Phil Leading Philosophy Class

The discussion was typical.

A materialist was materialist-izing; a spiritualist was spiritualist-izing and a quantum-woo-woo-ist was quantum-woo-woo-ist-izing over the topic of free will.

And just like in the thousands of years prior to today, it was still not going to resolve into a clear answer. The Materialist pointed to current neuroscience, the spiritualist pointed to paradox of soul and mathematical realism, and the quantum-woo-wooist was quoting the movie “What the BLEEP Do We Know.”

Phil was supervising the repetitive arguments while chewing gum; he held a piece of chalk in his hand while facilitating the discussion after class.

The room was empty for the next period, and Phil felt like taking a few extra minutes before dropping one of his “stunners” to end the argument, walk out of the room and look all smug and self-confident like he had done in countless other universes before. But this time, in Kansas.

While the Quantum-Woo-Woo champion rambled on, Phil wrote a simple statement on the wall …

“If you have to rely on a scientific, mythological or philosophical crutch to prove to yourself that you exist and have free will, then your existence and Free Will depends on something OTHER than yourself – so you don’t have it.”

And he walked out.

The sound of a shared Baby Ruth candy bar filled the room as the wrapper crinkled between them.

3 thoughts on “Phil Leading Philosophy Class

  1. To me, the bottom line is NOTHINGNESS, and that means an absence of all considerations. Thus, there exists infinite choice at the outset. Any limitation on choice will then come from a prior consideration.

    Geir defines “will” as “exercise of choices.” Thus, one would start with an infinite “will” and that “will” shall decrease inversely proportional to the number of choices that are made and kept.

    “Potential free will” shall be recoverable by as-ising one’s existing choices.

    “No free will” shall exist when one has chosen to agree completely with the status quo.

    There is free will in this physical universe to the degree one is aware of the laws and principles that are keeping the physical structure there, and one can move within that structure. Ignorance of those laws and principles would limit that free will.

    As-isness of physical laws and principles is not essential to exercise free will. But knowledge of them is essential. Choices may be made only when there are options. No option will exist when either nothing has been agreed upon, or everything has been agreed upon.

    If everything can be calculated/predicted as per Steven Hawking, then one’s “free willed actions” may be predicted too, putting them in the category of “bound will.” Thus, for “free will” to exist there must be a balance between KNOWABLE and UNKNOWABLE.

    Randomness exists not in the universe but in the very idea of free will. The deterministic part is one’s agreements expressed as the universe; the random part is one’s free will.

    • Great Comment Vin.

      I’ll have to think on these awhile…

      I differ in my Free Will definition than Geir’s. To me, free will is the decision to act according to a criteria or value and then manage one’s reality toward that criteria or value. Otherwise, choices are merely reactionary.

      Neuroscience has shown that any decision occurs unconsciously before one is conscious of it – often with a delay up to six seconds.

      So, if free will exists in this reality, it could still occur IF a decision has been made, then AFTER that all choices are in line with that decision- manifesting as a will to align with a criteria or value.

      EXAMPLE: One chooses a spouse and to be monogamous. One then lives OUT that free will decision as the universe adapts and challenges that commitment.

      But, there is no free will when Vinaire throws a fake punch at my face and I flinch!.

      But now I have to think on what you wrote …

      • I belive that an individual is a thought matrix. A thought matrix is uncountable considerations indexed every which way. When an input is made, the matrix acts like a pin ball machine to finally spit an answer. So, “free will” is just a property of this very complex “pin ball” matrix.

        I think Neurosciece is simply pointing to this model.

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