Riddle me this:

 

I stand before a counter with several types of food on it. I am hungry but I am currently not eating. Thermodynamics dictates that I will continue not eating until acted on by a force or forces. How do I generate the energy to choose a specific item and eat it?

 

I'll give you a hint: it's a trick question.

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Comment by John Camilli on October 25, 2011 at 8:46pm

The issue is not whether or choice is free, but whether or not we even have choice; whether or not we have the ability to interrupt or re-direct causality. If you think we do, then my question to you is, how? That's what I was asking. Your comment didn't really address the topic.

 

And if you would try to answer this question by describing some mechanism of the body that converts one type of energy to another, just remember, mechanisms are mechanistic. Any description of a mechanism relies on the assumption of causality and determinism, or it could not even be described. And there is no known mechanism that can create something from nothing, which is essentially what a human would have to be able to do, in order to have control over his or her thoughts and actions. To create impetus where there was none, or to absorb and be unmoved by some impetus that was. If we are unable to interupt or interject somewhere, then everything about us is merely the reboundings of conserved energy. No choice. No control.

Comment by Matt VDB on October 25, 2011 at 4:36pm

John,

 

So where is the free will?

 

Where did I imply that the choice was free?

Comment by John Camilli on October 25, 2011 at 8:28am
Isn't that the same as saying 'your last energy injection CAUSES your next one?' So where is the free will? Where is causality interrupted by this "free agent" we call our "mind," who is magically unaffected by reality, but is able to reach in and tweak it, as per desire (desires unmotivated by reality, of course, since that would mean the mind was being affected)?
Comment by Matt VDB on August 26, 2011 at 5:06am
I actually think it's a trick question because the riddle ignores the continuity of a human being as a process.

It's true to say in a human being in and of itself cannot do anything since it requires energy. However, the reason we consume food in the first place is to acquire energy for the coming hours and the coming actions. Consuming the food gives us a whole bunch of new energy, and we can then go about expending that energy towards specific activities -including eating our next meal.
It gets a little bit more complicated once you get into the details (we're also capable of cannibalizing our own fat reserves to 'create' energy when we need it) but the principle is the same: your last energy injection allows for your next one.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on August 23, 2011 at 11:20pm

Riddle-man, (best to pronounce this as one word, not two)

You operate under the assumption of free will. That lobster will hit the spot. As for the hot butter who can say not? Wait a minute-shoot me some of that goupy lobster sauce. I am exercising my free will and declining butter if only to prove I am a free agent.

If you must know even the most thoughtful, introspective, pensive atheists knowingly delude themselves. It is only natural. Then they go ahead and ridicule the damn theists!

 

 

Comment by Jeremy Raines on August 18, 2011 at 11:30pm
Is this hypothetical in the cold vacuum of space? If so, you've got bigger problems than food choice. LOL

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