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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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Why we think that we thinking by ourselves, independent and free [closed]

If anything thats every been created depends on its creator. Take computers for example where they think math but its us that programmed them. Then why do we feel that we think by ourselves, is it ...
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Introduction to understanding behaviour [closed]

I am trying to find good references that explain why human agents behave the way they do (and if possible more specifically when dealing with choices, or even tastes if you like). I know from ...
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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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Are methodological individualism and materialism compatible?

One of the fundamental principles of the Austrian school of economics, particularly the kind promoted by Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, is methodological individualism, according to which the ...
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What would falsify compatibilism?

I'm trying to figure out whether compatibilism (SEP, Wikipedia) is falsifiable, a metaphysic, or something else. One way to get at this is to take a Popperian approach, and ask whether any ...
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Has there ever been a society without the assumption of free will?

Has there ever been a society that didn't assume that people have free will (and thus, not punished them [directly])? Could a society exist, that didn't take that assumption of free will?
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Are actually random events causeless?

Radium atoms decay by emitting alpha particles at random. Are these events without cause? Of course one may take a closer look at radium nuclei to determine a possible reason why they decay; for ...
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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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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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Philosophical assessment of Wegner's “The Illusion of Conscious Will”

It has now been a decade since the publication of Daniel Wegner's The Illusion of Conscious Will. I read it when it was released but have not followed subsequent debate and developments. I would be ...
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Existentialism and the absensce of free will

One of the most famous doctrines of existentialism formulated by Jean Paul Sartre is that we are absolutely free. Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible ...
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Can nihilists reject Kantian necessitation without also rejecting free will?

To me, the rejection of free will seems so useless that it is not even worth seriously considering. However, the existence of free will does seem to necessitate a normative standard by which certain ...
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Are your actions for every type of determinism determined before your birth?

We had this little discussion in class. Are your actions for every type of determinism determined before your birth? We're discussing traditional theories, so Quantum Mechanics aren't relevant (yet). ...
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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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Why do we uphold the concept of “morality”? [closed]

Why do we need morality? What purpose does the concept serve?
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Are we actually in control of what we want?

Are we really in control of what we want? What might be the most significant philosophical theories or works discussing this problem?
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What did Acton mean by saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton said that "[p]ower tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." What did he mean by this? How might power compel evil or restrict free will?
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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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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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Is difference between 'free will' and 'imaginary obligation' purely connotational?

Consider the concepts of 'free will' and 'imaginary obligation'. Under certain circumstances they seem hard to differentiate (i.e. somebody 'really wants' to relisten a track of music, or perhaps it '...
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Moral responsibility without free will

Are there any theories of moral responsibility that don't require free will? Sam Harris rejects the notion of free will and attempts to construct some form of moral calculus, but "The Moral Landscape"...
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The problem is choice, (paradox) Or is enhancing choice the solution to increasing free will [closed]

While reading Incognito by David Eagleman, there was a chapter about justice and the neural plasticity of the brain. The ability (or in some cases inability) to regulate "moral" functioning. The legal ...
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What does Sartre mean when he says people are “condemned to be free”?

What did Jean-Paul Sartre mean when he said that because there is no creator, humans are "Condemned to be Free"?
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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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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 ...
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Are our desires driven by destiny?

Could there be a possibility that everyone has a destiny pre-written and their desires are just driven by that destiny? And the concept of free will is just a blindfold with limited options. No ...
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The Emperor's New Mind and Free Will

A good few years ago I read The Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose. Having recently read some philosopy primers I was wondering about the links between this book and the question of free will. From ...
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Autonomy in medical ethics without free will

In ethics, autonomy is the right of an individual to make an un-coerced decision. While studying this, I often find myself thinking of free will. If free will does not exist, how would this affect the ...
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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", esp. insofar that they feel they are in control of their own actions. ...
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What is morally wrong about altering someone's behavior using psychological conditioning techniques?

I am reading the novel A Clockwork Orange. The priest is very angry at the behavior-altering technique being used on criminals to make them "good" and feels as though it is not right to take away free ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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How does Nietzsche define and characterize “freedom” throughout his works?

My basic question concerns the meaning of freedom in Nietzsche's work. Nietzsche suggests that, in reality, a will can never be absolutely "free" or "unfree"—rather, any particular will is going ...