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

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Fri Apr 6 05:05:31 UTC 2007

On Apr 5, 2007, at 7:47 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

> 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?

Nope.  At least people as far as we can reasonably tell with nearly  
identical genes and environments turn out so differently that you  
would have to believe the flutter of a butterflies wing causes a  
typhoon on the other side of the world.  It is not reasonable to  
prattle on about physics being physics when the system or behaviors  
being studied cannot be fruitfully and practically analyzed,  
understood or predicted at such a level.

> 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?

At the point you choose from among alternatives you are exercising  
free will.   I will not dance on the head of some philosophical pin  
that a sufficiently powerful and near all knowing mind could predict  
with perfect accuracy how you will choose in any situation.   It has  
nothing to do with behavior being either random or determined.  That  
false dichotomy is fruitless to pursue.  Something more fruitful as  
how we can choose thee best values and exercise the best decision  
making process in our choices that maximize our gaining and keeping  
those values.    The rest seems to me a colossal waste of (for now)  
all too limited time.

- s

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20070405/8685fa38/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list