On 11 May 2012, at 17:50, John Clark wrote:
On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net>
> So by your definition is a there ever a time when you're not
exercising free will?
No, and that of course means that the "free will" noise is a totally
useless concept, a idea so bad it's not even wrong.
That is what people said about consciousness some time ago. I think
"free will" is more a problem than something we can evacuate so
easily. But for me it is just a sort of generalization of
responsibility, like the responsibility to have a nice evening when
deciding between going to the theater and the movie, as an example.
We have a local partial control, and can choose in a spectrum of
possibilities, and can reason about the consequences, and decide
In the law, it is useful for making a distinction between a criminal
and a sick.
> sometimes we decide what we're going to do before we do it
Yes, and sometimes we change our minds when it comes time to
actually act, and as Turing proved in 1936 in general there is no
way for you (or anybody else) to know if you will change your mind
until you act and observe what you did. There is no shortcut, you
can only watch yourself and see what you do.
It is not that easy.
And why did you murder your wife? the judge asked. Oh! it was just an
experience in quantum mechanics, I was asking myself if there was a
solution of the wave equation where I kill my wife, and well, now I
know that me killing my wife is indeed a solution of the correct
quantum equation (that the physicists have not yet found, btw).
> and so, by your definition, we're exercising free will.
And that's why the "free will" idea is so useless; if everything
that exists and everything that does not exist has the "klogknee"
property then klogknee is as useless as the "free will" noise.
OK. But there are other example. You did acknowledge that between
computable and non computable there are intermediates, but there are
intermediate between computable and random, and between self-
determinism and self-indeterminism.
> 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.
Yes or always satisfied, either way it's pointless.
> Sometimes we do what we planned to do
And sometimes we don't and there is no way to discriminate between
the two beforehand, you can only observe and see what you eventually
> so what does it mean to say we weren't sure even though we thought
Being certain is easy, being certain and correct is not;
Being certain is never correct, except for the uncommunicable
(private) feeling that someone is conscious, perhaps.
With comp, being correct is difficult, but being both correct and
certain is impossible, except for the fixed point, perhaps.
people can be absolutely positively 100% certain about something and
still be dead wrong,
in fact it's very very common.
Yes. That's why science and religion is really doubt and hope.
Public certainty is the devil.
You'd have to be pretty damn sure you were going to get 77 virgins
in the afterlife to put on a TNT jockstrap and blow yourself up at
40,000 feet; but regardless of his certainty I don't think the
underwear bomber was correct.
> Being obstructed by physics isn't coercion, being threatened by a
guy with a gun is
Coercion is just a subset of obstruction, a mountain range or a big
man with a big gun can both prevent you from going where you want to
go and doing what you want to do.
Hmm... Coercion involves the free will, or responsibility, of other
> It's orthogonal to deterministic/random.
Orthogonal? There is only one way "it" could not be deterministic
and not random, there is only one way "it" was not caused for a
reason and not not caused for a reason, and that is if "it" is
gibberish. Gibberish is not correct or incorrect, it's just
gibberish, like free will.
From the (many) self-referential points of view of the (different)
persons, it can be partially determined and partially not determined.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at