Is free will a paradox or superposition?

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posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:09 AM
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I will be very interested to know if ATSers can nail this one.

A few months ago I was talking to someone (in the pub) and the notion of free will was encountered. I thought I had free will after all I am the one that decides if to go to the pub, or not.

Most of us think we understand free will but it was explained to me that in fact it’s a paradox. If it is a paradox then we don’t have free will.

Apparently free will had randomness about it, and that means it cannot be determined one way or the other.

If I determine it then it's not random. If I don't determine it then it's not me acting and it's not free will.

The explanation to me was there really is no free will and that it’s an illusion due to “cause and effect”.

Example: if I go to the pub on first night there is no paradox and free will is intact. On the other hand if I go to the pub on the second night and a friend calls to say there is no point because the pub has burned down then free will is interrupted. Free will had failed due to cause and effect and so sometimes there appears to be free will and others times not .

There does appear to be a paradox, but is this a real paradox or not in my mind it’s a quantum problem with a superposition but as we know superposition’s are on a quantum level.

It is a puzzle that I’m not sure is real or not – notice I called it a puzzle rather than a paradox.

What do you think?




posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:22 AM
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Hhmm, I'm not so sure about this. I think free will or not it depends on whether we know or don't know for sure exactly the consequences of our action. I mean since we're "governed" by quantum physics, to us free will would always have existed. But to God, we don't have free will at all, since God is omniscient.

When I said God, I don't necessarily refer to JHVH or Allah or other.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:26 AM
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I think there is such a thing as free will, and that it is extremely limited. It all depends on context. In some cases, there is no choice: in order to exist, we all must breathe, etc. and no one is immune to the effects of gravity and so on. Other times, we can make profound choices, such as to have a child, or end a life. Perhaps it is fortunate that we have such a small amount of free will, considering what we as a species have done with it so far.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:26 AM
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Here's what the dictionary told me:

free will
n.

1. The ability or discretion to choose; free choice: chose to remain behind of my own free will.
2. The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will.


Using definition 1, you had the choice to go to the pub, regardless of it's condition, however the reason you chose to go there vanished because the pub itself burned down. You still had the choice however, and thus had free will.

Using definition 2, free will is hard to find because you can't really ''see'' fate or divine will.

Using your own definition I don't really see the paradox in the example. Although the pub is burned down you can still go there, if you don't go there it is because you decided there is no reason anymore (and thus you changed your ''free will decision'' on your own free will), if you do, it is probably because of an other reason than your initial one, but it is still because you wanted to.

So what is this ''randomness'' about free will that you're talking about?

[edit on 25/1/09 by -0mega-]



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:29 AM
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Well, every action spins the future into infinite directions or strings and I would say this is free will. With infinite strings of the future, when one looks to the past they see only one string and so some people assume their future is only one string too, or in other words destiny or fate.


[edit on 25-1-2009 by Xtrozero]



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:43 AM
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reply to post by -0mega-
 


I suppose I assumed that going to the pub was in fact the full deal like actually having a beer therefore my free will to “Have beer” was interrupted. The superposition part where the pub has not yet burned down, and so the decision is both go and no go is true.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 01:54 AM
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I guess this is some kind of paradox. There is no free will because we have a tendency to favor certain choices over others due to our experience. On the other hand because our ability to predict events in space time is limited we have the illusion of making choices without predicting events, which results in a somewhat "innate" preference that we call free will. Free will is the gift of blindness and thus ignorance is bliss.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:16 AM
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aw jeez, can we just settle the free will debate once and for all......this is really not hard to understand.....


FREE WILL DOESN'T EXIST.

You don't make decisions. You make what you perceive to be decisions. You are really just reacting. Every thing you "decide" to do is based on experience, or the environment.

Cause and effect is what's really happening. Life is one massive chain reaction that's been going on for a very long time.

I challenge anyone to present decision that goes back to true free will.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 04:50 AM
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Free will does not exist. It is the effect of a limited perspective on reality. This goes back to an understanding that we would all do the same in eachothers shoes. That we would have all lived each others lives just as we have. In this is love and forgiveness.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by liquidsmoke206
aw jeez, can we just settle the free will debate once and for all......this is really not hard to understand.....


FREE WILL DOESN'T EXIST.

You don't make decisions. You make what you perceive to be decisions. You are really just reacting. Every thing you "decide" to do is based on experience, or the environment.

Cause and effect is what's really happening. Life is one massive chain reaction that's been going on for a very long time.

I challenge anyone to present decision that goes back to true free will.


I hadn’t realised that it had been debated recently my apologies.
I think it does exist if the cause and effect issue doesn’t come into play.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 07:51 AM
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Free will DOES exist. You assume that everything is either random or deterministic. This is your mistake. Check out this article about fruit flies. www.msnbc.msn.com...



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 07:59 AM
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Okay, so this is from the introduction course in philosophy (so it is pretty simple)

Free will does exist, but it is not about being able to go to the pub or not, thats just freedom of ACTION.

