Questions tagged [determinism]

The doctrine that every event has a cause. The main philosophical interest of determinism has been in assessing its implications for free will.

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How do I prove an incompatibilist argument wrong?

I found a classical incompatibilist argument that looks that this: If a person acts of her own free will, then she could have done otherwise If determinism is true, no one can do otherwise ...
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If we are rationally obliged to be moral, and morality is not arbitrary, then are some decisions not freely made?

If we are rationally obliged to be moral, and morality is not arbitrary, then are some decisions not freely made? I mean 'not arbitrary' to mean that some values, e.g. courage, are more rational than ...
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Do Aristotle's three laws of logic apply to statements about the future?

I have just read about Aristotle's Three Laws of Logic. I was wondering if statements such as "There is a chance of it raining in the next hour" can be evaluated using the three laws. Can you apply ...
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What was Camus’ opinion of hedonism and determinism?

I’ve read The Myth Of Sisyphus, and it prompted some questions that I’m hoping other readers of Camus might be able to answer: Did Camus see unbridled hedonism as a solution to the nihilism caused by ...
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What is the case for free will?

By understanding the laws of nature, I've come to the conclusion that everything evolves according to the laws of physics, and that includes the formation of conscious and unconscious thoughts in the ...
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Historicism vs Determinism

Can anyone explain the difference between historicism and determinism (e.g. economic determinism)? I've found articles that describe them as different things, while others treat them as synonyms. If ...
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If you are predictable do you have free will?

Let there be a person that acted in some way. Also there is another person who had predicted that behaviour of first person. Does the first person has free will? Is it just possible to do something ...
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Is determinism logically flawed?

If determinism is true, every event shall have a cause. So, what is the cause of the first event (which is the first cause)? Conflict (paradox): 1) every event shall have a cause -> First event/...
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If each of our thoughts is entirely determined by the brain, can there be free will or a soul?

Supposing that every single thing that exists in our mind is due to the brain, and supposing that each and every decision we have is determined by our neurons, can there be free will? How? If ...
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Free Will and Causeless Causes

When searching on free will, what will often be found is that free will is incoherent (Sam Harris) or an illusion. Other references will claim it exists while citing clinical studies which ...
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Why do people argue in favor of IQs, while then encouraging people (of any IQ) to use hard work to obtain the same successes?

At the same time people will say (science included) that IQ is a very important thing -- while at the same time saying that people with lower IQs can do things that people with higher IQs can -- while ...
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Did anyone argue against the possibility of a perfect prediction from within a system?

Did anyone offer an argument against the possibility of a perfect and complete prediction about a system from within that system along the following lines: Let's imagine a machine (like a desktop ...
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Is the event of death deterministic?

It's 5 months since I lost my dad in a factory accident. His manner of death is obviously the biggest tragedy of my life, but now when I contemplate about it, the Physics of the event seem so unlikely....
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When did the idea of free will begin? Same for determinism

Hey so I'm doing this free will v determinism thing for class and I've tried but I can't seem to find when the separate beliefs came about. I know Socrates and Aristotle had something to do with them ...
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Why is the word “however” used here? What does it mean? [closed]

I was reading a Wikipedia article on fatalism and the idle argument. It says a Stoic philosopher "attempted to refute" it and then it states the argument. The very next line it uses the word "however"....
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How does Quantum Mechanics disprove determinism? [duplicate]

I personally believe in determinism and understand the basics of quantum mechanics, but don't see how any of it disproves that the universe is deterministic. Electrons cannot move change momentum or ...
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How can we be accountable if we are chemically programmed?

If we accept that neuro-chemistry largely explains cognitive function, deterministically, how can we be accountable? Not how or why can we be held accountable but how can we earnestly be in fact ...
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Standard Argument against free will rebuttal

The Standard argument against free will states that an action is either predetermined or random and that these two options exhaust all the possibilities, leaving no room for true free will. To ...
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How can Determinism be true in light of the Free Will Theorem

The Free Will Theorem states: Given the axioms, if the two experimenters in question are free to make choices about what measurements to take, then the results of the measurements cannot be ...
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If everything is ruled by determinism, what rules determinism itself?

If everything is ruled by determinism, what rules determinism itself? Has any philosopher ever explored this matter?
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Why should we even think about determinism?

So I've browsed through some questions here but none of them really fits my thought process: If you assume that determinism is not the case, your actions will therefore be the right decision. If ...
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Could reality be a projection of another reality?

I'm new to metaphysics. So, I apologize if this is an established question. I've been asking the question, could reality be a projection of another reality? In geometry, you can project a three ...
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What puts Christians off “hard determinism”?

Scott Christensen has written a book, "What about free will?" published 1995, in which two Christian positions are examined. They are, page 238, Libertarian Beliefs and Compatabilist Beliefs. However, ...
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Is free will required in order to differentiate between the subconscious and the conscious?

If the subconscious motivates actions in a way that we are not aware of, then its fair to say that we don't have control over our subconscious. If I were to look at this from a determinist perspective,...
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Is the question of moral responsibility a valid one against determinism?

One of the questions I feel is most commonly asked about determinism is "how can people be responsible for their actions if they were following a determined fate? is it right to punish people for bad ...
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Can causally unconnected things become causally connected?

