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Philosophy: Free Will vs. Determinism

The Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) explains Limited Free Will (not Determinism)
in a Necessarily Connected Finite Spherical Universe within an Infinite Space.
Philosophers Quotes / Quotations Free Will (Freewill) vs. Determinism

Free Will and Determinism - Philosophy of Free Living Will - Limited Free Will in a Necessarily Connected (Logical) Universe - Karl Popper What we need for understanding rational human behaviour - and indeed, animal behaviour - is something intermediate in character between perfect chance and perfect determinism - something intermediate between perfect clouds and perfects clocks. (Karl Popper, 1975)

Free Will and Determinism - Philosophy of Free Living Will - Limited Free Will in a Necessarily Connected (Logical) Universe - Michel de Montaigne Since actions and performances are not wholly in our power and since nothing is really in our power but our will - it is on the will that all the rules and duties of Man are based and established.
(Michel de Montaigne, 1572)

Limited Free Will & Determinism in a Necessarily Connected Universe - Philosophy Quotes on Free Will & Determinism - Links / Free Will, Determinism - Top of Page

A Simple Solution to the Problem of Free Will & Determinism

The problem of Free Will vs. Determinism has puzzled philosophers for thousands of years. It is a profound problem for without free will there can be no morality, no right and wrong, no good and evil. All our behaviour would be pre-determined and we would have no creativity or choice.

One important lesson of philosophy is that we must carefully define our words if we are to understand and reason correctly - and that these words must correspond to real things that exist if we wish to talk meaningfully about the real world and thus avoid self deception.

If we examine these words free-will and determinism carefully we find they do not exist in physical reality, they are simply concepts made up by humans, just as we are able to imagine 'dragons' and 'particles' in our mind / imagination. i.e.

Free-Will: Does any person have the freedom to transport their body to the moon, to float above the earth? Obviously we can build machines to do this, but in every case our freedom is limited by physical reality and the laws of Nature - and we observe this in everything we do - driving cars, walking, using lights at night.
The important distinction is to say that we have Limited Free Will, the reason for this distinction will become apparent very shortly when we solve this problem.

Determinism: Likewise, is anything in reality fully deterministic? It is true that we can determine things in small regions of space over short periods of time. So for example we can determine the future position of the earth around the sun. But this is also a Limited Determinism - in 10 billion years we have no idea what will have become of the matter of the earth (our sun only has around 5 billion years of fuel left before it collapses then explodes).

Reality is Necessarily Connected (Limited Determinism, Limited Freedom)

The only absolute way to solve this problem of free will vs. determinism is to know what exists and how it is interconnected. This requires a correct understanding of the interconnected relationship between mind, matter and space.
Here we work from the most simple foundation, the wave structure of matter in space (for the latest summary of WSM see Truth Statements on Physical Reality).

From this foundation we find that matter is necessarily connected in space (by the spherical in and out waves that form the wave center 'particle') but this is within infinite space, and continually has waves flowing in from infinity that can never be pre-determined. See Cosmology.
This also explains the uncertainty of Quantum Theory and that we can never exactly know where each successive in-wave will meet at its wave-center 'particle', thus we can never exactly know both the future motion (momentum) and position of the 'particle' (see: Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle).

For a system to be absolutely deterministic it must be both;

i) Necessarily connected (thus logical)

ii) You must know the initial position and motion of its parts.

For the wave structure of matter the first part is correct, reality is logically interconnected due to wave interactions in space. However, an Infinite system of waves in infinite space can never be pre-determined.
Thus we live in a necessarily connected universe that has limited determinism and limited freedom.

On Chance and Certainty in a Necessarily Connected Universe

Let us take a normal pack of playing cards (52 cards - 13 Hearts, 13 Diamonds, 13 Spades, and 13 Clubs) and place the Ace of Hearts face down on the top of the pack.
Thus I am both necessarily connected to the Ace of Hearts (as I am to all matter in the universe) and I have pre-determined knowledge of the exact card (stored as repeating motions in my brain), thus I can be certain that if I turn the card over it will be the Ace of Hearts.

Thus when I have complete knowledge of the system then there is no chance involved - the system is necessarily connected and pre-determined.

Now let me place this pack of cards in front of someone else who has no knowledge of the fact that the Ace of Hearts is the top card. So while they are still necessarily connected to the top card they do not have pre-determined knowledge of this card. Thus they only have a one in fifty two chance of guessing the card correctly (chance).

Thus when I have incomplete knowledge of the system then there is chance involved - the system is necessarily connected and non-determined.

On Repeating and Non-Repeating Interconnected Motion

Another example of how chance and certainty can both exist in an interconnected universe is found when we consider that interconnected motion occurs in two different ways;

i) Non Repeating Interconnected Motion. e.g. Watching clouds moving in the sky. This motion cannot be predicted and gives rise to uncertainty in the future (chance).

ii) Repeating Interconnected Motion. e.g. Watching a pendulum (any clock). This motion can be determined and gives rise to certainty in the near future (this is the source of all logic).

