Poll: do they?
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View poll results: do they?
They do.
245 58%
They don't.
86 20%
I don't believe in any free will.
44 10%
Other.
49 12%
Voters: 424.
Page 1 of 10
#1
Do you think animals have free will and self-awareness?

Something I was thinking about earlier today when my sister got stung by a wasp. She seemed convinced that it was the wasp's fault- and this indicates a belief that the wasp has free will.

If you believe that wasps are not self-aware, and simply live by instincts, reflexes, and basic pyramid of needs, then if you are stung by a wasp, then you must think that it is your fault. You have free will and the wasp does not, which therefore means that you have collided with an immovable force, out of actions that you have chosen to make.

If you believe that wasps are self-aware, and make decisions and choices based on what they feel or desire, like humans, then if you are stung by a wasp, you might think that it is the wasp's fault that you have been stung- they have made that decision.

Anyway, that's just an example. Do you think that animals have awareness and make choices on the same level that humans do? Or do you think that they are drones, and just mindlessly follow the basic instincts to survive?

Poll shortly.
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#4
This could be a really interesting topic, but i guess we won't know this sort of thing anytime soon. The technology to be able to see this thing, is surley several generations ahead of ours.



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#5
i think that they do to a point... and then the survival instincts take over
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#6
Well a bit of both, i mean things like fly's are just idiots that fly into walls and stuff..........but dogs and smart animals like dolphins are aware (they dont make the same decisions/choices on the same levels of humans tho). Other stuff like bears and sharks are pretty much just there to survive.............destroy anything they see.

relating to the wasp tho, im pretty sure it wasnt a survival instinc cos after the sting it prob died. Either that or its a complete idiot and thinks it done the right thing, bigged up to all its wasp mates and bragged about it to the next yellow flower but didnt realise it was gonna die.
#7
I've never thought about this. I'll have to contemplate for awhile, and then I will return.
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#9
Unless my cat is pre-programmed to annoy the fuck out of me while I'm trying to watch porn, I think so.
#10
Free Willy says YES!

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#12
To a degree. Animals are confined by their surroundings to a certain extent. You could say wolves, for example, have a higher degree of free will than, say, a cow. A cow needs to stay where there is grass to ensure its survival. A wolf can travel to anywhere it desires, as long as it can find food by the end of the day.
#13
Those capable of understanding it have the illusion of free will just like we do.
#14
They are bound by instincts, so it's not exactly free will, they just can make their own choices sometimes.
#15
of course they do. who controls them if they dont? instinct? nah, instinct lets them know what to do, not how to do it.
#16
Quote by rabidguitarist
If you believe that wasps are not self-aware, and simply live by instincts, reflexes, and basic pyramid of needs, then if you are stung by a wasp, then you must think that it is your fault. You have free will and the wasp does not, which therefore means that you have collided with an immovable force, out of actions that you have chosen to make.

This.

However, while I realize the bugs rely on instinct, it's still annoying.

If animals had free will and were self-aware, we would be totally fucked.
#17
Assuming there is such a thing, and if the context is either that they have it or they don't, I think they do.

Due to humans, lots of animals act in ways they they would never act in their natural habitat. So there has to be some form of thought process, therefore free will.

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#18
I don't think animals have the capacity to make choices in quite the same way that humans do. They have no sense of morality (or if they do, they're keeping pretty quiet about it.) I don't think it was the 'fault' of the wasp, because I believe animals can't be held morally responsible for their actions, as they aren't moral agents. Their consciousness only allows for basic "decision making" which is rooted in their biological needs but they don't choose, except for the food that tastes the best or the strongest looking mate, but then again many human choices can be traced back to these basic needs. It's just that we can 'will' things where animals can't. So, it stung her out of instinct, not malevolence.
Last edited by rigiddigits at Aug 11, 2008,
#19
I think that most animals are relying on instinct. The more intelligent the animal, the more free will it has. This includes humans.
#21
Idk I'm afraid of wasps, bees, and the like.
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#22
I would say depending on their nervous system and how complex it is. Like with jellyfish, they have a simple nervous system. They are basically born with the knowledge to reproduce and eat, then die. With dogs, horses, cats, ex.; I think, since they have a more complex nervous system, they do have in a certain sense, free will.
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#23
Quote by rabidguitarist
Do you think animals have free will and self-awareness?


According to my dinner, no.
#25
every animal has free will - dogs, cats, that one lion that got caught and raised as a pet - they all do things that they choose to do, fetch balls, sit/not sit ( free will)
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#26
In Freudian Psychology the mind is broken down into 3 parts:

The Id, the subconscious instinctive part, desires essentially, hunger, thirst, lust it's what makes us want certain things or people and not others; it is mostly innate, sort of a inborn guide book.

The Ego, the concious self, that makes decisions by balancing the Id with circumstances or the third aspect.

The Super-Ego, external pressures, the opinions of other members of society, morals ethics and fads.

I believe this can be applied to most animals, the difference being, a simpler social structure has a lesser Super-Ego, thus one less thing to balance in decision making, no morals or judgemental social groups. Also their ego will be less developed, therefore they will more often give into the Id.
It is wrong to assume that life follows a guidebook, there is always a choice to be made, even if we always reach the same conclusion.
#27
This thread is ridiculous. If I open the gate in my back yard, my dog has the choice of walking through it, or staying were it is, or it could go inside, it could get in its bed, it could get a drink...

