This category needs an editor. We encourage you to help if you are qualified.
Volunteer, or read more about what this involves.
About this topic
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
Related categories

90 found
1 — 50 / 90
  1. 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 (...)
  2. Preface.Harald Atmanspacher - manuscript
    The machine sculpture “Klamauk” (English: hubbub) by the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925–1991), featured on the cover, looks like a perfect example of a deterministic process, but it also looks as if thrown together “by chance”. This tension between determinism and chance has been of longstanding concern in the sciences and the humanities. And nowhere is this tension stronger than in debates about free will and our place in the world, where determinism seems bound to crowd freedom out of the (...)
  3. Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism.Harald Atmanspacher & Robert C. Bishop (eds.) - 2002 - Thorverton UK: Imprint Academic.
    These and other questions emphasize the fact that chance and choice are two leading actors on stage whenever issues of determinism are under discussion. ...
  4. 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 (...)
  5. 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 (...)
  6. Indeterminacy and Freedom: A Reappraisal.Ian Barbour - 1955 - Philosophy of Science 22 (1):8-20.
  7. Chaos, Indeterminism, and Free Will.Robert C. Bishop - 2002 - In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press.
  8. Hyperbolas and Hyperbole: The Free Will Problem Remains.Bruce Bridgeman - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):652-653.
    Hyperbolic theories have the fatal flaw that because of their vertical asymptote they predict irresistible choice of immediate rewards, regardless of future contingencies. They work only for simple situations. Theories incorporating intermediate unconscious choices are more flexible, but are neither exponential nor hyperbolic in their predictions. They don't solve the free will paradox, which may be just a consistent illusion.
  9. Book Review:Free Will and Determinism Allan M. Munn. [REVIEW]R. J. C. Burgener - 1964 - Philosophy of Science 31 (2):188-.
  10. 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 (...)
  11. 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 (...)
  12. 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 (...)
  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 (...)
  14. The Relativity of Free Will.Ernest F. Champness - 1929 - Philosophy 4 (16):579-.
  15. The Problem of Freedom.Mary T. Clark (ed.) - 1973 - New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
    Eddington, A. The decline of determinism.--Heisenberg, W. and others. Dialogue concerning science and philosophical positions.--Sinnott, E. Biology and freedom.--Nuttin, J. The unconscious and freedom.--Nagel, E. Determinism in history.--Ayer, A. J. Freedom and necessity.--Campbell, C. A. Philosophical defence of freedom.--Hare, R. M. Freedom and reason.--Dewey, J. Freedom as a problem.--Sartre, J.-P. Freedom and total responsibility.--Camus, A. Freedom and rebellion.--Rand, A. Freedom and individualism.--Thévenaz, P. Freedom and action.--Luijpen, W. A. Phenomenology of freedom.--Teilhard de Chardin, P. Cosmic freedom.--Jaspers, K. Freedom and society.--Macmurray, J. (...)
  16. 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.
  17. The Strong Free Will Theorem.John H. Conway - unknown
    The two theories that revolutionized physics in the twentieth century, relativity and quantum mechanics, are full of predictions that defy common sense. Recently, we used three such paradoxical ideas to prove “The Free Will Theorem” (strengthened here), which is the culmination of a series of theorems about quantum mechanics that began in the 1960s. It asserts, roughly, that if indeed we humans have free will, then elementary particles already have their own small share of this valuable commodity. More precisely, if (...)
  18. Free Agency and Materialism.J. A. Cover & John O’Leary-Hawthorne - 1996 - In Daniel Howard-Snyder & J. Scott Jordan (eds.), Faith, Freedom, and Rationality. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 47-72.
  19. Cornering 'Free Will'.Jasper Doomen - 2011 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (3):165-179.
    In order to find a convincing position in the “free will” debate, two sorts of determinism are distinguished. The merits of encompassing determinism, which is determinism as it is usually understood, and individual determinism, which focuses on the agent, are brought to the fore. The existence of encompassing determinism cannot conclusively be proven, but it may be demonstrated, on the basis of individual determinism, that actions come about in a determined way, leaving no room for “free will.” In order to (...)
  20. Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy.Bob Doyle - 2011 - I-Phi Press.
  21. 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? Springer. pp. 235-254.
    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.
  22. Free Will: It's a Normal Biological Property, Not a Gift or Mystery.Robert O. Doyle - 2009 - Nature 459:1052.
  23. The Solution to the Problem of the Freedom of the Will.John Dupré - 1995 - Noûs 30:385 - 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 (...)
  24. Quantum Physics and Consciousness, Creativity, Computers: A Commentary on Goswami's Quantum-Based Theory of Consciousness and Free Will.Michael G. Dyer - 1994 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 15 (3):265-90.
