Friday, March 28, 2014

Deep Thoughts XXXVI

The necessary is always possible.


Brett Lunn said...

Does "always" mean "at all points in time" or "necessarily" here? One might be more deep than the other.

Alexander R Pruss said...

In every case?

Michael Gonzalez said...

Since I have nowhere else to put this, and I just can't help myself... I'm reading your book, "Actuality, Possibility, and Worlds", and loving it. I am almost finished with your consideration of EMR, and I agree with you wholeheartedly... except I think there's a problem with your ethical, "transworld causation" problem. In the cases with Smith and Jones (the counterparts in the two worlds for either sending the E-mail to save a stranger, or electrically shocking themselves to spare the other guy) you stipulate that they are making a free choice... but then you also show that my choice absolutely determines my counterparts choice. Doesn't that mean that his choice is in fact not free? It is utterly determined by my choice. And, obviously, that means that my choice is likewise determined by his choice, since neither of us is privileged... so it follows that, contrary to your stipulation, neither of us ever has a free choice on this matter. I can deliberate all day about whether to, say, send the E-mail and save the stranger... but my decision will ultimately be causally explained by the decision of my counterpart, won't it? And vice versa? I mean, we're working with Lewis' counterfactual concept of causation (which is probably something like the right concept), and it is counterfactually true that, if my counterpart had chosen the virtuous decision, then I would be determined to do the other.

It honestly seems to me that fatalism is straightforwardly entailed by EMR, since every seemingly free decision would actually be determined by what happens in the other worlds, and I would simply be discovering which world I'm in. This fatalism is indeed deadly to our moral intuitions among other things.

Necessarily, in some world, you forgive me for posting a totally off-topic question, and so, possibly, that world is this one ;-)