Was famous old evidence against free will just debunked?The pattern that was thought to prove free will an illusion may have been noise
The participants in the experiment did not sense that their decision about flexing their fingers mattered, so they went with the flow. But, according to more recent research, the subjective experience of making a decision is not an illusion at all.Read More ›
Edward Feser on Neurobabble and Remembering the Right QuestionsEdward Feser dismantles many of the simplistic reads of contemporary neuroscience
Michael Egnor hosts a captivating conversation with Edward Feser, Aristotelian, prolific blogger, and philosopher of mind. Neurobabble and pop science dismissals of the mind, final causes, abstract thought, and free will each face Feser’s piercing critique.Read More ›
Why Do Atheists Still Claim Free Will Can’t Exist?Sam Harris reduces everything to physics but then ignores quantum non-determinism
A reader, listening to his podcast with computer scientist Judea Pearl, asks how he can be so sure everything is determined by physical forces. How indeed?Read More ›
Younger Thinkers Now Argue That Free Will Is RealThe laws of physics do not rule it out, they say
Assuming this trend among younger thinkers persists, the philosophical discussions around AI are not making determinism seem necessary or inevitable. And that, when you think of it, is an odd fate for determinism.Read More ›
Can Physics Prove There Is No Free Will?No, but it can make physicists incoherent when they write about free will
It’s hilarious. Sabine Hossenfelder misses the irony that she insists that people “change their minds” by accepting her assertion that they… can’t change their minds.Read More ›
Even Bacteria Are Purpose-DrivenThe recent finding that bacteria can make individual decisions may help design better antibiotics
Does this mean that bacteria have free will? Not really; as Michael Egnor reminds us, free will is an immaterial quality of the reasoning mind. Life forms that lack a reasoning mind make decisions based only on their needs or desires.Read More ›
Does “Alien Hand Syndrome” Show That We Don’t Really Have Free Will?One woman’s left hand seemed to have a mind of its own. Did it?
Alien hand syndrome doesn’t mean that free will is not real. In fact, it clarifies exactly what free will is and what it isn’t.Read More ›
Will we surrender our free will to screens?We may be surrendering while we aren’t paying attention
If “the machines” ever do take over, it will be because we have stopped thinking, not because they have started to.Read More ›
But Is Determinism True?Does science show that we fated to want whatever we want?
Modern science—both theoretical and experimental—strongly supports the reality of free will.Read More ›
How Can Mere Products of Nature Have Free Will?Materialists don’t like the outcome of their philosophy but twisting logic won’t change it
Although most compatibilists have a more or less materialist view of nature, they find it impossible to shake the conviction that free will is real.Read More ›
Quantum Randomness Gives Nature Free WillWhether or not quantum randomness explains how our brains work, it may help us create unbreakable encryption codes
When I was boy, my father explained free will and predestination to me: I dig a fence post hole. · Did I create the hole because of my own free will? · Or was the hole already there and I simply removed the dirt? If true, the hole was predestined. The question cannot be answered by examining the evidence. In philosophy terms, it is “empirically unanswerable.” That is the sort of stuff that philosophers debate. Religious people might point to scripture to support one conclusion over the other.1 In physics, however, quantum randomness offers a definitive answer to the question of predestination vs. free will—for subatomic particles. In the world of classical physics (Isaac Newton’s physics), it can be argued Read More ›
Has Neuroscience Disproved Thinking?A philosopher argues that Nobel Prize-winning research shows that the theory of mind is just another illusion, useful for survival and success
Do Quasars Provide Evidence for Free Will?Possibly. They certainly rule out experimenter interference.
The End of Human DramaPart 3: Yuval Harari on the end of democracy, volition, religion, and art?
In this third part of their reflection on Yuval Harari’s Atlantic piece anticipating technology’s march toward tyranny, Jay Richards and Robert J. Marks discuss the many assumptions therein. At the root of these speculations is an overestimation of the power of information processing systems and an underestimation of the human ability to be the true governors of their creations, not their docile “pets”. Harari rightly points to a better understanding of the mind as the way forward, but fails to appreciate its true nature, resulting in a dismal prognosis for art, religion, and democracy. Read More ›
Does brain stimulation research challenge free will?If we can be forced to want something, is the will still free?
Is Free Will a Dangerous Myth?The denial of free will is a much more dangerous myth
Can free will even be an illusion?Michael Egnor reiterates the freeing implications of quantum indeterminacy
Many say so. For example, at Cosmos, senior artificial intelligence research scientist Alfredo Metere explains, … there is a causal relationship between the Big Bang and us. In other words, free will is not allowed, and all of our actions are just a mere consequence of that first event. Such a view is known as “determinism”, or “super-determinism” (if one finds it productive to reinvent the wheel). He asserts that today we know the universe to be chaotic. Because the cosmos is clearly chaotic, we can observe time-reversibility only locally, rather than globally. This in turn means that free will is an inevitable illusion for us humans, due to our subjective perception of the universe, rather than its innermost nature. Read More ›