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 Is free will an illusion?

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Aaron
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PostSubject: Is free will an illusion?   Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:26 pm

Okay, I'm going to make a stab at discussing this topic again. Here's an essay by Martin Heisenberg that has an interesting take on the subject.

Quote :
Is free will an illusion?
Written by Martin Heisenberg

Scientists and philosophers are using new discoveries in neuroscience to question the idea of free will. They are misguided, says Martin Heisenberg. Examining animal behaviour shows how our actions can be free.

Our influence on the future is something we take for granted as much as breathing. We accept that what will be is not yet determined, and that we can steer the course of events in one direction or another. This idea of freedom, and the sense of responsibility it bestows, seems essential to day-to-day existence.

Yet it is under attack as never before. Some scientists and philosophers argue that recent findings in neuroscience such as data published last year suggesting that our brain makes decisions up to seven seconds before we become aware of them along with the philosophical principle that any action must be dependent on preceding causes, imply that our
behaviour is never self-generated and that freedom is an illusion.

This debate has focused on humans and 'conscious free will'. Yet when it comes to understanding how we initiate behaviour, we can learn a lot by looking at animals. Although we do not credit animals with anything like the consciousness in humans, researchers have found that animal behaviour is not as involuntary as it may appear. The idea that animals act only in response to external stimuli has long been abandoned, and it is well established that they initiate behaviour on the basis of their internal states, as we do...

http://www.neuroquantology.com/repository/index.php?view=article&catid=99%3Afree-will&id=97%3Ais-free-will-an-illusion&format=pdf&option=com_content&Itemid=72

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Uriah



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PostSubject: Re: Is free will an illusion?   Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:29 pm

No, I don't think it is.

Certainly, free will is not complete, our choices are limited. However, I believe that conscious volition is a fundamental, integral, aspect of reality.
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Is free will an illusion?   Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:37 pm

Wow, based on our previous discussions, I wasn't expecting that response from you.

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Paul Anthony



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PostSubject: Re: Is free will an illusion?   Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:29 am

Our actions are generally predictable, but not pre-ordained.

In any given situation, our reaction will be based upon our previous experience and our perception of the situation, which in itself is also colored by previous experience. However, that only seems obvious when examining one situation at a time.

To put this simply, let's say that a situation requires a decision to either turn left or right. Our decision may be predictable, but it is not guaranteed. By turning left, we will be faced with future decisions that will be entirely different than those we would encounter had we turned right. The future possibilities always vary, depending upon each decision we make.
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Uriah



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PostSubject: Re: Is free will an illusion?   Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:41 am

Aaron wrote:
Wow, based on our previous discussions, I wasn't expecting that response from you.


I've changed my mind Very Happy
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: Is free will an illusion?   Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:49 pm

Uriah wrote:
Aaron wrote:
Wow, based on our previous discussions, I wasn't expecting that response from you.


I've changed my mind Very Happy

Or maybe you just think you did... Wink

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Uriah



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PostSubject: Re: Is free will an illusion?   Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:09 am

Aaron wrote:
Uriah wrote:
Aaron wrote:
Wow, based on our previous discussions, I wasn't expecting that response from you.


I've changed my mind Very Happy

Or maybe you just think you did... Wink

Haha! Oh snap. Shocked


Very Happy
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