Amazon.com Widgets
  • A powerful one at that

    Free will is an illusion, because physically speaking in our universe free will can not exist*. Why do you choose something? Is it because its more favorable? To prove a point? When you break it down your brain is running a bunch of calculations that involve tons various factors. Sound familiar? Well like a computer, your brain has inputs (eyes, ears, etc.) and it runs through a bunch of disorganized calculations to result in an output (you saying something or doing something, etcetera), only it is a lot more complicated because it has an output of over 2.2 million floating point operations per second.
    Back to physics, in our universe it is impossible for free will to exist because despite that anything atom sized and smaller are influenced by randomness constantly, they have no choice over what is happening, even though it is random.
    Think about Schrodinger's Cat, an experiment where a cat has a 50% chance of dying and the same chance of surviving unharmed. The cat, like any small particle, has no free will over this random event. So therefore we have no free will and free will can't exist. Though all free will, luckily for you, will almost always be what you want. Your brain is on your side (mostly) after all.

    *Note by in this universe I mean that some physicists theorize multiple, infinitely sized universe in which physics behaves differently.

  • People, like other animals, behave predictably.

    Would you say that a squirrel chooses to run away from a moving car or stay still? No they are simply responding to environmental stimuli by using their genes and previous experiences to "decide" the correct response. Since squirrels are not believed have consciousness, they are believed to not have free will or a choice on how they react. You can argue that humans have consciousness and "choose" to respond a certain way to different situations, but the brain activity responsible for the decision precises the consciousness knowledge of the decision.

    I would argue that if I knew every variable at play (that is your entire genome, all of your previous experiences, and every detail about the environment), and I knew how those factors affected one another, I could predict with 100% accuracy on how you would respond to any situation or given stimuli. Just like any other thing in existence.

  • "Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure." -Scott Adams

    There are no actions, words or thoughts which come from nothingness. They are each influenced while we are in our mother's womb until the day we die, from DNA or memories (of which we have no free will over either).

    Show me an example of free will and I'll show you an illusion of the mind, influenced either from your DNA or your memories.

  • It is and it's actually harming us

    I dare say it's not all roses. Believing in free will is not unlike the olden days, where we attributed the rains, moods of people and the flying of birds to acts of mystical forces. It has it's uses, but it's time to move on. Believing in free will actually blocks rationally assessing a situation and predisposes people to play the blame and hate game. It's not just about responsibility, we want to actually hate and blame people for their actions, as if they made them up in some sort of vacuum. If free will is an illusion we will rationally view misdoings as being part of the overall system - failure thereof - and take actions to prevent this, instead of just patting ourselves on our backs and demonizing the actors. It has no value whatsoever and it needs to go if we ever want to have a stable and productive society. It's not that hard: decisions can be made, responsibility stays, it's just the 'free' part that leaves (And with it, basically, you, as independent agent. Hint: you are not.)

  • Yes it is.

    Free will is just an illusion that is imposed upon us so that we don't see that we are slaves of our own society. We are formed by our society. We follow the rules that it has forced upon us, we respect its values, we dress the way it's appropriate for our society, the way we speak ,walk etc. If you think you're a completely free individual the try to answer this question. Place an adjective on the line, that is truthfully describes you and only for you, not anyone else on the planet:
    I am____?

  • For there to be free will would imply that what we know and have tested in science is wrong.

    Science has continually proven that something has to come from something, with the only challenge being the original creation of the "big bang". Therefore humans and animals were created from the particles as planets, just constructed differently. Through the millennia we have evolved to have brains in which give us the illusion of freedom of will. Yet this is not possible, our brains are simply the nodes for electrical/chemical signals to traverse enable to move our mass and continue our existence. Although I would like to believe we have the freedom of choice, we simply do not on a biological standpoint. The neurons in you head simply take the shortest path from point A to point B, and depending on the seemingly random events in your life, point A and point B vary from being to being.

  • People, like other animals, behave predictably.

    Would you say that a squirrel chooses to run away from a moving car or stay still? No they are simply responding to environmental stimuli by using their genes and previous experiences to "decide" the correct response. Since squirrels are not believed have consciousness, they are believed to not have free will or a choice on how they react. You can argue that humans have consciousness and "choose" to respond a certain way to different situations, but the brain activity responsible for the decision precises the consciousness knowledge of the decision.

