PEARL

HOW REALLY FREE ARE WE?

Are we free? How do we make decisions and control impulses? Are we robots, constrained by actions that are not freely chosen perhaps in the way our genes and the brain regulate patterns of behaviour? Free will, as commonly understood, is all about the choices we make in negotiating the day-to-day business of life. At the same time, the issue of responsibility matters profoundly in how we interact with one another and in how society dispenses justice.

Is there such a thing as free will? The more neuroscience unveils the mechanisms going on inside the brain, the less room there seems to be for personal choice of responsibility. What is it to act or choose freely, in the process aiming to surmount any deterministic mechanisms of the universe, including the brain? What is it to be morally responsible for our actions or choices?

If the living conditions change so radically that the person no longer understands the course of his everyday life, is no more the master of his own life, then we come up with measures to allay fears of the uncertain and repel outside control. As far back as antiquity the most important aims for living in self-certainty

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