Hal Finney writes:

> On the other hand, I might aknowledge that my feeling of freedom is not
> actually consistent with the particular interpretation of the term "freedom"
> the philosopher is trying to foist on me. In other words, if "freedom" means
> "not bound by determinism or randomness", then I could not possibly be free,
> simply because there is no third alternative to determinism or randomness!
> In this case, I would have to admit that my "free will" feeling is something
> quite peculiar, with no correlate in the real world. Fine: let's say this is
> what it is. My subjective experience of free will remains unchanged, my
> behaviour remains unchanged, and my attitude towards other people (also
> exercising this strange, non-free, non-random, non-deterministic free will
> thing) remains unchanged.

I guess I'm having trouble understanding this subjective experience
of free will.  It seems to require a somewhat sophisticated degree of
self-modelling and self-understanding, in order to model the concept
that your mind could have behaved differently and made a different
choice.  Yet it is blind to other physical realities.  Aren't you just
lying to yourself?  Or do you really have this "feeling" as a direct,
pre-rational self-perception, like the experience of redness or of pain?
I'm not sure I have any such feeling, but perhaps I have internalized
the philosophical arguments so much that they have contaminated this
"pure" self-perception that you describe.

Yes, that's just what I mean. It is just like the perception of redness or pain - just as essentially private. If I do try to analyse this feeling, it seems that when I make a free decision, I am not bound by deterministic laws, nor am I doing something completely random. Clearly, this is physically impossible, for what other driving mechanism is there than randomness or determinism? But I don't really think this is saying much more than that when I experience a pain, it seems to me that something more is happening than mere electrical impulses in my brain, even though I am aware intellectually that that is the physical reality. If you want, you could say that all subjective experience is a kind of self-deception.

--Stathis Papaioannou

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