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Totally off-topic...

Eliezer, have you written (or is there) a thesis on the validity of using, as an a priori, poor old Ockham's beard trimmer as the starting point for any and all and every thing?

@ Hopefully Anonymous

>> a. y. mous, in my estimation you're on surest ground describing free will as an "experience".

And that is where I plan to stand at all times! Perhaps a maxim that I have followed over the years would help you in understanding where I come from

Science without morality is knowledge
Knowledge without application is technology
Technology without context is data
Data without perception does not exist.

I can't define Free Will. As I said in my earlier disclaimer, I am not an academician in any of the relevant streams. Heck! I am not an acadamecian at all!

"Free will", at least insofar as I am concerned, is exemplified by experiencing a choice and enjoying the resultant consequences of making that choice. True, my experiences, my enjoyment, me, etc. are all governed by the quasi-deterministic-probabilistic-functional-formalisations of physics and/or reality. That does not deny that

a) The agency denoted by "I" have a choice among a multitude of options b) Those choices are manifestly external to the said agency, though the full set is subsumed within physics with a capital p. c) The set of changes implemented over (traditional, granted. No time. No me. No free will. Agreed. But indulge me.) time by the motion of the different agents involved result in differently probable but provably different configurations of physical reality. e) The fact that I know the above does not change the fact the I still have a choice and making a different choice leads to different results.

Meaning to say, "youse doose the crime, youse doose the time", and me not doing the crime would leave the whole world with a different configuration of reality in which I am not locked up in a room behind bars. And that choice of either doing or not doing the crime is "Free Will".

Gordon, no. That's not the problem. The problem is with reconciling determinism with probability distribution. The inherent uncertainity is what "free will" is all about.

That I can choose is at the crux of free will. Eliezer goes on about not having the choice not to choose and therefore it is deterministic (or whatever the QM equivalent term he wants to use. You get the picture.) And then you get into definitional issues.

There still is segue missing between bridging this thought with his earlier comments on macro level decoherence and its "collapse into reality". I am looking forward to his building that bridge.

Shane, true. "What supports the world" (and the consequent support mechanisms for the turtles) is the 'wrong question', so to speak. But the question we set out to answer was "What shape is the world?". Not even "Is the world flat?". Glossing over the myriad of Eliezer's posts (I swear, I read them dilligently! Though I am neither a physicist, nor for that matter a reductionist), they add up to a pyramid of straw men.

Take this particular point of 'Me' vs. 'Physics'. The answer one takes away from this post is that I am a subset of Physics. Fair enough. Unfortunately, the question asked is not 'Me' vs. 'Physics'. The question is on free will. The answer to that, at least from what little I can glean from Eliezer's insightful writings, is supposed to be, "Free will? That is the wrong question. Since reality is physically and fundamentally probabalistic, there is a multititude of options in a given range whose endpoints are bound by the laws of Physics. And further since you are a part of that very reality and since you are also governed by the same probabilistic amplitudes, there is a computable and assignable number for the probability that each of the above options can be realised" which paraphrased means "no answer" or paraphrased differently can mean "Yup. You got a choice to take a chance. Odds ain't good though." Absolutely true, no doubt. But like I said, straw men. More importanlt, does not decidely negate or affirm the question "do I have free will"?

Somehow, I get this nagging feeling that you use 'wrong question' as a, in your own words, 'stop word'. This series is leading upto 'can't say' and 'no answer' for any and all questions that you have explicitly started out to answer.

Decide that things are allowed to be unmagical, knowable, scientifically explicable, in a word, real, and yet still worth caring about

Language always reveals your biases. You must overcome the bias. Not be clever with language constructs.

You see, there would be no need for these choices, if you consciously change your mindset to remove the words 'and yet still' and replace them with 'because they are'.

Moving on, categorization as the holy of holies has been attempted before. It has met with mixed results.

I think this post covers a lot of "overcoming bias" in total. To pick on thought completions:

But the Great Stories in their current forms have already been told, over and over. I do not think it ill if some of them should change their forms, or diversify their endings.

Paraphrased completed thought: "I can, and I should, change, because I should, and I can."

"And they lived happily ever after" seems worth trying at least once.

Paraphrased completed thought: "An enumeration of possibilities completes me."

With more than six billion of us at the last count, does Jupiter really need to be on the list of potential protagonists?

Paraphrased completed thought: "A metaphorical approximation is beneath me."

So, let's see.

You wanna play "God"?

Fine. Good luck.

Slighlty off-topic. I am a bit new to all this. I am a bit thick too. So help me out here. Please.

Am I right in understanding that the map/territory analogy implies that the map is always evaluated outside the territory?

I guess, I'm asking the age old Star Trek transporter question. When I am beamed up, which part of which quark forms the boundary between me and Scotty.

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