Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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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 ...
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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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Does the logical tautology “what will happen, will happen” imply the impossibility of free will?

The statement what will happen, will happen is true by definition (right?). But to me that also implies that as long as time is linear, the future is predetermined (and hence there is no free ...
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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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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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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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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 limits: ...
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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 and we ...
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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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920 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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)? ...
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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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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 ...
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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 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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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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, ...
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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 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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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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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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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 ...
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Can strong omnipotence be decomposed into logically possible and logically impossible aspects?

A lot of debate in the "omnipotent being" or "omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, etc." being debate revolves around the definition of the terms. I consider the "strong form" of ...
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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). ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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'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 ...
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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" ...
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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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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 ...
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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, ...
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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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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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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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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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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?