The Truth You Don’t Want to Hear
What the laws of nature really tell us about free will
Discussions like the one by Ella Alderson about free will in my opinion miss some of the fundamental controversies underlying quantum physics and the hard problem of consciousness.
Ella is right that within the current material physicalist framework, there seems little space for free will.
Yet Libet's experiment demonstrates only correlation not causation. A nice example I recently heard explaining that is a train platform that fills up before a train arrives, yet the people on the platform don't cause the train to appear.
Libet's experiment when causative in nature, would also merely shift the locus of free will and not eradicate it. Consistent with buddhistic view the personality we consider "I" could indeed be entirely illusionary in nature. A evolutionary shortcut to facilitate and obfuscate the unsolvable self-referential problem of a descriptive and story based language center, trying to describe itself in order to present itself to the burgeoning social setting of early man.
Underneath this illusionary personality is a perceptive network of conscious agents we commonly refer to as our body. Each node would have a form of free will based on the output of decisions formed by agents deeper down the consciousness chain. Our bodies would exhibit every characteristic of having free will even though our PR-agent we usually identify as the agent in charge would not.
Donald Hoffman even made the observation that such a network of conscious agents would develop sensory instrumentation that would prevent it from actually observing reality as it is. Isn't that a #Hoot!
There are other interpretations for material physicalism such as David Pearce's Non-material physicalism. These forms of panentheistic natural law's potentially link the hard problem of consciousness to dark matter and the problem of free will.
Currently there are a few building blocks and "He! That's weird" observations that would paint a very different picture. Just to name a few:
Roger Penrose and Stuart Hamerhoff in:
All in all a cornucopia of mysteries and possibilities.
@Ella Alderson's How would you answer the follow up question: "And does it matter?"