Thoughts on Free Will, part 2
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Thoughts on Free Will, part 2

If there is free will then, presumably, we could have chosen different for at least some of the decisions we have made. It is impossible to exactly reproduce past conditions, so it is speculative whether any given decision could have been otherwise. While we cannot know with certainty whether or not we have free will, we can nevertheless speculate intelligently.
Many decisions are made without reflections. Insofar as these decisions are concerned, there does not appear to have been free will at work. What about decisions about which we deliberate? We donít control either the thoughts or feelings that come into play in our minds. Further, the process by which we ultimately make decisions is based on such influences as instinctive feelings and desires, what people have taught us, and what we have learned in life Ė all things over which we donít exert control. Therefore, this mechanistic view of decision-making doesnít seem to involve free will.

Most of us have a sense of free will because we do not experience control over our decision-making processes. However, free will might be like vision. We donít feel an external process that forces us to see, but we cannot avoid seeing if our eyes are open, there is light, and our visual system is intact. So, this perspective suggests that we might not have free will. Next essay, I will start to consider objections to this position.

Go on to: Thoughts on Free Will, part 3
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