[extropy-chat] Best To Regard Free Will as Existing

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Wed Apr 4 17:29:21 UTC 2007

On 4/3/07, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:

> At 04:03 PM 4/4/2007 +1000, Stathis wrote:
> >the impossibility of something being neither determined nor random,
> >which is (I believe) the common notion of free will.
> I haven't followed this thread but I find this common objection to
> free will facile. (Sorry.) Surely what we mean by "free to choose"
> does not mean *canned but distinctive*, although that's part of our
> sense of individuality. And quite obviously it doesn't mean "random".
> It seems to me to follow from our capacity to compute or model a
> sheaf of possible consequences (accurately or not is beside the
> point) of alternative actions we might take soon or even in the long
> run.

This issue of "free-will" is directly mappable onto the larger issue
of causality.  As is well known since Hume, there is nothing in
objective descriptions of reality that admits of even the slightest
evidence of "causality."  But causality, like free-will is very real
and plays an important role in our lives.  It's just that it only
makes sense in subjective terms.

Judea Pearl provides a gentle introduction at

- Jef

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