Marty,

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 wave equation.

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.

Bruno


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



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