Paul cites two books written by libertarian philosophers to demonstrate that choice doesn’t demand a libertarian understanding of the term.1. "Mantra?"
In response, first off quoting philosophers is helpful, but the dictionary is better at establishing the laymen, common sensical understanding of terms. So the response doesn’t make contact with the objection. Second, it doesn’t seem that the quotes Mantra provides support his position.
2. It is well known that the dictionary is horrible in discussions like this. The dictionary is not normative. It simply reports how words have been used. But as long as this game is being played:
S: (n) choice, pick, selection (the person or thing chosen or selected) "he was my pick for mayor"
S: (n) choice, selection, option, pick (the act of choosing or selecting) "your choice of colors was unfortunate"; "you can take your pick"
"Choice consists of the mental process of thinking involved with the process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one of them for action."
i. An option; a decision; an opportunity to choose or select something.
ii. One selection or preference; that which is chosen or decided; the outcome of a decision.
iii. The ice cream sundae is a popular choice for dessert.
iv. Anything that can be chosen.
1: the act of choosing : selection
2: power of choosing : option
Choice - an act or the possibility of choosing:
Choose - to decide what you want from a range of things or possibilities" (note, the possibilitites do not need to be able to be chosen.)
Choice - noun 1 an act of choosing. 2 the right or ability to choose. 3 a range from which to choose. 4 something chosen
Yeah, so now what, Dan? Got beat by your own method. Intellectual integrity demands that you now issue a statement to the effect that "choice" doesn't necessitate a libertarian understanding going off the dictionary alone; sola Designo.
Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro in their book Naturalism say choice is an undetermined mental action and when we make choices we typically explain our making them in terms of reasons, where a reason is a purpose, end, or goal for choosing. Paul’s quote omits the word “undetermined”1, so contrary to Paul’s conclusion, Goetz and Taliaferro were teaching a libertarian understanding of the term “choice”.And of course this was admitted in my post. Dan is acting like he's making a point my post didn't make. Furthermore, I argued for the exclusion of that term, Dan failed to grapple with that argument. Thus, he doesn't move the discussion foreword and seems to bank on the laziness of his Arminian readers such that they will not read what I wrote but think he scored a point by pointing out something that I concealed which is detrimental to my argument.
Next Paul quotes Kane’s essay in Four Views on Free Will: A choice is the formation of an intention or purpose to do something. It resolves uncertainty and indecision in the mind about what to do. (Kane, For Views on Free Will, ed. Sosa, Blackwell, 2008, p33)1. Scales: Dan/Kane. Um...., next question
While Kane certainly adds a lot of insight into the discussion about determinism and freewill, his theory is somewhat exotic, so I have to come back to the point that perhaps this is not the best way to establish the common sense understanding of choice.
2. In fact, Kane speaks directly to guys like Dan and his introspective argument when he writes: "The point is that introspective evidence does not give us the whole story about free will. If we stay on the surface and just consider what our immediate experience tells us, free will, I believe, is bound to appear mysterious, as it has appeared to so many people through the centuries" (Kane, Four Views, 34).
3. So, Kane says that your common sense understanding is confused, and anyone who thinks about it would see that. At best, Dan argues for the confusion or shallowness of the layman to function as putative evidence against Calvinism. Is that the reed Arminianism wants to hang much of their rhetorical argument on? Slender indeed.
4. As a side note, I wasn't trying to offer a "layman's" understanding of choice. The "layman" part of the post had to do with the equally intuitive notion that many have to the effect that indeterminism limits control, and thus responsibility. That was my "layman" point. Dan failed to grasp the subtleties.
In short, Kane’s theory is that while we are simultaneously making efforts to choose two different things, indeterministic chaos in the neural networks of the brain hinders both efforts. The “winner” is the choice. For Kane, the indeterminism isn’t in the source of the choice, but rather it’s an obstacle to making choices. (35)And of course this is only half true. Kane allows for a determinism later on in life, so long as the agent formed her will by a will-setting action. Kane would admit that these already-formed agents choose deterministically. So, Kane knows that "choice" doesn't "always" imply "libertarianism." The point about the indeterminism kicked up in the neural networks and the choice the agent makes is that the agent tries for some action A, succeeds in hitting A despite the indeterministic element of chance involved, and thus can be held responsible for A, and, if this choice was will-setting, the agent is ultimately responsible for all the choices made down the line, even the deterministic ones. This too was discussed in footnote two of my post. Dan seems to have failed to grasp both Kane and myself here.
Kane’s explanation is overly physical as opposed to relying on an immaterial soul. (25) But Christians hold that man’s will is part of his immaterial soul.What's ironic about this is that Kane is a Christian!
I mean, has Dan been living under a rock for over a decade? Has he heard of constitutionalists? Christian physicalists? Corcoran, Merricks, Murphy, van Inwagen, &c.? Does he think man is justified by faith and belief in dualism alone? But Arminians always tell us they don't add works to salvation. (I couldn't resist.)
The American Heritage College Dictionary (3rd edition) defines choose as: to select from a number of possible alternatives. (similar definitions available here and here) Determinism includes the idea that preceding causal forces render all our actions necessary such that they cannot be otherwise. So a “predetermined choice” implies an “impossible possibility” and an “inalternate alternative”. Since the bible states that we have wills and choose, determinism isn’t consistent with the bible.1. I've already discussed the distinction between having and making choices. Given this, the above definition is vague. I do make choices out of a pile of things - the alternatives. But, this does not mean that all the alternatives are possibilities I have, where 'have' means each is a genuine alternative possibility I could instantiate.
2. Though I have no problem dissing "can do otherwise," Dan should know that classical compatibilists would take issue with his question begging epithet here.
3. Dan would have to make clear what verses he is thinking about. But at the very least, I highly doubt the Hebrews had the American Heritage College Dictionary at their disposal.
4. Since "A choice is the formation of an intention or purpose to do something. It resolves uncertainty and indecision in the mind about what to do" (Kane, Four Views 33), and this is consistent with determinism, and the Bible says we choose, therefore, determinism is consistent with the Bible.
At any rate, in closing, it seems Dan just needed to get something off by way of response. If not, then I don't understand the time spent on his response as it offered nothing substantive which would move the discussion foreword. Thus, the response seemed underwhelming. To recap my initial argument:
 Top libertarian theorists do not define choice as necessiating libertarianism.
 Top libertarians have noted counter-intuitive aspects of their theory, things the ordinary, man on the street thinks about indeterminate or uncaused happenings.
 Therefore, choice doesn't necessitate a libertarian understanding and libertarianism has its own elements that run contrary to "common sense."