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If QM is true does free will exist?

  1. Feb 11, 2007 #1
    I'm not sure where to put this so I'll start here.

    If we accept the posits of the Copenhagen Interpretation, or accept that light is both a wave and a particle, how does this affect the debate about free will and predeterminism or doesn't it and why?
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  3. Feb 11, 2007 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    One may and may not worry more about the implications of the Many Worlds Theories. :biggrin:
  4. Feb 11, 2007 #3
    :biggrin: I'm not to worried personally, but it's a nice idea, if not exactly scientific.
  5. Feb 11, 2007 #4


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    Yes - that is the only possibility that explains the stupid things that I do. :biggrin:

    It doesn't.
  6. Feb 11, 2007 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    What are virtual particles, and what does it mean to be virtual?
  7. Feb 12, 2007 #6
    You can imagine imaginary numbers. What is it in a name?
  8. Feb 12, 2007 #7


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    If nature is fundamentally random (as QM suggests, but in no way proves), then free will does not exist.
  9. Feb 12, 2007 #8
    There's a difference between random and chaotic, QM suggests that fundementally everything is not only random but chaotic too, ie totally without rules, even the rule of the random, if I roll a dice there is an equal chance of 1 to 6 coming up, in the quantum world, often no one even knows the number of possible states that could be involved let alone whether there are finite possibilities, or how the rules work if there are any?

    Some physisists posit that the future and the past don't exist only a quanta in time, put that with a chaotic QM, you have the possibility of free will, if the past or the future are not cast in stone, in fact don't even exist except as memories or as a conception or hope, then you have free will right there, so if you take the premise to be true then free will would be a natural consequence of a truly chaotic system with no set past or future. Anything could happen and given enough time probably will.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
  10. Feb 12, 2007 #9


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    Hi Schrodinger,
    I'd agree that in order for 'free will' to have any meaning at all, then the future can't be predetermined. But I think there's much more to it than that. Note that the future could be influenced by QM interactions, but if the human brain is strictly governed by deterministic mechanisms such as computationalism requires, then even if the future isn't determinate, all the thought processes the brain has certainly are. So in the coloquial sense, computationalism prohibits free will. This problem with computationalism has been cited by many, and I haven't seen any decent rebuttle.

    What this says is that if free will is real, consciousness will need to incorporate QM. This problem with computationalism is just one of many.
  11. Feb 12, 2007 #10
    In my opinion it has no effect whatsoever.

    The idea that our minds can be taken outside the realm of the wavefunction of the universe and above that being able to influence it is as absurd to me as the idea of some deity ruling the universe.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
  12. Feb 15, 2007 #11
    This post shows confusion, and uses the techincal term 'chaos' in exactly the wrong sense. To clarify:

    Random: Doesn't depend on anything.

    Chaotic: Appears random but actually depends on some small number (n < 10) of variables.

    I will add that QM is irrelevant to the metaphysical question of free will. Quantum effects are confined to the submicroscopic domain outside of carefully controlled laboratory experiments.
  13. Feb 16, 2007 #12


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    Not true. For example, superconductivity is a macroscopic quantum effect. In principle, every quantum effect can be realized at the macroscopic level as well, but in practice it is usually difficult to achieve this owing to the interaction with the environment that destroys quantum coherence.
  14. Feb 16, 2007 #13
    If a small effect on a microscopic scale such as a synapses tubuoles can be effected by the quantum(specifically QET) And enzymes in DNA use Quantum mechanical effects to more quickly find genes to replicate, aren't we seeing something at the x level that could given enough time effect the macro level.

    In fact if you have probability a, given enough time couldn't the quantum turn it into probability b, then where is predeterminism? One single effect in the history of humans that should of been x becomes y, how does this effect the predetermined, particularly if there is no past and future? Since it's now on a track that can't lead to the predetermined, and it was truly random.

    Also if there is no future or past, where does that leave causality anyway? slightly less well refined perhaps?
  15. Apr 12, 2007 #14


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    Quote From Sd01g
    IMO Best saying ever

    Sometimes it is best to step back from the equations and observe what is really happening.
  16. Apr 12, 2007 #15
    This is from another thread talking about how freewill and determinism are affected by QM. Here are some definitions I got from reading the thread:

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