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 »

Jan 112016
 

realist-probability-no-freewill

Warning, this article will assume some education on quantum mechanics. In fact it’s specifically for people who claim that quantum probability is both real and something that can help with a notion of “free will”. I expect those people to be familiar with some things, for example, the distinction between quantum mechanics and interpretations of quantum mechanics, what a wave function is, collapse of the wave function vs decoherence, and the like.If you aren’t at least somewhat familiar you can still read this, but be forewarned that many of the terms will not be unpacked in this article, as that would bloat it.

In this article I’m going to eventually disregard  the logical incoherence of probability being “real” (or in philosophical terms “ontic”) and pretend that there is this magical type of event that is neither caused nor uncaused (in any appropriate conception of being uncaused)….but rather the event itself is, in actuality, probabilistic. A special third option (probabilistic) between two dichotomous events that are in opposition to each other (caused/uncaused). Continue reading »

Dec 142015
 

possibility-confusionsThe word “possibility” can be used in two different ways: ways that are quite often confused and conflated, leading to some huge errors in thought. This is even done by very intelligent people.

One way has to do with our uncertainty about the future. Due to our limited prediction capabilities, we often look at and call future events in which we think at the time “could happen” as a “possibility”. This type of possibility I’ll call “epistemic possibility” as “epistemic” assesses our “knowledge or lack of knowledge” over the possibility.

It’s important to note that “possibility” in this epistemic sense does not necessarily align with whether something was a real possibility. Continue reading »

Jun 032015
 

ontic_probability_doesnt_existThis topic is going to be a bit more on the “for people familiar with knowledge of some philosophical jargon” level.  In other words, this won’t be a typical post that I normally make for larger mass consumption. Perhaps at a later day I’ll create a whittled down version, but this one is needed to point others to who claim ontic probability and use such as a way to contrive free will.

I’ll be using words such as “ontic / ontological” and “epistemic / epistemological”, I’ll be talking a little bit about quantum mechanics, and I’ll be talking about the differences between “epistemic probability” and “ontic probability” and my problem with the latter.

If you can deal with a few jargon words and a post that may be a little more technical than normal, please stick with this, because it comes up more often than I’d suspect in free will debates. What am I addressing? It’s this idea that, according to some quantum interpretations (interpretations of the scientific findings of quantum mechanics, basically the teenie tiny particle level), some people assert that probability is ontological. Continue reading »