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Determinism At Work

A philosophy comic has reminded me humans probably have no free will.

The comic’s example: imagine you travel back in time one year. You secretly watch a copy of yourself relive that entire year. Since you lived it, you can predict your every thought and action.

Now imagine you’re playing The Sims, the computer game where you create computerized people and watch them live. You make their personalities and environment, and how they’ll make their decisions. You could watch them live for a year and predict virtually their every thought and action.

These two scenarios are ultimately the same thing. It’s hard to claim a simple computer program has free will, so how can we claim humans have it?

All humans are basically robots making decisions based on things we can’t control: our personalities, environments, and the laws of physics. We’re just a lot more complex than Sims and we don’t understand the whole decision-making process. Not yet, anyway.

Also sadly, there’s no reset buttons or money cheat codes. Not yet, anyway.