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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Time travel, free will and “could have done otherwise”

The phrase "could have done otherwise" is almost essential to all discussions concerning free will. Most philosophers, as I understand the literature, believe this phrase characterizes and validates ...
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Is there any classic argument supporting freewill?

As much as I read about history of philosophy, I saw that a vast majority of ancient philosophers supported determinism(like Cynicists, Stoicists, Buddha etc.). Did any body support freewill in ...
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Does the denial of free will necessarily imply determinism?

SEP's entry on Arguments for Incompatibilism contains a curious passage: Empirical discoveries about our brain and behavior might tell us that we don’t have as much conscious control as we think we ...
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Could free will exist as spontaneous particle creations?

I've been reading a lot on determinism from a quantum mechanics perspective in order to reach a conclusion about freewill and determinism. So far, it seems that quantum interpretations (Copenhagen, ...
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Non-Computability And Randomnes

I once thought (tweeted) that physics is 'explaining the explainable (computable) part of the universe' as the rest can be seen as random. Now I'm not sure about this anymore. The simplest example ...
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Free Will as Incoherent (What's wrong with this argument?)

Is this a sound argument? Free will is a cause that is neither determinism nor stochastic. Causes are either deterministic or stochastic. Free will is an incoherent entity All incoherent entities do ...
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A Statistical Argument Against Naturalism from Pro Golf [closed]

Imagine a golfer in a professional tournament. She is about to attempt a putt on the 18th hole. On naturalism, the golfer’s behavior is determined by neurophysiological events in the brain. Some of ...
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Can determinists take decisions?

For what I understand, determinism is based on the assumption that free will is not possible. So, I would conclude that a determinist has not the power to modify his future, and whatever decision he ...
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Why do people still believe in free will?

If we assume that macro-scale matter like we have in brains only acts in ways that are caused, then would not all actions in human behavior be a result of prior physical events beginning with ...
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Heaviness in eternal recurence

In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, it is said that: In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That is why Nietzsche called the idea ...
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Boethius, Logical Necessity, and Accidental Necessity: A Solution to Free Will and Foreknowledge?

In his classic book, the Consolation of Philosophy (Book V), Boethius attempts to make an argument that libertarian free will and [divine] foreknowledge are not incompatible. His argument goes ...
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Some questions on causality and modern science

Note: I'm translating the vocabulary from Spanish so there may be some erroneous terms. If so, please edit them. In Causality: the place of the causal principle in modern science by Mario Bunge, the ...
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If cause C has the mutually exclusive effects Y and Z, then is causality held? Why?

Imagine there is a cause but several effects. Of course determinism is not held, but my question is about causality. If cause C has two mutually exclusive effects Y and Z, then at each given time ...
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I could prove: Copenhagen QM is NOT causal. Is my argument acceptable?

A quantum system consists of some states. It is in all of the states but beCAUSE of the act of the measurement, the wavefunction collapses into one state. I am really confused because I can repeat the ...
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Does the principle of sufficient reason imply mechanistic determinism?

The principle of sufficient reason states that any fact has a cause (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sufficient-reason). To some authors, this principle led to extrapolated mechanistic determinism ...
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202 views

Does our experience with habits lead us to believe in free will?

Notoriously intractable, free will have had no success in being proven physically. Even phenomenally it is difficult to pin down precisely. So why do people believe each other when claiming that they ...
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Deterministic or stochastic universe?

Just a little bit before my graduation from computer science, I attended a course about computational intelligence, and my professor then challenged us to debate on whether the world/universe follows ...
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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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113 views

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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362 views

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 ...