On 6/3/2012 1:48 PM, RMahoney wrote:
I used to think that too, but why should a 'sense of free' will be the
>  result of any process in any universe? What would it accomplish? What
>  process would produce it?
Anything that is in the present universe is here because it is either
stable enough to last a long time or capable enough to survive a long
time, basically the process of evolution. A sense of free will or
consciousness developed as minds became intelligent enough to make
decisions that would increase their chances of survival.

I think that is looking at the problem the wrong way around. The feeling of free will is just the realization that, even after the fact, I don't know all the things that determined my action so I have the feeling that I could have done differently. The ability to reflect on why you chose to do something and give reasons is useful for learning and for teaching and persuading others. But that doesn't imply that a detailed knowledge, say at the level of neurons, would be useful and certainly not worth the cost in terms of memory. So consciousness only includes a small part of the information processing our brain does.


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