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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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109 found
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1 — 50 / 109
  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Ein modernes Konzept des interaktionistischen Dualismus.Jörg Neunhäuserer - manuscript
    We develop a modern interactive libertarian dualism of physical and mental events using the concept of probability.
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  4. 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 free will as "being able to act differently" is, in the spirit of Carnap, rephrased into an explicatum more suitable for (...)
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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. Degrees of Freedom.Pieter Thyssen & Sylvia Wenmackers - forthcoming - Synthese:1-29.
    Human freedom is in tension with nomological determinism and with statistical determinism. The goal of this paper is to answer both challenges. Four contributions are made to the free-will debate. First, we propose a classification of scientific theories based on how much freedom they allow. We take into account that indeterminism comes in different degrees and that both the laws and the auxiliary conditions can place constraints. A scientific worldview pulls towards one end of this classification, while libertarianism pulls towards (...)
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  8. 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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  9. Free Will in Human Behavior and Physics.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Labor and Social Relations 30 (6):185-196.
    If the concept of “free will” is reduced to that of “choice” all physical world shares the latter quality. Anyway the “free will” can be distinguished from the “choice”: The “free will” involves implicitly a certain goal, and the choice is only the mean, by which the aim can be achieved or not by the one who determines the target. Thus, for example, an electron has always a choice but not free will unlike a human possessing both. Consequently, and paradoxically, (...)
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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. Introduction to the Special Theme on Philosophy and Science of Mind.Daniel Lim - 2018 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 13 (3):297-299.
  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. How to Solve “Free Will” Puzzles and Overcome Limitations of Platonic Science.Robert Kovsky - 2013
    “Free will” puzzles are failed attempts to make freedom fit into forms of science. The failures seem puzzling because of widespread beliefs that forms of science describe and control everything. Errors in such beliefs are shown by reconstruction of forms of “platonic science” that were invented in ancient Greece and that have developed into modern physics. Like platonic Ideas, modern Laws of Physics are said to exercise hegemonic control through eternal, universal principles. Symmetries, rigidity and continuity are imposed through linear (...)
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  28. A Dialogue on Free Will and Science.Alfred R. Mele - 2013 - Oup Usa.
    A Dialogue on Free Will and Science is a brief and intriguing book discussing the scientific challenges of free will. Presented through a dialogue, the format allows ideas to emerge and be clarified and then evaluated in a natural way. Engaging and accessible, it offers students a compelling look at free will and science.
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  29. Free Will and Error.Shaun Nichols - 2013 - In Gregg Caruso (ed.), Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books. pp. 203.
  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. Genuine Biological Autonomy: How Can the Spooky Finger of Mind Play on the Physical Keyboard of the Brain?Grandpierre Attila - 2012 - In Dr Gregory T. Papanikos (ed.), ATINER CONFERENCE PAPER SERIES No: PHI2012-0197.
    Although biological autonomy is widely discussed, its description in scientific terms remains elusive. I present here a series of recent evidences on the existence of genuine biological autonomy. Nevertheless, nowadays it seems that the only acceptable ground to account for any natural phenomena, including biological autonomy, is physics. But if this were the case, then arguably there would be no way to account for genuine biological autonomy. The way out of such a situation is to build up an exact theoretical (...)
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  33. Http://Www.Researchgate.Net/Publication/234006998Genuine_Biological_Autonomy_How_can_the_Spooky_Finger_of_Mind_play_on_the_Physical_Keyboard_of_theBrain.Grandpierre Attila - 2012 - In Gregory Papanikos (ed.), Proceeding of: Athens Institute for Education and Research ATINER ATINER's Conference Paper Series PHI2012-0197, At Athens.
    Although biological autonomy is widely discussed, its description in scientific terms remains elusive. I present here a series of recent evidences on the existence of genuine biological autonomy. Nevertheless, nowadays it seems that the only acceptable ground to account for any natural phenomena, including biological autonomy, is physics. But if this were the case, then arguably there would be no way to account for genuine biological autonomy. The way out of such a situation is to build up an exact theoretical (...)
