It is debatable as to whether we are free to make our own choices or not. There is a fair range in people's ideas on our freedom. The three main perspectives on our freedom, however, are determinism, indeterminism and compatibilism.
The belief that all our choices are determined by forces beyond our control is called determinism. Determinists believe that every event is a result of a previous one. While determinists may all agree that everything can be traced back to a cause, they don't necessarily all agree on what the cause might be. Some of the more popular explanations are human nature, the environment, social dynamics and psychological forces.
Human nature is described as our basic human instincts that influence the ways in which we behave. This explanation would make free choice impossible because all our actions would flow from our nature. The environment explanation states that people are molded by their environment and their experiences to shape them to be the people they are. This explains that all our behaviors are a direct result of our life experiences. Social dynamics explains that people are strongly influenced by the people that surround them and that our behaviors are driven by our need to conform to society's norms, and to please and obey others. Our psychological forces are what cause us to think, feel and act in certain ways. This view explains that while we may think we are free to make our choices, they are actually governed by some deep, unconscious impulse that stems from our earliest experiences and relationships.
One determinist philosopher, Baron d'Holbach, states that we are "connected to universal nature, and submitted to the necessary and immutable laws that she imposes on all the beings she contains". In other words, we are all an intricate part of the universe, and are subject to follow the biological and physical laws set forth in a natural causal system. When considering this, the idea that all our behaviors are caused seems clear.
The second perspective is compatibilism, where determinism and indeterminism meet halfway....