The Freedom of the Will

Richard Swinburne

in The Evolution of the Soul

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780198236986
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598593 | DOI:
The Freedom of the Will

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A substantial balance of evidence favours the view that human souls have (limited) libertarian free will, that is the freedom to choose between alternative actions, despite all causal influences acting on them. Free will thus entails soul indeterminism, which entails brain indeterminism. There is no reason to suppose that the same laws govern the behaviour of the brain as govern any other physical system, since the brain is different from any other physical system in being in causal interaction with a soul. In any case, its indeterminism may be ensured by Quantum indeterminism. The main evidence for soul indeterminism is, however, the fact that human counter‐suggestibility would be compatible with determinism only on the assumption of an a priori very unlikely mechanism for the production of beliefs. New Appendices E, F, and G discuss the relevance to this topic of different interpretations of Quantum Theory, of Gödel's Theorem and of Libet's experiments.

Keywords: counter‐suggestibility; determinism; free will; Gödel's Theorem; indeterminism; Libet; Quantum Theory; soul

Chapter.  13252 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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