As I sit here aware of my consciousness I can adequately 'feel' like I have the choice of what to do in the very next moment.

I want to use the analogy of a plant growing toward the sunlight to elaborate on some context behind why I believe free will could be a hallucination.

A plant over time will extend its stem and grow toward the sunlight. If we knew nothing of plants one would reasonably assume this plant could hold consciousness by alterting its physical position in space for survival. We know this is not the case because we understand why this happens.

Just as a plant can seem conscious growing toward the light are we just seeming conscious not in any single person but collectively as a species.

For instance if you are a baby and in the wild you would not in your first generation know to brush your teeth without someone first telling you that you need too and understanding why.

The trials and errors of generations of humans have moulded a survival guide to live longer and how to achieve marvels like travelling to space and taking pictures of black holes.

But is this really our intelligence or borrowed from a rapid spread of information to grow stronger and live longer for as long as possible. Free will hasn't needed to exist for humanity to reach its growth or collective intelligence, I pose in the instance we make a decision it is always the decision you are going to make regardless. I mean it's all good saying I choose A and then when you have picked A, saying "but I could of chose B" so I have free will but thats not a legitimate argument because you didn't chose B and you can not rewind time to do it again to compare them both.

Whether you chose right (reward) or wrong (punishment) the collective hurd learns from your achievement or failure and reiterate it to the next generation. So do I have any free will at all or does it just ultimately to me as an individual it doesn't matter but regardless of my choice everyone will learn from it?


2 Answers 2


You’re right, we feel that we have free will but there’s no established way to prove that we do. A dropped object falls and we might say that it chooses to fall, but there’s no way to go back and see if it can choose not to fall.

When we make a decision there are a couple of ways this can go; either it’s a deterministic decision, in which case the outcome was predetermined by the physical state of the universe or it’s non-deterministic which means that there’s something beyond the laws of physics that determines what we do. In the former case there’s no space for free will because the universe will just play out in the ways that was doomed to happen from the beginning. In the latter case we would need to consider whether our decisions were uncontrolled (I.e. not free will) or controlled (free will). If we are to claim that they are controlled then we should put forward a mechanism that would explain how this might work, in other words where do there decisions come from?

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    Your answer is nonsense. A deterministic decision is an oxymoron. A non-deterministic decision is just a regular decision. Decision-making has nothing to do with physics. Decisions are not controlled, decisions are things that control the behaviour of the decider. Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 11:28
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    @Pertti Ruismäki on the contrary, the term is in common usage (and supported by it’s etymology) in computer science where a course of action is selected based on a dataset encountered at runtime that was not available to the architect at compile time. The outcome of the decision-making process is deterministic once the dataset is known. And to say that decision-making has nothing to do with physics contradicts the notion that decision-making determines behaviour that is demonstrably a part of physics.
    – Frog
    Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 1:43
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    @Frog Computers don't make any decisions. The programmer has decided the computer's every action by writing the algorithms that determine the computer's "behaviour". Decision-making has nothing to do with physics. Only implementing the decision (moving some muscles) is physics. Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 3:18
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    Computers cannot solve any problems. They don't have any problems. They are just tools made by people to help people to solve their problems. I am not proposing any extension. People deciding their own muscle actions has been business as usual since forever. Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 2:48
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    A computer has to be programmed by someone with free will. People with free will can program themselves. Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 9:41

Free will is an individual's ability to make choices.

We make our choices based on what we know and feel. It doesn't matter how we get the knowledge, how correct it is or how much of it we have.

We make our choices based solely on our own reasons anyway. Cumulative human knowledge can only help us make better choices, that's why we have educational systems.

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