Free Will

John Clark (
Sun, 15 Aug 1999 00:16:58 -0400

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Mark Phillips <> Wrote:

>Godelian Incompleteness [...] simply does *not* imply
>(much less entail) "free will."

It does if you use my definition, and I've never seen a better one. Free Will is the inability to always know what you will do next, and not know when you'll not know, even in an unchanging environment. Every event in the human brain is due to cause and effect OR it is not, but it doesn't really matter which is true because you'd still feel free, you'd still say "I don't know what I'm going to do, I haven't decided yet".

>Simply because such a Godelian system (including, e.g., human
>beings) cannot (always) know what it will do/decide next, this does not
>inherently imply (much less entail) that said system is not utterly
>Laplacianly (or quasi-Laplacianly) determined down to the micro-level, and
>that the future behavior/decisions are not thereby utterly inevitable and

What you say is true, but what does that have to do with free will?

> A system or entity can be utterly Godelianly epistemicly indeterminate, >and still might be *physically* determinate down to a micro-level.

It's not forbidden by Godel but it is by Heisenberg, of course this is irrelevant to what we've been discussing..

    >Quantum-level uncertainty/randomness does nothing for the cause
    >of free-will, either, without some theory linking it (say) to some sort
    >of *agent-causation*

That wouldn't help in the slightest, It'd just push the problem upstairs.

>What is needed is a robust theory of agent-causation which takes into >account--indeed, incorporates--state-of-the-art quantum-cosmology

Why do we need that? If the agent does what it does because of cause and effect then it's a machine, if not then it's random, so what have you gained? Zip.

John K Clark

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