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Old 08-07-2019, 08:08 AM
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panache45 is offline
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I will tell you what I infer from the statement "I have free will".

I surmise that someone saying this means that they believe when they perform an action (i.e., make a choice), they are exerting their conscious will. They consciously deliberated the pros and cons of that action and consciously determined that they selected the wisest course. They didn't just "randomly" act. They didn't carry out that act like how an automaton, a puppet, or hypnotized person might carry out that act. When they give an explanation for why they performed that act, that is always the right explanation since they were fully aware of all the information that compelled them to make that choice and nothing external to their consciousness (i.e., their environment and biology) forced their hand.
No, we don't make conscious choices for ever single action we take. But at some point in the past we did make those choices. Consider the act of typing. You don't consciously decide which key to hit, with which finger, and with which degree of pressure. But remember when you first used a keyboard, you actually did make these conscious choices. You had to find each key and decide which finger to strike it with. But after a while, with enough repetition, your subconscious took over, and you remembered having made the same choices over and over. So thanks to your subconscious memory, you no longer had to made the same choices.

Or remember the first time you drove a car. You had to make so many choices, they seemed overwhelming. But now when you drive, most of the time your subconscious takes over, and you're not at all conscious of what you're doing.

But if an exception happens - if you have to type a special character, or if you have to pull over to allow an ambulance to pass - that's when your consciousness kicks in and overrides the automatic decisions of the subconscious.

But none of this violates the principal of free will. Even when your typing or driving seems to be automatic, it's all based on conscious decisions you made in the past, decisions that due to repetition your subconscious has made automatic.

Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Because when I hear someone making an appeal to free will, I assume they are arguing that they have the ability to operate however they want (the third hypothesis), no matter what variables they are operating under. If they make a stupid choice, it's because they made a stupid choice. It's not because they were under the control of environmental factors X, Y, and Z interacting with the biological factors 1,2, and 3.
Like everything else in the universe, free will is contextual. You don't have the free will to swim somewhere if you're not near any water, or if you're paralyzed. Free will is the subset of the reality within which it operates. But it's not that reality that determines your choices. Even if your choice is limited to "think or not think", you are still the agent that makes that choice. In fact, that's the fundamental choice you will ever make.