On 13 Jun 2012, at 15:14, R AM wrote:

On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 9:13 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

Yes, but for the sake of the argument, I wanted you to consider the case where you are pretty certain about eating spaghetti. Defenders of free will would say that free will is active whenever you make a decision, hesitating or not hesitating.

What do you mean by "free will"?

The metaphysical kind of free will. The idea that a person can decide anything whatsoever, uncaused.

But as far as I think comp is plausible, I think the notion of cause is an higher level notion.

If I was a strict computationalist, I would just ask you to provide an arithmetical definition of cause, or perhaps to ask you to tell me which one you are using among (with [] representing Gödel's provability predicate), and <> = ~[]~ (~ = not).

[](p -> q)
[]<>([]<>p -> []<>q)

This provides notion of causality for different angle of viewing arithmetic from inside. In a sense, there is a notion of causality for each notion of "person view".

We can punish them with the hope that they can learn "to do otherwise".

Yes. In fact, if there is no such hope at all, it doesn't make any sense punishing people. Some would say that there is still revenge. But revenge is just ano emotion for changing other people ways.

Revenge is bad but justice is good. Emotion can be wonderful too like in deep drama and music, contemplation is the best :)

We have to agree on a definition of free will first. I defend the compatibilist notion, and free will is just what makes responsibility sensical. I can identify it with will, responsibility, etc. I agree that a lot of definition of free will makes it non sensical.

I'm not really attacking your views but folk-psychology ideas of free will.

Yeah I think we agree on this.

Someone like that must go to an hospital, be cured, and then can be judged responsible or not. It can depend on many factors. There are no general rules, nor any scientific criteria for judging with any certainty the responsibility.

Agreed. However, If we punish people because they have free will (i.e. they could have done otherwise), then this person should also be punished. Again and again. It's not his free will that is failing, it's his memory. However, it makes no sense to punish such a person, because having no memory, the punishment will not change his future behavior.


Then, that's all I wanted to say. We punish people to change their ways, not because they posess free will (in whatever form).

we have to conclude that we are random and inconsistent. Hardly the conclusion free will defenders would like to have.

Sure. Free will is self-determination in presence of incomplete information, notably.

That's fine. However, I don't think the idea of free will needs to be rescued, not even in its compatibilist form. People make decisions, that's all.

Yes, but with artificial intelligence you will have to judge if the responsibility of hundred of death in a hospital is due to a human decision or to a machine decision. That is not for tomorrow, but might be for after tomorrow.

Some of those decisions are not socially acceptable and have to be changed for the future. Punishing people is a way of achieving that (maybe not the only one, maybe not even the best one).

Anyone accomplices of repeating the lies on cannabis should be condemned to smoke a joint (without tobacco) every day for some period (depending on the responsibility).

The punishment must be adapted, and should be profitable for the most parties concerned, and although nobody can judge-for-sure, anyone deserve an amount of respect.

There is no category of people for which the human right should not apply, by definition of human rights. Serial killers, genociders, terrorists, murderers, stealers, all deserve a fair trial and the possible jail or asylum question.


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