chapter  12
15 Pages

Michael A. Arbib

The horrors of humanity and the computation of the self

My concern in this essay is with the notion of free will in the presence of evil and its relation to our evolving understanding of the person in computational terms. As Ambrose Bierce makes clear in his bracingly dyspeptic definitions in The Devil’s Dictionary, freedom is in great part illusory. We are seldom free of the demands of others, nor they of ours, and we each accept, often unconsciously, a social contract which greatly constrains our courses of action.