The main argument for those who don't believe we have free will is called determinism, which what was initially proposed by Newton, and supported by Einstein. Except, it's been discovered that every electron has no certain position in the universe, popping in and out of existence with no particular order. If this weren't the case, then things could be predicted with certainty, but they can't.
All of human history has shown us this; the choices that humans make, for whatever reason , have lasting impact on the fate of our world. Some might argue that everything people do is based on outside factors, but I propose that as a species (if not all individually) people do have free will. Will to be good or evil, to plan ahead or make mistakes. For better or for worse, we have all the choices in the world.
As has been pointed out many times in debates, on the Internet, and even on this very web site; it is impossible to prove whether free will exists or not.
However we must assume that it does in order for our society to function. Consider; what judge could sentence a rapist to prison if the rapist had no free will? Or how could any evil or good action be punished or praised if we assume that free will is non existent?
In the end it doesn't really matter since if free will is real then it is real, and if it is just an illusion then it is the perfect illusion, one which none of us can tell the if it is real or not.
Free will has always been subject to humans. When we compared ourselves to animals, insects etc. We can clearly see that they exist in a balanced chain of natural instinct. They do not thing outside the box nor they can or have to. They simple follow a predetermine instructive book that tells them how and what to do in order to keep a balance going. And by balance I mean ecosystem changes, food chain, etc. And if given the proper circumstances, being weather changes or world changes etc. They will adapt themselves to a new environment thus keeping the balance. As to humans. We exist outside this circle. We can decide whether or not we do action A or action B regardless of instinct. In other words we are the owners of our own destiny. However, as it could be very well mentioned on the opposite side. Our actions ca be easily influenced given the right inputs. But even so... The choice is still ours.
Humans can do whatever we want and make choices. The only thing that prevents us from making choices are laws we ourselves set. Even then, we still have the choice to break a law and most laws only restrain us not completely strip us of our right to act. Its pretty obvious we have free will.
Seeing that people have picked out their response to the question, whether for or against, shows that people have the option of selecting a position on a continuum where there are extremes and where they may also mount their stakes on any given matter.
Some room can be accorded to determinism however, and therefore I find compatibilism plausible.
What is my "self"? What if I decide to define myself as being every origin of my behavior (including the Big Bang and quantum randomness throughout history) as manifested in the present? Then by definition I have total free will because based on that definition of self every action I take originated in my self.
But other than some mental masturbation what is the point of defining things that way? Only to illustrate that whether or not free will exists in a physical sense can change based on the semantics of "self", so there's no point in talking about whether free will is real in a physical sense.
"Free will" in a social sense on the other hand is important. It is about people giving each other the space they need to become unique individuals. It is about avoiding coercion unless it's absolutely necessary.
It is obvious that people have free will over their decisions. Otherwise, people would not make mistakes. If some God or deity were in control of the world, people would not do so many stupid and destructive things to themselves and others. It is clear that people have a choice in their lives.
Every part of our make up is influenced by our genes and our environment but the exact amount will vary from one individual to another. This is the gene environment interaction.
Just because our thoughts arise from our subconscious, does not suggest a lack of ownership, like wise any genetically influenced traits that affect our thoughts are still ours. This would probably be quite obvious if you could genetically modify your personality, you would sense a difference as to who you were. The essence of you would be changed.
The notion of free will is incoherent with the laws of physics. In order for such a theory to exist, humans would have to be consciously aware of all the factors that are considered in the process of making a decision or acting out a desire or impulse. Also, we would have to have the ability to manipulate the aforementioned factors in order to possess absolute control over our thoughts. The idea of free will rests on two assertions: everyone could have acted differently than they did the past, and that we are the conscious authors of most of our thoughts and desires. Upon introspection, however, both of these assertions appear to be false. Can one act out anything that does not occur to oneself? Can we account for our genetic makeup, environmental upbringing, or prior causes and background influences? The answer to both is a resounding no.
Free will... Free of what? Since we are all subject to the physical laws, if someone had both a sufficiently powerful computer and knowledge of the states of all elementary particles of me and my surrounding at some time, this person would at all times be able to predict all of my future decisions more reliably than I could. This pretty much refutes any version of free will one could define.
While this is only a claim, it is strongly supported by all experiments carried out on the subject. It was shown that from brain scans decisions can be derived long before we would consciously 'make' them, proving that 'we' as the beings whose thoughts we are aware of have actually no say in our own decisions. It was further shown that humans cannot even distinguish between decisions they make 'freely' and those which they are forced to make without their knowledge - for those decisions they were subconsciously forced to make humans confabulate reasons to explain to themselves why they made this specific decision.
If simple invertebrate brains can be fully and realistically simulated using physical laws only and our brains are just more complex, then by induction it follows we have no free will either - we are determined by our genes and our environment. As this view is supported by countless different experiments, while 'free will' is only supported by 'but I feel it must be so', having no more proof than the stories schizophrenics are convinced of, free will is almost certainly an illusion.
It depends on your perception and depth of your thought about this subject. I'm going to go all the way. Your Will is dependent on the nature of your surroundings. You cant choose to just fly to the moon.But if you go further then that,did you know where the origin of your opinion came from about that thought.Its like our minds are TV earls set on different channels depending on the fabric of your consciousness.If you could look down at aye person like we can look down at a worm,would you say that the worm would be free.It depends on what you think.
We are nothing more than mere chemicals reacting to one another in a way that pretends to be conscious. Free will is nothing but a delusion and the brain is too egotistical to admit otherwise. The universe merely experiences itself throughout us. I dare anyone to try and prove me wrong.
We are physical animals. Our bodies are purely physical, so are our minds. They are made out of matter that we can observe and understand. Free will implies that there must be a non-physical aspect of our minds. That would be a comforting concept to many, but being comforting doesn't make it more true, and there is no evidence for any part of our existence existing outside of the physical universe and reality as we know it. But even if there were a supernatural component to the idea of human existence, it would still be governed by laws. Everything we do is governed by physical laws. There's no reason to think that, while another universe might have different laws than our own, that there is somehow a universe with no logic or physical laws whatsoever.
No matter what "choice" you make, it is your choice. But you didn't choose to be you.You just are, and so are all your actions and thoughts. If you rewound the universe and hit play again, all the thinks that happened will still bring about the same next things (if you want to add random qanttum event "so then perhaps you can refute determinism, but random qantum events are not wired by anyone
Free will is defined as an agent having the ability to do anything without extrinsic limitation. This is self-evidently false. While we can make choices, the notion of free will is inherently damaging. As Arthur Schopenhauer said - we can do as we will, but not will what we will. What we fundamentally desire, and by extension the choices we make, are influenced by other events and agents. As minimal as this may seem, it is enough to show the fallacious logic of 'free will'.
We have free will to some degree. For example, you can choose what you want to do with your life, where you want to go. However, there are some things you can't change.
For example, if you have been raised hmm... Jewish, say. Say you were purely indoctrinated and the the Jewish view is the one you believe solidly to be true. Well, think about it... You've never had the free will to choose this belief. You were raised a certain way, were shown certain beliefs, certain morals, certain values and chances are they are the same as your parents.
Besides a study show that most people born from middle class parents will be middle class as well, lower class will be lower class as well, and high class will be high class as well.