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Summary Since for very many philosophers the central issue in the free will debate is the compatibility question - the question whether free will is compatible with deterministic causation - philosophers of free will have a stake in knowing whether causation is deterministic. In particular, libertarians require that causation be indeterministic. Since physics is the fundamental science which has in its remit the nature of the basic causal processes, philosophers of free will turn to physics to discover whether our actions may be caused by indeterministic processes.
Key works Recent work in physics, especially quantum mechanics, has seemed to many to promise to show that brain processes are likely to be indeterministic.Hodgson 2002 reviews some of this evidence; more recently Hodgson 2012 develops an account of free will that builds on claims about quantum mechanics. 
Introductions Bishop 2002; Hodgson 2005
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107 found
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1 — 50 / 107
  1. added 2020-03-19
    Free Will and (in)Determinism in the Brain: A Case for Naturalized Philosophy.Louis Vervoort & Tomasz Blusiewicz - manuscript
    In this article we study the question of free will from an interdisciplinary angle, drawing on philosophy, neurobiology and physics. We start by reviewing relevant neurobiological findings on the functioning of the brain, notably as presented in (Koch 2009); we assess these against the physics of (in)determinism. These biophysics findings seem to indicate that neuronal processes are not quantum but classical in nature. We conclude from this that there is little support for the existence of an immaterial ‘mind’, capable of (...)
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  2. added 2020-02-18
    Freedom in a Physical World.Andrew M. Bailey - 2020 - Philosophical Papers 49 (1):31-39.
    Making room for agency in a physical world is no easy task. Can it be done at all? In this article, I consider and reject an argument in the negative.
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  3. added 2020-01-15
    Free Will of an Ontologically Open Mind.Jan Scheffel - manuscript
    The problem of free will has persistently resisted a solution throughout centuries. There is reason to believe that new elements need to be introduced into the analysis in order to make progress. In the present physicalist approach, these elements are emergence and information theory in relation to universal limits set by quantum physics. Furthermore, the common, but vague, characterization of having free will as "being able to act differently" is, in the spirit of Carnap, rephrased into an explicatum more suitable (...)
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  4. added 2019-11-12
    How Physics Makes Us Free (Jenann Ismael). [REVIEW]Beñat Esnaola - 2019 - Gogoa 20.
    Fisikak duen munduaren ulerkera eta askatasuna (edo nork bere burua gobernatzeko gaitasuna) uztartu daitezkeela defendatu nahi du Ismaelek liburuan. Askatasuna ez dago modan, ordea. Fatalismoa da nagusi. Alde handia dago bizi dugun munduaren eta fisikak deskribatzen duenaren artean, eta ohikoa da “Bizi duguna fisikak ilusioa dela erakusten du” eta horrelakoak entzutea. Beste askori, askatasunaren defentsa metafisikoa lekuz kanpokoa irudituko zaio. Horiek, askatasuna orain eta hemen behar dela defendatuko dute. Ez duela inongo zentzurik askatasuna termino horietan pentsatzeak.
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  5. added 2019-09-09
    Control, Choice, and the Convergence/Divergence Dynamics: A Compatibilistic Probabilistic Theory of Free Will.Marius Usher - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (4):188-213.
  6. added 2019-07-07
    Nature, Spontaneity, and Voluntary Action in Lucretius.Monte Ransome Johnson - 2013 - In Daryn Lehoux, A. D. Morrison & Alison Sharrock (eds.), Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science. Oxford University Press.
    In twenty important passages located throughout De rerum natura, Lucretius refers to natural things happening spontaneously (sponte sua; the Greek term is automaton). The most important of these uses include his discussion of the causes of: nature, matter, and the cosmos in general; the generation and adaptation of plants and animals; the formation of images and thoughts; and the behavior of human beings and the development of human culture. In this paper I examine the way spontaneity functions as a cause (...)
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  7. added 2019-06-06
    The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Free Will.Antonio Moreno - 1976 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 50:14.
