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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

Free will

Do we have free will?

โ€ฆ much of the debate about free will centers around whether we human beings have it, yet virtually no one doubts that we will to do this and that. "

Source : Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy open access

Most people feel that they definitely do have free will, but the more research is performed, the harder it gets (for theorists at least) to maintain certainty.

The notion that we have free will - the ability to exercise conscious control over our actions and decisions - is deeply embedded in human experience. But the more we learn about the physical universe and the human brain, the less plausible it becomes"

Source : New Scientist

The main argument against free will is that all life-forms are composed of atomic and sub-atomic particles which have absolutely no choice but to obey the rules of physics at all times - and by extrapolation any system built of such particles can only do the same.

Counter-arguments point to the idea of 'emergence' - in which complex systems often seem to have features which transcend the properties of the particles from which they're formed. Quantum physics has difficulties in explaining 'happiness' for example.

Also see: Is the Universe a Computer Simulation?plugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigIs the Universe a Computer Simulation?


The Simulation Hypothesis was first published by Hans Moravec (of the Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, US) in 1998. See Simulation, Consciousness, Existence

Then, in 2003, Professor Nick Bostrom, Director of the Future of Humanity Institute, Faculty of Philosophy & James Martin 21st Century School, Oxford University, published his paper

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