Tuesday, July 31, 2012

#212 / Free Won't

A recent article in Scientific American magazine suggests that "free will is an illusion," citing to a book written by neuroscientist Sam Harris. Thanks to my friend Linda Lemaster for bringing it to my attention.

author of the article, comes right back at Harris, however, and says that if "free will" is an illusion, "free won't" isn't:

These vetoing neural impulses within a complex system with many degrees of freedom are part of the deterministic universe.Thinking of volition as a component of the causal net lets us restore personal responsibility to its rightful place in a civil society.

In other words, our freedom consists, in a basic way, in our ability to "say no," both to the suggestions of society and to our own impulses. This is an approach I advocate.

1 comment:

  1. The problem with "free won't" choices is that they are subject to the same causality or randomness that prohibit free will. A choice is a choice, regardless of whether or not it is a veto of a considered option. As such, it either has a causal history, which makes free will impossible, or it is random, which also makes free will impossible.


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