Mapping the world's opinions

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Do human beings have free will?

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

Individuals determine their own actions without any interference from outside forces.

All humans have free will

We each have agent causation - the ability to start a chain of events not caused by anything else. Explore

If we don't have free will, there will be chaos

We should at least pretend to believe in free will, because without holding onto this belief there would be chaos. Explore

It feels like we have free will

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

No, people don't have free will

We can run from it, but the truth is that our actions are predetermined by a higher force than our selves.

There is no escaping fate

Since the Ancient Greek story of Oedipus, there have been many who believe there is no escaping fate. Explore

Neuroscientific research has disproved the existence of free will

Benjamin Libet conclusively proved that we decide to carry out actions after it has already been determined. Explore

Is there middle ground?

While we may not have complete control over everything we do, this doesn't mean everything is completely determined for us.

Compatibilism or soft determinism

Compatibilists believe that determinism and free will are compatible. Explore

We don’t know yet - but researchers are trying to find out

The current research into the capacity of our free will is indeterminate.

Research is underway

While we cannot currently know whether free will truly exists, with the help of researchers we should know soon. Explore

This page was last edited on Tuesday, 21 Apr 2020 at 07:18 UTC

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