The laws of nature in current science are mathematical formulae that predict the behavior of objects deterministically, which precludes any role for choice and morality in nature. Therefore, if nature permitted choices, how would we reconceive natural laws? In Vedic philosophy, the law is a material entity called a role which defines the expected behaviors but doesn’t preclude choice. The interaction between choice and expectation creates a consequence, which moves the actor into new roles. There is determinism as far as the outcome of the choice-expectation interaction is concerned but the determinism is based on the local conditions or role without precluding choices. The current contradiction between choice and determinism in science is actually reflective of a mistaken notion of material reality and its laws. This post discusses how natural laws can be reconceived compatible with the existence of choices.
If the universe was not determined in some sense, then we could not make any scientific predictions. If, however, we did not have free will to choose among alternatives, there could be no moral judgments. This contentious issue confuses many of us, as we tend to either capitulate to free will and lose scientific predictions (which is often what religions do), or deny free will based on our current successes in empirical predictions (which is often what science does). This post discusses why both these positions are false, and how deterministic predictions can exist without compromising free will and morality.
My two previous posts explored the flaws in the materialist reduction of free will to rationality and discussed the use of free will in science. The second post concluded by arguing that every conscious experience involves choices, and these may be good or bad―depending on whether they are successful. This post extends the above arguments to incorporate our everyday notions about morality―i.e. good and bad―in the context of science. The key claim is that what we call a “working theory” is not just one that is compatible with all the observable facts, but also one that frees us from the consequences of the choices. A “non-working theory” is one that which creates consequences. The difference between a working and a non-working theory is called karma in Vedic philosophy, by which our false notions about reality bind us to the world.