Defining Free Will

1. Aug 28, 2005

Skomatth

Following the the logical positivist convention of defining a term in use I am seeking a definition of free will as it occurs in the proposition "[agent]A has free will". This will involve formulating an equivalent proposition which uses no synonyms of "free will".

I believe it can be done in this way: "At any time t, even if all facts are known about A's physical and psychological state, no reliable hypothesis could ever be able to predict A's physical or psychological state at time t+d."

Is this a satisfactory definition?

2. Aug 28, 2005

Staff Emeritus
How does this distinguish "freely willed" from random? In general how can you define an inner condition like will in terms of external behavior?

3. Aug 28, 2005

Skomatth

Good point. Do you think free will is an unanalysable concept or could this be defined differently?

4. Aug 29, 2005

Tournesol

You need to add a rider to the effect that the agent's action is nonetheless
rationally comprehensible ie aimed at achieving some purpose.