Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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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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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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861 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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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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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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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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139 views

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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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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What are the differences between semi-compatibilism and compatibilism?

If it helps, by "compatibilism" I mean classical compatibilism
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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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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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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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In which writings does Charles Sanders Peirce generalize the idea of freedom so that it applies to all creatures?

Charles Hartshorne claimed that Peirce was pretty close to the first philosopher in the world who generalized the idea of freedom so that it applied to all the creatures.... In which writings ...
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Does free will contradict the theory of infinite universes

Let's imagine that we live in a world with infinite universes. One of these universes is the same as the one we live in, except for one change: this morning I choose to cut off my leg for some reason, ...
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Is epiphenomenalism compatible with free will?

I sometimes see claims on the internet that according to epiphenominalism there is no free will. But what is the basis to this claim?
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Is the question of moral responsibility a valid one against determinism?

One of the questions I feel is most commonly asked about determinism is "how can people be responsible for their actions if they were following a determined fate? is it right to punish people for bad ...
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What is “limited free will”? [closed]

I have heard that humans have a limited or constrained free will, especially when biological limitations are brought up. However, Merriam-Webster dictionary says: Limited 1a: confined within ...
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If hard determinism is true, why should we try to better ourselves?

If hard determinism is true, then it was never really my choice to be the person I am at this exact moment. There’s also only one path from this point forward, so if I’m going to eventually be a good ...
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How do I believe in free will? [closed]

After considering all possible ways that famous philosophers have tried to explain it, and reading so many articles that treat it like God’s greatest gift to mankind, I still don’t get it. Is it that ...
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What is the relationship between memory and free will?

Suppose I want to go to a store and buy a few items- coffee, cereal, tape, and gum. However, I’m at work so I have to wait a few hours before I can go to the store. When I finally make it to the ...
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Can we control our emotions? [closed]

Suppose a man works 15 hour shifts to provide for his wife and 10 kids, and after a very long and exhaustive day, he comes home to find his wife in bed with another man. At what point does the man ...
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How does free will give life “meaning”?

Many people have suggested that if we don’t have free will, then life is essentially meaningless because everything we’ve ever thought or done has already been determined. I’m not sure why determinism ...
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What role does “DESIRE” play in materialistic determinism?

Let us assume the worldview of extreme materialistic determinism. This is the belief that everything is the result of its material make up. This view goes so far as to eliminate free will. Our ...
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Conceptions of Free Will

Three questions here. Does anyone know of thought experiments in the philosophical literature that illustrate essential features of free will? Does anyone know of a philosophical work which offers an ...
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Are there philosophers who have considered free will for agents who are not considered rational?

The tag for "free-will" currently has the following with my emphasis in bold: for questions concerning the freedom of choice of rational agents Are there philosophers who have considered freedom ...
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Is freedom a paradox?

The notion of freedom is clearly paradoxical. If everyone is free to do whatever they want, they are free to restrict other people's freedom, and hence those people are not free. If this is not ...
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Does functionalism of the mind allow for free will?

Functionalism views the mental processes in terms of causes and effects (ex. inputs such as sensory stimuli and output such as moving an extremity). But how would free will fit into this theory if at ...
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The infinite regress in Galen Strawson's Basic Argument for determinism

In the Basic Argument that attempts to prove that one cannot be held truly and ultimately responsible for the actions they may make, an infinite regress at the end of the argument is employed. I have ...
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Free will: is reality a record, a game or unpredictable?

If a world is a record (a film), then this scenario does not have conditional rules, i.e., if it can be implemented as a computer program, it will not have "if ... then ..." commands. If a world is a ...
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How bounded are we by biology and emotional bias? [closed]

Look around you, people behave in very predictable ways, and our social systems are designed to show what is predictable and what is not. So nuanced is this process, a small divergence from cultural ...
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Does free will require mental causation?

What I am asking is this: does the notion of free will require A weak form of dualism Top-down causality as necessary conditions? Does this entail that not everything which is a physical effect have ...
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I can't see how free will exists in a universe that's only causal or random, can I be convinced otherwise?

From what I've looked into on the topic of free will, I've found it difficult to see how it could exist in a universe of pure causality or randomness. However, I haven't fully abandoned the idea of ...
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If we don't have free will, why was the quality of being conscious selected for?

I think scientists agree that we're conscious and aware that we have consciousness and awareness. But they don't agree on whether we have free will. I think they don't even have a universal definition ...
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Is Spinoza really a determinist?

According to Spinoza humans do not have free will. It is merely an illusion. But in his political tractatus he also wrote that men should have the freedom to choose a religion. But if one has the ...
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Can you objectively determine if a given system has free will (according to compatibilism)?

Given some system, can you objectively determine if it has free will? In particular, you can examine the system to any extent that you want, but you are told nothing about its purpose. If so, what is ...
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The Hard Problem of Consciousness and Wave Function Collapse [closed]

Philosophers and physicists have been throwing around the idea that "consciousness causes collapse" since the early days of QM. Today most physicists reject this idea, but it seems to me this is ...