Do humans ever make spontaneous decisions in its true meaning?

Or our decisions, including the ones made spontaneously, the product of our previous experiences, thoughts and sub conscience evaluations.

In other words is there ever such a thing as un-predetermined decision making?

For example when we go shopping for clothes and buy an ice cream too, does that mean we had a prior intension of buying an ice cream somewhere in the deep parts of our brain?


If you are of the sort who thinks that quantum indeterminacy plays an important role in brain activity, and percolates up to influence our decisions, then yes. Today I choose chocolate over vanilla since a quantum fluctuation that pushes me that way, but could have just as easily pushed me the other way. If this were true, then we'd have truly un-determined decision making since, as far as we can tell, quantum processes involve intrinsic randomness.

But you don't need rest on such speculative claims in order to get there. The apparent conflict is between apparently deterministic "choices" -- I choose chocolate because I had vanilla yesterday, and am in a change things up kind of mood -- and apparently un-caused choices -- You're getting up to the counter with no clear decision in mind, but maybe, just below the level of conscious awareness you know that the last time you had chocolate it was really good, and the last time you had vanilla you were not satisfied, plus vanilla is bor... a whiff of vanilla infused perfume "Vanilla!".

Are the outcomes of dice rolls un-determined? maybe not in some intrinsic metaphysical sense, but they are in the day-to-day sense. I'm arguing the same for decisions: in terms of understandable, high level descriptions some decisions are un-determined. This high level indeterminancy can arise whether or not the underlying details are intrinsically deterministic or are indeterminant (QM, non-deterministic dualist theories). And it is exactly this high level description of how someone acts vis a vis identifiable causal forces that we care about when assessing the degree to which an agent is considered to have made a decision. This conclusion aligns with D. Dennett's idea of "the kind of free will worth wanting".

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