Determinism vs Free Will
Free will concerns the ability of your
mind to make its independent choices. Crucially, who makes those choices? Consider the evidence. When you begin to talk, your nervous
system has already assigned control of your speech to an emotion. It
has articulated an idea around the emotion, chosen apt words,
arranged them in lexical and grammatical order and adjusted the pitch
of your voice. When you have no conscious idea of what words you will use, how
can you ever think that you have a free will? But, imagine that you have,
in reality, the ownership of an absolutely free will.
Actually, the causal, logical or theological determinists suggest that there is no freedom at all. According to them, an act of will, which is the inevitable result of a series of causes from the beginning of time, can never be free. Since the known cosmos is the outcome of causes and effects, all human choices can only be the result of earlier causes.
According to determinists, only an entity outside the physical world, a soul, a mind independent of the body, or “a ghost in the machine” can have a free will. Only God can be imagined as having unlimited freedom of choice. While it is self evident that human freedom has limits, this article defines "free will" as the freedom to make intelligent choices, (not random ones), within reasonable limits. While even such freedom can also be chalked up to be limited, imagine that, in reality, nature has uniquely designed humans to have an astonishingly sophisticated free will.
- A plane on autopilot can be considered to have the freedom to make a few choices. In the human mind, the final choice is not made by a conscious awareness, a conscience, or even animal instincts. The mind is more or less imprisoned in a deterministic world.
- Causal, logical and theological determinists deny the existence of a free will.
- Christianity, Islam, Hunduism and Buddhism hold varying views on determinism.
- Within the triune human brain, inherited codes decide the shift of controls between different levels of consciousness.
- Benjamin Libet's experiments suggest that conscious awareness does not decide, but merely mirrors neural functions.
- Conscious awareness may be a non physical emergent property of the mind, but it does not make decisions.
- The Kezwer approach can help you to check out the WASP controls, which limit the freedom of your will.
- Ultimately, inherited codes decide the switch between entities within the triune brain. Free will operates within these limitations.
- Consequentialist approaches to crime and punishment are still justified, because they impact the deep inherited wisdom of the mind.
VS Free Will - A Deterministic Prison
a machine can be said to have a limited freedom, if its internal
mechanisms makes a few informed choices. The autopilot on an airplane
makes navigational choices. Those are intelligent choices made by its own
internal mechanism, by responding automatically to preset destinations, wind and
speed conditions. The plane is free to make that
limited set of intelligent choices.
A choice becomes an act of will, when it is not random, but is intelligently initiated. Nature has designed the nervous system to be free to make good or evil decisions. Human beings have three pivotal
intelligences, which participate in the decision process - conscious
awareness, a conscience and animal instincts. If animal instincts are in control, the mind freely makes foolish choices. If human conscience is in charge, it is also free to make its nobler choices. Nature has granted the system the ability to learn to control its lower instincts and allow better choices by a wiser inner intelligence. Only the minds of a few great
saints have been able to make truly wise choices.
VS Free Will - Causal, Logical And Theological
hold that everything, including our choices, are the necessary
results of a sequence of causes. Chrysippus said “Everything that
happens is followed by something else which depends on it by causal
necessity. Likewise, everything that happens is preceded by something
with which it is causally connected. For nothing exists or has come
into being in the cosmos without a cause. The universe will be
disrupted and disintegrate into pieces and cease to be a unity
functioning as a single system, if any uncaused movement is
introduced into it.”
determinists propose the Laplace's demon thought experiment. Imagine
an entity, which knows all the laws of nature and all past and
present facts. Such an entity will theoretically predict exactly how
you will act. Logical determinists suggest that since a future event
is either true, or false, your action tomorrow can only be the
action, which is one of two possible true predictions today. For
theological determinists, an omnipotent entity has decided and knows
your action tomorrow. In all three cases, a free will is impossible.
But, there are compatibilists, who believe that a free will can
coexist with determinism.
vs Free Will - Religious Views
generally support the concept of a free will, while believing in an
omnipotent creator. The primary approach of Christian belief makes
free choice logically impossible. But, the philosopher Kierkegaard
suggested that divine omnipotence cannot be separated from divine
goodness. A good God could create beings with true freedom over God,
because "the greatest good ... which can be done for a being,
greater than anything else that one can do for it, is to be truly
to Islamic doctrine free will is the main factor for man's
accountability. All actions taken by man's free will are said to be
counted on the Day of Judgment, because they are his own and not
God's. The concept of karma in Hinduism is generally linked to the
determination of a person's destiny in future lives.
Buddhism, the idea that a person has complete freedom of choice is
foolish, because it denies the reality of one's physical needs and
circumstances. Equally incorrect is the idea that we have no choice
in life or that our lives are predetermined. To deny freedom would be
to undermine the efforts of Buddhists to make moral progress, freely
choosing compassionate action.
vs Free Will -The Triune Brain
Inherited Codes of the triune
the human mind within a deterministic prison. An intuitive
decision making process
swiftly switches the human levels of consciousness between the raw
emotions of a reptilian brain, the social restrictions of a mammalian
brain and the rational common sense of RI,
a prefrontal brain. Those Codes restrict your choices. Imagine the
command center of a business, where a set of rules pass controls
between several competing business units. The codes restrict the
access of the command center strictly to the advice of the business
unit in charge. Since controls are shifted according to rules,
neither the business units, nor the command center are free to make
decisions. The same for you. Inherited Codes grant precedence to
anger signals. Your amygdala takes charge. Your consciousness has
awareness only of the reasons for anger. Deterministic rules envelop
you in anger and silence the will of your common sense.
vs Free Will - Consciousness Is Merely A Mirror
your permission, you shift between different levels
You are just a belated observer of the activities of your mind.
