Consciousness, whatever it actually is, would seem to be an epiphenomenon. Which to me implies that however much it feels like we’re in charge of ourselves, we aren’t really.
I’ve just decided to go buy a couple of bottles of wine, because why the fuck not? This day is already promising to be utterly horrid, so the benefit of numbing myself to it seems to me to outweigh how much worse alcohol will make it.
Point is: it’s a decision I feel I’ve made.
But is it really? Assuming consciousness is an epiphenomenon, I arguably had no choice but to ask myself whether I’d go buy a couple of bottles of wine, and my decision – while not at all random – was just the one out of a number of possible end states for the processing involved, that turned out to happen. And it’s not at all impossible (though not likely) the end state came about because causality got violated like a 15 year old street kid in a gay bar at some point in the processing.
So… I’m inclined to believe free will is whatever consciousness does to us to make us appear to act comprehensibly to ourselves, because our frame of reference is so alien to the one our decision-making happens in that our conceptions of it are entirely hypothetical to the extent that just understanding our half-arsed hypotheses requires a PhD in mathematics. Or if you prefer: free will every bit as much an illusion as strong determinism & predestination.