The Way We Are Free: On the Problem of Free Will

Weaver D.R. Weinbaum

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Abstract

Modern understanding of determinism collides head on with our experience of free will and leaves little place for it if any as a real phenomenon. This article proposes a new reconciliation between free will and determinism. It traces the experience of choice to an epistemic gap inherent in mental processes due to them being based on physically realized computational processes. This gap weakens the grasp of determinism and allows for an effective kind of freedom. A new meaning of freedom is explored and shown to resolve the fundamental riddles of free will, or at least going a long way towards that end. Freedom as arising from the epistemic gap is no longer a mysterious property of an agent but rather a dynamic property of a wider state of affairs involving the agent, the distribution of computational resources and information flow. Some implications of the way that we are free and how it might be influenced by future technology are briefly discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Noosphere Outside In
Subtitle of host publicationConsciousness Beyond Autopoiesis
PublisherBright Hall Publishing
Publication statusSubmitted - 2023

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