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comment by bioemerl
bioemerl  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Free will is back, and maybe we can measure it

    Science is giving us a very powerful and clear way to understand freedom of the will. We have just been looking for it in the wrong place. Instead of using an electron microscope or a brain-scanner, we should go to the zoo.

In other words "We don't actually realize the point behind why people say free will doesn't exist"

    animals need to weigh different factors, explore available options, pursue new alternatives when old strategies don’t work. Together these abilities give all animals, including humans, an entirely natural free will, one that we need precisely because we are not rocks.

In other words "we do not understand what free will is".

We do, as human beings, make decisions based on our environment, the state of our minds, and that's the point. If we know those factors, if we control the state of the mind and the environment, we can predict or cause a person to act in a certain way.

    The chimpanzee therefore has more options: if a juicier treat became available after six seconds, a chimp would be free to choose whether to wait for it, but a chicken would not.

This is not free will.

user-inactivated  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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bioemerl  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Free will is the assumption that who we are define the decisions we make. A criminal is a criminal because they chose to become so, they are the reason for the direction they have taken in life. A decision rests on the soul of the person who made it.

Now we have learned that it isn't true. A criminal is a criminal because they were born with the genes that spur reckless behavior, they grew up in an environment that encouraged criminal action, not because "they" are criminal scum, but because the world they live in defined who they are.

Free will is the idea that it's meaningful to be human, that what we do is something important, something special.

At the end of our day, it's not the choices we make that matter, that define our path, it's who we were made to be by what is around us.

user-inactivated  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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bioemerl  ·  3042 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    After numerous scientific studies, we have determined that free will does not exist. Is this correct

Not necessarily, as it's kind of hard/impossible to say something like free will does or doesn't exist.

It could just be that free will does exist, but choices just always happen to line up with environment.

What we do know is that people raised a certain way tend to become a certain person. People with certain genes tend to act certain ways. People with a modified mind make different decisions. We can predict what a person is about to do based on the state of their mind.

All evidence for the idea that our "choices" are not something determined, but something you could predict accurately if you knew everything about the world at time N, and had the right math/simulation ability to predict N+1.

No time would that prediction be wrong, no time would the person make a choice that would go against that prediction. We are literally the matter, the reactions, that make us up, and our decisions are also a result of that.

    "Now we can judge a criminal for his actions based on his own decisions"?

We can still do that.

A person is who they are born as. They don't choose to be that person. A person is what the world around them makes them. This doesn't make them excluded from their choices, in fact, it makes them all the more tied to them. That person, the things that person did, are inherently who that person is.

Rather than a "disconnected" being making decisions, a criminal is a person who makes the decision to kill, to steal, and so on. They don't make the decision to become that, but they are still that, and we should still treat them as such. Just as we should remember that we can change that path, change their environment, to turn them into someone different, someone productive for society. AKA: Jail.

    How would the universe need to be different to be one where free will would exist?

If free will were a thing, we wouldn't see decisions tied to the environment, the birth, and so on. They would be "free" of physical factors, unable to be predicted. Two equally likely outcomes, and the person picks which comes true.

To my knowledge, that reality does not exist.

Kafke  ·  3040 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    You seem to think the term "free will " refers to some other concept. What do you think free will is?

The defying of physical determinism. That is, when presented with an option, there is no way to predict what the individual will choose (given the choice is free and the user wills something). If there's a way to predict, the choice was never free to begin with and thus is not free will.

What's being talked about here is psychological will, which is indeed deterministic.

user-inactivated  ·  3040 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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Kafke  ·  3037 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Nope. Because technically: 1. The measure of the spin of an electron may or may not be deterministic (depending on how things go). and 2. A "truly random event" is not willed, it's random.

I hold the position that free will is logistically impossible. Either it's free, which means it can't be willed. Or it's willed, which is inherently deterministic.

In order to have free will you must have a mechanism that functions based off the will of an agent. Meaning you'd need something external to physical reality, that then influences physical reality in a nondeterministic (that's also not random) way.

As I said, you have to defy physical determinism. But in the mean time, you need it to actually be willed.

It's very clear why free will can't be a thing. Will can be a thing. And certainly free will in terms of psychological agency over a body exists. But that 'free will' would be deterministic. Or perhaps random (but then it wouldn't be willed).