Saturday, June 10, 2006

Free Will

What could free will mean?

If we know someone, doesn't that mean that we know something about their personality, i.e., how they are likely to behave in various circumstances? Doesn't that imply a degree of predictability? To the extent behavior is predictable, doesn't that mean that it follows rules? If so, doesn't having an identifiable personality imply some lack of free will?

If rational behavior is something to strive for, doesn't that imply predictability, hence a lack of free will?
If predictablity is the antithesis of free will, and what else could it be, wouldn't free will have to manifest itself by unpredictability?

If someone exhibited free will, wouldn't their behavior be random? Doesn't this imply behavior that is unrelated to circumstances? If so, free will would seem to imply remarkably unproductive behavior with no survival value.

Perhaps free will is an illusion.

That is not to say that conciousness is an illusion. Conciousness and free will are entirely different things.


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the original assumption that predictibility is the anti-thesis of free will. You may be predictible, but you always have a choice of whether you want to be or not. That is what free will is, choice to make your own predictibilites, and not someone elses.

TOG said...
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TOG said...

Good try, but I disagree.

Predictablily implies limitations on behavior. Saying there is a choice but that you just happen to choose to follow a set of rules is not evidence of free will. Such behavior has no more free will than a computer program.

It is easy to write a computer program that claims it is making a choice, and it can be choosing from a set of reponses, even based on some random phenomenon. But that is not the same as free will.

Nor is does our awareness that there are, in principle, alternate actions change the possibility that we are incapable of "choosing" other than the one we do.