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

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 03:10:14 UTC 2007

On 4/6/07, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:

Criminals are held responsible for their ill deeds because we know
> that while they might have a powerful disposition to act in a malign
> and antisocial fashion they also have the capacity to choose
> otherwise...

But how is this true in a deterministic world? Children and criminals are
just collections of matter which follow the laws of physics (scene in court:
"Your Honour, I submit that my client is just a collection of matter with no
choice other than to obey the laws of physics, and I challenge the
prosecution to prove otherwise!"). If I push a pen off my desk, it *has* to
fall off my desk given the sum of the forces acting on it; only if the
forces had been different could it have chosen differently. Similarly, if
the world is deterministic, a person who makes a particular choice *had* to
make that choice, and only if the physical facts had been different (his
childhood, his genes, his brain chemistry, the alignment of the planets -
whatever) could he have chosen differently. The fact that neither the person
nor an external observer cannot predict which way the choice would go does
not make it "free".

Stathis Papaioannou
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