Re: Free Will (was Re: virus: Re: Rationality)

Dave Pape (
Mon, 17 Mar 1997 20:24:22 GMT

At 21:47 16/03/97 -0700, David McF wrote:
>> From: Dave Pape <>
>> 1 I reckon most people's understanding of free will is closer to "will
>> which is free from the deterministic constraints of physics" than "something
>> which is deterministic and hence predetermined, and which people share with
>> rocks".
>That's either a parody of my position or we're going to have to start
>from the beginning again.

Well, if you took it as a parody then sorry. I suppose I /was/ highlighting
elements of your definition which clashed with my definition. I still don't
quite understand why you want to redefine "freewill" in a way which seems at
such odds with its etymology, though.

>> Thus, I think that if I start talking to people in general about free will,
>> there's less chance of confusion (statistically speaking) if I use a popular
>> definition. But, as it's a definition I have no faith in, I also want people
>> to give up their faith in it.
>If you want to reduce confusion, you might want to find a word other than
>"faith" :-)

Maybe! How about, since that meme is inactive in my memosphere, memes which
oppose it are transmitted from my memosphere to others' minds? The intention
is that they'll win territory from opponent memes encumbent in others'

>The term "heat" used to refer to a fluid contained in hot things. But
>it has been usefully redefined as molecular motion. It doesn't make sense
>to abandon every term associated with a misconception.

Okay, perhaps we're arguing because we each prefer different strategies, and
what the heck, I bet both strategies have been used plenty of times in the
past. Hmm: suddenly mentioning the word "meme" reminds me of how sidetracked
we've become.

>> When you lose faith in a concept, it's better in my opinion that you keep
>> the old definition and have fights with people that believe it, than change
>> your definition until you DO believe it, because in that case you'll get
>> confused when you do get in a conceptual fight situation.
>I guess it depends whether you prefer to win fights or understand other
>people's positions.

I'd hope I'd take time to try and understand people's positions before I got
involved in fights with them, and the fights would be memetic in nature,
"my" aim would be memetic infection of their minds with the ideas which make

All discussions are memetic fights, in a sense. Someone who didn't ever want
to win such fights would do fairly poorly in the meme-propagation stakes. I
want to discuss things, and in a disagreement situation I'll try and
persuade opponents to accept my points. That's trying to /win a memetic fight/.

Dave Pape
Always bet on the guy with the spine.

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