I think of free will as the ability to make choices. I appreciate that the phrase “free will” is potentially loaded with religious overtones so I am just thinking of it in terms of the ability to assess information and make selections about it being correct, valuable, etc.
While I certainly see the logic of the view that if the universe is mechanical such that one thing determines another, and if we are products of that universe, then we must be determined and everything we do or think is therefore determined. It makes sense. But this is where I stumble.
If I am a scientist wanting to validate or invalidate a hypothesis, I have to test it and assess the results of the experiment. If I have no free will, then whatever assessment I make is determined so I cannot actually know if it’s correct. Since I had no choice in my conclusion, how can I know that conclusion is right? I suppose one can say that logical deduction itself is what tells me something is correct or not, but how do I know logic is correct? I’m still faced with the same problem assessing logic.
I know there are whole books out there that refute the notion of free will. But I still get stuck on this point. How can I know anything if I cannot make any choices about what is true or false?
While I know many will disagree with me, I’ve concluded that something about the psyche must be able to choose what is true or false. Without this ability, we cannot have any confidence in our knowledge. In fact, I would say that we cannot have actual knowledge without the ability to assess information.