Volition and physical laws

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Other (See topic area)
Topics: 
Free Will
Keywords: 
consciousness; volition; free will; emergentism; conscious mental field; determinism; universal time
Deposited by: 
Dr. Jean E. Burns
Date of Issue: 
1999
Authors: 
Jean E. Burns
Journal/Publication Title: 
Journal of Consciousness Studies
Volume: 
6
Issue Number: 
10
Page Range: 
27-47
Abstract: 
The concept of free will is central to our lives, as we make day-to-day decisions, and to our culture, in our ethical and legal systems. The very concept implies that what we choose can produce a change in our physical environment, whether by pressing a switch to turn out electric lights or choosing a long-term plan of action which can affect many people. Yet volition is not a part of presently known physical laws and it is not even known whether it exists -- no physics experiments have ever established its presence. The purpose of this article is to make two points: first, that free will cannot be accounted for by presently known physical laws and second, that if free will exists, any description of its effects in the physical world would necessarily constitute a radical addition to presently known physical laws.
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