It’s a short book by Alfred Mele, a Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. Mele was the director of the Big Questions in Free Will Project (2010-2013) and has authored several books and a large amount of articles on the subject.
Mele tackles the main scientific studies proclaiming that free will is an illusion. He takes them down, one by one, showing that they all suffer from several logical fallacies. But they have one fallacy in common, the Black Swan fallacy. That you have only seen white swans does not rule out the existence of black swans. That scientific experiments have not proven the existence of an agent of free will does not preclude the existence of free will. Some experiments doesn’t even look in the right places.
It’s an important book on the subject.
I take another route in my exploration of free will – a more principled approach if you will. And lately, I have revisited my “proof against determinism” and focused more on Alan Turing’s work. Looking at the Universe itself as one great computational device, Turing’s proof of the “halting problem” shows that there cannot be a Theory of Everything – there cannot be any all encompassing theory that will show everything as true or false. This is of course in line with Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, but it seems to be a more direct route in proving that the universe cannot be deterministic. Which in turn leaves existence open for free will.
What are you going to do about it?
This OnePageBook™ is about you taking responsibility for your life – past, present and future.
“I decided I can’t pay a person to rewind time, so I may as well get over it.” (Serena Williams)
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” (Kenji Miyazawa)
“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” (Chuck Palahniuk)
“You’re never served more than you can handle” (Anette Iren Isene)
Here is the published version of this OnePageBook:
Thanks to everyone who contributed – from various discussions since 2009 and to recent input after I published the pre-release.
You can have your say before the release of this OnePageBook on Amazon.
Any and all feedback is welcome. It may shape the book before its final release. Simply post your comments here.
OnePageBook: Free Will – Do you really have a choice?
This could be an interesting base for discussion. Take a look at this video. It isn’t a critique of the scientific method, but rather a critique of scientific dogmas. It is directly relevant to my own article “On will“.
I upgraded my article On Will to reflect new research – including the mention of cognitive dissonance and my latest definition of free will as “cause without reason”. There are more references added and several smaller corrections and enhancements.
This article is now hosted and updated on GitHub.
A definition, perhaps fundamental, of Free Will could be “cause without prior cause” – or the equivalent, “cause without reason”.