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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Can order come from chaos?

I've been considering the idea that matter, or some material substance, has either always existed, or just began to exist because it's necessary that it exist. In either event, it was chaotic, ...
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Can spontaneous body movements confirm or infirm free will?

When explaining to someone why I don't believe in freewill, it is almost certain that they will flap their arms around or do some sort of strange dance with their arms. I know the reason why they do ...
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Are there any philosophers who believe “If Determinism is true, there are no counterfactual possibilities”?

I am a person who believes that conditional proposition. I am not sure if the theory of everything that describes the world is a deterministic one or not, so it is an open question. But are there any ...
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Is quantum indeterminacy inextricable from observation?

I understand uncertainty from a combinatorial and game theoretic perspective, as functions of incomplete or imperfect information, or intractability which is a type of inaccessible information in that ...
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Free will and hard determinism

Can we say that hard determinism and free will are mutually exclusive by definition?
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Does providence imply the same thing as fate in Christianity?

Fate implies the idea that all things which happen were meant to happen. They could not have happened another way. I am curious to know whether providence also implies this idea. I know that the two ...
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Counter Proof to determinism?

I have recently been thinking a lot about determinism and pretty much decided there was no reason to refute it as there was no evidence of free will that I could find. However, a couple of days ago, ...
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Can a deterministic model of the universe account for an agent's free will? [duplicate]

If the divergence caused by an act of free will cannot be sustained temporally, then would a material-deterministic universe self-correct? Or am I just changing the frame of reference here to account ...
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Has anyone described what the universe must be like for agent-caused free will to be possible? [duplicate]

Let's define free will as the ability for a human being to make a choice that does not completely depend on the history of the universe. The universe may be assumed to be indeterministic. Any simple ...
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Am I just a force of nature? (physicalist determinism)

I was pondering for a while on determinism and had a hard time explaining how we living things are seemingly able to change our surroundings by force of will. Inanimate object can change their ...
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Is Compatibilism just a word game?

I understand compatibilism to mean that an action can be free if it is self-determined by the agent, even if it would have been impossible for the agent to choose any other action. Consider the ...
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Is a suicidal person who continues to live disproving/contradicting determinism? [closed]

Consider someone who has repeatedly considered suicide, but who does not carry it out. There are two ways you can look at this (for the sake of argument here at least): 1.The person doesn't do it ...
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Relation between Existence of Free Will and Existence of the Self

So, I am a student in mathematics and physics with no formal training in philosophy whatsoever, although I enjoy reading popular discussions of philosophical questions. However, my question is bound ...
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Can chance be both the determining factor as well as that which breaks the chain of causality? [closed]

Chance as the determining factor in the sense that it may be the prima causa of an event or set of events. For example, you were born by accident into a rich family, and this rich family enabled you ...
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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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According to determinism, what came first- the cause or the reason?

We know that every effect begins with a cause. Also, every cause produces an effect (otherwise it wouldn't be a cause because it wouldn't cause anything to happen). Likewise, we know that every ...
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What is the difference between hard determinism and compatibilism, under the assumption of physicalism?

(For the purposes of this question, I am assuming that some form of physicalism holds.) When I read about hard determinism and compatibilism, it struck me that they seem to be placing different ...
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What kind of fallacy attributes cause to chance when the cause is unknown?

What kind of fallacy is it if one attributes a cause to chance when a cause is unknown? e.g., Scientists don't know why X, therefore X must be due to chance. Take for example the masses of leptons. ...
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Is there a middle ground between determinism and libertarianism?

Is it possible that we live in a universe where some things are truly deterministic and other truly random and the difference between those two things is how their particles are arranged? For example,...
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Eternalism - Is it possible that something measured only with a circle can be a block?

A clock is round. A circle has no beginning and no end. Round is shaped like or approximately like a circle or cylinder. A cycle is a series of events that are regularly repeated in the ...
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In what type of world is free will possible, if at all?

Why is free will a widely discussed, established concept? Does this concept emerge from religious / spiritual doctrine? Why is there so much interest in this topic? If a neural-network based AI ...
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Who came up with many worlds theory based on free will

The idea is that under 'normal' conditions we do not get uncertainty principle since inanimate things do not make choices or 'observe' and work purely under deterministic principles, but the moment ...
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Recommendations for philosophical texts for a skeptic/determinist/existential nihilist?

