Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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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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295 views

Why do we uphold the concept of “morality”? [closed]

Why do we need morality? What purpose does the concept serve?
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1answer
6k views

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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3answers
476 views

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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114 views

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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404 views

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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3answers
65 views

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 ...
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1answer
83 views

Does a consistent theory of retributive punishment require belief in freewill? [duplicate]

Is it "possible" to accept a retributive theory of punishment, while simultaneously accepting a deterministic view of human behavior? Is belief in freewill a necessary condition for a belief that ...
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270 views

Would two identical people ever be able to communicate successfully?

Let's say you know some guy. And you told him that he was going to be copied and both him and the clone moved to an area where there are no external factors. After telling the man this, the man is ...
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References on ultimate determinism

One of the main philosophical questions is: Is everything in life predestined or not? In my view, everything up the smallest detail must be predestined. Here is the explanation for it: If one looks ...
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5answers
588 views

“The” before “future” means we believe in hard determinism?

English speakers put the definite article "the" before the word "future" when they refer to the future (no pun intended). For example: In the future, everyone will have access to clean water. Does ...
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4answers
367 views

Contradiction between the selfish gene and lack of free will demonstrated by Libet experiment

According to the Libet experiment, there is no such thing as a free will, only the illusion of it. This means that not only biologically every living creature follows a program that is aimed to spread ...
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Does artificial intelligence necessarily mean a system can somehow “freely” vary its own behaviour?

If an artificial intelligence system existed in a robot and it was able to constantly reprogram and reconfigure itself in any way without disrupting its necessary functions, and without even partly ...
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254 views

Please explain this paragraph of van Inwagen (First Argument for Incompatibilism)

In An Essay on Free Will, van Inwagen tries to define his notion of the laws of nature (for his First Argument that follow), this is the concluding paragraph: Thus, on our "sets of possible worlds" ...
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167 views

Introduction to understanding behaviour [closed]

I am trying to find good references that explain why human agents behave the way they do (and if possible more specifically when dealing with choices, or even tastes if you like). I know from ...
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What did Acton mean by saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton said that "[p]ower tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." What did he mean by this? How might power compel evil or restrict free will?
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How does Hegel develop the notion of freedom in his metaphysics?

It is agreed by everyone that liberty is a good thing; and one cannot have enough of a good thing; thus unlimited liberty must be one of the most perfect of goods. For in liberty unlimited one can ...
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4k views

Hume and free will

What exactly does Hume consider acting out of free will/being free? Are those two things even the same to him? Now, I believed Hume's definition for being free, to be that if you are doing what you ...
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154 views

fMRI prediction on decision making and implications on taking credit

First some context. There's a well known study, which has been replicated and conclusive about the results, that shows that some decision are made some seconds before the person is conscious about ...
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How does Nietzsche define and characterize “freedom” throughout his works?

My basic question concerns the meaning of freedom in Nietzsche's work. Nietzsche suggests that, in reality, a will can never be absolutely "free" or "unfree"—rather, any particular will is going ...
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86 views

Precedent for the idea of superluminal choice

What might happen were the speed of light to be exceeded is a subject of hot debate in the philosophy of modern physics. Therefore, this is of interest to philosophy. The most straight-forward way I ...
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558 views

Free Will and Rational Thought - Kant

According to http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/history/ Kant believed in both determinism and rational thought. Kant subsumed causality and determinism under his idea of Pure Reason. ...
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915 views

Allegory of the Cave Free Will [closed]

Does the prisoner in the cave in Plato's allegory in The Republic have free will?
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Does the existence of ethics(as a set of rules) imply lack of empathy in humans? [closed]

Suppose we would have enough empathy to understand each other in any circumstance. Wouldn't all the discussion of any problem resolve to free will(of the participants of the problem) only? Would, in ...
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3answers
705 views

If intelligence maximizes future freedom of action, then are intelligent agents free?

Alex Wissner posits that there is an equation for intelligence: F = T ∇ Sτ or: intelligence is a force, F, that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. It acts to maximize future ...
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Does compatibilism imply that a chess program has free will?

I am puzzled by compatibilism and am trying to understand what it means using a test example. Given that a typical chess program generates several choices, evaluates them with a goal of winning and ...
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1answer
80 views

If deduction does not exist in regards to the free will, is omniscience possible with omnipotence?

