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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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1answer
53 views

Do habits lead us to believe in our 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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180 views

Self determination in non atomistic time?

I am reading the book " perspective in whiteheads metaphysics" by Stephen David Ross. On page 182 he says" whiteheads theory of events is atomistic-primarily to allow for self determination, but the ...
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3answers
564 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 ...
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2answers
155 views

Does the first law of thermodynamics guarantee us free will?

I'm considering what may already be a well-known argument. Overall I am looking for a rebuttal. I'd like to make a quick point before the argument: For this question I would like to think of free ...
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4answers
142 views

Is it possible for a human not to select the most rewarding option?

It seems that out of all the options available, humans are wired to always make the ideal (satisfying/rewarding) subjective choice, and not go with the second best option or some other. When a ...
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4answers
471 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-...
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1answer
97 views

Plantinga's Free Will Defense and his stance on God's omnipotence

I'm having trouble understanding exactly what Plantinga is saying in regard to God's omnipotence. He states quite clearly that it is not logically impossible for a world in which free creatures who ...
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2answers
27k views

What was Socrates/Plato's view on free-will?

Socrates (or, rather Plato, through the voice of Socrates) leads us to the conclusion in the dialog Protagoras (see this for example) that our actions are entirely determined by our beliefs of what is ...
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1answer
55 views

What is the difference between free will and moral agency?

I've heard a lot of people get confused about the differences between free agency, free will, and moral agency. What really is the difference?
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3answers
116 views

How does Spinoza derive his ethics while keeping with his definition of an “unfree” Will

In the Ethics, Spinoza does refute any definition of Will as being free, as Will for men is an illusion which proceeds from inadequate ideas and Will for God is that of the necessity of his Being. ...
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0answers
45 views

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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16answers
42k views

In which way does quantum mechanics disprove determinism?

I've heard this pop up in a discussion with my physicist/engineer roommates, but didn't care to ask at the time. Now I'm mighty curious about it. Wikipedia doesn't really seem to say much on this ...
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4answers
261 views

Can a mathematician create free will? [closed]

I'm of the firm opinion that free will (the idea of choice we exercise in an event) at least in the daily usage of the word is incompatible with the "laws of the universe" as we currently know them. ...
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6answers
213 views

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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4answers
140 views

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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4answers
129 views

The illogical nature of want/motivation and its effects on free will

Are all the decisions and desires of humans made in order to stimulate pleasure centers and avoid pain? If so, could someone/thing which is unable to feel pleasure and pain, and only had the power of ...
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1answer
52 views

Is illiteracy something you could claim as freedom in the Libertarian world view?

Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice. (Wiki) Is it consequent or illogical to argument that a Libertarian world view allows for illiteracy as ...
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4answers
231 views

Was Nietzsche speaking of psychologists when he commented that even those with the best intentions can do immeasurable harm?

Nietzsche said this (as found here): "It seems to me that a human being with the very best of intentions can do immeasurable harm, if he is immodest enough to wish to profit those whose spirit and ...
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0answers
41 views

What does Ted Honderich's attitudinism mean for moral responsibility?

I was doing some research into compatibalism, incompatibalism, and its implications for moral responsibility, and came across Ted Honderich and his 'attitudinism'. He looks at compatibalism and ...
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2answers
147 views

Would logic be respected if we assume that the God's omniscience includes the ability to DIRECTLY OBSERVE future events?

If we assume that God knows the future, we think that the only possible way He could do that would be if He knew all possible states of the system. He could thus "compute" that future. But this "...
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4answers
213 views

If you are predictable do you have free will?

Let there be a person that acted in some way. Also there is another person who had predicted that behaviour of first person. Does the first person has free will? Is it just possible to do something ...
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2answers
159 views

How are 'voluntary' actions possible in the scope of Sam Harris's framework of free will (its absence actually)?

Disclamer: I am striving to understand the point of view, not to examine if it is right or wrong (makes sense or not, etc.). I have listened to two audio excerpts by Sam Harris, discussing his views ...
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5answers
192 views

If each of our thoughts is entirely determined by the brain, can there be free will or a soul?

Supposing that every single thing that exists in our mind is due to the brain, and supposing that each and every decision we have is determined by our neurons, can there be free will? How? If ...
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3answers
147 views

Will to power: why doesn't it work sometimes?

I'm reading Nietzsche and he had this interesting idea that all lives tend to expand their influence on the world as much as possible. And for human beings, that means seeking to start a family, or to ...
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16answers
10k views

Does the notion of an all-powerful God conflict with the idea of free will?

