Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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Trouble understanding Chomsky's answers on the free will question

Now, I don't think there's any scientific grasp, any hint of an idea, as to how to explain free will. Suppose somebody argues that free will is an illusion. Okay. This could be the case, but I don't ...
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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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In which writings does Charles Sanders Peirce generalize the idea of freedom so that it applies to all creatures?

Charles Hartshorne claimed that Peirce was pretty close to the first philosopher in the world who generalized the idea of freedom so that it applied to all the creatures.... In which writings ...
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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 epiphenomenalism compatible with free will?

I sometimes see claims on the internet that according to epiphenominalism there is no free will. But what is the basis to this claim?
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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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The Emperor's New Mind and Free Will

A good few years ago I read The Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose. Having recently read some philosopy primers I was wondering about the links between this book and the question of free will. From ...
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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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What is a simplistic definition of Boethius' Consolation with Philosophy?

The specific extract is where he asks Lady Philosophy about the correlation of omniscience and free will having a coherent existence together. I know the extract well, but I struggle to define it ...
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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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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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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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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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Did Thomas Aquinas state randomness as a prerequisite of free will?

I was told the other day that in one work on free will, Thomas Aquinas suggested that some randomness / non-determinism was a prerequisite for its existence. Does any one know where he expressed this ...
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How far can compatibilism go: God as active creator with perfect foreknowledge and free will

One of the main arguments of compatibilists trying to save free will from God's foreknowledge seems to be that free will is still possible in the face of perfect foreknowledge as long as God only ...
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Have there been any proposed empirical tests for free will?

Have any observational, i.e., empirical, tests been proposed for determining whether an entity has free will? That is, given an arbitrary entity, how would one test whether it has free will. Asking ...
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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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Is the B-theory of time compatible with libertarian free will?

As I understand the B-theory of time it says that we can talk about things happening in time just by using tenseless sentences — which for me implies that the past, present and future are equally real....
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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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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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Problem with propositions about future

I have some questions about propositions of future like “tomorrow, there will be rain” or “you won’t go to school tomorrow” 1) Are there certain truth values of future propositions? For example, ...
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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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Is World Deterministic?

I think that all the events of the world are just the results of the application of the rules of nature on the previous situation of the world. Our thoughts or efforts are also completely ...
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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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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 non linear perception of time be the answer to the apparent contradiction between God's Decree and human free will?

In Islamic teachings which I was brought up in, we are made to believe that everything that happens is in the Decree of God (Allah). There is a hadith (sacred text from the Prophet) which says that ...
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How far does Nietzsche's skepticism of causality go?

On page 21 of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, I found the following quote: Suppose someone sees through the boorish naivete of this famous concept of "free will" and manages to get it out of his ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Does omniscience negate free will?

If a tri-omni being knows what you're exactly going to do, then you can't do anything other than what he already knows you'll do. Further, if a tri-omni being created this reality in which things ...
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Free Will and Intelligence

What is the relation between free will and intelligence. I'll identify free will with conscious mind and wonder what their relation is. Obviously there is free will without intelligence. Just have a ...
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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 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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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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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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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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Kant and free will

Could someone explain Kant's view on free will to me? As I understand it, Kant says that it is necessary that we have free will, because otherwise it would be unreasonable to hold people responsible. ...