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

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 02:47:16 UTC 2007

On 4/6/07, scerir <scerir at libero.it> wrote:
> 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
> roofs
> > are in place. Similarly, we punish criminals to prevent further crimes
> and
> > further crimes are prevented because we punish criminals. However, I
> keep
> in
> > mind the fact that the criminals engage in their behaviour either
> because
> it
> > 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
> and
> > compassion are in keeping with the absence of such a belief, although
> > tolerance and compassion do not prevent us from taking practical
> measures
> to
> > 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.

Isn't their will determined by their genes and environment? What other
factors could possibly be at play?

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 :-)

Some people find a place for free will in indeterminacy, perhaps the
indeterminacy in QM (or at least the CI of QM). But at best, that means free
will is *randomness*, and why should we be any happier to believe that our
behaviour is random than that it is determined?

Stathis Papaioannou
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