Re: Free Will not an illusion

From: Phillip Huggan (
Date: Sat Dec 17 2005 - 11:40:16 MST

Good point. I should clarify that I don't mean the specific conscious decision to supress or heighten borderline neuron firings on the verge of cascading to an action, is an act of free will in any meaningful way. If you trace casuality back to near the big bang and down to the physics of planck distances, we don't have ultimate free-will. But 100% free will is not being postulated here and this is the wrong level of resolution. The limited free-will battleground is fought somewhere between neuron chemistry and quantum physics. If a big bolide/meteorite slams into my community, obviously there is no free-will on my part being exercised in the process. When we exercise the brain veto in a way that references our own personalities in deciding whether or not to veto, we are constraining ourselves and channeling our environments in the future in a limited but very real way. The free-will applies to the future, not really the present too much (though it can be very significant if
 instead of eating paint, I'm deciding whether or not to shoot myself with a bazooka). And we start the veto process at a very early age; seniors have more free will than toddlers. Perhaps I'm misusing the term free will and this is more an argument for the continuity of self?
  To create the two identical people in your thought experiment, you would have to recreate two independant multiverses too. A brain veto would be responsible for splitting off a separate universe history as do the quantum actions of many inanimate objects. So if you want to trace the two twin's evolution all the way to their present identical states, you are implicitly assuming acts of free-will in their personal historys. The flaw in the reasoning is that you are ignoring all the world-lines where the individuals ate the paint, shot the bazooka and made choices where they do not wind up identical.

steve p <> wrote:
  you say that whether or not the the neurons fire is
based on electrical impulses which shows that you are
exercising free will, but people have no choice on
what these impulses do. the impulses are solely based
on outcomes of previous events. the only way that you
could claim this is free will is if these impulses are
somehow determined randomly, which i would still not
consider free will because you are bound by the
outcome of a random event. when these impulses are
looked at on the subatomic level, it is just certain
particles reacting with each other. to argue that two
reactions with the exact same variables can have a
different outcome is to argue against all logic. if we
could somehow create two people in two parralel
universes who are exactly identical down to the
subatomic level and have been raised 100% the same,
and we made them make a decision on something they
would both make the same decision. this shows that
they do not have free will because they have to make
the same choice.

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