Implementing Free Will

Implementing Free Will

Bruce Edmonds (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-482-8.ch006
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Abstract

Free will is described in terms of the useful properties that it could confer, explaining why it might have been selected for over the course of evolution. These properties are exterior unpredictability, interior rationality, and social accountability. A process is described that might bring it about when deployed in a suitable social context. It is suggested that this process could be of an evolutionary nature—that free will might “evolve” in the brain during development. This mental evolution effectively separates the internal and external contexts, while retaining the coherency between individual’s public accounts of their actions. This is supported by the properties of evolutionary algorithms and possesses the three desired properties. Some objections to the possibility of free will are dealt with by pointing out the prima facie evidence and showing how an assumption that everything must be either deterministic or random can result from an unsupported assumption of universalism.

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