    Goswami proposes to replace the current scientific paradigm of physical realism with that of a quantum-based monistic idealism and, in the process, accomplish the following goals: establish a basis for explaining consciousness, reintegrate spirituality, mysticism, morality, a sense that the universe is meaningful, etc., with scientific discoveries and the scientific enterprise, and support the assumption that humans possess free will - i.e., that they are not controlled by the apparently inexorable causality of the physical laws that govern the functioning of (...)
  25. The Problem of Free Will.Willard F. Enteman - 1967 - New York: Scribner.
  26. 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.
  27. Free Will in a Mechanistic Universe? An Extension.D. A. Evans & P. T. Landsberg - 1972 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 23 (4):336-343.
  28. 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 (...)
  29. 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 (...)
  30. 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 (...)
  31. What Does the Free Will Theorem Actually Prove?Sheldon Goldstein - unknown
    Conway and Kochen have presented a “free will theorem” [4, 6] which they claim shows that “if indeed we humans have free will, then [so do] elementary particles.” In a more precise fashion, they claim it shows that for certain quantum experiments in which the experimenters can choose between several options, no deterministic or stochastic model can account for the observed outcomes without violating a condition “MIN” motivated by relativistic symmetry. We point out that for stochastic models this conclusion is (...)
  32. Commentary on Hodgson's Paper on Plain Person's Free Will.Ravi Gomatam - unknown
    Hodgson formulates nine propositions that elaborate this plain person’s view of free will. He also offers detailed justifications that he hopes are philosophically and scientifically respectable. While Hodgson doesn't state anywhere what would count as a "scientifically respectable" proposition, he seems to expect that any scientific theory of consciousness and free will must fully account for his nine propositions, not just explain them away. Or, alternatively, any scientific theory of free will that is incompatible with his nine propositions cannot serve (...)
  33. 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 (...)
  34. On the Limitations and Promise of Quantum Theory for Comprehension of Human Knowledge and Consciousness.Carl S. Helrich - 2006 - Zygon 41 (3):543-566.
  35. The Conway-Kochen 'Free Will Theorem' and Unscientific Determinism.David Hodgson - manuscript
    One has it that earlier circumstances and the laws of nature uniquely determine later circumstances, and the other has it that past present and future all exist tenselessly in a ‘block universe,’ so that the passage of time and associated changes in the world are illusions or at best merely apparent.
  36. Response to Commentators.David Hodgson - 2005 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (1):76-95.
    I am very grateful to the commentators for their consideration of my target article. I found their comments thought-provoking and challenging, but I am not persuaded that any substantial departure is required from the views I expressed in the article. I will respond to each comment in turn, and then I will briefly review how my nine propositions have fared.
  37. Coming to Terms with the Determined.Ted Honderich - manuscript
    From a bird's-eye view, the central argument of A Theory of Determinism appears as follows: (A) The mind is the brain; every mental event (including every decision and every framing of intention) is intimately related to a neural event. (B) Probably all neural events are deterministically caused, so, thanks to the intimate relation, determinism is likely to be true of our decisions and actions. (C) Does this mean that there is no free will? Incompatibilists say yes, Compatibilists say no, and (...)
  38. 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 (...)
  39. The Oxford Handbook of Free Will.Robert H. Kane (ed.) - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
    This comprehensive reference provides an exhaustive guide to current scholarship on the perennial problem of Free Will--perhaps the most hotly and voluminously debated of all philosophical problems. While reference is made throughout to the contributions of major thinkers of the past, the emphasis is on recent research. The essays, most of which are previously unpublished, combine the work of established scholars with younger thinkers who are beginning to make significant contributions. Taken as a whole, the Handbook provides an engaging and (...)
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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 (...)
  43. 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 (...)
  44. Causality, Will and Time.Nathaniel M. Lawrence - 1955 - Review of Metaphysics 9 (September):14-26.
  45. 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 (...)
  46. How We Can Be Free From Physics.Chuang Liu - unknown
    Our discussion in the first five sections shows that little new can be said about compatibilism, that van Inwagen's argument for incompatibilism still stands, and that the view of free agency for a libertarian has little chance unless she believes that agency contains elements that are not within the natural order. Borrowing from a suggestion from Russell we expanded the Nozick-Kane model of libertarian free agency and connected it to the Wignerian interpretation of quantum measurement. As such, free decisions and (...)
  47. Freedom From Physics: Quantum Mechanics and Free Will.Barry M. Loewer - 1996 - Philosophical Topics 24 (2):91-112.
  48. 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, (...)
  49. Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem * by Mark Balaguer.G. Malinas - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):793-795.
  50. Quantum Mechanics, Free Will, and Determinism.Henry Margenau - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):714-725.
1 — 50 / 90