Re: virus: freely determined

Alex Williams (
Sat, 28 Dec 1996 21:49:02 -0500 (EST)

> can manifest as huge differences on the macroscopic level. The opposite
> of deterministic is random. (Side note: is anything truly random?)

Plenty of things if quantum mechanics have any bearing; one might not
hesitate to say "everything is random, but its regularly random enough
to be mostly predictable in scale and scope."

> traffic, neighborhood bullies), but for the most part, most of its
> (interesting) behaviours are the result of the interaction of systems
> internal to the child, therefore we can say the child has free will.

The cynical Zen memetic theorist who dabbles in materialism might
suggest that there are no systems fully `internal to the child.' All
things operate under the same laws of physics, from the oncoming car
to the way neurons fire and the pattern of neurotransmitter dispersal
across synapses. If, given purely theoretic full knowledge, the laws
of physics that give rise to the child are deterministic then the
behaviour of the child can be fully predicted and, as such,
`pre-destined' by our foreknowledge, whether the child knows of our
prediction or not.

Note that this begs a lot of questions, but the central point I'm
trying to get across is that your definition of `free will' is
contingent only upon the knowledge of the child about itself. I feel
that there's a larger issue involved that /does/ tie free will to
unpredictability. Probably relates to my problems to a
non-time-limited omniscient God, too.