Monday, December 27, 2010

Sheer heresy

I don't know how well I'll be able to express this thought right now but it's my blog, so eat it. I think the apparent reality of objective values and the apparent reality of free will have something important in common, other than being nearly universal errors. Both of these suppositions arise in people as a result of their ignorance regarding the inner workings of their minds. This is not the kind of ignorance that people can be blamed for; we simply do not have immediate voluntary or conscious access to much of what our minds are doing because it occurs subconsciously. With practice, we can become aware of more of what our minds are doing, more of the time, but we can never perceive even a largish fraction of the whole. That said, I propose that the illusion of free will is due to our ignorance regarding the causes of our actions, and the illusion of objective value is due to our ignorance of our own role in evaluating. Maybe it's a little ironic that we live our lives believing in the illusion of an abstract "self" who perceives values and wills actions, when in fact each of us is characterized by a very concrete natural self-construct that perceives its actions and wills its values.

By the way, I don't believe in strict determinism any more than I believe in free will. I don't think our actions, thoughts, values, or feelings are in vain, and I don't think our paths are set. Free will is just an incoherent notion that offers no direct insight into the nature of human behavior.

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