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Arkady Grudzinsky

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Is "free will" an illusion?

Can someone explain to me how to understand "free will" from a purely materialistic point of view?

Let's assume that my mind is a product of my physical brain. This means that everything that's going on in my mind is a product of neural activity. Say, I'm looking at a can of vanilla and a can of strawberry ice cream and try to make my choice. WHO makes the choice?

Again, if my mind is nothing more than neural activity, then, perhaps, visual stimulus activates some associations and connections from my past experiences, and I pick vanilla, because it is associated with some childhood memory. This means that our response to every situation is predetermined by the neural connections that make my memories. Right?

Doesn't this mean that "free will" is an illusion? Can we really make decisions or do decisions "just happen"? If not, then WHO makes the decisions?

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  • Oct 22 2012: no..you can improve a machine..it is still inanimate, machine...a mind, which is by the way also attached to emotions, feelings..is more higher than functioning braincells..
    In reverse....first you always have an idea in the mind then you create the material to make it...the materials do not make things..
    but whatever I am done
    • Oct 22 2012: and you can't improve a mind?

      Well the kids will be happy that there is no point in going to school but there may be a few buddhist monks who feel a little disappointed that those years spent meditating have been rather wasted.

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