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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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Is there evidence for existence of destiny as opposed to free will?

Is there any evidence for the existence of some kind of "destiny"? And if not: What about the "free will", its very much the opposite of destiny. Lets assume, our brain really is "only" an input-...
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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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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
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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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The more i think about it, the more it seems like quantum entanglement disproves the notion of free will [duplicate]

From my understanding of entanglement, and what it tells us about reality, the state the quantum system is in would have to be decided before measurement. This would mean that everything about our ...
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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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Does free will require randomness?

Let us assume that randomness does not exist. For example, even the flip of a coin is not considered random. The coin's flip can be calculated if certain variables are given (the force used for the ...
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3answers
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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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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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Kant and free will

Could someone explain Kant's view on free will to me? As I understand it, Kant says that it is necessary that we have free will, because otherwise it would be unreasonable to hold people responsible. ...
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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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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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1answer
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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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“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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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 ...
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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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Regarding free choice in a deterministic universe

Why can't free will or free choice exist in a 'totally' deterministic universe? What I mean by a 'deterministic universe' at least 'locally' is one where if you had 'enough' information regarding some ...
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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 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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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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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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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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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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1answer
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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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How does 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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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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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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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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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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What was Socrates/Plato's view on free-will?

Socrates (or, rather Plato, through the voice of Socrates) leads us to the conclusion in the dialog Protagoras (see this for example) that our actions are entirely determined by our beliefs of what is ...
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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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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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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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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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Is World Deterministic?

I think that all the events of the world are just the results of the application of the rules of nature on the previous situation of the world. Our thoughts or efforts are also completely ...
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How can we have responsibility in the Stoic's deterministic universe?

I read the following in Anthony Kenny's 'A New History of Philosophy' book. It is a paraphrase from Chrysippus the Stoic philosopher Nothing can escape Nature's laws, but despite the determinism of ...
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Was Augustine intentionally ambiguous regarding free will?

So many scholars have written about St. Augustine and his views on free will, but there is little consensus to be formed from their literature. According to John Rist: There is still no consensus ...
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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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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?
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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 ...