TED Conversations

Web Project Manager,

This conversation is closed.

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.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 21 2011: I am still confused regarding the answer to this question.

    Yes it appears that we have the ability to act without any restriction, but the actions are limited to my, or your, 'self'. i.e. I can raise my hand at anytime but not anyone else's. As technology advances, 'self' will begin to include things other than our biological bodies.

    But experiments show that the brain activities behind raising my arm begins even before I decide to carry out the action, so from this perspective the action is, somehow, not a result of my concious thinking.

    My views are heavily base on scientific facts and experiments but I'm glad to see opinions with different groundings.

    - Ding

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.