Yikes. This is sure to be a hot topic (at least I hope so). Some philosophers have argued to assign agency to our freewill (DeCartes comes to mind), while others have labelled us as inherently autonomous due to the complexity of our minds. Others yet would say that we are no more autonomous than a leaf on the surface of troubled waters: servile and tethered to a predestined fate and governed by the chaos all around us.
I personally seat straddled between the realms of determinism and compatibilism, unable to make my mind up but then again, maybe the universe has willed it this way... ;)
As humans we do have choices and we make choices daily, but "free will" is an illusion! My meaning is that your "free will" has limits and constraints according to contracts, laws, property ownership, etc. so we all have to operate within these limits put upon us by society. Next, we get into the question of "devine free will" and the supernaturalism of it all falls flat and it goes right out the window! Why is this so? If we assume that God knows everything from the very beginning, then the choices we have made seem to come from a stacked deck. Why would any of it be right or wrong, or even important if God knew the outcome in advance? Even from a religious point of view, what purpose would this serve?
Back to square one. God is imaginary!
Rather tan free will being an illusion i would say free will is vulnerable. The UN honoured today the remarkable young woman Malala, whose free will was sought to be extinguished by the Taliban.
Certain behaviours and intents seem to be hardwired into our dealings with the realities we find ourselves. Beyond that determinations are handled by free will.
There is the theist/atheist debate to what informs our free will. Does free will come with supernatural impositions or admonitions?
There is the biological and anthropological studies of how and at what point does free will kick in. Is free will a natural extension of a highly developed brain? Of language?
Then there is the debate, already pointed out, as to what point free will can be practiced, or in society can be allowed to practiced.Suppression of free will is definitely part of the equation. Who gets to determine that and why?
"You know what glamour is? Fear. If people are afraid of you, you can do anything.' Ronald Kray
London's glamorous gangsters of the 1960's - The infamous Kray Twins
What we perceive as free will is the gap between the stimulus and the action that our "will" dictates. That assumes there is an independent "decider" somewhere in our brain. that makes fiat decisions on our responses. Free will is a warped extension of the "soul" - that intangible "god given" creature within us. Free will is comforting illusion.
There sure is a decider in our minds, necessary for any creature active and complicated.
A decider? Surely not G.W. Bush?
The question is what determines the determiners choice?
Whatever brain processes that make the choice, plus the aspects of the environment that go into making the choice.
In other words, what determines our choices is not "something else". It is partly us. We are part of the physical world.
Can we define "free will"?