On 5/31/2012 12:39 PM, John Clark wrote:
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 2:20 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:


    > If they are "rational agents" then it's rational and if it's rational 
then there
    is a reason behind it and if there is a reason behind it then it's 
deterministic.
    > That's not logically the case.  People who believe in 'free will' think 
the reason
    is in front of it,


In front of it? I don't know what that means and I would bet money you don't either. It sounds good though as long as you don't examine it.

Look up 'teleology'. Almost any reason a person will give for their actions will be a reference to some future state. In a deterministic world all physics is time reversible so there's no fundamental distinction between being determined by a future state and being determined by a past state. But if successive states are not physically determined by prior states the two are not the same.


    > the reason for posting this is to communicate.


You wish to communicate your ideas, and there is a reason for this desire (maybe genes maybe environment probably both),

There is a reason; I gave one. But the question is whether this reason in terms of future purpose had a *physical* cause. Believers in 'contra causal free will' suppose that it did not, that my 'soul' or 'spirit' initiated the physical process without any determinative physical antecedent.

or maybe there is no reason for this desire and is thus random.

    > A random event could satisfy the 'efficient physical cause' but they rule 
out
    random events as inconsistent with obviously purposeful decisions and 
actions.


So fans of the "free will" noise think purposeful events, things that happen for a reason, are not random, that is to say they did not happen for no reason. Or to say the same thing with different words fans of the "free will" noise think random events are random and purposeful events are purposeful.

No, they think some events are physically uncaused but not-random (because they are purposeful). This is difficult to disprove empirically because the brain is very complex and has lots of random events in it (radioactive decay of potassium K40, gamma ray strikes,...). So it is hard to eliminate the possibility that a 'spirit' might influence the distribution of these random events, in a way that our relatively crude monitoring could not detect, so that chaotic amplification would produce an action in accordance with the 'spirit' purpose.

I don't believe this theory because I think the apparent markers of 'free will', unpredictability and purposefulness, are easily explained without invoking 'spirits'. But it's still an empirical question.

Brent


Well, it may not be deep but at least it's true.

  John K Clark


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