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Subject: Free Will vs Group Think

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Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 17:36:36 -0500
From: Reilly Jones <70544.1227@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Free Will vs Group Think
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Omega, your "Free Will vs Group Think" post of 1/27/97 is excellent. It is
always a pleasure to see reason in play.

Omega: <Since science, by definition, does not deal with the unknowable
(except for defining the boundaries of such) the scientific appraisal of
free will is limited to refuting its presence wherever predictibility can
be found. This leads to an operative principle which places knowable
limits on where free will may be found as defined in its classical sense:

* Where something is predictable, then free will does not exist.>

A slight refinement to make this more precise, predictable here means "with
certainty." Prediction with less than 100% statistical confidence is,
after all, just guesswork. Is an entity forced to make predictions in
order to find out if the entity has free will? <g>

Omega: <...once we strip out all references to local truth in this new
definition of free will, we are back to one of two possibilities:

a. Either free will does not exist at all...

b. Or, through some form of trancendent acausality in keeping with the
meaning, some limited form of free will does exist...

And now that quantum physics has clearly been shown to be unable to tell us
whether our reality is even a deterministic one or not, the whole subject
right back in the realm of philosophy/theology/metaphysics.>

Since the necessity of indeterministic quantum physics has forced us to go
back to philosophy now, I would like to post a couple quotes on point b
(point a being obviously worthless because I am choosing to respond of my
own free will) from Karl Jaspers' "Way to Wisdom" (Yale Univ. Press, 1951):

"The highest freedom is experienced in freedom from the world, and this
freedom is a profound bond with transcendence.... [M]astery over one's
ideas remains ambivalent does it mean an arbitrary freedom from ties or
does it imply ties in transcendence? Because of this ambivalence,
independence, instead of becoming a road to authentic selfhood in historic
fulfilment, can easily be confused with irresponsibility, or the perpetual
availability for something else. Then selfhood is lost, and all that
remains is different roles played in different situations."

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