Does Free Will Exist? A Quantum Physics Debate

In summary: But quantum mechanics has shown that at least some aspects of reality are not governed by classical physics. So does that mean that there is some kind of free will going on? Some physicists believe that the wave function of matter/light collapses when a living thing is conscious of it, could this be a sign of free will? The randomness of non-determined events does rule out free will, but doesn't mean that there isn't some kind of free will going on. You might want to look into feedback loops and non-linear causality if you want to find out more about it.
  • #36
again

i fail to see why you could not have cause = to purpose a cause creates reaction as thus does purpose read thease 2 statements "what was the cause for that?" and "what was the purpose of that?" in both phrases the question you are asking why did you do that
 
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  • #37
Wolf,
But not *all* causes are purposeful. I don't think anyone was denying that *some* causes are purposeful.
And "all purposes are causes" doesn't mean "all causes are purposes". The two are related, but not equal :)
 
  • #38
i see

now that you put it in those words i understand you are saying that a majority may very well be the same thiong just nopt all non?
 
  • #39
Please read the book << The Emporer's New Mind >>

Freewill is Relative Concept.
Anything is be Determined or Randomness(Quantium Field).
 
  • #40
Freewill is a fairytale concept. I remember how dissapointed I was when I came to the conclusion that the universe must be determined. They way I see it, the only instance in which there can be free will is if there is a higher power such as a god that can interfere with the determined universe. (yet that god may just be part of a broader causality net) Otherwise dissident dan's explanation seems to be the most logical. That being said, free will as an illusion can be just as satisfying as if it were true in nature. The fact is this; we will never be able to calculate all the interactions that make up our determined universe, so it will appear that we are making choices. Good enough for me. :smile:
 
  • #41
kcballer21 said:
Freewill is a fairytale concept. I remember how dissapointed I was when I came to the conclusion that the universe must be determined. They way I see it, the only instance in which there can be free will is if there is a higher power such as a god that can interfere with the determined universe. (yet that god may just be part of a broader causality net) Otherwise dissident dan's explanation seems to be the most logical. That being said, free will as an illusion can be just as satisfying as if it were true in nature. The fact is this; we will never be able to calculate all the interactions that make up our determined universe, so it will appear that we are making choices. Good enough for me. :smile:

well said..good enough for me to!
 
  • #42
And also, how would a non deterministic universe actually work?
If one thing didnt lead to another, wouldn't there be chaos?
Would some parts be non deterministic while others not? I don't see how that would work..
I think in some ways all universe HAVE to be deterministic, or else it would be completely different and chaotic.
So in that regard it may appear that the no determinism is actually happening on high levels. With low levels being quantum mechanics for example.
In the high levels, where our consciousness is, we're not able to see all the interactions that make up the determined results, like kcballer said, so it is kind of non deterministic from that view.

Maybe if we disregard the size of objects in the universe, like the difference between a quark and a tree, determinism and non determinism can co exist together, because we will never know what level is the lowest, and which is the highest, and which of these control each other.

That was just a random thought though, didn't think it through.
 
  • #43
but a good thought at that, free flowing input. We may never really know the truth, since we are imperfect.

If we can know the truth, then we can know the future, even of our own thoughts.

That would certainly upset a lot of people. It would crush many ideas about the purpose of life.
 
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  • #44
i believe that the physical universe is only deterministic in that it must obey the rules of physicality. freewill, however, allows us to decide which events we wish to activate within these rules.

on the spritual (non-physica) level we probably have more freedom, but it too has rules or guidelines. within these rules we can expand what seems like chaos into meaningful adventures.

it seems that all levels of the universe operate within certian parameters. perhaps what happens in the non-physical is as different as what happens at the quantum level compared to 3D reality.

why must we impose all rules across all levels of reality?

love&peace,
olde drunk
 
  • #45
olde_drunk said:
i believe that the physical universe is only deterministic in that it must obey the rules of physicality. freewill, however, allows us to decide which events we wish to activate within these rules.

Since we are in the universe and a part of it, if we are free to decide which events to activate, then right there, the universe is not only deterministic.

