Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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Can a mathematician create freewill?

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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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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If someone had the potential to do anything

If someone had the potential to do anything, is it logically deductible that that person can never completely lose the potential to do any one thing? Edit: Here, I mean the potential to do anything. ...
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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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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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127 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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871 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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What are the differences between semi-compatibilism and compatibilism?

If it helps, by "compatibilism" I mean classical compatibilism
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Truth Claims - Free Will - Determinism

In this video, Ravi Zacharias when asked how we can have free will if God already knows what we are going to do, says the following: "The moment you make a truth claim you are rising above the ...
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Can a version of the philosophical zombie concept be used to argue for libertarian freewill?

Philosophical Zombies are a thought experiment that is used to argue for dualism and against functionalism. The argument goes something like this: A purely functionalist account of the mind fails to ...
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What does the Soon unconscious determinants study prove?

I recently read this scientific study: Soon, C. S., Brass, M., Heinze, H. J., & Haynes, J. D. (2008). Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. Nature neuroscience, 11(5), 543....
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Does having free will presuppose consciousness, can philosophical zombies have it?

Philosophical zombies may lack a consciousness, but does this preclude the ability to have a free will? Why does consciousness matter, for agency, or at all, if determinism is real? (I've framed the ...
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Experiment to test for the existence of free will and randomness

If (1) we assume the universe has a finite size, and (2) we took a snapshot of the universe that includes particle speeds and locations, and (3) using perfect knowledge of science, would this be the ...
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Is God free to make decisions?

God is omniscient, that means He knows the only one future. The only one future will become the only one past after some time. Thus we are sure that this future is really only one. It will be ...