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Are We Free?Psychology and Free Will$
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John Baer, James C. Kaufman, and Roy F. Baumeister

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189636

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189636.001.0001

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Free Will, Consciousness, and Cultural Animals

Free Will, Consciousness, and Cultural Animals

(p.65) 5 Free Will, Consciousness, and Cultural Animals
Are We Free?

Roy F Baumeister

Oxford University Press

This chapter points to a view of free will as a complex form of action control that is used (sometimes) by humans to achieve self-control and rational, intelligence decision-making, as well as making and following ad hoc plans. Research suggests that these activities deplete a common but limited energy resource, so the capacity for free will is limited and biologically expensive. Blood glucose (brain fuel) maybe a major part of the common resource. Rational choice, self-control, and planful behavior are more useful forms of free will than random action. Psychologists may profitably focus more on how this mechanism works than on debating whether it fits various philosophical or theological definitions of free will. The broader context is that free will can be understood as an evolutionary adaptation to enable humans to function in the increasingly complex social world afforded by culture.

Keywords:   self-control, self-regulation, decision-making, rationality, choice, culture, evolution, planning, glucose, ego depletion

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