On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 03:56:35PM +0200, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> On 13 Aug 2012, at 00:32, Russell Standish wrote:
> OK. But the question is: would an agent lost free-will in case no
> random oracle is available?

I would have thought so.

> >
> >>
> >>>
> >>>I don't see why this would entail comp is false though. Perhaps you
> >>>could elaborate?
> >>
> >>Because comp implies that there is no randomness at the ontological
> >>level.
> >
> >Assuming that by "ontological level", you mean what I call the
> >"syntactic level" in my book.
> Ontology and syntax are different notion. With comp they are close,
> but not equivalent. Syntax concerns mainly finite symbols and finite
> sequences of symbols, finite sequences of sequences of symbols.
> Ontology concerns what we assume to exist independently of us. I am
> not sure symbols can be said to exist, as symbol, independently of
> us. but that might be a vocabulary detail.

I do understand the difference between ontology (taken as "that which
exists") versus syntactic (the lowest implementation language).

"That which exists" is fundamentally unknowable, and probably not
sensible disucssed, hence I prefer to stick with more neutral labels
like "syntactic level".

As for being independent of us, both syntactic and semantic levels are
independent of us in the sense that two correspondents must agree on
both in order to have a sensible conversation. 

> >
> >>I guess you are alluding to the self-indeterminacy (à-la
> >>Turing, not to be confused with the first person indeterminacy)
> >>which can make a decision looking random for the one who does it,
> >
> >I would have thought that first person indeterminancy would fit the
> >bill perfectly.
> It can be used as a local random oracle, although in practice it is
> simpler to use a quantum algorithm. I doubt people would agree to
> duplicate themselves to make the right statistical choice. Actually,
> they will use coin or pseudo-random algorithm.

I'm not sure that a pseudo-random algorithm would always be good
enough, as unless it is cryptographically strong, evolution will make
short work of breaking it. If a real random oracle is available, it
would be some much easier to use that.

If you have a coin, then flipping a coin is a good approach. Most
brains so not have coins, so I would expect a different mechanism to
be used - eg synaptic thermal noise.

> Note that NO machine can ever distinguish a truly random sequence
> with some sequence which can be generated by machine more complex
> than themselves.

That is true. But complex machines are expensive to run. Real random
oracles, if available, are so much more convenient for evolution to
use that to try to evolve sufficient complexity to achieve
cryptographic strength in a pseudo random number generator.

> With comp, the following are absolutely undecidable:
> - the cardinality of the universe is aleph_zero, or aleph_one, of
> 2^aleph_zero, etc.
> - there is a random oracle at play in our experience (although we
> know already that there is a random oracle at play in the
> *existence* and *stability* of our experiences).
> >
> >
> >>but which is not the non-compatibilist kind of randomness that some
> >>defender of free-will want to introduce.
> >>
> >
> >I have never met anyone wanting to do this. They sound like some sort
> >of long-discredited Cartesian dualist. Are you sure they're not
> >strawmen
> >you have conjured up?
> John Clark seems to believe that they still exist, as he argues all
> the times against them, and then it seems to me that Craig Weinberg
> has defended such notion, I think.
> I don't think I have conjured up :)

John Clark argues against anyone who utters the words "free will". I
don't think he particularly targets the "spirit free will theorists"
(as Brent calls them).

As for Craig, apologies for being rude, but I stopped reading his
posts a long time ago.

> >And as David Deutcsh is want to point out, for the price of
> >a Multiverse, one can have one's deterministic cake and freely eat it
> >too (sorry for mangling the metaphors :). But this works because the
> >free will exists at a different level from that where determinism
> >rules.
> I am OK with this, but this means that free-will does not need 3-
> randomness.

No, but it does need 1-randomness


Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to