Of course you have a get-out in the word physical. If you think human choice is not physical, then you have a loophole. But I think human everything is physical, there's no objective evidence otherwise.
 
  • #46
if(no free will) then ...

A thought just occurred to me...

Lack of free will implies a lack of personal responsibility.

Pay attention. If we can argue against free will, then in the same breath we must condemn any concepts of morality, since any and all action is simply determined. If action is only determined (and not chosen) then condemning the choices (stating their 'wrongness') is moot.

So I should be able to kill all of you and you'd have nothing to say about it (that is, whether I am wrong in doing so). After all, the longevity of your life and the conditions of its passing are already determined. Or are they? Reply.
 
  • #47
dschouten said:
A thought just occurred to me...

Lack of free will implies a lack of personal responsibility.

Pay attention. If we can argue against free will, then in the same breath we must condemn any concepts of morality, since any and all action is simply determined. If action is only determined (and not chosen) then condemning the choices (stating their 'wrongness') is moot.

So I should be able to kill all of you and you'd have nothing to say about it (that is, whether I am wrong in doing so). After all, the longevity of your life and the conditions of its passing are already determined. Or are they? Reply.

That's the question. Let's just clear up the notion that 'determined' refers to the physical nature of the universe and not to some higher power who planned all this out for us. As for the suggestion that the absence of free will implies that morality is 'moot', that could be a slippery slope.
I say that the universe is determined but I 'feel' like I am making choices, and for all intensive purposes that 'feeling' is real. That is why ethics continues to be important. Is it immoral if you kill me? Yes. Why? Because on our level of limited perception choices are still real, even if they are not real on a level which we could (probably) never comprehend.
 
  • #48
We have a legal system that is built around the concept of personal responsibility. I think it is important not to push too far in seeking to justify this system with abstract philosophy. If literal free will is abandoned, and the legal system is not somehow insulated from that result, chaos could result. What if juries came to believe that we're all just robots and nobody is responsible?

I personally have a lot of trouble with literal free will. I could see a deterministic universe where everything is predictable, or a random universe where nothing is predictable, but not a universe that makes a big exception for human free will, being deterministic EXCEPT when we excercise our wills.
 
  • #49
kcballer21 said:
That's the question. Let's just clear up the notion that 'determined' refers to the physical nature of the universe and not to some higher power who planned all this out for us.
Who cares what factors play the determining role. Everything is determined and that's all we need to 'know' (although I would argue that this isn't knowledge, but a clever fallacy).
kcballer21 said:
As for the suggestion that the absence of free will implies that morality is 'moot', that could be a slippery slope.
Who cares how slippery the slope is? If its the only slope we have - taking that we have no free will, of course - then you have to take what you get and ski down it. To simply shy away from the consequences of a statement without renegging the statement is capricious and shilly-shally.

This is precisely why the argument that we have no free will is so absurd.
kcballer21 said:
I say that the universe is determined but I 'feel' like I am making choices, and for all intensive purposes that 'feeling' is real. That is why ethics continues to be important. Is it immoral if you kill me? Yes. Why? Because on our level of limited perception choices are still real, even if they are not real on a level which we could (probably) never comprehend.
Let me get this straight. What you are saying is that our choices are determined, but we'll never know that they are, hence our 'limited perception'.

But wait! You've just said they are determined! So now I know that they are determined, when in fact this knowledge is beyond my comprehension. I'm dying in a recursive logical loop! Woe is me.
 
  • #50
selfAdjoint said:
We have a legal system that is built around the concept of personal responsibility. I think it is important not to push too far in seeking to justify this system with abstract philosophy. If literal free will is abandoned, and the legal system is not somehow insulated from that result, chaos could result. What if juries came to believe that we're all just robots and nobody is responsible?

I personally have a lot of trouble with literal free will. I could see a deterministic universe where everything is predictable, or a random universe where nothing is predictable, but not a universe that makes a big exception for human free will, being deterministic EXCEPT when we excercise our wills.
Maybe we'll just have to accept that the universe is comprised of more than chance stellar explosions. Once this (obvious) notion is granted, free will is suddenly less strange.
 
  • #51
Nobody has to concede anything where no evidence is presented. Your "more" may be obvious to you, but not to tohers.
 
