Skip to content

Do we have free will?

Is free will a phantom of brain chemistry, or are we truly in control of our lives? A question debated by great minds for millenia.

Free will remains a hotly debated philosophical question today, as we have no means of proving or disproving it using the scientific method. Are all of our actions causally predetermined, and hence not free, or are we in fact free agents in charge of our decisions? Modern thinkers like Sam Harris espouse the view of scientific determinism, suggesting that free will is a lie that we tell ourselves as a society, which can lead to dangerous consequences like excessive blame being placed on an individual for actions that can be explained by environmental pressures. Meanwhile philosopher Daniel Dennett, as a compatibilist, might suggest that free will can still exist even within a deterministic reality to varying degrees depending on the situation. Perhaps thinking in absolutes is not useful on the subject of free will. Claiming that free will does not exist because the freedom is not complete is like saying that truth does not exist because complete, perfect truth is unattainable. A meaningful degree of freedom can still be present even if complete freedom is not possible.