On Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 9:23 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> They are not powerless to stop them since if someone yells, "Hey, stop!"
>> they may stop. This is the case even though the process is still
>> deterministic or probabilistic.
> In a deterministic universe, a person who is determined to steal a car will
> steal it regardless of whether someone yells at them. If someone yelling at
> the thief creates an opportunity for the them to exercise free will over
> their own actions, then it is not a deterministic universe. You can yell at
> a stone rolling down a hill as much as you want and there will be no change
> in where the stone rolls.

In a deterministic universe it is determined whether the thief will
stop if someone yells at him. However, neither the person yelling nor
the thief knows for sure whether he will stop or not. Furthermore, it
is not possible to know for sure if the thief will stop or not even
with a perfect model of his brain, due to the nature of classical
chaotic systems.

>> A court would not let you off if you got an expert witness in to say that
>> you were not responsible for your crime due to the way your brain works.
>> This is not because the judge does not believe the expert witness, it is
>> because brain physics is not relevant to the question of responsibility for
>> a crime.
> When a suspect pleads insanity, they are saying precisely that the brain
> physics is relevant to the question of responsibility for a crime. An expert
> witness who can establish that you have a tumor in an area of your brain
> which is associated with impulse control will have a very good chance of
> convincing a judge that brain physics is indeed relevant.

Mentally ill people don't have different brain *physics*. If the brain
is deterministic in a well person it is deterministic in a mentally
ill person as well. The difference is that the mentally ill person may
not be able to (deterministically) respond to certain situations in
the way a well person will (deterministically) respond to them. Judges
are usually quite intelligent people and I expect that most of them
are aware that everything in the world must be either determined or
random, but they still make their judgements despite this.

Stathis Papaioannou

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