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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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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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What is “limited free will”? [closed]

I have heard that humans have a limited or constrained free will, especially when biological limitations are brought up. However, Merriam-Webster dictionary says: Limited 1a: confined within ...
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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 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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What is the relationship between memory and free will?

Suppose I want to go to a store and buy a few items- coffee, cereal, tape, and gum. However, I’m at work so I have to wait a few hours before I can go to the store. When I finally make it to the ...
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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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What role does “DESIRE” play in materialistic determinism?

Let us assume the worldview of extreme materialistic determinism. This is the belief that everything is the result of its material make up. This view goes so far as to eliminate free will. Our ...
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Conceptions of Free Will

Three questions here. Does anyone know of thought experiments in the philosophical literature that illustrate essential features of free will? Does anyone know of a philosophical work which offers an ...
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Are there philosophers who have considered free will for agents who are not considered rational?

The tag for "free-will" currently has the following with my emphasis in bold: for questions concerning the freedom of choice of rational agents Are there philosophers who have considered freedom ...
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Is freedom a paradox?

The notion of freedom is clearly paradoxical. If everyone is free to do whatever they want, they are free to restrict other people's freedom, and hence those people are not free. If this is not ...
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Does functionalism of the mind allow for free will?

Functionalism views the mental processes in terms of causes and effects (ex. inputs such as sensory stimuli and output such as moving an extremity). But how would free will fit into this theory if at ...
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The infinite regress in Galen Strawson's Basic Argument for determinism

In the Basic Argument that attempts to prove that one cannot be held truly and ultimately responsible for the actions they may make, an infinite regress at the end of the argument is employed. I have ...
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Free will: is reality a record, a game or unpredictable?

If a world is a record (a film), then this scenario does not have conditional rules, i.e., if it can be implemented as a computer program, it will not have "if ... then ..." commands. If a world is a ...
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How bounded are we by biology and emotional bias? [closed]

Look around you, people behave in very predictable ways, and our social systems are designed to show what is predictable and what is not. So nuanced is this process, a small divergence from cultural ...
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Does free will require mental causation?

What I am asking is this: does the notion of free will require A weak form of dualism Top-down causality as necessary conditions? Does this entail that not everything which is a physical effect have ...
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I can't see how free will exists in a universe that's only causal or random, can I be convinced otherwise?

From what I've looked into on the topic of free will, I've found it difficult to see how it could exist in a universe of pure causality or randomness. However, I haven't fully abandoned the idea of ...
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If we don't have free will, why was the quality of being conscious selected for?

I think scientists agree that we're conscious and aware that we have consciousness and awareness. But they don't agree on whether we have free will. I think they don't even have a universal definition ...
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Is Spinoza really a determinist?

According to Spinoza humans do not have free will. It is merely an illusion. But in his political tractatus he also wrote that men should have the freedom to choose a religion. But if one has the ...
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Can you objectively determine if a given system has free will (according to compatibilism)?

Given some system, can you objectively determine if it has free will? In particular, you can examine the system to any extent that you want, but you are told nothing about its purpose. If so, what is ...
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The Hard Problem of Consciousness and Wave Function Collapse [closed]

Philosophers and physicists have been throwing around the idea that "consciousness causes collapse" since the early days of QM. Today most physicists reject this idea, but it seems to me this is ...
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How does Kant actually resolve the free will / empirical causality contradiction? [duplicate]

I'm reading through the Critique of Pure Reason and I'm stuck on the section Resolution of the cosmological idea of the totality of the derivation of occurrences in the world from their causes and ...
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Is there a way to prove the existence of choice and free will

It is practically impossible to "make" more than one decision at a point in time. Even if you "change" your mind later, it is at a later point. How do we know that those are decisions that sentient ...
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How is free-will formally defined as distinct from determinism, randomness and determinism-randomness hybrid to support moral responsibility?

Usually free-will is assumed by most faith traditions as a prerequisite for moral responsiblity in order to justify eternal punishment. The argument goes as "you are truly responsible for your immoral ...
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Free will, what do philosophers think this is? [closed]

My personal definition of free will is my ability to be the prime mover of all my practical actions. I am a physical being bounded by my physical and psychological needs, but I can choose and apply ...
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Is this really an omniscience vs free-will paradox?

Thought experiment: let there be an omniscient being who knows the future and an agent with free will. They are playing a simple game: there is a table with 2 cards and the free agent asks the ...
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Is it unfair to eternally punish people in hell if determinism is true?

