Do we have Free Will?

It’s really hard to reconcile what we know about physics with what we usually call free will. When Newton worked out the equations of motion and the foundations of classical mechanics he understood that given the initial condition a system just evolves according to those laws, be it a rock falling under gravitational force or a complex system like the brain “thinking”. This is called Determinism.

Then quantum mechanics came along saying that you cannot exactly know how a system will evolve in the future even if you know exactly how it is now (which however you can’t know either because of the uncertainty principle), because systems evolves according to random quantum probabilities. This new concept made a lot of people really happy, because “now we have free will!”

Unfortunately, that’s a non-sequitur. The fact that something goes on at random inside your brain allows no room for any kind of free will. The very nature of a random occurrence, in fact, is opposite to any freedom of will one can imagine.


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