[Insight] Do impulsive people have less free will?

[Insight] Do impulsive people have less free will?

Originally published at knowledge.fredfarid.com.

What is free will? Are we slaves of our impulses? From Socrates to Sartre, those questions are ones of the most discussed in the history of philosophy. And despite the progress of Neurosciences, they should obsess humankind for long. There are few crucial milliseconds between the moment when we are consciously aware of a plan to act, and the moment we take action. Some scientists consider that the free will lies in this short moment when we are not slaves to our impulse. A recent study found that impulsive people have a shorter window of time between awareness and action.

Thus, they would have less of an opportunity to change the course of the unfolding action than the rest of us. But what if our free will was not determined by pure rational decision, but by our personal emotional experiences?

According to Joshua Knobe, philosophy and cognitive professor at Yale “To have free will you have to act in a what that’s a reflection of yourself. Thus in some extent, if impulsivity is core to your personal identity, expressing those impulses is itself a sign of free will.

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