The (Strong) Free Will Theorem of Conway & Kochen (2009) on the one hand follows from uncontroversial parts of modern physics and elementary mathematical and logical reasoning, but on the other hand seems predicated on an unde?ned notion of free will (allowing physicists to ‘freely choose’ the settings of their experiments). Although Conway and Kochen informally claim that their theorem supports indeterminism and, in its wake, a libertarian agenda for free will, ...For centuries, philosophers have argued that scientific materialism requires determinism. And common sense requires free will. So they dreamed up the concept of compatibilism to say that free will is compatible with determinism.
Therefore, although the intention of Conway and Kochen was to support free will through their theorem, what they actually achieved is the opposite: a well-known, philosophically viable version of free will now turns out to be incompatible with physics!
Apparently nearly all philosophers believe in determinism, and either reject free will or grudgingly accept a compatibilist view of free will.
All of this seems terribly out of date, as most physicists have rejected determinism for about a century. They say that quantum mechanics proves indeterminism, and the Bell test experiments are the most convincing demonstration.
In my opinion, they do not quite prove indeterminism, but they certainly prove that indeterminism is a viable belief, and that philosophers are wrong to assume that scientific materialism requires determinism.
Landsman argues that quantum mechanics is contrary to compatibilism. The Conway-Kochen argument is that there is some sort of super-determinism (that almost no one believes), or elections are indeterministic (ie, exhibit random behavior)and humans have the free will to choose experimental design (ie, also exhibiting behavior that seems random to others).
To their defence, it is fair to say that Conway and Kochen never intended to support compatibilist free will in the first place. It is hard to find more scathing comments on compatibilism than the following ones by Conway:I do not expect any of this to have any influence on philosophers. They refuse to accept true (libertarian) free will.Compatibilism in my view is silly. Sorry, I shouldn’t just say straight off that it is silly. Compatibilism is an old viewpoint from previous centuries when philosophers were talking about free will. The were accustomed to physical theory being deterministic. And then there’s the question: How can we have free will in this deterministic universe? Well, they sat and thought for ages and ages and ages and read books on philosophy and God knows what and they came up with compatibilism, which was a tremendous wrenching effect to reconcile 2 things which seemed incompatible. And they said they were compatible after all. But nobody would ever have come up with compatibilism if they thought, as turns out to be the case, that science wasn’t deterministic. The whole business of compatibilism was to reconcile what science told you at the time, centuries ago down to 1 century ago: Science appeared to be totally deterministic, and how can we reconcile that with free will, which is not deterministic? So compatibilism, I see it as out of date, really. It’s doing something that doesn’t need to be done. However, compatibilism hasn’t gone out of date, certainly, as far as the philosophers are concerned. Lots of them are still very keen on it. How can I say it? If you do anything that seems impossible, you’re quite proud when you appear to have succeeded. And so really the philosophers don’t want to give up this notion of compatibilism because it seems to damned clever. But my view is it’s really nonsense. And it’s not necessary. So whether it actually is nonsense or not doesn’t matter.