25

Well, there is an ancient and unsettled debate between libertarians who believe free will is incompatible with a deterministic (or random) universe, and compatibilists who believe the libertarian notion of free will is incoherent, and propose a definition of free will which is compatible with a deterministic (or random) universe. You can read about this ...


17

Can I predict my future by observing all humans/events According to Wolpert's theorem, no you can't. What you are describing here: I believe everything happened/happening in the universe is not random. There should be a reason for each and every event(Cause and Effect). In sameway Human brain, all my decision are impacted by environment, previous ...


14

I distinguish between "free will" and "freedom of action". Free will: A person at a situation A can decide between action B, C, D. He choses B but could have acted differently. Under the assumption that our decision-making process is not dependent on randomness this is not compatible with a physical world. All accounts of "I could have acted differently" ...


14

From what I have read so, atheism and materialism/physicalism are considered to be the same thing. This is incorrect. Atheism is a view about the existence of God. Materialism is a metaphysical view about the kinds of substance that exist. Specifically, atheism is the claim that there does not exist a God, or Gods, in the style of the major religions. ...


10

I honestly cannot understand what this has to do with free will. Free will is hard to define, but roughly the philosophical definition is independence from external physical influences. If we have free will, then we are by default independent from these influences. Then, if we are told that certain actions will incur punishment, which is an external ...


10

The "intension" of a concept is its meaning, whereas the "extension" of the concept is the set of the things that fall under that concept. The most helpful way to see the distinction is with a pair of concepts that have the same extension, but different intensions. For instance "renate" (="having kidneys") and "cordate" (="having a heart"). Everything that ...


10

There are ways to reconcile libertarian free will even with classical physics. One could say (as was common position in 19-th century) that the laws of nature are only approximations and do not prescribe future events in every detail, free will is constrained only as far as the metaphysical margin of error. Non-Lipschitz forces (gravity, resistance) produce ...


10

I tend to share your puzzlement. A lot of contemporary metaphysicians seem to have an outdated view of physics, not only about determinism but also about locality or mereology. (This was criticized by Ladyman and Ross in "everything must go".) I think the main reasons are the following: Generally, philosophers are not trained in physics (except ...


10

Your point, "Determinism and free will are not discernible from the mortal perspective" is indeed the third antinomy (paradox) of Kant. According to Kant, human capacity for knowledge is innately limited by his 12 categories. The categories function like a fish net. Those that are caught by the net constitute human knowledge, and those that go though the net ...


10

Contrary to the other answer and the assumptions in your question: Hard determinism does not, in any way, mean that trying to better yourself does not work. Rather, under hard determinism, whether you decide to "try" to better yourself is also determined. You had no "free will" to decide whether or not to post this question. And you're "destined" to be ...


9

Omnipotence implies omniscience, which implies that the future is fixed, which removes free will in the sense that it is commonly understood. As some have pointed out, language can be used to justify just about anything. Thus, one could simply claim that "God can do anything and there are no conflicts", instantly solving the problem. But I think this ...


9

Being an atheist does not imply a materialistic worldview, it simply means one does not believe in (a) God. Having said that, I think an atheist would likely have a materialist worldview simply because the same thing that caused an atheist to deny the existence of God (lack of evidence for this thing existing in another realm) would lead to a denial of ...


9

James was not the first one to realize that central "I" or "consciousness" as an entity is not in any way helpful in explaining the will, or any other mental faculties. It is just a homunculus in the head that moves all the problems along, with no explanatory power, and potential for infinite regress: what is the central "I" of the central "I"? The only ...


9

The problem of free will reads: How to explain the subjective experience of free will (first person’s stance) by a scientific theory, dealing with objective concepts (third person’s stance). Due to our subjective experience we do not need further arguments “for humans having free will” (first person's stance). What we need, is a scientific explanation ...


9

If according to some compatibilist free will is something that makes sense in a social context (where the notions of personhood, of responsibility or of agentivity take their appropriate meaning) then this is no argument. Evolution theory does not undermine the fact that we live in organised society. The question becomes "at which point in evolution did ...


8

NOTE: This answer was given to a previous incarnation of this question. The block quotes I am responding to come from this incarnation. If I have the time I will modify my answer to respond more directly to this version of the question. When a person is placed in a position of absolute power, is it necessarily true that this power will condemn that person ...


8

The basic thrust of Plantinga's argument is that God is not all-powerful (omnipotent); He cannot create a world where free will exists and not allow them to choose between evil or good. He doesn't specifically address the conflict between foreknowledge and free will, but it is implied that God lacks such foreknowledge (he is not omnipotent) because otherwise ...


8

Certainly. Simply because one cannot both know position and velocity through measurement, for example, doesn't prevent the idea that if one did know both, then they could present with certainty the outcome. One might suggest a metaphor: if you were trying to aim a cannon and you measured exactly one of the angle of inclination or the amount of powder in the ...


8

Benjamin Libet in his book "Mind time. The temporal factor in consciousness (2004)" carefully describes the experimental setting of his investigations. His result: First, our brain starts the process of volition. At about 350-400 milliseconds later, the proband realizes - consciously - that he wants to act. Libet explains that a proband can well ...


8

First, B theory is a semantic theory about the proper way to refer to events in time, not a metaphysical theory about past and future events. The view that past and future events are real is called eternalism. It's true that B theory fits better with eternalism than with other metaphysical theories of time, but strictly speaking they are distinct. Second, ...


7

From what I have seen, a large portion of the debate over free will arises from unclear conceptions of what one means by the term. If you do not count your internal state as you but rather as "the situation", and you insist that your free will must be will (neither determined nor random, but selected based on some reason), then you cannot have free will: ...


7

These claims are not contradictory, and can be easily reconciled. Omnipotence does not compel an entity to act; an omnipotent being could very easily choose to refrain from interfering in the choices made by another being, granting that being free use of their free will.


7

Penrose's idea fell afoul of well-verified contradictory information. First, the mechanisms for functioning of neurons are quite well worked out, and do not require microtubules for signaling (only for structural properties, which change meaningfully on time scales longer than a choice that we percieve). Second, microtubules in cells are at relatively high ...


7

Daniel Dennett (among others) advocates a type of moral responsibility with only as much free will as you can get with determinism or determinism + unwilled randomness (more or less compatible with Sam Harris' assumptions). There's a pretty good summary post here. In brief, the argument ends up redefining terms somewhat while claiming that this is what we ...


7

One distinction to make clear is that between "deterministic" and "predictable." Predictability is generally not a precondition for determinism. Even if a world is unpredictable by any means, it doesn't directly follow that it could not be deterministic. For example, say a set of all past events X leads to an outcome Y determined by the probability function ...


7

First off, I want to say this is a really good question that reflects real thought on an interpretative issue in Kant studies. Second, I think you're grasping some major things but also thinking backwards (by which I mean imposing contemporary categories on what Kant is doing). In terms of your question, one major issue is going to be where in Kant you are ...


7

The colloquial meaning of "destiny", "an attitude of resignation in the face of some future event or events which are thought to be inevitable" as SEP's Fatalism puts it, is in fact compatible with "free will". The prototypical example is the myth of Oedipus, who was destined to kill his father and marry his mother, warned of it long in advance, and free to ...


7

If determinism is true, the will is not free. 1.1 Determinism is not true: One could argue for this from a dualist position, that the mind is separate from the body and part of a non-material mental realm that doesn't follow the laws of physics, yet has the power to act on the body in a causal way. DesCartes famously argued for this position, and went so ...


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