from May 16, 2002 until November 6, 2005
We present a theory of simple deterministic free will (SDFW) in a deterministic world. The theory splits the mechanism that determines action into two parts. The first part computes possible actions and their consequences. Then the second part decides which action is most preferable and does it.
We formalize SDFW by two sentences in situation calculus, a mathematical logical theory often used in AI. The situation calculus formalization makes the notion of free will technical. According to this notion, almost no animal behavior exhibits free will, because exercising free will involves considering the consequences of alternative actions. A major advantage of our notion of free will is that whether an animal does have free will may be determinable by experiment. Some computer programs, e.g. chess programs, exhibit SDFW. Almost all do not. At least SDFW seems to be required for effective chess performance and also for human-level AI.
Many features usually considered as properties of free will are omitted in SDFW. That's what makes it simple. The criterion for whether an entity uses SDFW is not behavioristic but is expressed in terms of the internal structure of the entity.