Rollbacks, Endorsements, and Indeterminism

Michael Almeida and Mark Bernstein

in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will

Second edition

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780195399691
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Rollbacks, Endorsements, and Indeterminism


This article considers another well-known argument purporting to show that a libertarian free will is incoherent and impossible. The “Rollback Argument” rests on a thought experiment in which the universe is repeatedly rolled back to the precise point where a person is faced with a libertarian choice, say to lie or not lie. If the choice is undetermined, then in some percentage of these possible universes (e.g., 42%), the agent lies, and in the others (58%), she tells the truth. The argument attempts to show that if this is the case, then on each replay the outcome that occurs will be a matter of chance, and if the occurrence of one choice rather than the other is a matter of chance on each replay, then this would be the case as well for the choice that occurred in the actual world.

Keywords: libertarian free will; Rollback Argument; thought experiment; libertarian choice; chance

Article.  6422 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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