Please see questions below (in bold).
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Bruno Marchal 
  To: everything-list@googlegroups.com 
  Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2010 12:40 PM
  Subject: Re: Free will: Wrong entry.




  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.

  Could you please clarify this?




    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. 

  How does this "restrict freedom"? The ability to imagine many alternatives 
and therefore make an informed choice among them seems to me the essence of 
free will. I thought that was what you were saying below:

  "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."


  So it is really determinism which allows us to develop at least a partial 
control on the universal neighborhood we bet on.

  What is partial determinism?


  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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