  8. added 2019-06-05
    The Solution to the Problem of the Freedom of the Will.John Dupré - 1996 - Philosophical Perspectives 10:385-402.
    It has notoriously been supposed that the doctrine of determinism conflicts with the belief in human freedom. Yet it is not readily apparent how indeterminism, the denial of determinism, makes human freedom any less problematic. It has sometimes been suggested that the arrival of quantum mechanics should immediately have solved the problem of free will and determinism. It was proposed, perhaps more often by scientists than by philosophers, that the brain would need only to be fitted with a device for (...)
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  9. added 2019-06-05
    Free Will and Determinism. Allan M. Munn.R. J. C. Burgener - 1964 - Philosophy of Science 31 (2):188-189.
  10. added 2019-06-05
    Free-Will and Determinism. Allan M. Munn.Arnulf Zweig - 1962 - Ethics 72 (3):220-221.
  11. added 2019-03-07
    Introduction to the Special Theme on Philosophy and Science of Mind.Daniel Lim - 2018 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 13 (3):297-299.
  12. added 2019-03-04
    Agent-Causation Revisited: Origination and Contemporary Theories of Free Will.Thad Botham - 2008 - Berlin, Germany: Verlag D Müller.
    Sometimes you make a choice. Whether or not you made it was up to you. The choice was free. But how can this be? A scientific view of the world may leave no room for free choice. Free will literature continually explodes. Yet experts still focus on control or on a power to do otherwise. Sadly, they neglect another intuitive feature of free will: being an underived source or ultimate originator. When acting freely, one is a self-determined, self-directed, sole author (...)
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  13. added 2019-02-11
    The Free Will Impasse.Giacomo Goldoni - 2017 - Flusser Studies 23 (1).
    This essay discusses the concepts of entropy and negentropy used by Vilém Flusser in his philosophy of photography to delineate connections between science and art. If the act of finding order within chaos has always been a quality specific to human beings, the overwhelming role machines hold in our society casts shadows on human agency. Since the Enlightenment, humankind has carried on a regimentation of nature with the goal of finding a way of theorizing everything within it. In the same (...)
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  14. added 2019-01-23
    Free Will in a Quantum World?Valia Allori - 2019 - In J. De Barros & Carlos Montemayor (eds.), Quanta and Mind: Essays on the Connection between Quantum Mechanics and the Consciousness. Synthese Library.
    In this paper, I argue that Conway and Kochen’s Free Will Theorem (1,2) to the conclusion that quantum mechanics and relativity entail freedom for the particles, does not change the situation in favor of a libertarian position as they would like. In fact, the theorem more or less implicitly assumes that people are free, and thus it begs the question. Moreover, it does not prove neither that if people are free, so are particles, nor that the property people possess when (...)
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  15. added 2018-10-24
    How Has Quantum Physics Affected the Free Will Debate?Neer Singhal - manuscript
    This paper discusses the extent to which advances in quantum physics can affect ideas of free will and determinism. It questions whether arguments that conclude the existence of free will from quantum physics are as valid as they seem. -/- The paper discusses the validity of Searle’s philosophy of mind, Robert Kane’s parallel processing, and Ted Honderich’s near-determinism, as well as dealing with chaos theory, the relationship between ‘randomness’ and ‘unpredictability,’ and Bell’s theorem, discussing how they can be used to (...)
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  16. added 2018-03-16
    A Deterministic Model of the Free Will Phenomenon.Mark Hadley - 2018 - Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research 8 (1):1-19.
    The abstract concept of indeterministic free will is distinguished from the phenomenon of free will. Evidence for the abstract concept is examined and critically compared with various designs of automata. It is concluded that there is no evidence to support the abstract concept of indeterministic free will, it is inconceivable that a test could be constructed to distinguish an indeterministic agent from a complicated automaton. Testing the free will of an alien visitor is introduced to separate prejudices about who has (...)
