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Questions tagged [free-will]

for questions concerning the freedom of choice of rational agents (often as opposed to determinism)

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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'....
Futilitarian's user avatar
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3 answers
408 views

Darwinian Free Will

Free will gives a creature the ability to make rational choices. [Premise] A creature that has the ability to make rational choices can better access & utilize biotic (food, mates, friends, ...
Hudjefa's user avatar
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6 answers
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How can God gives us free will and yet be the creator and originator of everything at the same time? [closed]

Religious people say we have free will in that god has the knowledge of whatever will happen but he doesn't cause our actions, we have a choice. I did an act of sin out of my own choice; god was only ...
Saqlain Syed's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
38 views

How can religious conception of choice be consistent with the notion of omnipotent, all powerful God? [duplicate]

Religious people say we have free will in that god has knowledge of whatever will happen but he doesn't make us do sin. I did an act of sin out of my own choice; god was just already aware of the ...
Saqlain Syed's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
40 views

Truly selfless acts

Is there an example for a truly selfless (/random) act, with no benefit to the actor? consider that benefit for the actor could also be in the form of good conscience admiration / prominence (can ...
LukasKroess's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
130 views

What kind of free will does Harry Potter have while travelling in time?

In the movie A prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter is saved by a mysterious figure that looks like his father shortly before passing out. After that, he learns that time travel is real. He travels to ...
Probably's user avatar
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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 ...
Yann Marchal's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
62 views

Did Ayn Rand have an argument for free will?

Ayn Rand, of course, believed humans have free will. She asserted this idea many, many times. But, try as I might, I have not been able to find an argument for it from her. It's hard for me to ...
bob.sacamento's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

'I can consent to be coerced at a later time' Is this a logical paradox?

The sentence seems to be a paradox. Defining coerce as persuading an unwilling person, while also having agreed to be persuaded would indicate you are not unwilling. Does this line of reasoning make ...
Hooman's user avatar
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3 votes
5 answers
73 views

What more, if anything, does a free agent need in order to possess a free will?

A lot of arguments on free will seem to try to prove its existence in humans? However, what characteristic(s) makes human beings (arguably) free agents and could this be possessed by another thing?
Hooman's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
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If one has free will, does this imply his actions are random?

I’m having trouble with the idea of free will and agent causation. If I have free will (in a true libertarian sense), does this mean that my actions are effectively random? If they are, does this ...
Baby_philosopher's user avatar
46 votes
12 answers
5k views

Why is the question "Is there free will?", and not, “What is free will?"

I'm a layperson interested in the problem of free will. I recently started reading one of the popular introductory textbooks to the subject. I'm halfway through, and while the book did describe a few ...
Ram Rachum's user avatar
5 votes
9 answers
2k views

Does quantum superposition enable the possibility of free will?

I've been thinking about the problem of free will. In a deterministic universe, it seems like everything is just dominoes falling, one after the other. No room for choice. But what about quantum ...
Gush's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
429 views

Can the goals of an organism be imputed from observation?

For example: we observe an ant carrying food back to its nest. We may speak like the ant has a goal of increasing the amount of food in the nest. We observe a student proofreading an essay. We may ...
causative's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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What passage in Aquinas's Summa does this refer to?

From Chapter 18 of R. A. Lafferty's historical novel Okla Hannali: There is an interesting question in the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas and also in an old science fiction story, the name of which I ...
user14111's user avatar
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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 ...
user107952's user avatar
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2 votes
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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....
user52932's user avatar
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2 answers
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What is free will skeptic stance on will and morality? [closed]

Before I try to give a definition of will, I will first present some statements and an argument for them. Will is not free. Will is separate from external forces. Will is separate from transient ...
rus9384's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
85 views

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 ...
Turion's user avatar
  • 131
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&...
AromaticInternal624's user avatar
19 votes
17 answers
4k views

Is the existence of free will even important?

I don't see the existence/non-existence of free will as meaningful, ethically speaking. I'll explain what I mean. Let's say we have some agent, and the agent takes an action we think is bad. In a ...
philosodad's user avatar
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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 ...
8Mad0Manc8's user avatar
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 ...
Futilitarian's user avatar
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4 votes
8 answers
2k views

'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' ...
Futilitarian's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Libertarian free will and major decisions

I seem to remember some philosophers who believe in LFW posit that it only comes into play with major life decisions; you may not consciously decide to raise a forkful to your mouth, but you might ...
Sayetsu's user avatar
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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 ...
user65054's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
36 views

Does the encoding/exemplifying distinction affect the question of willing evil-for-the-sake-of-evil-in-general?

I tend to gravitate towards thinking that willing evil for its own sake "as such," is impossible for reasons of the nature of practical reasoning/intellection. I can accept that there is ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
170 views

Queries and Thoughts on The Evolution of Free Will

I have been thinking on the differentiations between animal and man and it has yielded all but one viable point of divergence. That point is free will. Not free will in it's typical chemically and ...
Jasper Gould's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
256 views

Do we make informed choices or random choices?

