You Think You Have Free Will? Yeah, You Would.

claude_shannon.mouse_in_maze.102630790.lgIndividual people believe that they have free will, and maybe more free will than others.

Via Understanding Human:

An article by Pronin & Kugler (2010) looks at our perceptions of free will, and the fact that we believe we have more free will than others. In their study, they found that people perceived their past and future behaviours as less predictable than the futures of their peers, and that there were more possible ways for their lives to go.

The assumption that they had more possible ways to go is not a result of realistic thinking, but rather it reflected their dreams and intentions, and for this reason, it was true for both college students and restaurant waiters. From a realistic point of view, college students have more possible ways to go compared to restaurant waiters, but they did not tend to think so. They did not claim to have more desirable futures, they only thought to have more possible ways to go.

Keep reading.

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  • jasonpaulhayes

    Free Will is stripped intentionally, it’s systematic and a matter of perception. Of course it has restraints but that is largely cultural.

  • BuzzCoastin

    everyone is free to choose less options & limited future possibilities
    but it is true that
    most are unaware of the influences that create their reality tunnel
    and the effects open their lives

  • DeepCough

    You are only as free as your wallet is full.

    • Calypso_1

      Oft enough I have found the obverse to be true.

      • DeepCough

        Indeed: “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.”

  • Andrew

    Everyone has choices, but no two people have the same choices.

    • Calypso_1

      Most persons, when free to choose, merely imitate each other.

  • The Well Dressed Man

    I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

    • Calypso_1

      What kind of beer do you like?

      • The Well Dressed Man

        This time of year the slightly floral pilsner begins giving way to pub ale. Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams.

        • Calypso_1

          What about the hopes & dreams of C. Dean Metropoulos.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            That little red white and blue can is almost the last of it’s kind. I feel like the adjunct percentage in most North American macro brews has been increased to the point of “beer substitute.”

        • DeepCough

          I think of all their hops and grains.

  • bobbiethejean

    Free will, to me, is the notion that we could make a choice completely free of any influencing factors. But that is impossible. Something is always influencing us to make certain choices. Even the need or desire to make a choice is influenced by outside or inside forces. Sometimes it comes down to little more than the chemical reactions and synaptic responses roiling within our very complex minds but there is always some influence. Therefore, can it really be said that anyone has free will when our choices are always influenced?

    I would say what we have is the verisimilitude of free will.

  • InfvoCuernos

    I have Free Willy on VHS, and that’s close enough for me.

  • Rhoid Rager

    I choose not to comment………oops?

  • Unity Nowe

    Without ALL information, true free will is not possible.

    • Calypso_1

      If you possess ALL information, why would you still need computability?

    • The Well Dressed Man

      Said the Ministry of Truth.

  • Calypso_1

    We have to believe in Free Will. We have no other choice.

  • Rob Lai

    Heh. What do I love about disinfo? That this above article is posted the same day as
    http://disinfo.com/2013/09/you-are-not-just-a-machine/
    Heck, the two of them should be combined. Point and Counterpoint.

  • Sean

    I find it ironically humorous how many atheists believe in free-will.
    Hell, almost everyone believes in free-will….and often for the same sort of reasons that theists believe in a personal god….it feels good. They want it to be true, so they believe it is true.

    But…consider what “free-will” actually implies. It means that brains have the ability to supersede the laws of physics…that brains can will events into being without ANY prior causal influences. Surely the absurdity of this is plain.

    A metaphor I like to use is this: Imagine a row of dominoes. One by one, each domino is knocked over by the one behind it…which, in turn, knocks down the domino in front of it. Now imagine each domino is unaware of the causal chain that led to it’s action. Imagine each domino being certain that it chose to fall down when it did.

    But…I don’t think it’s that black & white. One overarching “rule” in physics that has emerged is that seeming paradoxes can be resolved while remaining intact. That is, it’s not an either-or problem…it’s a both-and solution.

    Consider the 4 fundamental elements of reality: Space, time, matter, energy.
    We now know that space and time is really “space-time.”
    We know that mass and energy are equivalent…E=mc2
    Electricity and magnetism were resolved into “electromagnetism.”
    Is light a particle or a wave? Both…and.

    Personally, I think this “binary relative polarized equivalence” will eventually answer the question “Why is there something instead of nothing?” or “How did something come from nothing?”
    The answer will be in the form of (+∞) + (-∞) = 0
    That is, Everything Equals(is) Nothing.

    Considering the duality present in ALL aspects of reality(positron/electron, past/future, up/down, hot/cold, matter/anti-matter, here/there) and the subjective relativistic aspect of these polarities(is the Earth rightside-up or upside-down?) it will soon be conclusively obvious that something-ness(all of reality, matter and antimatter, etc) equals(or, is) nothingness.

    Nothing and Everything are two sides of the same coin. Zero(nothing) and Infinity(everything) are both unbounded non-finite aspects of each-other.

    So….coming back to free-will….I think the question isn’t “do we have free will…or not?” Rather, the question is, “How do we resolve the fact that free will both exists…and doesn’t exist.”

    Much like you cannot have a foreground without a background to offset and define it, and vice-versa, free-will is the subjective experience of objective existence. Free-will, in this view, is nothing more than the conscious ego’s attachment to the belief that it “owns” a body.