Of course, it all depends on the intelligence of your chosen animal.
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#29
Let me ask you this:
Has a dog ever went to town humping your leg? I know that is ridiculous but what makes you think he doesn't wanna do that? Of course he's doing cause he wants to! That in a simplistic way is enough data to theorize that they do have free will. Unfortunately we can't really prove it.
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#30
wasps are stung by ornery, crazy old men in rocking chairs with a specialized remote. all other animals and their functionality is controlled similarly
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#31
Quote by MiG_853
In Freudian Psychology the mind is broken down into 3 parts:

The Id, the subconscious instinctive part, desires essentially, hunger, thirst, lust it's what makes us want certain things or people and not others; it is mostly innate, sort of a inborn guide book.

The Ego, the concious self, that makes decisions by balancing the Id with circumstances or the third aspect.

The Super-Ego, external pressures, the opinions of other members of society, morals ethics and fads.

I believe this can be applied to most animals, the difference being, a simpler social structure has a lesser Super-Ego, thus one less thing to balance in decision making, no morals or judgemental social groups. Also their ego will be less developed, therefore they will more often give into the Id.
It is wrong to assume that life follows a guidebook, there is always a choice to be made, even if we always reach the same conclusion.


Freud was also a psychopath and a pedo.
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#32
[quote="'[x"]Huffy[x]']This thread is ridiculous. If I open the gate in my back yard, my dog has the choice of walking through it, or staying were it is, or it could go inside, it could get in its bed, it could get a drink...

Of course, it all depends on the intelligence of your chosen animal.

My sentiments exactly.
#33
Quote by VieNam
every animal has free will - dogs, cats, that one lion that got caught and raised as a pet - they all do things that they choose to do, fetch balls, sit/not sit ( free will)
They don't do that as they please though. Domesticated animals remember that they get treats/rewards when they obey certain commands and they do it to get the nice tasting food. It's learnt behaviour. They're not smart enough to realise that they don't get a reward every time, but once every so often you have to reward your pet again or they forget about it.
#34
Quote by MiG_853
In Freudian Psychology the mind is broken down into 3 parts:

The Id, the subconscious instinctive part, desires essentially, hunger, thirst, lust it's what makes us want certain things or people and not others; it is mostly innate, sort of a inborn guide book.

The Ego, the concious self, that makes decisions by balancing the Id with circumstances or the third aspect.

The Super-Ego, external pressures, the opinions of other members of society, morals ethics and fads.

I believe this can be applied to most animals, the difference being, a simpler social structure has a lesser Super-Ego, thus one less thing to balance in decision making, no morals or judgemental social groups. Also their ego will be less developed, therefore they will more often give into the Id.
It is wrong to assume that life follows a guidebook, there is always a choice to be made, even if we always reach the same conclusion.

Exactly

Also, humans, as well as some animals closely related to us, have it in their behavior to search and go look for the answers in things. ie, if there was a shut door in front of a monkey, the monkey would try to open the door.
#35
it still comes down to plain intelligence, there is no line between free will and being a drone. but yes, i think some wasps may be more able to be "nicer" and decide not to sting the person they're hovering around.
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#36
All animals have free will. I fly can choose to sit on the road all day, or fly about or do whatever. The reason they fly into windows is because they don't understand that there is a see through barrier infront of them. My dog chooses to pull me towards a bush when i'm pulling him away. He is choosing to be a stubborn dog and go in the opposite direction to me.
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#37
Quote by MiG_853
In Freudian Psychology the mind is broken down into 3 parts:

The Id, the subconscious instinctive part, desires essentially, hunger, thirst, lust it's what makes us want certain things or people and not others; it is mostly innate, sort of a inborn guide book.

The Ego, the concious self, that makes decisions by balancing the Id with circumstances or the third aspect.

The Super-Ego, external pressures, the opinions of other members of society, morals ethics and fads.

I believe this can be applied to most animals, the difference being, a simpler social structure has a lesser Super-Ego, thus one less thing to balance in decision making, no morals or judgemental social groups. Also their ego will be less developed, therefore they will more often give into the Id.
It is wrong to assume that life follows a guidebook, there is always a choice to be made, even if we always reach the same conclusion.

Oh yes, lets all follow an idea made up by a man that wanted to have sexual intercourse with his own mother.

Thats another thing...is it just me that thinks he said we all want to screw our mothers because it made HIM feel better about wanting to? Like he was trying to justify it?

I know damn well, (subconscious or not) that I have NO attraction to my mother.

Freud was a pervert and a psychopath.
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#38
I don't think any animal does. My beliefs are largely oriented around the spiritual, and I think that humans have souls and that animals do not, and therefore that they are simply existing, following their instincts. Of course saying that on UG is going to spark a big debate, but this isn't the only religion thread, so to provide a different discussion, here's an example:

Mother dogs often eat some of their own puppies shortly after they're born. Not just some dogs, the majority (or maybe all? I'm not completely certain). It's just something they do. So how does that allow room for a free will and self awareness?
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#40
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This man deserves my +1

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