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Based on a question over on Philosophy.SE:

The Wikipedia article on "secondary causation" notes the following without footnote:

According to the Jewish Torah which brought down the original idea in Genesis, the phrase "free will" is a mistranslation from the Torah, rather what humans are given is "freedom to choose". Freedom to choose to do God's Will at all times even though God gave us a good inclination and a not-good inclination to use in choosing, we are told "Therefore choose life".

To what idea in the Torah is this referring to? Who brings this idea?


Edit: note, on the difference between free will and freedom of choice, on a different question over on Philosophy.SE, someone wrote:

This is just an old paradox in discussions of free will. You are free to do whatever you desire. But you are not free to choose your desires. Similarly, Marx said, "man" makes his own history, but not under the historical conditions of his choosing. And Mill attempted to secularize the paradox by observing that we are slaves to habit, but can step back and form those habits. We can, in some measure, both rely on causes and effects and intervene between them. The idea, which arises in many forms, is that "freedom" is indeed inevitably paradoxical. There is no such thing as "absolute" freedom nor "absolute" constraint. There are only indeterminacies and determinations on different levels, of which one may or may not be aware.

  • What's the difference between free will and freedom of choice? I'm not sure I see one...I assume they're translating the phrase בחירה חפשית and freedome to choose, but I equated that as free will... – robev Jul 14 at 21:17
  • @robev I as well, which is why this struck me. I was wondering what I was missing... – Harel13 Jul 14 at 21:21
  • Note the passage was added in this revision. The author of that passage also brings something from the Tanya. Maybe that's a clue where to look. – robev Jul 14 at 23:38
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    The one who gave the answer there himself admitted he thinks there isn't a difference. It's a semantics game. If Wiki is pointing to Genesis you can assume Wiki is referring to the Etz HaDaas. – user6591 Jul 16 at 0:49
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    In Metahalakhah ch. 2, Dr Moshe Koppel uses information theory to show that there is a middle ground between algorithm and randomness. He doesn't show what it is, just that it must exist. (I think it's impossible to show what it is, because even natural language only knows how to describe the algorithmic.) I think philosophers get stuck on a false dichotomy because this proof isn't much discussed. (Even though Dr Koppel is one of the bigger names in computational statistics today.) – Micha Berger Jul 17 at 17:08

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