CLARIFICATIONS - which option was best then we would have no need for the capacity to choose But the phenomenology of choice is not simply an

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CLARIFICATIONS Question: Is it only in cases where we lack knowledge of what is best that we make a choice? Answer: No. The idea is that we have the capacity to choose because we frequently lack knowledge. But the capacity can function in all cases, whether there is such a lack or not; or at least, all cases where there is nothing stopping it. That is part of the explanation of how akrasia is possible: we can choose even when we do have a firm belief about what is best (and maybe sometimes an akratic choice will be for the best, c.f. Arpaly). There are indeed cases where choice does not function: when behaviour is automatic or habitual. But even here we can often take our behaviour out of the range of the automatic or habitual. Question: Does the account effectively make the old and disreputable move of identifying freedom with ignorance? Answer: It is true that the account does suggest that if we always knew
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Unformatted text preview: which option was best, then we would have no need for the capacity to choose. But the phenomenology of choice is not simply an illusion engendered by our ignorance; it is not that, due to our ignorance, we mistakenly believe that we have choice. Choice is a real process, made necessary by our ignorance. (It is perhaps true that if we knew what we were going to do—if we had the Book of Life—we would not experience choice as we experience it now; but if we knew what we were going to do our phenomenology would be very different altogether. Indeed, there are other places in which a certain kind of ignorance is a prerequisite for knowledge: compare Lewis on the two Gods. In general our life would be unimaginably different if we were not limited in the many ways we are.) Question: Does the resulting notion of choice have a special moral importance? Answer: I doubt it....
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course PSY PSY2012 taught by Professor Scheff during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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