The Illusion of Free Will

January 4, 2017 Physics

We are governed by the laws of physics, invariably hindering our ability to exercise free will. When we believe we are acting freely, it is an illusion. All events that take place are effects necessitated by earlier events and in this, future events are as fixed as our past. In our world, making decisions freely and exercising choice cannot exist. However, it appears that we experience times when it would seem as though we do have free will. I am going to discuss how we believe we have free will, enabling us to make integral life decisions. As such, I will disprove this notion, exploring why free will and making choices are illusions and nothing more.

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Free will and the exercise of choice are illusions. Each of our actions is controlled by factors that are beyond our control. The theory of determinism states that all events, including human action, are determined by causes that are regarded as external to the will and they could not have happened otherwise. All of our mental stages, functions, and actions which includes making choices and decisions, are effects necessitated by preceding causes. Our futures are fixed in the same way that our past is fixed. However, there are times when it seems as though we have free will. When we observe people, they seem to be thinking and acting out of their own discipline. This is the illusion of free will and choice. The truth of all our experiences is that they are illusory. To make this a bit clearer and more applicable, I will use an example from an unpublished article by John Searle. “A famous, if mythological example of judgment is that of Paris. Confronted with three beautiful Gods, Hera, Aphrodite and Pallas Athena, Paris is required to deliberate and reach a decision as to which should receive the golden apple, inscribed “For the Fairest.” He is not to decide this by appraising their beauty but by choosing among the bribes each offered.


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