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

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sat Apr 7 14:04:43 UTC 2007

On 4/7/07, scerir <scerir at libero.it> wrote:

> > I do not think that genes and environment
> > > play a major role when people buy, or sell,
> > > (or keep) shares of IBM, or Apple.
> Stathis:
> > No? What else could *possibly* be at play here?
> According to W.Buffett our goal as investors should
> simply be to purchase, at a rational price,
> a part interest in an easily understandable business
> whose earnings are virtually certain to be materially
> higher 5, 10 and 20 years from now.
> It is secret the strategy of the funds directed
> by the well known mathematician J.Simons (Chern-Simons
> theory).
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_Technologies_Corp
> http://stochastix.wordpress.com/2006/12/23/dr-james-simons-selected-as-the-2
> 006-iafesungard-financial-engineer-of-the-year/
> Imo in both cases above genes and environment only play
> a little role. There is some room for 'free will' in finance.
> Sometimes it is called intuition.

But investors are made of atoms, and when they make decisions, the atoms in
their brains, muscles etc. move according to the laws of physics. It's not
as if intuition can miraculously move an investor's hand independently of
the normal causal chain and make him click "buy" rather than "sell". Of
course, we will always be surprised by decisions that people make, but
that's just because we can't rewind the tape and play it back with exactly
the same starting parameters. I believe that the brain follows classical
laws, but even if quantum indeterminacy had a role to play, it wouldn't add
anything that we don't already have with the pseudorandomness provided by
classical chaos.

Stathis Papaioannou
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