On 5/10/2012 1:08 PM, John Clark wrote:
Stathis Papaioannou wrote

    >  My definition: free will is when you're not sure you're going to do
    something until you've done it.


So by your definition is a there ever a time when you're not exercising free 
will?


On Tue, May 8, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> 
wrote:

    > So if carefully weigh my options and decide on one it's not free will?


You don't know what the outcome all those options will have on you until you have finished weighing the options and you will know you have completely finished when you act.

    >I'd say free will is making any choice that is not coerced by another 
agent.


So you say the noise "free will" means sometimes being able to do what we want 
to do,

That isn't what I said. I said that sometimes we decide what we're going to do before we do it and so, by your definition, we're exercising free will. Now you may say we're not *sure* we're going to do it until we've done it. But that's rather like just giving a definition and then just assuming it's never satisfied. Sometimes we do what we planned to do so what does it mean to say we weren't sure even though we thought we were?

but then we don't have free will most of the time because most of the time we can not do exactly what we want to do, we can't even think what we want to think all the time; nobody wants to think sad depressing thoughts but we often think them nevertheless.



And I don't see why coercion is limited to another agent,

It's just a definition. Being obstructed by physics isn't coercion, being threatened by a guy with a gun is because presumably he has some reasons different from yours.

if I want to go from point X to Point Y in the shortest path a brick wall will prevent me from doing so just as effectively as a large man with a large club. And of course if there was a reason for making the choice you did then it was deterministic and if there was no reason for making the choice then it was random.

Coerced/free is a social or legal dichotomy. It admits of degrees. It's orthogonal to deterministic/random.

Brent


  John K Clark





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