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  17. added 2018-02-16
    Freedom From Physics.Barry Loewer - 1996 - Philosophical Topics 24 (2):91-112.
  18. added 2017-11-20
    Can Physics Make Us Free?Tuomas K. Pernu - 2017 - Frontiers in Physics 5.
    A thoroughly physical view on reality and our common sense view on agency and free will seem to be in a direct conflict with each other: if everything that happens is determined by prior physical events, so too are all our actions and conscious decisions; you have no choice but to do what you are destined to do. Although this way of thinking has intuitive appeal, and a long history, it has recently began to gain critical attention. A number of (...)
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  19. added 2017-11-02
    Why Determinism in Physics has No Implications for Free Will.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    This paper argues for the following three theses: There is a clear reason to prefer physical theories with deterministic dynamical equations: such theories are both maximally simple and maximally rich in information, since given an initial configuration of matter and the dynamical equations, the whole evolution of the configuration of matter is fixed. There is a clear way how to introduce probabilities in a deterministic physical theory, namely as answer to the question of what evolution of a specific system we (...)
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  20. added 2017-08-23
    On Free Will and No-Conspiracy.Iñaki San Pedro - 2013 - In Tilman Sauer & Adrian Wüthrich (eds.), New Vistas on Old Problems: Recent Approaches to the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge. pp. 87-102.
    In this paper, I challenge the widespread view that Measurement Independence adequately represents the requirement that EPR experimenters have free will. Measurement Independence is most commonly taken as a necessary condition for free will. A number of implicit assumptions can be identified in this regard, all of which can be challenged on their own grounds. As a result, I conclude that Measurement Independence-type conditions are not to be justified by appealing to the preservation of the EPR experimenters’ free will.
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  21. added 2017-08-23
    Free-Will as a Function of Divergence.Ivan D. London - 1948 - Psychological Review 55 (1):41-47.
  22. added 2017-08-22
    Does Physics Make Us Free?: J.T. Ismael: How Physics Makes Us Free. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 288 Pp, $29.95 HB. [REVIEW]Natalja Deng & Klaas Landsman - 2017 - Metascience 26 (1):127-130.
    This is a joint review of Jenann Ismael's 'How physics makes us free' (OUP).
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  23. added 2017-08-22
    The Biology of Free Will.Mae-Wan Ho - 1996 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):231-244.
    According to Bergson , the traditional problem of free will is misconceived and arises from a mismatch between the quality of authentic, subjective experience and its description in language, in particular, the language of the mechanistic science of psychology. Contemporary western scientific concepts of the organism, on the other hand, are leading us beyond conventional thermodynamics as well as quantum theory and offering rigorous insights which reaffirm and extend our intuitive, poetic, and even romantic notions of spontaneity and free will. (...)
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  24. added 2017-08-22
    Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness.G. N. Dolson - 1911 - Philosophical Review 20 (3):345.
  25. added 2017-02-21
    The Unsolvability of the Mind-Body Problem Liberates the Will.Scheffel Jan - manuscript
    The mind-body problem is analyzed in a physicalist perspective. By combining the concepts of emergence and algorithmic information theory in a thought experiment employing a basic nonlinear process, it is argued that epistemically strongly emergent properties may develop in a physical system. A comparison with the significantly more complex neural network of the brain shows that also consciousness is epistemically emergent in a strong sense. Thus reductionist understanding of consciousness appears not possible; the mind-body problem does not have a reductionist (...)
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  26. added 2017-02-01
    On What It Takes to Be a World.David Z. Albert & Jeffrey A. Barrett - 1995 - Topoi 14 (1):35-37.
    A many-worlds interpretation is of quantum mechanics tells us that the linear equations of motion are the true and complete laws for the time-evolution of every physical system and that the usual quantum-mechanical states provide complete descriptions of all possible physical situations. Such an interpretation, however, denies the standard way of understanding quantum-mechanical states. When the pointer on a measuring device is in a superposition of pointing many different directions, for example, we are to understand this as many pointers, each (...)
