any known means to you, you can call it "random" if you want, but that doesn't mean the actual result has no causal relation to anything preceding. It just "looks" random to you, because you don't have the means to connect it to something else. Only God knows this connection from heart to action.

Okay, how about this; I don’t like the normal version of Pascal’s wager but I really do think it works against determinism perfectly. If I believe I can choose to believe in free will, then I will automatically guard against passivity if it is true, and even if I was predestined to believe in free will (because God has a sense of humor?), I still can’t lose comparatively to the cost of it being not true. It seems most likely God will be more merciful if he predestined me to believe in free will, than if I make the mistake of thinking I don’t have any free will and run the risk of that becoming an excuse not to make a decision I need to make. I may get a sense of security in believing I have no free will, but if there is the slightest percentage chance this will end up instead produce passivity, than the rewards are diminishing, and the first choice has more probability of being rewarded the most. I honestly don't see any legitimate argument against that.
 

zerinus

Well-known member
But to say the will is the reason doesn't explain why one choice is made over another.

If given two possible choices x and y, and the reason given for either is chosen is (the will), then either choice is equally likely because they have the same reason. And choice is arbitrary/random It seems.
The “will” by itself doesn’t determine a choice, your preference does. The “will” determines whether you are free to make it or not. I have the freedom to choose vanilla or chocolate ice cream if my “will” is not restrained. But if somebody is holding a gun to my head telling me to choose vanilla or he will pull the trigger, then my will is restrained, and my freedom to choose is restricted. In a theological context, however, the only kind of “choices” that are relevant to the discussion are moral choices, meaning choices between right and wrong, good and evil, keeping God’s commandments or breaking them. And the biblical argument in favor of complete libertarian freewill in those kinds of choices is indispensable and overwhelming.
 
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TomFL

Guest
I don't think such a think exists and in fact it's nonsensical. I literally can of even grasp what it means nor can anyone else even if they think they can because it's an incoherent claim.

Yes I have sinned.

Yes it was determined, not random.
You first problem if you are a Calvinist is the WCF disaggres with you


GOD hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined, to good or evil.
II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which is good and well-pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.c


Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 59.

as does the LBC


CHAPTER 9; OF FREE WILL

Paragraph 1. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.1
1
Matt. 17:12; James 1:14; Deut. 30:19

Paragraph 2. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God,2 but yet was unstable, so that he might fall from it.3

Now as for your sin being determined scripture shows


1 Cor. 10:13 —ESV
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

so either your claim of being determined or scripture is false

and of course inspired scripture is never wrong

so it must be your claim that is false
 
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TomFL

Guest
I would say God is not free to be other than who He is and his unchangeable purpose and nature.

If the determiner of a decision is a motivation. From whence did the motivation come? This only changes the semantics of the logical difficulty but it's still there in full form. Was the origin of the motivation random or determined? We are back to the only two options.
The determiner is not the motivation but the person

and libertarian free will defined

Libertarian freedom is the ability to genuinely choose between a range of options, each of which is consistent with one’s nature.

takes into account ones nature
 
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TomFL

Guest
But to say the will is the reason doesn't explain why one choice is made over another.

If given two possible choices x and y, and the reason given for either is chosen is (the will), then either choice is equally likely because they have the same reason. And choice is arbitrary/random It seems.
So when you chose what to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner every option had the same reason

The will makes the choice but the reasons why one option might be more appealing than the other are different
 

zerinus

Well-known member
Libertarian freedom is the ability to genuinely choose between a range of options, each of which is consistent with one’s nature.
“Consistent with one’s nature” doesn't mean anything unless it is defined. What is one’s “nature,” and what determines whether something is “consistent with it” or not?
 

Reformedguy

Well-known member
Libertarian freedom is the ability to genuinely choose between a range of options, each of which is consistent with one’s nature.

Essential Ingredients of LFW

To understand this concept examine its key ingredients. In the book The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism, J.P. Moreland offered four essentials of LFW which we must be cognizant:


That is to say, if these four propositions are true of P, then P possesses LFW. To keep things simple and “memorizable,” we can boil libertarian free will down to two essential ingredients. If one possesses LFW, then (at least occasionally) they have…

1- The ability to think and/or act otherwise.

2- No external deterministic causes.

But to say the will is the reason doesn't explain why one choice is made over another.

If given two possible choices x and y, and the reason given for either is chosen is (the will), then either choice is equally likely because they have the same reason. And choice is arbitrary/random It seems.
Great post. What is the deciding factor when a choice is made? I say our greatest desire at the time the choice is made.
 
