In reading this thread, I have:
1. Shifted my eye from left to right manually.
2. Scratched my ear, without it itching.
3. Placed my water bottle on my left side, to my right side.
After reading this thread, I have also approached a chair. Upon moving towards that chair, I bended down to sit on the chair. I could have bended down, then decided not to sit on it, but I didn't. After sitting on that chair, I affect who else gets to sit on the chair.
Thus, does free will exist?
Does strict determinism preclude the possibility of free will? Do you choose to believe in strict determinism or is it forced upon you against your will? If you choose to believe that free will exists, then free will exists for you, but if you do not believe in free will, then the deterministic factors attending your belief clearly impel you to a determinist frame of mind. As for me, the deterministic factors attending my view of will require me to believe in free will; however, I choose not. I hope this clarifies this fairly obvious issue for you. Glad I could help.
p.s. - By the way, did you realize that you were scratching your ear before or after you noticed that you were scratching it? Was it a conscious action of yours, or was it one of those habitual tricks we teach our body to do and it does it without asking us?
---------- Post added 03-25-2010 at 09:21 PM ----------
I confess. It was my choice to respond to your post. I know Diogenes was always looking for an honest man, and I want you to know that you have found one. Not me, of course, but I'm sure you have found one.
I think the big dispute about free will is based upon a confusion of context. It may be that deterministic factors almost exclusively control our choices--allowing for a little quantum uncertainty. But deterministic factors are beyond our experience except for those few that we are able to consciously consider. And it is what we may consciously consider that affects our experience of choosing. Thus we experience free will and cannot experience determinism, strict or otherwise, because it is beyond our experience. As an empiricist, I agree that we may only know what we experience. Therefore my answer is that free will does exist at least in our experience, and beyond that we may never have any knowledge.
That is a sincere answer. Although I may well be a liar, all this talk about honest men has been infectious.