On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

> >> No that is the exact opposite of the truth, we cannot follow our own
> self determination. If you tell me that a system is deterministic you have
> added exactly zero information by telling me that the system also has "free
> will", thus "free will" means nothing and is just a noise.
> >If you tell me that a system is deterministic you have added exactly zero
> information by telling me that the system also has "consciousness", thus
> "consciousness" means nothing and is just a noise.

Loss of consciousness such as in sleep or anesthesia has observable
consequences for me, I formed no new memories and the external universe
seems to have instantaneously jumped ahead, but loss of "free will" has no
observable consequences to me or to anybody else because nobody has a clue
what the dumb thing is supposed to mean.

> if you tell me that a black hole is deterministic you have added exactly
> zero information by telling me that the black hole also has also a mass,
> thus "mass" means nothing and is just a noise.

What the hell are you talking about?? Change the mass of a Black Hole and
you change the event horizon and that can be measured. Black holes are the
simplest macroscopic objects in the known universe but you've got to know
the mass, if you know the mass, spin and electrical charge that the Black
Hole has then you know everything that can distinguish one Black Hole from
another.  You can know all there is to know about a Black Hole with just 3
numbers (2 really because for a actual Black Hole the electrical charge is
always zero, or at least very small) but one of those numbers is the mass.

> Having self-determination does not entail that we can self-determine
> ourself completely. I did not say "total self-determination".

So all "free will" means is that sometimes we can make correct predictions
about what we will do before we do it, and sometimes we cannot, and in
general beforehand there is no way to tell which ones we can make good
predictions for and which ones we can't. And even when we make a correct
prediction about what we will do (I will never do X for example) sometimes
we'll have to wait literally forever to know it was the correct

A pretty useless definition don't you think?

>> You're walking down a road and spot a fork in the road far ahead. You
>> know of advantages and disadvantages to both paths so you aren't sure if
>> you will go right or left, you haven't finished the calculation yet, you
>> haven't decided yet. Once you get to the fork you find yourself on the left
>> path and retroactively conclude that you must have "decided" to go left.
> > Yes. That's what I mean by free will. Roughly speaking.

And a powerful demon could be able to look into your head and quickly
deduce that you would eventually choose to go to the left. Meanwhile you,
whose mind works much more slowly than the demon's, hasn't completed the
thought process yet. You might be saying to yourself "I haven't decided
yet, I'll have to think about it, I'm free to go either way" but the demon
already knows for a fact that despite your present uncertainty by the time
you reach the fork you will decide to go to the left.

  John K Clark

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