PETER PIKE SAID:
If you choose something because you think there's more than one option available, yet there is really only one option available and it just so happens to be the one you picked, is that still classified as a choice? An example given would be such things as: You're put in a maze and come to a fork in the road and you can go either left or right, and you go left, unaware that a sheet of plexiglass actually barred you from going right if you had chosen that path.
In this example, you really don't have another option, but you never knew you didn't have that other option. The existence or non-existence of a piece of plexiglass does not seem capable of determining whether a choice does or does not occur, yet if you must have actual viable options then its existence would be the determining factor. If the plexiglass exists, no choice; if it does not exist, choice.
PAUL MANATA SAID:
I would add you have to distinguish between making a choice and having choices where the latter implies that each is a live option.
We certainly make choices. The pheonomenology is the same for both of us. We have a pile in front of us, and we pick up one thing over another. Therefore, inability to choose the other doesn't mean that I didn't choose the one. I did.
Can a person be duped into thinking that they have a choice when they don’t have one? Yes. In fact, maybe that’s me. Again only thinking you have free will to choose (when you don’t have more than one options to choose from) is not really free will. It’s also my contention that God is not interested in tricking us into thinking we have a choice (to believe in the gospel or not for example) when He has predetermined everything all along. I don’t think we just think we’re making a choice when God really has put up a plexiglass barrier limiting us to only one option all along.
This seems absurd on the face of it.
DOMINIC BNONN TENNANT SAID:
As Paul has pointed out, choice does not presuppose PAP. So representing the compatibilist view as God "tricking" us into thinking we have a choice is yet another case of you begging the question in favor of your own position—which Paul refuted—while attacking a strawman.
To piggyback on Manata’s distinction between having choices and making choices, as well as Pike’s illustration of the maze with an invisible barrier, I’d like to address the charge that, under that scenario, God is tricking us.
It’s really quite commonplace for men, women, and children to make choices on the basis of the choices they mistakenly think they have. To take a mundane example, many is the 17 or 18 year old who, on the day of his high school graduation, was filled with plans for his future. He makes various career choices on the basis of his ambitions, like the choice of college, college major, &c.
And many is the 40 or 50 year old who has come to the humbling realization that he must scale back his plans. He didn’t have the time or talent to realize all of his lofty ambitions.
And yet he made many choices on the basis of those illusory outcomes. He did A with a view to C. He thought that doing A would enable him to do C. Instead, it only got him to B.
Is this divine trickery? Is it not a pretty universal experience to make choices on the basis of choices we thought were at our disposal, but, in fact, were never within reach? That, with the benefit of hindsight, we now see that these choices were never in the cards? Even if some of them were live options in isolation, they were not live options in combination.
Many goal-oriented individuals have had to adjust their grand plans to a sobering and unyielding reality. Setting goals got them to certain point where they wouldn’t be absent the goal. Yet they frequently fall short of the mark. To put the same point more simply, do people who overestimate their abilities still make real choices?