On Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:15:54 PM UTC-5, stathisp wrote:
> On Thursday, 21 February 2013, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> We can't predict our own decisions, since there is always the 
>>> possibility that we can change our minds.
>> But we are in control of that possibility to some extent. If I bet you 
>> $100 that I will post something about tree frogs later today, then I can be 
>> sure that I will follow through on that, barring unforeseen events beyond 
>> my control.
> Surely you, a free will enthusiast, will admit that you *could* change 
> your mind about that post even though at the moment you are pretty sure you 
> want to win the bet. If you felt you could not change your mind then that 
> would be a weird situation. It can occur with so-called passivity phenomena 
> in schizophrenia, where patients describe feeling controlled by an external 
> force which they are powerless to resist.

It's not a matter of feeling that I could not change my mind, it is the 
fact that one can exercise their free will in a multi-dimensional way. We 
can prioritize. If it is important to me to honor some commitment or 
obligation, I can go on indefinitely with reasonable confidence that I 
won't change my mind. Free will also means the freedom to make up your 
mind. Of course, things can always change, but that doesn't mean that we 
can't ever make up our minds.

>> This is where the feeling of 
>>> "free will" comes from. Note that this has no bearing on the question 
>>> of whether our decisions are determined or not: the only requirement 
>>> for the feeling of freedom is that we not know what we're going to do 
>>> until we do it. 
>> I think that you are confusing freedom with farting. Not knowing what we 
>> are going to do is meaningless if we don't have the possibility to freely 
>> exercise control over what we do. Why would there be a feeling associated 
>> with some process which has no consequences that we could do anything about?
> We have the feeling of control over what we do because we can't predict 
> exactly what we are going to do. 

No. We have the feeling of control over what we do, period. There is no 
because. Participation is fundamental private physics. Irreducible. No 
energy, not substance, no function, form, or data is beneath it. 

> As I keep trying to explain, this has no bearing on whether our actions 
> are determined or not. There is no logical connection between the two 
> concepts.

If you are right, then you can't say that you 'keep trying' to do anything. 
Your feeling that you keep trying is an illusion. You just don't know what 
you are going to say, so you imagine that you keep trying. That's what you 
are telling me. With a straight face. Instead of constructing an argument 
from logical expectations, I suggest experimenting with an empirical 
inventory. Why deny that you are actually present?

> Suppose someone demonstrates to you that they can reliably predict every 
> decision you make. You deliberately try to thwart them by making erratic 
> decisions but they still get it right. This might be disturbing for you, 
> but do you think the strong feeling of free will that you have would 
> suddenly disappear?

There's no question that the feeling of personal free will is overstated, 
but that has nothing to do with the ontology of will. We may have to 
balance the needs and agendas of a trillion sub-persons, and a trillion 
super-persons, but that doesn't mean that our own personal will doesn't 
contribute to the overall preference. Why is the personal will so special 
that physics has to make it the only thing in the universe which isn't 
real? I can make your brain change just by writing these words, so why 
can't you change your own brain by thinking?


> --
> Stathis Papaioannou

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