Free will

John K Clark (
Wed, 25 Feb 1998 21:23:28 -0800 (PST)


On Wed, 25 Feb 1998 H Baldwin <> Wrote:

>John. What is the "external universe"?

Everything that is not subjective, assuming there is anything.

>we are not seperate from the universe

Interesting theory.

>Say we don't have true volition and never will. What's wrong with

I don't know because I don't know what you mean by "true volition". All I
know is that sometimes I have the power to choose what I want but I never
have the power to choose what I don't want.

>>A man, animal or machine has free will if it can not always predict
>>what it will do in the future even if the external environment is
>>constant. A third party might be able to make such predictions but
>>that's irrelevant, the important thing is that the person himself
>>can not know what he will do next until he actually does it.

> (Jeff Dee)
>By this definition, a simple program that prints "Hello" to the
>screen over and over has "free will".

Yes, but what is your point? If it's that my idea gives almost everything
free will and thus the value of such a definition in helping us understand
how the mind works is virtually zero then I enthusiastically agree, but that's
still a vast improvement because other defenerations have a negative value,
they provide confusion but no enlightenment. My advice is if you want to
study the mind forget about free will, most ideas involving it are so bad
they're not even wrong.

>It's clear and internally consistent, but I'd hardly call what it
>defines "freedom".

Can you think of an example where my definition of freedom would cause a
contradiction with the everyday use of the word? I can't.

>I think you need to expand your definition to include third parties:

Why would I want to do that? Freedom is a feeling, if I feel free then I am
free, how others view me is their concern not mine.

>no set of behaviors which can be predicted by *anyone* with 100%
>certainty sounds "free" to me.

I don't see how somebody else accurately predicting my behavior would change
my feeling of freedom, that would only happen if I made the prediction, but
let that go, even with your more restrictive definition an electron would
still have free will.

John K Clark

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