On 6/12/2012 1:06 PM, R AM wrote:
On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 9:39 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
I means that, in retrospect, I can't trace back to external (to me) causes,
deterministic sequence that inevitably led me to do that.
Isn't that randomness?
No, it's unpredictablity - something we may fruitfully model by a mathematical theory of
randomness even though the dynamics are perfectly deterministic, when we don't know enough
to use the dynamics to predict results. Except in quantum mechanics, where events may be
inherently random, 'randomness' is just modeling uncertainty due to ignorance and so it is
relative to what is known.
Conceivably we could make an intelligent machine that could keep a record
its internal states so that when did something it could then cite the
internal states and say, "See I had to do it. It was just physics."
And the machine would be right ...
Or in other words, if the same situation is repeated "I would do
it's difficult to explain (I might be wrong too).
OK, let's suppose that exactly the same conscious state is repeated N
each time we do a different action, even opposite ones (such as killing or
killing someone), then our decision making is basically random. I don't
is what is meant by free will.
I think that's wrong. You are equating unpredictable with random. Suppose
conscious state is repeated and one second later you either shoot someone
punch him. In that second different unconscious processes may determine
do; so that which you do is unpredictable.
Agreed, but then the reason is unconscious. To me, that's not free will.
That's a problem with 'free will'. Some people, like Sam Harris, insist that it means the
same thing it did in the middle ages, a supernatural ability to do the nomologically
impossible by conscious thought. Some people, like Daniel Dennett, look at how the
concept functions in society and redefine it so it doesn't require the supernatural but
has the same extension in social and legal discourse.
But it is only 'random' within a range which is determined by who you are -
this case you are very angry with the someone -
OK, but I think a defender of free will would say that you could have also kissed that
person instead of attacking him.
But would he be wrong? We, as external observers, might say that if his brain had been in
exactly that state a second earlier it's extremely unlikely that he could have done
differently (he might have been hit by a gamma ray, but...). Or suppose we, as external
observer, knew exactly that part of state of his brain that determined his *conscious*
purpose, but not the other part, the unconscious. Then we would assign a probability
measure over the unconscious part and some part of it would result him doing the same and
some in doing differently and we could assign probabilities to the various outcomes.
We're modeling our ignorance of the unconscious part by a random model. And so we'd
conclude he could (in light of our imperfect knowledge) have done xi with probability pi
for i=0,1,... And that's exactly the same position he is in. He has access to the
conscious part of his brain, but not the unconscious.
so it is still an exercise of your will. And it's not constrained or
it's 'free will'.
But you are removing all possible decisions except different ways of attaking the
victim, so it is not free will, at least not that feeling that I could have done
anything no matter what.
But you know that's not the case. You have a certain character, a certain consistency of
behavior so that your friends can trust you NOT to do anything at random. And having this
consistency is essentially part of defining you and defining who it is who has
compatibilist free will. The fact that almost all this character is subconscious is
irrelevant to the social meaning of 'free will'.
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