OK now we're getting somewhere. I like what this guy is on about. A bit from Wik below - but there is lots more on the wik page. I like this stuff, and wouldn't mind having a discussion about this further from those interested or who can express their own understanding of this philosophical perspective - and it's implications for life generally and personally.

This from Wik:

Sextus Empiricus raised concerns which applied to all types of knowledge. He doubted the validity of induction[2] long before its best known critic David Hume, and raised the regress argument against all forms of reasoning:

Those who claim for themselves to judge the truth are bound to possess a criterion of truth. This criterion, then, either is without a judge's approval or has been approved. But if it is without approval, whence comes it that it is truthworthy? For no matter of dispute is to be trusted without judging. And, if it has been approved, that which approves it, in turn, either has been approved or has not been approved, and so on ad infinitum.[3]
Because of these and other barriers to acquiring true beliefs, Sextus Empiricus advises[4] that we should suspend judgment about virtually all beliefs, that is, we should neither affirm any belief as true nor deny any belief as false. This view is known as Pyrrhonian skepticism, as distinguished from Academic skepticism, as practiced by Carneades, which, according to Sextus, denies knowledge altogether. Sextus did not deny the possibility of knowledge. He criticizes the Academic skeptic's claim that nothing is knowable as being an affirmative belief. Instead, Sextus advocates simply giving up belief: that is, suspending judgment about whether or not anything is knowable.[5] Only by suspending judgment can we attain a state of ataraxia (roughly, 'peace of mind'). Sextus did not think such a general suspension of judgment to be impractical, since we may live without any beliefs, acting by habit.

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Comment by MCT on March 24, 2011 at 1:44am

Vince,

You are fated to pretend to do something which doesn't exist. Seriously? You can pretend to fly. How does one pretend to choose without choosing? By being caused? Being caused is part of choosing.

Comment by Alice on March 24, 2011 at 1:43am

Vince – sure – if choice meant that we have real options that we can choose from – I totally agree that this doesn’t exist – BUT that is not my definition of choice – my definition of choice is about the process of thinking that we go through before acting or not.

 

My use of the word ‘choice’ is about describing the experience that you call pretending to choose.  That process what ever you want to call it, is real.  You call it pretending to choose.  I call it choice.  Either way both of us agree that the universe is fully determined and fully caused.  There is no such thing as free will or contra causal free will.  Everything is inevitable.  But we are only able to see that inevitability when it has happened.  Therefore we can only guess as to what might happen next.

 

Perhaps we guess what might happen next because it is needed to keep us alive and surviving as a race.

 

Being moving things, we do need more tricks to keep us alive and procreating.  The illusion of having options that we choice from is part of that survival.  If we didn’t have the illusion of having options that we choose from then we might die and not be determined to survive and procreate.

Comment by MCT on March 24, 2011 at 1:40am

Alice,

I believe plausibility implies a perspective. And by, definition, this perspective is an individual brain. Calling something an individual brain's perspective is twice redundant. But, I agree that qualifying it makes it easier to understand and/or not get confused.

Comment by Vince Watkins on March 24, 2011 at 1:40am
"Is that not choice you are 'talking' about in that first paragraph? That act,
that Vince insists upon. Isn't that act choice?"
Not at all.

"Only that when knowledge of the future is impossible, a brain
can consider logically plausible scenarios which may or may not be the
determined one."

Guessing what's gonna happen in no way changes the fact that the only path is inevitable. You aren't making a powerful argument for choice here. You are conceding it.
Comment by MCT on March 24, 2011 at 1:36am

Alice,

You: "Vince – OK – it might feel as though we are making things happen – when we are in fact fully caused to do what we do – but you have to concede that WE DO ACT. We do act and we do have an effect. The acting may be involuntary – meaning it is fully caused and not of any contra causal free will – but it is an action."

Vince: "I don't merely concede the fact. I insist upon it."

 

Is that not choice you are 'talking' about in that first paragraph? That act, that Vince insists upon. Isn't that act choice?

Vince,

"What's precognition? Thinking before one thinks? Nothing can preclude what will happen. No one is contesting this. But, the impossibility of foreknowledge makes room for logically plausible futures scenarios."

-None of this is nonsense. None of it suggests that thinking something brings it into existence. Only that when knowledge of the future is impossible, a brain can consider logically plausible scenarios which may or may not be the determined one.

 

Comment by Vince Watkins on March 24, 2011 at 1:35am
"so you acknowledge that you go about pretending to make choices all the time?"

Constantly. But only because I'm fated to do so.
Comment by Vince Watkins on March 24, 2011 at 1:34am
"But we must agree that even though everything is inevitable, we won’t know or have any pre knowledge about what is inevitably going to happen. We can only guess. Will you agree with that Vince?"

With the stipulation that, on some occasions, we are REALLY really good at determining what is going to happen.

So there. I think we agree, Alice.

"Bit of a nutter aren’t you? LOL"

"I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane." --Waylon Jennings
Comment by Alice on March 24, 2011 at 1:33am

Michael – I would say that everything is inevitable – but we can’t know what will inevitably happen until it happens, and therefore we can only guess about what might happen next.  You might call this guessing – making room for logically plausible future scenarios (with qualification) from my perspective.  As they are my guesses.

Comment by Alice on March 24, 2011 at 1:30am

Vince – so you acknowledge that you go about pretending to make choices all the time? 

 

Bit of a nutter aren’t you? LOL

 

No, the lack of precognition doesn’t preclude the inevitable.  So what was my point?  Perhaps that if we don’t know what we were going to say until after we’ve said it, then the idea that everything is inevitable doesn’t matter to us, because we are unable to know what that inevitability is.  Although I do concede that everything is inevitable and will be inevitable.

 

But we must agree that even though everything is inevitable, we won’t know or have any pre knowledge about what is inevitably going to happen.  We can only guess.  Will you agree with that Vince?

Comment by Vince Watkins on March 24, 2011 at 1:28am
"And by the way – have you been able to go about life for the last 10 minutes
without making a choice?"

Actually, I've been on autopilot for the past hour... ok, for the past 44 years.

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