I've always toyed with philosophy but never really got into it. I know the basic ideas of the basic schools but never got past the freshman intro course level. However, lately I've been doing some ...
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Physical laws and free will

I was just watching this video about reconciling free will and physical laws. The video begins with the following premises It is possible for a human being to create a machine that, given the intial ...
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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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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 ...
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On the Objections to Compatibilism

I was reading An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume, specifically the section titled On Liberty and Necessity (both parts). Hume reconciles liberty with metaphysical necessity by an ...
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Rudolf Carnap's opinion about free will

I know that the logical positivists thought that many old philosophical questions are meaningless, but I never found a source on the internet about their position on free will. So what was their ...
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Does Einstein's local realism in quantum mechanics imply superdeterminism?

Einstein insisted that nature is locally real, which is also know as counterfactual defeniteness and means that results of experiments are predetermined. But, if everything is predetermined in every ...
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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 ...
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Arguments for determinism

Has any well-known philosopher tried to "prove" that determinism is true? This means, has anybody given a metaphysical argument for the necessary truth of determinism? I searched for examples, but ...
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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), ...
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How did the idea of fate arise?

Once I read that Stoics thought that both humans and animals have no free will, because they are just dragged by fate against their will. How did they come to this idea without any knowledge of brain ...
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Free will in the face of determinism? [duplicate]

If an entity existed such as Laplace's demon, that could know with precision the current state of the universe and - using the laws of physics - could tell you your future with certainty, would you ...
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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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Why do modern materialists tend to favor determinism?

There seems to be no logical link between matter and determinism (or ideal and indeterminism for that matter). And libertarian free will was first articulated by a materialist, Epicurus, and is ...
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Can a materialist accept indeterminism? Can a reductionist?

The usual argument against it is that if behavior of matter is not fully determined by its state then it has to be determined by something else, ergo dualism. This begs the question however, unless we ...
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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 ...
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Impossibility of a Laplace-kind demon [closed]

Let's consider Laplace's demon again. We stipulate that the universe whose future he shall predict has fully deterministic natural laws and its state at any time t can be observed by the demon in an ...
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What are some replies to the deterministic argument against free will?

This question is about the following famous argument (*) against free will: If determinism is true, the will is not free. If indeterminism is true, our will would just be a result of chance and we ...
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Does True Randomness actually exist? [duplicate]

I tend to think of randomness as a lack of complete information when it comes to knowing something. If we look at the history of probability theory it centers on a lack of knowing the exact outcome of ...
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What is the point of creating for an omniscient being?

I read a book about determinism and free will that argued an all knowing / all powerful God and free will are incompatible, because if God knows our future then our actions are determined, hence no ...
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According to Existentialism, is the statement “I don't have a choice” a choice?

Determinism and Existentialism differ on a person's responsibility. In Determinism we don't have free will, but in Existentialism we can't avoid free will. Even when we try to avoid making a choice, ...
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Does the logical tautology “what will happen, will happen” imply the impossibility of free will?

The statement what will happen, will happen is true by definition (right?). But to me that also implies that as long as time is linear, the future is predetermined (and hence there is no free ...
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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-...
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Have David Wolpert's findings really “slammed the door” on scientific determinism?

I recently read an article describing how mathematician/physicist David Wolpert's research closed the door on scientific determinism. I have huge doubts about the implied conclusion, considering the ...
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Does determinism speak for the predetermination of every single event?

I was wondering if determinism is claiming that every single event is predetermined or not. I say every single event isn't, but maybe major events are. Major events as in events that can only take ...
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Would two identical people ever be able to communicate successfully?

Let's say you know some guy. And you told him that he was going to be copied and both him and the clone moved to an area where there are no external factors. After telling the man this, the man is ...
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References on ultimate determinism

One of the main philosophical questions is: Is everything in life predestined or not? In my view, everything up the smallest detail must be predestined. Here is the explanation for it: If one looks ...
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Do compatibilists consider robots to have freewill?

Compatibilism is the position that freewill and physical determinism are compatible. This is in opposition to the idea that since everything has a cause, any act or decision a person takes has ...