Do we have free will or are all our decisions predetermined?

  • Do we have free will or are all our decisions predetermined?

     Jay Summers updated 2 weeks ago 1 Member · 1 Post
  • Jay Summers

    Member
    March 29, 2021 at 19:30

    I know exactly what you’re doing right now, reading these words. 🤪 Why? Well, because you chose to. Even if you didn’t, even if you are seeing them years in the future you can always choose to look away now. You possess the nebulous quality of human free will.
    Nebulous because, despite debating it for millennia, philosophers have been unable to pin it down, and although we are pretty convinced we have it, at some level it must be an illusion, rather like our sense of self is (see “Are you always the same person?”).
    Let’s start with the physics. Whenever you decide something, a certain pattern of neurons fires in your brain to turn your thought into action – moving towards the kitchen to make coffee, perhaps, or formulating an utterance you will come to regret. Ultimately, that is all down to pulses of electrons – fundamental particles that follow the cast-iron laws of physics, under which everything is determined by what happened immediately before.
    That doesn’t leave much room for free will. Physical laws, if they’re deterministic, tell me that everything that I do, everything that happens in the world, including everything that I do, including every decision I ever made, follows logically from the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe. Since we control neither the laws of nature nor the initial conditions of the universe, we don’t, therefore, control free will.

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