  • #52
Right then. I can't FORCE you to believe anything, but when you incredulously exclaim that you cannot accept free will, even though there are serious flaws in refusing to do so, then it is perfectly acceptable for one such as myself to point you towards a solution to your conundrum. Clearly, you are in state of limbo here, and adamantly refusing any intuition or advice from others on the grounds that you prefer not to discuss their implications is not a wise course of action.

Seriously man, think about it. Don't just talk - think. Ponder. Is there any alternative?
 
  • #53
Retributive justice vs being adult

selfAdjoint said:
What if juries came to believe that we're all just robots and nobody is responsible?
Retributive justice might end, and all crime might end with it.

We do not hold our cars and computers responsible for their actions, so we manage their programming in such a way that their actions minimally harm us.
 
  • #54
I actually believe in this, I just wonder if it could ever be implemented. I think the only reason to imprison anybody is because they have a "design defect" which makes them dangerous. And prison should not be a deliberately dismal, cruel, or dangerous place, since that obviously doesn't work, either in preventing or in reforming.

And there is absolutely no justification for capital punishment.
 
  • #55
dschouten: Who cares what factors play the determining role. Everything is determined and that's all we need to 'know' (although I would argue that this isn't knowledge, but a clever fallacy).

I concede that a deterministic universe may be a clever fallacy. i don't 'know' the universe is determined, it is my opinion based on the information I have reviewed. The difference is I base my claim on something that is scientifically plausible (I'll borrow Dissident Dan's quote "Our thoughts are brain processes. These processes involve the transfer of momentum. If these momenta transfers are not the predetermined result of prior states, then conservation is violated. Therefore, the momenta transfers must be the predetermined results of prior states, according to the laws of physics. If these momenta transfers are predetermined, then one's thoughts are predetermined.") I once thought that free will was saved by the uncertainties of quantum mechanics, but then was convinced that the end result of any quantum occurrence could just be another variable in what ends up as determined.

Who cares how slippery the slope is? If its the only slope we have - taking that we have no free will, of course - then you have to take what you get and ski down it. To simply shy away from the consequences of a statement without renegging the statement is capricious and shilly-shally.

I said the consequences of a determined universe are not the loss of moral standards, how is that shying away?.. it is in direct contrast with what you said. For me the question is not whether the universe is determined, the question is how is it that we feel we have 'free will' if it doesn't exist?

Let me get this straight. What you are saying is that our choices are determined, but we'll never know that they are, hence our 'limited perception'. But wait! You've just said they are determined! So now I know that they are determined, when in fact this knowledge is beyond my comprehension. I'm dying in a recursive logical loop! Woe is me.

No, I said we do 'know' (given that all things are based in causality) that the universe is determined. What we don't know is how to calculate all interactions that ultimately lead to our brain making a 'choice'. Therefore free will is an illusion and a convincing one at that, you think you have it. Intuition may have the best of you. Also the fact that you ‘know’ something exist does not mean it is within your comprehension. Can you comprehend infinity? We can conceive of a universe with 11 space-time dimensions but can you comprehend it?
 
  • #56
kcballer21 said:
I concede that a deterministic universe may be a clever fallacy. i don't 'know' the universe is determined, it is my opinion based on the information I have reviewed. The difference is I base my claim on something that is scientifically plausible (I'll borrow Dissident Dan's quote "Our thoughts are brain processes. These processes involve the transfer of momentum. If these momenta transfers are not the predetermined result of prior states, then conservation is violated. Therefore, the momenta transfers must be the predetermined results of prior states, according to the laws of physics. If these momenta transfers are predetermined, then one's thoughts are predetermined.") I once thought that free will was saved by the uncertainties of quantum mechanics, but then was convinced that the end result of any quantum occurrence could just be another variable in what ends up as determined.