In everyday life we have to make choices are we making informed choices or random ones. I propose that in most circumstances in order to make a choice we have to way up our options then we make a ...
8Mad0Manc8's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
119 views

Can Free Will be Explained?

Explanations are causal, at least to the extent that I'm aware. If I explain X then I basically identify and expand on the cause of X (if X involves an ontological claim the explanans is all about ...
Hudjefa's user avatar
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0 votes
4 answers
143 views

Is there a difference between will and free will?

In Leviathan, Hobbes argues that it is not the will that is free but that which exercises the will. So is there only will, exercised by beings who may or may not be free?
Meanach's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can anyone suggest a reading list for perspectives on aesthetics, specifically two dimensional visual art?

Can anyone suggest a reading list for perspectives on aesthetics, particularly visual art? I am interested in the critical interpretation of specifically two dimensional drawing and painting through ...
Blinks Palermo's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
144 views

Is the argument from freewill further supported by causal arguments

The argument from freewill is a paradox that can be loosely described as, if God is omniscient or all knowing then God subject's, man , cannot have freewill as the 'fate' or actions of man have been ...
8Mad0Manc8's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
130 views

On the linguistics of math affected by freewill?

After thinking more about: Daniel Dennett's concept of free will as an equation of state? I am super confused about the linguistics concerning mathematics. For example, "take the limit of x ...
More Anonymous's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
134 views

Daniel Dennett's concept of free will as an equation of state?

I was thinking of Daniel Dennett's concept of free will, in which he argues that our choices are the result of complex computations that take into account our desires, beliefs, and goals, as well as ...
More Anonymous's user avatar
3 votes
6 answers
360 views

Freewill independent of determinism? [duplicate]

So I'm confused on how this is possible. If determinism is true freewill does not exist: If determinism is true, then every event has a cause, and every cause has a unique effect. If every event has ...
More Anonymous's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
183 views

Is belief a choice or a state of being convinced with regard to a particular statement?

When presented a statement or argument x, and relevant background information B(x), what determines whether the listener's assent to the truth of x can be interpreted as a choice vs an induced state ...
Annika's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
93 views

Would the kind of probability involved in strong/hard free will be non-unitary?

By "unitarity" I mean that the sums of the probabilities in the given cases would be 1. Non-unitarity would, I assume (for now!), allow for final negative probabilities as well as imaginary-/...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
356 views

Does compatibilism redefine free will?

In an essay titled "How to Think about the Problem of Free Will", Peter van Inwagen writes: ‘free will’, ‘incompatibilist free will’, ‘compatibilist free will’, and ‘libertarian free will’ ...
John Smith's user avatar
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 ...
John Smith's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
198 views

Is everyone's sense of power always predicated on diminishing that of someone else's? [closed]

Why think that everyone's sense of power always predicated on diminishing that of someone else's, and is it the case? I think the question isn't a trivial "no reason to think it". power ...
user avatar
8 votes
8 answers
1k views

Is free will even experienced? If not, can this be evidence for epiphenomenalism?

Epiphenomenalism is the view that mental events are caused by physical events in the brain, but have no effects upon any physical events. Many of the challenges to this view revolve around how it ...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
191 views

Is the existence of free will falsifiable?

Is the existence of free will falsifiable? A lot of people debate about free will, but it seems to me they do this by pure argument, not by scientific experimentation. Can some scientific experiment ...
user107952's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
295 views

Does choice exist?

I've been thinking about a few legal quotes that have initiated my investigation into whether or not choice actually exists: A "universal and persistent" foundation stone in our system of ...
Dennis Francis Blewett's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
128 views

On the framing of causality?

So I shall restrict Nagarjuna's dependent arising of phenomena to the physical realm*. The source of my understanding is "Part Two, Chapter one - Examination of Conditions" of the book the ...
More Anonymous's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
79 views

Does philosophy, based on Archimedean solids, permit an infinite-face prism projecting a fifth dimension of infinite realities from a third dimension?

To quote the MIT work on the Hypershere: 'Considering that the largest Archimedean solid, the hyper truncated icosahedron, has over 14,000 faces, this object alone could contain within it an entire ...
Anthony Smith's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
533 views

Schopenhauer and the 'ability to make decisions' as a metric for free will

I've been having a less than productive discussion with someone about perspectives on free will. I feel confident in my position, but experience has taught me that my confidence is often in direct ...
Futilitarian's user avatar
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0 votes
4 answers
130 views

What's the meaning and roots of the notion of "fault"?

This may sound naive and I'm not a native english speaker, but recently I've started wondering what people really mean by the notion of "fault", for example in the context of saying "it'...
Denis's user avatar
  • 206
5 votes
7 answers
1k views

Why use a concept of free will in reasoning if it's unproven?

The concept of free will is indeed to much religious reasoning, yet its existence is still unproven. Using an unsubstantiated assumption to prove other conclusions is problematic from a logic ...
user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
703 views

What is the rigorous definition of free will?

What is the rigorous definition of free will? There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of debate around free will. These debates seem to go nowhere, and that is because (so I think, anyway) ...
user107952's user avatar
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