On 19 Apr 2011, at 07:24, Rex Allen wrote:

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
sense, but there are compatibilist theories, which explains well the correctness of a relative (to the subject) incompatibilist feature of

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).”

What does that mean?

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

In Europa, free-will is a notion in popular psychology and cognitive science, it is not related to religion.

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.

People are known to have difficulties with notion like determinism. I am trying to talk about concepts, not definition.

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

I think I’m right on this.

But some use God to say free-will does not exist, and others the contrary.

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”.

In science we always redefine the terms. Atoms meant non divisible, we accept the idea that atoms and particles can be divided, or compose of something else (like string).

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

We have abandon the science "theology" to the politician, so everyone think he can do theology. It is a tradition of scientist to lose the sense of rigor in the fields of colleagues, and this is even more true for theology.

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

Actually I never use it. I say just "personal will", which is more free in some context than other. But I defend a lot of use of free- will in many book, including theologians.

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?

If we abandon a word because it is badly used, the concept will remains in the hands of those using it badly.

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?

The layman might not have the interest in the complex technical question of compatibilism/incompatibilism.

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.


I see that you get this in the other post, so I will comment there.

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

Libertarian free will deserves to be mocked.

Nobody deserves to be mocked, but if you think they are wrong, you might try to convince them.

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.

I am against creating new word. It is a myth that words have univocal meaning. Keeping the words unchanged help to reread the text of the past, and see where they are still valid, and what has changes when they are no more.

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

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.

Or a consequence is some theory, like the mechanist thesis.
People said: a machine cannot be conscious, a machine cannot this, a machine cannot that. The point is to refute such statement. I can explain why machine will believe in their own free-will a long time before thinking about compatibilism and incompatibilism. And with the definition of free-will I suggested, they are right. But it is not a big deal, except that it is of the same nature that what we need to recognize them as person.

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.

OK. Nice.

It’s just that the beliefs you hold within your experience are untrue

Why? If I believe that my free-will is of the incompatibilist kind, then I am OK with you. But if I believe that my free-will is of the compatibilist kind, why shouls I be not correct?

The fact that some people can predict what I will do, has nothing to do with the fact that I will do it because I want to do it.
Free-will is what makes us attracted to "more freedom".

 Your beliefs about the meaning and implications of your
experiences are wrong.  And that wrongness is what is referred to as

In which theory?

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

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

This leads to the idea "it is the fault of the other", and people feel less compel to search for their own mistakes.

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

That is partially true, and partially false. Humans are richer than such a form of determinacy.

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.

We are not machines, in that sense! Nor the machines, actually.

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.

I am all for repair, improvement, harm reduction. But we can be guilty, sometimes, and plead guilty, and only then get the pardon and the possibility of repair.

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

What is the system? We inherit our whole neighborhood. The system is good: it brings you. If you can improve it a bit, I applaud. Many bad things comes from those who think they can improve it, though. But improvement is possible.

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?

Jealousy, sadism, pulsion, opportunity, fears, bad mood, injustice, revenge, bad circumstances, genetical history, human and inhuman history,

To declare yourself yourself uninterested in that question, to be so
eager to just chalk it up to “free will” - that is...peculiar.

I am interested but it is a so general and complex topic. I am not the one having start of free-will. I just feel the need to defend a lot on the notion of free-will and responsibility, about machines notably, and children and humans, etc.



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