As the argument goes: If God is omniscient, he must already know how he is going to intervene to change the course of history using his omnipotence. But that means he can't change his mind about ...
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Counter-arguments for the Frankfurt cases

I am looking for critique or good counter-arguments specifically for the Frankfurt cases. The Frankfurt cases are in turn: counterexamples to the "principle of alternative possibilities", or ...
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Does the concept of infinity mean we have already 'been'?

A memory that frequently inhabits my consciousness is that of a lesson taught by my religious education teacher in senior school. He likened the conditions and occurrences that resulted in the ...
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148 views

Is a person responsible for his choices? [closed]

If a person is influenced by his culture/environment, how can he be responsible for his choices? As our choices are determined by the past actions that affected us in some way.
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Why are Free Will discussions always framed as a question of “free will” rather than “free choice” (of action)?

In debates or discussion regarding the question of whether or not human beings (or any other being) has the ability to decide for themselves what to do, the term invariably used is free will. However, ...
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227 views

Who were the first philosophers against free will?

I know David Hume in the 18th century had a critical position against the traditional view of free will or at least he is cited as a compatibilist. I wonder who were the first compatibilists and also ...
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How can someone have a free will if they act based on their experiences?

First of all I would like to state that I have nothing to do with philosophy, I might even be totally new to the field. So far I had my own thoughts about life and how things work, mentally mostly. ...
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1answer
118 views

Was Kant successful in establishing the autonomy of the will?

Was Kant successful in establishing the autonomy of the will, and hence the authority of moral demands over us? Kant appeared not to recognize the gap existing between the law of an autonomous ...
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2answers
166 views

Is there a consistent definition of free will? [duplicate]

See also: What is a mathematical description of free will? Is free will reconcilable with a purely physical world? What is the difference between free-will and randomness and or non-determinism? ...
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457 views

Is there a third way, distinct from determinism and randomness? [closed]

The idea of free-will is often invoked to resolve some apparent philosophical problems, for example problems of assigning personal morality under determinism and the problem of evil. It seems to me ...
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378 views

Sartrian Freedom Compatible with Determinism?

In Being and Nothingness, Sartre talks about how humans are "condemned to be free". But I was wondering if, because Sartre's philosophy is phenomenological ontology, what this really amounts to is ...
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3answers
124 views

Why we think that we thinking by ourselves, independent and free [closed]

If anything thats every been created depends on its creator. Take computers for example where they think math but its us that programmed them. Then why do we feel that we think by ourselves, is it ...
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Free will thought experiment: what will I be thinking of exactly 5 minutes from now?

I have the subjective experience of free will but also observe the following: it does not seem to be possible to plan ahead and make a willful decision as to what one's exact thoughts shall be in 5 ...
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Can nihilists reject Kantian necessitation without also rejecting free will?

To me, the rejection of free will seems so useless that it is not even worth seriously considering. However, the existence of free will does seem to necessitate a normative standard by which certain ...
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353 views

Has there ever been a society without the assumption of free will?

Has there ever been a society that didn't assume that people have free will (and thus, not punished them [directly])? Could a society exist, that didn't take that assumption of free will?
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Philosophical assessment of Wegner's “The Illusion of Conscious Will”

It has now been a decade since the publication of Daniel Wegner's The Illusion of Conscious Will. I read it when it was released but have not followed subsequent debate and developments. I would be ...
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Moral responsibility without free will

Are there any theories of moral responsibility that don't require free will? Sam Harris rejects the notion of free will and attempts to construct some form of moral calculus, but "The Moral Landscape"...
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Are we actually in control of what we want?

Are we really in control of what we want? What might be the most significant philosophical theories or works discussing this problem?
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206 views

Is difference between 'free will' and 'imaginary obligation' purely connotational?

Consider the concepts of 'free will' and 'imaginary obligation'. Under certain circumstances they seem hard to differentiate (i.e. somebody 'really wants' to relisten a track of music, or perhaps it '...
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The problem is choice, (paradox) Or is enhancing choice the solution to increasing free will [closed]

While reading Incognito by David Eagleman, there was a chapter about justice and the neural plasticity of the brain. The ability (or in some cases inability) to regulate "moral" functioning. The legal ...
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2answers
457 views

Can the Universe be deterministic and still allow free will? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between free-will and randomness and or non-determinism? Is free will reconcilable with a purely physical world? As asked in the title, can a Universe ...