So I've been thinking for a while:

Can a mathematician create free will?

And for the more rigorous:


The simplest algorithm to represent evolution I can think of (as a physics student) is this:

Given a system with probability outcomes p_1 and 1-p_1.

Life will search if p_1 > 1- p_1 or 1-p_1 > p_1. There are 2 values over here required such as certainty of accuracy of p_1 and judgement of p_1 > 1- p_1 or p_2 > 1-p_2. Question: is what is this cardinality of the phase space of this system assuming this system describes everything (time, logic, etc ,etc, finitude, infinitude, cardinality, computation, etc etc).

P.S: I think the unifying answer within math is beauty. But then the eastern philosophers start talking mystic yet beautiful things. I'm not sure which field this problem belongs to which inspires a poetic symbiosis. Feel free to change tags if you are sufficiently confident.

Edit: Does morality ever get described by such a system?

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    What does it mean "to create free will"? Sep 22, 2023 at 13:05
  • Well if you assume the answer is freewill then freewill must be subject to logic, etc , etc for you to justify rigourously Sep 22, 2023 at 13:08
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    Mathematical objects are abstractions of reality. You can't create free will as such using mathematics. Unless you represent it as a variable or a function F, for example, "freewill is a function applied on a decision" r=F(d). Voilà.
    – RodolfoAP
    Sep 22, 2023 at 19:07
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    Elementary particles already may have free will per John Conway and Simon Kochen's free will theorem: if the experimenter can freely choose the directions in which to orient his apparatus in a certain measurement, then the particle’s response (to be pedantic—the universe’s response near the particle) is not determined by the entire previous history of the universe.... Sep 23, 2023 at 5:39

2 Answers 2


Here’s a small sampling of math “causing”free will I’m aware of:

  1. Tegmark and his Mathematical Universe Hypothesis. Free will as a subjective belief/experience and all other subjective experiences are massively complex mathematical relations. Math (a paired down version of modern math) leads to physics leads to psychology leads to subjective experiences.

  2. Chris Langan and his CTMU. “The highest verified IQ of an American”/conspiracy theorist. He believes reality is dualistic between mind and reality and the bridging/ultimate essence between and behind mind and external world can be described mathematically. It is a “generative” “meta equation” allowing for reality to be free, and determinism is only an appearance. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Christopher_Langan

  3. God creates infinity which is best captured/understood through mathematical fractals, which allow for freedom at every scale; Ian Stewart and Michael Barnsley, mathematician figureheads in the development of mathematical fractals.

It was of a machine that ticked on a predetermined course. All we needed to know was where it was now and what it was doing now, and then you could predict the future forever. And there were two challenges to this. One is quantum mechanics, which says, in fact, there is irreducible chance built into the very fabric of the universe, and you can't actually say exactly what it's doing now. You can't say exactly what it's doing ever. But the other is things that come of the Mandelbrot set and related parts of mathematics, which that even in the Newtonian world, in practice you may not be able to predict the future. It can be deterministic in principle, but not in practice. (Barnsely) This is how God created a system which gave us free will. It's the most brilliant maneuver in the universe to create something in which everything is free. How could you do that?" https://subslikescript.com/movie/The_Colours_of_Infinity-241317 (there is also a YouTube video of the same title)

  • My understanding after having watched the documentary in the past is they were attributing freedom at every scale, including free will in some form, largely to the mathematics and wider reality to fractals. QM is only mention briefly and neither were experts on it. Elsewhere in the documentary Barnsely sees fractals everywhere he looks in the world. They aren't just mathematical abstractions. I paraphrase the quote as attributing freedom to mostly fractals for these reasons.

As you can see this area is highly highly speculative and veers into massive criticism from opponents. But there is some material out there. And it is engaged with by serious philosophers even if to dismiss, e.g. Pigliucci for Tegmark and Bernardo Kastrup for Langan. I hope you can remain critical with this answer. I'm just a sucker for the intersection of math and philosophy and present what I've come across relating to your specific question of math causing freedom in some sense, and present them as-is.

You can compare the mathematics of each of three approaches at least conceptually. I think they all share in common that they require math to not just be mathematical abstracta (a big no-no for most).

^this answer was not written by an LLM or other “AI” even though it probably reads like it.


Mathematics is the antithesis of free will. Thw will has no effect on mathematics. As far as mortality, it's a big problem for statistics. Statistics depends on probability being neither 0% or 100%, because it assumes anything is possible.

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