Free Will?

It might be a silly idea, I don’t know. I had this thought some number of years ago while walking home.
I wondered, from a purely physical perspective, do we (sentient beings) have free will?
You’d know Newton’s 3rd law - that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I wonder if that can apply to biology, too. I mean, every action we take is determined by our beliefs, personality, state of mind etc. Those factors are determined by our upbringing, genes, environment and so on. My idea is a bit difficult to describe, but essentially it’s something like even the things that determine our thoughts are a reaction to our experiences, and those experiences are results of previous actions and experiences – reactions in turn to the actions and experiences before them, and so on.

At the very least there is likely a finite number of reactions. Albeit a very large number, still probably finite. The fun part is knowing that we will likely never know and yes we are stimulated to always try and know.

Free will is trucky cause that term can be twisted to serve a narrative. I have the free will to avoid fire and the free will to jump into it and die. All are reactions to events and.things and that example probably has a few trillion variants to it. So you choose one variant, but ultimately there are a limit to the quantity of variants as well.

Do you choose to breathe when you’re sleeping? :ponder:

We live stranded in infinite time in temporary bodies. :mantelpiece_clock:

I don’t wanna get too much into the N-man, but Free Will really should be seen more as a Will to Power if you’re considering the human conundrum. If you are considering the mind of gad, well…have fun with that. Better to simply wonder at the wonder of it all imvho. :sunny: :butterfly: :pizza:

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Yes. You, the physical body, does make that choice. You, the personality that is reading this may not realise your body is making that choice.

It gets confusing fast, cause its both immensely comolicated and we are incredibly ignorant. ultimately our body isnt a single .being, but millions of beings working together. thats what biology is. So logically, us breathing is as much “our” choice as a forest breathing is natures choice.

Bodily imperatives equal body choice?

So are babies born because moms choose or the baby does.

That is the question. Haha.

You can choose to hang yourself. Blunt answer.

Are you suggesting death, inevitable decay and death, are somehow connected to Free Will?

Do animals have FW, being creatures of Gawd as well.

You might like the show Devs. I thought it was pretty good.

The problem has been extensively discussed in philosophy and science (Stanford dictionary article here and Wikipedia here).

Usually these discussions get lost in the fog of the definition of what free will is; the history of the debate basically goes in a circle of:

  • A defines free will, claims human beings have it.
  • B finds fatal flaws in that definition, claims free will doesn’t exist.
  • C suggests a new definition of free will, claims human beings have it.
  • D finds fatal flaws, free will is disproved.
    And so on.

Meanwhile, neuroscience and other sciences have brought more and more proofs that we are just organic machines operating along a set of rules and responding to stimuli.

Personally I think the reason why there was a debate in the first place is because people want to see themselves as special beings with supernatural capacities. It’s the same self-importance that made people believe they have unique characteristics that separate them from animals, although any example raised has been debunked and observed elsewhere in the animal kingdom.

What I find interesting is less the problem of free will as the problem of belief in free will. Some research shows people who don’t believe in free will are more likely to lie, cheat, be aggressive towards others and less likely to be altruistic. As if people thought, I don’t have free will, therefore I am not responsible for my actions, therefore nothing bad can happen to me if I’m immoral.


I just finished this. I highly recommend it to any and all seeking insight to such things.

The larger questions are always the most fun. :banana:


Abraham Heschel is a giant.

He’s been a bunch of books and videos for a while now, but yeah, I hear and agree with your assessment. Anything in particular stuck with you?

His book on the Prophets was great. He was also involved in social justice movements, having marched with Martin Luther King.

Yeah, the “racism is satanic” speech is very powerful as well as being extremely well reasoned. Good Stoic examination of real life morality and the infinitely alive presence of god…in my humble.

Weird time of the year for late night drunken freshman musings. ;D

I’m on NY time so…just regular ramblings.

Not sure I have the time for this, so I’m just copying and pasting for now.

5. The Free Will and Moral Arguments

Another argument for dualism claims that dualism is required for free will. If dualism is false, then presumably materialism, the thesis that humans are entirely physical beings, is true.

Dualism and Mind | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

one might call such an idea ‘determinism’

As with most philosophical questions, I like to check in with The Professor first. This was before the materialist arguments popular now were big, so he deals more with the traditional arguments.


If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.