# Would there be free will if we assume a stochastic component in the decision making?

I was reading this answer regarding materialism and free will. It says that, under the assumption that there isn't a random process underlying decision making, there is no free will.

And isn't that a very big assumption, not knowing how the brain works? I mean, if the brain has such immense machinery, is it difficult to add a stochastic component? A circuit spitting out random numbers?

What if there is a totally unprimed clear brain that has to decide to take one of the roads at a fork. Although this is unlikely since the brain usually encounters enormous information even before it is capable of or old enough to take such a decision, consider it as a thought experiment.

Couldn't the brain choose a left or a right based on this circuit yielding random numbers? Even if it did, would it be called free will?

• +1 The concepts "random" or "determined" already assume there is no free will agent causing the event that is observed. But it is not necessary to make that assumption. One can assume some agent was responsible for what happened. Then the agent determines or causes what happened and it is no longer random. Feb 24 '18 at 19:59
• If the brain has a random component, what would be the physical basis of such a mechanism? Do you have proof or evidence that there's randomness in the world? Even quantum "randomness" may be due to our own lack of knowledge, not any inherent property of the world. Nobody knows. Feb 24 '18 at 20:15
• Well there are algorithms to generate pseudo random numbers atleast @user4894 Feb 24 '18 at 20:24
• @Polisetty I hardly see the relevance of pseudorandomness if one is trying to make a philosophical point. A psuedorandom sequence is perfectly deterministic. A better (but still wrong) example would be the flip of a coin, or the low-order bit of the femtosecond timestamp of the arrival of an alpha particle at a detector. In the case of a coin, the randomness is due to our lack of knowledge of the exact air pressure, force and angle of the flip mechanism, etc. In the case of radioactive decay, it might be exactly the same: that if we had sufficient knowledge, it would not be random. Feb 24 '18 at 22:52
• @user4894 "In the case of radioactive decay, it might be exactly the same" ...not according to Bell's Theorem. Feb 25 '18 at 0:06