A Random Clip From A Four-year Free Will Debate


My latest volley in a very long discussion about free will…

Explain to me the flaw in the following deductive argument:

  1. Outcomes are determined by the laws of physics (randomness included)

  2. We don’t control the laws of physics

  3. Therefore we don’t control outcomes

  4. As a result, any sensation we experience of controlling outcomes must be an illusion

Show me an actual flaw with #1-3 or you must accept #4. No hand-waving. Where is the flaw in 1-3?

Here, let me help: you’ve already said that you 100% agree with #1, so that’s case closed.

I can see you trying to wiggle on #2 by saying we INFLUENCE the laws of physics, and therefore affect them. That’s ludicrous, of course. Or at least I think it is. Once again I think the burden is on you to show how we are influencing the laws of physics.

Here’s a way to illustrate this point: before any life existed in the universe we had zero control. AT WHAT POINT did we gain it? Don’t say, “When consciousness happened.” because then you’re a spiritualist hippy. Emergence does NOT mean deviation from physics. So, show me, how having NO CONTROL WHATSOEVER over the laws of physics suddenly transforms into one of the random configurations of those variables somehow gaining control over the variables themselves. Explain that to me.

Or, alternatively, did emergence yield a configuration so advanced that it is conscious and is able to assign authorship to actions that are merely MOVING THROUGH it?

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I think b.

Explain why you think it’s a.

Another completely unrelated argument goes like this:

You already agreed that we don’t have freedom in a fully deterministic universe. You also already agreed that randomness doesn’t grant freedom. So if we live in a materialistic world with some randomness present, where are you getting your freedom from? Not from interactions you don’t control. And not from randomness. So where from then?

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