Do We Have Free Will?

1 2 Sam Harris says No
The illusion of free will
"Take a moment to think about the context in which your next decision will occur: You did not pick your parents or the time and place of your birth. You didn’t choose your gender or most of your life experiences. You had no control whatsoever over your genome or the development of your brain. And now your brain is making choices on the basis of preferences and beliefs that have been hammered into it over a lifetime — by your genes, your physical development since the moment you were conceived, and the interactions you have had with other people, events, and ideas. Where is the freedom in this? Yes, you are free to do what you want even now. But where did your desires come from?"


Kyle Hill-(JREF research fellow specializing in communication research and human information processing.)
"For me, the realization that we live without free will has been a very personal journey. I have recently transitioned into a field of study that I am not sure is the right fit for me. I am uncertain and hesitant about my future.

But knowing that my conscious self is ultimately not the author of my actions, I have eliminated regret from my life. For any personal choice that you may regret making, the absence of free will means that given the state of the universe at the moment you made the decision (your upbringing, experiences, genetics, brain chemistry, parents, etc.) you could not have chosen otherwise. To think you could have chosen otherwise is to either merely think the thought “I could have chosen otherwise,” or to say that the choice could have been different in a different universe. This liberates me. It is also exiting. You and I are fundamentally unaware about what we are going to do or think or say next. The conscious self in this way is along for a very interesting ride."

 

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