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  27. added 2017-01-29
    The Mathematical Description of a Generic Physical System.Federico Zalamea - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):339-348.
    When dealing with a certain class of physical systems, the mathematical characterization of a generic system aims to describe the phase portrait of all its possible states. Because they are defined only up to isomorphism, the mathematical objects involved are “schematic structures”. If one imposes the condition that these mathematical definitions completely capture the physical information of a given system, one is led to a strong requirement of individuation for physical states. However, we show there are not enough qualitatively distinct (...)
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  28. added 2017-01-18
    The Hard Problem: A Quantum Approach.Henry P. Stapp - 1996 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):194-210.
    [opening paragraph]: In his keynote paper David Chalmers defines ‘the hard problem’ by posing certain ‘Why’ questions about consciousness? Such questions must be posed within an appropriate setting. The way of science is to try to deduce the answer to many such questions from a few well defined assumptions. Much about nature can be explained in terms of the principles of classical mechanics. The assumptions, in this explanatory scheme, are that the world is composed exclusively of particles and fields governed (...)
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  29. added 2016-11-14
    On the Notion of Free Will in the Free Will Theorem.Klaas Landsman - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 57:98-103.
    The Free Will Theorem of Conway \& Kochen on the one hand follows from uncontroversial parts of modern physics and elementary mathematical and logical reasoning, but on the other hand seems predicated on an undefined notion of free will. Although Conway and Kochen informally claim that their theorem supports indeterminism and, in its wake, a libertarian agenda for free will, inferring the former from the Free Will Theorem is a \emph{petitio principii}. Of course, this also considerably weakens the case for (...)
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  30. added 2016-09-23
    Quantum Mechanics and Free Will: Five Key Issues.José Manuel Muñoz - 2015 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 19 (1):65-92.
    In this paper we critically analyze the situation of quantum mechanics in discussions on free will. It starts describing how the uncertainty principle and the measurement problem pose a challenge to determinism. Next, we present positions supporting and rejecting correlation between quantum phenomena and free will. Finally, we will place all these issues into the context of five key questions set out by Robert Kane: the Compatibility, Significance, Intelligibility, Existence and Determinist Questions.
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  31. added 2016-09-23
    Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness.Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    The most successful theory in all of science--and the basis of one third of our economy--says the strangest things about the world and about us. Can you believe that physical reality is created by our observation of it? Physicists were forced to this conclusion, the quantum enigma, by what they observed in their laboratories. Trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics and found, to their embarrassment, that their theory intimately connects consciousness with the physical world. Quantum Enigma explores (...)
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  32. added 2016-09-23
    Quantum Physics and Freedom in a Whiteheadian Perspective.George Arkell Rigagan - 1982 - Zygon 17 (3):255-265.
    This paper attempts to demonstrate the critical significance of early advances in quantum physics for Alfred North Whiteheads development of the categories of his metaphysics and to illustrate the capacity of his system to serve as a bridge between the sciences and the humanities by relating specific Whiteheadian categories to concrete microphysical behavior with special reference to the notion of freedom.
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  33. added 2016-09-20
    Contemporary Physics and Free Will: An Application of Quantum Existentialism.Nicolas Lori - 2009 - Mind and Matter 7 (1):111-129.
    In the hard determinism of Newtonian physics all aspects of the universe are deterministic and therefore all future behavior in the universe is determined by its present state. Hard determinism is incompatible with the existence of free will, but not with the belief in the existence of free will. It is analyzed what is required from physics for free will to exist. It is detailed which conditions must be fulfilled for randomness to be suficient for the existence of free will, (...)
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  34. added 2016-09-19
    Constraint and Freedom in the Movement From Quantum Physics to Theology.Philip Clayton - 2009 - In F. LeRon Shults, Nancey C. Murphy & Robert J. Russell (eds.), Philosophy, Science and Divine Action. Brill.
  35. added 2016-08-29
    A New Argument Against Libertarian Free Will?David Widerker - 2016 - Analysis 76 (3):296-306.
