Free will

The question is often asked, do we have free will or not. We could spend some time defining it, but to me simply it means some action involves some choice, even if it is infinitesmal. If it is fully deterministic, then there is no free will.

Free will is not a binary issue. There is a large amount of determinism and there is some free will for a human individual and that changes based on time and development (so it is a continuum, a skewed one). In particular, physically we have observed what happens at the quantum scale. There are phenomena such as nondeterminism and indeterminacy.

There's also chaos and complexity (nonlinear dynamics), so even if there is determinism, it can appear non-deterministic. This would really be an illusion of free will but it would be so complex, it would have the appearance of free will, and indeed be free will for all practical (human) purposes.

Both of these are currently accepted and viable models of our physical world and they both occur, meaning there are phenomena such as quantum chaos. This is where the amount of freedom or free will can be very high.

The opposite of free will is determinism, and non-determinism is necessary and sufficient in order for there to be free will. I'd argue that current physics does point to there being a limited amount of free will at least.

The above is a materialistic worldview and does apply to our physical world, even if is illusory in the scenario I described above regarding complexity and chaos. This brings us to another metaphysical worldview that indicates there is free will, but there is no self. That free will belongs to the universal being.

Pseudointellectual ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||