Do humans really have free will?

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  • Gene R.

    Pointer to NIH work on inheritability of psychopathy...

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc...­

    Not to be inferred that I'm advocating it.

    February 1, 2014

  • Carolyn

    How refreshing! A freedom unto itself! Thanks and nice to finally meet up.

    February 1, 2014

  • Marian

    I really enjoyed this, I felt everyone really participated thoughtfully in the discussion.

    January 31, 2014

  • Joel B.

    Didn't this come up before? One of the zillions of ways to approach this: We are, perhaps among other things, a bunch of chemicals. Any bunch of chemicals, per se, has no will; free or otherwise. So for the bunch of chemicals commonly known as "me" to have free will there has to be something in addition to the bunch of chemicals that has this "free will." What is this something? Mind? A concept we use to include the chemical reactions in the chemicals that make up our brain, nervous system, muscles, etc. Soul? No comment. imho the absence of any proof that there is any "me" beyond the bunch of chemicals makes me doubt that "I" have any will.

    Stephen Wolfram pointed out that our unpredictability is often, and easily, mistaken for free will. But there are many examples of determined but not predictable systems. Somebody (Schopenhauer?) nicely said "Man can will what he does but cannot will what he wills."

    It's just one of our many conceits...

    1 · January 15, 2014

    • Eric

      True Detective has some great lines about this

      January 31, 2014

    • Devin

      1) how do you know the given bunch of chemicals did not choose to behave predictably?
      2) how do you know the "chemical reactions in the chemicals that make up our brain" dictate mind and not the other way around?
      3) if a thing cannot be proven, does it follow that it cannot be?
      @Rocky: Is the quote aimed at distinguishing between individual identity and identity as part of something larger?

      January 31, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Free will is the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors. Factors of historical concern have included metaphysical constraints (such as logical, nomological, or theological determinism),[1] physical constraints (such as chains or imprisonment), social constraints (such as threat of punishment or censure), and mental constraints (such as compulsions or phobias, neurological disorders, or genetic predispositions). The principle of free will has religious, legal, ethical, and scientific. YOU GUESSED IT NO WE DONT HAVE FREE WILL,LOL

    January 29, 2014

  • Carolyn

    .......and so while Alaska falls apart, I continue to muse on the subject of FW, but maybe it should be considered only in the practical sense as applies within the environmental and social confines currently in place or we're destine to get into whether we should even possess such a force as your free will could be my prison.
    Please note the location is in Severna Park. Hope it works for you all. I'm flexible, with occasional control over my FW syndrome. See you all then.

    January 29, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    We do have free will but are not free of the consequences for our free will choices thats why we are hesitant not because of choice but outcome of that choice.

    January 28, 2014

  • Gene R.

    [Corrected URL] As background material, here's a pointer to the meetup (Is Free Will an Illusion?) that addressed this topic back in 2011. Between the long time since previously addressed and the change in composition of attendees, I'm sure that a new look is appreciated. http://www.meetup.com/socrates-cafe-crofton/events/17039771/

    January 28, 2014

  • Rocky

    In pondering my own free will, I ask: Are my thoughts, opinions, motivations, and actions my own? At what point do external factors stop being mere influences and become commanders of what I think and do?

    January 28, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Do humans have free will? Depends on the definition of the term; in other words, if free will means we can do/achieve anything. we want, I would say no we do not.

    1 · January 28, 2014

  • Carolyn

    free will amid society simply becomes choice as it is classified within society and our own conscience as good or bad so....absolute free will would require a population of one with unlimited power or with a population of robots...already in the making.

    January 27, 2014

  • Rocky

    Free will has its own definition & I am a little foggy on it. Penny seems to treat the term as synonymous with freedom & opportunity (Note, when I characterize someone else's thoughts, please notice my qualifying terms, such as "seems to"). Joel seems to equate it with self, mind, consciousness, personhood, or perhaps stating that, if there is no "me", there's nobody to exercise free will. Is free will, simply, free thought? Or is it the ability to exercise free thought? I've heard discussions on whether we have "free will" or is every moment of our lives already written? The first 2 descriptions on Webster's site seem best to me...

    ": the ability to choose how to act
    : the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or God"

    For me, the issue boils down to: What circumstances are influencing the choices we make, & do those circumstances threaten or even nullify the autonomy of our choices.

    January 27, 2014

    • Rocky

      ...That's why I mentioned microbes earlier. BTW, not just gut bacteria, but also microbes that are more purely defined as parasites, such as toxoplasma gondii, a well-known behavior controller.

      January 27, 2014

  • Carolyn­ changed the location to Atlanta Bread Company

    January 26, 2014

  • Carolyn

    nurture + indoctrination vs nature + discrimination

    January 26, 2014

  • Rocky

    Will, possibly. Free, no. Microbes are the Overlords; we do their bidding. http://goo.gl/3Raqan

    January 25, 2014

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