Do we have a "Free will"?
Do humans really have free will or is it merely an illusion?
We do have a free will, if you doubt it, just look around and you will see the consequences of all sort of personal choices. If free will would be merely an illusion, I do not think the world should be in such a bad shape as it is.
I believe we have free will, but a lot of how we act and are at this present time is based on refraining from doing certain things that have been taught to us as being wrong. Those who do not care we call 'criminals', but really, they are the most free willers I can think of at the moment save for the animals.
Free will is a true state of being. People will fight for free will even though they can't see it in front of them. People strive for free will in all ways of life. you can call it free will or freedom it's still linked in one way or another. Like William Wallace who fought the english with the irish and scottish for freedom we too fight for free will. Just like the thief who steals food to eat and the terrorist who bombs a car it all free will. Free will is the choice you make regardless of anyone else.
Free will exists in every person alive on the planet. You always have a choice to make and you free will allows you to chose what ever path you want. The choices may not always be good choices, but they remain just the same. You free will is the invisible power that over throws destiny and fate and derails prophecy and psychic prediction because free will cannot be predicted or determined. One never knows what they will choose till they get to that cross road. At that cross road, fate, destiny, prophecy, and prediction can influence your decision, but it cannot be known before hand. Free will reigns as the ultimate influence in your life.
Just to play devil's advocate there are those who believe that the choice we will make is already determined by our past experiences. Basically we can, in that nothing stops us from doing otherwise, make any decision we want in a given situation, however reality may show that based upon our past experiences and history we will actually only do one thing, and we would at that moment make only one choice regardless of how many other choices are available to us. It must also be noted that there is no way to take into account every possible influence on a decision.
But what you are saying does not contradict free will. There was still the option to choose something different, even if you were more likely to pick something specific. But you still have that free will, and on any given choice, the unexpected and unlikely option can be taken. Free will is what makes someone generally stable, suddenly quit their job when they have no back up. Free will is what gives people spontaneity. And there are people every day that go against what their past experience has taught them. Free will is why I didn't remain a fundamentalist christian and became and Atheist. If what you say is true, then people are only the sum of what has happened to them in the past. But free will allows for us to become so much more.
This depends on what degree of freedom you are talking about.
We take action in an effort to make ourselves happier. If you eat a bite of cake, it's because you perceive that this action will make you happier--you will enjoy the cake. If you neglect to eat a bite of cake, perceiving that it will keep you thinner, it is for the same ultimate goal--you perceive that this action will make you happier.
We have the freedom to think, the freedom to comprehend, and the freedom choose based upon analysis. We do not, however, have the freedom to choose why we take action in the first place. We always act because we perceive that action will make us happier. We aren't always *right* in our perceptions, but we do the best we can.
Assuming the above is true, the question becomes what is "Will?" We have certain freedoms, but not the freedom to choose the underlying reason for our actions. Is this the definition of our "Will?" If so, then we do not have free will.