Why Free Will Is Nonsense

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We toss around terms, and assume they mean what we want them to mean, and then the tool becomes the master, and by language we are all enslaved…

What does “free will” mean? Most people use it to mean choice, or that with the options in front of us and a little bit of analytical creativity, we can find an option we like more than the others.

But “free will” implies something else: that we know all of the options, and choose the best one. This is problematic because our knowledge is limited to our experience and ability to conceptualize, which is (mathematically) a smaller set than the set of all possibilities.

Emphasizing choice makes sense. Among the options before us, we pick the best one and hack on it or modify it as possible. But to assume we have “free will” is to equate ourselves to the perspective of the gods, or at least omnipotence, and this is not only foolish but logically impossible.

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