May 022016
 

bell's theorem assumes free willWarning: This “free will” post is for those interested in quantum mechanics, and who have a general understanding of the field and terms used within it. 

If there was one theorem that has driven physicists to accept an indeterministic model of quantum mechanics the most, Bell’s theorem would be on the top pedestal. With the acceptance of such a theorem,  certain quantum events simply cannot have a local “hidden variable”. This means that if one is to suggest a cause that we cannot “observe” for the event (a “hidden” variable), the cause  has to be “non-local”. This idea of a non-local cause means that there is instantaneous action at a distance, something Einstein labeled as “spooky action at a distance”.  And though quantum entanglement has been “demonstrated” (but with the loophole I’ll be discussing below), many physicists prefer different quantum interpretations that do not rely on non-local hidden variables, and tend to lean toward indeterministic models which says that there actually is nothing that determines the event. A less common leaning is toward a deterministic model that postulates an almost infinity of invisible worlds. The least common, though still accepted by many, are non-local hidden variable “deterministic” models such as pilot-wave theory (Bohmian Mechanics) – a model I have great appreciation for. Continue reading »

Mar 312015
 

inconceivable_p_zombie

A philosophical zombie (also called a p-zombie) is, in philosophy, a thought experiment that plays into our ideas about consciousness. Basically, a p-zombie is a person who looks and acts like any other person, but who doesn’t have consciousness. There are two different versions of a p-zombie:

The first version is only a functional p-zombie. This is a zombie that looks and acts identically to any human, but that internally is not identical (the physical construct is different). You can  think of such a p-zombie as a cyborg that from the outside looks and acts identically to a human (acts based on input and data received), in which the program/cyborg outputs exactly what a person might have done, but never truly experiences consciousness like a person does. The point about this type of zombie is that it is not physically identical to a human.

The next version is both a functional and physically identical p-zombie. In other words, it’s as if we were to duplicate your entire physical structure, without the consciousness existing, yet the zombie would still do everything you would have done through only the physical processing but without the consciousness as a part of such.

It’s this second version that this article will be about, which happens to be the more common version when philosophers talk about “philosophical zombies”. Continue reading »

Feb 192015
 

deserve-inequality

In this article I want to get people thinking about the types of things that justify inequality. And when I say “inequality” I mean inequality of anything at all, but for the most part let’s address inequality of well-being (e.g. wealth, health, etc.). What are the reasons one might justify their own well-being at the expense of another, with such justification being rational if we were to accept the reason?

From what I can tell, most, if not all, entitlement of well-being over another’s lesser well-being depends on if a person deserves their better well-being over the other or if the other deserves their lesser well-being. It’s the idea that one is “more or less deserving” than another that allows most, if not all, justifications of inequality to take place. Continue reading »

Aug 202014
 

Free Will Illusion Fairy

Naturalism is the belief that nothing exists outside of the natural world.  Many people denote that if naturalism is true (which I believe is the case) that the laws that govern the universe are what make everything happen. That everything which happens in the universe is a physical play out through time. And that means everything single thing, including our conscious thought and decision-making. That these happenings aren’t some magical exceptions to the physics of the universe. In such a natural universe, things such as “free will” just don’t make sense. If our decisions are tied to the physical processes of the universe, then we only have a say in them in so far as the physical processes output what we will say about them. In other words, what we think, feel, say, and do are all an output of how the universe is playing out (both large scale and small scale processes).

And even if we accept that some events don’t have a cause (e.g. certain interpretations of quantum mechanics), those un-caused events are just part of the physical process that we still have no control over.

Though I agree with such analysis for various reasons, I think the incoherence of free will has a much wider reach. In other words, we don’t have to accept a naturalistic worldview to understand that free will doesn’t make any sense what-so-ever.

We just need to understand that an event (something “happening”) must either have a cause (be an output of something that already exists), or not have a cause (just happen – not the output of anything in existence). These are the only two possibilities for events. Not just “naturalistic” events, but any event. A so-called “supernatural” event simply can’t escape this dichotomy. Continue reading »