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So why would Harari make such an absurd claim—the claim that free will is a myth? Harari claims that his will is determined by his biology and his environment. Like most free will deniers, he leaves no room for freedom from material determinism. He is wrong about the metaphysics, and about the science. There are four reasons to affirm the reality of free will against denial by materialist determinists. Two reasons are logical, and two are scientific. Intellect and will, because their natural objects are abstract e. This is the view of Aristotle, of essentially all of the scholastic philosophers, and of most philosophers up to the midth century.

It remains the viewpoint of many philosophers today. There is no coherent argument against the immateriality of the intellect and will. Materialists state that the will is not free; they do not demonstrate that it is not free. Material processes like biochemistry and genetics are not propositions, and thus have no truth value. A chemical reaction is neither true nor false. It is merely a chemical reaction. A materialist like Harari who claims he is mere meat necessarily claims that his opinions have no truth value. Meat is neither right nor wrong. Why would we pay heed to meat? Free will denial based on materialist determinism is self-refuting.

Determinism in nature, on which the materialist claim to deny free will is generally based, is scientifically wrong. At the most fundamental quantum level, nature is not deterministic. That is, the outcome of a change in a system is not determined by the state of the system immediately prior to the change.

This has been experimentally demonstrated.

Free will - Wikipedia

The theoretical and experimental underpinnings of this fact of nature, based on the work of Bell, Aspect and others, are complex but they are clearly demonstrated by experiments over the past several decades. Nature does, in fact, play dice, and any materialist claim based on determinism in nature is nonsense. While scientific experiments do not entirely settle the matter, an objective review of the neuroscientific evidence unequivocally supports the existence of free will.

The first neuroscientist to map the brains of conscious subjects, Wilder Penfield, noted that there is an immaterial power of volition in the human mind that he could not stimulate with electrodes. Modern neuroscience clearly demonstrates an immaterial component to volition. Harari is wrong about free will. It is not a myth. Free will is a real and fundamental aspect of being human, and the denial of free will is junk science and self-refuting logical nonsense.

To the totalitarian mind, human beings are livestock, to be managed and culled, not free agents to be held personally accountable for good or evil. The denial of free will is the essence of totalitarianism. Harari does point out the very real dangers of government and corporate surveillance. But he gets the consequences of belief in free will exactly wrong.

It is the denial of free will that poses the greatest danger to human liberty and dignity. I noted above that all but one human culture has affirmed the reality of free will. Hannah Arendt, who is the seminal philosopher of totalitarianism, has observed that totalitarian society differs fundamentally from all others in its denial of free will.


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Totalitarians deny free will and the individual moral culpability that follows on it. In the totalitarian view, people are to be rewarded or punished according to their membership in, for example, racial or economic groups, not according to their individual culpability. He gassed them because they were Jews, just as one would cull a herd of animals to eliminate an undesirable trait.

He starved them because they were of a class and nationality that needed to be eliminated if his economic policy was to prevail. Non-reductive physicalism is therefore often categorised as property dualism rather than monism , yet other types of property dualism do not adhere to the causal reducibility of mental states see epiphenomenalism. Incompatibilism requires a distinction between the mental and the physical, being a commentary on the incompatibility of determined physical reality and one's presumably distinct experience of will.

Secondarily, metaphysical libertarian free will must assert influence on physical reality, and where mind is responsible for such influence as opposed to ordinary system randomness , it must be distinct from body to accomplish this. Both substance and property dualism offer such a distinction, and those particular models thereof that are not causally inert with respect to the physical world provide a basis for illustrating incompatibilist free will i.

It has been noted that the laws of physics have yet to resolve the hard problem of consciousness : [] "Solving the hard problem of consciousness involves determining how physiological processes such as ions flowing across the nerve membrane cause us to have experiences. Compatibilists maintain that determinism is compatible with free will. They believe freedom can be present or absent in a situation for reasons that have nothing to do with metaphysics. For instance, courts of law make judgments about whether individuals are acting under their own free will under certain circumstances without bringing in metaphysics.

