On 9/29/2013 8:39 PM, LizR wrote:
On 30 September 2013 16:18, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:


    On 9/29/2013 6:03 PM, LizR wrote:
    On 30 September 2013 13:58, Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au
    <mailto:li...@hpcoders.com.au>> wrote:

        The reason it doesn't make the will a slave to randomness, is that the
        will is random in its essence. There is no self-other distinction
        between the will and the random source.


    I don't see this. The random source here is the laws of physics, surely? So 
unless
    you identify your will with physical law,
    Why not?...with the physical function of your brain and body.  What about 
the
    deterministic part...it's also from the laws physics.

I may not have put that very well, but what I want to know is, how is this supposed to stop the will being "A slave to randomness" ? It seems to me that Russell is saying that if you throw dice, you're a slave to randomness, while if you move the dsce inside your head (so to speak) you aren't. I suspect I'm missing something obvious here, it wouldn't be the first time.

I think it's just definitional. What constitutes "you". If you see someone else throw dice and you're bound to follow different actions depending on how they fall then you're a slave to randomness. If you decide to throw the dice in order to determine your course of action then it's an act of will. Now suppose something random in your head, like decay of a radioactive iodine atom, causes a certain thought that leads to you choosing vanilla instead of chocolate ice cream. Did you choose or were you "a slave to randomness"? And note that in this kind of example the randomness doesn't make you do just anything. It can only work within the range of your deterministic self. It won't make you choose liver ice cream or jump off a bridge. We make the distinction in ordinary discourse: We say someone isn't acting himself when they do something wildly inconsistent with their past behavior. We send them to a psychiatrist.

Brent

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