More Useful Way of Answering "Mind vs. Body" Problem

by Olitness2 min read27th Jul 20214 comments



Are you your brain, body, mind or consciousness? If so, where does your "free will" come from if everything is governed by laws of physics? Thorny as questions about minds, consciousness and physics are, answer to what person and free will are, and whether we are "brain" or "body" or "mind", can have simple interpretation based on what we currently known and can be used for all our practical purposes.

You are not your brain, body, DNA, mind, consciousness. Nor are you governed by laws of physics. You are specific part of all those things. You are your body, mind, DNA, consciousness and laws of physics (and perhaps other phenomena, too) all combined. You are interplay between all those things. You are what emerges when all those things combine in a unique way.

You are just like a table. Table is not its legs. Nor its desk. It is what happens when 4 legs and 1 desk combine in specific way that table emerges.

This leads me to determined laws of physics and free will. Let's assume that everything is predetermined based on laws of physics. Then where is your free will? It is in the laws of physics themselves! We are not separate from laws of physics. We are not governed by laws of physics. We are simply part of laws of physics. And if we are part of it and laws of physics are what "determines" everything, then we are the ones doing determining.

It is not my mind, DNA or laws of physics that govern what I do, because I'm those things! So in a sense you can say that my actions are determined by those things, but that just translates into my actions are determined by me.Think about it, as far as we know, if you take away my DNA, mind, body or laws of physics etc. then what remains? Nothing, there is nothing else that could be governed by those things!

Therefore People and Free Will are specific abstract phenomena that emerges from fundamental phenomena like DNA, laws of physics etc.

We shouldn't postulate that we are separate from "our" DNA, body, mind or laws of physics because if you take those things away, there is no longer any "us". It is those things that form us when they are joined in unique and specific way.

Is this perfectly accurate or true way of looking at the world and such a puzzling questions like free will and what people are? Unlikely, but to me it seems like most useful and valid way of looking at things until we find better explanations. Denying free will and blaming laws of physics or DNA for any of our actions doesn't seem to be way, not postulating that we are in any way separate from those things.


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Don't forget environment, food, air, people...

Naturalistic libertarianism is a thing , although not a widely known thing. It usually involves a more exacting set of conditions than "some kind of causality".

Have you read "Free Will" by Mark Balaguer ? Your argument is similar in some ways.

I haven't, but I will give it a read. My ideas here were inspired mostly by works of David Deutsch and Matt Ridley and many others I can't recall right now.