Sunday, April 01, 2018

Omniscient chess computer

Freewill theists typically think "theological determinism" (i.e. absolute predestination, meticulous providence) makes God blameworthy and human agents blameless. Many or most freewill theists define libertarian freedom as access to alternative possibilities. Let's go with that definition. 

Suppose I'm playing computer chess. Suppose the computer is omniscient. It can predict which move I'll make even before I decided what to do next. As a result, the computer doesn't wait for me to make up my mind. Rather, it moves the chess piece to the square I was going to select. 

Once a move is made, it can't be unmade. Once a move is made, it's too late for me to make a different move. I now lack the freedom to choose an alternate course of action. The computer took that out of my hands. Yet it always makes the same move I was going to make. If I lose the match, whose to blame–the computer...or me? 

Suppose the computer always wins because it knows in advance what I will do in every situation, then takes advantage of that information to stay three steps ahead of me. Is that cheating? Does that nullify the value of my libertarian freedom? 

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