so it’s an illusion. Thoughts?
I had no other choice but to leave this comment.
If you define free will in a certain way, it’s a moot question. I think this is a common thing with people into hard sciences, thinking of free will as an absolute and not as a human experience. Of course everything is deterministic. So what? It’s an statement with little impact on the human experience, which is the scope where free will is defined around.
If you define free will as the ability of a human being to change the outcome of something regardless of the circumstances (that under the exact same circumstances you would be able to take two different decisions in two different instances) then it’s obvious that’s an illusion.
But I don’t think people, if pressed, really generally believe that they would be able to take different decisions under the same exact circumstances (you would have to really stress the extent to which the circumstances have to be exactly the same, of course). What the first video calls the “intuitive” idea of free will is something they never justify as being a real thing. They just say “people think like this” without actually exploring if that’s true.
I suggest when people think of free will they are thinking something like “my individual thought processes are a principal part of why I take a certain decision”. That is, that consciousness (individual perceived will) is a part of the decision making process (note that this is a much more difficult discussion, with some fringe theories rejecting the idea). Whether that consciousness is deterministic or not I don’t think really is part of any “intuitive” idea of free will.
But did you watch the first video? (5:26)
The conclusion in the second video is reasonable. Free will is the name we give to an emergent process that’s in all practical terms unpredictable even if it is deterministic, so discussing whether it is free will or not is pointless. We experience free will as a thing that exists, and as such it makes sense for us to think it exists, even if it doesn’t. That’s all.
I also think that determinism may be overrated. When something so “simple” as a three body system can be essentially unpredictable to the point that it could be modelled equally well as a chaotic system, determinism isn’t as practical as it seems.
Yes, I was forced to make the bad joke.
It would have been funnier if you hadn’t
Hey, he’s just doing his part as a small pre-determined part of the four dimensional object we call the Universe. ;)
I wonder how much from the quantom randomness “spills” over to the macroscopic. Or doesn’t it have any impact?
The second video gets on this. There’s some possibility quantum effects do impact human brains, but it’s not clear how much.
Both videos explore that tangentially. The argument goes that even if it affects the macroscopic, it is random in nature, and being random it carries no meaning or intention. So even if there are random flutuations affecting determinism as we know it, being random, they do not constitute free will, because a will that’s random isn’t free will by any definition.
More seriously, I think the idea of lower-case “free will” is fine. We have brains, they make decisions, and we understand that decisions made while not impaired or coerced are decisions that were made with “free will”.
The non-sensical version is the upper case version, “Free Will”, that religions have been using as a get-out-of-jail-free card for centuries. Why is there evil in the world? Free Will. Why do some people go to heaven and others to hell? Free Will. Which is not quite worth it if “Free Will” is just some quantum randomness.
I should add to that that it is possible that so called random quantum effects are actually deterministic in reality, which of course means quantum randomness is also an illusion. Just putting it all there. ;)
None of that means anything to us, however. Our conciousness is a product of an enormously complex emergent system that’s in practical terms impossible to predict. And as the second video said, there’s no sense describing an apple we see as the light emitted or reflected by a gazillion atoms. We experience an apple as an apple even if it is a bunch of atoms, and we experience free will as free will even if it is the result of deterministic and random processes. It’s pointless to think that free will isn’t real just because it doesn’t exist. ;)
Yeah. It’s not even a good get-out-of-jail-free card on its own terms, even if you completely disregard determinism and what not. And that can be said about a lot of other similar things, too. ;)
Humans also can’t do really random decissions. Like write down 100 random numbers. They always can statistically be identified as not so random after all. So there is stuff in the background of your mind going on, even if you think you just make a random decission. I guess, it is similar with free will. Not really free and not really random.
Man, I really feel dumb clicking into these and instantly finding people so easily summarizing “simple” discussions like free will. While I can’t even say so without sounding dismissive. Really, thanks for that, @Juan_Raigada.
Just to nitpick away from the point of the thread: not really, unless you hold some very specific theories about quantum mechanics that really on some (arguably) stranger and less intuitive assumptions than randomness. (Not sure exactly what you’re referring to here, but we can get into Bell’s inequalities and so on if you think it would be fun. ;) )
Free will: it doesn’t exist, but you have to pretend like it does
Nothing specific, just that quantum mechanics could possibly be entirely deterministic in a way we don’t understand or know yet. I’m sure lots of scientists are pursuing that angle, ever since Einstein professed his dislike for “spooky actions” and the such. ;)
And you can have “perceived randomness” from highly deterministic systems that are too sensitive to initial conditions. See rule 32 for an example, or a double pendulum, or the forementioned three-body problem. It could be that quantum randomness is another example of such thing, in a way we haven’t quite figured out yet.
There’s also an argument on the other side - that since true randomness follows a distribution, then as the number of events grows reasonably large it actually fits a well-defined, deterministic distribution. So you can argue that even in systems with a large number of “true randomness”, over a large enough amount of time, the randomness will be ultimately similar to a mostly static, deterministic, well-defined distribution anyway.