Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eisogeting the Dictionary

Dan responded to my stuff on choice and libertarianism below here.

I'll confine myself to a few brief comments:

1. He continues to conflate what I argued the "man on the street" held. I indexed that to the common man's conception that indeterminism rules out responsibility and control. Dan acts as if I said the common man think the term choice doesn't present genuine access to alternative possibilities. Thus he is arguing against a point I never made. I tried to make this clear in my last response. Dan seems to want to ignore it. As such, there's not much else to say. My point was that if libertarians are going to use the "common man" rhetoric, they can't turn around and deny it when it comes to what the "common man" thinks about indeterministic happeneings. Stated another way, what's sauced for the goose is sauce for the gander.

2. In the dictionaries 'possibilities' are vague. Dan seems to eisogete "genuine access to" into all the definitions. There's no warrant to do this other than by begging the question in favor of indeterminism.

3. My definitions of 'choice' do not rule out determinism in the least. That was what we were talking about. Dan wants to now talk about "choosing." This gets into my "have" and "make" distinction I've made many times now. Dan doesn't seem willing to take this into consideration.

4. it is not clear that "choose" selects for libertarianism as Dan wants to believe:


S: (v) choose, take, select, pick out (pick out, select, or choose from a number of alternatives)
S: (v) choose, prefer, opt (select as an alternative over another) "I always choose the fish over the meat courses in this restaurant";
S: (v) choose (see fit or proper to act in a certain way; decide to act in a certain way) "She chose not to attend classes and now she failed the exam"
I don't see how any of this undermines determinism. There is no claim made here that the alternatives are things I have genuine access to. That I can equally instantiate any of them Dan must eisogete the dictionary.


to choose
Third person singular
Simple past
Past participle
Present participle

to choose (third-person singular simple present chooses, present participle choosing, simple past chose, past participle chosen)

To elect.
He was chosen as president in 1990
To pick.
I chose a nice, ripe apple from the bowl.
To decide to act in a certain way.
I chose to walk to work today.

Again, there's nothing here incompatible with determinism unless one reads libertarianism into the definitions.


transitive verb
1 a: to select freely and after consideration b: to decide on especially by vote : elect
2 a: to have a preference for b: decide
Again, nothing her inconsistent with determinism. Of course there is if you read "freely" as "libertarian freedom," but Webster's doesn't mention that. So if Dan thinks "choose" here undermines determinism it can only be because he's eisogeting, again.

I think that's enough with the dictionaries.

I have made my case. Dan doesn't seem to have advanced the discussion. I doubt he'll retract his now falsified claims about determinism, but I hope he will. Arminianism and libertarian free will seem to be too precious. There's no point to discuss when one can't admit the obvious.

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