Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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Time travel, free will and “could have done otherwise”

The phrase "could have done otherwise" is almost essential to all discussions concerning free will. Most philosophers, as I understand the literature, believe this phrase characterizes and validates ...
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Is it related to Philosophy?

We find many examples in real life when an object we don't need can be seen in front of our eyes but when we need it we struggle to find it. We also don't recognize the importance of many things ...
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46 views

Is there any classic argument supporting freewill?

As much as I read about history of philosophy, I saw that a vast majority of ancient philosophers supported determinism(like Cynicists, Stoicists, Buddha etc.). Did any body support freewill in ...
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Does the denial of free will necessarily imply determinism?

SEP's entry on Arguments for Incompatibilism contains a curious passage: Empirical discoveries about our brain and behavior might tell us that we don’t have as much conscious control as we think we ...
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69 views

Could free will exist as spontaneous particle creations?

I've been reading a lot on determinism from a quantum mechanics perspective in order to reach a conclusion about freewill and determinism. So far, it seems that quantum interpretations (Copenhagen, ...
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108 views

Free Will as Incoherent (What's wrong with this argument?)

Is this a sound argument? Free will is a cause that is neither determinism nor stochastic. Causes are either deterministic or stochastic. Free will is an incoherent entity All incoherent entities do ...
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118 views

Liberation and religions

Religion is always for a group; but philosophy is not so. One person alone cannot be a religion. It is quite natural that there is a bond (a feeling of my and my men) among the members of a religion ...
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28 views

Anselm and being “apt to will”

I am reading Anselm's On the Fall of the Devil, and I encountered an odd bit of language that I can't quite wrap my head around. In Chapter 12, Anselm (through a religious teacher) attempts to argue ...
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Why do people still believe in free will?

If we assume that macro-scale matter like we have in brains only acts in ways that are caused, then would not all actions in human behavior be a result of prior physical events beginning with ...
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Arguments against quantum mechanics allowing for free will?

There have been similar questions asked here [1] [2], but I'm asking something a bit more specific. I've ofter heard the argument that quantum mechanics might somehow make free will possible because ...
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Boethius, Logical Necessity, and Accidental Necessity: A Solution to Free Will and Foreknowledge?

In his classic book, the Consolation of Philosophy (Book V), Boethius attempts to make an argument that libertarian free will and [divine] foreknowledge are not incompatible. His argument goes ...
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How can there be people who believe in the concept of “free will”? [closed]

For a number of years now, I've been increasingly frustrated whenever I hear anyone talk about "free will" or "his life choices", etc. It's got to the point where I'm really, really annoyed just ...
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111 views

Is there any theory of consciousness that extends conscious existence into the future?

I would like to be able to claim that consciousness is a physical phenomenon, arising from, subject to, and embedded in the physical structure of the universe, while at the same time claim that ...
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60 views

Free will and consciousness [duplicate]

I am reading about free will and it seems to me that for everyone free will is associated with consciousness and this is why the Libet experiment has been so important in this debate. I do not ...
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What is the utility of consciousness if free will is an illusion?

Introspectively speaking, it seems to me obvious that free will is illusion. Thoughts just emerge from background causes, and actions are just thoughts about actions that we have more thoughts about ...
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197 views

Does our experience with habits lead us to believe in free will?

Notoriously intractable, free will have had no success in being proven physically. Even phenomenally it is difficult to pin down precisely. So why do people believe each other when claiming that they ...
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193 views

Does the first law of thermodynamics guarantee us free will?

I'm considering what may already be a well-known argument. Overall I am looking for a rebuttal. I'd like to make a quick point before the argument: For this question I would like to think of free ...
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95 views

What is the difference between free will and moral agency?

I've heard a lot of people get confused about the differences between free agency, free will, and moral agency. What really is the difference?
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How do I prove an incompatibilist argument wrong?

I found a classical incompatibilist argument that looks that this: If a person acts of her own free will, then she could have done otherwise If determinism is true, no one can do otherwise ...
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327 views

Can a mathematician create free will? [closed]

I'm of the firm opinion that free will (the idea of choice we exercise in an event) at least in the daily usage of the word is incompatible with the "laws of the universe" as we currently know them. ...
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143 views

How does Spinoza derive his ethics while keeping with his definition of an “unfree” Will

In the Ethics, Spinoza does refute any definition of Will as being free, as Will for men is an illusion which proceeds from inadequate ideas and Will for God is that of the necessity of his Being. ...
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186 views

What is the case for free will?

By understanding the laws of nature, I've come to the conclusion that everything evolves according to the laws of physics, and that includes the formation of conscious and unconscious thoughts in the ...
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1answer
59 views

Is illiteracy something you could claim as freedom in the Libertarian world view?

Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice. (Wiki) Is it consequent or illogical to argument that a Libertarian world view allows for illiteracy as ...
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What does Ted Honderich's attitudinism mean for moral responsibility?

I was doing some research into compatibalism, incompatibalism, and its implications for moral responsibility, and came across Ted Honderich and his 'attitudinism'. He looks at compatibalism and ...
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417 views

If you are predictable do you have free will?

