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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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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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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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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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Can free-will be defined in terms of what it should give someone that they don't already have?

Some people, such as Harris, state quite confidently that free-will doesn't exist. So, if it did exist then what would it give you that you don't have now? I've never found anyone who could answer ...
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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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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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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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Many-worlds defeats Doomsday argument (improved version)?

This is a more carefully argued version of my previous post Many-worlds Interpretation defeats the Doomsday argument? Standard Doomsday Argument Let N be the total number of humans who will ever ...
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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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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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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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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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Problem with propositions about future

I have some questions about propositions of future like “tomorrow, there will be rain” or “you won’t go to school tomorrow” 1) Are there certain truth values of future propositions? For example, ...
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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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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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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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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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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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Can spontaneous body movements confirm or infirm free will?

When explaining to someone why I don't believe in freewill, it is almost certain that they will flap their arms around or do some sort of strange dance with their arms. I know the reason why they do ...
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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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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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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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Free will and hard determinism

Can we say that hard determinism and free will are mutually exclusive by definition?
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What is a simplistic definition of Boethius' Consolation with Philosophy?

The specific extract is where he asks Lady Philosophy about the correlation of omniscience and free will having a coherent existence together. I know the extract well, but I struggle to define it ...
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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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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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Can a non linear perception of time be the answer to the apparent contradiction between God's Decree and human free will?

In Islamic teachings which I was brought up in, we are made to believe that everything that happens is in the Decree of God (Allah). There is a hadith (sacred text from the Prophet) which says that ...
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How far can compatibilism go: God as active creator with perfect foreknowledge and free will

One of the main arguments of compatibilists trying to save free will from God's foreknowledge seems to be that free will is still possible in the face of perfect foreknowledge as long as God only ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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formulate an argument for determinism that cannot be directly solved by introducing a free soul, free consciousness, etc. [closed]

Formulate an argument for the case of philosophical determinism (i.e. no free will) that cannot be solved by the introduction of any psychics-free metaphysical entity.
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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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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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How can free will be reconciled with materialism? [closed]

I know that my mind is a network of neurons, where some personality resides, with emotional responses, and motivation. I know that love and friendship and fear and many other phenomena stem from ...
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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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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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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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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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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 ...