Similarly, political liberty is a non-metaphysical concept. Compatibilists argue that determinism does not matter; though they disagree among themselves about what, in turn, does matter.

To be a compatibilist, one need not endorse any particular conception of free will, but only deny that determinism is at odds with free will. Although there are various impediments to exercising one's choices, free will does not imply freedom of action.

What Spinoza Knew and Neuroscience Is Discovering: ‘Free Will’ Doesn’t Exist

Freedom of choice freedom to select one's will is logically separate from freedom to implement that choice freedom to enact one's will , although not all writers observe this distinction. Some "modern compatibilists", such as Harry Frankfurt and Daniel Dennett , argue free will is simply freely choosing to do what constraints allow one to do.

In other words, a coerced agent's choices can still be free if such coercion coincides with the agent's personal intentions and desires.

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Most "classical compatibilists", such as Thomas Hobbes , claim that a person is acting on the person's own will only when it is the desire of that person to do the act, and also possible for the person to be able to do otherwise, if the person had decided to. Hobbes sometimes attributes such compatibilist freedom to each individual and not to some abstract notion of will , asserting, for example, that "no liberty can be inferred to the will, desire, or inclination, but the liberty of the man; which consisteth in this, that he finds no stop, in doing what he has the will, desire, or inclination to doe [ sic ].

It is the effect of the constitution and present state of our organs. Compatibilism often regards the agent free as virtue of their reason. The notion of levels of decision is presented in a different manner by Frankfurt. The idea is that an individual can have conflicting desires at a first-order level and also have a desire about the various first-order desires a second-order desire to the effect that one of the desires prevails over the others.

A person's will is identified with their effective first-order desire, that is, the one they act on, and this will is free if it was the desire the person wanted to act upon, that is, the person's second-order desire was effective. So, for example, there are "wanton addicts", "unwilling addicts" and "willing addicts". All three groups may have the conflicting first-order desires to want to take the drug they are addicted to and to not want to take it. The first group, wanton addicts , have no second-order desire not to take the drug.

The second group, "unwilling addicts", have a second-order desire not to take the drug, while the third group, "willing addicts", have a second-order desire to take it. According to Frankfurt, the members of the first group are devoid of will and therefore are no longer persons. The members of the second group freely desire not to take the drug, but their will is overcome by the addiction.

Finally, the members of the third group willingly take the drug they are addicted to. Frankfurt's theory can ramify to any number of levels. Critics of the theory point out that there is no certainty that conflicts will not arise even at the higher-order levels of desire and preference. In Elbow Room , Dennett presents an argument for a compatibilist theory of free will, which he further elaborated in the book Freedom Evolves.

The only well-defined things are "expectations". The ability to do "otherwise" only makes sense when dealing with these expectations, and not with some unknown and unknowable future.

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According to Dennett, because individuals have the ability to act differently from what anyone expects, free will can exist. Therefore, all of our actions are controlled by forces outside ourselves, or by random chance. In the philosophy of decision theory , a fundamental question is: From the standpoint of statistical outcomes, to what extent do the choices of a conscious being have the ability to influence the future?

Newcomb's paradox and other philosophical problems pose questions about free will and predictable outcomes of choices. Compatibilist models of free will often consider deterministic relationships as discoverable in the physical world including the brain. Cognitive naturalism [] is a physicalist approach to studying human cognition and consciousness in which the mind is simply part of nature, perhaps merely a feature of many very complex self-programming feedback systems for example, neural networks and cognitive robots , and so must be studied by the methods of empirical science, such as the behavioral and cognitive sciences i.

Overall brain health, substance dependence , depression , and various personality disorders clearly influence mental activity, and their impact upon volition is also important. The "will" is disconnected from the freedom to act.

This Is Why: The Myth Of Free Will

This situation is related to an abnormal production and distribution of dopamine in the brain.