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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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7 answers
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The Evolution of Free Will: Is Kevin Mitchell's argument robust?

In his lecture at the Royal Institution, Associate Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin, asserts that humans have free will; that a human can be the 'locus of causal power'....
4 votes
1 answer
33 views

Defending Pereboom's deliberation-compatibilism from Widerker's objections, conceptualizing "agents" as Turing machines

I am trying to overcome David Widerker's objection to Derk Pereboom's account of rational deliberation. I include both Pereboom's account and Widerker's objection as a reminder/introduction at the end ...
8 votes
9 answers
3k views

Who Bears the Burden of Proof Regarding Free Will: Advocates or Skeptics

Debates on free will often raise the question of evidence: who will have the best evidence? However, before discussing evidence, I would like to know who bears this responsibility in philosophical and ...
1 vote
3 answers
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How is determinism reconciled with errors?

If laws and initial conditions are enough to determine everything, how is this reconciled with the idea that quantities have limited precision (real numbers) and hence there will always be errors? ...
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1 answer
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If reality is definite, does it imply determinism?

Suppose that the universe is definite and that every single thing in the universe comes down to atoms moving around in particular ways with defined properties at every single moment. Now, does it ...
1 vote
2 answers
101 views

Does indeterminacy imply contingency?

If there is true indeterminacy in the world, does this imply that each state of affairs is contingent? I am assuming that by contingent, we mean that things could have happened otherwise. Conceptually,...
2 votes
1 answer
58 views

The Ancient Greeks: "running away from fate brings you directly into it". Can it be explained in secular terms? [closed]

Jews were not in agreement on the "predestiny": There is some disagreement among scholars regarding the views on predestination of first-century AD Judaism, out of which Christianity came. ...
2 votes
1 answer
105 views

Can we take responsibility without having moral responsibility for some things?

Taking responsibility is distinguished from being morally responsible in that, if one takes responsibility for a particular outcome it does not follow that one is morally responsible for that outcome. ...
2 votes
4 answers
195 views

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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
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Is this a good analogy for superdeterminism?

I am having a hard time wrapping my head around Superdeterminism. I know that it says that it violates statistical independence of measurement settings and particle behavior. But what exactly does ...
15 votes
8 answers
1k views

Is there a causal influence of the mental on the physical?

Regardless of whether the mental is ultimately physical or not... doesn't the impact of human knowledge (science, mathematics, etc) on the world (ie: technology, agriculture, basically everything), ...
5 votes
5 answers
374 views

Can you be a determinist while thinking laws are just descriptions?

Suppose that you think laws are descriptive and not prescriptive. In other words, you think that laws merely describe what happens and not that events in the world directly follow or are prescribed by ...
2 votes
4 answers
107 views

Are there certain plausible assumptions, such as block or physical determinism, that lead us to conclude that everything we do is equally rational?

It seems that with certain assumptions about reality, everything we can do is equally rational. Max Tegmark's theory of the multiverse, often referred to as the "mathematical universe hypothesis&...
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2 answers
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Are sample spaces and counter factuals mind independent?

I was thinking about the notion of sample spaces and was wondering whether they can be “objectively” analyzed for their fruitfulness. For example, in the case of dice rolls, it seems obvious and ...
21 votes
4 answers
2k views

How do defenders of libertarian freewill reconcile it with constraints imposed by the laws of physics?

Libertarian freewill is the position that we have some measure of metaphysical freewill. Per this position, a free agent at a given point in time is able to freely select a course of action among ...
2 votes
2 answers
536 views

The ethics of “pulling out”

This might seem trivial, but it’s earnestly been on my mind, so I do want to use it as an opportunity for philosophical learning. Abortion is to me a very complex philosophical topic. I’ll only focus ...
4 votes
8 answers
225 views

Does determinism nullify the science of economics?

The science of economics is based on the assumption that people can make choices. But, for someone like me who believes that the universe is deterministic, this assumption is false, or at least I ...
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Dennett vs Sapolsky on free will: A clash over different claims?

On a recent Youtube episode of Theories of Everything with Curt Jaimungal Daniel Dennett, author and Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, discusses his views of Robert ...
14 votes
8 answers
1k views

Is free will a third option aside from chance and necessity?

The determinism dilemma is that if our actions are predetermined they are not free, and if they are random they are not willed, either way there is no free will. Even if will causation is a mixture of ...
5 votes
6 answers
1k views

Does the want to seek determinism in physics come from a fallacy that it explains more?

Many physicists even in the modern day tend to be bothered by the indeterminism within quantum mechanics. When they see the probabilistic patterns that lie at the heart of the world, they seek a ...
3 votes
4 answers
454 views

Can there be determinism without predictability?

Suppose you have two intelligent agents interacting, with each one one's behavior based on their prediction of what the other will do. For example, suppose you have two mind readers playing rock, ...
1 vote
6 answers
197 views

Can an action be both determined and free?

The classical argument against free will, is that, in a deterministic universe, since everything is determined, so are human actions, and thus no human action is free. But this relies on the hidden ...
1 vote
2 answers
135 views

Deterministic simulation and Pascal's mugging

So the canonical description of Pascal's mugging involves simulation, and torment, of a large number of self-aware beings. What makes it even worse is that it involves a Turing machine doing the ...
2 votes
5 answers
330 views

What is wrong with the following case against determinism?

I am thinking of determinism in the following way: if we knew all the laws of nature and the complete state of the universe at a given time, we could predict everything that would happen in the future....
3 votes
1 answer
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Free will as ignorance of future decisions [closed]

I find the following definition of free will appealing: An entity that has free will... always pays an exploration-exploitation tradeoff is capable of higher order thought (i.e. it has an internal ...
4 votes
5 answers
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If Free Will Is Proven Illusory, Is There a Case for Suppressing the Finding?

