From Michael Egnor: Marcelo Gleiser notes that the mind is not a solar system with strict deterministic laws:
One of the most disturbing implications of materialism in modern science is the inference that science disproves the existence of free will. Of course, this is not actually the case, but even the mistaken denial of free will has profound and very disturbing implications for our social structure, our criminal justice system, and our way of government. People who are assumed to lack free will are ultimately little more than cattle to be herded and, as philosopher Hannah Arendt, has observed, the denial of free will — and the denial of individual responsibility that follows on it — is a cornerstone of totalitarianism. At Big Think, physicist and philosopher Marcelo Gleiserpoints to the fallacy that physics and neuroscience disprove free will:News, “Does science disprove free will? A physicist says no” at Mind Matters News
[T]he mind is not a solar system with strict deterministic laws. We have no clue what kinds of laws it follows, apart from very simplistic empirical laws about nerve impulses and their propagation, which already reveal complex nonlinear dynamics. Still, work in neuroscience has prompted a reconsideration of free will, even to the point of questioning our freedom to choose. Many neuroscientists and some philosophers consider free will to be an illusion. Sam Harris, for example, wrote a short book arguing the case.Marcelo Gleiser, “Do the laws of physics and neuroscience disprove free will?” at Big Think (November 10, 2021)
Gleiser points out a third mistake — misinterpretation of neuroscience research in free will:
This shocking conclusion [that free will is an illusion] comes from a series of experiments that revealed something quite remarkable: Our brains decide a course of action before we know it. Benjamin Libet’s pioneering experiments in the 1980s using EEG and more recent ones using fMRI or implants directly into neurons found that the motor region responsible for making a motion in response to a question fired up seven seconds before the subject was aware of it. The brain seems to be deciding before the mind knows about it. But is it really?Marcelo Gleiser, “Do the laws of physics and neuroscience disprove free will?” at Big Think (November 10, 2021)
[No. It wasn’t.] More.
Takehome: Apart from simple laws governing neurons, we have no clue what laws the mind follows, though it does show complex nonlinear dynamics.
Note: Another physicist disagrees. See: Can physics prove there is no free will? No, but it can make physicists incoherent when they write about free will.It’s hilarious. Sabine Hossenfelder misses the irony that she insists that people “change their minds” by accepting her assertion that they… can’t change their minds. (Michael Egnor)