I agree completely that free will must be well defined before it can be 
intelligently discussed, and I agree that the usual definitions are often 
nonsensical. (Particularly the notion that free will is the ability of some 
higher self to override base instinctual desires.)

I give a coherent definition of free will in my book on Reality. Free will 
is simply the fact that some bounded system generates actions that are not 
entirely determined by its environmental inputs. This can be due only to 
the fact that there are random quantum processes at work IN that system as 
there are in all systems. However in some systems, e.g. digital devices, 
they are designed such as to damp out that quantum randomness, so as to 
generate reliably deterministic results.

The degree of free will in any system depends on the details of complexity 
in that system and how its quantum randomness is either damped, or 
amplified in meaningful ways as it is in biological systems which are able 
to generate actions that are not entirely determined by their environmental 
inputs. Biological systems, including humans, have developed internal 
programs that represent their external environments, and are able to 
generate free will choices on the basis of quantum randomness bubbling up 
the hierarchies of their internal computations so as to effectively fulfill 
their instinctual and other imperatives in a non-deterministic manner.

Biological organisms respond to their environments, but they are not 
determined by their environments. That's what free will all about.



On Friday, January 17, 2014 11:05:43 AM UTC-5, John Clark wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 7:46 AM, Edgar L. Owen <<javascript:>
> > wrote:
> > This has nothing to do with consciousness, but it may have something to 
>> do with the origin of free will.
> It's just amazing how many philosophers can devote so much time and effort 
> trying to figure out the origin of free will but never try even for one 
> second to figure out what they're talking about, what the hell the term 
> "free will" is supposed to mean. The first order of business should be to 
> decide what "free will" means, only after that should you worry about if 
> humans have that particular property, and only after that theorize how it 
> originated.  Before any of that you've got to know what "it" is, and 
> philosophers don't have a clue.
>   John K Clark 

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