[ExI] free will

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Fri Nov 3 00:30:50 UTC 2023

On Thu, Nov 2, 2023, 7:56 PM BillK via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Wed, 1 Nov 2023 at 20:46, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Sapolsky readily admits that his views are controversial.  :)
> > But he is not arguing against law and order. Punishments and
> > incentives are part of the drivers of behaviour.
> >
> > He has published a book on the subject, reviewed here by Psychology
> today -
> > <
> https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/one-among-many/201709/sapolsky-free-will
> >
> >--------------------------------------
> Now there is another article about free will, with various researchers
> (including Sapolsky) discussing the problem.
> And Sapolsky has a new book out as well.
> <https://nautil.us/yes-we-have-free-will-no-we-absolutely-do-not-431904/>
> Quotes:
> Do we have free will? The question is ancient—and vexing.
> Everyone seems to have pondered it, and many seem quite certain of the
> answer, which is typically either “yes” or “absolutely not.”
> -------
> As Ismael told a lecture audience in Toronto recently, the puzzle of
> free will is the ultimate philosophical whack-a-mole.
> “When you tease out one thread of argument that’s supposed to lead to
> the conclusion that there is no free will … people say ‘No, no, that’s
> not what I meant by free will,’ or, ‘the problem’s not over there,
> it’s over here,” she told me. “And they give you a different argument,
> or they give you a different conception of free will. So every time
> you nail down one of them, you get something else coming up where
> people say, ‘no, no, the real argument is over here.’”

Right, I think the majority of the problem comes down to agreeing on a
definition. There are very few hard or interesting problems once that is

However, there is a mildly interesting aspect which relates to a computer's
inability to predict what it will do before it does it. This seems to be a
property of any universal computing system (and perhaps for any chaotic
process as well). Though they can be defined in a deterministic setting,
there is no such thing as "prediction" possible for them, only "simulation"
or "instantiation" and witnessing what in fact, that system does.

I think the human brain can be considered such a system, but this in itself
is not that unique or special of a property, a double pendulum has it too.


> BillK
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