[extropy-chat] Best To Regard Free Will as Existing
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
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > Blaming and revenge are in keeping with a belief in free will;
> > compassion are in keeping with the absence of such a belief,
> > tolerance and compassion do not prevent us from taking practical
> > 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
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.
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