I've given a great deal of thought to the concept of "free will" and have determined that there really is no such thing. Logically, all of existence is a matter of cause and effect, and since we have no control over the causes (we weren't even present at the time they originated), we obviously can have no control over the effects.

An easy way to prove this precept to yourself is to look back over your life; see that turning point that changed the course of your future? How many people, how many uncontrollable events brought you to that point? See how you really had nothing to do with the path you trod thereafter?

Another interesting side effect of this train of thought is to realize that everything in the universe is interconnected and influences everything else. A simple exercise: look at what you're wearing, then trace each item (and everything in and on it) back to its origin. You'll find people who grew fiber plants (think sun, climate, soil, etc.) in one place (and you can think about what brought them to that time and place, too), factories and workers in other places from whence buttons, zippers, shoelaces, etc. came, and of course the vast array of geographic areas in which the various items of your attire were assembled. Getting aboard this train of thought will allow you to see yourself as a tiny portion of the immense universe, both impacting and being impacted upon by every other entity, from the sun, moon and stars to the ant queen that just laid a thousand eggs in your front yard.

Tying this into the "no free will" argument is simple logic. All the people and elements that went into your appearance today pushed you to make the decisions you made, totally without your knowledge or collusion. Everything that happened everywhere in the universe today will affect what you do tomorrow. Or in the next moment. And you will have absolutely no control over it!


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Blame physicists. It comes from studying quantum mechanics too much. Messes with their brains.
I have also seen the term being used as I described it somewhere, guess there might be ambiguous meanings of the word in general? Oh well, stopping to use it now seems a little meh, since it 100% represents what I believes in would it agree :(
It is that and a little more. It also requires mathematical models which can have radically different outputs according to small variations in the initial values. In other words, it is because we can't know all the initial parameters and that the output varies greatly that physicists have coined that word. It is purely deterministic.
Chaos/randomness is just what we call it when the pattern is too complex for us to fathom or follow.
I don't think things can been otherwise. These seemingly other options are not really options at all, only further conditions that contribute to determining the path you do take.
Also, think of the many times when humans have made decisions counter to all logic and emotion. It's honestly not the greatness of humanity, the works of art, the dreams, the inventions that leads me to believe we have free will. It's the great works of stupidity done by those who know better. Humans attempt things that no animal would dare, thanks to free will.


I think your definition is pretty much sound. Animals still only follow their instincts which definitely marks a much clearer cause and effect.
"animals still only follow their instincts"... says who? Without looking it up, can you give me the definition of an instinct?

Depending on the animal, animals can have just as much "free will" as humans, and humans have just as many "instincts" as animals.
Furthermore, we're still only animals.
I don't follow your evolution argument.

As for the times when people make stupid decisions, that has no more bearing on free will than hiccups or cancer do. The brain is an organ just like any other organ in your body, and it can get sick, it can make errors, and it can malfunction. Unless you're all willing to say that your respiratory system has "free will" because it sometimes gives you hiccups (actually that's more of a brain stem thing, but you get my drift), or that cancer cells have free will, errors in judgment do not make for free will (whatever that is. You never defined what free will IS, so it's kind of hard to argue against it.).
I Think the very term is misleading because a person can make a free choice about his or her behavior but the conscious factors that weighed into that decision are far less than the subconscious factors that had to do with their total conditioning to get to that place in life.

Total conditioning involves both environmental and hereditary factors including hormonal imbalances that can also effect decision making. Se we think we're making decisions freely, but it isn't actually so.

If you want to use the phrase free will in terms of a God playing judge of our behavior, you're not talking abou a very intelligent God.
Free will is an understandable illusion. When an individual is presented with multiple options and chooses one over the other it is easy to think that one's “will” made the choice. However, most decisions are made first at an unconscious level and then go to the conscious mind where it is acted on. The “gap” between unconscious formulation and conscious awareness creates the illusion that one consciously “willed” the decision, when in fact it was largely controlled by unconscious mechanisms.
I consider myself a determinist.

The way I see it, there are two possibilities. Either behavior X is caused by something, or it is not caused by something. If it is not caused by something, then it has to be by it's very nature completely and utterly random. Since people do not behave in completely random ways, I think we can rule the "uncaused will" on the grounds that the hypothesis does not agree with the observations. You could argue that only certain behaviors are "uncaused", but I don't see any reason to argue that. Besides, uncaused "will" is no more free than purely deterministic behavior is. This works at any level of causality (or not), whether natural or supernatural.

The second possibility is that behavior IS caused. In this case, there are two further possibilities. One is that the causes are purely natural, and the other is that there are supernatural causes. Clearly, if we are talking about the cause of behavior, the supernatural would HAVE to be affecting the natural. However, it's "possible" that the natural couldn't influence the supernatural. In this case, the "cause" is no better than random chance, ultimately your will would be uncaused (as far as the natural world is concerned).

If the supernatural is being affected by the natural, then ultimately the behavior would have a natural cause. You could add as many layers as you want (natural->supernatural->super supernatural->etc.->natural), but for our purposes they are irrelevant and superfluous. Ultimately, behavior would be caused by nature.

Completely sidestepping the quantum mechanics issue (which, at the level of neurology/etc doesn't apply), the universe at the level we're concerned with is completely deterministic. Hence, behavior is completely deterministic.

People often say they find this depressing. Well, I don't know about you, but I want my behavior to be determined by reality. I would like the least randomness incorporated in my behavior as possible.



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