Determinism Vs. Free Will

by Mortal - 02-06-2016 - 11:51 PM
There are 3 possibilities:
1) The Universe is Deterministic --> No Free Will
2) The Universe is Probabilistic, but we cannot influence which outcome arises --> No Free Will
3) The Universe is Probabilistic and we can somehow affect which outcome arrises --> We Do Have Free Will
If Quantum physics is in fact probabilistic it opens up the possibility for free will, but does not guarantee it.
BUT I must say that this is based on the definition of free will. "Still, even if we disregard the Heap Paradox, we need to somehow define what a free will would look like versus an unfree one."
Back in the 1980s, the American scientist Benjamin Libet made a surprising discovery that appeared to rock the foundations of what it means to be human. He recorded people’s brain waves as they made spontaneous finger movements while looking at a clock, with the participants telling researchers the time at which they decided to waggle their fingers. Libet’s revolutionary finding was that the timing of these conscious decisions was consistently preceded by several hundred milliseconds of background preparatory brain activity (known technically as “the readiness potential”).

Luckily, for those who find this state of affairs philosophically (or existentially) perplexing, things are starting to look up. Thanks to some new breakthrough studies, including one published last month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers in Germany, there’s now some evidence pointing in the other direction: The neuroscientists are backtracking on past bold claims and painting a rather more appealing account of human autonomy. We may have more control over certain processes than those initial experiments indicated. 

The German neuroscientists took a different approach from past work, using a form of brain-computer integration to see whether participants could cancel a movement after the onset of the nonconscious preparatory brain activity identified by Libet. If they could, it would be a sign that humans can consciously intervene and “veto” processes that neuroscience has previously considered automatic and beyond willful control.

The participants’ task started off simply enough: They had to press a foot pedal as quickly as possible whenever they saw a green light and cancel this movement whenever they saw a red light. Things got trickier when the researchers put the red light under the control of a computer that was monitoring the participants’ own brain waves. Whenever the computer detected signs of nonconscious preparatory brain activity, it switched on the red light. If this preparatory activity is truly a signal of actions that are beyond conscious control, the participants should have been incapable of responding to these sudden red lights. In fact, in many cases the participants were able to cancel the nonconscious preparatory brain activity and stop their foot movement before it even began.

Purely theoretical, are free will and determinism compatible?  Feel free to discuss this!
I do not know how I have 1k credits lol

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