: I threw that last question in there because it sheds lights upon what basuc assumptions you're working from. If you believe artificial intelligence is possible, than you believe that we are nothing more than a collection of atoms floating in the void entirely determined by the laws of physics. Or if you answer in the negative you are affirming that you are a dualist, or perhapse an idealist; you believe that their is something extra to humans, a soul perhapse, that makes us free. A religious dogma is never far behind such views....
Actually I think 'we' have no extra bits than that which exists. That doesnt make me a determinist. My current understanding of physics leads me to believe that the future is unpredictable, not because we dont have all the information - but becasue when you learn the information you also change the future - ie you affect unpredictably.
There is also a pointlessness about determinism. My fave joke on the matter is an argument between determinist and his opponent - the opponent spends 20 years uncovering physics which shows that determinism is false and the determinist can simply say "yeah, but you were *bound* to find that!"
Its amusing to argue with determinists who are also socialist and end a with "well, you dont really know any of that -youre just reacting to your environment - its not right you know, youre just like lithium in water - you will react to it a certain way, its meaningless" or for fun "your just protecting your class interest" - Its a world view that tends to dissapear up its own contradictions.
In human conduct its proponents attempt to cut the relationship between and action and the value of the consequence - ie murdering babies or becoming a heart surgeon is just 'stuff' that happens and is without value, without blame or praise. Humans value, the standard of that value is (usually) life and happiness - hence pre-determined or not, heart surgeons are 'better' than murderers. Strange how the PhD philosophers in 6 bedroom mansions will alleviate blame from a murderer but wont actually discard credit for themselves.
: Regardless, since it is impossible or impractical to blame the "ultimate cause' for a person's behaviour it is simply better to find some way to correct that behaviour.
exactly, when dealing with reality the question of determinism must subordinate itself to the expedient, which is really an implicit acceptance of free will. Only the first is still used as excuse to make demands on the 'olympians' often with, oddly enough, the notion of guilt!
Thanks for being interesting (but then you were bound to be!)