Our bodies consist of chemical components. Our feelings and judgments are the result of the biological activities. Moreover, our mindset and certain beliefs could be instilled by the external world. I wonder, to what extent we can control ourselves?

This is a *great* question, and a difficult one. Let me offer a thought about the question, which may suggest some directions for find answers. You've pointed out that various elements of a person--the body, feeling, judgments, mindset, beliefs--are caused or created in ways that, as we usually think of it, we don't directly control. But then you ask to what extent we can control *ourselves*. What is "ourselves," over and above those elements, and what does it mean for thing like a self to have "control" over something? If I, the self about whose control we are asking, am also the result of biological activities and the external world, then really we are asking whether one thing created by the world controls another thing created by the world. Some elements of me, for example, are desires: I want to itch my knee. The want and the thing that wants are the result of biological activities and the external world. Now suppose that my want successfully causes my arm and hand to move and scratch my knee. What happened there? Part of the world--me and my wants--brought about the action of itching. Now we can ask: does this constitute control, having done what I wanted to do? A natural answer, I suggest to you, is: yes. This is a case in which I controlled my arm (though perhaps the case needs to be further described...but I think the details can be filled in to justify this answer). And my control of my arm seems compatible with what you described, namely the biological, external world roots of my desires and mindset.

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