NOTE: This question does not assume the existence or non-existence of free will. Dan Dennett, Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University, states that when "...neuroscientists who've been going ...
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
0 votes
3 answers
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Can we be only certain that we have free will if there is no God?

I deduce there could be these permutations of the universe. Temporally, it is either bounded or unbounded. If it is bounded, then it is possible God could exist to have created the universe. If God ...
4 votes
8 answers
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'Free will' as a 'confused concept': Is Ned Block correct?

A recent episode of Robert Kuhn's web series Closer to Truth puts the question of free will to Ned Block, Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at the University of New York. Block states 'free will' ...
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Are chance and determinism incompatible?

In an “objectively” chancy world such as the one proposed by some interpretations of quantum mechanics, we can only probabilistically but not fully determine measurements. So, A and B may have a 50% ...
-1 votes
1 answer
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If mathematics is invented for a deterministic reason, then do we discover that prior reason through our inventiveness? [closed]

Consider that mathematics is invented in some predetermined way. Would it then still be possible to claim that it is really invented and not discovered? Is there a point, modulo determinism, where the ...
0 votes
2 answers
116 views

Is the current world more likely under determinism than indeterminism?

I suppose this may be an obvious quip, but according to Bayesian confirmation theory, evidence E confirms a theory A over theory B if it is more expected under theory A. If determinism is true, and we ...
1 vote
1 answer
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What problems are there to a fictionalist response to determinism?

The general strategy of the fictionalist is to weaken what we mean by “responsibility” so that in some weakened sense, “responsibility” can exist even though determinism is both true and incompatible ...
1 vote
3 answers
124 views

Do acausal quantum events come in between two classical events?

You'll have to forgive my ignorance if the answer to this question has lots of examples of how and when this occurs. My knowledge of determinism is that it is a picture of a chain of events that goes ...
2 votes
7 answers
390 views

Is it possible to restore the motivation lost by rejecting free will without introducing cognitive dissonance/logical fallacies?

I've read in a few places that people tend to get depressed and lose motivation in life after losing their belief in free will; that even if you "know" free will does not exist, you are ...
8 votes
7 answers
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Does Quantum Entanglement Disprove the Principle of Locality?

Regarding the debate between quantum mechanics and determinism I have encountered a problem I can't find the answer to. It is my impression that in order to solve Bell's inequality you would have to ...
5 votes
6 answers
559 views

If dualism provides an escape from determinism, how does it work

There are confusing number of types of dualism, i am not sure which one to restrict the question to. Reductionist physicalism has a dichotomy between determinism and random. Dualists like to claim ...
14 votes
10 answers
4k views

How does Quantum Mechanics affect the modern account of free will and determinism?

In the edition of Feb/Mar 2016 of the Philosophy Now Magazine says: Under Feel Free to Differ it says: [...] Determinism itself comes in different flavours. Hard determinism of the most absolute ...
1 vote
4 answers
208 views

Could the universe or any event within it have occurred otherwise, even if determinism was false?

Could any event have happened differently? Even if the universe was “inherently stochastic”, does this imply that events could have occurred differently? It seems to me that even inherent randomness ...
1 vote
4 answers
215 views

Why are nonlocal deterministic theories considered less plausible than indeterminism?

As John Bell stated, I cannot say that action at a distance is required in physics. But I can say that you cannot get away with no action at a distance. Regardless of whichever interpretation of ...
3 votes
2 answers
955 views

Could Laplace's Demon be the universe itself?

Laplace proposed that a being that could know the state of the universe at one particular point in time and knowing all the laws governing that universe would be able to determine the past and future ...
1 vote
5 answers
365 views

Does existence of omniscient God imply Determinism?

I have a question about an argument for why the world must be completely deterministic if there is an omniscient God and wanted to know about the validity of the argument. If the premise is that God ...
4 votes
7 answers
1k views

Determinism vs prediction

What is the difference between determinism and predictable. I have heard classical mechanics is both predictable and deterministic , chaos theory is deterministic but unpredictable , quantum mechanics ...
2 votes
6 answers
197 views

If one accepts hard determinism then why attempt to persuade others based upon that belief?

I was reading an article recently that discussed the Justice Without Retribution Network. While I support their aims, it led me to question what it means to change the criminal justice system if you ...
1 vote
1 answer
53 views

What meta-ethics is most commonly associated with 'hard determinism'?

Since moral responsibility seems to require free will, hard determinism implies that people are not morally responsible for their actions. So what exactly does that imply about supposed moral ...
3 votes
5 answers
516 views

Arguments against Necessitarianism

I would like to know what the most successful arguments have been against necessitarianism, as I struggle to imagine how necessitarianism could be false. I think about how any particular event ...
3 votes
5 answers
1k views

Best arguments against compatibilism?

According to the 2020 PhilPapers survey, 59.2% of philosophers are compatibilists when it comes to the free will/determinism debate. Despite its popularity among professional philosophers, what are ...
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3 answers
189 views

If we were to know everything about the universe right after the Big Bang, can we predict me eating toast today?

It is implied, per QM, that the behavior of subatomic particles cannot be precisely predicted. However, these indeterministic effects do have defined probabilities. By the law of large numbers, they ...
8 votes
10 answers
4k views

Is The World Deterministic?

I think that all the events of the world are just the results of the application of the rules of nature on the previous situation of the world. Our thoughts or efforts are also completely ...
2 votes
3 answers
284 views

How does indeterminism still lead to deterministic laws in the macro world?

Philosophers and many scientists seem to distinguish between the macro and micro world a lot. Things in the micro world seem to be indeterministic, atleast through the standard interpretation of QM. ...

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