Norman Samish wrote:
>  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.

But this illustrates the problem. Randomness is not an "option", or will.
Randomness is simply randomness. What is doing the "opting"? To preserve an
"option" for change, you must appeal to a ghost in the machine (dualism);
otherwise you have preserved the "freedom", but at the cost of loosing the
will. We are then merely dice making random actions, with the *illusion* of
will. How is this superior to determinism?

> 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.

Everything would indeed be pre-ordained. But why would this make our will
not "free"? What does "free" mean, in this context? I don't think free in
this sense means simply "non-deterministic", or random.  I consider myself a
"free man", as opposed to a prisoner. But the definition of a "free man" is
not someone who acts randomly; it is someone free from *external coercion*
or imprisonment. Likewise, our will is free if it is free from *external*
coercion. It is a fallacy to believe that *internal* (self) determinism is
contrary to free will, for it makes no sense that one could coerce one's
self. Equating freedom with non-determinism is, IMHO, committing a category
error.

Jonathan Colvin

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