Things have properties and what it means by being in a causal connection is one object's property/properties determines the property/properties of the other object with which the first object ...
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If hard determinism is true, why should we try to better ourselves?

If hard determinism is true, then it was never really my choice to be the person I am at this exact moment. There’s also only one path from this point forward, so if I’m going to eventually be a good ...
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How can a person truly love another if hard determinism is true?

I have a wife and two kids. According to hard determinism, I was determined since time began moving forward to marry my wife and have my children. Every moment we share together was also predetermined,...
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How do I believe in free will? [closed]

After considering all possible ways that famous philosophers have tried to explain it, and reading so many articles that treat it like God’s greatest gift to mankind, I still don’t get it. Is it that ...
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Łukasiewicz & statements about the past

I think this is a fair presentation of Łukasiewicz's view on past, present, and future statements in an answer by Johannes https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/a/31995/29944: "His view is that ...
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Can we control our emotions? [closed]

Suppose a man works 15 hour shifts to provide for his wife and 10 kids, and after a very long and exhaustive day, he comes home to find his wife in bed with another man. At what point does the man ...
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How does free will give life “meaning”?

Many people have suggested that if we don’t have free will, then life is essentially meaningless because everything we’ve ever thought or done has already been determined. I’m not sure why determinism ...
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Are There Alternatives to Determinism and Stochasticism?

From my physicist's point of view, there are basically two ways of seeing the world: The world can be fundamentally deterministic or fundamentally stochastic (see also indeterminism). I believe that ...
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What role does “DESIRE” play in materialistic determinism?

Let us assume the worldview of extreme materialistic determinism. This is the belief that everything is the result of its material make up. This view goes so far as to eliminate free will. Our ...
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About Aaron Snyder, The Paradox of Determinism

I am looking at Aaron Snyder's The Paradox of Determinism (American Philosophical Quarterly Vol.9, n.4, Oct. 1970) Is it still discussed? Are his claims and arguments taken in account in present ...
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How do moral skeptics respond to the concept of permissible heinous acts

The Problem Let's say I am debating my friend Jake who believes that morality exists. But I am a hard determinist who believes that all actions are predetermined by some act or event beforehand. Jake ...
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Is Freedom in existentialism compatible with determinism

Is freedom in existentialism compatible with determinism. Or does it simply refer to the subjective experience of deciding amongst a variety of possibilities
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Free will: is reality a record, a game or unpredictable?

If a world is a record (a film), then this scenario does not have conditional rules, i.e., if it can be implemented as a computer program, it will not have "if ... then ..." commands. If a world is a ...
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Being a determinist and a believer in a multiverse seems contradictory

A determinist holds that everything is determined by the physical world around them and free will is an illusion. A multiverse suggests there are an infinite number of alternative universes in ...
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Questioning determinism (example)

Questioning the world's deterministic behaviour, I shall present an example which seems to defy any certainty about the recurrence of events and is (obviously) a result of faulty logic, but I would ...
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I can't see how free will exists in a universe that's only causal or random, can I be convinced otherwise?

From what I've looked into on the topic of free will, I've found it difficult to see how it could exist in a universe of pure causality or randomness. However, I haven't fully abandoned the idea of ...
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Many worlds defeats Doomsday argument (betting version)? [closed]

Here is a calculation regarding observers placing bets in the many-worlds scenario. Let us assume that an observer has some current rank n in the human race (there have been n-1 humans born before ...
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What term describes 'statements about future events can't have a truth value until they occur' & ' what'll happen will happen'?

Source: Benatar, D. The Human Predicament (2017 1 edn). p. 235, for p. 114 Footnote 30. I add this qualification because some people may think that unless determinism is true, [1.] future events ...
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Is there any formal axiomatized definition of Determinism in First Order Logic (FOL), or any other logical system for that matter?

Is there any formal axiomatized definition of Determinism written in First Order Logic (FOL), with a semantic interpretation maybe rooted in Set Theory, or based on any other logical system and ...
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How is free-will formally defined as distinct from determinism, randomness and determinism-randomness hybrid to support moral responsibility?

Usually free-will is assumed by most faith traditions as a prerequisite for moral responsiblity in order to justify eternal punishment. The argument goes as "you are truly responsible for your immoral ...
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Free will, what do philosophers think this is? [closed]

My personal definition of free will is my ability to be the prime mover of all my practical actions. I am a physical being bounded by my physical and psychological needs, but I can choose and apply ...
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Is it unfair to eternally punish people in hell if determinism is true?

If determinism happens to be true, then people just do what the laws of Physics governing the chemical interactions of neurons in their brains make them do. In such a scenario, wouldn't it be unfair ...
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Against Historical (or Geographical) Determinism

It seems that determinism has gained tremendously in terms of being accepted as a general theory of everything by a large number of people. Books like The Selfish Gene and Guns, Germs, and Steel have ...
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Hume and Strawson on Libertarianism and Determinism

a) What is the traditional dispute between libertarianism and determinism, and how does Hume reconcile the two? b) What is Strawson’s claim to be an improvement on Hume?
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Can small random pieces produce a deterministic whole?

Quantum mechanics offers some statistical reasoning for small pieces of length in the Universe (please correct me if I'm wrong). To some extent everything has uncertainty. We might even say that it is ...