1. Joined
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    07 Aug '07 22:02
    Suppose I have access to unimaginably powerful technologies and can perfectly replicate a human being, including its mind, so that that no difference can be seen between the original and the copy, not even in principle.

    Now suppose I am monitoring Arthur while he chooses whether to eat an apple or an orange. Once he makes the decision (orange), I copy him to make Bob, who is of course indistinguishable from Arthur. Bob proceeds to eat an orange, since that is the decision that Arthur has just made.

    Now, can I say that "Bob chose to eat an orange?" He didn't exist when the decision was made, but his mental state is perfectly consistent with having chosen to eat an orange. So did he choose or didn't he?
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    07 Aug '07 22:10
    Originally posted by GregM
    Suppose I have access to unimaginably powerful technologies and can perfectly replicate a human being, including its mind, so that that no difference can be seen between the original and the copy, not even in principle.

    Now suppose I am monitoring Arthur while he chooses whether to eat an apple or an orange. Once he makes the decision (orange), I copy him ...[text shortened]... is perfectly consistent with having chosen to eat an orange. So did he choose or didn't he?
    sucks to be bob
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    07 Aug '07 22:12
    Originally posted by EcstremeVenom
    sucks to be bob
    Does it?
  4. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    07 Aug '07 22:181 edit
    Well, he did get an orange.

    Your story assumes that free will doesn't exist. What if Bob changes his mind just before biting the orange?
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    07 Aug '07 22:35
    Why did Arthur choose the orange?
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    08 Aug '07 03:501 edit
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Well, he did get an orange.

    Your story assumes that free will doesn't exist. What if Bob changes his mind just before biting the orange?
    Suppose Bob is created after the orange has been eaten, then.
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    08 Aug '07 03:50
    Originally posted by darthmix
    Why did Arthur choose the orange?
    Does it matter?
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    08 Aug '07 16:283 edits
    I think it matters that he has a reason, even if it doesn't matter so much what that reason is. The free will/determinism question is all about whether the purpose behind your choice basically determines your choice for you. If the orange is for any reason better suited to his needs or desires, due to factors beyond his control, then the orange becomes the obvious choice; there's really no choice at all.

    If both Arthur and Bob choose the orange for no reason, totally at random, like a flipped coin coming up heads twice in a row, then you might try to argue that their choice is totally a product of their free will. But then what good is free will, really, if it represents only randomness? So goes the argument.
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    08 Aug '07 20:45
    Originally posted by darthmix
    I think it matters that he has a reason, even if it doesn't matter so much what that reason is. The free will/determinism question is all about whether the purpose behind your choice basically determines your choice for you. If the orange is for any reason better suited to his needs or desires, due to factors beyond his control, then the orange becom ...[text shortened]... t then what good is free will, really, if it represents only randomness? So goes the argument.
    This isn't so much about free will v. determinism; I'm pretty much assuming free will here and asking what qualifies as a free choice.

    The idea that prompted this is the assertion sometimes made that God must give humans a free choice of whether to accept or reject him, and it would be worthless to create beings that automatically love him. I'm trying to challenge this by constructing a hypothetical situation in which a person can be said to have made a free choice before they even came into existence.
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    08 Aug '07 21:04
    Originally posted by GregM
    This isn't so much about free will v. determinism; I'm pretty much assuming free will here and asking what qualifies as a free choice.

    The idea that prompted this is the assertion sometimes made that God must give humans a free choice of whether to accept or reject him, and it would be worthless to create beings that automatically love him. I'm trying to ch ...[text shortened]... n which a person can be said to have made a free choice before they even came into existence.
    God already knows if a person will reject Him or not, so it is only the illusion of free will from the person's POV?

    In a way, God could be said to have deceived us into believing we have freedom to choose, but of course from His perspective the whole idea of "choice" is irrelevant.
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    08 Aug '07 21:55
    Originally posted by GregM
    This isn't so much about free will v. determinism; I'm pretty much assuming free will here and asking what qualifies as a free choice.

    The idea that prompted this is the assertion sometimes made that God must give humans a free choice of whether to accept or reject him, and it would be worthless to create beings that automatically love him. I'm trying to ch ...[text shortened]... n which a person can be said to have made a free choice before they even came into existence.
    In that case, I don't see how Arthur's eating of the orange necessarily determines that Bob will do the same. If we assume that Arthur's decision was free given the conditions under which he made it, then Bob's decision, under the same conditions, must also be free. He had a 50/50 chance of making the same decision, and he did, but that doesn't mean it was determined before he existed.
  12. SubscriberKingDavid403
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    08 Aug '07 21:592 edits
    Originally posted by GregM
    Suppose I have access to unimaginably powerful technologies and can perfectly replicate a human being, including its mind, so that that no difference can be seen between the original and the copy, not even in principle.

    Now suppose I am monitoring Arthur while he chooses whether to eat an apple or an orange. Once he makes the decision (orange), I copy him is perfectly consistent with having chosen to eat an orange. So did he choose or didn't he?
    Now that's some good dope! 😲
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    08 Aug '07 23:00
    Originally posted by darthmix
    In that case, I don't see how Arthur's eating of the orange necessarily determines that Bob will do the same. If we assume that Arthur's decision was free given the conditions under which he made it, then Bob's decision, under the same conditions, must also be free. He had a 50/50 chance of making the same decision, and he did, but that doesn't mean it was determined before he existed.
    Right, I responded to this above by suggesting that you assume that Bob is instead copied from Arthur after Arthur eats the orange. Then Bob is created with an orange in his stomach, and the memory of choosing to eat an orange and doing so. His mental state is identical Arthur's, who we agree freely chose to eat the orange. So can't we say that Bob freely choose to eat the orange?
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    08 Aug '07 23:34
    Oh.

    Well, in order to say that, then we'd have to actually be saying that Bob is Arthur. If only one orange was eaten, and Arthur ate it, then whoever ate it must be Arthur also. There is no Bob; there is only Arthur, twice. Is that what you're saying?
  15. Subscribercoquette
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    08 Aug '07 23:56
    bob thinks he can quit eating oranges any time he wants to
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