Re: Nucleus Accumbens Transplant

Zenarchy (
Wed, 2 Dec 1998 12:57:31 -0800

>Why does free will require indeterminability? As far as I'm concerned, it
>only requires that *I* can't determine my future actions, and it's quite
>clear that no deterministic computer can accurately determine its future
>actions because it quickly hits the infinite regress of trying to model
>itself. That another, larger, computer could accurately model it and
>its future actions is irrelevant.

Free will requires indeterminability (what a big, sloppy word -- sorry), because if someone ascertains the content of a person's will, (i.e., determine it) then that will (i.e., deliberate action) no longer has the unpredictability consonant with what people mean when they say /free will/. If you can predict something with 100% accuracy, then you have determined its behavior, you've ascertained its function, it can not do anything freely, because it must conform to your determination -- otherwise you've not really determined that action, and you have an incomplete inventory of the factors which contribute to it.
For example, if you accurately ascertain (or determine) what I will do, and how I will do it, say for instance, respond to your question, then I have no free will, because if I had free will, then you couldn't have (accurately, not just a guess) ascertained what I will do.

If you don't know what I'll say or do, then you can't predict it, and I have free will.
If you can predict what I'll do (if you can determine, ascertain, make it determinable, etc.), then I have no free will, because for me to act freely, I must have the ability to falsify your determination, prediction, or ascertainment of my action, in case doing so appeals to me.

If you (and I) cannot determine our future actions, then as you point out, it seems to us that we have free will -- and as far as it concerns us, this makes our future actions indeterminable, which restates the earlier statement that free will requires indeterminability. If our future actions remain indeterminable to us, then it seems to us that we have free will. But if we can (or seem to) determine our future actions (by planning, scheduling, consigning ourselves to the orders of others, etc.), then although we may believe that we freely chose to make that determination, we effectively remove freedom from future actions (to the extent that we've made prior plans, schedules, appointments, etc.).

If a Global Brain or superintelligence could know exactly what we shall do in the future, with 100% accuracy, then although we may not know it ourselves, our actions would follow precisely the template (complex adaptive algorithm) which allows the superintelligence to know and predict our every action. Of course this does not happen in reality, and no super computer can know what we shall do in the future. "Que sera, sera!" So we do have free will, and our future actions remain indeterminable.

This rather long-winded reply comes to this: I equate the terms /free will/ and /indeterminability/ to each other, and view them as not exactly identical, but referring to the same thing. The term /free will/ usually suffices to communicate the idea, and /indeterminability/ has a more general use when applied to abstractions rather than to people. -zen

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