Tag Archives | Free Will

Free Will Is Just An Illusion (Background Noise In The Brain)

NIA human brain drawingThink you can exercise free will? Forget it, that’s just background noise in your brain reports The Independent:

The concept of free will could be little more than the result of background noise in the brain, according to a recent study.

It has previously been suggested that our perceived ability to make autonomous choices is an illusion – and now scientists from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, have found that free will may actually be the result of electrical activity in the brain.

According to the research, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, decisions could be predicted based on the pattern of brain activity immediately before a choice was made.

Volunteers in the study were asked to sit in front of a screen and focus on its central point while their brains’ electrical activity was recorded. They were then asked to make a decision to look either left or right when a cue symbol appeared on the screen, and then to report their decision.

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YouTuber Raps About the Illusion of Free Will As Commentary to Call of Duty Video Game

YouTuber CamperKillerCommentary has released a video in which he raps about scientific experiments that cast doubt on the existence of free will over footage of him – I assume it’s him – playing the popular first-person shooter Call of Duty. And no, I haven’t the foggiest clue how all of this fits together. Apparently it’s the 26th in a series.

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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.

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You Are Not Just a Machine

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“A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object. But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”

- Albert Camus

All words are simplifications of the thing they describe. This is why it’s always possible to say “ah, but it’s more complicated than that” at the end of almost any observation. Such a statement almost goes without saying and is always irritating. Feel free to pop it into the comments section of any online article in the sure knowledge that you are correct.

On the flip side of this is the phrase “it’s just”. Pop this at the bottom of an article only if you wish to be in the sure knowledge that you are wrong. Almost without exception the phrase “it’s just” feeds a lie to both the speaker and the spoken to. Words are symbols which by necessity are less than that which they describe so it stands logically that whatever “it” is that you are speaking about, “it” is not limited to being “just…” anything at all. Whatever “it” is you’re talking about is highly likely to be far more complex than you’ll pretend with this deceptive phrase.… Read the rest

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Free Will, Magick, and Deity

The Infinite and the BeyondPodcast: Episode 027 — Free Will, Magick, and Deity

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In the latest episode of The Infinite and the Beyond, we explore magick and creativity as we speak with the mysterious electronic music composer Alka who was kind of enough to come on the show and share his music with us which is featured throughout the episode. In A Corner in the Occult we learn about famous, mystic, poet, artist, and engraver William Blake. Highly influential to artists and occultists, Blake has been a focus for scholars since his death as he continues to fascinate and inspire new generations. We learn about the phrase, “So Mote It Be” in the Essence of Magick. Have you ever considered the phrase itself and what exactly it implies as a practitioner of magick? Find out in this episode! Also during the show, I read listener email, we hear a great track by Donna Lewis and to close we revisit the ideas of Free Will, Magick, and Deity. Do you have free will in regards to your personal religious theology? If so, what does this mean in how you view deity? Find out this and more in this electronic episode!

To message the show please go here.

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Burundanga: The Drug Against Free Will

BurandangaIt turns out that ‘free will’ is a brain process that can be shut off. Wired UK explores the plant-derived drug — currently all the rage in the South American criminal underworld — that does this:

Burundanga is a scary drug. According to news reports from Ecuador, the last thing a motorist could recall, after waking up minus his car and possessions, was being approached by two women; in Venezuela, a girl came round in hospital to find she had been abducted and sexually assaulted. Each had been doped with burundanga, an extract of the brugmansia plant containing high levels of the psychoactive chemical scopolamine.

News reports allude to a sinister effect: that the drug removes free will, effectively turning victims into suggestible human puppets. Although not fully understood by neuroscience, free will is seen as a highly complex neurological ability and one of the most cherished of human characteristics. Clearly, if a drug can eliminate this, it highlights a stark vulnerability at the core of our species.

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Experimental Philosophy And The Problem of Free Will

Plato & Aristotle (Portait by Raffaello Sanzio)

Plato & Aristotle (Portait by Raffaello Sanzio)

ScienceDaily reports:

Philosophers have argued for centuries, millennia actually, about whether our lives are guided by our own free will or are predetermined as the result of a continuous chain of events over which we have no control.On the one hand, it seems like everything that happens has come kind of causal explanation; on the other hand, when we make decisions, it seems to us like we have the free will to make different decisions.

Most people seem to favor free will, and while many, across a range of cultures, reject what is referred to as determinism, they remain conflicted over the role of personal responsibility in situations that require moral judgements, said Shaun Nichols, a professor of philosophy and cognitive science at the University of Arizona.

Nichols is part of a growing number of researchers who are gaining insights into this philosophical dilemma by applying experimental methods commonly used by developmental psychologists and other social scientists.

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