I have somewhat arbitrarily defined "free will" as voluntary actions that
are both "self-determined" by a Self-Aware Object, and are not predictable.
My reasoning is that if something is completely predictable, then there is
no option for change, hence no free will..
On this issue, Jonathan Colvin apparently disagrees, since he states that
"There is no contradiction between determinism / predictability and free
will, so long as free will is viewed as self-determinism."
But free will would be a meaningless concept in a deterministic universe.
If the future were completely predictable then how could there be free will?
Everything would be pre-ordained.
But, as Heisenberg shows us, the future cannot be predicted. Unpredictable
choices are made by SAO's, therefore free will exists.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jonathan Colvin" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 7:28 PM
Subject: Re: "Free Will Theorem"
Norman Samish wrote:
> If "free will" simply means "self-determination" then Jonathan is
> right, and to the extent we are self-determined we have free will. He
> says, "the only relevant question as to whether our will is free is
> whether our conscious minds (our selves) determine our actions."
> But what about the sufferers of schizophrenia who Stathis Papaioannou
> referred to? They exercise self-determination, and their mental state
> is such that their actions, at least in some cases, are completely
> Do they have free will?
I don't see that the actions of schizophrenia patients are any more
predictable than yours or mine. In fact, people suffering from this disease
are often *less* predictable (which is why schizophrenia can sometimes be
dangerous). To the extent that their actions are controlled by their
conscious minds, they have free will. If they feel they are being "forced"
to act contrary to their will (speculatively, perhaps by *random* excitation
of parts of their brain), I would suggest that they do *not* have free will
in such cases, because their actions are not willed by their conscious
minds. In this case randomness is contrary to free will, illustrating why
basing free will on unpredictability is a fallacy.
> Another example might be a self-aware computer of the future that
> would be programmed to have predictable actions as well as
> self-determination. Would it have free will?
Although what do you mean by "predictable"? Its actions might be predictable
only insofar as an identical program subjected to identical stimulus would
give identical actions (its actions might be predictable / deterministic but
> In both cases, the actions of the Self-Aware Organism are predictable,
> hence their will is not free. They are bound by their destiny.
I don't see how mere predictability is incompatible with free will. Your
actions too are predictable. If I set you in the middle of a highway with a
large bus heading for you, I predict you will move out of the way, unless
you are suicidal. Does that mean *you* do not have free will?
> To have free will, the actions of a SAO cannot be completely
Why not? There is no contradiction between determinism / predictability and
free will, so long as free will is viewed as self-determinism.