The “Existing Causes” Argument Against Free Will

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In my ongoing efforts to convince others that free will is an illusion, I have found an argument vector that I’ve not yet encountered:

If you believe in cause and effect, i.e. that all outcomes are the result of previous conditions, and you accept that all causes existed before you were born, then it impossible to believe that any choice you can make is truly free.

Think about that. How could one make a free choice in a cause and effect world if every factor that determined the outcome of your choice existed before you were born? To believe that is to believe in magic.

Let’s try it in deductive form:

  1. The universe is governed by cause and effect.
  2. The physical components of all possible causes existed before you were born.
  3. Any outcome must be the result of those causes and those causes alone.
  4. Therefore the proposition of human authorship of outcomes must be false.

I welcome challenges to the logic and/or help with formalizing it.


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