Re: On free will

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Fri, 27 Mar 1998 09:23:07 -0500 (EST)

At 02:15 PM 3/25/98 -0800, E G M wrote:
>"There is no such thing as free will because all things are
>naturalistically determined"
>So says W. Provine and soon we can expect others to freely and
>willingly join him in his philosophy.
>But, "naturalistically", one can easily think of a system that is not
>only determined by the cumulative signal from its many biochemical
>parts while at the same time, that system, complex as it is, can in
>turn determine, by signals generated at a higher organizational level,
>what the many biochemical parts should be doing (to certain degree).
>Say, you breath normally all the time without any "free will" action.
>The rate increases "naturally" with excercise, etc. But you can also
>will to breath faster at any rate at any time for considerable time,
>because, you, the system, as a higher organizational level, have
>control over yourself.
>So I see no problem with free will even naturalistically speaking.
>But can I will freely?

It seems to me that if such a fundamental human experience as free will is
purely naturalistic, then human reasoning cannot be trusted to explain
anything. Therefore, Provine's assertions are just that mere assertions!
Provine would not be able to distinguish a stone from a human being. The
seat of human free will is other than physical. However, the carrying on of
that command is done via physical elements. When I sat down to write this
note, I had to make a decision. I had to exercise my free will.
It is almost impossible to establish that free will is an illusion without
going bonkers.