Re: Ethics and free will

From: Metaqualia (
Date: Thu Feb 03 2005 - 12:03:45 MST

>>the scope of free will. If we are materialists, we
>>may expect that there is no free will, and hence
>>no such thing as morality.

I have come to a temporarily final conclusion about this topic. Just as in
my posts about qualia, I think you have to make a distinction between first
person and third person. In my view, these perspectives are not just
different ways of looking at the same thing but entirely different
realities. This dualism seems to be one of the basic features of the

Just like qualia represent not just "another way of looking at neural
computation", but a different phenomenon altogether, so does free will
represent not just "another way of looking at our set of heuristics to guide
us through possible alternatives", but in the first person it assumes a
different shape, it creates the quale you experience when you are deciding
something, and the overall experience we refer to when talking about free

So in the third person free will does not exist, but this does not prevent
_us_ from having it because we don't live in the physical universe but in a
simulated VR inside our skull. Another way to put it is, we _are_ the neural
processes which (causally, deterministically and perhaps partly randomly)
result in us making a decision. You cannot say "this process is happening
deterministically and I have no control over it" when you _are_ the process

It is this topological oddity of "being" a process that reconciles third and
first person interpretations (although, as I said, to me these two are more
than just different interpretations, they are two loosely related but
separate ontologies).


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