Free will is coined "free will" because it refers to the freedom of your will. Regardless if youre able to implement your will in the real world. This is why prison does not limit the free will of a person, only the freedom of action.

So to achieve a free will, one must ask if you are free in what you WANT. Are you free to choose whether to go to the pub or not?

Philosophy (dont know the author) came to the conclusion, that free will is definitely possible (in contrast to most psychologists or neurologists), but is very rare. A humans will is limited by a lot of factors, the most important are: Culture, personal history and biology / physics.

IMHO it is VERY easy to develop a small portion of free will, but its very hard to develop lots of free will. So if you ask who actually has complete free will: No one.
But if you think you dont have any free will, you might be correct



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 08:35 AM
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There is absolutely no free will.

And, if you think about it, free will doesn't even make sense at all.

Your decisions are based on something, such as weighing the consequences. But, this is based on the quality of the data and your reasoning skills, which are based on genetics and experience, which is based on our biology, which is based on physics, which is based on... as it goes forever.

The free will advocates would have you believe that at some point in this process that there is something that can decide something regardless of all those controlling factors. But HOW? At that point, this "thing" that makes the final decision would have to base it's decision on SOMETHING, or else just make a random "guess". But, nothing is truly random. Something seems random only because you can't see the underlying mechanisms to be able to predict the outcome.

I think that the notion of free will only makes sense in a practical sense. It just means that you are free from external influences; not coerced. There is not absolute free will. Someone or something obviously set up the rules ahead of time.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 08:48 AM
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Originally posted by TheSingularity
There is absolutely no free will.


Someone or something obviously set up the rules ahead of time.


This is speculation. You just cant prove or falsify it. So why not to bother about those things, which are in minds range. Like free will


Free will makes sense and it has nothing to do with random choices.

If you THINK something is right so you do what you think is right, and you want what you do, then you have free will. Your will is governed by your reasoning.

If you are unfree, then your will, which is mostly unconscious, will govern your reasoning. For sure you think that you are free, but you are not. The indicator, if you just think you are free, but in reality your reasoning is ruled by your unconscious, is not an easy one. But its definitly possible to determine whether you are free or not, just be honest with yourself


edit: But maybe you think it is just impossible to THINK independent of wishes and basic influences and the like? Well, this is strange. Because a thought just by definition is independent of everything
Think the thought tree: This thought is immateriell and is not influenced by materiality. So it is free by definition.

And if you are able to think a thought without interferences with other thoughts, then this thought is free from other thoughts


[edit on 25-1-2009 by Wachstum]



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 09:23 AM
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Originally posted by TheSingularity
...But, nothing is truly random....


some people here seem so sure of themselfs.

i could just as easily state that "totally everything is random", and you would have a hell of a time providing evidence to the contrary.

i dont like to drag the ole' quantum mechanics out (because around these parts we tend to digress into quantum mumbo-jumbo), so i will be brief with it.

quite simply: there does seem to be a *non-local* source of information which is necessary to bring about reality as we know it out of the "quantum soup".

quantum soup = total randomness, superposition
non-local = consciousness

in other words, those billiard balls would not be deterministically bouncing one to the other in their "cause and effect" pattern without a conscious observer.

i will not go farther. what i have said does not settle the debate, but it certainly refutes those whom seem to be so sure.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 09:27 AM
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I was actually thinking about this not to long ago also, and this is what i have come up with.

I think that we do have free will, and we do have choices to make, but none of them change anything. The choices we make in the present do not change the future at all, because you were always going to make that choice.

So, yes, we do have free will, but no, it does not change what we are going to do.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 10:17 AM
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This "quantum soup" is based on the plunks dsitance. They assume that only so much stuff can fit in a small space. Look up nasty infinity. They had to renomalize matter in physics to remove the infinte energy and density they found in the "vaccum".

The only things that can contian infinty within boundries is a fractal.. this may be our final model of reality.

There is no free will everything you do is based on so many variables that it only appears you have freewilll do to ignorance.

Just keep asking "why", just like the annoying children do. I garantee youll realize that a string of reasoning is alot longer than your concious mind allows you to see.

[edit on 25-1-2009 by Wertdagf]



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 10:43 AM
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Originally posted by Wertdagf
I garantee youll realize that a string of reasoning is alot longer than your concious mind allows you to see.


Sorry, i don't buy this one. Don't know you, but my first thought is, maybe you generalize just your personal problem.

Assume you could consciously see lots lots more than you can now, what change would that bring?? Imho it does not alter the quality of free will, only the quantity. In other words: The size of the consciousness has no inpact on the fact that there IS an independent consciousness - which is free will
plus, i garantee you, its not always a fun or easy thing to have



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 10:53 AM
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so you cannot consider it a possibility? That Your enviroment... your body in which you had experiances has shaped your personality and thoughts?
Just like the children of religous familys have a "choice" about what religion they will follow.



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 11:06 AM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 


Sure i consider it a possibility, the only thing i say is, there is also a possibility to escape this programming. Which normally is called adulthood (no offense to anyone), to escape all the # the child you were has been told to! And in this world, children get told more bull# than ... dont know, a lot





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