Freewill vs Determinism

Introduction
- BRENT SILBY UNLIMITED PT

Freewill vs Determinism
Is it possible to live in a causally determined universe and still be free?

Freewill vs Determinism
The world of Pacman is deterministic. Does this mean the ghosts are not free? [explain this example]

Freewill vs Determinism
The ghosts are governed by the rules of the Pacman program. They cannot choose not to chase Pacman. They can only do what their program tells them to do in specific situations.

Section of Pacman source code

Higher level programming language
function checkGhosts(){ var n=1; do{ if(ghost[n].x<pacman.x){ ghost[n].setXdir(1); } if(ghost[n].x>pacman.x){ ghost[n].setXdir(-1); } n++ }while(n<ghost.length) }

Is there any freedom here?
Draw flow diagram to make example clearer

Finding bugs in the program reveal that the ghosts are not intelligent. They are not making free choices. They are stuck following rules – and some of the rules are broken.
Watch a player break the rules…

Freewill vs Determinism
Our world is governed by rules – laws of physics, and we have no choice but to work within those laws.
• • • • The laws are like the computer code of the pacman game. They determine how objects in the world relate to eachother They determine how atoms move They determine which neurons in the brain fire in response to input from the outside world

Does this mean we have no real freedom?

We are as free as a ghost in Pacman’s maze

Freewill vs Determinism

Humans are more complicated than ghosts, and our world is more complex than the Pacman program. Are we free?

Perfect Pacman ghost
Imagine that computer engineers go back to work on Pacman. They make the ghosts vastly more intelligent and give them the ability to communicate their beliefs and desires to the player via text output For example, the Red Ghost might say something like:
“I know that you are hiding in the top left corner, and I want to catch you, but I am going to wait until you have moved a safe distance from the power-pill.”

Is the ghost making a free decision?

Perfect Pacman ghost
Imagine programmers continue to improve its artificial intelligence, memory, and knowledge of the world…

Then one day, instead of it’s normal output, it says something like:
“I have played this game so many times and I think I am capable of doing something more with my life. I have weighed all the options and decided that I would like to be uploaded to the MIT computer department to participate in their AI research program.”

Is the ghost making a free decision?

Isn’t this exactly what we do?

Freewill vs Determinism
If you think you are truly free, then do this for me: Think of a musical style that you absolutely dislike. Now, choose to like it.

Try this: Pick a food that you hate. Now, choose to like it. Can you? If you were truly free, surely you would be able to make the free choice to like this food that you hate. Do we ever choose our tastes? Do we choose our likes or dislikes?

Freewill vs Determinism
Once a logical justification for a belief is understood, a rational person is compelled to accept the belief.

In addition to causal determinism, there is also logical determinism.

Try this: given that you have abandoned your childhood belief in Santa Claus, can you now choose to actually believe in Santa again? Do we ever freely choose our beliefs?

Discuss the following
“What significance is there in my mental struggle tonight whether I shall or shall not give up smoking, if the laws which govern the matter of the physical universe already preordain for tomorrow a configuration of matter consisting of cigarette and smoke connected with my lips?”

Discuss the following
a. Determinism can’t be true, because I feel free. I know this by introspection. This is a much better proof than any arguments. b. If I had been under different influences I would have acted differently; and if the set of influences acting upon me on two occasions had been exactly the same I would have acted the same way the second time as the first - I couldn’t help doing it. So, I’m not free.

c. It is true that human beings deliberate. Now, deliberation involves a genuine choice among alternatives, with the outcome in doubt at the time of the deliberation. But if the outcome is pre-determined, it’s not a case of genuine deliberation. Since there is deliberation, determinism must be false.

Dennett answers question on Freewill

Video
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