Asked • 03/19/19

Does compatibilism imply that a chess program has free will?

I am puzzled by compatibilism and am trying to understand what it means using a test example. Given that a typical chess program generates several choices, evaluates them with a goal of winning and chooses a specific option, would this imply that it has free will as defined by the compatibilists? If not, is the reason that the human decision system is a more complicated circuit than the implementation of the chess program? (This is of course, assuming the position of compatibilists like Dennett, that the brain is equivalent to a computer). To me, free will, whatever it means, doesn't seem to directly have connotations of complexity or intelligence beyond a basic decision taking capability. The opposite view would be that the more one is aware and in control of nature, the more free will one has. Even if this is true, does that not mean that a computer program has more free will than a chess player in the context of a game? Or is the reason that 'goal', 'evaluating', 'choosing' have specific meanings for compatibilists which dont apply to the chess program? If so, what would these meanings be?

1 Expert Answer


Ryan S. answered • 03/26/19

4.9 (86)

PhD in Philosophy with expertise in moral philosophy

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