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  34. The Action of Consciousness and the Uncertainty Principle.Jean E. Burns - 2012 - Journal of Nonlocality 1 (1).
    The term action of consciousness is used to refer to an influence, such as psychokinesis or free will, that produces an effect on matter that is correlated to mental intention, but not completely determined by physical conditions. Such an action could not conserve energy. But in that case, one wonders why, when highly accurate measurements are done, occasions of non-conserved energy (generated perhaps by unconscious PK) are not detected. A possible explanation is that actions of consciousness take place within the (...)
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  35. Biological Autonomy.Attila Grandpierre & Menas Kafatos - 2012 - Philosophy Study 2 (9):631-649.
    We argue that genuine biological autonomy, or described at human level as free will, requires taking into account quantum vacuum processes in the context of biological teleology. One faces at least three basic problems of genuine biological autonomy: (1) if biological autonomy is not physical, where does it come from? (2) Is there a room for biological causes? And (3) how to obtain a workable model of biological teleology? It is shown here that the solution of all these three problems (...)
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  36. Hume and Reid on Newtonianism, Naturalism and Liberty.Chris Lindsay - 2012 - In Ilya Kasavin (ed.), David Hume and Contemporary Philosophy. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    There has been a recent flurry of work comparing and contrasting the respective methodologies of David Hume and his contemporary Thomas Reid. Both writers are explicit in their commitments to a Newtonian methodology. Yet they diverge radically on the issue of human liberty. In this paper I want to unpack the methodological commitments underlying the two different accounts of liberty. How is it that two avowed Newtonians end up diametrically opposed to one another with respect to such a fundamental aspect (...)
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  37. The Metaphysical Importance of the Compatibility Question: Comments on Mark Balaguer’s Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem.Michael McKenna - 2012 - Philosophical Studies (1):1-12.
  38. 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. Free Will and Modern Science.Richard Swinburne (ed.) - 2011 - OUP/British Academy.
    Do humans have a free choice of which actions to perform? Three recent developments of modern science can help us to answer this question. First, new investigative tools have enabled us to study the processes in our brains which accompanying our decisions. The pioneer work of Benjamin Libet has led many neuroscientists to hold the view that our conscious intentions do not cause our bodily movements but merely accompany them. Then, Quantum Theory suggests that not all physical events are fully (...)
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  40. Popper and Free Will.Danny Frederick - 2010 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 3 (1):21-38.
    Determinism seems incompatible with free will. However, even indeterminism seems incompatible with free will, since it seems to make free actions random. Popper contends that free agents are not bound by physical laws, even indeterministic ones, and that undetermined actions are not random if they are influenced by abstract entities. I argue that Popper could strengthen his account by drawing upon his theories of propensities and of limited rationality; but that even then his account would not fully explain why free (...)
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  41. Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem * by Mark Balaguer.G. Malinas - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):793-795.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  42. Reply to Comments on Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom.Nicholas Maxwell - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):667-690.
    In this article I reply to comments made by Agustin Vicente and Giridhari Lal Pandit on Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom (McHenry 2009 ). I criticize analytic philosophy, go on to expound the argument for the need for a revolution in academic inquiry so that the basic aim becomes wisdom and not just knowledge, defend aim-oriented empiricism, outline my solution to the human world/physical universe problem, and defend the thesis that free will is compatible with physicalism.
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  43. 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.
  44. Free Will: It's a Normal Biological Property, Not a Gift or Mystery.Robert O. Doyle - 2009 - Nature 459:1052.
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  45. Free Will, Physics, Biology and the Brain: An Introduction.Christof Koch - 2009 - In Nancey Murphy, George Ellis, O. ’Connor F. R. & Timothy (eds.), Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will. Springer Verlag. pp. 1--23.
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  46. Free Will, Physics, Biology, and the Brain.Christof Koch - 2009 - In Nancey Murphy, George Ellis, O. ’Connor F. R. & Timothy (eds.), Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will. Springer Verlag. pp. 31--52.
  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. The Pointsman: Maxwell’s Demon, Victorian Free Will, and the Boundaries of Science.Matthew Stanley - 2008 - Journal of the History of Ideas 69 (3):467-491.
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