You're mention of whose definition was closer to that of the common person
intrigued me.  I decided to look up what some dictionaries said on the

1. free and independent choice; voluntary decision: You took on the
responsibility of your own free will.
2. Philosophy. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses
personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

world english dictionary
3.      a.  the apparent human ability to make choices that are not
externally determined
     b.  Compare determinism the doctrine that such human freedom of choice
is not illusory
     c.  (as modifier): a free-will decision
4.      the ability to make a choice without coercion: he left of his own
free will: I did not influence him

cultural dictionary:
5. The ability to choose, think, and act voluntarily. For many philosophers,
to believe in free will is to believe that human beings can be the authors
of their own actions and to reject the idea that human actions are
determined by external conditions or fate. (See determinism, fatalism, and

6. in humans, the power or capacity to choose among alternatives or to act
in certain situations independently of natural, social, or divine
restraints. Free will is denied by those who espouse any of various forms of
determinism. Arguments for free will are based on the subjective experience
of freedom, on sentiments of guilt, on revealed religion, and on the
universal supposition of responsibility for personal actions that underlies
the concepts of law, reward, punishment, and incentive. In theology, the
existence of free will must be reconciled with God's omniscience and
goodness (in allowing man to choose badly), and with divine grace, which
allegedly is necessary for any meritorious act. A prominent feature of
modern Existentialism is the concept of a radical, perpetual, and frequently
agonizing freedom of choice. Jean-Paul Sartre, for example, speaks of the
individual "condemned to be free" even though his situation may be wholly


I personally find many of the above definitions to be inconsistent, but do
you agree that definitions 1 and 4 refer to something that is real?  I think
most on this list would agree that definition 2 is inconsistent, since it
seems to posit will contains an unpredictable element outside of physics or
arithmetical truth.  None of the definitions above seem to explicitly
mention compatibilism, but neither definition 1 nor 4 is incompatible with
determinism in my opinion.

The idea of predestination and predetermination is in itself interesting,
because it implies it is possible to know what you would do before you ever
did it, but how could any entity determine what you would do without
actually seeing what you in fact do?  If it is not possible to have such
foreknowledge, it rescues free will since what you ultimately decide cannot
be predicted, determined, or known without invoking you to make the
decision.  It is unknowable to any entity how some equation or formula
unfolds without actually unfolding it.  It is like knowing what the 16th
number in the Fibonacci sequence is without first having to determine what
the 15th and 14th were.  By the same extension, one can't know what you will
do without stepping through the process of your brain and seeing what your
brain decides to do (according to its will).

Also, when you asked:
"If no conscious experiences are ruled out by arithmetical truth...then what
good does it do to posit it as a factor in producing conscious experience?"

It reminded me of something David Deutsch said in Fabric of Reality about
impossible experiences.  An example he gave was the conscious experience of
factoring a prime number.  To use your example, you could say: seeing a
square circle.


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