This is an intrinsically classical picture, inherently modernist, and thus quite 'debunkable'. There is no modern physical law which asserts that, given some ensemble of particles with a given momentum and position, one can extrapolate forwards or backwards and determine the particles' positions and momenta for all time. To apply conservation laws in an argument favoring determinism, you would have to apply such a rule (which is known not to exist) and so I leave it to you (or Dissident Dan) to derive and proove one. A brief study in quantum statistical mechanics should illuminate your mind sufficiently in this regard.

kcballer21 said:
I said the consequences of a determined universe are not the loss of moral standards, how is that shying away?.. it is in direct contrast with what you said. For me the question is not whether the universe is determined, the question is how is it that we feel we have 'free will' if it doesn't exist?
No. What you said was "as for the suggestion that the absence of free will implies that morality is 'moot', that could be a slippery slope". Either you misspoke, or upon reminder of some sound argument you shifted your original claims to avoid being caught spending time in a 'clever fallacy'.

kcballer21 said:
No, I said we do 'know' (given that all things are based in causality) that the universe is determined. What we don't know is how to calculate all interactions that ultimately lead to our brain making a 'choice'. Therefore free will is an illusion and a convincing one at that, you think you have it. Intuition may have the best of you. Also the fact that you ‘know’ something exist does not mean it is within your comprehension. Can you comprehend infinity? We can conceive of a universe with 11 space-time dimensions but can you comprehend it?
You've missed my point. Neglecting our comprehension of determinism, there exists a simple dichotomy: either we know that what we are doing is predetermined or we don't.
Allow me to provide an (albeit lame) example: I don't need a PhD in physical chemistry to know that fire is hot when I touch it - I only need to burn my hand once. Similarly, I don't need to understand a completely predetermined universe (as if such a thing existed) to 'know' that everything I do is predetermined. Regardless of the clever ruses we invoke to convince ourselves of our own free will, if I 'knew' that it wasn't free will, then THAT'S ALL I NEED TO KNOW.
Therefore, armed with this new 'knowledge' I can have the following conversation with myself, and anyone who would care to listen:
ME: "Is it immoral if you kill me?"
ME: "No."
ME: "Why not?"
ME: "Because on our level of limited perception choices are known not to be real, even if they seem to be real on a level which we can comprehend."
 
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  • #57
selfAdjoint said:
And there is absolutely no justification for capital punishment.
Who needs to justify that which is predetermined?
 
  • #58
dschouten,
Before I go any further with this I would like to know how you qualify your stance that there is such a thing as free will? (That is, before I spend the next 2 years studying quantum mechanics statistical analysis, what's your argument?) From what you said it seems like the only reason free-will must be true is because otherwise we would all for some reason start killing each other. Perhaps your 'simple dichotomy' isn't so simple.

Let me state that I am not biased toward a deterministic universe, in fact if there is any bias it is for free-will. That is part of my hesitation to accept free-will, it seems so fundamental on a human level that it makes me question the reality of it. It seems that the more advanced our knowledge becomes, the distance between our intuition and reality grows greater.

(I brace for the onslaught)
 
  • #59
kcballer21 said:
Before I go any further with this I would like to know how you qualify your stance that there is such a thing as free will? (That is, before I spend the next 2 years studying quantum mechanics statistical analysis, what's your argument?) From what you said it seems like the only reason free-will must be true is because otherwise we would all for some reason start killing each other. Perhaps your 'simple dichotomy' isn't so simple.
Not really. What I said (or indeed, meant to say) was that the insolubility of free will within our generally accepted framework of morality is untenable. We have to drop one or the other. In my (limited) experience, whenever the most obvious truths such as the injustice of murder are juxtaposed against theories which implicate alternatives to these truths, proponents of the theories often make lousy excuses to prop them (that is, their theories) back up. I don't accept this escapism. If you are going to really assert that we have no free will than you must assert that there is no moral standard (or even a loose moral standard). That's NOT to say that if we had no free will then we would all kill each other. It IS to say that if we had no free will, we could never argue against killing each other.

kcballer21 said:
Let me state that I am not biased toward a deterministic universe, in fact if there is any bias it is for free-will. That is part of my hesitation to accept free-will, it seems so fundamental on a human level that it makes me question the reality of it. It seems that the more advanced our knowledge becomes, the distance between our intuition and reality grows greater.
Just take whatever empirical data is at your fingertips and decide (inductively) with what you have. If you are waiting for some physical proof for or against free will, I would offer the advice 'don't hold your breath'.

kcballer21 said:
(I brace for the onslaught)
:smile: It wasn't that bad. I try to keep my virtual tongue on a short leash. :smile:
 
  • #60
Now for the proof of free will: I decided to write this.

