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Do animals have free will?

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posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 06:40 PM
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I was doing some thinking, and I started wondering about this. Can animals excersise free will? Are they even self-aware?

I was thinking about whether animals could be self-aware or not, but after pondering this another question arose, do animals have free will? Can an animal make a choice between right and wrong if that animal was able to be taught what right and wrong were? Is free will a gift the creator (or whatever you worship) only bestowed upon men? Is self-awareness necessary to exercise free will? If so, what does this mean for humans, maybe we're not so special? If they don't, who's to say that we do?




posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 06:48 PM
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Animals! lol humans don't even have free will, we only think we do. Get some meditation down you and find out how much we are slaves to the universe.
Animals are like A.I. bots slaves to eat, sleep and kill routines where as humans are the puppets of higher dimensional beings. I won't spoil it but the more aware you become the more you can see the puppet strings...

Hope this helps



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 06:48 PM
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The fact that they would act toward self-preservation means to me that they are self-aware.

Having seen a pair of skunks crossing the road, one of them hit and flung back to the edge of the road, then the other running back and nudging and pushing the dead/dying skunk I have to conclude that they are aware of each other and they have needs and desires that may surpass simple instinctual motivations.

Also I heard a fox last night hollering up a storm. When I investigated I learned the fox vocabulary is amazingly extensive and apparently very specific.

They're smarter than we give them credit for. Just because an animal can't have a conversation with us and lacks a thumb we write them off as mindless drones on autopilot.

They're also pretty stupid too. Choosing starvation over whatever drug we get them hooked on in lab tests. Just like humans.

I'm amazed by their behavior and seeming intelligence.

I'll still shoot and eat them though.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by Nosred
 


Humans are animals too.

Besides humans , elephants , the great apes and dolphins have shown self-awareness in mirror tests etc. Which isn`t as surprising when you consider that they each have fairly complex social systems . This appears to be a good indicator of intelligence also, perhaps even a driver of it.

free will :
the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies

Animal free will ... ?

Yes .... i reckon, to some degree at least .
Perhaps they don`t have the same level of control .....and once they have made a choice i don`t think they suffer from `buyers remorse` anyways.







[edit on 31-8-2010 by UmbraSumus]



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:10 PM
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What makes something "aware"? Do animals have a soul? What is in them that cause them to "move" , be "animated"? Its hard for me to look at a dog, and assume that it is a mindless, shell of a living thing. Ultimately something controls it...not some ultimate source thing. With evolution and a "no god" reality, I would think that this is not even a question.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:14 PM
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Any pets that have been trained for the indoors know a certain amount of right from wrong. When you come home from a long day away, and there is no dog poop on the floor, and nothing chewed up, there has been free will going on.

I am raising a golden lab, a shepherd/coyote cross, and a shihtzu. Just the fact that the shihtzu is still alive when I come home is showing the other 2 have been very patient with him. He is a brat, and attacks the lab, who is overly docile. The shepherd (female) is so smart, and won't take any guff from the other two, actually has her own form of training them, and sometimes I have to tell her to butt out. If the lab knocks anything over when playing she runs over and pins him by his nose.

She won't discipline the shihtzu though, she seems to know he is too small and would accidently hurt him, which she also knows she isn't allowed to do. She'll only growl at him.

They are all indoor dogs, and I let them play all over the place. I have seen a lot of free will exercised by them. There is also a little black cat involved in all of this, so the bunch of them are very entertaining.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:17 PM
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Originally posted by The Endtime Warrior
What makes something "aware"? Do animals have a soul? What is in them that cause them to "move" , be "animated"? Its hard for me to look at a dog, and assume that it is a mindless, shell of a living thing. Ultimately something controls it...not some ultimate source thing. With evolution and a "no god" reality, I would think that this is not even a question.


Drawing the concept of `souls` into the subject just muddies the water further i think.

`Mind ` ...... is just what the brain does.

Dogs are not mindless ...... they just don`t have your (human) mind .



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:20 PM
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reply to post by The Endtime Warrior
 


Animals have group souls, but no spirit. They however, have instincts that most humans do not have. Some of them have a certain form of intelligence, but it's not the same as what humans have, in other words, the thinking process is not possible (not in the way we as humans, experience it). Science will, one day, discover all of the secrets regarding the animal kingdom.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:25 PM
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Originally posted by Nosred
I was thinking about whether animals could be self-aware or not, but after pondering this another question arose, do animals have free will?


As strangleholder1 already mentioned, it is highly debatable that humans have free will, so I doubt that other animals have.


Originally posted by Nosred
Can an animal make a choice between right and wrong if that animal was able to be taught what right and wrong were?


I would imagine that certain animals could learn an arbitrary moral code of ''right'' and ''wrong'', just as humans can.


Originally posted by Nosred
Is free will a gift the creator (or whatever you worship) only bestowed upon men? Is self-awareness necessary to exercise free will? If so, what does this mean for humans, maybe we're not so special? If they don't, who's to say that we do?


My personal belief is that all life is equal, and consequently we're ''not so special''.


I believe that self-awareness is a human defined concept, and that all animals are self-aware ( in their own way ), including some of the ''little'' creatures that you come across !


[edit on 31-8-2010 by Sherlock Holmes]



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:27 PM
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reply to post by snowspirit
 


Now I want to come visit and watch the fun. Free will does exist among your furry friends - mine also.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:27 PM
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reply to post by Nosred
 


Well, it certainly depends on the definiton of right and wrong, according to the individual doing the "teaching". IMHO, animals are MORE than self-aware. . .and it is humanity that should be learning from them.

