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Jul 4, 2013
It is funny, that while we all speak English, it seems like its many different languages. The same words are used with quite different definitions. I'll join in, for the fun of it. So allow me to start defining first, and sharing opinion later. Do mind, these are my definitions, merely intended to add context and understanding to my arguments

* Free will: The ability of an individual to choose how to behave and what to think
* Individual: An intelligent being with a conscious sense of self.
* Consciousness: The part of an intelligent that provides sentience and awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, and the sense of selfhood.
* Determinism: A feature of a system, where any given state of that system allows for only one possible transition to a next state. (I.e. At any time, there's only one thing that can happen next.)
* Nondeterminism: A feature of a system, where a given state of that system allows for several possible transitions to a next state. (I.e. At any time, there's a choice of many things that can happen next.)
* Pseudodeterminism: A feature of a deterministic system, where the system is too complex to determine, for any given state, the possible transitions from that state to a next state.
* System: Anything that can be uniquely identified, regardless of it being made up out of different parts.

With these definitions, some conjectures:
1. For a system to become nondeterministic, an outside influence is required. This influence serves as the "Randomizer" that actually picks one out of several options. Let's call this outside influence the "free-will-source".
2. For an observer, a pseudodeterministic system and a nondeterministic system cannot be told apart by its behavior alone.
3. For human beings, free will is recognized by the fact that the human consciousness is not aware of how it came to its course of action. The ability of hindsight and learning, "I would do it differently" is often named as an aspect of free will, as it would unlock new options for a future "similar" situation.
4. If argument one holds, then human beings need a "free-will-source" to enable their free-will. If it were only the human body and brain in identical situations, the "it's only chemicals" reasoning is easy to accept, leading to a "no-free-will" conclusion.
5. At least two possible (read: not proven impossible) "free-will-sources" can be identified for human beings: Their surroundings and a human soul.
6. If the surroundings serve as a "free-will-source", this means that through, for instance, sensory input, a selection of choice is facilitated.
7. If a human soul serves as a "free-will-source", then... well... humans act in mysterious ways.
8. The theory of free will is currently improvable, though, since modern science is unable to record a complete snapshot of the current state of a human being (the system). Hence, even if no outside influence is taken into account, the internal state might differ slightly. This includes: differences in the brain concerning memories, or differences in the body concerning chemical balances, leading to different reactions in the brain (by altering neurotransmitter levels). As a result, any occurrence of choice by free will, cannot be expressed by any certainty beyond "choice by complexity", be it complexity of the own self, complexity of the environment which influences the self, or complexity of metaphysical via a soul.

From this, I draw the conclusion: free will is immaterial. We're connected to the world around us which always influences us, making us nondeterministic in a broad sense. If this nondeterminism offers us the choice we feel we should have to warrant "free-choice", no clue. But the fact that we're too complex to understand, obfuscates this, so that we can just believe what we want to without that belief having any impact on our functioning (apart from changing the state of our already unpredictable system to some unpredictable alternative).

In short, I like to believe we're all walking and talking "random-machines". I don't need to believe in an unexplainable "inner-free-will-source" to accept my own random unpredictability. I don't need to believe in my "free-will" to believe that nothing in this world can steer me more perfectly than me, even if the term "more perfectly" is ill suited for the poor steering we do. We basically randomly spread entropy. Yay us!
 
 
Feb 15, 2013
Tyrjo; agreed.
 
 
Feb 2, 2013
I think the awareness of moral choice introduces the only genuinely "chaotic" behavior that has been observed in the universe (All other such claims are actually just acknowledgments of processes with too many variables for us to quantitatively predict). While the neurons certainly fire in a way that is statistically reasonable, I believe humans have a non tangible soul with veto power over instinct and biology.

It's a fun debate! :-)
 
 
Dec 31, 2011
@Ventifact and Rasmurr
Very much agreed, except for Rasmurr staying that we couldn't judge people on moral grounds. If it was generally scripted that human life is deterministic, the definition of moral would change to work in that system as it has worked in our current system.

@zzmb
Those initial conditions are still factors, and yes, chaos theory is built upon the premise that initial conditions, changed slightly, give a different result, but it still gives a singular result, and since we can't change the initial conditions in our universe, it is deterministic. The reason that chaos matters is not because it creates randomness, it creates a seeming randomness because humans have finite knowledge about these systems.

@alchemist4u
Yes, in multiverse theory there are infinitely many universes, infinitely many initial conditions, but we still inhabit only one. These other universes become apparent because of their changes over time (they don't exactly "split off, asdfadf, if that's your real name), but even if we can't observe them, it doesn't mean that we can't know that we inhabit one, which has a predetermined outcome. If it doesn't have a finite end, since now there's evidence that our universe may not have one, but it still doesn't mean that the path will change.

I believe that people are being hung up on the fact that we can't know our outcome, but that doesn't mean that we don't have an outcome based on our initial conditions. We don't need to know what it is in order to know that there is one, dvds only one
 
 
Dec 22, 2011
So many people today don't want to take responsibility for their actions. See law suits about pouring hot coffee on your own lap and getting hurt while robbing someone. So many people want to believe that what they do doesn't matter. See universe-splits-when-anyone-makes-a-choice theory. I wonder why this is.
 
 
 
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