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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15answers
12k views

Any argument against determinism?

I'm a very logical person. I like mathematics, software engineering, physics... everything in that area. Also I'm an anti-theist. My understanding of the universe: If you would take every atom (as in ...
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4answers
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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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Is it possible to believe that determinism is a true description of reality (instead of a simplified one)?

The idea of determinism is a useful tool in classical physics making it easier to understand and calculate. But I find it logically impossible to claim or believe that it is actually a true ...
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Is there a philosophy where non-determinism is reduced to determinism without an agent

It appears to be quite difficult to define agency in a metaphysical sense in a deterministic world. All handling I have seen suggests agents "choose" between paths, and thus require the ...
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What are the differences between Free Will, Autonomy and Agency? [closed]

I'm especially interested in differences that show dependence or independence of these concepts on each other. Like is it possible to have Agency without Free will, according to definitions? Or ...
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2answers
129 views

How does a determinist explain darwin and chess? [closed]

I think the consensus among most materialists is that "living beings" have a common ancestor. I say "living beings" in quotes because I don't even know what it means that something ...
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14answers
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How should you respond to criminal behavior if you believe in hard determinism?

There are several ideas on hard determinism, but the core seems to be that in an interconnected existence, there can be no "actions" (free will), but only "reactions" (determinism). An action of free ...
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87 views

Does an Eternal Multiverse Undermine Causality, Time and Free Will? [closed]

An eternal multiverse is a static multiverse that just exists and is presented as a series of static moments, and each moment is separated by proper time (in the relativistic sense) and has many ways ...
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4answers
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Why do compatibilists believe that whether we act freely is independent of whether or not determinism is true?

I am mainly looking for information based on Dennett's work, I Could Not Have Done Otherwise- So What? because that is the only thing I am familiar with other than D'Holbach, but other works will do ...
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3answers
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Philosophy of science: Determinism and indeterminism in statistical methods of science

A variable is modeled as a random variable in a statistical model, often without reference to the question of whether it is random in reality. For example, when the outcome of a coin flip is modeled ...
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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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2answers
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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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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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2answers
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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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If we don't have free will, does that mean evil automatically exists?

If we don't have free will, can we be held responsible for our actions because they are deterministic? And if we can't be held responsible does that mean that evil exists?
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3answers
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Would the universe have played out differently?

If the universe was rewound to an earlier point of time(to the beginning of the universe for example), would events have manifested exactly the same? That is, would facts such as "[The Sun] ...
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2answers
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Determinism and Freewill [duplicate]

Is there a definitive answer to the problem of free will as follows: How can free Will exist while physics laws tell us (as well as causality) that every state at any given time is the result of the ...
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6answers
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Is free will compatible with determinism? (Ramsey theorem)

Do we have free will? Or everything is already determined? Are they mutually exclusive? I think they can coexist and have something similar to a proof here and would like to know your thought There is ...
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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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Is there a name for this form rejection of the free will vs determinism debate?

I'm familiar with the positions of determinism, free will, and compatibilism. But I recently heard a new position in this domain, and I'm curious if it has a name. The position goes something like ...
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2answers
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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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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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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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2answers
136 views

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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1answer
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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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4answers
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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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What is the purpose of consciousness?

Please jump to the 'Edit' portion of the question, because the below portion MAY seem confusing or irrelevant. Assuming that the control over things we have is illusory, as beautifully explained by ...
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1answer
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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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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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538 views

How can we have responsibility in the Stoic's deterministic universe?

I read the following in Anthony Kenny's 'A New History of Philosophy' book. It is a paraphrase from Chrysippus the Stoic philosopher Nothing can escape Nature's laws, but despite the determinism of ...
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1answer
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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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6answers
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Will superdeterminism, if proven, make science useless?

Superdeterminism states that no experiment we perform has complete freedom, so no matter what you are trying to learn about how things work out in nature, nature will tell you what it wants to tell ...
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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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Truth Claims - Free Will - Determinism

In this video, Ravi Zacharias when asked how we can have free will if God already knows what we are going to do, says the following: "The moment you make a truth claim you are rising above the ...
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Is the existence of an omniscient creature impossible?

I'm not talking about God, so the subject doesn't have to be omnipotent. Is there any logical inconsistency that would make the existence of such creature impossible? How would determinism affect the ...
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1answer
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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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2answers
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Would truly random events be strictly equivalent to events without a cause?

There are a couple of questions (one, another) about this topic, and as I was thinking about this for a while, I started wondering whether there has been any systematic research into this that raises ...
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2answers
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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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4answers
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Do we make spontaneous decisions or are our decisions based on prior experience and subconscious evaluation?

Do humans ever make spontaneous decisions in its true meaning? Or our decisions, including the ones made spontaneously, the product of our previous experiences, thoughts and subconscious evaluations. ...
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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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1answer
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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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6answers
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Why do people mix up physical indeterminism as related to free will?

if reality has code that makes you do X, or code that runs a random number generator and then makes you do X and Y, you don't have more free will in the second case. the random number generator used ...
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1answer
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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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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 ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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Determinism vs Indeterminism debate

I need to find an article/website/book which offers a brief survey of the dispute determinism vs indeterminism (with no or really few references to the free-will problem). I need them for a high ...
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4answers
681 views

Is there evidence for existence of destiny as opposed to free will?

Is there any evidence for the existence of some kind of "destiny"? And if not: What about the "free will", its very much the opposite of destiny. Lets assume, our brain really is "only" an input-...