Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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206 views

Is difference between 'free will' and 'imaginary obligation' purely connotational?

Consider the concepts of 'free will' and 'imaginary obligation'. Under certain circumstances they seem hard to differentiate (i.e. somebody 'really wants' to relisten a track of music, or perhaps it '...
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59 views

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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106 views

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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393 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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154 views

The Nature of Consciousness

I've been wondering recently about the nature of consciousness. It seems that, from what we know, consciouss thought is a result of neurons firing in the brain in a certain pattern. This would mean ...
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265 views

Does the free will interpretation of evil contradict God's omnipotence? [duplicate]

Evil is often explained as a result (a byproduct, in a sense) of the free will God has given to us. Doesn't this notion contradict the idea of the omnipotent God (especially the God above laws of ...
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86 views

Precedent for the idea of superluminal choice

What might happen were the speed of light to be exceeded is a subject of hot debate in the philosophy of modern physics. Therefore, this is of interest to philosophy. The most straight-forward way I ...
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44 views

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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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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187 views

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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341 views

“If chance may have me king, why chance may crown me without my stir” - was Macbeth irrational to ignore his own advice? [closed]

I remember as a teen studying Macbeth thinking that the quoted text was the most rational thing Macbeth says in the whole play. Why doesn't he take his own advice? (There wouldn't have been much drama ...
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94 views

How can I reconcile my philosophy with my faith? [closed]

My philosophy holds the belief that freedom is one of the most important traits, and that when given the choice, without manipulation, a person will choose to do the right thing. Furthermore, that the ...
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79 views

Can chance be both the determining factor as well as that which breaks the chain of causality? [closed]

Chance as the determining factor in the sense that it may be the prima causa of an event or set of events. For example, you were born by accident into a rich family, and this rich family enabled you ...
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93 views

Would time traveling to a past event disprove free-will? [closed]

If I was to travel back in time, perhaps to a few seconds ago, and watch myself type this message, I expect to see myself typing this very message with every hesitation, backspace, and edit. Even if ...
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83 views

Does a consistent theory of retributive punishment require belief in freewill? [duplicate]

Is it "possible" to accept a retributive theory of punishment, while simultaneously accepting a deterministic view of human behavior? Is belief in freewill a necessary condition for a belief that ...
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75 views

How does Hegel develop the notion of freedom in his metaphysics?

It is agreed by everyone that liberty is a good thing; and one cannot have enough of a good thing; thus unlimited liberty must be one of the most perfect of goods. For in liberty unlimited one can ...
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302 views

Regarding free choice in a deterministic universe

Why can't free will or free choice exist in a 'totally' deterministic universe? What I mean by a 'deterministic universe' at least 'locally' is one where if you had 'enough' information regarding some ...
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415 views

Counter-arguments for the Frankfurt cases

I am looking for critique or good counter-arguments specifically for the Frankfurt cases. The Frankfurt cases are in turn: counterexamples to the "principle of alternative possibilities", or ...
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143 views

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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224 views

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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244 views

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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5answers
193 views

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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328 views

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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248 views

In which sense Wittgenstein criticizes Schopenhauer's WILL?

In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, the section 6.53 may be treated as "a criticism of Schopenhauer's Will". As far as I understood there is also another concept involved: the russellian idea that ...
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99 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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146 views

The existence of God and imperfections

Assuming these givens: (1) God is perfectly just (2) Something imperfect cannot come from something perfect (3) perfection must exist for imperfection to exist (4) Humans are imperfect (5) Humans ...
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132 views

How am I supposed to make my own decisions if I am just part of a design? [duplicate]

I was created by god and I am going to be judged by god. It does not make any sense for me. You create one thing and say if you follow my orders you will go to heaven, otherwise you will go to hell. ...
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602 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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1k views

The problem is choice, (paradox) Or is enhancing choice the solution to increasing free will [closed]

While reading Incognito by David Eagleman, there was a chapter about justice and the neural plasticity of the brain. The ability (or in some cases inability) to regulate "moral" functioning. The legal ...
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259 views

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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65 views

Is it meaningful to describe your will as shaped by your peers

I am writing a speech which I will deliver to my fellow classmates. I wrote a paragraph which is as follows : Your will is not free. Your will is determined by me, by society and by countrymen. ...
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99 views

formulate an argument for determinism that cannot be directly solved by introducing a free soul, free consciousness, etc. [closed]

Formulate an argument for the case of philosophical determinism (i.e. no free will) that cannot be solved by the introduction of any psychics-free metaphysical entity.
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313 views

Logical analysis of “Free will and god(s)” argument

Please evaluate the following argument strictly for formal logical validity. I am NOT interested in debating the content or in philosophical perspectives on the content. However, I AM interested in ...
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320 views

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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54 views

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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87 views

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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89 views

Why are these IFs 'not the same as saying you could have chosen a peach'?

Source: p 50, What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987) by Prof. Thomas Nagel   When you say you could have had a peach instead of chocolate cake, part of what you ...
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References on ultimate determinism

One of the main philosophical questions is: Is everything in life predestined or not? In my view, everything up the smallest detail must be predestined. Here is the explanation for it: If one looks ...
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The more i think about it, the more it seems like quantum entanglement disproves the notion of free will [duplicate]

From my understanding of entanglement, and what it tells us about reality, the state the quantum system is in would have to be decided before measurement. This would mean that everything about our ...
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111 views

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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124 views

Why we think that we thinking by ourselves, independent and free [closed]

If anything thats every been created depends on its creator. Take computers for example where they think math but its us that programmed them. Then why do we feel that we think by ourselves, is it ...
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806 views

What is the connection between conscious mind and Gödel's incompleteness in a mathematical universe?

Assume that our universe is a mathematical one, similar to the one that Tegmark proposed (see here). In contrast to what I read there, let's assume that the axioms upon we build the universe are such ...
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879 views

Allegory of the Cave Free Will [closed]

Does the prisoner in the cave in Plato's allegory in The Republic have free will?
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144 views

Is a person responsible for his choices? [closed]

If a person is influenced by his culture/environment, how can he be responsible for his choices? As our choices are determined by the past actions that affected us in some way.
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87 views

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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59 views

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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472 views

Does Newcombs problem show free will is paradoxical? [closed]

Does Newcombs problem show free will is paradoxical by creating a thought experiment that uses free will and while using this, one's free choice one find's oneself in an impossible situation ? If so ...
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72 views

How does free will relate to external determination? [closed]

Many believe free will is having the ability to make your own choices without outside influence. But everything you see, hear and smell is an outside influence. Every lesson learnt through past ...
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134 views

Does the existence of ethics(as a set of rules) imply lack of empathy in humans? [closed]

Suppose we would have enough empathy to understand each other in any circumstance. Wouldn't all the discussion of any problem resolve to free will(of the participants of the problem) only? Would, in ...