On 7/30/2012 4:05 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
On Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 11:08:29AM -0700, meekerdb wrote:
On 7/30/2012 4:01 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
Free-will is an informal term use in many informal setting.
religious people defined it often by the ability to choose
consciously between doing bad things or not, and people from the
law can invoke it as a general precondition for making sense of
the responsibility idea. In cognitive science we can at least
approximate it in different ways, and basically, with
computationalism it is the ability to make choice in absence of
complete information, and knowledge of that incomplete feature.
I'm not clear on why you emphasize incomplete information?  What
would constitute complete information? and why how would that
obviate 'free will'.  Is it coercive?

With complete information, a totally rational being makes optimal
choices, and has no free will, but always beats an irrational being.

You didn't explain what constitutes complete information. One can always make good choices *relative* to one's information. And one's information is never complete. All I can think of is something like postulating a deterministic universe and then complete information is all the information within your past light cone. Would this also include knowledge of your own brain state? - which of course might allow the prediction that you would make a certain decision.

Also it's unclear what 'optimal' means for a choice. Suppose you make the best choice of what to order for diner - does that mean you must have consider the effect on grain prices next year and on your health in twenty years? Isn't 'best' just relative to whatever goal you choose, and there need not be anything rational in the choice of goal.

Conversely, with incomplete information, a rational being will make a
wrong choice, or simply fail to make a choice at all, and so is
usually beaten by an irrational being.

I don't see that this follows at all.

This is where the idea that free will is the capability to act
irrationally (or as I put it "do something stupid") comes from. There
are definite evolutionary advantages to acting irrationally some of
the time (though not all the time :).

There are certainly advantages to sometimes acting randomly - but that's 

Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.
    --- David Hume

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