HUM Reflection- Free Will

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HUM Reflection- Free Will


Respond thoughtfully to the following prompt in a 2-4 paragraph reflection.

Thought Experiment: Suppose you are called upon to demonstrate your free will. Like an audition, you are called out on stage in front of a panel of scientists who, with the help of the latest artificial intelligence computing, know everything about you — your genetic make-up, your personal history, education, etc. The scientists have every confidence that there is not a single event in the entire universe that is not caused by prior physical events, and with the help of their computers they believe they can predict exactly what you are going to do and say. HUM Reflection- Free Will

So, you step out onto the stage and the lead scientists says “Welcome. Please do or say something that demonstrates that you have free will.”

What would you do or say? And what if, after doing or saying something, the scientist response “Ah, yes, but we predicted you would do/say that. And at exactly that moment” — How could you respond?


Try and come up with a clear statement of your position on free will that responds to these questions. Use the resources from the unit and the text to develop your answer, and state the implications of your view for our understanding of morality (right and wrong), personal responsibility, or our views of crime and punishment.

Hint: Focus on being clear, concise, and offering a detailed and thoughtful position on the issues raised in the prompt. Don’t worry so much about resolving the problem of free will. Take a breath and do your best to make sense of the ideas involved (Skinner’s, Sartre’s, etc.).

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