Saturday, January 5, 2013

Free Won't

My hand is poised by the handle of the coffee cup. I desire the coffee. I desire to prove I have the free will to not take the coffee. The competing desires hover in my mind, choice not yet taken.

Instead, my mind wanders to the heat death of the universe and the seeming deterministic end that with or without the coffee dissipates all into incoherence.

That cat only dies or not when observed. What then observes my hand near the handle of the coffee cup? Some Cartesian theater inside my head? Some probability wave collapsing in 100 billion neuron connections cohering into a choice? Have I already decided and am just waiting to observe the decision?

Photo By Roslyn
Whatever the mechanism, the observing appears to allow choice to be made. As a practical matter of existence in a culture with law and morality there is a common assumption of some degree of personal choice effecting actions. To argue against the existence of free will appears to take concepts like "responsibility" and slap them like a bad puppy.

I am left then with the lack of knowledge on the "how free will happens?" question. That region of our explorations where it appears thar' be dragons.

The action I take will have consequences unforeseen, but in the end-of-ends inconsequential. Instead I'll let that last sip of coffee go and brew some more.

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