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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 12:48:12PM -2 points [-]

Doug S.: "My chess playing software considers options and makes a decision. Does it have free will?"

When I wrote you can "introspect yourself weighing the options and picking one," I didn't mean those words to be a self-contained proof, but rather a indication of where to look in reality to find the actual proof for oneself. I'm sure this idea of language as a pointer has been covered on this blog before. Yes, I know other things (such as computers) can be described using similar terms, but that is neither here nor there.

Here is how to do it: take some random decision, such as "Should I go to work tomorrow?" and focus on it. For the first few seconds nothing happens while the focus builds, then you suddenly know the answer. But the important thing is the *form* the answer comes in. It is not simply "Yes" (or "No") but it is "[I choose] Yes." The "I choose" might not be explicitly verbal, but the knowledge of it is there. And if you continue to maintain the focus then the reasons behind the decision start to come through. i.e. "Because I want to get paid."

Once again, these words are not a proof. Just a pointer to something to try, and then decide for yourself.

Comment author: Kenny 19 February 2013 02:28:54AM 0 points [-]

I tried it, but I can only report what it felt like from the inside.

I choose to believe there is no "free will".