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“If I could only go back and do it again,” I hear people lament. “If I only knew then what I know now, I would have done it differently.”
But, says logic, if you went back in time, you would still make the same decision, for good or ill. Because at that time you acted on the basis of the knowledge you had. All of the knowledge you had. And if you went back, that would still be the same. Because you can’t take 50 additional years of experience and learning back with you.
You were what you were. And your decisions were determined for you by your experiences.
All of this depends on an underlying assumption – that we humans are nothing more than a product of our environment.
Or, to put it in more traditional language, that we have no free will.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: algorithms, free will, determinism