Free will: an impossible reality

Agency outside of nature

 The scientific image of the world seems to suggest free will is impossible for humans. Despite the central role it plays in giving meaning to our lives, it’s all too tempting to dismiss free will as an illusion. But that would be a mistake. Instead of thinking of ourselves as part of a causally determined nature, we need to start with acknowledging that ‘causality’, ‘laws of nature’, and even ‘nature’, are in fact constructs of human consciousness.  The causal necessity we seem to detect in nature is nothing more than our own, human projection. What is more, human actions properly understood are distinctly different from natural events – embedded with meaning and possibility. Free will can seem impossible in theory, but it’s fully real, argues Raymond Tallis.


Free will seems impossible in theory. Actions are material events originating from a material body interacting with a material world. All such interactions are gove

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Frank Spence 14 August 2022

Where do your thoughts come from? Other thoughts? Where did they come from? At some point you have to concede that it is impossible for a person to be the ultimate non-arbitrary source of her thoughts. Free will makes no sense.