If determinism happens to be true, then people just do what the laws of Physics governing the chemical interactions of neurons in their brains make them do. In such a scenario, wouldn't it be unfair ...
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Sketch of a proof for real free will?

I have read many contemporary philosophers and the mainstream view seems to be that real free will is an illusion in the sense that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon which is only set on top of ...
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Why does Newcomb's paradox seem to have different solutions depending on when the choice is made despite determinism?

I believe the Newcomb's paradox is a significant problem in philosophy, since I regard it as a well formulated version of the lazy argument (under certain conditions) with real life implications. ...
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Can someone explain Compatibilism to me?

Here is the definition of Free will: Free Will: Ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. and that of Determinism: Determinism: All events are completely ...
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Does Quantum Mechanics imply free will? [duplicate]

I think that QM does not favor free will, any more than Classical Mechanics does, and here is my reasoning: QM predicts odds, but that doesn't mean we are free, right? To be free, we will have to ...
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How can our actions be regarded as free if they are causally determined?

After all, soft determinists are determinists, so they believe that our actions are causally determined. How can our actions be regarded as free if they are causally determined?
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School/branch of philosophy based on freedom

New to the exchange, please be gentle. Are there any branches of philosophy that hold freedom as something that is intrinsically good? I think that libertarianism and various versions comprise one ...
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Does Frankfurt dissociate free will and moral responsibility?

To the extent that I understand him, Frankfurt says that we choose "out of our free will" when that first-order desire becomes effective which corresponds to the second-order volition (when I wish X ...
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“Fatalism and Professor Taylor” by Bruce Aune

In this paper Bruce Aune states the following Taylor would probably want to maintain that (p ≺ q) ⊃ — (p → q), where "→" represents physical, or natural, implication So I'm not clear what "...
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Why not obvious is how accepting determinism as true can or should affect our everyday conception of free will?

Source: What's It All About?. (2007 1 ed.) p. 119 Bottom - 120 Middle.   The debate over whether we have free will or not is one of the longest and most intractable in philosophical history. ...
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Would there be free will if we assume a stochastic component in the decision making?

I was reading this answer regarding materialism and free will. It says that, under the assumption that there isn't a random process underlying decision making, there is no free will. And isn't that a ...
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Which known philosophers are firm determinists?

I'm aware of the compatibilist attitude by some philosophers, such as Hegel and Daniel Dennet. I am interested in some philosophers who are firm determinists (deny free will).
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Understanding Hegel on Free Will (or absence thereof)

I get a second hand understanding that Hegel wasn't too keen on the idea of free will. I have not read Hegel, according to the reputation of his writings, I am unlikely to try to read him directly. ...
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Domain of free will in OUR physical system

When we speak of "free will" we often imply it to be "a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives". This capacity is contained by our ...
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Can free-will be defined in terms of what it should give someone that they don't already have?

Some people, such as Harris, state quite confidently that free-will doesn't exist. So, if it did exist then what would it give you that you don't have now? I've never found anyone who could answer ...
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Questions about personal identity and materialism with QM and spacetime

Let's assume for a moment that the materialistic view of the universe is correct. There exists a universe that contains energy in various states spread out in the dimensions of space and time that is ...
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Why would a person want to die?

I've got a friend. He's well-placed in life: not poor, not ill, has family, certainly not an idiot, but quite clever. He's probably lonely, since I am the only close friend. So no relationships, just ...
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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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Many-worlds defeats Doomsday argument (improved version)?

This is a more carefully argued version of my previous post Many-worlds Interpretation defeats the Doomsday argument? Standard Doomsday Argument Let N be the total number of humans who will ever ...
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Is there a term for the position “no determinism but no free will”?

Often when free will is discussed, there are three main positions espoused: Libertarian: The universe is not deterministic and there is free will Hard-determinism: The universe is deterministic and ...
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Many-worlds Interpretation defeats the Doomsday argument?

By making the a priori assumption that we are equally likely to be anywhere along the chronological list of humans, the Doomsday argument implies that our position n is correlated with the future ...
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What are the arguments in favour of hard incompatibalism leading to better social outcomes?

If free will is not compatible with determinism or a non-deterministic universe, so is moral responsibility; that is, if hard incompatibilism is true. If we punish those who commit crimes with less ...
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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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Why would a God create animals that manifest homosexual behavior if he thought that homosexuality is a sin?

There are some people who think that homosexuality is a choice. They would argue that we can make this choice because we have free will. I will focus on those who think this way because of religious ...