"I think therefore I am." Descarte's most basic tenet of free will. But how "free" is it?The more I study this and make observations of the people around me, the more I am convinced that free will is nothing more than an illusion.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke.
Now let me rephrase Clarke's third law in context of this discussion:
"Any sufficiently complex memoryplex is indistinguishable from free will."
Note the phrase memoryplex, not memeplex. I'm referring here to our collective memories from the earliest retained memory right up to this instant. That instant has now passed (a few milliseconds ago) and as you continue to read, those instants are similarly passing into your collective memoryplex.
If our decisions are based on what we know (assuming that we're not mentally ill) and what we know is the memories we have formed, then free will simply isn't.
I've thought about this for some time now and I'm only summarising here, but if this is correct, it has frightening implications. For instance, what you've just read, based on what you already know, has influenced you - and you have no choice in what you're about to do: reply, ignore, digest, etc... everything is based on your experience to date plus this last few dozen words of argument.
So how "free" is your will?
This was posted in the Philosophy section a bit back. Could be helpful.
Lol Thanks Scott~ I got the notification of this thread and I was like "yay, again!"
If a person is a hard determinist, then free will doesn't exist (free will as it is technically defined)
If someone is a soft determinist (not all things are predictable due to quantum mechanics) I think that they need to understand the implications and scope of quantum mechanics a little better.
I've heard debates where the definition of free will is what is argued, while once its agreed upon the debate is settled.
If someone wants to say they have the illusion of free will, I will concede to that~ however, the notion that we have the ability to make decisions independent of our past and mental programming doesn't stand. A good example of how this works would be painting the human mind much like a role playing video game, where you come across a situation and have multiple options of what to say or do~ except in this version, there are distinct odds and functions attached to those choices, where it progressively whittles down your "choices" until it reaches what you will actually do.
thats all I've got to say on this.
as for this picture, inappropriate, I know, but it helps me through the day. besides, I really had no choice in posting it, now did I?
No problem. I figured there was good info in it and why rehash something that has been debated before. That and you never know if something someone else wrote will spark some new thought.
Honestly though did I have a choice....??!!!
No, you didn't (have a choice).
Yeah, it works on at least two levels - absolutely priceless.
Our decisions themselves are based on what we know. If you consider our life experiences to be compromising that then any sentient being capable of your version of free will is incapable because it is sentient.
Things are going to effect us, whether positive or negative. We may have an inclination to make a certain decision in a certain situation, but we have the ability to make all of the available choices.
I believe the point of free will is that the person whose will it is has the choice and not some other entity which means that each person (regardless of their personal experiences) has their free will.
A group, eh?...
The other part of this is even more scary - if free will/free choice is an illusions (as it most certainly is) - then any idea we have about being special gets tossed in with that.
I am a machine.