Music to my ears, or eyes, even though I can't read music.
Man, there are some juicy morsels left on the table in this thread... You've really got me thinking
If there is one course of events, there is nothing to alter. The throw was made by you after having returned from the future, while in possession of whatever knowledge you got there. There was no course of events in which you threw the dice without having visited the future so nothing to change. Of course you could always monkey about by going back to earlier than when you started from, and try to create some paradox or other. If there are multiple futures you'll be thwarted, and simply branch off into some other course of events, with no paradox. If there is one future you'll have to be thwarted in some more contrived manner.
I will say that you are correct that I was referring to the first scenario, but I did want to make a small clarification. If you returned to the present time after gaining knowledge of the outcome of the dice throw, then I can't see how your possession of that knowledge would not alter your throw, and thus become a causal factor, if it's you who are throwing the dice.
I'd like to propose an answer to that. It isn't in your best interests to think that your destiny is beyond your control. Thinking like that, you'd never have the incentive to get past difficult situations, and your species would never have survived the test of evolution. Gut feelings are there for practical reasons, and here philosophy seems to conflict with practicality. A belief in determinism suggests that we cannot control our future, and it's a bad idea to think that. I think the best way out of that quandary is to consider the notion of "control" as a practical construct which belongs in a different level of understanding. I think you can believe in determinism but understand that, for practical day to day decision making, it's a fact best ignored.
In any case, the main thing you've got my brain stuck on is the concept of determination due to the laws of physics. As I sit here, deciding what keys to press, I have to wonder whether or not my choices are truly the result of an unavoidable series of physical events. My gut reaction is no, but why?
I agree with you, but surely if you believe the word "soul" means anything, it means that there is something indivisible and unique about you that is independent of the material world. What you've just said suggests to me you don't believe such a thing exists, so why do you use the word "soul"? Does this suggest a religious inclination or do you just use it as another term for "self"?
I believe that I am a soul, in the biblical sense, not that I have one, and that my thought processes are thus directly connected with the amazing function of my brain. If you were able to materially duplicate my exact physical structure, down to the quantum level, I believe you would have another me, complete with my memories and decision-making inclinations.
Being an atheist, I'm not particularly inclined to go for that. I find it hard to see what "free will" could mean in this context, other than a random outcome. Why would God want random outcomes? Of course we could drag the "soul" back into this, and say that quantum randomness gives the soul room to operate and make decisions that are not determined by physics. But then what are these decisions determined by? Backing out of physics only enables us to replace one system with another. Churches talk about the world of spirits and souls and the "supernatural" in the woolliest terms because we are not supposed to understand it. But suppose we tried (supposing first that it even exists). Are there reasons for what happens in that world? Cause and effect? If not, it's just random chaos. If so, then there are underlying mechanics. It's another physical system. Maybe different laws of physics but we still haven't escaped from either determinism or randomness.
Is it possible that quantum fluctuations are the indeterministic loophole that God built into the system so as to enable free-will? Seems like a long shot, but an interesting point to ponder.
Loving this discussion, by the way