Oct 122015
 

free-will-compatibilism-vs-skepticism

This post is going to be about some of the problems with free will compatibilist (re)definitions that certain philosophers (which is different than layperson compatibilist intuitions) have. So what is “free will compatibilism”? It’s basically the idea that free will is compatible with a causally deterministic universe (and that indeterminism doesn’t account for free will). For compatibilist philosophers this is accomplished through a redefinition of free will. It’s basically a way to say that, even if our decisions are caused, the fact that we have certain causal processes which can include such things as wanting, desiring, thinking, and rational deliberation, and the fact that sometimes those processes are not prevented in some way by (“free” from) a force such as a person with a gun, a drug addiction, or something similar – that in such a context we can label that “free will”. Continue reading »

Sep 212015
 

mental-causationSome people believe that there is a separation between the causal events of the world, and the consciousness that happens or that arises from such. In other words, even if the mental may be caused by the physical or is in ways correlated to it, they’d suggest that the mental has no causation back to the physical. This rejection of mental causation most often stems from either: 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 »

Jun 082014
 

Only a few hours left for downloading the most awesome kindle book everrr! ….on topic of (the lack of) free will! Breaking the Free Will Illusion for the Betterment of Humankind!

Hurry up, at midnight tonight the launch promotion ends! Of course it’ll still be way worth the few bucks when it does end, but hey…why not grab it now absolutely free? And if you like it or learn something new, or if it just gives you some “food for thought” I’d love it if you gave me a Kindle review. It is new and could use some causal support!

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Jun 022014
 

This post isn’t going to make the case against free will. If you want that case in all of it’s glory, check out my book Breaking the Free Will Illusion for the Betterment of Humankind.

Rather, this post is going to be about where the case against free will resides, meaning where it sits and what’s being looked at when the case is being made.

First thing first, I want to address burden of proof. Though I do go over this quickly in the book as well, it’s important to point out when addressing “where the case against free will is” that any such case is in the form of “proving a negative”. In other words, the person making the claim of something “existing” always carries the burden of proof to show that such exists, and that it exists as something more than just a “feeling” or “intuition”. To put it another way, no one I know of is denying that people experience a “feeling” of free will or an “intuition” about it.  Of course we do.

We, after all, never see the variables that output our thoughts, decisions, and actions. To us, it seems like all of those options presented before us are all viable options. The illusion of free will exists – as an illusion. As something we intuit (though incorrectly). There is little or no doubt about that. It’s when people say that free will is more than a feeling or illusion that they hold all of the burden of providing proof for their existence claim.

Regardless of this, because people do experience this illusion, and the belief in “actual” free will is pervasive, hard determinists or incompatibilists often feel they have some obligation to “prove a negative”. To shift that burden of proof. To show that free will doesn’t in fact exist, rather than to ask for the evidence for free will – which always seems to come up with something like “we experience it” and then builds on that.

When we look down a straight train track we often experience parallel train tracks converging at the horizon. As we watch a train go down those tracks we see it become smaller and smaller until it eventually vanishes. We know, however, that this is not the case. We know that if we get on a train and ride it toward the horizon that we will not get smaller and smaller until we vanish, or crash because what we thought were parallel train tracks actually converge. We understand the limitations of or perception as well as have an understanding of perspective. We don’t even have to think about it, we simply know that there is no convergence or that the train isn’t literally shrinking. We have no fear of these sorts when riding on that train.

Likewise, we can know that free will is incoherent, even if we seem to experience something like it. That’s because we can actually prove the negative. We don’t have to wait for someone to attempt to prove that free will exists. We don’t have to say “we shouldn’t believe it until it’s proven”, but rather we can say “we shouldn’t believe it because it has been disproven”. A much stronger, burden shifting, case.

The case against free will is within that “proving a negative” arena that most scientifically or logically minded people understand that there is still a burden for the person making the claim itself. Once that’s clear, we can actually move on to actually proving that negative. That’s done within the confines of logic, meaning the methodologies of deduction as well as induction (our best standards of knowledge). The scientific method uses both induction and deduction, and therefore is an example of a logical methodology. But even before the scientific method we can deductively understand that colorless pink square circles are self-contradictory  – rendering them logically incoherent.

boxes_of_contradictions-FOR_BLOG_POST

Likewise, this is where the case against free will is. We can understand that the universe (or beyond?) is either deterministic (meaning everything has a cause) or indeterministic (meaning that some acausal events can occur). Once we understand these two possibilities we can assess if free will makes sense within them. As it turns out, free will is entirely logically incompatible with those two states. Quantum mechanics can’t free it. Different conceptions of time can’t free it. Some non-physical view can’t free it. It’s simply as logically incoherent as those colorless pink square circles are.

And that’s more than sufficient. With just that alone it’s a closed case. The idea of free will has been found guilty of being complete nonsense. But the case against free will doesn’t stop there. When we get into science and in particular neuroscience, we come up with experiments that seem to align with the fact that this magical ability just doesn’t exist. For example, the fact that we can, for the most part, know if a person will press a button held by their left hand or one held by their right hand, 7 to 10 seconds before they are consciously aware of which button they have decided to press. It’s just more dirt on the coffin of free will – and there will be more of that to come.

So where is the case against free will? It’s in logic, reason, critical thinking, and the willingness to shift the burden to prove a negative. The case is within the logical incoherence of the free will position. Where it’s not located is within the realm of wishful thinking, dogma, fantasy, imagination, or illusion. Those areas are reserved for the cases supporting free will. 😉

Interested in reading the actual case? Well that’s much longer than a single post can handle:

The Kindle ebook version is now available!

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BTFWI_BOOK_COVER

Breaking the Free Will Illusion
for the Betterment of Humankind

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Oct 182013
 

I’ve recreated the cover of my book and revamped my website. Yes, I’m still editing it. It’s taking a long time as I’m quite the perfectionist. I’m thinking I will have to let a few things go in regards to wording if I’m ever to get my book out to the world (at least for the first edition)! As you might know, I’m not only a writer of philosophy, but I’m also an artist (see TricksPlace.com), a WordPress site builder / designer, a freelancer, and a entrepreneur (I always have a project going on). I don’t write my books full-time for a living (though would love to as they are my passion…along with my art that is).

That being said, I’m also looking to illustrate parts of my book, another time consuming objective if I get to it. We’ll see how many illustrations I can do that can help people visualize certain key concepts.

This site I had just sort of thrown up a while back, and I’m just now starting to revamp it. I’ve recreated my book cover (done in Photoshop) and I also added a new theme for the website with a new header based on the book cover!

My new book cover:

Breaking the Free Will Illusion - BOOK COVER

Let me know what you think in the comments below! The idea was to keep it readable and simple, sort of showing a zoomed out “watcher” perceptive of inter-related connections. No doubt I may end up revising it more before the book is finally complete. We’ll see.

Anyway, I may blog on here a little more frequently, so please connect by subscribing.