Consummate dilettantism!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Free Will Does Not Exist

In a defense of free will that falls flat, William Egginton says the following:


“The point to stress, however, is that this catalog [of our past events] is not even legible in theory, for to be known it assumes a kind of knower unconstrained by time and space, a knower who could be present from every possible perspective at every possible deciding moment in an agent’s history and prehistory. Such a knower, of course, could only be something along the lines of what the monotheistic traditions call God.”


Egginton assumes that all past events that have ever occurred are factored into the decisions we make, and thus, absent a God, we have no way of determining what a person will do at any given moment. The first part of this statement is certainly true, but we don’t need to have a “God” to uncover and untangle the relationships between past events that determine our present mental states, we just need a machine capable of examining the brain at a sufficiently deep level, for every neuron is in its current position because of past events. There is no reason such a technology could not be built. Free will does not exist.


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