February 15, 2016

"Science, Counterfactuals and Free Will" (In Two Weeks, Not at the Statistics Seminar)

Attention conservation notice: A distinguished but elderly scientist philosophizes in public.

As a Judea Pearl fanboy, it is inevitable that I would help promote this:

Judea Pearl, "Science, Counterfactuals and Free Will" (Dickson Prize Lecture)
Abstract: Counterfactuals, or fictitious changes, are the building blocks of scientific thought and the oxygen of moral behavior. The ability to reflect back on one's past actions and envision alternative scenarios is the basis of learning, free will, responsibility and social adaptation.
Recent progress in the algorithmization of counterfactuals has advanced our understanding of this mode of reasoning and has brought us a step closer toward equipping machines with similar capabilities. Dr. Pearl will first describe a computational model of counterfactual reasoning, and then pose some of the more difficult problems that counterfactuals present: why evolution has endowed humans with the illusion of free will, and how it manages to keep that illusion so vivid in our brain.
Time and place: noon--1 pm on Monday, 29 February 2016, in McConomy Auditorium, University Center

As always, the talk is free and open to the public.

ObLinkage 1: Clark Glymour, "We believe in freedom of the will so that we can learn".
ObLinkage 2: Mightn't that "illusion of free will" be the only sort worth wanting?

Constant Conjunction Necessary Connexion; Philosophy

Posted at February 15, 2016 16:49 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth