I’m not pushing anything other then trying to get a better understanding.
Okay, to go back through this thread one more time—It started with a link to an article in the Economist about a person whos anti-social compulsion was apparently tied to a tumor in the brain
This is an interesting article and it prompts me to look up the Pinker books on the mind and do some further reading on current science in this area. So I apologize if my comments are less informed than they should be.
There are other examples like this. Extremes of obsessive-compulsive behaviour probably have a physical basis as well.
Since all of our decision-making is done using the physical object which is our brain, and that operates by physical means, in some sense our decisions are deterministic. In going back through the thread Occam was first to make this point. However, I think this is sort of tautological.
In the initial post Stephen Lawrence said
For the record I do as long as choose means: pick one out as the best from previously considered options.
I think of an example of how we are free to choose, or that the decision making process is so complicated we should treat it as such, is that even if we have a set of options before us, as humans we are able to consider a wide range of criteria by which to make the choice.
We have record breaking temperatures (for October) and I think about buying an ice cream cone. I have the various flavors, but I am also free to choose the criteria. I had vanilla last time. My wife had peanut-butter chocolate. If I start thinking about it, I remember liking butter brickle when I was in college, or maybe I’m reading a novel and the author has a character exclaiming over another flavor. Or I remember a mint chocolate chip cone on a vacation in Kiawah or a bittersweet chocolate sundae in Ghiradelli Square. But I am also “free” to just hurry up and choose a flavor and not keep the family waiting. This is a pretty superficial example but I still think because human memory is so rich, human communication is to rich, that the decision of how much to think about a decision before making it is itself a pretty complex choice.
Decisions relating to smoking or dieting are closer to the original Economist article and there is a lot to read in this area.
Where the decision is just to push a button or not (in a scientific setting), I think this would look more deterministic, and that reflecting on the decision (what would my English teacher in high school say about this; how would I write an essay about this experience, etc.) seems sort of dumb.
I think post #2 by Occam gives a succinct summary which seems to align with my thinking (although another complication in “free choice” is misunderstanding information).