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Old 08-06-2019, 05:44 PM
begbert2 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 13,249
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I will tell you what I infer from the statement "I have free will".

I surmise that someone saying this means that they believe when they perform an action (i.e., make a choice), they are exerting their conscious will. They consciously deliberated the pros and cons of that action and consciously determined that they selected the wisest course. They didn't just "randomly" act. They didn't carry out that act like how an automaton, a puppet, or hypnotized person might carry out that act. When they give an explanation for why they performed that act, that is always the right explanation since they were fully aware of all the information that compelled them to make that choice and nothing external to their consciousness (i.e., their environment and biology) forced their hand.

Furthermore, I don't assume they are merely taking about "volition". You can be severely mentally impaired and express volition. A baby can perform voluntary actions ("Aw...look at him chasing after the ball! And now he's throwing it like a champ!"). But we don't grant babies free will. And if you have an IQ of, say, 50, most people aren't going to assume you have free will. You can confess to committing a crime and there could be video footage of you gleefully committing it, laughing and everything. But your lawyer will be able to successfully convince others that that your ability to reason is so constrained that you don't really understand what you're doing and thus lack free will. Because we associate free will with high executive function.
Er, this is the first I've ever heard it hinted that babies and idiots don't have free will.

And I wouldn't expect (or believe) that most people would or even could give a right and complete explanation for why they do things. I've known way too many people to believe that.

I think your definition of "free will" is far, far more restrictive than most other people's.

Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I don't understand a lot of what you've written here, to be honest. I think you're all over the place. And I don't think you've distilled begbert2's thesis correctly if that's what you think he's been arguing. But I could be wrong.
I really couldn't say - I don't know under what circumstances he thinks free will is "a problem".