    Try the following thought experiment out….
    Try to figure out precisely what is different between watching your fingers move…and watching a tree move in the wind.

    Immediately, you will conclude that “you” are “doing” the action of “fingers moving.” Or more precisely…”MY fingers moving.” Yet, you will feel no “ownership” of any action outside your body.

    But….hone your awareness to a more subtle level and look again.
    Move your fingers while watching….and ask yourself, “HOW am I doing this?”
    Can you answer that? I mean…can you REALLY answer that?

    You might say, “My muscles are moving the fingers. My nerves are sending signals to my muscles. My brain is sending signals to the nerves.” And so on…

    But, you will never reach a brick wall where there’s a thing called an “I” that “does stuff that it wants to do.”

    Hell, you can trace this causal chain all the way back to the Big Bang…and eventually conclude that EVERYTHING that happens is the “will” of that singularity…expressing it’s will in infinite ways.

    Even as I type this out, to be 100% honest, I have zero idea how I’m doing it…or why I’m choosing certain words and not others. I’m not actually sitting here flipping through a mental rolodex and consciously choosing what I type.

    Rather, it just….happens. I’m literally sitting here, watching my fingers furiously move to and fro…while little black squiggles pop up on my computer screen. It’s just…happening. I personally have as much “choice” in what my fingers are doing as I have in what the trees outside my window are doing.

    It’s all one big undifferentiated happening.

    I think Taoism got this right….

    • The Well Dressed Man

      The truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. The electromagnetic force is my current predicament… at this point in my studies, it might as well be The Force. I’ll get back to you next year re:strong and weak force, and perhaps spacetime too. The only way an “ism” makes sense is if it’s a Way. On theism vs. atheism, I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter if I believe in Goddess. The issue is whether She believes in me.

    • Rhoid Rager

      That was a really long, incoherent babblefest. I won’t get my 3 minutes back for reading that mess. You went from a typical superficial reductionism to a ‘bold’ revision of metaphysics to a languished collapse into Taoism. Fickle thinking.

      • Sean

        I know…anyone who says anything longer than “I just pooped!” on the internet is somehow “trying too hard.”

        I’m so sorry I interrupted 3 minutes from your otherwise exceptionally important life. Of course, spending those 3 minutes reading was your own decision. But…yeah, blame me for “making you” do that. Good call.

        You seem to have this attitude that no one has the ‘right’ to criticize….stuff. Basically, if someone has their own unique opinion on something, you would rather they stay quiet.

        Call me crazy, but I think this world benefits from people sharing their personal ideas. Will many, if not most, of them be wrong? Absolutely…but that’s a good thing. If no one ever shared their views out of fear of offending Mr. Rhoid Rager’s absolutist position on every aspect of human inquiry, then this would be a pretty dismal world to live in.

        I’m glad people like you, who contribute absolutely nothing and look down on those who do, are in the minority, and always will be.

        Have a fantastic day. :D

        • Rhoid Rager

          Another narcissistic soliloquy. If argumentation is an art, typing meandering thoughts without a semblance of structure does not please the aesthetic eye. Go practice.

          • Sean

            So, in other words, your attention span has pretty much been ruined by the internet?

            Look…if you want 5 word utterances, turn on Fox News or watch your Twitter feed.
            If you think I type too much, don’t read it. No one is forcing you.

            While I love surfing teh information superhighway, one of my qualms with the online discourse is how it’s degraded human conversation to witty, but ultimately useless, sound bites…as well as reduced people’s attention span to almost nothing. People have turned into a bunch of ADD cats that are attracted to the most flashy and fast-moving stimuli.

            Call me crazy, but I enjoy reading hefty books on interesting topics…and I enjoy reading well-thought-out opinions of people online. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy the disinfo forum. I’m by no means the only person here who writes lengthy comments…and I’m glad that’s the case.

            I don’t disparage anyone for being turned off by long posts. If that’s not your thing, don’t participate in them.
            But…if you’re going to take the time to read it all(assuming you did) and then whine about how it was too long…that’s just absurd.

            And saying “Too Long Didn’t Read(TLDR)” or “I’ll never get those 5 minutes of my life back” is kind of juvenile…not to mention, a rather played out “joke”. Surely you can agree to that?
            Would you like if I replied to your posts with “TSDR” or “I wish I could get those 2.7 seconds of my life back”?

            So, in closing….I’m quite sorry I didn’t “please your aesthetic eye” with the “art of online argumentation.”

            If you didn’t come across so whiny and pretentious, I could laugh it off. Unfortunately, you just seem rather annoying. Just chill out…ok? :P

          • Rhoid Rager

            You misunderstand. I’m not complaining about the length, but the content. I’ll leave it there. Good luck.

  • mannyfurious

    Free will and Determinism are simply words. Ideas. They don’t actually exist. They’re like Unicorns, except you can at least draw a unicorn. So in that sense, a Unicorn is more “real” than the ideas of free will or determinism.

    It’s a language game. There’s no real meaning to any of it. It’s like jerking off but not quite as fun. And “Western” earthlings have wasted way too much time on this paradox. There are no solutions to a paradox except to realize that it’s a paradox.

  • X.

    Pay now or pay later.

    That’s the extent of your free will.

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