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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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Can being lame and repose in a chair not imply Compatibilism?

Source: p 83, Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (2012) by Prof Sharon Kaye (MA PhD in Philosophy, U. Toronto) Likewise, if I tie you to a chair, we say that you are unfree because there is an ...
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What counters are there to Spinoza's argument that acts of free will create infinite regress?

My 16-to-21-year-old self was very preoccupied with free will. When I was 21 years old I rejected the notion as ill-defined as both my reason and my inner experience told me that my will was caused ...
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What is a mathematical description of free will?

This is following in the line of this question asking what the difference between free-will and randomness/indeterminism is: What is the difference between free-will and randomness and or non-...
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Can chance be both the determining factor as well as that which breaks the chain of causality? [closed]

Chance as the determining factor in the sense that it may be the prima causa of an event or set of events. For example, you were born by accident into a rich family, and this rich family enabled you ...
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Logical analysis of “Free will and god(s)” argument

Please evaluate the following argument strictly for formal logical validity. I am NOT interested in debating the content or in philosophical perspectives on the content. However, I AM interested in ...
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Would time traveling to a past event disprove free-will? [closed]

If I was to travel back in time, perhaps to a few seconds ago, and watch myself type this message, I expect to see myself typing this very message with every hesitation, backspace, and edit. Even if ...
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What is the difference between hard determinism and compatibilism, under the assumption of physicalism?

(For the purposes of this question, I am assuming that some form of physicalism holds.) When I read about hard determinism and compatibilism, it struck me that they seem to be placing different ...
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Are actually random events causeless?

Radium atoms decay by emitting alpha particles at random. Are these events without cause? Of course one may take a closer look at radium nuclei to determine a possible reason why they decay; for ...
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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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Can strong omnipotence be decomposed into logically possible and logically impossible aspects?

A lot of debate in the "omnipotent being" or "omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, etc." being debate revolves around the definition of the terms. I consider the "strong form" of ...
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Are “robot rebellions” even possible?

A common science-fiction trope is the "robot rebellion"...but I have a hard time comphrending how one could actually occur. Computers follow pre-designed instructions. Without these instructions, ...
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How can there be autonomy in Immanuel Kant's ethics?

Immanuel Kant defines autonomy and general freedom as when a human makes a decision that is not to satisfy a dispositional end (when a decision is made to such an end, he defines it as heteronomy). ...
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Can a materialist accept indeterminism? Can a reductionist?

The usual argument against it is that if behavior of matter is not fully determined by its state then it has to be determined by something else, ergo dualism. This begs the question however, unless we ...
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Metaphysically, what does it mean to “make a decision”?

In the freewill debate, a difference is made between metaphysical/libertarian free will, i.e. where an agent is free to choose among many possible outcomes, and the eventual outcome is caused by the ...
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Who came up with many worlds theory based on free will

The idea is that under 'normal' conditions we do not get uncertainty principle since inanimate things do not make choices or 'observe' and work purely under deterministic principles, but the moment ...
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Why are these IFs 'not the same as saying you could have chosen a peach'?

Source: p 50, What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987) by Prof. Thomas Nagel   When you say you could have had a peach instead of chocolate cake, part of what you ...
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Does anti-discrimination contradict free will?

Does anti-discrimination imposed by laws, or as a universally held position and imposed by society, contradict the idea of free will? Take for example: In a business context, choosing to not ...
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Is Conway-Kochen's “free will” theorem about quantum measurements an argument for panpsychism?

Conway and Kochen have proved a theorem about free will (no to be confused with the related Kochen–Specker theorem, which rules out hidden variables), which states that if we have a type of ...
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Is debate about free will futile?

I don't know very much about the positions on free will that important philosophers have expressed, so here's my question: One could argue if we discuss the topic "Do we have free will", the "hidden" ...
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Does the logical tautology “what will happen, will happen” imply the impossibility of free will?

The statement what will happen, will happen is true by definition (right?). But to me that also implies that as long as time is linear, the future is predetermined (and hence there is no free ...
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How do freewill compatibilists define insanity?

Compatabilism is one approach to the problem of freewill in a casually closed world: How to reconcile freewill with a casually determined world (in particular one that follows the laws of physics)? ...
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On the Objections to Compatibilism

I was reading An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume, specifically the section titled On Liberty and Necessity (both parts). Hume reconciles liberty with metaphysical necessity by an ...
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Does punishment from god contradict the idea of free will?

In various religions it is often preached that god has given humans free will. But at the same time those religions preach that there is punishment for sinning. Assuming a god does exist, and god ...
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Does Epictetus State “Only One Cause Motivates Us”, Or “One Cause More than Others”?

1. Question: From Epictetus, Discourses, 1.11, (Perseus English Link): Is Epictetus implying there is only ever just one cause for our actions? Or, is Epictetus arguing there is one cause which ...
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J. J. Thomson: A Defense of Abortion - When is it permissible to kill?

WORK SOURCE: http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm (This is a homework assignment) According to Thomson, if another person is about to cause your death, then: A. It ...
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In which sense Wittgenstein criticizes Schopenhauer's WILL?

