Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Free Will Defined

Yes, I know that my previous note quoted Rush completely out of context, I know the lyrics actually appear to be a simple rejection of astrological and theological bullshit rather than any serious objectivist anthem, and it was certainly not written to be a justification for indecision.

But within the simplified hundred-word school-level boundaries of this blog, can I define free will? Without recourse to any Kant or Locke or Hume. Define it to be a useful phrase in a practical sense with no philosophical spin at all. Free will as it should be defined, here today.

Free will is simply an expression of the fact that nobody else can control your thoughts. Nobody else can read your mind. If only you see a coin turn to heads or tails, nobody else can tell which it was. Sure there are machines that might start to use predictive indicators such as sweat and blood flow and even general areas of brain activity to start to approximate your maniacal tendencies. But today those are expensive unreliable fakeable proxy indicators.

Nobody else can read your thoughts, let alone control them. That's it.

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