Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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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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1answer
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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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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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Many-worlds Interpretation defeats the Doomsday argument?

By making the a priori assumption that we are equally likely to be anywhere along the chronological list of humans, the Doomsday argument implies that our position n is correlated with the future ...
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106 views

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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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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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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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
471 views

How does Kant actually resolve the free will / empirical causality contradiction? [duplicate]

I'm reading through the Critique of Pure Reason and I'm stuck on the section Resolution of the cosmological idea of the totality of the derivation of occurrences in the world from their causes and ...
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Is it unfair to eternally punish people in hell if determinism is true?

If determinism happens to be true, then people just do what the laws of Physics governing the chemical interactions of neurons in their brains make them do. In such a scenario, wouldn't it be unfair ...
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Is there a way to prove the existence of choice and free will

It is practically impossible to "make" more than one decision at a point in time. Even if you "change" your mind later, it is at a later point. How do we know that those are decisions that sentient ...
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252 views

How is free-will formally defined as distinct from determinism, randomness and determinism-randomness hybrid to support moral responsibility?

Usually free-will is assumed by most faith traditions as a prerequisite for moral responsiblity in order to justify eternal punishment. The argument goes as "you are truly responsible for your immoral ...
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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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Free will, what do philosophers think this is? [closed]

My personal definition of free will is my ability to be the prime mover of all my practical actions. I am a physical being bounded by my physical and psychological needs, but I can choose and apply ...
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547 views

Is this really an omniscience vs free-will paradox?

Thought experiment: let there be an omniscient being who knows the future and an agent with free will. They are playing a simple game: there is a table with 2 cards and the free agent asks the ...
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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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686 views

Why would a God create animals that manifest homosexual behavior if he thought that homosexuality is a sin?

There are some people who think that homosexuality is a choice. They would argue that we can make this choice because we have free will. I will focus on those who think this way because of religious ...
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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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13answers
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Sketch of a proof for real free will?

I have read many contemporary philosophers and the mainstream view seems to be that real free will is an illusion in the sense that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon which is only set on top of ...
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334 views

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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3answers
671 views

How can free will be reconciled with materialism? [closed]

I know that my mind is a network of neurons, where some personality resides, with emotional responses, and motivation. I know that love and friendship and fear and many other phenomena stem from ...
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1answer
317 views

Why does Newcomb's paradox seem to have different solutions depending on when the choice is made despite determinism?

I believe the Newcomb's paradox is a significant problem in philosophy, since I regard it as a well formulated version of the lazy argument (under certain conditions) with real life implications. ...
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369 views

Can someone explain Compatibilism to me?

Here is the definition of Free will: Free Will: Ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. and that of Determinism: Determinism: All events are completely ...
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Does Quantum Mechanics imply free will? [duplicate]

I think that QM does not favor free will, any more than Classical Mechanics does, and here is my reasoning: QM predicts odds, but that doesn't mean we are free, right? To be free, we will have to ...
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Can free-will be defined in terms of what it should give someone that they don't already have?

Some people, such as Harris, state quite confidently that free-will doesn't exist. So, if it did exist then what would it give you that you don't have now? I've never found anyone who could answer ...
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How can our actions be regarded as free if they are causally determined?

After all, soft determinists are determinists, so they believe that our actions are causally determined. How can our actions be regarded as free if they are causally determined?
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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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4answers
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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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Why not obvious is how accepting determinism as true can or should affect our everyday conception of free will?

Source: What's It All About?. (2007 1 ed.) p. 119 Bottom - 120 Middle.   The debate over whether we have free will or not is one of the longest and most intractable in philosophical history. ...
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436 views

Does Frankfurt dissociate free will and moral responsibility?

To the extent that I understand him, Frankfurt says that we choose "out of our free will" when that first-order desire becomes effective which corresponds to the second-order volition (when I wish X ...
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Domain of free will in OUR physical system

When we speak of "free will" we often imply it to be "a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives". This capacity is contained by our ...
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Understanding Hegel on Free Will (or absence thereof)

I get a second hand understanding that Hegel wasn't too keen on the idea of free will. I have not read Hegel, according to the reputation of his writings, I am unlikely to try to read him directly. ...
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Questions about personal identity and materialism with QM and spacetime

Let's assume for a moment that the materialistic view of the universe is correct. There exists a universe that contains energy in various states spread out in the dimensions of space and time that is ...
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“Fatalism and Professor Taylor” by Bruce Aune

In this paper Bruce Aune states the following Taylor would probably want to maintain that (p ≺ q) ⊃ — (p → q), where "→" represents physical, or natural, implication So I'm not clear what "...
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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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Which known philosophers are firm determinists?

I'm aware of the compatibilist attitude by some philosophers, such as Hegel and Daniel Dennet. I am interested in some philosophers who are firm determinists (deny free will).
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265 views

What are the implications of accepting that we don't have free will?

While reading this question about the existence of free will, I thought that the implications of stating nonexistence of free will can be at least as important (and interesting) as the main question ...
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1answer
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Would there be free will if we assume a stochastic component in the decision making?

I was reading this answer regarding materialism and free will. It says that, under the assumption that there isn't a random process underlying decision making, there is no free will. And isn't that a ...
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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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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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What is the purpose of consciousness?

Please jump to the 'Edit' portion of the question, because the below portion MAY seem confusing or irrelevant. Assuming that the control over things we have is illusory, as beautifully explained by ...
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Why would a person want to die?

I've got a friend. He's well-placed in life: not poor, not ill, has family, certainly not an idiot, but quite clever. He's probably lonely, since I am the only close friend. So no relationships, just ...
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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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Is there a term for the position “no determinism but no free will”?

Often when free will is discussed, there are three main positions espoused: Libertarian: The universe is not deterministic and there is free will Hard-determinism: The universe is deterministic and ...
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Can we characterize libertarianism without assuming moral realism?

In the discussion about free will, moral realism and libertarianism go hand in hand. It seems that libertarian free will is assumed to be what we need to “attach” moral responsibility to certain ...
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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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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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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 do we account under natural law for humans' ability to produce arbitrarily-improbable results?

I'm testing the assertion that human beings (leaving out other life forms for simplicity) can and do cause effects, that is, changes in the physical world, which a) have arbitrarily-low probability ...
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Can I predict my future by observing all humans/events

There is NO RANDOM in the Universe (Atleat in our universe) Humans have NO FREE WILL (Determinism vs Free Will: Crash Course Philosophy #24) I believe everything happened/happening in the universe is ...