Re: Conway's Free-Will Theorem (was Geddes's final hurrah)

From: Randall Randall (
Date: Sat Aug 06 2005 - 08:10:27 MDT

On Aug 5, 2005, at 11:34 PM, Mitchell Porter wrote:

> I had not heard of this before. If we accept the paraphrase advanced
> on this page - "if some experimenters are able to behave in a way that
> is not completely predetermined, then the behavior of elementary
> particles is also not a function of their prior history" - then the
> "theorem" gives determinists absolutely no new reasons to believe in
> free will, as it boils down to this: "if some events have no causes,
> then certain other events also have no cause". But why would you
> believe of any event that it has no cause?

I don't have an opinion on the elementary particles
version of this, but your "boils down to" isn't the
same as the paraphrase you quote.

Instead of "if some events have no causes, then
*other* events have no causes", the paraphrase seems
to boil down to "if some events have no causes, then
at least some of the lower level events that these
are shorthand for have no causes".

Just to be clear.

Randall Randall <>
"Lisp will give you a kazillion ways to solve a problem.
  But (1- kazillion) are wrong." - Kenny Tilton

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