Do we have free will (yes), or are our actions pre-determined (no)?

  • Of Course We Do.

    The fact that I chose to answer the question is a testament to the freedom to choose. Believing in a higher power doesn't mean that we don't have free will. God may know what our next actions will be, but that doesn't mean that He will decide them for us. Even if you make an unconscious decision, *you* still made the decision. You can agree with my opinion or not: you are free to choose.

  • Of Course We Do

    Yes, as a Catholic, I would say yes, if we followed through with stereotypes. But even if we didn't use stereotypes, if we forgot about those for a moment, I would still say yes. First off, many of these arguments are from a determinist's perspective, someone who believes that we have no free will, that our actions were predetermined long before us. A determinist would also add that our decisions are based off of our biased worldviews (where you lived, marital status, education, etc.) However, this is where stereotypes develop. For example, if you were born in England, someone might assume you have poor dental hygiene. Likewise, if you were born in Russia, you take steroids and wear weird hats and speak of "Da Modderlund". If a determinist believes this is so, and it were true, then how would he have ever deduced that his choices were not really free? Consider dystopian films. In each one, there is a subjugated population whose lives are decided by a supreme leader. Every one of these leaders try to hide the fact that the populace does not make decisions for themselves (In Equilibrium, it was through tablets, in The Matrix, it was a virtual simulation, in the Giver, it was giving all the memories of the past to one person, etc.) Once a person discovers the truth, they become "rebellious" and we view them as a hero. The same principle can be applied here. If our thoughts were determined for us, then how could we have discovered the force that determined our thoughts for us?

    Now, there are more arguments on the "No" side that say that free will is dependent upon their economic status. A poor person couldn't make the same choices as a rich man. If that were true, then what do you make of the multitude of "Rags to Riches" tales? (Examples include Guy Laliberté of Cirque du Soliel, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Leonardo Del Vecchio of Ray-Bans and Oakleys, etc.) These are all people who used their free will to climb to the top of the social ladder. If they were pre-determined to be poor, then how did they defy that determined choice? Now, one might rebut, "These are all cases made in the USA. What about in other areas of the world?" Well, the United States is often called the freest nation, and so free will would have a larger margin to work within.

    And finally, the last type of argument: free will doesn't exist due to our past experiences. To which I say, you still have a choice to follow those past experiences. Should you do your homework again and get good grades, or should you watch "Game of Thrones?" Should you cheat on a test again since your grade improved and you weren't caught, or should you be honest in your studies? You aren't forced to follow through with those past experiences; that's the whole purpose of gambling.

  • Yes yes yes

    Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yesyes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yesyes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yesyes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

  • Deja vus killed my initial beliefs!

    When I was growing up, i always believed that having very good education would help me make the right decisions on life but I was wrong. All our decisions are predetermined and we don't see it. This new belief occurred to me during my teenage years when i started having Deja Vus. I couldn't believe initially that deja vus would have a drastic effect on my life but when it kept happening, it became clear to me that Deja Vus are from a parallel universe that we visit during our sleep.

    There cannot be any other explanation than thinking we have lived our own future when we experienced a deja vu. For me personally, deja vus gave me a real consolation whenever i took wrong decisions but when i took right decisions, i was more than happy.

    There has to be a parallel universe somewhere or even multiple ones, else how would deja vus make sense? This is something to ponder upon.

    I am a man of science. Although i still belive god exists, I study lots of scientific theories about life.


  • I Don't Know but I assume yes

    It is unknowable whether free will is real or not. The world would look exactly the same either way. Most neurological studies do not find 100% correlation, hence what we see in the brain could be to some extent just the most energy efficient way of going about the behavior the brain expects you are likely to choose, still being free to behave differently (but the brain adjusting over time to be more energy efficient if you change your decisions). There is also the question of retrocausality. Maybe your choice determines how neurology plays out going backwards. Retrocausality is a possibility, and some evidence for it is that students who studied after taking a test did better than those who didn't.

    Why do I assume yes if I don't know? Because without free will why try to do anything? What would the point be?

  • Yes, we have free will - but not freedom from consequence.

    You can do what you want. You have the freedom to move your body to where ever you can physically get to and have your body do what ever it can to physically engage you environment in any way you choose. To say that those actions are pre-determined cannot be proven; therefore, what sense does it make to assume it to be fact?

  • Yes, free will exist

    If everything is determined. Who determines it? So if I was poor and I become rich it's it because of god and not my work? Is god doing the work then? So why we do this? Do god want us to debate about if we are controlled? Does he made these wars. If I were to go back in time and kill Hitler does that mean if everything is determine does that mine I can't change time. That means there is no variable in life.

    That means life is like A+A=2A
    or 1+1=2 <----- Pure Pre-determine
    If Free will then its A+B=C
    or at least some free will like 2+A=B
    cause if we have no free will

    Are we then just God's toy?
    Does that means we are not thinking but someone is making us do it like if they are playing with a controller that control us?

  • Yes we do

    There couldn't be a "opinion" page in this web site if we had no free will. Many factors influence our decision making. Social rules are a big factor. I'm sure genetics and and other factors also play a role.
    However we humans have the amazing ability to be able to poke in sharp pin in our arm without flinching. An incredible feat. To do this we need to ignore our inbuilt survival instinct and our gut reaction to pain. Part of our brain can forcefully override all other factors of our decision making.

    Of course we a are still constrained to what is physically possible but our ability to make our own decisions is unmatched. Try training a cat to stay still while you stand on it's tail! I person can actually do the equivalent. Our free will is so powerful that we can literally make any decision we want. Even if it cost's us our life or intense pain.

