Let's define free will as the ability for a human being to make a choice that does not completely depend on the history of the universe. The universe may be assumed to be indeterministic. Any simple choice will do: am I going to order a Coke or a Sprite?

Has anyone described what the universe must be like in order for this kind of free will to be able to exist? A universe where an agent making the choice exerts causal influence on the universe? In what kind of universe would this be possible, while not running afoul of dualism?

[1] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/incompatibilism-theories/#3

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. This question has been asked before and already has answers, see In what type of world is free will possible, if at all? The short answer is that our own universe may well be like that. Nothing we know contradicts agent causation by humans, and libertarians maintain that it is exactly what happens.
    – Conifold
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 21:20
  • ha, good name. yeah, describing it is the same was that question. descriptions may be helpful :)
    – user6917
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 21:53
  • Unfortunately none of the answers there answers my question. I'm looking for a more detailed account of how exactly agent causation could take place and how it can avoid dualism.
    – Confusion
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 10:59
  • In that case the question should have been phrased very differently. But it is obscure what you mean by "how exactly agent causation could take place", agents would simply act as self-causes. Perhaps you mean how this is reconciled with physics, in which case How do defenders of libertarian freewill reconcile it with constraints imposed by the laws of physics? might be what you are looking for.
    – Conifold
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 22:56
  • That comes closer to what I am wondering about. However, like anything I have found so far, that basically gives arguments for why free will, in general, is not impossible. I'm interested in something stronger than 'not impossible': a proposal for how free will could actually operate. So far I have e.g. not found any proposal for how the agent-that-acts-as-a-self-cause would actually act upon the physical universe. Does anyone e.g. propose the spontaneous appearance of electrical signals in neurons as the 'action' of the agent on the universe? Fine by me: [continued]
    – Confusion
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 19:15


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