Noûs 30:385 - 402 (1995)
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 amplifying indeterministic quantum phenomena for the bogey of determinism to be defeated. Acts of free will could then be those that were initiated by such indeterministic nudges. Recently there has been some inclination to revive such a story as part of the fallout from the trend for chaos theory. Chaotic systems in the brain, being indefinitely sensitive to the precise details of initial conditions, seem to provide fine candidates for the hypothetical amplifiers of quantum events.
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