Benjamin Libet studied subjects who voluntarily pressed a button,
while noting the position of a dot on a computer screen, which
shifted its position every 43 milliseconds. The noted moment of
depressing the button was the moment of conscious awareness; the
exact instant the subject thought the button was pressed. Each time,
Libet had also timed the beginning of motor neuron activity in the
brains of his subjects. He discovered that awareness occurred 350
milliseconds AFTER the beginning of motor activity. When you strike
out in anger, the system has already enveloped you in an angry level
of consciousness. Your conscious awareness lives in a deterministic
vs Free Will - An Emergent Consciousness
free will is conceivable if your consciousness exists outside the
physical world. While science has discovered the neural correlates of
consciousness, nothing in the physical world can explain your
subjective experience of the three dimensional world of color, sound
and sensations. While billions of nerve cells fire to enable you to
subconsciously recognize the ideas in this page, or manage your
heartbeat and breathing, there is an entity, scientifically linked to
a small fraction of the multi-billion cell network, which sees the
words on this page - conscious awareness.
the theory of complex systems, emergence is the effect, where new
patterns arise out of myriad simple interactions. New properties do
emerge at higher levels of complexity. Psychology emerges from
biology and biology from chemistry. The whole completely differs from
the sum of its parts. Could consciousness emerge into a non physical
knowledge dimension as the complexity of a neural network increases?
But even if consciousness is nonphysical, Libet's experiments suggest
that it still does not control the system. Consciousness shifts
powerlessly between its own conflicting levels.
vs Free Will - The Kezwer Approach
study of free will delves into the decision making processes of your
mind. The best way to conduct this inquiry is to conduct a few
thought experiments. Glen Kezwer advocated using your own mind as a
research lab to study experience. "The cost to the government
exchequer and the people is nil, no research grants need be applied
for, no progress reports are necessary and there is no need to be
concerned about the renewal of funding. There is also no pressure to
publish papers, technical reports or books on the experiment."
Look within your own mind and decide if your will is
vs Free Will - A Helpless Will
the triune brain, the prefrontal region is known to be the seat of
judgment, with the ability to decide on the moral implications of a
course of action. When the will of the prefrontal region makes
decisions, a person exercises his will. The philosopher Rudolf
Steiner suggested that true freedom of action existed only “when
conscious awareness was integrated with moral imagination in making
decisions.” Free will is the freedom of the individual to choose a
course of action without external coercion in accordance with his/her
ideals or moral outlook.
this thought experiment. Can your will raise your hand? Yes, when you
are sitting quietly in your room. But, suppose you are in an elevator
with other passengers. Then, it is inappropriate to raise your arms.
If you will this action in that situation, it will not happen. If you
continue the Kezwer experiments, you will find that your will is
overruled, when an action is not Worthwhile, Appropriate, Safe, or
Practical (WASP). It is obvious that will, as expressed by the
prefrontal regions, is by no means free.
vs Free Will - A Coded Decision Making Process
website describes an intuitive
decision making process
by the limbic system, where feedback/feed forward circuits shift
controls, based on Inherited Codes, between the emotions triggered
from your reptilian/mammalian brains and your will, expressed by your
human prefrontal brain.
Eckman, the famous emotions scientist acknowledges this lack of
conscious controls. "We become aware a quarter, or half second
after the emotion begins. I do not choose to have an emotion, to
become afraid, or to become angry. I am suddenly angry. I can usually
figure out later what someone did that caused the emotion." The
Inherited Codes in the limbic system decide, whether you should be
angry, or afraid. That is hardly the prescription for a free will.
You live life within an undeniably a deterministic system.
can always be argued that, within the limitations of WASP, a person,
who has gained complete control over his emotions, can be expected to
be able to completely exercise his free will. But, in a general view
of determinism and free wiil, this limited freedom to act can hardly
be considered to be an exercise of a true "Free Will." The
system still will not permit you to act against the WASP
vs Free Will -Moral Responsibility & Determinism
the present day systems of justice, jurors have a libertarian view of
free will and moral responsibility. At the extreme end, no person can
be responsible for an action, which could have been predicted from
the beginning of time. Neither can a person be blamed, if his action
was randomly generated by his nervous system. In real life also,
neither will, emotions, or levels of consciousness can decide,
without being over ruled by the Inherited Codes, which switch
controls between them, within the triune brain. Even damage to the
prefrontal regions reduces a person's judgment and increases the
possibility of violent crime.
real existence of a deterministic system can lawfully question the
true responsibility of a guilty party. But, the Inherited Codes,
which switch control systems within the triune brain have vast
inherited and acquired knowledge. Those Codes enable the system to
have a powerful intuitive perception of the concept of crime and
Inherited Codes apply the WASP controls, which rule the system. Those
Codes know the
consequences of crime. Consequentialist approaches to justice, aimed
to promote future welfare rather than mete out just deserts, are
needed, in spite of the deterministic restrictions on free will. The
Inherited Codes are determinsitic, but intuitively wise. They will
respond logically to the possibility of consequences.
This page was last updated on 31-Dec-2013.
JUST THINK... What happens when you begin to talk? Your nervous system has picked an emotion. It has articulated an idea around it, chosen apt words from a vocabulary of thousands of words, arranged them in lexical and grammatical order and adjusted the pitch of your voice. Before you speak you've no consciousness of the words you will use. Who's actually in charge? This question leads to the question "What is consciousness itself?" Is consciousness a spirit living in a human body? Is it a mystical life form that emerges from the nervous system? This is the hard problem of consciousness.