On Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 12:24 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> On 15 Apr 2011, at 21:16, Rex Allen wrote:
>> On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 3:45 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>>> On 14 Apr 2011, at 22:25, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
>>>> Hence Rex might well be right that the discussion here continues because
>>>> we do not have free will.
>>> This shows only that we don't have free-will in the absolute
>>> incompatibilist
>>> sense, but there are  compatibilist theories, which explains well the
>>> correctness of a relative (to the subject) incompatibilist feature of
>>> free
>>> will.
>> The free will that we don't have in the "absolute incompatibilist
>> sense" is the free will that most people believe in.
> How can you know that?

“In a massive survey of people in 36 countries, more than 70% agreed
with the statement that their fate is in their own hands
(International Social Survey Programme, 1998).”

Okay, so that rules out incompatibilism for “most people”.  How many
of that 70% do you think answered that question in the affirmative as

I’ve met a lot of people who are libertarians on free will, and I’ve
met a few who are incompatibilists, but I’ve never actually met a
compatibilist in person.

The idea that I might not have libertarian free will didn’t even occur
to me until I was 22, and I had a degree in engineering by then.  I
didn’t come across the idea that someone could accept determinism but
still believe in “free will” until several years later.

Now, admittedly, most of that time was “pre-internet” and certainly
“pre-Google”, but still, I’m thinking most of the people surveyed
aren’t compatibilists or even aware of the possibility.

Hell, 40% of Americans believe that humans were created by God within
the last 10,000 years.

I think I’m right on this.

>> Compatibilist free will should be called "faux will".  Or more
>> charitably, "subjective will".
> Then earth does not exist. Because most people was think that earth is a
> flat object.
> When we do some dioscovery it is better to adapt our word instead of
> throwing the baby with the bath water.

What you are proposing would be more like biology reusing the word “soul”.

Or when physicists talk about "knowing the mind of God" and whatnot.
It just causes confusion amongst the layman, for no good purpose.

“Free will” has too much baggage to be re-used.

So why keep it?  Why not start fresh with a nice new term that you can
use to mean exactly what you want, with no misunderstandings?

Think of a new term that you can make your own.  What could
compatibilists possibly have against that?

BUT...maybe compatibilists don’t want to make things clear?  Maybe
they welcome the confusion that reusing the older term causes amongst
the layman?

> Th fact that you say that compatibilist free will is "faux will" or worst
> "subjective will" means that you *do* believe in incompatibilist free will.


> You act like atheist who defends a very particular definition so as to
> better mock the concept.

Libertarian free will deserves to be mocked.  If you don’t want
compatibilist free will to be painted with the same brush, then use a
term besides “free will”.  It’s that easy.

>>> Critics of free-will are based on error confusion level.
>> Critics of "free will in the absolute incompatibilist sense" are correct.
> So we agree on the sense.


>> Critics of "compatibilist free will" object to the misuse of terms by
>> compatibilists, not to the concepts described by those terms.
>> There is no confusion.  The problem is quite clear...combatibilists
>> are engaged in word-jugglery.
> Not at all. They realized that 68% of the reasoning done by the
> incompatibilist are valid, so it is worth to save the notion and recast it
> in a consistent theory.
> That is what we do all the time in science. We change the definition a
> little bit, to save the interesting theories and abandon the inconsistent
> ideas.

What possible experiment could decide the question of whether “free
will” is compatible with determinism?  What predictions does
compatibilism make?  What phenomena does it explain?

Compatibilism isn’t science, it’s propaganda.

>> This is an inconvenient truth,
> 1) Why?
> 2) Science is not wishful thinking.

See above.

Science isn't wishful thinking, but that doesn't make scientists immune to it.

>> and no amount of
>> word-jugglery gets around it.  Best to just deal with it squarely,
>> rather than try to hide it under the rug as with compatibilism.
> Compatibilism show that we are "really" free (even if partially only). It is
> not an illusion. It is subjective, but consciousness is also subjective. The
> error of the aristotelians is that they use "subjective" as meaning illusory
> or false (as you did above), That is close to person elimination.

I agree that the experience of making a choice is not an illusion.
The experience is real.

It’s just that the beliefs you hold within your experience are untrue
beliefs.  Your beliefs about the meaning and implications of your
experiences are wrong.  And that wrongness is what is referred to as

> The comp compatibilist theory of free will makes it as real as
> consciousness, and pain, and pleasure and all that. Matter is also made into
> something subjective, first person (plural), but this does not make
> asteroids and earthquake less real, in our histories.
> And free will, like consciousness, is not "just" a qualia, it is a qualia
> which change the relations between the quanta in the neighborhood, for the
> best (walking on the moon), or the worst (exploding atomic bombs).

We are no more free than the most shackled, restricted, confined,
manipulated, brainwashed prisoner.  It's just that our bondage is much
more pleasant.

We are all slaves to Fortune, but Fortune has her favorites, as well
as those she despises...

The only difference between you and the prisoner is that you feel
free, whereas he doesn't.  But he is right, and you are wrong.  You
are not free.

>>> If we were, we could replace jail by hospital,
>>> and people would feel having the right to justify any act by
>>> uncontrollable
>>> pulsions.
>> All acts are justifiable in that sense.  But, just as we don't allow
>> malfunctioning machines to run amuck, neither should we allow
>> malfunctioning people to do so.
> But you are begging the question, or saying that given that free-will does
> not exist, then we should send everybody acting badly to the hospital,
> because it is pure "malfunctioning". Believer in free will (compatibilist or
> not) believe that you can badly treat people and be 100% not malfunctioning.

Perhaps it’s better to say that someone who treats other people
criminally is indicative of a malfunction within the system of

The crime is a symptom of that malfunction, a sign that something has
gone wrong somewhere else and the evidence has finally bubbled to the

The damage is done, and there’s no undoing it.  The question should be
how best to repair the system and its parts, and to make improvements
so as to minimize recurrences.

And this is where “free will” and “moral responsibility” do their
damage, in that they distract people from these practical concerns.
They whet the appetite for punishment and retribution instead of
repair and improvement.

They focus too much attention on the individual, and not enough on the
system that produced the individual.

As I said, rewarding bad behavior will get you more bad behavior, but
the question is why did the bad behavior manifest in the first place?
To declare yourself yourself uninterested in that question, to be so
eager to just chalk it up to “free will” - that is...peculiar.


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