On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 12:15:59PM +0200, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> On 15 Aug 2012, at 10:12, Russell Standish wrote:
> >On Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 01:01:10PM +0200, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> >>
> >>On 14 Aug 2012, at 12:30, Russell Standish wrote:
> >>
> >>>
> >>>Assuming the coin is operating inside the agent's body? Why
> >>>would that
> >>>be considered non-free?
> >>
> >>In what sense would the choice be mine if it is random?
> >
> >It is mine if the random generator is part of me. It is not mine if
> >the generator is outside of me (eg flipping the coin).
> I don't see this. Why would the generator being part of you make it
> your choice? You might define "me" and "part of me" before. It is

The self-other distinction is a vital part of conscsiousness. I don't
think precise definitions of this are needed for this discussion.

> not clear if you are using the usual computer science notion of me,
> or not, but I would say that if the root of the choice is a random
> oracle, then the random oracle makes the choice for me. It does not
> matter if the coin is in or outside my brain, which is a local non
> absolute notion.

My brain make a choice, therefore it is my choice. My boss orders me
to do something, its not really my choice (unless I decide to disobey

Why would this be any different with random number generators? A coin
flips, and I do something based on the outcome. It is not my choice
(except insofar as I chose to follow an external random event). My
brain makes a random choice based on the chaotic amplification of
synaptic noise. This is still my brain and my choice.

> >
> >>It is like
> >>letting someone else take the decision for you. I really don't see
> >>how randomness is related to with free will (the compatibilist one).
> >
> >Compatibilism, ISTM, is the solution to a non-problem: How to
> >reconcile
> >free will with a deterministic universe.
> The very idea that we have to reconcile free-will with determinism
> seems to be a red herring to me.

Agreed. But that is what all the fuss seems to be about. I try not to
engage with it, as it is so century-before-the-last.

> >It is a non-problem, because
> >the universe is not deterministic. (The multiverse is deterministic,
> >of course, but that's another story).
> But then you have to reconcile free-will with indeterminacy, and
> that makes not much sense.
> I don't think free-will (as I defined it of course) has anything to
> do with determinacy or indeterminacy. The fact that someone else can
> predict my behavior does not make it less "free".

Um, yes it does.

> You did not reply my question: take the iterated
> WM-self-duplication. All the resulting people lives the experience
> of an random oracle. Why would they be more free than someone
> outside the duplication boxes? How could they use that random oracle
> for being more free than someone not using them, as they cannot
> select the outcome?

In the setup of your teleporters, the source of randomness comes from
outside of the person, so no, that doesn't have anything to with free
will. But if you move the source of randomness to inside somehow, then
sure it might do.

> It looks like you do defend the "old" notion of free will, which
> basically assume non-comp. Using first person indeterminacy can't
> help, imo, but if you have an idea you can elaborate.

I'm not sure what this "old" notion of free will is, but if it
involves immaterial spirits, substance dualism and the like, then
definitely not.

I don't see how my form of free will is non-comp. By contrast, your
UD argument seems to argue for its necessary appearance.

Someone asked why this concept is important. It isn't for me, per se,
but I would imagine that someone implementing an agent that must
survive in a messy real world environment (eg an autonomous robot)
will need to consider this issue, and build something like it into
their robot.


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

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