I believe that one of the first gifts we are given by the Creator is the knowledge between what is right, and what is wrong. It's as basic as breathing. You just know, ya know?

In instances where some circus animal finally breaks and attacks everyone, what they do is kill them. Forget all the abuse, the confinement, removal from its true habitat. If a "person" were held in such captivity and subject to these abuses, that person would inevitably "snap" as well.

Why justify the killing of an animal held captive, endures who knows what types of abuse? We ALL know the difference between right and wrong! As I said, animals are OUR teachers, we should be so lucky to be considered a student!



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:30 PM
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reply to post by UmbraSumus
 


Perhaps Umbra, but I am only able to speak in concepts that I understand. I can only answer the topic through personal interpretation. It may be wrong, but it is one point of view, albeit different from yours, but who's to say I'm wrong? Well at the moment, science, but these things are to be discovered not shoved under a mat because people are unable to think in certain ways.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:32 PM
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reply to post by lagenese
 


I liked your answer. Very concise, and makes sense to me. I have heard the concept of "group souls" before but I'm not sure where.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:33 PM
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reply to post by lagenese
 


Animals "know" things. Things beyond our senses, like when they can detect certain weather, before the storm. Or the earthquake.

They think in the "now" also. But when you see a cat hiding ready to pounce on another animal, it seems like a little future planning. Or when the dog won't eat or drink water when you're away and they're stuck in the house. Future planning.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:38 PM
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reply to post by snowspirit
 


I am now reminded of "Binti Jua" the gorilla whom on August 16, 1996 protected the toddler that fell into an enclosure at Brookfield Zoo. Kinda makes me wonder when I hear stories like this that animals are more aware than we will ever know.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:45 PM
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reply to post by The Endtime Warrior
 


I respect that , but it highlights a particular problem we all have in discussing the subject.
That of language .

Anaesthesiologists have a working knowledge of the `power source` but not the source of consciousness per se. I do think that our understanding of consciousness is expanding year on year . A large part of that , in my opinion , revolves around the demystification of the subject .

We share a lot of anatomical features of our brains, with those animals that show greater awareness. It would appear that these regions are enlarged in the human brain. The answer to this riddle, if it is possible for a mind to understand the totality of itself, will be found in those regions which we have acquired more recently - evolutionarily speaking.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:47 PM
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People have so many definitions of free will. So, sure, under some definitions yes and under other definitions no. Plus several "I don't know." Just like us.

Self awareness? Many species distinguish individuals among their own species and other species, too. It's hard to imagine an animal treating everybody else as an individual, being treated by everybody else as an individual, and then not seeing themselves as an individual, too. Maybe, but I don't think so.

Right and wrong? That's trickier, because people can't agree on what overt human behaviors are right and wrong. "Altruism," doing something that benefits another at some cost to the doer, has the advantage of being easy to spot, but it's not so clear that it arises out of morality when done by humans, or why it's done at all by other animals.

All I can say is that wild animals have offered me food (two squirrels the other day, for instance, shared some nuts they were harvesting with me), or covered my back when the animal could escape free and clear (a deer one time).

Don't get me, or anybody else who knows dogs, started about them. Yes, they' re domesticated, so it's trickier to analyze "moral" or "altruistic" behavior. But alphas sometimes are easier, because they don't "owe" other pack members anything. Nevertheless, I have seen an alpha express remorse for an accidental injury to an inferior pack member.

I have also seen a domesticated alpha intervene on behalf of a wild chipmunk who had been robbed by a wild gray squirrel while the dog watched. The intervention was successful. The chipmunk was unhurt and regained his piece of food. The gray wasn't harmed, just driven off.

There's a lot going on inside those skulls.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:49 PM
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reply to post by The Endtime Warrior
 


I am now reminded of "Binti Jua" the gorilla whom on August 16, 1996 protected the toddler that fell into an enclosure at Brookfield Zoo. Kinda makes me wonder when I hear stories like this that animals are more aware than we will ever know.


I am certain of it. There was a couple of nights my furnace didn't come on, and both times when I tried to get up in the middle of the night, my 2 larger dogs were one on each side of me on the bed. Lengthwise. I was so warm til I got out of bed and jiggled the thermostat. It was less than 50 Farenheit in the house, below zero outside, mid winter.

If they were only worried about keeping themselves warm, they would have been just curled up in ball form. Normally the shepherd cross doesn't like to cuddle, and they usually both sleep on the floor.

[edit on 31-8-2010 by snowspirit]



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 07:56 PM
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reply to post by UmbraSumus
 


I also respect where you are coming from. I don't doubt that science certainly will find the answers to some of these questions about how the brain works in our heads and other creatures of the universes however this does not answer the question to me. It still become very much a problem of philosophy because just because something has a smaller brain than we are we to assume that this creature of design(evolution) still does not have free will? In the end it comes down to interpretation...unless science can one day bisect the phenomenon of "being" I dont believe the answer can be truly found. I will for sake of argument remain open minded on the subject.



posted on Aug, 31 2010 @ 08:14 PM
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Originally posted by The Endtime Warrior
reply to post by lagenese
 


I liked your answer. Very concise, and makes sense to me. I have heard the concept of "group souls" before but I'm not sure where.


Rudolf Steiner was one of the first to talk about it, in one of his lectures. Aurobindo also mentioned it. It's quite a fascinating subject to say the least.



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