As I understand, according to hylomorphism the soul and the body are one in the same. The soul "informs" the matter, but does not interact as it would in interactionism. But how does this imply free will if the human brain/body is subject to the determinist laws of physics?

Side note: Quantum mechanics doesn't apply in the functioning of the brain as it only applies at a level which is too small to consider how neurons fire.

  • In Thomism the soul is a substantial form, and it is by no means "one and the same" with the body:"intellect has its own activity in which the body has no share. But nothing can act on its own unless it exists on its own". In other words, such a form can act independently and can even exist apart from the body, although it is no longer a human soul when disembodied:"the soul, since it is part of the body of a human being, is not a whole human being, and my soul is not I", see What would happen to the soul as the form of the body...?
    – Conifold
    Nov 29, 2021 at 2:57
  • Regarding the side node: It is still not decided whether quantum phenomena do play a role in brain, it is just improbable. There is an interesting research going on where the researches try to find out whether brain could in principle amplify quantum effects.
    – Eauriel
    Dec 1, 2021 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


Free will is our ability to make decisions and act accordingly.

Decisions are not physical events, therefore decision-making is not governed by the laws of physics. Decisions are knowledge about what the agent is about to do and why.

I don't believe in anything that be called a soul, something immaterial separate from the body. Instead, I see the mind as the living brain's capability of processing knowledge and other immaterial information.

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