Quantitative Psychological Theory and Musings

Friday, March 5, 2010

No Free Lunch, or Will for that Matter

Audio/Visual Version

I was in a conversation the other night and was asked whether I believe in free will.  I don't, and haven't for sometime.  I have many reasons, including the fact that I see no reason why we can't explain all of human action and cognitiion without it.  But last night, I thought of a new reason that should be obvious. 

As long as we have needs and resources are scarce, there can't be anything like free will, at least in the either/or sense.  We will always ultimately be controlled by such needs, toward the goal of passing on our genes.  But, what of people who claim free will exists in a limited sense, like my interlocutor?

I've never bought this concept.  At best, they can say that we sometimes have free will to a degree.  But, assuming that "free will" refers to a conscious decision process, the processes by which conscious and unconscious decisions are made are mostly the same.  The same needs exist, along with the same laws of learning.  The latter just in a metacognitive sense with respect to consciousness.


  1. Learning is in fact a process which gets in vogue with the need to cope up with a situation .It get conditioned and also diversifies as per the coping up with new experiences and thus exercise free will consciously and sub consciously .......with every experience enriching the process and act of learning .