On 3/18/2013 1:02 PM, John Mikes wrote:

don't put so much brain-grease into Free Will, please!

I'm not. That's why I was careful to distinguish freedom and the feeling of freedom from will and the feeling of resolve. We can have them together, but that doesn't make them into one thing.

It is the religious mambo-jumbo put into the mind of the poor-believers in ancient times to make them responsible for deeds the powerful disliked - and consequently: make them punishable.

I don't think that's right. The idea of responsibility was taken for granted. It was only after the development of Newtonian mechanics that the idea that human actions might be deterministic was conceived. Then "free will" became the reactionary idea to preserve the traditional ideas of resposibility.


Then it became a 'human treasure':
*"We are FREE to Will!" *(like a god) and now even smart, reasonable people like us spend centuries to discuss it. A decision is right when it goes smoothly with the given and continuing circumstances it has to fit into (Think of the mis - construed 'evolution': if it does not 'fit' the mutant perishes). We may (or may not) know about the given circumstances and for sure may have only desultory and unsafe notions about the 'coming' ones. Our evaluation (call it computing?) results in a decision (conscious or not) for our activity - OR just way of thinking. Reasonably we try to abide by those circumstances we know of and formulate (consciously, or not) our decision according to our best belief (maybe this is contrary to our interest?). Hence emerges FREE WILL. I am not faithful enough to believe in MY free will and go to hell by force of this misconception. I may make mistakes. I am not deterministically forced to comply with all facets of the infinite complexity - known, or unknown. I can revolt. Meaning: I can knowingly choose the wrong decision.
Is that free will? Maybe. That's a matter of definition.

John Mikes

On Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be <mailto:marc...@ulb.ac.be>> wrote:

    On 15 Mar 2013, at 18:22, meekerdb wrote:

    On 3/15/2013 7:16 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
    You're walking down a road and spot a fork in the road far ahead. You know 
    advantages and disadvantages to both paths so you arn't sure if you will go 
    or left, you haven't finished the calculation yet, you haven't decided yet. 
    you get to the fork you find yourself on the left path and retroactively 
    that you must have "decided" to go left.

    Yes. That's what I mean by free will. Roughly speaking. Except that I 
    consciously before acting. If not, it is like randomness, or unconscious 
    and that is not free will. Free-will is when I want to go the left, and 
    accordingly to go to the left, and nobody coerce me to not go to the left. 
It is
    not much different than will + freedom.

    That seems to me just and explanation of a certain *feeling* of a feeling of
    freedom and of will.  If you find yourself on the left path without having
    consciously thought "I'll take the left." then you miss the feeling of 
will.  But
    it may just be that your conscious thoughts are lagging a little.

    I agree but that makes free-will independent of the feeling. With my 
definition of
    free will, it is real,even if not felt, as the machine have the real 
possibility to
    hesitate between subgoals and make choice hesitantly, knowing partially the

    When you're playing a game, say tennis, and you hit the ball to the left 
you may
    have done so without conscious consideration yet it was just the right shot 
and so
    was what you "willed" to win which you realize on reflection.

    OK. Although I think that free-will is more typical for decision taking 
more time,
    and more self-controversial, like the decision to drink some beer before 
driving a
    plane with passengers ...

    You have a feeling of freedom so long as you are not coerced or limited by
    something you can consciously consider; that's essentially all the feeling 
    freedom is, not being able to think of anything that is restricting or 
coercing you
    from taking an action.  Since you can't be directly aware of deterministic 
    random processes in your brain, whether they are random or deterministic 
has no
    bearing on the freedom+will feeling.

    I agree. But I think that free-will is more than a feeling. It is a real 
    of reflected choice. Indeed it has nothing to so with determinacy or 



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