  • Science, faith unification

    First of all before I make my stance let me set aside Science from Beliefs, in any form of religion.Yes of course its "Free Will" that makes as more human instinct...
    Our brains conceive endless ideas whether or not a pre-determined outcome or not will somehow come, that is the time our heart balance our desired if it will gonna do it or not.
    In the end of the two road ahead of us our "FREE WILL" will be the Witness/Judge of our action....

  • "Free will" is not what humans believe it to be.

    In a sense, yes, we do have the ability to think, consider the benefits/ramifications of each potential course of action and act accordingly. Yet, deducing how much of a decision can truly be credited to our own mental analysis, and how much is the result of the influence of subconscious factors is crucial to determining to what extent our supposed "free will" actually exists.

    Suppose a person makes a bad decision. Why? Most would blame it on irresponsibility or something of the like. Yet why is one irresponsible, and therefore prone to irresponsible decisions? People are not born a certain way, and they do not consciously choose their personalities and characters. A murderer does not have a murderous urge because he chose to feel it. Something must make you the way you are. The only thing that sets a killer apart from a friendly family man is the difference in upbringing and experiences, not a conscious choice. These things are determined by a person's past; by a plethora of untraceable factors and experiences which had an impact on your mind. Barring an extra variable such as mental disease, babies are identical in character at birth. Yet, by early childhood, some are on the right track, while others show problematic trends. Why? The answer is what I have just stated.

    This entire argument can be summed up with one phrase. "We are powerless to make a decision other than the one we actually make". There are millions of factors that impact one's choices, most of which are pre-determined by one's past experiences and cannot accurately be called "free will".

  • I doubt it that we have free will

    Firstly, I have limited knowledge on this topic to argue. Before I used to believe that every being had free will and a choice to do certain actions. However, being somewhat ignorant I didn't acknowledge the concept that my personal actions and choices may have been decided beforehand by external factors, whether from God, Heritage, Genetics, or Upbringing. As a philosophy/ethics and psychology A-level student, I am learning this topic and having doubts . For instance, some may argue that we have free will, but they cannot sprout wings and start flying as we're restricted by evolution, our bodies aren't programmed to fly. I also discovered in a documentary that Neuroscientists (through an experiment) found that our choices are decided unconsciously at least 6 seconds before we make a decision- which is a scary thought.

  • We have your own free will to make choices but what made us make those choices what predetermined

    We do have free will to make whatever choices we want to make but why we made those decisions is decided on what is physically going on around us and how our brains are structured. From when the big bang first exploded, it has caused a domino effect eventually leading to the creation and formation of our planet and our brains. Therefore why we make all of our desisions is predetermined.

  • Of course not

    Most people living have more free will then others like the rich, can choose what they want but for those living day and night for money, water, food and medicine they have no or hardly any choices. We try and make our world better however there are many loop holes. More people who don't work don't get the money they need. Children need to go to school for education, adults have to get jobs as most of the worlds economy revolves around money. We need money for food, water, shelter and quite a lot of things in life. We are stuck in this system. Also I'd like to repeat what other think how our actions and experiences effect how we live and also our surroundings.

    To sum this up I don't think free will exists at all.

  • Blah gd f

    I thinkno cause swag is nice and that the swaggy things i do are all pre determined by the events which caused me to do it. Sorry im not the good of speking elgish but that is all me going say today. Hope you have nice day good byee <3

  • We r all equal and walk in each others footsteps

    This way we all reach salvation learning the same lessons. If we had free will it will need god to work even harder and god is a eternal living thing I believe so he himself can even have a limit to his workload. If there were more options for us it would make it harder on god. We all follow in each others foot steps and we are made to mimic freedom as much as possible so when we r set free we feel we were never really held captive in our human bodies

  • Here is my theory

    I don't wholeheartedly believe it, but it is just i thought i had. We are our experiences. Everything we experience since we are born influences our decisions and choices. So it is possible that there is no free will because our choices are not our own but are made from our experiences. Does that kind of make sense? I don't think they are pre-determined by someone i just think that it is possible that we are the butterfly effect in a way, we will do things because of our past and not because of personal choice. Even when it comes down to a yes or no decision that you are 50:50 on your experiences still would have caused you to make whatever decision you are going to make. Sorry if this is too confusing. Things usually just make a lot more sense in my head.

  • Nature and Nurture is all we are

    There are only 2 things that make us what we are; our genetic makeup and our environment. We have no control over either. So... Free will is not as 'free' as many would have us believe. We scorn and despise the criminals in our prisons and the homeless in our streets but if we were to look at their lives... The poverty, cruelty, hopelessness and the fact that very few avenues were open to these people... We'd see that their fates were very probable. The few cases where nature gives a person an upper hand like an innate skill, great intelligence or that person gets nurtured by great parents are used by the cruel and stupid as examples of 'well he/she was a success, the multitudes of others who aren't are just not trying.'

  • Its all in our head.

    The choices we make in life ultimately make us who we are so to defiate a way from that and make a different choice, would be a different life. So for us to be who we are we have to make these certain choices. Every choice we make is a result of our past so you make that particular choice because of whats previously happened so becuase you can only live in the 'now' youll never be able to make a different choice because you cant change your past.

  • Almost, but not really.

    We behave like we had free will and it seems that way, but technically we don't. If you think about taking option A or B, you may believe it is you, your free, will who makes the decision, but actually that decision has been made long before. You decide based on what you know, what you experienced, your instincts and emotions. Things you can't control and things which, themselves were set by the things that became before them.
    It is a bit like rolling a dice and coincidence. It may seem it is completely coincidental on which site the dice falls, but in truth it is determined by the way the dice is thrown, the material it is made of, the way it is shaped, on what he lands and so on. If you would know all the variables you could exactly calculate how,where and when the dice is going to come to a stop.
    The same goes for your choice between A or B, where also the fact that you can only chose between A or B (and not between 0 and infinity) shows how limited your "free will" is.

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