Re: Free Will

Damien Broderick (
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 14:54:30 +0000

At 12:16 AM 15/08/99 -0400, John K Clark wrote:

> 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.

No, that's just a side consequence. The idea that humans have (a faculty of) free will is surely an attempt to formalise or account for the tussle we often experience when we are impelled by `mixed motives'. We momentarily become aware of the usually inaccessible seething of the society of mind or self parliament. `Training the character' is a way of increasing the likelihood of one set of behavioral algorithms winning out over another, one that tends, presumably, to suppress one's consciousness of the bidding alternatives. To what extent an executive decision can actually prevail over the appetites is unclear to me, or what it comprises (that is, what is the `ontology' of the self in question), but *randomness* and/or *unknowability of alternatives* are not part of that obscurity.

Damien Broderick