Like if we talk about making choices, how can we know if it's made out of a habitual or automatic thought process or is independent and conscious?

To most degree, the succession of thoughts in a sequence or a thought process is automatic, but to some degree it's not. What's the difference between the two?

How can such a distinction be made in one's own phenomenological explorations?

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  • The case of extreme schizophrenia suggests these cannot be the same. There are people whose will is impaired, but who fully retain consciousness by a range of definitions. (Nothing applies to all popular definitions of 'conscious', and I suggest if you want to ask a meaningful question, you should avoid this word.)
    – user9166
    Nov 13, 2019 at 22:25

3 Answers 3


Having a will is having a life force momentum .its not directed towards an object its not desire but being conscious simply means awake or aware of existence.

When you are asleep you are almost totally unconscious in a dream a little bit more conscious, awake more conscious, non-habitual thats even more conscious.In all these stages your body and mind make decisions .

The issue only occurs when you are in a reality that you aren't conscious of.your stage of consciousness when asleep is perfect for sleep not when there is earthquake ,your stage of consciousness in habitual actions is perfect if nothing new happens.

When consciousness is raised then you wake up and realize things that where not in your radar and the decisions are porn out of that new knowledge .When its raised above habitual actions ,the decisions come about as a creative output out of linking different information together then overtime the action is programmed into the unconscious mind and becomes habitual.


It seems that being conscious does not imply having free will: one can be conscious without trying to do anything. So that leaves only the question of whether having free will implies being conscious. As already pointed out, that is discussed here: Does having free will presuppose consciousness, can philosophical zombies have it?

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    "one can be conscious without trying to do anything" So, is that by trying to not do anything? Jul 16, 2019 at 15:32
  • I don't think so -- it seems to me one can be "accidentally" not trying to do anything in particular and conscious...
    – present
    Jul 17, 2019 at 8:13

Having a will means you are conscious, but being conscious means you may have a will or not.

Thoughts may be just coming and going or maybe controlled by free will or enforcing as in OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).

Obsessive compulsive disorder easily detected and discovered.

The problem is that there are some types of thought interjected and can not be discovered by the person, whether it is free will or not.

By training, the person can discriminate between his own thoughts and interjected thoughts.

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