On 13 Mar 2010, at 16:00, m.a. wrote:

Bruno,
Thanks to your lucid explanation I begin to glimpse the beauty of comp. Please check my reasoning here. If materialism is correct, the brain can be compared to a computer which contains the programming for higher order languages (e.g. word processors, spreadsheets, paintbrush etc.) but requires anexternal input to implement the creative potential of those languages.

Locally, yes. You can run the UD though. But this is of no use relatively to you. It is a program without input, and without ouput. From outside it is like the empty function, also computed by the program "do nothing".


For a computer the input is man; for the brain the input might be God, chance, spirits or what have you.

Both for the computer and man, the inputs are given by their most probable universal neighbor, emerging from a competition among all universal computer below their substitution level.


Comp, however is already itself a higher language per se with the potential capacity to manipulate and implement higher order languages within itself and without external input.

Well, comp is a theory. That is a belief, by humans or entities. But with comp, or just with Church thesis, elementary arithmetic is what you describe. It is a higher language per se implementing by itself all possible machine's histories. But this gives a super-fractal, and our consciousness is distributed on its "border".

Since the brain could have developed higher order languages through five million years of evolution, it can be credited with the faculties of consciousness and decision-making. But free will is precluded by its basic material composition; its decisions are predetermined.

Locally. But this is not a threat for free will.


Whereas comp, not being material, could also process consciousness, and understand decision-making AND have the ability to decide freely among alternatives and act accordingly. marty a.


Here I am not sure to follow you. The comp indeterminacy on all our "incarnations" in arithmetic, or in the universal dovetailing may on the contrary restrict that freedom, by making us live consequences of act we don't do. So it is really determinism which allows us to develop at least a partial control on the universal neighborhood we bet on.

Suppose you love daisies and I know that. Why would you feel less free to pick a daisy if I can predict you will do it.
Free will comes from the fact that
1)*you* cannot predict in advance your choices, so that *you* will have to take a decision with incomplete information, and 2) *you* can reflect that ignorance, and thus learn to live with an open spectrum of possibilities in front of you. Real choice takes time and have to mature. It is something you live and do, and cannot be reduced to the behavior of your parts, because, by comp, you cannot be aware of those parts, without betting on a complex theory. You can only bet on a level, if you want a self-copy, which is, as an explanation, as complex than you. To explain your behavior at that level makes no more sense than using quantum field theory to taste a pizza. It would be like, with comp, to taste a pizza by building a copy of yourself, asking "him" how he tastes the pizza, and, incase he says "oh, quite good", conclude that *you* personally find that pizza quite good. It will not work in any communicable way. You may read a text by Smullyan, in the book "Mind'I" (ed. Hofstadter and Dennett) about a guy who asks God to free him from free will. It is funny and up to the point.

What happens, but this already the case with QM, and as a consequence of comp, is that we have many "futures", and our will is reflected in or normal (Gaussian) worlds.

I said once that when you are young, free will is the ability to start smoking cigarets. And when you are older, free will is the ability to stop smoking cigarets.
At that time I concluded that free will did not exist!

The will is always free, because if it is not, it is not your will. Bruno, in Sylvie and Bruno (lewis Carroll), put it nicely too: (from memory): '- What a chance that I hate spinach', '- Why? asks Sylvie, '- because in the case I would like spinach, I would ate them, and that would be absolutely horrible'.

In that (non-)sense, will is not free.
I guess free will is an ability to taste and use and defend freedom, imo, not much more, but it is already a lot.

Bruno








----- Original Message -----
From: Bruno Marchal
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2010 6:37 AM
Subject: Re: Free will: Wrong entry.


On 12 Mar 2010, at 21:53, m.a. wrote:

I agree with you that quantum indeterminacy doesn't affect (free) will: "Quantum mechanics is local and deterministic, and explains why it seems indeterministic to the 99,9999...% of the observers." (3/12/2010 7:58 AM), which is why I feel that your use of the words "ability" and "develop" when you say: "the ability of a person to develop personal goals and to satisfy them in absence of coercion" (above) can as easily refer to completely determined processes which introspection identfies as voluntary a split second afterwards ... as it can anything else. m.a.



Are you thinking to Libet's experiences?

Anyway, if Libet's experiences has been repeated and confirmed (which is quite plausible). It would demolish only a pseudo-mystic conception of free-will where a 'substantial soul' would somehow influence the brain, or why not, directly the arms, ... or the spoon.

Some materialist used Mechanism, not to for formulating or solving, the mind body problem, but for eliminating the mind and its attributes. Mental things does not really exists, only matter. And so no free will, nor even consciousness for the most extremists.

The general mistake here (imo) consists in believing that reducing higher order epistemological notion to lower order notions eliminates the importance or the existence of the higher order notions. Or more generally, that representing an unknown field in a known field, eliminates the unknown field. It may eliminate it from the primitive ontology, but this does not mean it is eliminate from the appearances or from the experiences. If that was true a materialist eliminativist would never take a pain killer.

And if we are (apparently material) machine, then, if we are digital machine, we are immaterial or abstract, or higher order, machine or number. The whole coupling consciousness/realties emerge, and thus is reduced, to the additive and multiplicative structure of numbers. This does not make disappear neither consciousness, nor the first person (singular and plural) material perception of matter.

Free will is just very hard to define. It needs consciousness, it implies a partial control of the self with respect to its most probable "macro-histories" (macro = above its comp substitution level).

George Orwell said that freedom is the right to say that 2+2 = 4.
I would say that free will is the will to say that 2+2 = 4.

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




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