If free-will is an illusion what is being deceived?

What or who is experiencing the illusion?

Can free-will be an illusion if a subjects behavior was largely determined by a belief in said illusion? 

Will free-will become a self filfilling prophecy?

During sleep the images we see are illusions of three dimensional colors and shapes that exist in the real world.

Illusions are limited to a subjects referential experience in reality. 

How can deterministic automatons posses an illusion of something it can never experience?

Can we dream of an ultraviolet object in six spatial dimensions?

16 Answers

  • 2 weeks ago

    As with any statement, it hings on truth based on how you define the words.

    Libritarin Freewill would argue that if you are presented multiple options, but you are only capable of picking one predetermined option, then it really isn't a choice.  I am a Compatabilist and don't see a conflict with determinism and freewill, however based on quantum mechanics, there are random events that occur in the universe which makes perfect predictions of distant future events increasingly impossible.  Therefore the conflict between free-will and determinism may be moot.

    It is true that humans have some free-will.

    If you are in prison are you less free than if you are out of prison?  Most people would say, yes, you are, because your ability to act has been limited in prison.  Freedom implies a more encompassing ability to act.  No one has unlimited freedom because there are natural laws that limit our ability to act, but we still generally consider people "free" unless they are in prison or under oppression.

    A person's "will" is their desires.  Choices are based on ones will / desires.  If I desire something, then I can make choices, and act on those choices to acquire my desires.

    Even if someone knew me well enough to perfectly predict my choice, it is still my choice.  A choice happens when weighing multiple options and eventually coming to a conclusion about what to do.  Regardless if it is predictable or not, the process of making that choice still happens.

    Even if I can make choices, are my desires free?  I would argue, yes, to an extent.  Choices are based on desires, but desires can often be based on choices.  I may have a built-in desire to be socially accepted that I cannot change.  Based on my built-in desire, I choose to get a new pair of shoes.  While I'm shopping I start forming an opinion about what kind of shoe I want to get, based on my choices and actions, I start forming new desires.

  • 3 weeks ago

    All have its limitation. We are limited by the nature, society and our Self. Nevertheless, each individual will have his/her optimal balance between bondage and free-will, as sitting between Erasmus and Luther.



  • 3 weeks ago

    Your contrivance-illusion is a form of deception. The conditional "if" is incompatible with "what is". You'll need to soak your head in ice-cold water for a minimum of 45 seconds.

  • JOHN B
    Lv 6
    3 weeks ago

    If "if" was a skiff we could all take a boat ride!

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  • 3 weeks ago

    Depends on what you mean by free will. 

    If you mean the whole "free will" vs "necessity" debate, as in, the ability of humans to make their own decisions vs what decisions nature forces them to make, it's a false dichotomy.

    All humans live under "necessity", there are natural phenomenon that force us into specific decisions. "Freedom" is not to be found in some magic independence of these laws, but by understanding them, and then using them towards our own interests. For example, humans didn't understand electricity at one point, all they knew was lightning and to avoid it. When humans harnessed electricity, they could build computers, complex machines, and make it useful towards their own ends.

    Your free will is expanded by knowing how nature works and using that knowledge to the best of your abilities. You are forced into necessity when these laws are not understood and thus not harnessed, and you are simply controlled by them.

    A good quote on this:

    "Freedom does not consist in any dreamt-of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation both to the laws of external nature and to those which govern the bodily and mental existence of men themselves — two classes of laws which we can separate from each other at most only in thought but not in reality. Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the capacity to make decisions with knowledge of the subject. Therefore the freer a man’s judgment is in relation to a definite question, the greater is the necessity with which the content of this judgment will be determined; while the uncertainty, founded on ignorance, which seems to make an arbitrary choice among many different and conflicting possible decisions, shows precisely by this that it is not free, that it is controlled by the very object it should itself control. Freedom therefore consists in the control over ourselves and over external nature, a control founded on knowledge of natural necessity; it is therefore necessarily a product of historical development. The first men who separated themselves from the animal kingdom were in all essentials as unfree as the animals themselves, but each step forward in the field of culture was a step towards freedom."

    The second definition of "free will" might be the sort of absolute determinism vs nondeterminism. Such as, if you drop a ball, you know it's going to fall. When you let go, even before it falls, you know that is what will happen. Nature necessitates it. In that sense, it is determined. All of nature, if assumed to be matter in motion, would lead us to the conclusion that all of it is determined, and thus, since human minds are made up of matter, our thoughts are all determined by natural laws.

