Although I'm not surprised that Susie went into nursing, if I had to predict a priori, I would not always be correct.
But the more you know about Susie, the more likely you would be to predict correctly, and if you knew Susie really well, and you knew she had an aversion to blood, you might be very surprised. And if you were, you'd go looking for an explanation for why she went into nursing that made sense to you, given everything else you know about Susie. The more you know about a person, the better you'll be able to predict what they'll do, and the more you'll demand a sensible explanation for what they do when they surprise you. But we don't regard the people we know best as less free than the ones we know least, in fact, we usually regard them as the most free, precisely because what they're doing makes sense to us.
And that is an error.
You can learn a lot about a system by looking at the errors it throws. And coming to understand why it throws those errors can help you understand what it's doing when it's not throwing errors. Neuroscientists and research psychologists don't study brain disorders and mental illness just to find cures for them, after all, though that is an important reason.
That is not what it means to me. Otherwise, dice would be "free". While QM does introduce randomness, that is not the source of freedom from ones self, since that randomness would be as inescapable as the rails.
Metaphysically, if the randomness of the dice is indeed sourced in the quantum indeterminacy of its constituent particles and is not merely an artifact of a lack of knowledge of all the states of those particles and the particles in its local environment, then those dice are free. This doesn't mean they're free wills
. They didn't make a choice of what number to land on, because there was no representation of alternatives made to those dice beforehand. And regardless, it is irrelevant, because it remains possible that global variables can eliminate the indeterminacy. The mass, shape, velocity, rotation, rigidity, viscosity, charge, and so forth of the dice, the air, and the landing table may not be enough to determine beforehand how the dice will land, but the overall distribution and character of matter/energy in the rest of the universe might well be.
Well put. (I take it you mean "appearance" in the sense of existence, as opposed to the sense of presentation.) But what is that self? Look closely enough and its on rails (or dice, which are equally inescapable). But step further back so you can't see the rails, and for a sufficiently complex system, the paradigm of "free will" becomes useful.
Actually, no, I don't mean that the appearance of options means that those options are both really possible. I mean that the system under consideration represents those options to itself as both possible alternatives. Options appear real at a local level that may be entirely illusory at a global level. Your insistence that a "free will" not operate "on rails" suggests to me that you don't think it should follow rules. On the contrary, a free will does follow rules. It follows rules it crafts and approves of itself.
What do you mean here? I'm afraid I couldn't really follow the next paragraph. You seem to be saying that an "internal representation" is what is necessary for a choice to be free.
Internal representation is necessary for the appearance of choice. Alternative futures, even if they are really possible, do not (yet) exist. In order for an alternative to be selected, it has to be represented. For the selection to be free, the principle of selection must be determined by the self. But the self is itself a unified composite representation. In order to be free, the individual has to be able to make a special kind of representation that plays an active role in the process of representing.
I think we are saying something similar, but where you say "local" I would say "high" (as in highly abstracted) and where you say "global" I would say "low" (as in atoms and molecules, or bits and bytes).
Almost exactly the opposite. These are nested sets. Global is the set of all sets, local is any subset of that set. If free will is anything at all, it is a process of determination. It makes things one way or another. Physics tells us that local systems are insufficient for determining everything that happens, in order to determine things, a global variable is needed. Psychologists can evaluate a person and give us a (rough) prediction for the various ways an individual might behave, but the variables they include in their model are insufficient to determine this particular individual's future course of action, even though they can lay out all the alternatives, and even rate their likeliness fairly well. As with particle physics, they do very well with predicting masses of people acting. But something is determining the behavior of the particular individuals, and that this something is global is shown by the predictability of the masses of behavior. Move up the scale, and the unpredictability/indeterminacy of the behavior appears to disappear. The "self" is a global variable held within the representational apparatus of the individual. It is determined by the innate representational mechanisms of the individual and the interaction of that individual with its environment, especially including other social members of its environment. As it is so determined, it in turn modifies, adds to, and rejects the innate representational mechanisms of the individual. In this way, the self is present in the individual, globally determined, and self-determined.