In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, the section 6.53 may be treated as "a criticism of Schopenhauer's Will". As far as I understood there is also another concept involved: the russellian idea that ...
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How does free will relate to external determination? [closed]

Many believe free will is having the ability to make your own choices without outside influence. But everything you see, hear and smell is an outside influence. Every lesson learnt through past ...
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Free will in the face of determinism? [duplicate]

If an entity existed such as Laplace's demon, that could know with precision the current state of the universe and - using the laws of physics - could tell you your future with certainty, would you ...
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Are your actions for every type of determinism determined before your birth?

We had this little discussion in class. Are your actions for every type of determinism determined before your birth? We're discussing traditional theories, so Quantum Mechanics aren't relevant (yet). ...
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'metaphysical asymmetry between past and future' : Meaning?

Source: pp 114-115, Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (1 ed, 1999) by Simon Blackburn. See page 15 of 18. Please advise if I should reproduce two pictures omitted below (which I omitted ...
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How does eating precede cooking? If influencing the past is useless, then what is the problem?

Source: pp 116-117 , Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (1 ed, 1999) by Simon Blackburn   What about the asymmetry between past and future? If they are symmetrical in God's eyes, why ...
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Does free will require an event to occur without a predecessor (thereby violating causality)?

From my understanding, a Mixed Quantum State defines the set of all probable outcomes for a system, but isn't there still only one outcome determined through the succession of factors leading up to it ...
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Was Augustine intentionally ambiguous regarding free will?

So many scholars have written about St. Augustine and his views on free will, but there is little consensus to be formed from their literature. According to John Rist: There is still no consensus ...
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Is compatibilism still considered a valid approach to free will?

Has the Free Will Theorem of Conway and Kochen been taken seriously by the philosophical community? Is compatibilism still considered a valid approach to free will?
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How can we let go of one (the Self) and not the other (Free Will)? [duplicate]

I am under the impression that in western culture, it is quite common to conceive the Self as an illusion — probably as an import from eastern religions, and in particular from Buddhism, and in ...
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Does free will require randomness?

Let us assume that randomness does not exist. For example, even the flip of a coin is not considered random. The coin's flip can be calculated if certain variables are given (the force used for the ...
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Does the presence of free-will allow for the possibility of evil in a world with a benevolent God?

The Problem of Evil is to understand how God can allow evil in the world if He is omni-benevolent (all-good), as someone who is all-good would not knowingly allow evil to occur where they could ...
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Regarding free choice in a deterministic universe

Why can't free will or free choice exist in a 'totally' deterministic universe? What I mean by a 'deterministic universe' at least 'locally' is one where if you had 'enough' information regarding some ...
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What is morally wrong about altering someone's behavior using psychological conditioning techniques?

I am reading the novel A Clockwork Orange. The priest is very angry at the behavior-altering technique being used on criminals to make them "good" and feels as though it is not right to take away free ...
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How can we have responsibility in the Stoic's deterministic universe?

I read the following in Anthony Kenny's 'A New History of Philosophy' book. It is a paraphrase from Chrysippus the Stoic philosopher Nothing can escape Nature's laws, but despite the determinism of ...
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Why Does Camus Maintain That Men Can't Have Freedom Under An All-Powerful God?

I am quoting here something from The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus: The problem of 'freedom as such' has no meaning. For it is linked in quite a different way with the problem of God. The ...
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Existentialism and the absensce of free will

One of the most famous doctrines of existentialism formulated by Jean Paul Sartre is that we are absolutely free. Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible ...
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Kant's distinction of freedom as transcendental idea and as practical concept: What is the benefit?

Prompted by the current discussion about Kant’s concept of causality of freedom Can Free Will Exist In A Causal Material World? I would like to understand the scope and the difference of the two ...
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Can Free Will Exist In A Causal Material World?

India's leading daily, The Times of India can easily put other contenders of the same bracket (like the widely-praised The Sun) to shame. Today, scanning the lifestyle section, I came across the ...
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Does Newcombs problem show free will is paradoxical? [closed]

Does Newcombs problem show free will is paradoxical by creating a thought experiment that uses free will and while using this, one's free choice one find's oneself in an impossible situation ? If so ...
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Introduction Modal Logic with emphasis on metaphysics - free will particularly - and also mathematical logic

I'm reading Timothy O'Connor's 'Persons & Causes The metaphysics of free will' and the first chapter briefly goes into (though without introduction) the application of modal logic and ...
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Free Will in Psychiatry

I have a conundrum: If a psychiatric patient who cannot distinguish between dream and reality believes that each night a stranger comes and cuts their arm off, and subsequently asks for their real arm ...
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Do compatibilists consider robots to have freewill?

Compatibilism is the position that freewill and physical determinism are compatible. This is in opposition to the idea that since everything has a cause, any act or decision a person takes has ...
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Does determinism speak for the predetermination of every single event?

I was wondering if determinism is claiming that every single event is predetermined or not. I say every single event isn't, but maybe major events are. Major events as in events that can only take ...