    But absolute determinism in this sense we know is false. Quantum mechanics shows us that true randomness does exist in the universe. In fact, everything is random. The electron orbiting the atom exists in reality in a probability distribution that extends indefinitely into spacetime, meaning the electron can, at times, be measured to be out of the orbit of the atom, even though it's highly unlikely (the probability drops off very quickly the farther it is away from the atom).

    This has real consequences for the very small, such as, there is a real problem of transistors in computers being too small so that electrons can literally just teleport through them (a phenomenon known as "quantum tunneling") due to the fact the electron exists as a probability distribution (a "wave function"). There is a small chance it can simply exist on one side of the transistor's gate, and then in the next moment, exist on the other side.

    But because these probabilities drop off so quickly with distance, on the large scale, the wave function doesn't appear to play any role. Nature appears to be absolutely determined. Even though it's technically possible that everything can just break apart, all the electrons of every atom can just disappear and reappear on the other side of the universe, and we'd all die. But the chances are so tiny they trillions and  trillions and trillions of years can pass, and the event still would still be unlikely to occur.

    In some sense, our perception of absolute determinism is an emergent property of nondeterminism. It is also a false dichotomy to place these two at odds.

  • 3 weeks ago

    I solve the problem of free will by choosing it anyway despite what theories predict or what other people say.  That way free will is true whether or not it was an illusion to begin with.

  • Paul
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Did some mysterious force cause you to post this question, or did you freely choose to do so?

  • Raja
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    God’s intervention in human affairs is very rare. God doesn't watch each and every human being at the same time and cannot live with each and everyone to guide them. These works are done by the spirits. God had created different kinds of spirits for various purposes. He had made the spirits to watch, guide and determine the destiny of the human beings from their daily activities, talks and thoughts too. Your past determines your present and your present determines your future. God has given freewill to all creatures including human beings. According to this, all human beings have all right to live a life as they wish. But if it happens to be bad and hurts someone, they have to face the consequences. These consequences are created by spirits. It's a natural system. After death no one lives in any form. Heaven and hell are only for spirits, not for human beings. God is a mystery even to the spirits. Spirits are not eternal beings but their lifetime is long. Spirits are separate elements. A human being during his/her lifetime is living with many spirits which have joined one by one since birth. They are knowledge, skills, feelings, emotions, interests and everything. These spirits are your consciousnesses and memories. Even thoughts are not your own. For example, when you want to take a decision on a subject, one after another the spirits think and you just listen, choose or reject the ideas which they transmit to your mind through your brain in the form of thoughts. Brain is just a media to connect the spirits to your mind. A mind is just a computer's mind. A mind is you. After the destruction of a computer completely you will not get it's mind. The same is the case with the human beings.  A human being doesn't have a spiritual body. Soul is nothing but an energy needed for the functionality of a body. It is not a spirit or anything else. A body's functionality is based on the auto mechanism.  After death all spirits which accompanied a person quit and go to different places searching new bodies. No one lives in any form after death. All human beings are just robots made of flesh and bones and toys of the spirits for their games.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Free will isn't an illusion. An illusion is a mistaken perception. The perception that a magician has just pulled a coin out of someone's ear is an example of an illusion. The perception that the straight lines in a diagram are curved is an example of an illusion. Free will is being able to choose one from among more than one possible courses of action. How is that a mistaken perception? 

  • j153e
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    You're closer to parsing "free" will by noting uv in 6d.

    "Freedom" is harmony with Energy, agency; moving against Energy is entangling, loss of agency.

    Both the fallacy of black and white digitalization laid upon a rainbow spectrum, and the fallacy of overgeneralizing--believing where (and, epistemologically, what) one stands upon is the top of a (what is, in reality, an infinite) ladder--contribute mightily to the illusion of "either-or," and actually additionally moves one beyond the hegelian Aufgehaben--a tri-unity similar to Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, or negation, preservation, and integral transcendence--aka "both-and"--to a realization of the multivariate dimensionality which is a layered phenomenon.

    In simpler phrasing, while Intelligence or Creative Mind geometrizes Energy at superb, near-infinite precision; after millions and even billions of years of many geometrizations, atoms, molecularization, organisms, and then organisms which have sensory systems; thus self-referentiality has some degrees of reflective ability re choosing, and so the question of agency and ability to choose among noticed options arises.


    Man, Master of His Destiny;

    The Path of the Higher Self.

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