Self-Determination and Freewill

The symptom of free will is self-determination [1]. Non-living bodies obey mechanical laws of nature and act according to external forces. But the living organisms utilize physical laws in carrying out their biological functions; therefore physical laws are not sufficient to describe them. For e.g., a bird’s flight path cannot be calculated from Newton's laws of motion [2]. Plants grow above the ground against the force of gravity, i.e. they exhibit negative gravitropism. The movements of organism show self-determinism. Organisms utilize laws of nature to fulfill their ends. This self-determinism is the central feature of all cognitive beings that is never found in non-living objects. Nobel Biologist Barbara McClintock even considered the plants to have a subjective being. Plants know if they are being taken care of. She was convinced that plants can feel pain and joy [3]. Cell can sense its internal errors during metabolism. Even gene defects are recognized and corrected [4]. The conclusion is that organisms have a strong sense of self-recognition and self-identity, and it plays a significant role during its life time. Contributors are invited to discuss this topic from the perspectives of cell biology, plant and animal biology and gene regulation within the cellular context the important role of self-determination or free will, that is leading biologists like Shapiro to come to the deduction that ‘Consciousness’ is the universal and ubiquitous concept of life.

[1] Hegel, G.W.F., Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences, Part III: The Philosophy of Spirit, Section One: Subjective Spirit,

[2] Grandpierre, A., Complexity, information and biological organization. INDESC, 3, 59-71, (2005).

[3] Keller, E. F., A feeling for the organism, The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock, W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco.

 [4] McClintock, B., The significance of responses of the genome to challenge, Nobel lecture, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, U.S.A., (8 Dec., 1983).

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