Early Morning Musings, and Free Will

I got up early this morning (around 7.30 or so -- that's early for me) to watch my little sister until my mum got home from work. What with the recent weather (storms and rain for three days, yay!) I've actually managed to get some decent sleep. With that came very vivid dreams, including one lucid one that I remembered for at least two days. Anyway, my mind is insanely full early in the morning like this, and for my tired state I think I'm fairly coherent right now, so I'm going to explain my position on the issue of free will.

The problem, I think, with the determinism vs. free will problem is largely one of definition. What the religious define as "free will" is the same thing I will label as "the appearance of free will." I determine actual free will to be the ability to make pseudorandom, spontaneous, non-deterministic decisions. The often-religious definition seems to simply be the ability to consciously make a truly random decision.

As for random, what do I mean? Most of us understand that true randomness doesn't noticeably exist in Newtonian systems, such as the human body. I don't want to get into quantum mechanics right now, but on the whole I don't think it would change my explanation. If you do know a lot about quantum mech, then by all means let me know if my explanation here could be modified! Anyway, by "random," those explaining the pro-free will stance often mean truly random.

My problem with that is that the universe, on a larger-than-quantum scale, follows a deterministic set of rules. The human body is a biological machine that also follows deterministic rules. Thus, if the complete state of a person and the environment was understood, the ensuing actions could be predicted. That's why I don't believe that actual _random_ free will exists; however, as we often can make pseudorandom decisions (here are a few: 21, 63, 99, 12) it _seems_ that we have free will. Thus, I conclude that free will in the truest sense of being non-deterministic does not exist, but it seems that it does, at least to an extent. Again, it's all a matter of definitions. Using these definitions, what's your view? I'd love to hear.

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Tags: determinism, free, freewill, random, will

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