In Abrahamic religions, God is often believed to be wholly omnipotent. People also seem to believe that humans have "free will", especially insofar that they feel they are in control of their own ...
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1answer
77 views

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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2answers
882 views

What does the experience of free will imply in a materialistic worldview?

In responses and comments to Do human thoughts interact with matter?, one answer begins, "Thoughts consist of nerve impulses..." Which, as I understand the materialist view, is partially correct. ...
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3answers
360 views

Assuming we don't have a free will, why would we have this illusion?

Ok, first post on this stack exchange site and I've already restated my question because of this answer on the main toppic but yet: I'm not going to enter into the debate whether or not we do have a ...
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4answers
335 views

Does free will contradict the theory of infinite universes

Let's imagine that we live in a world with infinite universes. One of these universes is the same as the one we live in, except for one change: this morning I choose to cut off my leg for some reason, ...
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0answers
55 views

When did the idea of free will begin? Same for determinism

Hey so I'm doing this free will v determinism thing for class and I've tried but I can't seem to find when the separate beliefs came about. I know Socrates and Aristotle had something to do with them ...
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2answers
92 views

Illusion of choice and free will [closed]

I'm making a presentation and I need to find philosophers who have talked about topics such as free will or the illusion of choice. If you could recommend any, it would be a great help. Thanks.
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1answer
65 views

Why is the word “however” used here? What does it mean? [closed]

I was reading a Wikipedia article on fatalism and the idle argument. It says a Stoic philosopher "attempted to refute" it and then it states the argument. The very next line it uses the word "however"....
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0answers
42 views

How this dilemma (about freedom) go? And where is it from?

I'm not sure if this is the right SE to ask, but it seemed like the best fit. I once saw this "dilemma" in the internet, but I don't remember where or exactly how it goes, I hope someone herealready ...
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4answers
809 views

How does Plantinga's defense of free will align with omniscience

I've been reading about Plantinga's defense of free will and I can see how omnipotence is aligned with the existence of evil. What evades me, is how he resolves the conflict between foreknowledge and ...
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4answers
853 views

How does Plantinga's free will defense of God's benevolence work?

The purpose of the defense is to show that omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent God is consistent with the existence of evil in creation. The most popular version of the defense is due to Alvin ...
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2answers
260 views

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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2answers
155 views

The existence of God and imperfections

Assuming these givens: (1) God is perfectly just (2) Something imperfect cannot come from something perfect (3) perfection must exist for imperfection to exist (4) Humans are imperfect (5) Humans ...
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4answers
212 views

When would someone not have free will?

I was thinking about free will, and I kind of got confused. What would it look like for someone to not have free will? For example, if someone was paralyzed, they could still control their thoughts. ...
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9answers
2k views

Is the theory of evolution a good basis for an argument against freewill?

In the theory of evolution, humans do not occupy any privileged status compared to other living beings, they are at one end of a continuous (although not necessarily monotone) spectrum of creatures. ...
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4answers
395 views

Is there freedom in determinism?

I'm contemplating the idea that regardless of whether or not there is randomness involved in physics, the universe is still pretty much deterministic in the way of our actions being defined by physics....
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5answers
428 views

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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0answers
86 views

Standard Argument against free will rebuttal

The Standard argument against free will states that an action is either predetermined or random and that these two options exhaust all the possibilities, leaving no room for true free will. To ...
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2answers
481 views

What is the difference between free will and freedom to choose?

The Wikipedia article on "secondary causation" notes the following without footnote: According to the Jewish Torah which brought down the original idea in Genesis, the phrase "free will" is a ...
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4answers
267 views

How can Determinism be true in light of the Free Will Theorem

The Free Will Theorem states: Given the axioms, if the two experimenters in question are free to make choices about what measurements to take, then the results of the measurements cannot be ...
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2answers
861 views

What is the connection between conscious mind and Gödel's incompleteness in a mathematical universe?

Assume that our universe is a mathematical one, similar to the one that Tegmark proposed (see here). In contrast to what I read there, let's assume that the axioms upon we build the universe are such ...
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6answers
2k 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 ...
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5answers
555 views

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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1answer
102 views

Free will and the principle of sufficient reason

According to Hume, "All distinct ideas are separable from each other, and as the ideas of cause and effect are evidently distinct, it will be easy for us to conceive any object to be non-existent this ...
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0answers
157 views

How do compatibilists understand “responsible”?

In Scott Christensen's book "What about free will?" on page 119 is "Pharaoh is held responsible for his actions". The reason given for God attributing culpability is "You are exalting yourself...". ...
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5answers
952 views

How can a stream of thoughts and perceptions have freewill?

William James believed that there was no central entity or ego that embodied the "I" in "I feel" or "I think". That the continuous stream of thoughts and sensations generated the illusion of their ...