If the subconscious motivates actions in a way that we are not aware of, then its fair to say that we don't have control over our subconscious. If I were to look at this from a determinist perspective, than I would say that we don't have any control over any of our actions. Does this mean determinists cant differentiate between actions motivated by the subconscious versus actions motivated by conscious thought?

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    No, it is not fair to say that. We say sentences voluntarily but are typically unaware of articulating individual letters, free will or "control" does not require awareness, at least not throughout execution. See Does having free will presuppose consciousness?
    – Conifold
    Nov 5 '18 at 23:08

I do have some conscious control over my subconscious mind. Sometimes I will consider a problem consciously and then let it go and hope for an answer to bubble up from the subconscious. I can consciously change my thinking to change my feelings and hence reactions. Conversely, most of my conscious actions are affected by my subconscious mind. It's not simple at all.

From a deterministic point of view, I don't have free control over my actions. I have conscious control over a good many actions, but if determinism is true it isn't through free will. Still, we have tools now to examine, to some extent, how much the subconscious affects decisions, and that applies whether free will exist or not.

  • Wouldn't any aspects of the subconscious that we have control over be classified as a part of the conscious mind? I would think that control would be the defining factor on whether it is part of the subconscious or the conscious. Now, I don't know to much about psychology, so I may be a little off here. Nov 8 '18 at 22:05
  • Although, from what I do know, Its hard to define a thought as strictly subconscious or conscious. Its more of a spectrum. I think that is important to mention. Nov 8 '18 at 22:09
  • @TobiasEthercroft I'd say that awareness of what's going on is a big part of conscious vs. subconscious. I can do things that will push my subconscious in a particular way. I can also do things that will likely make my cats do something (it works much better with dogs) but the cat minds are not part of my conscious mind. I don't actually know for sure what the generally accepted definition is, but calling anything I have the slightest influence over part of my conscious mind seems to be stretching the word. Nov 9 '18 at 14:40

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