The end.
 
  • #61
Now for the proof of free will: I decided to write this.

How about everything that happened before this quote made its existence inevitable. Although you haven't changed my mind I admit that the proof for or against free will probably is beyond reach, we might as well be arguing about the existence of God.
 
  • #62
kcballer21 said:
How about everything that happened before this quote made its existence inevitable.
And what about those happenings? This is recursion ad infinitum, forever a prior event without end (beginning)!
kcballer21 said:
Although you haven't changed my mind I admit that the proof for or against free will probably is beyond reach, we might as well be arguing about the existence of God.
Yet, if we can find obvious contradictions with the one, we can de facto accept the other (since the decision is binary).
 
  • #63
Everything is determined, including our actions, however this does not mean that we are able to clearly identify all the determinants.

Choice is a product of ignorance. As we will never know everything, will we always have a degree of ignorance and hence choice.
 
  • #64
Perfectly true. This is the basis of "compatibilism". Even though we may be predestined, we cannot know what we are predestined to decide or do, so we can treat the future as free to choose without contradicting ourselves.
 
  • #65
selfAdjoint said:
Perfectly true. This is the basis of "compatibilism". Even though we may be predestined, we cannot know what we are predestined to decide or do, so we can treat the future as free to choose without contradicting ourselves.
For crying out loud, read the whole forum - or the past few posts at least - before you start blathering on, repeating what has already been dealt with.
 
  • #66
dschouten said:
For crying out loud, read the whole forum - or the past few posts at least - before you start blathering on, repeating what has already been dealt with.

Now if you combined knowledge of different fields, you'd actually see that the point you are trying to argue is not the correct one. To really understand the emergent behaviour of neural networks, (which animals basically are) go read up on them.

A wide array of both laughable and nonsensical examples were presented in this thread that support the notion of free will, but it does not exist. Allow me to attempt to prove it.

You talk about choice. That presented with situation A, you can choose between reactions B1, B2, B3, etc. And that this choice is made consciously, so this proves that there is free will. It doesn't. The choice you end up making is predetermined by your past experiences or, lacking that, your 'gut instinct', which is all about taking the past experiences that you have in any related field and using them as the input in the decision making process.

Here's an example. You go to the store to buy the latest a CD. You notice just as you are handing off your cash that the CD case has a rather bad scratch on it. Do you buy it? Is this free will? It isn't. Should you decide to go ahead and buy it, there are various factors that have all contributed to this decision. And the following list is by no means complete:

+ The scratch on the case isn't that bad. (To this, your knowledge of the actual technology behind it contributes, since you know that a scratch on the case won't mess up the quality of the songs.)
+ You don't want to look like a fool complaining over a scratch. (Which itself is rooted in past social experiences.)
+ You don't want to trouble the lady at the checkout over something as small as that. (Quite possibly rooted in your sexual behaviour, feeling of smallness.)
+ The case holds no value to you since you'll just rip the songs and listen to them on your computer or portable mp3/ogg player. (You do not view the whole package as valuable, just the actual content.)
+ You have the exact same jewel CD case at home that you've found no use for and can easily replace the scratched one. (Practicality and convenience -- doing this would be less burdening for you than asking for another copy.)

And should you not buy it, here's another list of ideas and feelings which will have contributed to that decision:

+ You want the whole package to be perfect, no exceptions. (This could be rooted in upbringing or the feeling of always needing the best.)
+ You collect CDs like this and would like them to be in mint condition.
+ The scratch bothers you. (It might be that someone scratched a swastika on there.)
+ The scratch looks bad. In fact, it looks so bad that the case might actually break apart should moderate amounts of pressure be applied to it.

No, there is no free will. The whole world is a big domino effect in motion. The key to the whole thing is threshold. You see, our past experiences contribute to our decision-making process. The decisions we make are optimal based on different calculations and priorities. Complex algorithms are at work, which change dynamically all the time as they gather more input, more experiences.

