I'm curious to hear anyone's stance on freewill or determinism. I am well aware it's a never-ending debate. I am torn between the two honestly. However, I lean towards Determinism.
Heisenbergs Principal of Uncertainty keeps me on the fence. I'm not a scientist or intellectual, just interested in the thoughts of others and why.


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Thanks! I should of did a little digging before I posted this. It's just been at the forefront of my thoughts lately.

It is not a bad idea to have another discussion. It might take us down a different road. I mean its not like it has to be the same this time. It not as if it all been decided already :-)

Alright, I'll bite - let's give it another bashing :)

I have a question, for the proponents of free will. Do animals have free will, or is it only humans?

Hmmm, I will go with my instinct on that one.

Thats a good question.Would instinct affect an animals free will? Given it has it.I haven't the slightest idea.
Christians use the argument of free will to insinuate it's a gift from their god to enable humans to 'choose' their faith in him. Animals apparently have no souls, and don't count.

Using the logics we have applied to debate if free will is a real thing, I'm looking at the animal kingdom and wondering how it could be argued that animals don't, but humans do have free will.

Definitely yes. See the King Cobra looking for water inside of an Indian village? Huge snake made a clear decision to not attack where we know them as very touchy beasts.

I have seen many examples of clear decisions while being with animals. Reptiles are fairly dumb, but they can learn and understand the world to some extent.

First there is this book:

A very short introduction to Free Will.

It's by oxford press. A short concise book (not expensive either). They have 100 books already on important historical, political, philosophical, cultural, artistic and scientific topics all highly relevant to the questions academics are asking today. Any university library will have most of these and some file sharing services also do.

The Specific books on Free Will with alternate theories (usually what's called compatibilist meaning weak determinism need not interfere with a meaningful free will). 

Mark Blaguer: Free Will (MIT Press). An introduction, but unlike Oxford's short introduction it presents compatibilism  as a promising theory and dissects the recent experiments on decision making vs. awareness of decision. He critiques books by Sam Harris who very badly claims there is no free will in his dissapointing book "Free Will". It's a relatively easy read.

Raymond Tallis: If you are interested in more than just Free Will but a whole host of modern philosophical problems, this Neurosurgeon + philosopher collected his essays two of which are short ones on free will as well as several on atheism and religion etc. It's called "In defense of Wonder". Ultimately he believes we cannot answer this question until someone cracks open "consciousness" as Darwin did to evolution/biology, Newton did with physics and Einstein did with cosmology. Hopefully it happens within our generation. His ultimate critique of strong determinism is that a decision is not limited to the seconds before the action happens and a decision is never a simply yes or no. The fact that you agreed to participate in the experiment to being with is already a fundamental part of whatever voluntary decision you might make in an experiment about making decisions...yet this is not contolled.

Daniel Dennet: Freedom Evolves. If you look at an earlier post on Free Will by Simon...you'll see he gave a good introduction/summary of his compatibility theory. A bonus is that he also includes theory of mind, theory of consciousness and theory of  identity...which are all fundamental concepts to understanding agency/choice and meaningful agency/choice. We are still in the dark ages on all of this. His book is a challenging read.

Douglas Hofstadter: Godel, Escher, Bach. This is a magnum opus that deals with dozens of themes and problems, a lot of metaphysical problems as well as connections between the Mathemetician Godel, the Artist of those crazy stair cases Escher and the fugal composer Bach. They create stunning complexity emerging from very simple concepts. Free Will is embedded in this (and throw in a strange loop where climbing one level higher paradoxically has you arrive back where you started yet still ascending to higher complexity). I started it...gave up on it...did it again...re-read chapters, gave up on a couple chapters and made it to the end. If you read one brutal yet awesome book, I'd recommend this over James Joyce's Ulyses.

I highly recommend books over youtube videos on this topic (or on most contentious topics in their infancy for that matter).

Awesome, Thank you.

No problem. While I have your attention...if you are looking for some fiction to read, I'll tell you a couple of my favourite books which also deal with atheism:

Cain or "The Elephants Journey" by Saramago

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Midnight's Children or Satanic Verses by Rushdie

Catch 22 by Heller

Hitchhkers Guide to the Galaxy by Adams

"The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Chabbon

"Oryx and Crake" by Attwood

(Cain, Cat's Cradle and Hitchhiker are particularly awesome).

@ Davis, Thanks for reminding me of a book title I was trying to recall. I have been meaning to read Cat's Cradle for a long time.

Awesome! Do consider reading Cain afterwards, as it is the only other book other than Cat's Cradle that stands up to the same quality and standards of utterly shredding religion into tiny pieces wihtout even trying!


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