    In this paper, I present an argument that shows that the belief in libertarian freedom is inconsistent with two assumptions widely accepted by those who are physicalists with regard to the relation between the mental and the physical - that mental properties are distinct from physical properties, and that mental properties supervene on physical properties. After presenting the argument, I trace its implications for the question of the compatibility of libertarian free will and physicalism in general.
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  36. added 2016-03-29
    Mind-Body problemets olösbarhet frigör viljan.Jan Scheffel - manuscript
    Mind-body problemet analyseras i ett reduktionistiskt perspektiv. Genom att kombinera emergensbegreppet med algoritmisk informationsteori visas i ett tankeexperiment att ett starkt epistemiskt emergent system kan konstrueras utifrån en relativt enkel, ickelinjär process. En jämförelse med hjärnans avsevärt mer komplexa neurala nätverk visar att även medvetandet kan karakteriseras som starkt epistemiskt emergent. Därmed är reduktionistisk förståelse av medvetandet inte möjlig; mind-body problemet har alltså inte en reduktionistisk lösning. Medvetandets ontologiskt emergenta karaktär kan därefter konstateras utifrån en kombinatorisk analys; det är därmed (...)
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  37. added 2015-08-29
    The Two-Stage Solution to the Problem of Free Will.Robert O. Doyle - 2013 - In Antoine Suarez Peter Adams (ed.), Is Science Compatible with Free Will? New York, NY, USA: Springer. pp. 235-254.
    Random noise in the neurobiology of animals allows for the generation of alternative possibilities for action. In lower animals, this shows up as behavioral freedom. Animals are not causally predetermined by prior events going back in a causal chain to the origin of the universe. In higher animals, randomness can be consciously invoked to generate surprising new behaviors. In humans, creative new ideas can be critically evaluated and deliberated. On reflection, options can be rejected and sent back for “second thoughts” (...)
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  38. added 2015-08-29
    Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy.Bob Doyle - 2011 - Cambridge, MA, USA: I-Phi Press.
    A sourcebook/textbook on the problem of free will and determinism. Contains a history of the free will problem, a taxonomy of current free will positions, the standard argument against free will, the physics, biology, and neuroscience of free will, the most plausible and practical solution of the problem, and reviews of the work of the leading determinist Ted Honderich, the leading libertarian Robert Kane, the well-known compatibilist Daniel Dennett, and the determinism-agnostic Alfred Mele.
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  39. added 2015-08-29
    Free Will: It's a Normal Biological Property, Not a Gift or Mystery.Robert O. Doyle - 2009 - Nature 459:1052.
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  40. added 2015-08-27
    The Nature of Causal Action.Jean E. Burns - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (3-4):60-73.
    It is not known whether consciousness can affect the physical world, as a result of a free will action or in some other way. To do so, it must be able to produce physical changes that cannot be accounted for by physical laws, an ability we will refer to as causal action, and several issues relevant to this possibility are discussed. 1) Until recently it was thought that the conservation laws of physics would prohibit causal action. It has now been (...)
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  41. added 2015-08-13
    Indeterminacy and Freedom: A Reappraisal.Ian Barbour - 1955 - Philosophy of Science 22 (1):8-20.
  42. added 2015-04-07
    Nonphysical Souls Would Violate Physical Laws.David L. Wilson - 2015 - In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 349-367.
    This paper argues that nonphysical souls would violate fundamental physical laws if they were able to influence brain events. Though we have no idea how nonphysical souls might operate, we know quite a bit about how brains work, so we can consider each of the ways that an external force could interrupt brain processes enough to control one’s body. It concludes that there is no way that a nonphysical soul could interact with the brain—neither by introducing new energy into the (...)
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  43. added 2015-01-23
    Bell’s Theorem: Two Neglected Solutions.Louis Vervoort - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (6):769-791.
