Do we have free will?
“… much of the debate about free will centers around whether we human beings have it, yet virtually no one doubts that we will to do this and that. ”
Source : Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Most people feel that they definitely do have free will, but the more research is performed, the harder it gets (for theorists at least) to maintain certainty.
“The notion that we have free will - the ability to exercise conscious control over our actions and decisions - is deeply embedded in human experience. But the more we learn about the physical universe and the human brain, the less plausible it becomes”
Source : New Scientist
The main argument against free will is that all life-forms are composed of atomic and sub-atomic particles which have absolutely no choice but to obey the rules of physics at all times - and by extrapolation any system built of such particles can only do the same.
Counter-arguments point to the idea of 'emergence' - in which complex systems often seem to have features which transcend the properties of the particles from which they're formed. Quantum physics has difficulties in explaining 'happiness' for example.
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)