For example, you buy a shiny ring from a gypsy, which turns out to be fake. Since the hit your wallet and your pride took, you feel pretty bad about the whole ordeal and you decide that you should not buy anything from a gypsy ever again. Was it free will? No, because the decision was based on negative first-hand experience. Now, if you think something along the lines of "well, but I'm not a racist because racists are bad, because the word 'racist' carries negative connotations and I'm going to buy things from gypsies just to show that there is free will and/or that I'm not a bad racist" then, well, that's just fooling yourself. That was not free will, that was a decision based on various input. The following factors most likely contributed to the whole thing:

+ Negative feedback from the gypsy. Negative first-hand experiences.
+ The possibility of not being cheated again as often.
+ Historical or second/third-hand experience. You might have heard that gypsies cheat people.
+ The implied racism of not wanting to buy anything from them again.
+ The possibility of being considered a racist within your community.
+ The negative effects of being considered a racist within your community.
+ The possibility of not telling anyone that you don't deal with gypsies should you decide not to, since being considered a racist is a negative thing and has negative effects on your well-being.

And to that you can probably add various less likely factors such as:

+ The free will issue. You decide to do the less likely thing, because you believe that it proves you have free will. I will try to touch upon this later.
+ If someone you know very well and admire is a gypsy, you are likely to think that the gypsy you admire is the rule and the gypsy that cheated you is the exception.
+ You might yourself be a gypsy.

Now, about free will. Doing what you consider less likely is not a sign of free will. It is purely a case of considering the abstract notion of free will and then trying to prove it, because you believe that doing something chaotic will prove that you do have free will and it is that belief which contributes to the decision-making process. That belief might be rooted in anything. Indeed, I might just close this browser window without hitting 'Submit Reply', because It might prove that I have free will. It is a decision that holds less weight, in my mind, but it is nonetheless a possible and plausible outcome of writing this reply. But I won't do it, because I value the peer review of my thought process. And in the way of the great Centauri freethinker Telis Elaris (Babylon 5 reference, sorry), I will reason why that is.

If I post everything I've written, it will be good. Why?
Because other people will be enlightened and because my thoughts will get peer review. Why?
Because I feel that the posts so far in this thread were made mostly by people who don't have the slightest idea of what free will is or isn't. And because I want my thoughts to be reviewed and criticized. Why?
Because I think most posts lack understanding. And because I feel that I will benefit from the peer review of my ideas and notions. Why?
Because the ideas presented in the previous posts can be proven to be wrong through reasoning based on facts. And because I have read Eric S. Raymond's "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and I once wrote a large essay on applying the Open Source model to human thought and the benefits that would yield.

The human mind is a neural network. Each cell, or node, taking input from various other nodes, doing some simplistic operation on the input and sending the output to other nodes. Unlike in the von Neumann machine under your table, the nodes in a neural network work in parallel. (Yes, I know that today's CPUs execute many instructions in parallel as well. Don't get semantical on me. I'm majoring in compsci.) This gives a neural network massive computing power. Neural networks can either be evolved or trained. Or both. The original setup of a human mind is the product of evolution. It is hardwired to act on certain impulses in a certain way, simply because it resulted in survival and the passing on of genes. Everything since then is training via input, which reshapes the nodes and makes them act differently based on the feedback received.

The illusion of free will is created because we do not and can not comprehend the whole system in the context of the input.

Everything might not be predetermined on the quantum level. Does it mean that human thoughts create some quantum effects and are not part of the universe? Most likely, the answer is no.

The brain is a machine that receives input and produces output based on rules which are shaped according to input and according to feedback created by previous output. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything else is just an illusion.
 
  • #67
just thought this up

here is an argument about free will
Some one makes you so angry you want to hit them badly it is a burning desire in your soul even every part of your exsistence wants to hit this person.
But you don't hit them since you have control on your actions.
However you still WANT to hit then your enire being wants to but yet you do not.
There is no force stronger then emotion if there was ever a force that would conrtol your actions and limit your "free will" it would be emotion, look at some people in love .
They would do things that make no rational sense but to them in love it makes ense so ,love has completely destroyed there free will the same aplies to anger,rage any emotion really but yet even then you have will. note you must have a lot of will but yet it can be done.

