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Do human beings have free will? Show more Show less
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Do we have control over our actions? If we do, what sort of control and to what extent? Free will is the power to act without the constraint of necessity or fate. It is the ability to act at one's own discretion. For centuries, people have wondered how freedom is possible in a world ruled by physical determinism. Reflections on free will have been confined to philosophy until half a century ago, when the topic started also to be seriously investigated by neuroscientists. Today, there are several irreconcilable positions about the existence of human free will.

Yes, people have free will Show more Show less

Individuals determine their own actions without any interference from outside forces.
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It feels like we have free will

We are all born with a perception that we live our lives with free will.
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The Argument

We are “built” to have the impression that we consciously control our actions or to have the power to freely choose, even if is just a cognitive illusion.[1] Mark Hallett, a researcher with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said, “Free will does exist, but it’s a perception, not a power or a driving force. People experience free will. They have the sense they are free.”[2] Today, for example, the assumption of free will runs through every aspect of American politics, from welfare provision to criminal law. It permeates the popular culture and underpins the American dream—the belief that anyone can make something of themselves no matter what their start in life.[3]

Counter arguments

Just because we believe we have free will doesn't mean it is the truth. “The more you scrutinize it, the more you realize you don’t have it.”[2]

Premises

[P1] It feels as if we have free will. [P2] Therefore, it must be true.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] This is not necessarily the case.

References

  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00262/full
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/02/science/02free.html
  3. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/theres-no-such-thing-as-free-will/480750/

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 21 Apr 2020 at 09:32 UTC

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