Re: Freewill

From: Edwin Evans (
Date: Fri Jul 05 2002 - 02:04:24 MDT

Peter Voss wrote: "If freewill was some kind of illusion, then to many
of us life would seem bleak indeed...However, formulating the concept
and proving its validity are two separate tasks"

Um...formulating the concept and *evaluating* its validity are two
separate tasks.

Peter Voss wrote: "Freewill is the ability to make conscious choices"

When I was reading this at the beginning, I was thinking "freewill" is
not the right word for what you are talking about; almost anyone who
believes in free will would take exception to the idea that every single
action of theirs is entirely determined by physics. So I was thinking
what a better word would be, and what I came up with was "conscious
choices". Why not in general say "people can make conscious choices,"
instead of "people have freewill"? (Also, "freewill" has religious
connotations -- evil exists because God gave people freewill -- so I
think "conscious choices" is a better word for what you are talking about.)

The freewill that people *wish* to exist might conceivably be a sensical
concept. And there is some possibility that it might exist or could be
created. Or it might not exist, yet our lives could still be meaningful.
This chance (and also the fact that in reality my opinion on this
philosophical subject has little to do with my overall happiness and
well being compared to other more mundane factors) is good enough for me.

-Edwin Evans

Peter Voss wrote:

>There is an important sense of 'freewill' that is both valid & useful.
>Valid, by being compatible with finite state machines, and useful for
>identifying (moral) responsibility. See:
>Comment on last sentence below: 'Perceive' perhaps, but we can certainly
>conceptualize our 'lack' of freewill.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: []On Behalf
>Of James Rogers
>On 7/4/02 6:59 AM, "James Higgins" <> wrote:
>>At 01:20 AM 7/4/2002 -0400, Gordon Worley wrote:
>>>Besides, I assert there's no such thing as free will and it's just an
>>>illusion of the interpreter, but that's another thread.
>>Of course there is free will, at least on the individual level.
>Gordon is correct. IF you assume the mind can be run on finite state
>machinery (something one generally assumes in AI research), you can't have
>free will. Furthermore, in such a case it is mathematically impossible for
>you to even perceive that you don't have free will ...

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