Free Will in Judaism 101

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free will quizGersonides' position--seemingly radical because of the limitations it puts on God's capabilities--pales in comparison to the unique position of the Hasidic leader known as the Izbicer Rebbe. He claimed that there is no philosophical problem related to freewill, because humans don't have free will. While humans have control over their thoughts and intentions, God is the active cause of every human action. This sort of determinism is often referred to as "soft determinism." "Hard determinism" refers to the idea that even thoughts, intentions, and feelings are predetermined.

Modern Jewish thinkers also address the problem of free will, though more often than not, instead of solving the problem of how it can exist, they discuss when and where it does exist.

In many ways, free will in the modern period is an even more significant philosophical issue, as contemporary life emphasizes personal autonomy in a way that traditional societies didn't.

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