Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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34
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10answers
9k views

What is the difference between free-will and randomness and or non-determinism?

In relation to the question "What are the necessary conditions for an action to be regarded as a free choice?", it came up that one way to insure the possibility of free-will was to have more than one ...
34
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13answers
5k views

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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7answers
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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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9answers
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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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12answers
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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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3answers
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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 ...
9
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1answer
498 views

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 ...
50
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15answers
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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 ...
9
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6answers
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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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2answers
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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 ...
6
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2answers
501 views

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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4answers
821 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
485 views

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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2answers
520 views

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 ...
3
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3answers
224 views

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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7answers
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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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5answers
894 views

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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6answers
437 views

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 ...
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4answers
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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
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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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6answers
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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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6answers
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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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3answers
644 views

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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4answers
633 views

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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6answers
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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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4answers
963 views

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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4answers
779 views

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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6answers
980 views

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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11answers
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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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4answers
223 views

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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3answers
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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 ...
3
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6answers
565 views

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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2answers
373 views

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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2answers
452 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 ...
2
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3answers
311 views

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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16answers
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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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2answers
25k views

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?
8
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2answers
374 views

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 ...
7
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2answers
241 views

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 ...
4
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4answers
378 views

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....
3
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3answers
615 views

Why would a God create animals that manifest homosexual behavior if he thought that homosexuality is a sin?

There are some people who think that homosexuality is a choice. They would argue that we can make this choice because we have free will. I will focus on those who think this way because of religious ...
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3answers
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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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0answers
452 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 ...
2
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13answers
788 views

Sketch of a proof for real free will?

I have read many contemporary philosophers and the mainstream view seems to be that real free will is an illusion in the sense that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon which is only set on top of ...
10
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2answers
367 views

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 ...
9
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2answers
560 views

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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6answers
438 views

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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4answers
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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 ...
4
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1answer
60 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
159 views

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 ...