Re: Heed Clarification on MW

From: <>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 17:55:10 +0100

At , Marchal wrote:
>Gisle Tangenes wrote:
>>If by free will you mean only your own ability to make decisions, it's hard
>>to see how determinism could hamper it. My oven is itself producing heat
>>however much it was predetermined. Similarly, you can make decisions even
>>though the content of those decisions are predetermined by the laws and
>>constants of physics: All it takes is for your option set to be >1 in the
>>relevant situations. Thus free will as decision-making is completely
>>possible also in a deterministic single universe, and there should be no
>>need to invoke MW.
>I definitely agree with this. Those interested in the reasons why can
>search the archive with the key word "free will" or "clinton" for
>some of my old posts on that subject.
>I agree that free will has something to do with downward causation, and
>I think our *feeling* of free will is linked to the fact that we cannot
>be aware of the way the downward causation proceeds, but also that
>we can be aware that we cannot be aware of such links.

That's a clear way to put it, I think.

>>QM does not
>>take you from "is" to "ought" any more than do General Relativity or
>OK. Note that QM does take us from "is" to "could" and, amazingly,
>from "could" to "is".

Yes. But here I referred to Deutsch' table 13.1 (p. 339), wherein the
statement "It was the right decision" is given the following 'physical
"Representations of the moral or aesthetic values that are reflected in my
of option X are repeated much more widely in the multiverse than
representation of other values". This equation is senseless. Deutsch adds
to the confusion by
denying that he attempts to _define_ moral or aesthetic values in terms of
such physical representations (ibid.). Then what is he doing, exactly? I
take it that (some copies of) Deutsch made a strange but excusable slip.

The literary theorist Cristopher Norris makes however much song and dance
about this little slip in a wordy paper annoyingly called "Should
Philosopher's Take Lessons From Quantum Theory?" (current issue of
*Inquiry*). He there dismisses Deutsch and MW-QM generally, apparently
without any comprehension of the autonomous complexity argument. Intending
to reply, I would be grateful if someone volunteered for a browse when it's
ready. Will return to this in January.

Gisle Tangenes
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Received on Wed Dec 15 1999 - 08:57:47 PST

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