Do we have free will?

or do we just think we have free will?

Okay, so think of a time you made a large decision, possibly life changing.

If you go back in time to the exact moment you made a decision, would you have made a different one

Okay so all decisions we make are based on our past expierences (obv.)

So if everything we decide is based on things that have already happened, do we really any choice in the matter? If you went back in time and had the same exact past expierences and mental patterns, could you have made a different choice?


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Most Helpful Girl

  • I think we have the illusion of free will.

    In the very least, none of our choices/actions occur in a vacuum, but rather, they are either the result of, or at least heavily influenced by, a variety of things, including biology, socialization, previous experiences, etc.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • People have been thinking about this for millennia so I doubt you'll find an answer here. And it heavily depends on what you allow free will to account for.

    One could say that you're always going to make the choice that makes the most sense to you, and you have no real freedom in the matter. So every 'choice' you make, like you said, is predetermined by all your past experience. Even if you choose to do something that directly goes against what makes sense for you, it's a conscious effort to prove the system wrong so it makes sense within that context. I doubt there's an escape from that logic. But then again one could say that that IS free will, and they wouldn't be really wrong either, since of course there's always a reasoning and a reason behind any choice you make anyway, even if it's totally controlled by you. So it's often mostly a question of semantics and definitions.

    There is some evidence, though, that our consciousness of a decision isn't part of the actual decision-making. There have been results that show that a moment BEFORE you choose to let's say do something arbitrary like move your arm, there's brain activity in your premotor cortex, the part of your brain that coordinates movement. The brain activity happens BEFORE you make the even choice to move, which would show that what we think as ''making a choice'' might just be gaining consciousness of a choice that's already been made by our brain. But even then one could say that our brain is us, so it doesn't really make any difference.

    Here's something interesting. Someone with split-brain has the two hemispheres of his brain disconnected. Interestingly only the left side can communicate anything because the speech center is located on the left hemisphere, so basically your right hemisphere becomes 'mute'. Meaning people's left hand (controlled by their right brain) will do things they didn't consciously choose to do and don't understand, because their right brain is deciding it on its own without being able to relay it to you. Like you may be reading a book you're enjoying, but suddenly you put it down because your right brain can't read so holding a book just seems boring to it. You should look into it, it's pretty mind-blowing.

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What Girls Said 0

The only opinion from girls was selected the Most Helpful Opinion!

What Guys Said 3

  • Yes just because or decisions are influenced by what happened in the past, doesn't mean they are the sole determinant for what we do. So we do have free will

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  • The problem with free will is that it contains a logic bomb.

    Having a free will require you to take decisions, but all decisions have consequences and you need experience in order to sort out bad decisions.

    You get experience by making decisions with both closes the circle and leading to your rant.

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  • When a question leads to a contradiction or a paradox it's almost always because the question doesn't really make sense. You ask "do we have free will" this assumes the idea of free will has meaning but really it's just an idea we can imagine, like perpetual motion. The idea of free will encompasses it's opposite, determinism which is equally an imaginary construction with no validity in respect to observations of real phenomena.

    So 'do we have free will?' is just a wrong question, it's terms are wrong.

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