Thursday, June 2, 2011

Free Will?

So lately I've been reading this book called Asymmetries in Time by Paul Horwich. It's a book on philosophy of science, mostly grappling the problems regarding the nature of time. I don't really like philosophy of science books, because i find it strange when philosophers grapple such problems as the nature of time by only playing with words and concepts. I truly believe that such a problem as a nature of time can only be solved by scientists.

But anyway, back to my point, I stumbled upon a chapter about a philosophical theory called fatalism. From what I understand this theory states this: since every event that will happen in the future depends on the past events (a chain of past events, which cause the future events) and we cannot change the past, the future is fixed. In other words, everything in our universe is already predetermined. 

But aren't we making random and free decisions everyday? Well it's a hard question. But if you think about it for a while, you can come to conclusion that every event has a cause. That is, every action and even every thought has a cause and is predetermined by the past thoughts and actions. Actually, if a supercomputer of an amazing power would exist, we could calculate and predict our future thoughts and actions, that is, our future seems to be already predetermined.

So the big question is: are we really just simple puppet dolls, which have no free will, as our futures are fixed. Well if it is the case, then it seems scary and unpleasant - after all, everyone wants to rule his life.

The interesting thing is that we can't really determine everything with a perfect precision. That is, due to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the microscopic world of smallest particles is ruled only by probabilities. This opens some space for randomness in our universe. Actually some scientists even believe that a random quantum fluctuation could have caused the big bang.

So the important question is as follows: is our universe deterministic or is it random. In either way, it leaves little space to free will, as even if the world is random, we can't control this randomness.

So are we just simple puppet dolls, who have a predetermined destiny, or are we lost in an ocean of randomness? Or maybe all of this is wrong, and there is still place for our free choices in our universe. Nobody knows... And after all, would it be interesting if we knew?


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