RE: "Free Will Theorem"

From: Jonathan Colvin <>
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2005 18:03:25 -0700

This discussion is exhibiting the usual confusion about what free will
means. The concept itself is incoherent as generally used (taken as meaning
my actions are not determined). But then in this case they must be merely
random (which is hardly an improvement), or we require recourse to a
Descartian immaterial dualism, which merely pushes the problem back one
The only sensible meaning of free will is *self-determination*. Once looked
at in this manner, quantum indeterminacy is irrelevant. Our actions are
determined by the state of our minds. Whether these states are random,
chaotically deterministic, or predictably deterministic is irrelevant; the
only relevant question as to whether our will is free is whether our
conscious minds (our selves) determine our actions. In most circumstances,
the answer is surely "yes", and so we have self-determination and hence free
will. Sleepwalking, reflexes, etc. are examples of actions that are not
consciously self-determined, and so are not examples of free will.
Jonathan Colvin
 Norman Samish writes:

                                The answer to Stat[h]is' question seems
straightforward. Given quantum
                                indeterminacy, thought processes cannot be
predictable. Therefore, genuine
                                free will exists.
                                "...Can someone please explain how I can
tell when I am exercising
                                free will, as opposed to this pseudo-free
variety, which clearly I have no
                                control over?"
                                Norman Samish
Received on Sun Apr 10 2005 - 22:46:57 PDT

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