[ExI] [Extropolis] Irrational mechanics, draft Ch. 6. Creative evolution toward quality. Also, the 2nd test flight of Starship and the OpenAI drama.

Giulio Prisco giulio at gmail.com
Thu Nov 30 07:29:06 UTC 2023

John, you say

"If things are really deterministic then it all goes back to the initial
state of the Big Bang."

I disagree. A history can be really deterministic (that is, uniquely
determined) without being uniquely determined by an initial state. In other
words, global determinism can hold without strict dynamical laws that
determine the future from the past.

This is the central point of my chapter "Libertarian determinism:"

I have many examples in mind, here is one. Think of the traveling salesman.
He goes from city 1 to city 2 ... to city N (or back to city 1 through all
other cities) following the global rule that the total distance (or, more
generally, the total cost) must be minimal. As you know, this is a hard
computational problem.

The history of the traveling salesman's path is uniquely determined by the
global rule, but not by the past of the path. That is, the next city is not
uniquely determined by the current city and the cities visited in the past,
but it is only determined by all cities together, including those that will
be visited in the far future.

So there are retrocausal influences (backward causation). Retrocausality
breaks Laplacian determinism. You are not uniquely determined by the past
of spacetime, but only by the whole history of spacetime, of which you are
an irreducible part, and this is a concept of free will that is good enough
for me.

Then I have generalized my argument to allow for multiple solutions, but
that is another story.

Read "Libertarian determinism" again?

On Wed, Nov 29, 2023 at 12:09 PM John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Nov 29, 2023 at 3:13 AM Giulio Prisco <giulio at gmail.com> wrote:
> *> "John, this argument is flawed because it is really equivalent to: I'm
>> bigger than you and I can beat the shit out of you, therefore you don't
>> have free will but you can only do what I want.*
> I agree the argument is equivalent but I disagree it is flawed.
>> * > if I flap my arms like wings and hope to start flying like a bird
>> while I'm falling down toward certain death on impact, I'm still making a
>> choice*
> You chose to flap your arms like wings because you wanted to, and you
> either wanted to for a reason, in which case your choice was deterministic,
> or you wanted to for no reason, in which case your choice was random. So
> you're either a cuckoo clock or a roulette wheel.
> >* "**I define free will as your ability to make choices that are not
>> entirely determined by the rest of the universe (that is, the universe
>> minus you)*
> If it wasn't the state of the external universe that caused you to do what
> you did then it must've been because of your internal state; and you were
> either in that internal state for a reason, in which case it was
> deterministic, or you were in that internal state for no reason, in which
> case it was random. When we see somebody do something for no reason we say
> they are acting "irrationally", and normally that is not considered a
> compliment.
> Although I've never heard of anybody except me use it, I would define "free
> will" as the* inability* to always be certain what you yourself will do
> next until you actually do it, because being deterministic and being
> predictable are not necessarily the same thing. Sometimes, even with
> something completely mechanical, the only way to know what it will do next
> is to watch it and see.
> *> "A flexible concept of causation (see "Libertarian determinism") that
>> includes the possibility of retrocausality (backward causation) doesn't
>> reduce you to initial conditions in the far past before you existed"*
> Why not? If things are really deterministic then it all goes back to the
> initial state of the Big Bang.
> John K Clark
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