Quote of the Day
The world is really screwed up and made much, much more unfair by the fact that we reward people and punish people for things they have no control over. We’ve got no free will. Stop attributing stuff to us that isn’t there.
Stanford University neurobiologist
October 17, 2023
Stanford scientist, after decades of study, concludes: We don’t have free will
I’m unconvinced this is true, but I understand how such a conclusion can be defended. Perhaps I should read his book. But what is most interesting to me, as pointed out in the article, is that people who come to believe this claim end make changes in their lives which are detrimental to themselves and others:
Even if the range of potential outcomes is limited, there’s simply too much variability at play to think of our behavior as predetermined.
What’s more, he said, it’s harmful to do so.
“Those who push the idea that we are nothing but deterministic biochemical puppets are responsible for enhancing psychological suffering and hopelessness in this world,” Tse said.
A widely cited 2008 study found that people who read passages dismissing the idea of free will were more likely to cheat on a subsequent test. Other studies have found that people who feel less control over their actions care less about making mistakes in their work, and that disbelief in free will leads to more aggression and less helpfulness.
All this makes me wonder… Is belief in free will is an evolutionary survival of the fittest response?
And further more, even if you were to know there is no such thing as free will, you (paradox alert!) should choose to behave as if you have free will.