Emergent Will


The enduring problem of free will has defied resolution across centuries. There is reason to believe that novel factors must be integrated into the analysis to make progress. Within the current physicalist framework, these factors encompass emergence and information theory, in the context of constraints imposed by physical limits on the representation of information. Furthermore the common, but vague, characterization of free will as 'being able to act differently' is rephrased into an explicatum more suitable for formal analysis. It is argued that the mind is an ontologically open system; a causal high-level system, the dynamics of which cannot be reduced to the states of its associated low-level neural systems, not even if it is rendered physically closed. A positive answer to the question of free will for conscious agents is subsequently outlined.

Author's Profile

Jan Scheffel
KTH Royal Institute Of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden


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