- Feb 5, 2019
- Pacific Northwest
I agree that definition is over-simplified and untenable.Free will as it's normally conceived is a really flawed concept: My choices ultimately come from me, and me alone, unconstrained by the outside world, is about it?
There are meaningful definitions of free will that are consistent with the laws of physics in a probabilistic universe. Your last statement suggests a weak form of free will: a being that can behave in an intrinsically unpredictable manner. That might be stronger than it sounds, because the statement is about what can be verified by an external observer. It says nothing about the mental states of the being in question. A somewhat stronger form of free will is the notion of a being who can influence the probabilities that determine events. That influence comes from your "will" which is some mental state.... Just being nondeterministic doesn't make free will self-causing, it just makes it semi-random, maybe.
My point is that free will might exist, within a meaningful definition consistent with the laws of physics in a probabilistic universe. Not that it does, or that anyone can prove it. Whichever way one chooses to believe, pro- or con-, there is no evidence or knowledge to prove him wrong. This is different from the days when people thought we lived in a deterministic universe, which made the notion of free will much more difficult to support.