Re: Heed Clarification on MW

From: Fritz Griffith <>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 01:42:02 MST

>From: Russell Standish <>
>To: (Jacques M. Mallah)
>Subject: Re: Heed Clarification on MW
>Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 17:02:59 +1100 (EST)
> >
> > On Wed, 8 Dec 1999, Russell Standish wrote:
> > > > In a MW or all-universe model, all your decisions can do is to
> > > > the percentage of people-like-you who do certain things, or
> > > > the percentage of universes in which people-like-you have taken
> > > > actions.
> > >
> > > I disagree with this statement strongly. The evolution of the MW model
> > > is completely deterministic, and the ratios of measures of different
> > > worlds is completely determined at the start.
> >
> > I discussed this one, decision theory in the MWI, with Wei Dai
> > pretty thoroughly a while ago; look it up.
> > Basically, your decisions *do* still determine the outcome, just
> > like in a single-universe deterministic model. Which is the same as
> > saying that the laws of physics + initial conditions determine the
> > outcome; just another way of talking about the same thing, as you are
> > something outside of physics.
>According to your following paragraph, we don't have free will, so
>therefore there are no decisions we can make to affect the evolution
>of the state function. You contradict yourself!

I think what Jacques is saying makes sense. He's saying that we don't have
free will because everything we decide is completely determined by the same
laws of physics as everything else. However, since our decisions still do
happen, they affect the evolution of things that happen around us. For
example, if I decide to drop a glass cup, the decision to do that would
occur due to the laws of physics, and not because of free will. But
dropping that glass cup would cause it to shatter on the ground. So, your
deterministic decisions have an effect on the state function.

> >
> > > What your free will does is affect the likelihood of what branch your
> > > 1st person experience will take. Free will is a 1st person phenomenon,
> > > not a 3rd person phenomenon.
> >
> > There is no free will; in fact, as I say above, realizing that
> > solves the problem. As for "1st person" you will not be surprised that
> > see no basis for such distinctions.
> >
>This is rubbish. There is free will. For example I can choose to look
>at a photon using a left circularly polarised filter or a right
>circularly polarised filter. The physics fills in what I see from some
>probability distribution based on the state function.
>Now however you choose to explain this, it is a phenomenon of free

No matter what you call it, I believe that our decisions are still
deterministic. The illusion of free will occurs because the more sensible
decisions are of higher probability, according to QM. No, this cannot be
proven, but you seem to believe that our decisions are *not* deterministic,
and this cannot be proven either. But it seems more sensible to me to
assume that our decisions follow the laws that everything else does.

>How I chose to explain this is that free will is a 1st person
>phenomenon, and doesn't exist at all in the 3rd person world. An
>analogy here is that centrifugal force exists in a rotating frame of
>reference, but not a static one. It is a mistake to say that
>centrifugal force therefore does not exist (as I've heard certain high
>school teacher assert).

I don't really see how this analogy has any relevance to our discussion.

While we're on this topic, I'd like a little clarification on something.
All of this discussion is assuming that only worlds branching off of our
world are possible. But from a 3rd-person perspective, aren't they ALL
possible, but some just not possible for us (from a 1st-person perspective)?
  Looking at it from a 3rd-person point of view, the decision not to commit
quantum suicide because you'd leave loved ones behind doesn't hold anymore.
Sure, you'd leave loved ones behind, but if you decided not to do it, there
would still be another world where you decided to do it, and left loved ones
behind. So it makes no difference either way.

> > - - - - - - -
> > Jacques Mallah (
> > Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
> > "I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
> > My URL:
> >
> >
>Dr. Russell Standish Director
>High Performance Computing Support Unit,
>University of NSW Phone 9385 6967
>Sydney 2052 Fax 9385 6965
>Room 2075, Red Centre

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Received on Mon Dec 13 1999 - 00:52:06 PST

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