    I would argue that if I knew every variable at play (that is your entire genome, all of your previous experiences, and every detail about the environment), and I knew how those factors affected one another, I could predict with 100% accuracy on how you would respond to any situation or given stimuli. Just like any other thing in existence.

  • Illusion without question

    I can't control what my subconscious makes conscious. I have no idea why these particular words are flowing from my head vs other words which could have. The speed of my typing (slower or faster) does not matter in this. Forget about the fact that I have NO IDEA why going to a free will debate website at this moment even makes any sense. I can't meditate on anything without my subconscious creating ideas and voices that my consciousness must deal with. The deterministically mediated subconscious invades every "decision" I make about everything to the point that what would be "free will" is unrecognizable on close inspection.

  • Free will is an illusion created by the human mind.

    To have free will suggests that you a the wilfully author your own thoughts - this would essentially mean that you would have to think something before you thought it. Which obviously makes no sense.

    Thoughts simply pop into existence, you have no control over what you will think next, if we pay enough attention to our personal experience of thought, we witness this all the time.

    Think about factors that may influence ones decisions - their genetic make up, their upbringing, their external environment, luck and chance - instantly it becomes apparent that an individual has no control over these factors.

    One may argue that this makes 'punishment' redundant - and to an extent it does. However, it is still necessary to protect society from risk, and if a particular person was to pose a risk to the flourishing of society, it would still be necessary to isolate that person. Punishment for redemption can not be aligned with the illusion of free will in my opinion.

    Posted by: DP
  • Total free will is one of the biggest illusions ever created.

    I bet you think you have total free will whether or not to read my argument. I bet you think you have total free will as to what kind of music you listen to. I bet you think you can choose what kind of food you eat, or what kind of book you read. That’s not true. It’s all false. Your choice as to whether you have free will as to whether or not to read my argument is governed by so many different factors that I won’t even bother counting out: there’s wifi, your schedule, the amount of Opinions available that interest you, or even (if you are reading this for homework) the amount of arguments you have to use in your essay. Every choice you make has already had most of its options eliminated by a whole array of different factors: what your society accepts, how tight your schedule is, how many people you have ogling your screen, to name just a few. I’m not saying that free will by itself does not exist – you do have free will to some extent – you can choose to skip my next sentence or to read it twice, but you cannot choose to stop breathing, or to drink the same water twice. Free will exists, total free will doesn’t.

  • It all begins with a decision.

    The idea that anyone could suggest that free will does not exist seems very ludicrous to me. Are you trying to suggest that even now as I sit here typing this statement I am being dictated by electric signals in my mind to continue typing this because of my biological and chemical make-up? No. I am typing this because I feel like typing it, I have made the decision. It was in my will. It is possible and relatively easy for people to go against their own nature and do something they would not ordinarily do, but it always begins with a decision. You could go upstairs or downstairs right now and if you have someone in the house with you, you could kill them right now if you chose to do so. You choose not to do so not only because you clearly care about them and have a connection to them, but because it is not in your will to do it. It is not impossible for you to kill them, and it is not impossible for you not to kill them. The decision in whether you choose to kill them or not lies in your willingness to do so, not because of your morale, character, or personality. Sometimes even the most moral and loving of people turn bad. Sometimes people who have never committed a crime in their life suddenly make the decision to do something horribly wrong.

  • NO

    Free will is not an illusion. It is very real. If we were to suppose it as an illusion, then we would have to assume life and existence an illusion as well, which then delves into philosophical territory.

    Thus, to assume our lives, existence, and consciousness as real we must also assume that as cognizant beings we also have the capacity to make our own choices.

  • No, free will is not an illusion

    On one hand, you could argue that we are the sum of our parts, our bodies, our minds, and our influences, and that our minds merely make choices on the calculations of our outside world. However, I believe that this does not account for human spirituality, which is an unknown force that has time and again conquered impossible odds. The realm of science is a realm of proof, tangibility, solidity, and the ability to argue theories. However, the realm of spirituality and religion is one of supposition, hypotheses, and assumption. Both have some very strong drawbacks - and in this case, science cannot fully explore or understand the unknown. Because it is unknown science itself cannot prove it does not exist. I believe it does exist, because if it doesn't, then the development of the entire human race is one hell of an accident out of a trillion. Because of this, I believe that free will exists in one's spirit, and that it plays a strong influence on our minds and our bodies, and on the world around us.

