Re: Free Will not an illusion

From: Joseph Schilz (
Date: Mon Dec 19 2005 - 20:48:38 MST

I hope I'm not waxing too philosophical on my first response here.

It seems to me that a lot of this play about free will is a matter of semantics.

You can think of free will in a couple of different ways. To me, the
words free will represent the concept of unbounded potential for the
ego. It's not merely the notion that you make decisions, it's the
concept that decisions are even possible, or that a human decision is
a more significant event than playing a game of Plinko(think Price is
Right). I think that this is generally what is meant by free will,
and I believe that it is the most significant interpretation.

Of course, few here would argue that such a notion should be upheld.
Unless you believe in weird physics, and furthermore that those weird
physics are /you/, it's absurd to argue that the ego--not the
faculties in the brain that produce it, but the ego itself, if you
catch my connotations--performs any decisions. Resolving to accept
this completely, however, is tantamount to insanity, not to mention a
bit ironic.

So, in order to preserve this comforting illusion of control, an
alternative definition of free will has been offered. This is the
notion that though our actions are ultimately out of our control, that
thing which we call ourselves is capable of a much finer presence and
thought due to its introspective nature.

Just as it is absurd to support the first notion of free will, it's
just as absurd to argue against the second.

In the context of this list, my questions become:
How might we create an intelligence endowed with the second property,
while we,
avoid a clouded pursuit of the first.

"Which thing happens, that I bit of the barman of the dog?"

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