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TomFL

Guest
“Consistent with one’s nature” doesn't mean anything unless it is defined. What is one’s “nature,” and what determines whether something is “consistent with it” or not?
I think most understand what is meant by nature however'

Nature

the innate or essential qualities or character of a person or animal.
 

zerinus

Well-known member
Great post. What is the deciding factor when a choice is made? I say our greatest desire at the time the choice is made.
Not so great. That may be true of amoral (non-moral) choices, such as the choice between chocolate or vanilla ice cream; but it is not true of moral choices, such as the choice between whether to steal something or not. If my “desire” is to steal something, but my moral judgement tells me that would be the “wrong” thing to do, I am able to act contrary to my “desire,” and follow my conscience and do the “right” thing instead.
 

zerinus

Well-known member
I think most understand what is meant by nature however'
I assure you that I am not one of them.
Nature

the innate or essential qualities or character of a person or animal.
And exactly how does that qualification modify your definition of freewill? If for example somebody’s “innate or essential qualities or character” is to be a criminal, he has no other choice, freedom, or freewill to do otherwise than to be a criminal?
 

His clay

Well-known member
Libertarian free will is presented as having three qualities:

1. Not being determined.

2. Not being random or arbitrary.

3. Not simply a combination of the two, which would be called probabilistic.


The problem is these are the only conceivable way to describe events. It is literally nonsensical talk to claim an action is none of these things.

At this point free willers will often invoke "influence" as a way to imagine choices not being totally determined yet not random.
This is really an unintended obfuscation of reality. An influence must cause someone or it did nothing. It might cause you to consider or want a choice for example. But obviously if you don't make that choice then another stronger influence ended up causing the choice.
It is the net sum of those influences that cause choices. If they didn't, then by definition there would have to be a random component in the mix.
Another excellent post. Good to see you again.

Your post hits the nail on the head. As much as the libertarian wants to avoid the charge of randomness, it keeps coming back because the very definition of their idea of freedom forces the issue.
 

His clay

Well-known member
Those are an arbitrarily selected set of options. You are not logically “ruling out” libertarian freewill. You are simply excluding it from your list of possibilities, your arbitrarily selected set of options, which does not logically “prove” anything. You are saying, “I don’t believe libertarian freewill exists, therefore I am going to exclude it from my set of options,” which is not a logical “proof” that it doesn’t exist.
Clearly, the analysis here hasn't studied the issue very much and is therefore missing the point. Libertarian free will IS in the options of the opening post. That is precisely what is giving the opening post its punch.
 

His clay

Well-known member
You don't reject the Trinity just because it's a logical paradox. It seems inconsistent of you. I wrote an explanation of free will in this other post:

I accept the Trinity because its parts are explicitly declared in Scripture. This is not true of libertarian freedom. Hence, the philosophical notion of libertarian freedom is not under the same umbrella. Further, scripture itself explicitly directly opposes the idea of libertarian freedom.
 

Reformedguy

Well-known member
Not so great. That may be true of amoral (non-moral) choices, such as the choice between chocolate or vanilla ice cream; but it is not true of moral choices, such as the choice between whether to steal something or not. If my “desire” is to steal something, but my moral judgement tells me that would be the “wrong” thing to do, I am able to act contrary to my “desire,” and follow my conscience and do the “right” thing instead.
Sure it is. You choose your greatest desire at the moment you choose.

Stealing dont work for you. Either your greatest desire is to adhere to your moral principles or it is to steal.
 

His clay

Well-known member
You first problem if you are a Calvinist is the WCF disaggres with you


GOD hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined, to good or evil.
II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which is good and well-pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.c


Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 59.

as does the LBC


CHAPTER 9; OF FREE WILL

Paragraph 1. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.1
1
Matt. 17:12; James 1:14; Deut. 30:19

Paragraph 2. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God,2 but yet was unstable, so that he might fall from it.3

Now as for your sin being determined scripture shows


1 Cor. 10:13 —ESV
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

so either your claim of being determined or scripture is false

and of course inspired scripture is never wrong

so it must be your claim that is false
Compatibilist freedom is in the WCF. You are misreading the document to force a contradiction. Even the people who wrote, "Why I'm Not A Calvinist" understand the WCF properly.
 

His clay

Well-known member
The determiner is not the motivation but the person

and libertarian free will defined

Libertarian freedom is the ability to genuinely choose between a range of options, each of which is consistent with one’s nature.

takes into account ones nature
And since the person cannot be otherwise than what the person is at the moment of choice, then it follows that the ability to do otherwise is overthrown by your own definition + the law of identity. We have covered this before, but you don't like the ramifications, and it is clear that you still wish to propagate sheer nonsense.
 
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