Feb 182017
 

free-will-worth-wanting

Found by a reader of whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com in the UK who saw this poster in a waiting room:

I was in my GP’s waiting room this morning & my eyes were drawn to a poster on the noticeboard similar to the one below.  Your free will posts have so thoroughly meme-iated my head that it took me a few seconds to figure out the intended meaning.

Too funny! Finally, a “Free Will” that is truly worth wanting (as Dennett would say).

Jan 262015
 

Amazon_Countdown_Deal

…for the Betterment of Humankind!

For a limited time the Kindle version of Breaking the Free Will Illusion for the Betterment of Humankind will be having an awesome deal (amazon.com and amazon.co.uk only).

Starting Thursday January 29 @ 8AM PST and ending Thursday February 5th at 12AM PST (or midnight on Wednesday), the Kindle version will be having what is called a “Countdown Deal”. So how does a countdown deal work?

The price will start at 99 CENTS  and  go back up to the full price on February 5th.

You will see something like this on the Amazon Kindle book page:
timer

So yeah, download your copy of the Kindle version at this time. Don’t miss out! Follow one of the links below:

AMAZON.COM
AMAZON.CO.UK

And when you read it, send me an email to let me know whatcha think. And if you liked it or it gave you “food for thought”, please leave me an Amazon review – I’d be very grateful!

Thanks,

‘Trick

Dec 292014
 

dandelion-fairies-no-free-will

It’s holiday time, so why not tell people to believe in fictions as their New Year’s resolution?

Another nonsensical article has cropped up titled “Need a New Year’s Resolution? Believe in Free Will!” written by science writer John Horgan for the Scientific American website. Of course this opinion piece is anything but scientific or unbiased.

In this article Horgan takes the compatibilist position of Daniel Dennett, basically defining free will as something compatible with reality, but avoiding the free will most people feel they possess. Continue reading »

Nov 242014
 

puppet_fix

As someone with a site specifically honed on this topic of free will, I look at it as my job to address or debunk various misinformed articles (and other media) by people who have the ability to get a lot of views (For example, remember this Michio Kaku video?).

Roy Baumeister, an eminent social psychologist and author of the book “Willpower“, has written an article in Slate magazine in support of “free will” a little while back. This is a response to that article. If you haven’t read it, it can be found here.

There are some things he gets right, but a whole lot he gets wrong. This post, of course, is about those wrong things. So let’s jump right to some quotes from the article, shall we? Continue reading »

Nov 172014
 

Otherwise-Percentages-BTFWI

Some compatibilists like to define free will as something entirely different than the definition I’ve supplied here: FREE WILL.

Notice I have both a present tense version:

“The ability to choose between more than one viable option or action, in which that choice was up to the chooser.”

and a past tense version:

“The ability to have, of one’s own accord, chosen otherwise than they did.”

They are really the same definition in different forms. Notice that in both versions there is a qualifier, that being “up to the chooser” or “of one’s own accord”. These parts basically mean the same thing, and they are only tacked on to the definitions to address “indeterminism” (meaning if some events are acausal) and how they could never be “up to the chooser” or “of one’s own accord”. They’d just happen regardless of “us”. Most compatibilist agree with this, but they say that free will isn’t incompatible with determinism. Therefore, we can truncate my definition and take out these qualifiers under the assumption that all events are causal (at least when addressing the compatibilist). If we were to address the libertarian (who thinks free will is compatible with indeterminism), such qualifiers are important. Continue reading »

Sep 292014
 

Choice vs. Free ChoiceWords, words, and more words! The different ways people think about words and terms often gets in our way. A response someone might have to another who claims there is no free will is “we make choices”, as if such choice making is “free will”.

What must be understood, however, is the distinction between “making choices” and “making a free choice”. And the distinction here is very important. And the word “choice” isn’t the only word that is often conflated. Take a look at this short list for a few examples:

  • Choice vs. Free Choice
  • Will vs. Free Will
  • Agency vs. Free Agency
  • Decision vs. Free Decision

There is an extremely important distinction between each of these. Lacking free will does not mean we A) don’t make choices, B) don’t causally will, C) don’t have agency, and D) don’t make decisions. Continue reading »

Sep 262014
 

Spotted Unicorn and Free Will - BOTH FANTASY!

I made a digital illustration of a fantasy unicorn type creature (for the fun of it) and thought it would be fun to add a little free will silliness to it….since it is a “fantasy” scene after all. The original will eventually be going on my art website at TricksPlace.com – and it will be without the little free will creature and text bubble when I put it there. Yes, I don’t just do philosophy, I do art as well. 😉 Continue reading »

Sep 232014
 

Buridan's Ass - Breaking the Free Will IllusionImagine a scenario in which you open up the refrigerator door and see two different food items. In that very moment it happens to turn out that:

A) You only want one of the items

and

B) You desire each food item equally

In this imaginary scenario, there is nothing for B) that is weighing your decision of one food item over another food item. One isn’t more fattening than the other, one wouldn’t taste better than the other, there is no differences in texture, size, quantity, smell, or color that would make you decide on one over the other. The location of each food item is equally desirable – in other words, there is no food item sitting by the other that would cause a decision for one over the other. There is no psychological response to the one food over the other. One isn’t closer, easier to grab, and so on.

This thought experiment is similar to Buridan’s ass, a (so called) “paradox” in the philosophy of free will. Buridan’s ass, named after 14th century French philosopher Jean Buridan, addresses a hypothetical donkey who is both equally hungry as it is thirsty. And when I say “equally”, I mean absolutely equal in every way possible. The donkey is placed in the exact center-point between a hay stack and a pale of water. It has no momentum either way, equally understands the existence of both, and neither is closer than the other (which this donkey does not assess one as closer than the other in any way – even mistakenly).

As the hypothetical goes, the donkey would both die of starvation and thirst since it cannot make a rational decision to choose one or the other. Continue reading »

Sep 122014
 

many-worlds-no-free-will

In my book Breaking the Free Will Illusion, I have a chapter titled “Quantum Misunderstandings and Contrivances”. In it I touch upon the fact that in quantum mechanics (which addresses the smallest particles and their behavior) there are numerous “interpretations” surrounding what certain experiments show, and surrounding the mathematics used to describe this scale. These interpretations are rightly called “quantum interpretations”, and they compete with each other. Some are deterministic (meaning entirely causal), others are indeterministic (meaning some events don’t have causes), and others are agnostic on whether all events have a cause or not.

The fact of the matter is, we just don’t know which interpretation is the best model of reality. They each have their unintuitive problems. Regardless of this, I delve into why none of them can help grant free will.

One of these interpretations, however, is so un-evidentary that it really can’t be taken too seriously. Yet I’ve come across many occasion when someone will invoke this interpretation as a savior of free will.  The interpretation I’m talking about is called the many-worlds interpretation (also known as many-universes or many-histories interpretation). Though all of the interpretations are speculative, this interpretation speculates on “worlds” that are impossible to prove. A huge no-no in science.  But worse than that, not only does it not grant free will, but out of all of the processes it is the most fatalistic. Continue reading »