Let there be a person that acted in some way. Also there is another person who had predicted that behaviour of first person. Does the first person has free will? Is it just possible to do something ...
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248 views

If each of our thoughts is entirely determined by the brain, can there be free will or a soul?

Supposing that every single thing that exists in our mind is due to the brain, and supposing that each and every decision we have is determined by our neurons, can there be free will? How? If ...
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Free Will and Causeless Causes

When searching on free will, what will often be found is that free will is incoherent (Sam Harris) or an illusion. Other references will claim it exists while citing clinical studies which ...
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903 views

What does the experience of free will imply in a materialistic worldview?

In responses and comments to Do human thoughts interact with matter?, one answer begins, "Thoughts consist of nerve impulses..." Which, as I understand the materialist view, is partially correct. ...
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Was Nietzsche speaking of psychologists when he commented that even those with the best intentions can do immeasurable harm?

Nietzsche said this (as found here): "It seems to me that a human being with the very best of intentions can do immeasurable harm, if he is immodest enough to wish to profit those whose spirit and ...
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374 views

Assuming we don't have a free will, why would we have this illusion?

Ok, first post on this stack exchange site and I've already restated my question because of this answer on the main toppic but yet: I'm not going to enter into the debate whether or not we do have a ...
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When did the idea of free will begin? Same for determinism

Hey so I'm doing this free will v determinism thing for class and I've tried but I can't seem to find when the separate beliefs came about. I know Socrates and Aristotle had something to do with them ...
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Illusion of choice and free will [closed]

I'm making a presentation and I need to find philosophers who have talked about topics such as free will or the illusion of choice. If you could recommend any, it would be a great help. Thanks.
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Why is the word “however” used here? What does it mean? [closed]

I was reading a Wikipedia article on fatalism and the idle argument. It says a Stoic philosopher "attempted to refute" it and then it states the argument. The very next line it uses the word "however"....
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How this dilemma (about freedom) go? And where is it from?

I'm not sure if this is the right SE to ask, but it seemed like the best fit. I once saw this "dilemma" in the internet, but I don't remember where or exactly how it goes, I hope someone herealready ...
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Plantinga's Free Will Defense and his stance on God's omnipotence

I'm having trouble understanding exactly what Plantinga is saying in regard to God's omnipotence. He states quite clearly that it is not logically impossible for a world in which free creatures who ...
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Is it possible for a human not to select the most rewarding option?

It seems that out of all the options available, humans are wired to always make the ideal (satisfying/rewarding) subjective choice, and not go with the second best option or some other. When a ...
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Standard Argument against free will rebuttal

The Standard argument against free will states that an action is either predetermined or random and that these two options exhaust all the possibilities, leaving no room for true free will. To ...
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854 views

What is the difference between free will and freedom to choose?

The Wikipedia article on "secondary causation" notes the following without footnote: According to the Jewish Torah which brought down the original idea in Genesis, the phrase "free will" is a ...
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How are 'voluntary' actions possible in the scope of Sam Harris's framework of free will (its absence actually)?

Disclamer: I am striving to understand the point of view, not to examine if it is right or wrong (makes sense or not, etc.). I have listened to two audio excerpts by Sam Harris, discussing his views ...
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How can Determinism be true in light of the Free Will Theorem

The Free Will Theorem states: Given the axioms, if the two experimenters in question are free to make choices about what measurements to take, then the results of the measurements cannot be ...
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142 views

The illogical nature of want/motivation and its effects on free will

Are all the decisions and desires of humans made in order to stimulate pleasure centers and avoid pain? If so, could someone/thing which is unable to feel pleasure and pain, and only had the power of ...
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Will to power: why doesn't it work sometimes?

I'm reading Nietzsche and he had this interesting idea that all lives tend to expand their influence on the world as much as possible. And for human beings, that means seeking to start a family, or to ...
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Free will and the principle of sufficient reason

According to Hume, "All distinct ideas are separable from each other, and as the ideas of cause and effect are evidently distinct, it will be easy for us to conceive any object to be non-existent this ...
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167 views

How do compatibilists understand “responsible”?

In Scott Christensen's book "What about free will?" on page 119 is "Pharaoh is held responsible for his actions". The reason given for God attributing culpability is "You are exalting yourself...". ...
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223 views

What are the differences between semi-compatibilism and compatibilism?

If it helps, by "compatibilism" I mean classical compatibilism
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120 views

Experiment to test for the existence of free will and randomness

If (1) we assume the universe has a finite size, and (2) we took a snapshot of the universe that includes particle speeds and locations, and (3) using perfect knowledge of science, would this be the ...
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216 views

When would someone not have free will?

I was thinking about free will, and I kind of got confused. What would it look like for someone to not have free will? For example, if someone was paralyzed, they could still control their thoughts. ...
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106 views

Is free will required in order to differentiate between the subconscious and the conscious?

If the subconscious motivates actions in a way that we are not aware of, then its fair to say that we don't have control over our subconscious. If I were to look at this from a determinist perspective,...
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Would logic be respected if we assume that the God's omniscience includes the ability to DIRECTLY OBSERVE future events?

If we assume that God knows the future, we think that the only possible way He could do that would be if He knew all possible states of the system. He could thus "compute" that future. But this "...
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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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