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Ian_C. comments on Explaining vs. Explaining Away - Less Wrong

46 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 March 2008 01:59AM

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Comment author: Ian_C. 17 March 2008 10:39:48AM 2 points [-]

"I can't predict the tomorrow's weather; does that mean atmospheres have free will?"

It's not the fact that you can't predict other people's actions that proves the existence of free will, it's that you observe your own self making choices. You can introspect and see yourself weighing the options and then picking one.

Frank Hirsch: "I don't think you can name any observations that strongly indicate (much less prove, which is essentially impossible anyway) that people have any kind of "free will" that contradicts causality-plus-randomness at the physical level."

More abstract ideas are proven by reference to more fundamental ones, which in turn are proven by direct observation. Seeing ourselves choose is a *direct observation* (albeit an introspective one). If an abstract theory (such as the whole universe being governed by billiard ball causation) contradicts a direct observation, you don't say the observation is wrong, you say the theory is.