On 19 Jun 2012, at 19:02, R AM wrote:

On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 6:35 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

On 13 Jun 2012, at 10:44, R AM wrote:
I know that you and Bruno are compatibilists. I'm not attacking your notion of free will. I agree that free will is a social construct. I'm going even further: free will doesn't even deserve a name. Deep down, free will is not something people have, but just a social definition of under what conditions or situations we will be considered responsible (and punishable).

You can do that. But would *that* not be a reductionist view of reality?

No, because I'm just exposing a false belief.

You are saying that free-will does not exist because it is a higher level description of complex aggregations of simple processes.

Not really, all I'm saying is that belief in free will is like belief in flat earth: false. And this is not based on physical reality being deterministic or random but on subjective experience:

- Introspection shows that most of our thoughts and decisions are unconscious (try not to think on anything for 30 minutes and see what happens)

- The idea of "I could have done otherwise" is silly. If you try to imagine yourself in exactly the same conscious situation, you will have to conclude that you would not have done otherwise (at least, not consciously). Otherwise, you would already have done it.

Dan Dennett says most of these things much better than I could, here:


I don't understand. You are using a false premise. We just cannot imagine ourself in "exactly" the same conscious situation, nor is free will based on the idea that I could have done otherwise. That would be nc-free-will, which is nonsense. But c-free-will remains sensical and a useful high level notion. If not you are on the slope of eliminativism, of free will, person if not consciousness. Dennett is on that slope, because he ignores that the physical reality is also a high level construct, and if we follow the eliminativism of high level notions, we can eliminate everything but the numbers. It would be like saying that energy does not exist. Such eliminativism seems to me a deny of facts to save at all price the aristotelian theology, which is refuted in the computationalist theories no matter what. c-free-will is not a social convention. It is real. It is based on a real intrinsic ignorance when the machine look at herself, and which can make it hesitating with respect to conscious decisions. It is a real epistemological construct, having a role in our life and in the evolution of life, even if entirely deterministic.



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