Free Will

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Re: Free Will

#13281  Postby zoon » Apr 06, 2019 9:49 am

Destroyer wrote:
It is neither moral constraints, lifeforms, consciousness, Self-awareness, or any other form of intelligence that governs the movement of mass. It is entirely the forces of gravity and electro-chemical impulses that rule the movements of physical bodies. The efficacy of such movements can be measured. All else is just wishful thinking.

What you say here is almost certainly correct, the practical problem for us so far when dealing with other people is that we cannot yet measure the physical events inside our brains which guide our behaviour. Our brains are still effectively black boxes, we barely have a clue what’s going on inside them in real time.

For predicting people in practice, we use a totally different method, which is largely automatic because we evolved with it. Human brains are similar, so we can guess people’s goals and how they are likely to try to achieve them. This is teleological and unscientific, but so far it works much better than science, so we think of people in terms of teleology, what they want for the future.

Similarly, we don’t yet try to control people by tinkering with their brains, as we would, for example, with car engines. Instead, we use ongoing threats, which are again teleological, they are about what people want or don’t want to happen in the future. Free will makes sense in the context of using threats as a method of control: there is no point in threatening someone if that person is being coerced or is mentally ill, because in those cases they are incapable of responding appropriately. Someone with free will is someone who is neither mentally incapable nor under coercion, and such a person can qualify as part of a community which controls its members through threats of punishment if they break the communally agreed moral rules. It’s all inherently vague and unscientific, but, so far, it works much better than science for managing social life.

It seems to me likely, if we don’t blow ourselves up first, that science will eventually catch up with and overtake our evolved methods of dealing with each other. If, or when, we can be understood and predicted in terms of the physical laws which constrain every atom in our bodies, I would guess that both free will and individuality would become redundant concepts. If we knew how, it would make far more sense to alter brain circuitry, or redesign it altogether, rather than inefficiently threatening each other. We’re not remotely near that stage yet.

It’s not only other people that science doesn’t understand in detail, it’s all living things. Even a microscopic bacterium tumbling its way up a food concentration gradient is using hundreds or thousands of enzymic reactions cycling many times a second in fantastic coordination, and it’s easiest for us to predict it as if it “wants” more food; tracking the individual enzymes is far beyond current science.
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