DOI: 10.14704/nq.2009.7.3.244

Quantum Mechanics and Free Will: Counter-Arguments

Martín López-Corredoira


Since quantum mechanics (QM) was formulated, many voices have claimed this to be the basis of free will in the human beings. Basically, they argue that free will is possible because there is an ontological indeterminism in the natural laws, and that the mind is responsible for the wave function collapse of matter, which leads to a choice among the different possibilities for the body. However, I defend the opposite thesis, that free will cannot be defended in terms of QM. First, because indeterminism does not imply free will, it is merely a necessary condition but not enough to defend it. Second, because all considerations about an autonomous mind sending orders to the body is against our scientific knowledge about human beings; in particular, neither neurological nor evolutionary theory can admit dualism. The quantum theory of measurement can be interpreted without the intervention of human minds, but other fields of science cannot contemplate the mentalist scenario, so it is concluded that QM has nothing to say about the mind or free will, and its scientific explanation is more related to biology than to physics. A fatalistic or materialist view, which denies the possibility of a free will, makes much more sense in scientific terms.


free will; quantum mechanics; neurology; determinism; evolution

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