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Why we haven’t got free will and why we are pleasure-pain machines

Fri 18, May 2012

(I wanted to make this post anyway, but now this post is a reply to a comment of the user “Otove”)


If we drop a ball it surely will fall, right? The ball can’t say “no, I don’t want to fall, I want to fly”.

The same thing occurs with us, we are complex balls falling towards the end of our existence, our thoughts are just electrons moving in synapses and our memories just chemicals stored in our brain cells.


We haven’t got nothing that makes us able to “jump” over our hardware (a.k.a brain) and make “free” decisions, believe in “free will” is impossible without resort to religious dogmas or consider randomness as “free will”.

And so, “free will” is just an illusion; because you make decisions doesn’t means that you have “free will”, you’re another pleasure-pain machine like all of us and all your actions and decisions are determined by the laws of physics.


This is the reality, believe in free will is one of the pillars of society and religion; but is not one in philosophy nor any other science.


From → Philosophy

  1. Your idea of humans as pleasure pain machines is well established in western philosophy.

    In Plato’s Republic we read that Pleasure is the, ‘awareness of processes of fulfilling very diverse needs’. Pleasure is an important part of living ‘the good life’.

    Author Tony Robinson says that some people chase after pleasure and other people run away from pain, this neatly supports the Tao Te Ching, which famously remarks, ‘Pleasure follows pain, pain creates pleasure’, the Yin and Yang of Life. So we see that for Millennia philosophers have wondered what motivated and compelled Mankind.

    Nevertheless Miguelle, don’t let a desire for Originality override the desire to find truth.

    Keep the light burning, your blog is coming on well.


    • 1.-Really? I though that concept was part of some sort of radical concepts about philosophy.

      2.-Yes, I have to read Plato’s Republic.

      3.-I am not trying to create a completely new branch of philosophy, I am only saying my actual thoughts. All truth for me is scientific, I think that only knowledge achieved empirically is enough trustworthy to be called (at least provisionally) “knowledge” (I don’t remember which philosopher said that).
      I think that the “free will” is meaningless because the world is mathematical and there is no mathematical operation that gives any sort of randomness or “free will”, no matter how complex is that operation.

      4.-Thanks for your comment, I’ll try to expand this blog as much as I can. Too bad that the ancient philosophers didn’t have online blogs!

    • Adieu mon ptit Marco. La frustration sur ta non réactivité face aux derniers événements tennistiques démontre à quel point l&att;#t3en9e de tes posts est grande. Peux-tu stp y remédier… Si non, au niveau du coca qui coute chf 15 dans ton prit bar à genf ça se passe comment?

  2. I’d love to see you flush out this concept a bit more. Great start, and worthy subject for future writings!

    • I’m trying to put all my philosophical thoughts in this blog.
      But I write according to my inspiration, and my principal sources of inspiration are books and (above all) philosophical discussions with other people!

      This post was written (earlier than I planned) because of a comment of Otove, try to comment something and I will be enough inspired for “flush out” this concept even more!

      P.D: Also, I though that the term “pleasure-pain machines” was a radical concept in philosophy, any comment on that?

  3. believe in free will is one of the pillars of society and religion; but is not one in philosophy nor any other science.

    The point is that life to me is about ‘freeing the will’ and don’t you agree with, Krishnamurti ?

    “Choice must exist only when the mind is confused. When it is clear there is no choice.”

    If you are happy as a ball falling through space, that is to your detriment, a million decisions you could make rite now that would change your life.

    • I think that “freeing the will” makes no sense, the “free will” only exists as an illusion; our immense brain complexity makes us believe our decisions aren’t conditioned.
      Also, our concept of life is based in “free will” until a point where is almost impossible to think philosophically without believe in “free will”.

      The morality has to “report back” to science, if science says that a ball falls, a ball falls! If science says that every decision we make is because a mathematically predictable complex neuronal-electrical system, we haven’t got free will!

      Also, just one thing. You really think that there’s an atheist person that don’t desires that God exists? And you really think that there’s one deterministic person, that don’t desires that we had free will? (Ahem… I’m not the exception)

      P.D: I don’t know who is Krishnamurti, my philosophical knowledges aren’t very extensive.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Determinism, awards and punishments « Whitepillarsinsidethevoid
  2. Quotes (updated eventually) « Whitepillarsinsidethevoid

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