in The Freedom of the Will

Published in print September 1970 | ISBN: 9780198243434
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680687 | DOI:

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The consequences of the Gödelian argument are great. The argument applies to any form of physical determinism that is sufficiently definite to pose any threat to freedom. Although we naturally think of some Newtonian sort of physical determinism, the argument would apply equally to a version of quantum mechanics into which hidden parameters had, per impossibile, been introduced. Any claim to reduce, explain, or give a complete description of, human beings and human action will stand refuted, provided only that the reduction, explanation, or description is in terms of regularities alone. But only such reductions, explanations, and descriptions need alarm us. For only these threaten us with iron rules, ineluctable laws, inevitable necessities. Other sorts of explanation remain possible: indeed, even regularity explanations are entirely all right, so long as they do not claim to be complete.

Keywords: Gödel; Gödelian argument; physical determinism; quantum mechanics

Chapter.  2268 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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