  • Not At All

    No, free will is not an illusion – it’s just easier and less work to go with the status quo rather than muster the will to make your own choices in life. Everyone has the right and the ability to make choices in their lives, some a bit more easily than others, but the choices are still theirs to make. Life will tend to make our choices for us if we do not have the strength of character to make them ourselves. Nothing requires more work and effort than being the master of your own destiny.

  • Free Will is Real

    Free Will is the idea that you can do anything that you want to do. Whether you will get punished by society for any acton, that is a different question. There are things that are unachievable by humans, but these are physical challenges. The fact that you can go against what is right or what is perceived to be right by society and the people around you is proof that free will does exist.

  • No.

    Free will is not absolute in the sense that you could do anything. Everyone is limited. However, free will is real in the sense that there is ALWAYS a choice. The reason it might seem like an illusion is because typically one choice is easier than the other, making the decision making predicatable.

  • Free will is an illusion for these two reasons, although either on its own should suffice.

    Reason 1:
    A) Out brains are made of certain chemicals.
    B) These chemicals abide by certain scientific laws in the ways they react.
    C) These predetermined chemical interactions on the micro scale cause predetermined results on a macro scale.
    D) Our decisions are predetermined.

    Reason 2:
    A) All results from a system either have a logical cause or they don't.
    B) if the results have a logical cause, they are predetermined, as the results of a logical problem where the conditions are known are always predictable.
    C) If the results do not have a logical cause, they are random.
    D) All people that I have encountered who are pro free will would say that predetermination is not free will.
    E) Most people that I have encountered who are pro free will would say that randomness is not free will either.
    F) As 'free will' does not fit either of these and we saw from clauses A. B and C that it is a contradiction for anything to be not predetermined (the result of a logical cause and simultaneously not random (the result of no logical cause), the idea of free will itself is contradictory.

  • Does it even matter?

    If free will is an illusion nothing anyone does matters and I was "destined" to pick no and write these words. Free will as an illusion seems to be the easy way out for not accepting responsibility for actions with the excuse I was meant to act in that way and so I should not be held accountable.

    In the end does it even matter?

  • Belief of Will

    Its not our place to say if it exists or not. The fact simply is, people make choices. The universe doesn't conspire to make a person pick Fruit loops over Captain Crunch. We can choose. Yes, some things are out of our control, but tha doesn't mean all things are not. Anyone can make a choice, no matter how small. It would be foolish to think that all your actions are for nought, as that will probably lead to misery. How can you live a good life if you think all you do is being controlled by something else? You only live once, and you should try to make it as happy as posiible, but hey, its your choice.

    Posted by: O.Z
  • Pascal's Wager Argument For "Free Will" + Brain-Government Analogy

    Whether it exists or not it's better to believe than not to believe. Science has proven that. Test subjects who read a passage suggesting free will may exist had more motivation in tasks than subjects who just read a passage suggesting determinism. If I'm not actually doing any of this what's the point to existence? Why not just sit and let things pass me by if there's no such thing as free will? Nothing matters then. Nothing I achieve or do is actually real.
    What a horribly cruel joke it would be if free will turned out not to be real in spite of the fact that belief in it is in the long term necessary for us to continue to be motivated to do just about anything. I would think any responsible scientist would throw away anything that was truly conclusive of an absence of any free will. And yes I know the neurology studies but they leave open the possibility of free won't or of free will through planning or stopping to think and reconciliation between one's conflicting ideas. Concluding that we don't have free will because a decision can be predicted through brain scans a few seconds a head of time is like saying the government's decisions are completely predetermined just because you can interview all the Congressmen and tell whether a bill is about to pass before it has passed. One can see the human brain similarly, like a government and your conflicting thoughts and ideas are Senators and Representatives (don't take this literally please). And you are? President or rather more like Prime Minister. Call your thoughts and feelings into session and you can square them with each other. That is free will.


Leave a comment...
(Maximum 900 words)
No comments yet.