Free will continued

If there is something that gives us free will, that free will could be explained through chemical and physical reactions, therefore making it not free will.

If everything could be understood, then obviously there would be absolutely no free will

But because we don’t understand everything because of our limited reasoning faculty in our brain, sometimes we assign things we don’t understand to ‘god’ or other magical forces.

I mean, if the whole human body can be understood through science and chemical reactions, then free will is completely destroyed.

It is because of our ignorance that we are still able to believe in such things as free will.

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~ by The Existential Nihilist on August 21, 2010.

7 Responses to “Free will continued”

  1. Hi! A deliciously nihilist blog you got here! Keep it up 🙂

    Now that I’m done with the obligatory first-comment pleasantries, let me comment on this post.

    I think the only reasonable definition of free will would be the ability for one to make a choice or decision without it being 100% possible to predict.

    I remember reading in Ebonmuse’s website about the thought experiment of the prediction machine and the impossibility of its creation. It basically says that for a machine to be able to make perfect predictions (100% accuracy) it would have to be able to accurately measure the quantum states of all subatomic particles in a person’s brain, but of course the act of measuring alters the quantum state of those particles, therefore making the prediction machine an impossibility by definition.

    So, I guess we can bask in our [conditional] free will (until we manage to develop of process of measuring quantum states without altering them, that is 🙂

    Your suggestion might produce a much less accurate prediction machine, but I wouldn’t want to venture on guessing the percentage at which free will is practically eliminated.

    • I’m glad you like my blog 😀

      The only problem I see with defining free will as “the ability for one to make a choice or decision without it being 100% possible to predict” is that although it is impossible to accurately measure the quantum states of all subatomic particles in a human body, it is also impossible to accurately measure the quantum states of all the subatomic particles in a robot. In other words, under this definition, robots and machines may also have free will because it is also impossible to predict with 100% accuracy its outcome due to quantum mechanics. In order to define free will properly, one needs to find a characteristic of human beings or living things that everything else does not have. And I simply believe there is no such characteristic because we all follow the same laws of the universe.

      • Oh, I can easily imagine an AI advanced enough to develop free will. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a matter of a program matrix intricate enough to mimic the complexity of the brain’s neuron network. Of course this would not hold true for simpler robots, where its programming is limited and its responses can be confidently predicted.

  2. Evan,

    It seems to me that you have missed the mark. If your stipulation for determinism is perfect predictability by some existing intelligence, then all that exists has free will. A computer’s program is not the only factor that creates it’s responses. The computer’s program must run on some type of hardware that is built up from subatomic particles, therefore rendering the computer only relatively predictable.

    We can now proceed to assume that a rock or even a single grain of sand on the beach has free will because they are only relatively predictable from a quantum perspective.

    I have heard that people think that quantum uncertainty is somehow supportive of free will. It strikes me as somewhat similar to the argument that since I cannot definitively prove the non-existence of god, I must therefore denounce my atheism in favor of mere agnosticism.

    Furthermore, just because Heisenberg is uncertain, it does not follow that it is unknowable, but that we cannot know it. Admittedly, I cannot know precisely the location and velocity of a subatomic particle simultaneously. Does that necessarily mean that the particle does not possess both values?

  3. This idea can be tricky sometimes. Yeah there is free will to choose a job and your life and the school you go to, but if you are bored with life and think everything is the same and just as boring no matter what job or school you go to you are not really that free because society automatic puts your choices into a system which forces you to choose in the system and not outside the system which makes your choice free, but not completely free. If I find all jobs boring I cannot choose not to work otherwise I would starve to death, so I have to work, and choose between available jobs (free will), but (no free will) I have to work.

  4. Would you be willing to change the definition of free will to being an inexplicable flexibility of chemical reactions(as of now) pertaining to the actions we make about the things we have no control over. I also do not believe humans have free will by its usual definition, but rather a very limited control/flexibility in making choices. I may not be explaining this the way I want to say it, but I hope I said it in a way you can understand/analyze.

  5. It is the same ignorance that makes atheism seem so stupid. To believe only in things which can be percieved by our extremely limited faculties and knowledge requires a lot of faith in such insignificant equipment as the human brain and it’s capabilities. Quite arrogant really. Especially for such a low form of conciousness as man.

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