Questions tagged [free-will]

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

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350 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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138 views

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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279 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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155 views

J. J. Thomson: A Defense of Abortion - When is it permissible to kill?

WORK SOURCE: http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm (This is a homework assignment) According to Thomson, if another person is about to cause your death, then: A. It ...
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101 views

Can being lame and repose in a chair not imply Compatibilism?

Source: p 83, Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (2012) by Prof Sharon Kaye (MA PhD in Philosophy, U. Toronto) Likewise, if I tie you to a chair, we say that you are unfree because there is an ...
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114 views

Free Will in Psychiatry

I have a conundrum: If a psychiatric patient who cannot distinguish between dream and reality believes that each night a stranger comes and cuts their arm off, and subsequently asks for their real arm ...
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208 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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4answers
145 views

What is the case for free will?

By understanding the laws of nature, I've come to the conclusion that everything evolves according to the laws of physics, and that includes the formation of conscious and unconscious thoughts in the ...
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1answer
86 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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109 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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445 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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155 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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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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93 views

Do habits lead us to believe in our free will?

Notoriously intractable, free will have had no success in being proven physically. Even phenomenally it is difficult to pin down precisely. So why do people believe each other when claiming that they ...
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55 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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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
96 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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2answers
81 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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84 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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76 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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4answers
306 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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464 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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147 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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243 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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256 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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6answers
215 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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340 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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259 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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105 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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156 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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656 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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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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260 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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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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160 views

Does the first law of thermodynamics guarantee us free will?

I'm considering what may already be a well-known argument. Overall I am looking for a rebuttal. I'd like to make a quick point before the argument: For this question I would like to think of free ...
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53 views

Is illiteracy something you could claim as freedom in the Libertarian world view?

Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice. (Wiki) Is it consequent or illogical to argument that a Libertarian world view allows for illiteracy as ...
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338 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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89 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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93 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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49 views

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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48 views

How do I prove an incompatibilist argument wrong?

I found a classical incompatibilist argument that looks that this: If a person acts of her own free will, then she could have done otherwise If determinism is true, no one can do otherwise ...
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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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864 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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983 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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148 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.