Do we possess free will or not? Philosophers have been considering this question for twenty centuries and it has recently became of interest to psychologists as well (e.g. R. Baumeister, J. Bargh, D. Wegner). In the same way as a lot of philosophers have been denying, or are denying, not only free will but also the mere existence of will, in psychology the term “will” was eliminated for half a century, and now, after it came back, many psychologists are convinced that free will is only a delusion. In my book “How will works or the dynamics of mind” I argue that this is the consequence of the fact that modern psychology makes the model of the mind consistent with the scientific standards that were created in the ninetieth century by classical mechanics, that is a deterministic view of the world and a reductionistic ideal of the scientific methodology. However, these standards have become obsolete so there is no reason to make the model of the mind consistent with them.
The book “How will works or the dynamics of mind” consists of two parts: part I is devoted to what will does, that is its functions, and part II – how it is done, that is the ways of executing these functions.
The analyses performer in the book lead to the following conclusions:
1) will is not a classical concept but a prototype one, that is it is impossible to distinguish its definition features (that is necessary and sufficient, as in the “square” concept) but only prototype (the most typical) ones.
2) prototype functions of will are:
- making choices (between two or more options, e.g. between blueberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream)
- constituting beginnings that is creating novelties that become the beginning of the subsequent series of events (however, the extent of the novelty can be different, e.g. one can create not only a new flavour of ice cream but a completely different kind of dessert or – a completely different kind of food).
3) thanks to the above mentioned functions a man can exert control over themselves and their surroundings, that is above all, but not only, define aims and realise them.
4) modern psychology is able to explain neither the process of making choices, nor constituting beginnings, because it makes the model of mind consistent with the scientific standards created in the ninetieth century by classical mechanics (that is a deterministic view of the world and reductionistic ideal of the scientific methodology).
5) the standards created by the classical mechianics have become obsolete so there is no reason to make the model of mind consistent with them.
6) the model of mind consistent with the new theoretical and research paradigms (that is, above all, the theory of the embodiment of mind and the complexity theory)
- it explains making choices and constituting beginnings
- it leads to the conclusion that not only do we possess free will, but we can also extend it (!) as the mind is a complex system that has many degrees of freedom, and thanks to reaching further levels of self-awareness(so further levels of mind phase space), technically ad infinitum, the number of its degrees of freedom is increasing