Posted: May 06, 2020 5:08 pm
by CdeLosada
FBM wrote:Seems most likely to me that the sense of free will is closely related to the sense of agency that is produced in the parietal lobe (left, IIRC). I don't see any reason to think that it corresponds to anything in particular; it's just a sensation.

There's the work that Libet did that strongly suggests that decisions are made prior to conscious awareness of them. More recently, John-Dylan Haynes, et al, did some experiments that seem to show that decisions can happen unconsciously up to 10 seconds prior to conscious awareness of them.

Just stumbled upon this thread. Even if the lockdown were to last for all eternity I wouldn’t read all 686 pages, so I’m just adding a comment to this post on the first page. Apologies if it’s already been said.

I’ve never understood why these experiments are supposed to have any relevance to the notion of free will. All they show is that sometimes we may make choices unconsciously. So what? Making them consciously doesn’t change the fact that everything is predetermined. It seems evident to me that the notion of free will can totally be discarded by thinking alone—no need at all for any experimental corroboration. It’s just intrinsically incoherent.

Some argue that if we reject free will, society will fall apart because we’ll become apathetic and refuse to get out of bed. Leaving aside that this is an appeal to consequences..., even if you reject the idea of free will, the minute you’re hungry (for example), you’ll rise from your philosophy-induced slumber (assuming such a slumber would take place—exceedingly unlikely!) and go look for something to eat. Not much, if anything, would change in our day-to-day life from a denial of free will.

Another objection (again an appeal-to-consequences fallacy) is that the very foundation of morality, our sense of right and wrong, our system of rewards and punishments would collapse. Our moral philosophy and justice system might well change, but most probably only for the good: we would still need to lock up criminals for safety and deterrence, but hopefully any inclination towards cruelty, and any notions of revenge or that making someone suffer is their just deserts, would tend to weaken, since we’d have to recognize that they are illogical, and in fact immoral.

And by the way, to adduce that quantum-mechanics randomness may open a window for free will is nonsense. If subject to quantum-mechanics randomness, our will would just act randomly—it would still not be “free”.