Yeah, I see what you're trying to get at, but I don't agree that "the only evidence for that desire, is that we made a decision to do something".Togo1 wrote:Relinquish wrote:The following is my basic argument for the illusion of free will.
The only possible reason someone would choose to do something that they would actually rather not do (as per their own conditioned preferences) is that they do not want the anticipated undesirable consequences of them NOT doing it to come true.
Any activity that we BOTH have no desire to do AND feel that not doing it will have no undesirable consequences is an activity that is fundamentally ruled out from possibility.
We didn't CHOOSE our own desires.
To test this assertion, try now to GENUINELY cease desiring something that you strongly desire. Conversely, try to GENUINELY desire something that you have absolutely no desire for.
Can you do it? GENUINELY?
Naturally, we are all following what we perceive to be the path of least resistance to get as close to happiness as possible and as far from unhappiness as possible. Of course, we all have different preferences. Our preferences are what they are because of the surrounding environment into which we were born, completely outside of any control. Had we been born into a different surrounding environment, our preferences would have different.
This is rhetorical slight of hand. You've set up a narrative that sounds like it logically excludes choices, but it doesn't really.
Consider it restated formally
P1 All actions are either following desires or avoiding negative consequences
P2 We do not choose our desires
P3 We do not choose the existance of negative consequences
C1 We do not choose our actions.
Once you lay it out, P1 looks a bit weird doesn't it? What you're doing here, is taking the idea that we decide to do things, and describing in instead in the passive voice - as a decision that is followed. Because any decision that we make, any thing we decide to do, you're defining as following a (pre-existing?) desire. But the only evidence for this desire, is that we made a decision to do something. So what you're really saying, absent your a priori decision to cast all decisions as desires, is this:
P1 All actions are either voluntary decisions or avoiding negative consequences
P2 We do not choose our voluntray decisions
Which is a contradiction - voluntary decisions are chosen by definition.
Now I'm trying to avoid technical terminology here, but the principle being violated here is that if you can't, in formal logic, substitute one term with another, then two terms aren't equivalent. Since substituting desires for voluntary decisions results in a contradiction, the two can't be equivalent to each other, which in turn means decisions and following desires are not equivalent. This in turns means that by choosing the particular form in which you state the problem (as desires rather than decisions), you're assuming the conclusion you wish to prove - otherwise known as the fallacy of petitio principii, or begging the question.
Put more simply it's no more true to say that all actions follow an unchosen desire than it is to say that all actions follow an unchosen condition - because as long as we make choices, those choices have an impact on subsequent decisions. The formulation only makes sense if you first assume we don't make any choices, which is exactly the condition you're trying to prove. If you have to assume the truth of a statement to make an argument for it, that argument isn't worth much.
Does that make sense?
Either way, if everyone naturally wants to be happy, and no one naturally wants to be unhappy, why (and indeed, HOW) would anyone do something they BOTH have no desire to do AND feel that not doing it will have no undesirable consequences?