Maybe there is as it was so posted "higher beings like gods" acting as a stimulis to control you, like emotion can but those are stimuli you can control your reaction to them but not the stimuli itself so there is free will to act but not control the urges that make you want to act.
Just a thought
 
  • #68
Wolf, go back and read my post just above yours.

And here's an analysis of your example.

Someone did something bad to you. Suppose your brother fell in love with your girlfriend and then took off with her. You have just met your brother for the first time in years and your life has been awful since your girlfriend left with him. You desire to punish him in some way and the fastest way to do it would be to hit him.

This is where your brain steps in. You have a major choice to make: to hit him or not to hit him?

Your brain then, usually on a subconscious level weighs these choices.

The arguments for hitting your brother:

+ He stole something that was yours.
+ He did a bad thing to you.
+ The release of tension that the hit would give you would be most beneficial. (Justice, a kind of balance, even, would be served, in your mind.)

The arguments against hitting your brother:

+ Maybe she is happier? (Non-egoistical instinct, herding instinct, survival of the species, not of the individual.)
+ He is your brother, after all. (You grew up with him and have a special bond with him -- survival of the family, of genes that are similar to yours. The same instinct responsible for people hiring their relatives.)
+ Maybe you're a weak fighter and he would certainly overpower you in combat. (Self-doubt, self-awareness, self-analysis, analysis of your brother.)
+ The society/community would not approve of you hitting him. (Social consciousness, social thinking.)

Anger is your instinct. It is pretty much hardwired. Something of yours was taken and you want it back or you want an equal thing back. (Punching him would be "justice" for you.) Anger and the need for justice was hardwired into your ancestors via the process of natural selection -- a key factor to evolution.

Here's a simplistic example of how an emotion such as anger is rooted in cold reasoning. Suppose your ancestor was a caveman called Ogg. Suppose he had a few spears in his cave. If someone came and took one of the spears away, the loss wouldn't be that bad, since Ogg would still have a few spears left and he could still hunt. If someone were to take all spears away, Ogg wouldn't be able to hunt animals and would get hungry -- that's negative feedback. (And the loss of just one spear would also be negative feedback. More on that in another post, if you insist. In a hurry now.) Ogg would then reason that he is hungry, because he can't hunt animals. And he can't hunt animals because his spears are gone. And his spears are gone because someone took them, so someone is responsible for his hunger. That is basic logic.

If Ogg was hardwired in such a way that he wouldn't mind anyone taking his spears -- if he was hardwired to be without the need for justice or simply, anger -- then he would simply die. Quite possibly without passing on his genes.

In reality, the first laws were centered around the very same thing. If someone came and took your spears, you had the right to go and take his spears or lacking that, you could go and take something equivalent. Along with specialization and the need to trade, this contributed to the rise of the value system and eventually money.

These laws were enforced for the good of the community -- if the world is regulated through laws, it is more peaceful. Better chance of survival. Survival of the community.

The human mind is a mixture of logic, (the understanding of causality) hardwired emotions and cold calculation based on various input. The whole notion of "free will" is absurd.

Indeed, I would argue that if there was a God in this world (and I'm not religious), then even he in his might would not have free will. He would also be a machine that takes input, processes it and gives output. His input would be the whole world and his output would be his decisions to do something about it.

If God existed and if he was to put some idea into your mind, that idea would be input received from God. It would be "guidance" for you and your brain, the machine that weighs different inputs, would then assign a value of importance to it. Based on that value and an analysis of different possible outcomes based on past experiences, your brain reaches a decision. Again, this would not be "free will" -- just the product of a neural network that takes different inputs, uses logic to determine the values of different outputs and then chooses the best course of action.

The thing that has given rise to the absurd notion of "free will" is just one simple fact: you can never be consciously aware of all the input.
 
  • #69
Freedom = a state of non-relativity

Free will = beyond causal and relational laws

But no free acting agent, that neither deviates nor is intervened with on its causal pathway, can derive at nothingness.
 
  • #70
then

if you don't believe that there is any free will the one is the purpose to living?


"A mam with a life that cannot act in his own desire is a man who has nothing to live for"
 

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