Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.

Questions tagged [free-will]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
6
votes
3answers
258 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
565 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
151 views

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 ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
5answers
690 views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Can Free Will Exist In A Causal Material World?

India's leading daily, The Times of India can easily put other contenders of the same bracket (like the widely-praised The Sun) to shame. Today, scanning the lifestyle section, I came across the ...
5
votes
2answers
260 views

Rudolf Carnap's opinion about free will

I know that the logical positivists thought that many old philosophical questions are meaningless, but I never found a source on the internet about their position on free will. So what was their ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
307 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. ...
5
votes
5answers
620 views

How do freewill compatibilists define insanity?

Compatabilism is one approach to the problem of freewill in a casually closed world: How to reconcile freewill with a casually determined world (in particular one that follows the laws of physics)? ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Kant's distinction of freedom as transcendental idea and as practical concept: What is the benefit?

Prompted by the current discussion about Kant’s concept of causality of freedom Can Free Will Exist In A Causal Material World? I would like to understand the scope and the difference of the two ...
5
votes
3answers
494 views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
686 views

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. ...
5
votes
0answers
60 views

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 ...
5
votes
0answers
462 views

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 ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
501 views

Are “robot rebellions” even possible?

A common science-fiction trope is the "robot rebellion"...but I have a hard time comphrending how one could actually occur. Computers follow pre-designed instructions. Without these instructions, ...
4
votes
4answers
355 views

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?
4
votes
6answers
2k views

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?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

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. ...
4
votes
4answers
233 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

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 ...
4
votes
4answers
853 views

How does Plantinga's 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

How can there be autonomy in Immanuel Kant's ethics?

Immanuel Kant defines autonomy and general freedom as when a human makes a decision that is not to satisfy a dispositional end (when a decision is made to such an end, he defines it as heteronomy). ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
323 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
539 views

Can a version of the philosophical zombie concept be used to argue for libertarian freewill?

Philosophical Zombies are a thought experiment that is used to argue for dualism and against functionalism. The argument goes something like this: A purely functionalist account of the mind fails to ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
245 views

Metaphysically, what does it mean to “make a decision”?

In the freewill debate, a difference is made between metaphysical/libertarian free will, i.e. where an agent is free to choose among many possible outcomes, and the eventual outcome is caused by the ...
4
votes
2answers
407 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
4answers
291 views

'metaphysical asymmetry between past and future' : Meaning?

Source: pp 114-115, Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (1 ed, 1999) by Simon Blackburn. See page 15 of 18. Please advise if I should reproduce two pictures omitted below (which I omitted ...
4
votes
2answers
259 views

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" ...
4
votes
2answers
439 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
164 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

School/branch of philosophy based on freedom

New to the exchange, please be gentle. Are there any branches of philosophy that hold freedom as something that is intrinsically good? I think that libertarianism and various versions comprise one ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
206 views

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, ...
4
votes
2answers
176 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
269 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
159 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
65 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
182 views

How could human choices be actually rational?

Theoretically, human could be rational. But how is it possible that human are not influenced by their senses and only proceed with pure reason? Like practically?
4
votes
1answer
852 views

On the Objections to Compatibilism

I was reading An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume, specifically the section titled On Liberty and Necessity (both parts). Hume reconciles liberty with metaphysical necessity by an ...
4
votes
1answer
216 views

Can a materialist accept indeterminism? Can a reductionist?

The usual argument against it is that if behavior of matter is not fully determined by its state then it has to be determined by something else, ergo dualism. This begs the question however, unless we ...
4
votes
2answers
418 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
286 views

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). ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

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 ...