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

scerir scerir at libero.it
Thu Apr 5 15:53:02 UTC 2007

Stathis Papaioannou:
> A non-believer in free will can still go along with the law as something
> which is instrumental in bringing about the determined behaviours. We put
> roofs on our houses in order to stay dry, and we stay dry because the
> are in place. Similarly, we punish criminals to prevent further crimes and
> further crimes are prevented because we punish criminals. However, I keep
> mind the fact that the criminals engage in their behaviour either because
> is determined by their genes and environment (in which case it isn't their
> fault) or due to random processes (in which case it isn't their fault).
> Blaming and revenge are in keeping with a belief in free will; tolerance
> compassion are in keeping with the absence of such a belief, although
> tolerance and compassion do not prevent us from taking practical measures
> prevent crimes.

I tend to agree here. But I think the criminals
engage in their behaviour also because it is
determined by their 'will', and not just by
their genes or by contextuality.

I always found difficult to define 'free will'.
There are several definitions. My personal
definition was something like 'the 'will' does
not depend on the past story of (this) universe'.
After some reflection I also wrote 'the 'will'
does not depend both on the past story and on the
future story of (this) universe'. This definition
seems to be strong indeed :-) and perhaps also
false and useless :-)


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