- Introduction: The Contours of Contemporary Free-Will Debates (Part 2)
- Divine Knowledge and Human Freedom
- Quantum Physics, Consciousness, and Free Will
- Chaos, Indeterminism, and Free Will
- The Causal Closure of Physics and Free Will
- The Consequence Argument Revisited
- A Compatibilist Reply to the Consequence Argument
- Compatibilism Without Frankfurt: Dispositional Analyses of free Will
- Contemporary Compatibilism: Mesh Theories and Reasons-Responsive Theories
- Moral Sense and the Foundations of Responsibility
- Who's <i>Still</i> Afraid of Determinism? Rethinking Causes and Possibilities
- Frankfurt-Type Examples and SemiCompatibilism: New Work
- Frankfurt-Friendly Libertarianism
- Obligation, Reason, and Frankfurt Examples
- Agent-Causal Theories of Freedom
- Alternatives for Libertarians
- Freedom and action without causation: Noncausal theories of freedom and purposive agency
- Free Will is not a Mystery
- Rethinking Free Will: New Perspectives on an Ancient Problem
- Free-Will Skepticism and Meaning in Life
- Free Will, Fundamental Dualism, and the Centrality Of Illusion
- Effects, Determinism, Neither Compatibilism Nor Incompatibilism, Consciousness
- Revisionist Accounts of Free Will: Origins, Varieties, and Challenges
- A Promising Argument
- Rollbacks, Endorsements, and Indeterminism
- Free Will and Science
- Contributions of Neuroscience to the Free Will Debate: From random movement to intelligible action
- Free Will and the Bounds of the Self
- Intuitions about Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing
Abstract and Keywords
This article focuses on the thesis known as the causal closure (or causal completeness) of physics (CoP)—that all physical events can be fully explained by physical causes governed by the fundamental laws of physics. This thesis raises well-known questions central to free-will debates about the nature and possibility of the “mental causation” of physical events (e.g., beliefs, desires, intentions). If all causes are physical causes, as CoP implies, it would seem that psychological states or events must be fully reducible to physical events or they would be epiphenomenal. The discussion also introduces a notion of “contextual emergence” (according to which lower-level descriptions of events in physical terms contain necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for higher-level descriptions in mental terms) and argues that such a notion of contextual emergence allows one to answer objections to the possibility of mental causation.
Robert C. Bishop is associate professor of Physics and Philosophy and the John and Madeleine McIntyre Professor for the Philosophy and History of Science at Wheaton College. He has published numerous articles on reduction and emergence, nonlinear dynamics, complexity, determinism and free will. His most recent book is The Philosophy of the Social Science.
Harald Atmanspacher has been head of the Department for Theory and Data Analysis at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology in Freiburg, Germany, since 1998. He has been a faculty member of the C. G. Jung-Institute Zurich since 2004 and a faculty member of the Parmenides Foundation in Capoliveri, Italy, since 2005 and has been an associate fellow of Collegium Helveticum, ETH, in Zürich, Switzerland, since 2007. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Mind and Matter and writes and teaches in such areas as nonlinear dynamics, complex systems, psychophysical problems, and selected topics in the history and philosophy of science.
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