The Great Hippo wrote:But this doesn't strike me as very difficult or 'tricky', definitionally. Definitionally, free will/free agency/independent agency is the ability to perform non-determinable actions. Can a rock perform non-determinable actions?
If we rely on non-determinism in the universe to introduce non-determinism in humans, this is certainly true of the rock as well. An interesting perspective here is that of scope. We can predict the "actions" of a rock with great precision, but not exactly. We cannot predict where all the quantum particles (or whatever they should be called) are in the rock. To put the rock on even footing with predicting a human brain, this should be required.
The Great Hippo wrote:If a given human in a given environment with a given set of conditions will always engage in precisely the same actions, human action is determinable; ie, not 'free' or 'independent'. If it is impossible to create a given human in a given environment with a given set of conditions--or if a given human would not engage in precisely the same actions--then human action is non-determinable (from our perspective).
A couple of remarks.
* The environment that would be needed to make a human determinable "from the outside" is the entire developmental history of the human, as well as the genes.
* Many people (in a discussion of free will) prefer definitions of freedom or independence that are not "all or nothing", and that do allow for determinism.
Consider this: Is the action of one neuron in the brain determinable if we know the surrounding physical environment (including chemistry, electrical potentials, etc) and the complete state of all connected neurons? If it is not determinable, then it is (momentarily) disconnected from it's environment and the resulting action is unrelated to the state of your brain (and body), which I would take to be unrelated to your will (and agency) in any scientific account of free will.