    Bell’s theorem admits several interpretations or ‘solutions’, the standard interpretation being ‘indeterminism’, a next one ‘nonlocality’. In this article two further solutions are investigated, termed here ‘superdeterminism’ and ‘supercorrelation’. The former is especially interesting for philosophical reasons, if only because it is always rejected on the basis of extra-physical arguments. The latter, supercorrelation, will be studied here by investigating model systems that can mimic it, namely spin lattices. It is shown that in these systems the Bell inequality can be violated, (...)
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  44. added 2014-11-20
    Man as Trinity of Body, Spirit, and Soul.Marcoen J. T. F. Cabbolet - manuscript
    Although there are several monistic and dualistic approaches to the mind-body problem on the basis of classical or quantum mechanics, thus far no consensus exists about a solution. Recently, the Elementary Process Theory (EPT) has been developed: this corresponds with a fundamentally new disciplinary matrix for the study of physical reality. The purpose of the present research was to investigate the mind-body problem within this newly developed disciplinary matrix. The main finding is that the idea of a duality of body (...)
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  45. added 2014-08-19
    On the Limitations and Promise of Quantum Theory for Comprehension of Human Knowledge and Consciousness.Carl S. Helrich - 2006 - Zygon 41 (3):543-566.
  46. added 2014-07-24
    About Possible Extensions of Quantum Theory.GianCarlo Ghirardi & Raffaele Romano - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (7):881-894.
    Recently it has been claimed that no extension of quantum theory can have improved predictive power, the statement following, according to the authors, from the assumptions of free will and of the correctness of quantum predictions concerning the correlations of measurement outcomes. Here we prove that the argument is basically flawed by an inappropriate use of the assumption of free will. In particular, among other implications, the claim, if correct, would imply that Bohmian Mechanics is incompatible with free will. This (...)
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  47. added 2014-07-13
    Constraints on Determinism: Bell Versus Conway–Kochen.Eric Cator & Klaas Landsman - 2014 - Foundations of Physics 44 (7):781-791.
    Bell’s Theorem from Physics 36:1–28 (1964) and the (Strong) Free Will Theorem of Conway and Kochen from Notices AMS 56:226–232 (2009) both exclude deterministic hidden variable theories (or, in modern parlance, ‘ontological models’) that are compatible with some small fragment of quantum mechanics, admit ‘free’ settings of the archetypal Alice and Bob experiment, and satisfy a locality condition akin to parameter independence. We clarify the relationship between these theorems by giving reformulations of both that exactly pinpoint their resemblance and their (...)
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  48. added 2014-03-31
    Randomness, Game Theory and Free Will.J. Moreh - 1994 - Erkenntnis 41 (1):49 - 64.
    Libertarians claim that human behaviour is undetermined and cannot be predicted from knowledge of past history even in principle since it is based on the random movements of quantum mechanics. Determinists on the other hand deny thatmacroscopic phenomena can be activated bysub-microscopic events, and assert that if human action is unpredictable in the way claimed by libertarians, it must be aimless and irrational. This is not true of some types of random behaviour described in this paper. Random behaviour may make (...)
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  49. added 2014-03-30
    Chaos and Free Will.James W. Garson - 1995 - Philosophical Psychology 8 (4):365-74.
    This paper explores the possibility that chaos theory might be helpful in explaining free will. I will argue that chaos has little to offer if we construe its role as to resolve the apparent conflict between determinism and freedom. However, I contend that the fundamental problem of freedom is to find a way to preserve intuitions about rational action in a physical brain. New work on dynamic computation provides a framework for viewing free choice as a process that is sensitive (...)
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  50. added 2014-03-29
    Is Quantum Indeterminism Relevant to Free Will?Michael Esfeld - 2000 - Philosophia Naturalis 37 (1):177-187.
    Quantum indeterminism may make available the option of an interactionism that does not have to pay the price of a force over and above those forces that are acknowledged in physics in order to explain how intentions can be physically effective. I show how this option might work in concrete terms and offer a criticism of it.
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1 — 50 / 107