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Steve Bruno

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Do you believe we have true freewill?

I am curious to know if you believe we are more than just chemical and physical reactions in our brains.

What do you believe, and does that belief affect how you live and make decisions?

Edit: I have modified the question to allow for a more broad discussion on the general concept of freewill.

There seems to be a lot of confusion around the definition of the term "freewill". I have gathered some definitions from a few sources below to use:

"The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion"
Source: Google dictionary

"Free and independent choice; voluntary decision: You took on the responsibility of your own free will."
Source: Dictionary.com

Lets try to not get too caught up on the semantics. There has been some interesting discussions so far. I would like to summarize the main points on each side of this topic when I have time.

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    Jun 10 2011: I suggest we all read the literature before we attack the messenger.

    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/free-will-why-you-still-dont-have-it/
    • Jun 10 2011: I read it. If we accept the idea that everything we think and do is deterministic, how can we expect to fulfill any purpose at all? Indeed, it would seem that there is no ultimate reason to even exist, as what we are and do is only the by-product of the workings of physics and causality.

      It would mean that the nihilistic logic we have contrived to explain our existence is actually malignantly incompatible with any possible human purpose. For us to escape this feeling of hopelessness, it would be necessary to adapt to our dilema by adopting (as William James might put it) the will to believe. And so maybe, for all practical purposes, the subjective identity that we so dearly hold on to is inculcated in our neurological workings as a necessary component in order to support our existence. Yet, It would be our choice to adopt something with so little OBJECTIVE reason for it. And thus appropriately termed, freedom of will.

      With all the sciences, there are bounds that limit our discernment of them. Even time (causality), can be said to be a human fabrication. If we were to ride upon the negation of that, then all of the deterministic view could no longer hold, and for that matter, any view of which we hold plausible.
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        Jun 10 2011: The ultimate reason to live is to better yourself, and the altruistic reason to living is to help better others benefit themselves. - Just a thought in reflection to your response Emory.

        Yes determinism, is a waste of a practice outside of philosophy as of today with our advances in cognitive science.

        Edited: a lecture of Sam Harris about science determining our values.
        http://fora.tv/2010/11/10/Sam_Harris_Can_Science_Determine_Human_Values

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