It is interesting that your every thought experiment tacitly assumes free will (e.g — “someone wants to impress his friends so he…”). This is common among those who argue against free will. They have to use voluntary decisions and actions to try to argue that there are no such things. Which brings us to your conclusion that choice is an illusion. You should read J.S. Mill on this idea, because he refuted the objection, but I am happy to add that the big problem for the illusion of choice” model is that it needs to explain both what is having the illusion and how such an illusion could come about. “John Doe” correctly pointed out that you are rehashing the argument by Sam Harris on this. Harris’s argument is self-refuting because his system depends on an evolutionary explanation for all aspects of human behavior and the “illusion of free will” is incompatible with evolutionary advantage. That we can want to do things, can resist doing things, can wonder and worry about doing or not doing things, is a big disadvantage for our survival. Yet, we do those things because we do, in fact, have free will, a we demonstrate every day.

Philosophy professor reaching out beyond the ivory tower. I also run and

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