Bruno Marchal wrote:

Le 14-avr.-05, à 14:48, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

A decision I make is "free" when I feel that I could have decided otherwise.

OK I can take that definition of free-will, although I would bet that free-will will always be in company of any genuine act of will.


Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/


It is exactly the quibbling over precise definitions etc. that I was trying to avoid. When I say my decision was "free", I mean that it *felt* free, as opposed to a decision I might have made with a gun held to my head. I have to use some word to describe it, so that you can understand what I'm talking about, which is only possible if you have similar experiences. Philosophers then take this word "free", look at various possible meanings, and decide whether my use of the word is appropriate. For example, if "free" means "neither random nor determined", then I am misusing the word or deluding myself, because everything has to be some combination of random or determined. However, I didn't intend to enter such a debate when I used that word!


Suppose an octopus, in addition to the regular human-type free will ("will I have dinner now or later?"), has a special 8-free will when it has to decide which tentacle it will use. This 8-free will feels completely different to the other sort, in that the octopus mentally spins a roulette wheel, which feels completely random, but at the moment it moves the thus-chosen tentacle, a strange retrospective causality event takes place, such that the octopus knows with every fibre of its being that the chosen tentacle was the "correct" one all along.

OK, here is the question. Given our knowledge of physics, does the octopus really have 8-freedom, or not?

--Stathis Papaioannou

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