Fil Albuquerque wrote:
Yes, people deeply confuse the sensation of having a free choice, their own perception with what actual free choice would require. When I want to eat an ice cream and I decide to not do it because I am rational and freely opt out of it, all that, the pros and cons, were already playing deep in my subconscious. When I decide and I am "happy" with my decision, something else inside me computed that out of the billions of constraints that compose my mental state of affairs at a given time. Absolutely none of it was free whatsoever in that process.
Good point, but you falsely imply that some other form of 'free will' could exist by saying "what actual free choice would require."
There is no system for decision-making that would operate independently of the constraints of the system.
What does exist, however, is the ability for the machine/brain to work toward being aware of desires, biases, etc. and thus allowing itself to compensate for those in its processing.
E.g. if you are aware that the ice cream is not good for you, and the fact that you desire it, then your brain can factor those things into its process of cultivating resistance to the temptation to eat the ice cream. That's why a human brain has more capacity to resist temptation than, say, a dog who will gladly eat the ice cream without giving any thought to the health consequences, spoiling his/her appetite, etc.
You can teach a dog to restrain himself/herself from taking a treat before he or she is commanded to do so, but that training requires programming the dog's mind to fear some negative consequence, which could be as subtle as disappointment/anger if the dog fails to resist the offer.
In that sense, the dog can also learn to make freeer choices than just reacting to its desire, but the freedom lies in balancing of conflicting interests and not in the installation of some fundamental 'freedom' that supposedly allows a mind to make choices devoid of various influences.
Will-power = becoming aware of various pulls and developing resistance to acting right away. We call it 'freedom' but it is really resistance to temptation/desire, endurance, and staying power to persist in that endurance.