Comments on Tim and Matt on Free Will

I don’t think you two agree on what “free will” means and that in what sense will is free is crucial. Perhaps either of you can expand in that point. Why does science require free will, and what sort of free will?

A claim is only coherent if you can say what it means. So far free will is defined as “like, you know, free will” or words to that effect. I don’t think you can do better, which is why I claim it’s incoherent.

I gather that in your view, free will resides in the soul, not the brain, though the soul has access to the information and processes of the brain and injects its decisions into the brain. Correct? But what happens in the soul when it chooses? Apparently nothing causes the soul to choose a certain way, nor is it random. But what is it, actually?

And how does that relate to the brain processes that seem to happen during choice?


I almost gave this post a “like”. But it was “almost” because there are some parts that I don’t like.

I commonly hear people saying that LFW is incoherent. But, to me, it has never seemed incoherent. And I have never seen a good explanation of why people say that it is incoherent.

On the other hand, most online debates about free will do quickly become incoherent because they quickly devolve into people talking past one another.

Part of what you said, was “demonstrate its coherence”. And that’s a part that I didn’t like. I don’t think we ever demonstrate the coherence or incoherence of anything. “Coherence” is not defined well enough to be demonstrable. We make our own personal assessments about coherence, and we may present arguments intended to persuade others to make the same assessment. But those arguments always fall short of anything that I would consider to be a demonstration.


I live in a world where nothing is deterministic and nothing is random.

I work in a world, the world of abstract mathematics, where there is determinism and there is randomness. But the reality of everyday life does not contain anything that is deterministic or anything that is random. Rather, determinism and randomness are idealisms that we find useful as we model reality.

1 Like

I’d call that word salad; in other words, incoherent. Perhaps it’s not defining free will in terms of itself; depends on what we understand “causal power”, “a being”, and “to act in accordance with reasons” to mean.

1 Like

I presume you mean that you disagree.

1 Like

How does that correlation happen? Where is the interface?

1 Like

I think I should have paid more attention to this post earlier.

Do you think that, in modelling reality, these two idealisms leave any significant gaps?

If so, can you propose any further idealisms that would be useful in covering these gaps?

Or alternately, any replacement set of idealisms that give better coverage?

I think that our idealisms do not completely describe reality.

Off hand, no. But, in a way, it doesn’t matter. I don’t expect us to ever be able to completely describe reality.

No matter what, we can only come up with rule-based methods of describing. And our rule-based system will always be limited to a finite set of rules. There’s no reason that I can see, to assume that would be sufficient for a complete description.