On 11 May 2012, at 17:50, John Clark wrote:

On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> 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 accordingly.

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 do.

> so what does it mean to say we weren't sure even though we thought we were?

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 agents.

> 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.



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