Saturday, May 3, 2014

Freewill, The illusion of

For every choice, there are perceived factuals which are weighed by the chooser. Counter-factuals could alter the choice, depending on the nature of the counter-factuals. The previous experience and current psychological state (including desires) of the chooser are beyond their choice. Fatuals that are not perceived do not weigh into the choice. There is a choice that is made but under a given set of perceived factuals and psychological state the chooser could not choose differently. "I could if I wanted to." But you don't want to. That would be a different psychological state.

For every choice I've ever made I can imagine circumstances which would have caused me to choose differently. Feeling how I felt, wanting what I wanted and knowing what I knew I could not have chosen differently. If there had been a different feeling, desire or understanding then the choice made would have been subject to those influences.

There are times when I don't know why I make the choices I do. But the spontaneous or capricious nature of the choice doesn't make my choice less deterministic. If anything these mysterious choices suggest that feeling and desire are capable of operating with minimal influence from an understanding of the circumstances.

When I do something random this does not suggest that I am exercising free will, rather I'm responding to (usually) ineffable stimuli. When I do something deliberate I am reacting to better identified, better considered stimuli. In all cases I am beholden to environmental, physiological and psychological influences.

Each feeling, desire and perception of circumstances is another bit of coercion steering me (and any of us) to a resulting choice. There may be no outside agent twisting our arm, the choices we make may be our own, but it is a mistake to think that for a given set of circumstances we are able to make more than one choice.

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