Saturday, November 14, 2009

Free Will

There's a lot of talk about the nature of free will as it pertains to quantum mechanics, etc. 

If the universe is causally closed then there is no free will. Determinism reigns.

If quantum mechanics randomness is true, then indeterminism rules. 


The thing is...so ...what is the thought process here? What does this have to do with our brains directly? Let me try to point out the timeline. So there's a bunch of tiny particles coming together either randomly or not and you have to take into account things happening on the quantum level. Then there's the particles that make up our brains. However, what do these particles have to do with our choices in the world? These particles don't have a mind of their own. It's kind of a sum is greater than the parts type of thing, isn't it? 

What in the living fuck do these random particles coming together in a causally closed world have ANYTHING to do with me deciding to have cheese on my hamburger or not? I really do not get this whole free will discourse in the slightest. Do you think that I just have the illusion of free will? What does "causally closed universe" have anything to do with my personal preferences and tastes? Sure, I'm human and I prefer eating beef to eating coral and perhaps the universe "decided" that preference for me but other than that, what does all this talk of free will and its non-existence have to do with me choosing to do what I want? I often feel like I'm choosing to do what I want. Is the "what I want" part the thing that's "causally closed" ? Someone please explain this to me. 

If you don't believe in free will but then all of a sudden got it what in the fuck would you do differently from now?

1 comment:

christopher said...

The implications of the determinism debate are endless.

Some feel that if the physical world is all there is, and every physical event is predetermined, then freewill is just an illusion (which you alluded to).

If this is true, then freewill is not the only thing that is an illusion. Essentially the idea that you have preferences at all is an illusion. Your choosing cheese or not has nothing to do with preferences...It was an unavoidable physical necessity, determined most likely somewhere around the time of the big bang.

To take it even further, the fact that I like some music better than other soon becomes meaningless. It is not that the music appeals to me, or that there is any kind of inherent value in the music (or making music for that matter). It is simply a function of the outworking of physical laws that I "prefer" some to others.

Writ large, the logical conclusion would seem to mean that even the "I" I'm referring to really holds no meaning. If selfconscious intellegence is something that has evolved within humans and is completely causally determined, then even the mind itself (self-consciousness) is an illusion. The "mind" becomes reduced to a projection shown on a screen that no one is watching.

Taken to its logical conclusion, we cannot rightfully say "my mind," we can only say "my body."


Art, music, all of it looses much of its meaning. Emotions become reduced to biological functions. Even the emotions that move people to write beautiful music, angry music, whatever...has nothing to do with that person. Art and music become unalterable necessary physical events that are only dependent on a cosmic occurence millions of years ago.
In a sense, there is no creativity.

Thus, in many ways it can be said that no one makes accomplishments. It has profound implications on what we are as people.