Monkey Game

  • Thread starter Cadaei
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  • #1
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This came to me when I was lying awake in bed at night.

Consider a biologically immortal person (meaning not susceptible to disease, age, or etc, but can die from physical wounds) locked alone in a room with a knife for all time (henceforth called a "BIPLRAT").

P1: If a BIPLRAT has free will, then he can choose not to kill himself.
P2: If a BIPLRAT has free will, then it is possible that he can kill himself.
P3: If it is possible that a BIPLRAT can kill himself, then given enough time, he *must* kill himself (this premise comes from the so called "infinite monkey theorem." Here is an overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem)
C: Therefore, if a BIPLRAT has free will, he must kill himself.

Which of course is a contradiction because a person with free will must have the option to not kill himself.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I don't see how the infinite monkey theorem applies here. The theorem deals with monkeys on a typwriter. Your version seems to be: "given an infinite amount of time, everything must happen". This seems like a very bold generalization and one which requires a proof.
 
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  • #3
Pythagorean
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Furthermore, the monkey is a stand-in for a random generator. Real monkeys with typewriters are not true random number generators.

So carrying this metaphor to human behavior is even more flawed.
 
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  • #4
Evo
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Makes no sense to me.
 
  • #5
Curious3141
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This came to me when I was lying awake in bed at night.

Consider a biologically immortal person (meaning not susceptible to disease, age, or etc, but can die from physical wounds) locked alone in a room with a knife for all time (henceforth called a "BIPLRAT").

P1: If a BIPLRAT has free will, then he can choose not to kill himself.
P2: If a BIPLRAT has free will, then it is possible that he can kill himself.
P3: If it is possible that a BIPLRAT can kill himself, then given enough time, he *must* kill himself (this premise comes from the so called "infinite monkey theorem." Here is an overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem)
C: Therefore, if a BIPLRAT has free will, he must kill himself.

Which of course is a contradiction because a person with free will must have the option to not kill himself.
"Free will" is generally understood to mean that the decision/outcome is NOT random because volition can override any mechanistically-determined outcome. The infinite monkey theorem only applies to random (stochastic) phenomena. Your premise is flawed.

EDIT: I guess OP is one of those who missed the Philosophy subforum.
 
  • #6
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A BIPLRAT is not a good source of randomness.
Entropy will eventually kill him.

"Free will" is generally understood to mean that the decision/outcome is NOT random because volition can override any mechanistically-determined outcome.
If it is not determined by anything, you cannot distinguish it from randomness.
 

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