Saturday 19 May 2012: Free will
Drove north again last evening, and took an earlyish run along the ridge towards Martins Bay, further out towards the end of the peninsula. The sunrise was very subdued this morning due to lots of cloud and intermittent showers.
On the way out I noticed these three steers standing in the yard beside a loading ramp by the roadside. The gate in front of them is open, and not only could they leave if they so wanted, they must have entered of their "own free will". Despite moving so that they could clearly see me and what I was doing, they showed no agitation, and no intention of leaving for the paddock where their companions were enjoying the morning grass munch.
Free will is an interesting concept, and one aspect that is presumed important in this is that we are conscious of the reasons we make our decisions. Some scientists have suggested (on the basis of research findings) that our decisions are made subconsciously, and that conscious awareness follows the initiation of an action based on the unconscious "decision".
If that is so, or even largely so, this might mean that our actions and thoughts are better explained by determinism than by free will. Thus these steers are not exercising free will by entering and staying in the enclosed area. They are instead responding without conscious thought to past experiences, and biological determinants (such as a feeling of being safe from predators in an enclosed space).
Such were my thoughts; determined or freely chosen, I regard them as my own.