Is the existence of free will falsifiable? A lot of people debate about free will, but it seems to me they do this by pure argument, not by scientific experimentation. Can some scientific experiment test the existence of free will? What difference would it make to the world if its beings had free will? Personally, I think there would be no difference, and so by Ockham's razor, I think free will is an extraneous concept.

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    does this answer your question? why does everyone keep repeating the same basic questions? i blame thinkingman really. it almost seems like a kind of forum polemic
    – user67521
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 1:40
  • "Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it." You could check out the book "Free Will" by Sam Harris. Enlightening.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 4:13

2 Answers 2


No, it is not falsifiable, because it is not a theory.

Free will has many definitions and there is no consensus over which one is the correct one. The name "free will" has been given to numerous different phenomena, some real, some imaginary, impossible or illogical. What they all have in common is that free will is seen as an ability to do something.

Real abilities we do have, imaginary abilities we don't have. None of the definitions make free will a theoretical ability we might have.

  • In fact, it is a theory (whatever its definition is), but the fact of being a theory does not imply it is provable (e.g. the existence of dark matter is a scientific theory, but it can't be proven). In addition, it is not an empirical theory (a physical notion), but a metaphysical theory (an ideal notion). Perhaps one individual can prove it in his own mind or dreams, but a subjective proof is not a usable proof: by default, proof implies objectivity.
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 5:52
  • @RodolfoAP Free will by any definition does not attempt to explain anything. Therefore it is not a theory, claim or a belief that could be proven true or false. Free will by any definition is just a name given to a real or an imaginary ability. Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 7:32
  • If the OP is asking about the ability (e.g. as used in law: By your free will, do you accept the terms of this contract?), then, it is easily to falsify and prove. In addition, your answer is wrong. We're talking about proving the freedom of will theory.
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 10:54
  • @RodolfoAP There is no such theory. The OP doesn't talk about such theory. Your link does not lead to such theory. All discussions about free will should begin with the definition, what free will means in this context. Every valid definition makes it clear whether it is a real or an imaginary thing. Once the definition is fixed the question of existence is also fixed. No need to prove anything. Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 12:09
  • @PerttiRuismäki Is this compatible with experiments where two groups read two different passages, one saying human dont have free will and the other nothing about free will, and the non-free will group cheats. youtu.be/… (about a minute watch by Dan Dennett)
    – J Kusin
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 18:58

Yes, it is falsifiable thus: if someone could reliably predict in advance the behavior of human beings, this would strongly undermine people's belief in free will, although the compatibilist account of free will might still stand.

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