That the world is unpredictable because the initial conditions are unknown and this is different from probabilistically unpredicability, aka randomness, because you don't even know a probability distribution. He speculates that chaotic amplification might allow this to account for what he calls "Knightian freedom" (after Frank Knight) as a component of what is usually called "free will" and which Aronson says can mean no more than "unpredictable in principle".

Brent

On 8/16/2013 8:53 AM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
What new perspectives would you say are revealed in the paper? Can you sum them 
up?

Craig

On Friday, August 16, 2013 1:50:04 AM UTC-4, Brent wrote:

    Here's a fascinating essay by Scott Aronson that is a really scientific, 
operational
    exposition on the question of 'free will'; one which takes my idea that if 
you solve
    the engineering problem you may solve the philosophical problem along the 
way and
    does much more with it than I could.

    He also discusses how the entanglement of the brain with the environment 
affects
    personal identity as in Bruno Marchal's duplication thought experiments.

    He also discusses Stenger's idea of the source of the arrow of time (secton 
5.4) and
    Boltzmann brains.

    Brent

    The Ghost in the Quantum Turing Machine
    Scott Aaronson
    (Submitted on 2 Jun 2013 (v1), last revised 7 Jun 2013 (this version, v2))

        In honor of Alan Turing's hundredth birthday, I unwisely set out some 
thoughts
    about one of Turing's obsessions throughout his life, the question of 
physics and
    free will. I focus relatively narrowly on a notion that I call "Knightian 
freedom":
    a certain kind of in-principle physical unpredictability that goes beyond
    probabilistic unpredictability. Other, more metaphysical aspects of free 
will I
    regard as possibly outside the scope of science. I examine a viewpoint, 
suggested
    independently by Carl Hoefer, Cristi Stoica, and even Turing himself, that 
tries to
    find scope for "freedom" in the universe's boundary conditions rather than 
in the
    dynamical laws. Taking this viewpoint seriously leads to many interesting 
conceptual
    problems. I investigate how far one can go toward solving those problems, 
and along
    the way, encounter (among other things) the No-Cloning Theorem, the 
measurement
    problem, decoherence, chaos, the arrow of time, the holographic principle, 
Newcomb's
    paradox, Boltzmann brains, algorithmic information theory, and the Common 
Prior
    Assumption. I also compare the viewpoint explored here to the more radical
    speculations of Roger Penrose. The result of all this is an unusual 
perspective on
    time, quantum mechanics, and causation, of which I myself remain skeptical, 
but
    which has several appealing features. Among other things, it suggests 
interesting
    empirical questions in neuroscience, physics, and cosmology; and takes a
    millennia-old philosophical debate into some underexplored territory.

    Comments:     85 pages (more a short book than a long essay!), 2 figures. 
To appear
    in "The Once and Future Turing: Computing the World," a collection edited 
by S.
    Barry Cooper and Andrew Hodges. And yes, I know Turing is 101 by now. v2: 
Corrected
    typos
    Subjects:     Quantum Physics (quant-ph); General Literature (cs.GL); 
History and
    Philosophy of Physics (physics.hist-ph)
    Cite as:     arXiv:1306.0159 [quant-ph]
          (or arXiv:1306.0159v2 [quant-ph] for this version)

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