Hi Liz and DSM list,
You do raise some very intersting questions to which (I think) researchers in science have only just been able to respond. That is to say, within the past 50 years, but more towards the past decade or so, researchers and writers for the layperson in science have suggested that human beings do not have this thing we call free will.
Although I could never present a coherent set of reasons why - it simply would take too long - I can point to some books that might illuminate why this so. Try Tor Norretranders' book, The User Illusion. Our brains present us with an already completed, "done deal" of what we should expect 0.5 seconds later. Moreover, our brains play a role in creating this illusion that things happen instantaneously. They don't. In the half second, our brains are doing a great deal of interpreting to figure out the nature of the vent, if it is novel, how novel, what possible actions to tak, and so on. In other words, our brains know what to do before *we* do - our "conscious" we. Norretranders is not the only person to talk about this. Other pop science books that address this phenomena with some claritiy are: John McCrone in Going Inside, and Michael Gazzaniga in The Mind's Past.
The "we", IMHO, could be viewed as an emergent phenomenon - something that arises from the local-interactions of our embodied, neural assemblies that give rise to a more global phenomenon called consciousness and "our" *sense* of a "we". This comes from a complexity-theoretic perspective of emergence of phenomena.
I don't claim that any of this is true. It merely comes from the fact that I do read rather widely, and this is what some of the current literature on consciousness and the mind have to say about "free will".
----- Original Message -----
From: "Liz Reid and Errol Strelnikoff" <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2002 7:50 PM
Subject: DSM: Freedom?
> The discussion lately has centered on the concept of freedom, whether adults
> are truly *giving* freedom to children or are they merely acting with
> ulterior motives.
> So far everyone seems to be writing under the agreement that there is such a
> thing as free will.
> When so much of what happens in our bodies is outside of our control, why do
> we assume that we are fully in control of our thoughts and actions?
> How do we not condition by the very act of consciously trying not to
> What is this *we* that makes these decisions?
> Aren't we all just talking about relative freedom?
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