Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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Does the existence of total warfare (i.e. win or die) prove that free-will is limited?

When you look at history there seems to be two types of wars: 1) the "unilateral" or asymmetric wars (like recently the Iraq war where one group of people overwhelmingly keep the conflict under their ...
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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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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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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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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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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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“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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Are methodological individualism and materialism compatible?

One of the fundamental principles of the Austrian school of economics, particularly the kind promoted by Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, is methodological individualism, according to which the ...
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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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What are the implications of accepting that we don't have free will?

While reading this question about the existence of free will, I thought that the implications of stating nonexistence of free will can be at least as important (and interesting) as the main question ...
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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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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 ...
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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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What are some counterarguments to Schopenhauer's refutation of free will?

The following slogan often attributed to Schopenhauer "A man can do as he will, but not will as he will" [so there is no free will] — quoted by Albert Einstein in "Mein Weltbild" (1931) has ...
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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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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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Can someone be an atheist and subscribe to substance dualism at the same time?

I consider myself to be firmly in the atheist camp. None of the arguments for the existence of a higher being or prime mover convince me, let alone attempts at proving the existence of the old God of ...
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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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Can we characterize libertarianism without assuming moral realism?

In the discussion about free will, moral realism and libertarianism go hand in hand. It seems that libertarian free will is assumed to be what we need to “attach” moral responsibility to certain ...
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What are the necessary conditions for an action to be regarded as a free choice?

A common philosophical question revolves around the existence of free will, but what I've found is that these debates seem to gloss over the concept of "free will" itself, either taking it as a given ...
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What would falsify compatibilism?

I'm trying to figure out whether compatibilism (SEP, Wikipedia) is falsifiable, a metaphysic, or something else. One way to get at this is to take a Popperian approach, and ask whether any ...
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How can free will in compatibilism be proven?

Having very recently started getting interested in philosophy, I'm still halfway through my first book (Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, by Simon Blackburn, as recommended in this ...
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How do we account under natural law for humans' ability to produce arbitrarily-improbable results?

I'm testing the assertion that human beings (leaving out other life forms for simplicity) can and do cause effects, that is, changes in the physical world, which a) have arbitrarily-low probability ...
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Can I predict my future by observing all humans/events

There is NO RANDOM in the Universe (Atleat in our universe) Humans have NO FREE WILL (Determinism vs Free Will: Crash Course Philosophy #24) I believe everything happened/happening in the universe is ...
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Is free will reconcilable with a purely physical world?

Many are of the opinion that there is no metaphysical world beyond the material that we can sense, and that everything is therefore governed by physical cause and effect (some believe that we cannot ...
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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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Is it possible to program free will?

In any computational environment(digital,neural,analog or quantum mechanical) is it possible to write or construct a program which can be construed as free will?
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What philosophers, other than Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, examine “will” first, before “free will”?

It seems to me that talk about free will is premature, until 'will' itself has been examined. As Hume noted, we don't have any direct experience of "causality"... two events follow each other and we ...
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Aren't Determinism and Free Will indiscernible from the mortal perspective?

The title sort of says it all. Aren't Determinism and Free Will indiscernible from the mortal perspective? Under Determinism if I don't know what the plan is then whatever I do is was and always ...
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Are our desires driven by destiny?

Could there be a possibility that everyone has a destiny pre-written and their desires are just driven by that destiny? And the concept of free will is just a blindfold with limited options. No ...
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Does Dennett's definition of Free Will imply that game-playing programs have free will?

In The Self as a Responding—and Responsible Artifact. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1001: 39-50. doi: 10.1196/annals.1279.003 Dennett writes as follows. Non-human animals can engage in voluntary actions of ...
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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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How could human choices be actually rational?

Theoretically, human could be rational. But how is it possible that human are not influenced by their senses and only proceed with pure reason? Like practically?
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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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“If chance may have me king, why chance may crown me without my stir” - was Macbeth irrational to ignore his own advice? [closed]

I remember as a teen studying Macbeth thinking that the quoted text was the most rational thing Macbeth says in the whole play. Why doesn't he take his own advice? (There wouldn't have been much drama ...
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What is the difference between intension and intention?

What is the difference between intention and intension? If one intends to do something is this intent part of the concept of intension?
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Is Kant's “noumenal self” argument on freedom flawed?

This is what is supposedly his claim: My noumenal self is an uncaused cause outside of time, which therefore is not subject to the deterministic laws of nature in accordance with which our ...
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Is free will fundamental property of everything? [closed]

Photon has a probability distribution of where it may appear if measured. Seems like photon itself chooses where to appear.
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Do we really have a free will?

If I have a free will, but I don't get to choose to not have a free will, I just have to accept what is forced on me, doesn't that imply that I don't have a free will?
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Is belief an intentional act?

In what respect are we to understand the proposition, "I choose to believe x", and is there a significant difference between the proposition, "I choose to believe x" and "I choose to drive to San ...
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The Nature of Consciousness

I've been wondering recently about the nature of consciousness. It seems that, from what we know, consciouss thought is a result of neurons firing in the brain in a certain pattern. This would mean ...
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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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What does Sartre mean when he says people are “condemned to be free”?

What did Jean-Paul Sartre mean when he said that because there is no creator, humans are "Condemned to be Free"?
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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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How am I supposed to make my own decisions if I am just part of a design? [duplicate]

I was created by god and I am going to be judged by god. It does not make any sense for me. You create one thing and say if you follow my orders you will go to heaven, otherwise you will go to hell. ...
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Does the free will interpretation of evil contradict God's omnipotence? [duplicate]

Evil is often explained as a result (a byproduct, in a sense) of the free will God has given to us. Doesn't this notion contradict the idea of the omnipotent God (especially the God above laws of ...
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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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How can I reconcile my philosophy with my faith? [closed]

My philosophy holds the belief that freedom is one of the most important traits, and that when given the choice, without manipulation, a person will choose to do the right thing. Furthermore, that the ...
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Is it meaningful to describe your will as shaped by your peers

I am writing a speech which I will deliver to my fellow classmates. I wrote a paragraph which is as follows : Your will is not free. Your will is determined by me, by society and by countrymen. ...
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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 ...