I'd like to hear the opinion of the distinguished CFC community on this weighty issue () Namley, whether free will exists, given either a deterministic or indeterministic world. Or, for that matter, any other world one cares to imagine. To those lazy b******* who can't be bothered to click links: --- Determinism posits a universe in which all events are determined. The present and future are created solely by a chain of past events (operating in a system of fixed physical laws). Thus, once the initial moments of the universe occur, the rest of history inevitably follows. This can be illustrated with classsical physics: As all physical entitities operate within a set of fixed laws the effect of an initial event is allready pre-set. I.e, if one throws a ball at another ball the velocity, momentum and so on of both balls after X seconds is inevitable. If one throws a billion balls at a billion other balls the same inevitability is in evidence, but is much harder to compute. The assumption is that this can be extended to every particle in the universe. Evidently, if all future events are determined, it is hard to see where free will is possible. --- Indeterminism is the supposition that certain events happen at least partly at random. This would mean that future events are not determined from the initial conditions of the universe. Quantum physics can be said to support this: Take radioactive decay. If we have a lump of uranium containing several billion atoms we know that one of those atoms is going to 'decay' very soon. However every single one of those atoms is physically identical to every other one. Thus there is no factor which decided which atom actually decays. It happens at random. Indeterministically. What I find particularily interesting about this is that it posits that something (atomic decay) can come from nothing (the lack of a distinguishing factor). However, I see no more shrift for free will in this system. I.e, To exist, free will must, for a start, exist. By definition, for the affect to be completely random it must not be affected by anything that exists. Something cannot affect nothing. Therefore, it is difficult to see how any self-directed free willl is possible here. --- So, does free will exist? And if not, what are the (particularily moral) ramifications of this?