Dear Russell,

In our definition of the concept of "free will", it seems that we need to elaborate a bit on the notions of coercion, autonomy and choice.
From what I have studied, the concept of a player used in game theory
works well. Free will is the ability for an autonomous agent to make uncoercered choices from a set of simultaneously inspectable choices.

On 7/30/2012 7:05 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.

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.

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 :).



"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
~ Francis Bacon

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