Quantum Mechanics and Libertarian Free Will

In a passage quoted in the last post, Jerry Coyne claims that quantum indeterminacy is irrelevant to free will: “Even the pure indeterminism of quantum mechanics can’t give us free will, because that’s simple randomness, and not a result of our own ‘will.’” Coyne seems to be thinking that since quantum indeterminism has fixed probabilities … Continue reading Quantum Mechanics and Libertarian Free Will

Predictive Processing and Free Will

Our model of the mind as an embodied predictive engine explains why people have a sense of free will, and what is necessary for a mind in general in order to have this sense. Consider the mind in the bunker. At first, it is not attempting to change the world, since it does not know … Continue reading Predictive Processing and Free Will

The Practical Argument for Free Will

Richard Chappell discusses a practical argument for free will: 1) If I don’t have free will, then I can’t choose what to believe. 2) If I can choose what to believe, then I have free will [from 1] 3) If I have free will, then I ought to believe it. 4) If I can choose … Continue reading The Practical Argument for Free Will

Religious Freedom

Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Libertas, says: 19. To make this more evident, the growth of liberty ascribed to our age must be considered apart in its various details. And, first, let us examine that liberty in individuals which is so opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is … Continue reading Religious Freedom

Chronological Archives

2015 7/5 – Why Useless? 7/6 – In Forty Days Nineveh Will be Destroyed 7/7 – Beati Mundo Corde 7/8 – Politically Incorrect Algorithms 7/9 – The Null Hypothesis 7/10 – Conspiracy Theories 7/11 – Are Hyperlinks a Bad Idea? 7/12 – Privacy 7/13 – Pope Francis and Proselytization 7/14 – The Order of the … Continue reading Chronological Archives

Causality and Moral Responsibility

Consider two imaginary situations: (1) In the first situation, people are such that when someone sees a red light, they immediately go off and kill someone. Nothing can be done to prevent this, and no intention or desire to do otherwise makes any difference. In this situation, killing someone after you have seen a red … Continue reading Causality and Moral Responsibility

Aristotle on Future Contingents

In Chapter 9 of On Interpretation, Aristotle argues that at least some statements about the future need to be exempted from the principle of Excluded Middle: In the case of that which is or which has taken place, propositions, whether positive or negative, must be true or false. Again, in the case of a pair … Continue reading Aristotle on Future Contingents

Employer and Employee Model of Human Psychology

This post builds on the ideas in the series of posts on predictive processing and the followup posts, and also on those relating truth and expectation. Consequently the current post will likely not make much sense to those who have not read the earlier content, or to those that read it but mainly disagreed. We … Continue reading Employer and Employee Model of Human Psychology

More on Orthogonality

I started considering the implications of predictive processing for orthogonality here. I recently promised to post something new on this topic. This is that post. I will do this in four parts. First, I will suggest a way in which Nick Bostrom’s principle will likely be literally true, at least approximately. Second, I will suggest … Continue reading More on Orthogonality