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etherified28 karma

For me, free will is impossible and therefore an illusion, but I've come to this conclusion based more on logic than any "evidence" (which I think will forever elude us all).

I have a personal thought experiment, which is the "Infinite Regression of Why's". For any action you could possibly take, in principle there will always be an (infinite) regressive sequence of "why" questions that could be asked. (Why did you choose chocolate over vanilla, why did you marry this person instead of that one.) Infinite because once the answer is given as to why you chose something, that reason can itself be queried with another "why" question (I chose chocolate because I like it --> "Why do you like chocolate?" --> "Because I ate it growing up" --> "Why did you eat it growing up?" etc. etc.)

Needless to mention this is just a deterministic sequence, if it is answered honestly.

Of course, at some point in the sequence we'll run into the brick wall answer of "I don't know why" and the sequence stops. But this also implies no free will, since the reason for your choice is therefore a mystery even to you lol.

etherified18 karma

This seems to me to be a very good idea worth every ounce of effort being put into it.

I skimmed through the read-tracking technology -- I'm impressed with your thoroughness!

There were two things in the back of my mind as I read through this -

1) I wonder if, eventually over time, there won't be some sort of selection pressure for articles that are easy to just read through - less deep content, easier for people to actually "read through" (as determined by the algorithm), which might mean that many lower quality articles get pushed to the top? Imagine well-written articles that nonetheless use more technical concepts that lose many partway through, getting little "reading-love" lol.

2) As with anything else internet-wise, we may expect bots to arise that can crawl through articles, activating the algorithm and pushing certain targeted articles to the top. This would fall under the "cheating" you refer to, but in the case of numerous bots it could conceivably be used to defeat the desired purpose I guess.

etherified4 karma

Agreed. I don't see why randomness implies free will in any way.

etherified2 karma

I would answer that the fact of a "choice occurring" is just the observation of an event.

As a determinist, I still certainly agree that the "event" that we call a "choice" is objectively occurring. But the issue philosophers deal with in regard to free will seems to be whether or not you were actually able to "choose" anything else, given all the same conditions and parameters and history.

The "infinite why's" would imply that you weren't able to choose otherwise, else the answers to those why's would have been different, and that would be a different world than the one you exist in now.

etherified2 karma

That's exactly what it is. Though lots of physicists seem completely convinced that the quantum realm is really, truly "random", it feels like we've been down this road a million times already: Don't know why something happens, so.... [insert God or "randomness" that stops the chain of deterministic dominos]. Then we get a little bit more knowledge about the cause, and have to push our edge of causation that much further out - "Surely this time it really IS the uncaused cause!" lol