Free Will and Determinism

Probably the most personally important book I’ve read in the last few years is Rudy Rucker’s The Lifebox, The Seashell, and the Soul. I know, it sounds like a walk-on-the-beach self-help book for indulgent yuppies, but it’s a book about the mathematical underpinnings of a variety of philosophical and life-science concepts.

He takes some of the ideas in Stephen Wolfram’s New Kind of Science and expands them along wider and sometimes more humanistic lines.  Rucker’s Lifebox book got me past and well beyond my unhappiness with determinism – the philosophical viewpoint that insists that things follow, one from the other, in an unbroken chain of causality in which there is no real free will. In effect, we decide what we always will have decided.

In the past, starting around my college days, the humanist in me recoiled at this bloodless, cold, geeky rationality. On the other hand my inner scientist told me, “Man up punk! That’s just how it is.”

Now I don’t have that mental conflict.

Here’s my 6 minute animated take on the sweeping truth and practical error of determinism.

~ by bracketbracket on November 29, 2009.

One Response to “Free Will and Determinism”

  1. Looks like a fun book – I just purchased it for my son or father, not sure, maybe I’ll buy them both a copy.

    That’s a crazy animation program – never knew anything that cool existed.

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