19 votes

A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked

2 comments

  1. [2]
    imperialismus
    Link
    To be honest, this wasn’t a particularly good argument in the discussion about free will to begin with. Philosophers are more interested in questions like is free will compatible with determinism?...

    To be honest, this wasn’t a particularly good argument in the discussion about free will to begin with. Philosophers are more interested in questions like is free will compatible with determinism? If no, and if the universe is deterministic (or mostly so, with a bit of quantum randomness, which is also out of the individual’s control), then there is no free will. Or if free will is compatible with determinism, as some philosophers have argued, then the experiment is also irrelevant. Either way, it seems to be addressing the issue at a less fundamental level than is required to treat it rigorously and fairly.

    On a less abstract level, I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced times when, in retrospect, I realize I had made a decision and started acting in accordance with that before I was consciously aware of that. But I still feel like I made that decision, freely chosen. It’s just that the metacognitive level, the recognition that a decision has been irrevocably made, lagged behind the actual decision point.

    7 votes
    1. skybrian
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Well, there's the question of whether you should take responsibility for your unconscious self, and I don't see why not? I may be able to do some things by rote, but it's still me doing them....

      Well, there's the question of whether you should take responsibility for your unconscious self, and I don't see why not? I may be able to do some things by rote, but it's still me doing them.

      There may be different consequences though, when it comes to what to do about them. Bad habits can be hard to break. Morally, we treat mistakes and decisions made in the moment differently than conscious, premeditated decisions.

      Philosophically, I think you can still be mistaken about why you do what you do, even if not in this particular way.

      3 votes