On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 11:51:54AM -0400, John Clark wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 12, 2012 at 1:12 AM, Russell Standish 
> <li...@hpcoders.com.au>wrote> > are you really claiming that roulette wheels 
> are conscious?
> >
> I can't prove it or the opposite proposition but personally I feel that
> it's unlikely such things are conscious; but more to the point are you
> really claiming that roulette wheels have this thing you call "free will"?

No - quite the opposite. I see we now agree that my definition does
not include roulette wheels as having free will (unless in the
unlikely circumstance they happen to be be consious).

> > Free will requires randomness, but it is more than just randomness.
> Yes I know, all advocates of the "free will" noise" say that, but the
> trouble is whenever they try to explain what that missing extra ingredient
> is they tie themselves up into logical knots in about .9 seconds. I don't
> understand why people can't just make the obvious conclusion that this
> thing called "free will" is of no use whatsoever in science or philosophy
> or law and is of no help in understanding how we or any other part of the
> Universe operates.

Free will can only ever be applied to agents. Things that definitely aren't
agents, such as roulette wheels cannot have it.

You will probably ask for a definition of agency. Like life (and
pornography), there are some definitions about what is and
what is not an agent, but a hard and fast classification seems
unlikely. But that doesn't stop one studying agent-based model, for
example. I just can't tell you definitively the difference between
agent based modelling and object oriented programming, as one seems to
blend into the other.

> >
> > > Only when considered at the syntactic level. At the semantic level,
> > there are many alternatives.
> Many?? List them!

Growth in complexity
Information processing
Wetness of water
Colour of red
... and so on...

> > One of these is choice.
> >
> OK then explain the MEANING of choice, explain how if you chose it you
> didn't do it because you liked it and you didn't do it for any other reason
> either, AND in contradiction of all the laws of logic although you did it
> for no reason you didn't do it for no reason. I'd really like to know how
> that works!

Why do I have to explain that I did something for no other reason?
There will always be multiple modes of explanation.

Agents will chose different courses of action depending on
circumstances. How they do that (the efficient cause) will vary by
agent and environmental stimuli. To chose optimally will require a mix
of reasoning and random choice.

What's the logical problem with this?

> As I said it doesn't take fans of the "free will" noise long to tie
> themselves up into logical knots.

Maybe for some.


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