I think the question, "Do you believe in free will?" could as easily
be, "Do you believe in Santa Claus or God or Fate and on and on." We
loudly assert: "I do what I want!!" But without considering the
factors that influence (determine?) our wants and desires. No. I
don't suppose I 'believe" in free will.
You are right. Free will is a bit like God, Santa Klaus, or the
primitive Universe. The main problem is that people have very
different definitions, usually loaded with heavy connotations, and lot
of emotional factors, wishful thinking, etc.
To defend free-will, or at least "responsibility", I often mention the
lawyer who defend a murderer by saying that his client was just
obeying to the Schroedinger equation.
This obviously will not work, if only because the members of the jury
can respond by "we judge you fully guilty and ask jail for life", and
then add, but don't worry, we are also just obeying to Schroedinger
Such explanation doesn't just lead to arbitrariness, but they are
wrong, deeply wrong. No universal machine can know all its influencing
and determining factors, and that is why, in complex environment, they
will have to use shortcut in decision procedure, which invokes their
conscience, and their notion of good and bad, and eventually have to
engage their responsibility, in some large or small measure. Experts
can debate infinitely on each individual cases, and can never be sure
on this matter, and that is why in many law systems, a reference will
be made on the judge intimate conviction.
If we are determinate, we cannot live at the level where we are
determinate. The soul (Bp & p) of the machine (Bp) is "really" NOT a
machine, from its personal point of view. So, some free will exists.
And some feeling of guiltiness are founded, even if only "god" can
know and judge impartially.
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