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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 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 ...
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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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Does the existence of total warfare (i.e. win or die) prove that free-will is limited?

When you look at history there seems to be two types of wars: 1) the "unilateral" or asymmetric wars (like recently the Iraq war where one group of people overwhelmingly keep the conflict under their ...
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Is there a middle ground between determinism and libertarianism?

Is it possible that we live in a universe where some things are truly deterministic and other truly random and the difference between those two things is how their particles are arranged? For example,...
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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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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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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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Physical laws and free will

I was just watching this video about reconciling free will and physical laws. The video begins with the following premises It is possible for a human being to create a machine that, given the intial ...
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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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Why do people mix up physical indeterminism as related to free will?

if reality has code that makes you do X, or code that runs a random number generator and then makes you do X and Y, you don't have more free will in the second case. the random number generator used ...
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Movies on philosophy similar to “Waking Life”? [closed]

The movie "Waking Life" is a philosophical masterpiece: a quasi non-narrative psychedelic dreamscape exploring the very nature of both existence and non-existence in unpredecented depth. In a ...
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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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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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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 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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Free Will and Intelligence

What is the relation between free will and intelligence. I'll identify free will with conscious mind and wonder what their relation is. Obviously there is free will without intelligence. Just have a ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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'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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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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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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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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How do compatibilists handle brainwashing?

Compatabilism is one approach to the problem of freewill in a casually closed world. If a person is free to choose among several possible courses of action, doesn't this violate the laws of causality? ...
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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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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 ...
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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 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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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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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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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 far does Nietzsche's skepticism of causality go?

On page 21 of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, I found the following quote: Suppose someone sees through the boorish naivete of this famous concept of "free will" and manages to get it out of his ...
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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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What are some counterarguments to Schopenhauer's refutation of free will?

The following slogan often attributed to Schopenhauer "A man can do as he will, but not will as he will" [so there is no free will] — quoted by Albert Einstein in "Mein Weltbild" (1931) has ...
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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 ...