Does freedom bubble up from the quantum realm?
I’ve been writing lately (in this article and blogpost , for example) about agency and more specifically about whether neuroscience or basic physics rule out the idea of free will, of organisms like us being able to genuinely make choices based on their own reasons and thus act as causal agents in the world. I’m grateful to Philip Goff for responding to some of these ideas in a recent blogpost and to Philip Ball for continuing the conversation in a post of his own. I respond to their arguments here and make some more general points along the way. (For convenience, I will refer to the two Philips by their last names, which feels a bit rude, so, sorry, Philips!). The question that Goff takes up is my claim that fundamental indeterminacy at the quantum level creates some room in which free will can operate . He quotes the following passage, which sums up the argument: “The inherent indeterminacy of physical systems means that any given arrangement of atoms in your brai