Thursday, January 6, 2011

Determinism and Free Will - II

Note: This is a continuation of my previous musings.

Thinking more about it... I feel that there might be one little flaw with my logic. And that flaw (if it's a flaw!) is associated with my earlier statement that we might (even theoretically) be able to determine anything exactly!

The reason we are not able to determine anything exactly could be in the fact that we are a part of this world... what we need is an external vantage point. Being ourselves a part of this world, it limits the level of understanding that we can achieve! We can only understand something if we are looking at a whole and objective view, instead of a partial and subjective view. Now this may only be possible if we are watching this world (an isolated system?) from outside!

If we follow this line of reasoning, then we have to assume that either the world or in fact any system under observation (we're not restricting our world to this universe... it may be at any level of existence) is either an isolated system, or it's not! If this existing system can't be classified as an isolated system at any level, then the logic for understanding it is bound to become extremely convoluted! However, on the other hand, if it is indeed an isolated system then what conclusions can we draw?

What I mean here is that, as an example, let's take our universe. It might be an isolated system, with no information exchange with any other universes (if they exist!), or with a super-universe (again if it exists!). Let's assume that there are no sentient beings capable of free will here. A super-observer looking from outside will be able to determine conclusively and exactly the various states of this system, assuming he/she/it has access to all the required laws governing the system and the needed parameters. This means the super-being will be able to determine exactly the various states of the universe. Till now it should make sense because the enterprise of science is based upon the belief that there exist well defined laws and rules that govern our existence.

The situation becomes tricky once free will is introduced in our example system, i.e., a system with non-sentient existence only (see above). The first question to consider here is how can the free will be introduced in this isolated system? Here the way we are defining and interpreting the concept of free will, leads us directly to the conclusion that in absence of free will, everything will be deterministic. So the introduction of free will introduces non-determinism in the system. But if a system is deterministic at some point then it can't become non-deterministic on it's own! So now the question is how do we introduce non-determinism in an isolated system? It can be done in two ways.

1. The free will was introduced at the creation (if there was a creation at all) in which case the system was never deterministic, or,

2. The free will was introduced at a later stage in which case, the system can't be classified as isolated!

So, we can conclude by the above logic here that any given system can't be isolated and non-deterministic at the same time. If our universe is isolated, or it's also bound to be deterministic, that is our fates have already been decided by some kind of well defined law at some level of existence! Anyone who knows the state of the universe at any point, will be able to exactly determine what we do at any point of space of time or any other related dimension.

This further implies that if our universe is isolated, then we don't have any free will, everything is predestined!

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