Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On free will

Free will exists within the limitations and incomprehension of prediction. Uncertainty only disappears at the limit (as the amount of information and the complexity of the model approaches the information content of the system). My imperfect knowledge prevents me from knowing the future with certainty. In some definitions of free will, that uncertainty is the door to free will. However, doesn't free will really mean I may choose however I want even with (and perhaps in spite of) complete certainty?

So, I can experience free will either through my uncertainty and my limited ability to predict the future, or I can experience free will by making choices independent of my certainty of the future.

If I know everything (which I believe is impossible, but this is a mind experiment, so just give me this), and I make my choices based on the toss of a coin, aren't I exhibiting free will? But wait, if I know everything, I know the outcome of the coin toss, which means I didn't leave my choice to chance. In fact, if I know  everything, there is no way for me to make a random choice.

Hmm... Herein lies the fallacy of the dichotomy of truth, the belief that things are either true or false. These kinds of arguments are an invention of the limited thinking of human reasoning. I prefer to believe that all statements have a probability of being true or false, where some statements may have a probability of being  true of 1. Under this hypothesis, the truth of a statement may be known with varying certainties, which vary across people and over time based on varying levels of knowledge.

The more we understand about a system, the less freedom the system has. However, those elements within the system, which are limited in their understanding of the system, have the experience of free will.

Entropy is the measure of free will that humans give to a system.

Free will lives in the white noise of our understanding of ourselves. As such, free will approaches zero as understanding approaches the information content of the human brain.

Free will is the inverse of understanding and meaning. Free will is indistinguishable from entropy? Free will is the creation of meaning where no meaning exists. Free will is a probability function, where the smaller the causation, the greater the free will. Free will is making choices where there are no choices, inventing options where there were no options. Perhaps our free will is most manifested in our commitment to imagining the world differently than we experience it.

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