Buridan’s Ass Decisions (2)

-If free choice experiments all turn on BADs, do we understand them well enough? Say I wrote a program determining how I would deal with BADs and programmed it into my brain. The program would run, I’d become conscious of it, and Libet would observe the effect of my previous choice to program myself.

-Given the frequency of BADs, you’d expect the self to develop or be born with some system to deal with them. In fact, don’t non-human animals need such a system? Don’t actual donkeys find themselves equidistant between bales of hay?

-Would you want free choice to deal with BADs?

-The experiments define freedom as control by conscious intention fixing on one thing as opposed to another, but then test for the existence of such a thing in using a BAD, i.e. in a circumstance when conscious intention has no reason to fix on one thing as opposed to another.

-Can a BAD have a moral consequence? The idea seems crazy. If freedom is morality-relative then free choice experiments have yet to deal with it. But say that Libet got the same results when asking grad students to make a moral choice. Aristotle would interpret this as the effect of habitual action, and the habits as results of previous imperfect choices.

-Moral conversion often happens after some time of being dissatisfied with one habits. Presumably, any bad habit is a case of reason being powerless before subconscious drives. But this dissatisfaction seems to itself act on the subconscious, and at times a power from within this region bursts forth with a re-orientation of psychic energy toward goodness. Is our dissatisfaction true freedom, even if an instrumental cause of the re-orienting power?

Aristotle: Virtue is wholly voluntary and wholly habitual. Is free choice simply the agreement of choice and the habitually performed human good? Is most free choice our dissatisfaction with our action, i.e. the only way in which our choice and the good agree? This dissatisfaction has long work-arounds and nudges that it can make to the action, but on the whole it depends on the divine re-orientation of the person to goodness.


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