On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 3:22 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

> >> 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
> prediction.
> A pretty useless definition don't you think?
> >It is useful to decide if some one must be send in a jail or in an
> hospital

That has nothing to do with the free will noise. If you determine beyond a
reasonable doubt that the murderer's mind can be repaired and his murderous
inclination eliminated then you send him to a hospital, if you determine he
cannot be repaired with existing technology then you warehouse him in a
jail unless you judge him to be so dangerous that would be too cruel to the
other residence of the warehouse, in which case you give him a nice little
dirt nap.

> >>>> 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.

> > No problem with that, unless the daemon interfere, but I am remain free
> to contradict him, if he decides to talk

In my example the demon did not tell you of his prediction, but now lets
pretend he did. Suppose also that you are of an argumentative nature and
was determined to do the exact opposite of what the demon predicted. Now
our poor demon would be in a familiar predicament. Because the demon's
decision now influences your actions the demon must forecast his own
behavior, but he will have no better luck in this regard than you did and
for the same reason. What we would need in a situation like this is a
mega-demon able to look into the demon's head. Now the mega-demon would
have the problem unless he did not tell you or the demon what his
prediction was and instead wrote it down and put it into a sealed envelope.

  John K Clark

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