Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Free Will: Proven?

Posted by Michael Dickens on October 4, 2009

On this page, you can look at an image and it gives you two choices:

I wanted the arrows to point to the right, SAW them pointing to the right, and am GOING to the right

I wanted the arrows to point to the left, SAW them pointing to the left, and am GOING to the left

I initially saw the arrows pointing to the right, so I clicked on the hyperlink for that option.

CONGRATULATIONS. You have just taken an action which is not determined by anything else (since the figure can be seen either way) and which you controlled (since you decided which way to see the figure).

It’s proven! I have free will then! But not really though. Either the first or the second premise is false. Probably the first.

I saw the arrows pointing to the right. But it was determined by something else. What? I don’t know. My best guess is that, since green is a “stronger” color then yellow, I saw the green arrows (which were pointing to the right) first. Assume that the decision was not determined by something else, though. In that case, it must have been random. So it was a completely arbitrary decision, and not really based on free will.

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2 Responses to “Free Will: Proven?”

  1. phynnboi said

    Wait a minute. So if your actions are determined by something else, you have no free will; but if your actions aren’t determined by anything else, you still have no free will? Sounds like a more useful definition of “free will” is needed….

  2. Matt said

    Makes sense to me. When someone asks me why I made a decision, I say “Chemicals in my brain that I don’t understand.”

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