Hard Determinism is compatible with Free Will and Agent Causation

I’m thinking about something.

I do not see why hard determinism would be incompatible with agent causation and free will.

Hard determinism: Exact knwoledge of all states of affairs at one point, would make it possible to predict all future states of affairs with 100% accuracy. For this post let’s assume that agent causation is possible, so that agents can be one ultimate source of change in the universe and have the ability to freely choose.

People intuitively think, that if all states of the universe are entirely determined by laws of nature, agent causation could not exist. I share this intuition, but I disagree rationally. At least logically those two concept are not incompatible.

It is logically possible when we find at least one theoretical way in which both concepts can be true at the same time. And this way exist:

If agent causation influences directly or indirectly the laws of nature to bring about the agents decision, than the agent would truly choose and the universe would truly be (hardly) determined.

I say directly or indirectly because it is not even necesary that the agent has the power to change the laws of nature. It would also be possible that there is an entity that has the knowledge of our future/potential decisions and brings those about by tuning the laws of nature in a way, that will bring about our decisions.

I know that this options seems weird. But it should not be dismissed, just because it sounds strange. Quantum physics sounds strange, but still happens.

I am neither arguing for determinism nor for free will here. I am just stating that even hard determinism would still be compatible with free will. Even if we could predict the behavior of persons with 100% accuracy, that still would not mean, that they did not choose freely.

Therefore free will can never be challenged empirically and has do be debunked philosophicaly.

I guess for me it’s one of those what ifs that only work in a hypothetical world different form lite.

We can’t state for sure what someone will do or how they will do it. We can come up with great guesses based off of several factors.

I usually hear these arguments though being used to debate if free will exists or not and not if someone’s choices could be predicted with 100% accuracy.

This argument simply states, that it is and will always be impossible to debunk free will and agent causation on empirical grounds. It can only be rejected philosophicaly.

I still think that it better falls down to if they can’t prove it’s determined and they can’t isolate the process and they can’t prove their point the lack of accuracy and ability proves free will. Otherwise they could hammer it down and get it right every time.

I don’t think it’s works to argue that something is only philosophically arguable just because they can’t find actual concrete evidence.

I do understand what you’re writing.

How can we scientifically prove the choices we make are done by free will. I would say it’s a given. Same as how supposedly in some ancient argument with Elea stating movement is fake because a foot can be broken up into 1/12, 1/100, to 1/999…9 and if it can indefinitely be broken then that means we can’t actually move and blah blah and the argument ended when one guy simply got up and walked.

Free will exists because I know I’m making a choice. Sometimes I make the choice I feel is wrong and sometimes I face the same thing and make the right choice. Sometimes the choices are not right or wrong like picking an apple instead of a new fruit you’ve never seen before vs the alternative.

If personal decision making is possible as we experience it then even if we don’t fully understand it does not mean any other idea can be equally considered when it does not never work.

This is such a mindset dependent phenomenon. From the point of view of a determinist, we are simply unable to resist the allure of establishing our free will. From our point of view, they are free to imagine they have no other choice. But whatever it is and whatever we choose to call it, we are the way we are and what we are is probably too complex to reduce to either untethered free will or locked down determinism.

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The conclusions I have came to as just a person is that genes create instincts. Those instincts are typically across the board. Those instincts often present multiple options that naturally occurs. Starting as a child nature and nurture cultivates those instincts into socially acceptable thoughts and actions. We find some that works for us and we pursue those. Occasionally we will break out of our norms for whatever reason and pursue alternative ways. Some situations only have so many options. Some have more.

So if someone got me and threw into a boat and that boat begin to sink and went under water I would try to obviously pursue oxygen. That’s a given basically. But I may or may not try to stay in a air pocket in the boat or try to swim to the surface. Circumstances, skills, instincts, and ect… can only bring us so close to the most likely choices.

Yeah, but how people with different assumptions think or how free will could work is different from the question, whether free will (aka agent causation) is possible under hard determinism. And I think it is (logically) possible, even if our intuitions might speak against that.

I take the roller coaster approach. The coaster follows a predetermined route, but does that make it any less fun? If all we have is the illusion of free will, that’s enough for me. I will just enjoy the ride.

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That sounds about right. It has always seemed like sophomoric question … even when I was a sophomore. Frankly I’m happy to have a good deal hard wired. Can you imagine going around having to decide when to blink, breath or swallow.


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