Physical States and Free Will

Dr. Jorati posted a research article on Carmen about the relation of a persons belief in free will and their physical states…  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810014000750

This research is very interesting.  I had never thought about something like this and how it could effect how a person thinks about the world around them.  For this experiment, they did not define free will, and simply asked the respondents to rate the extent in which they believed in free will.

I do not find it surprising to see that people do not believe in free will if they had, for example, vomited that day.  People do not have physical control over their bodies, so they think that they do not have any free will.  I find it interesting that people connect the inability to have control over their bodies and the idea of free will connected.  I understand, I cannot say that I would think I had much free will if I was chronically ill and could not help it.  I, however, do not think that free will applies to things like this.  The things that are investigated in this experiment (hunger, tiredness, among others) are things that are bodily, necessary functions and not things we can even control if we desired.  In Study 3, they investigated hunger.  Dieters, who work on overpowering hunger, say that they have the free will to overcome these functions.  These people are more likely to believe in free will than people who do not diet.

Even if we wanted to, we could not really control our bodily functions and I do not see its connection to free will.  I see free will, in a broad sense, the ability to make choices about our lifestyle and how we live.  I find it interesting that people can see our bodily functions having a relationship to free will and how they feel about it.

35 thoughts on “Physical States and Free Will

  1. I was thinking this exact question when I was about 7 or 8. I remember arguing with my mom that I don’t really have “another” way of living. Like I’m just gonna follow this fixed path until I die. Whatever I do, all my decisions, actions are purely based on my gene and the environment I grew up with. I had no idea this random thought of mine has a name. After a couple years I forgot about it and now I’m 20 and am in college. I was watching a video of Ben Shapiro debating someone and he mentioned this word determinism.
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