From these above two examples we can conclude that;

Certainty exists when we do have pre-determined knowledge - either stored in repeating motions in our brain (memory / knowledge of the top card) or in repeating motions of the object we are observing (the pendulum).

Chance exists when we do not have pre-determined knowledge, either due to ignorance (our mind lacks knowledge of repeating motions, e.g. the top card) or the object we are observing does not have repeating motions (clouds).

Importantly, both examples (chance and certainty) exist and occur within a necessarily connected universe that has limited determinism, limited freedom.

The Solution

So how can we have any freedom at all if reality is necessarily connected? As Spinoza writes;

Spinoza - There is no mind absolute or free will, but the mind is determined for willing this or that by a cause which is determined in its turn by another cause, and this one again by another, and so on to infinity. There is no mind absolute or free will, but the mind is determined for willing this or that by a cause which is determined in its turn by another cause, and this one again by another, and so on to infinity. ... A body in motion or at rest must be determined for motion or rest by some other body, which, likewise, was determined for motion or rest by some other body, and this by a third and so on to infinity. (Spinoza, 1673)

The problem here is that science and philosophy became dominated by Newtonian concepts, most notably the idea that matter was made of particles. Reality is not made of discrete inert particles that are acted on by external forces. Reality is continuously connected and dynamic. The wave structure of matter explains this.

One important consequence of this is that matter interactions are a continual two way communication of knowledge due to the spherical in and out waves. This means that every wave center 'particle' is vibrating (communicating) with all other matter in the observable universe, with a continual feedback occurring. It is this interconnected feedback that is important.

Let us now combine this knowledge from above to solve this problem of determinism Vs. free will. To do this consider the following example of a pendulum.

On Pendulums, repeating motion and certaintyImagine a pendulum swinging from left to right in front of you - and you have a button to push. If you push the button when the pendulum is on the left, you get an electric shock, if you push the button when the pendulum is on the right, you get some dark chocolate (and red wine perhaps).

Immediately we see that both futures are possible - it simply depends upon the time we push the button in the repeating cycle. It is this use of timing in repeating motions that allows us to know the future and select different possible futures - to have limited freedom in a necessarily connected universe.

For humans, and many life forms, they can memorize their senses using interconnected repeating wave motions in their body / brain to store knowledge. Thus they can learn through experimentation to push the button for reward, to avoid pain. Further, to begin we can use chance as the source of our experimentation, and because of the two way interconnection of matter, we can learn from the effects these chance decisions have upon us, to ultimately learn enough knowledge to make certain decisions, to choose from many possible futures.

Hence evolution of our brain and mind can use this mix of chance and certainty to allow us to creatively think of new and novel ideas and relationships (chance) that we can then remember (certainty). And we can use either chance or certainty (probably a mix of both) to select from many possible futures.
Obviously this is a very simplified explanation of how our mind works, and there may be millions of ‘layers’ to these chance / certain selections, each with various degrees of probabilities for selecting different outcomes.

Karl Popper also intuitively understood that there had to be some 'balance' between complete determinism (clocks) and complete disorder and chance (clouds) when he wrote;

Karl Popper on Free Will and DeterminismWhat we need for understanding rational human behaviour - and indeed, animal behaviour - is something intermediate in character between perfect chance and perfect determinism - something intermediate between perfect clouds and perfects clocks. (Popper, 1975)

He was absolutely right, for a necessarily connected, but infinite and non-determined universe allows us to have limited free will. We can act morally, create a better future for ourselves and our children, for life on earth as is necessary to ensure the survival of our species. But it is limited freedom, and it requires our minds to be correctly programmed - to understand the truth about our existence in the universe as the source of wisdom and freedom.


Physical reality is infinite and necessarily connected - it has limited determinism, limited freedom. In this necessarily connected but non determined universe, there are many possible futures.

The 'we' that selects from these possible futures is our mind which is also a programmed machine. The mind makes decisions based upon its programming which is determined by an interplay between our genes and our physical and cultural environment. It is limited / programmed freedom - but we can program ourselves - this is the source of our freedom.

The selection of possible futures occurs either from;
i) Chance due to lack of knowledge of an interconnected system.
ii) Certainty due to timing of decisions relating to repeated interconnected motions (logic).

This limited freedom is in harmony with both WSM and Darwinian evolution, that we learn / memorize different behaviors based upon our interaction with environment and our resultant survival. This limited freedom explains the evolution of intelligence and morality.

It is how we educate our minds, where we choose to live, that ultimately determines the interplay between chance and certainty that decides on the things we will choose to do.

In ending, I wish to emphasise that I am answering the question of determinism vs. free will not from mere philosophical speculation, but deduced from metaphysical foundations - of how waves behave in space. I have no moral or religious bias, my interest is truth and reality - the source of wisdom.

Geoff Haselhurst

Limited Free Will & Determinism in a Necessarily Connected Universe - Philosophy Quotes on Free Will & Determinism - Links / Free Will, Determinism - Top of Page

Free Will and Determinism - Philosophy of Free Living Will - Limited Free Will in a Necessarily Connected (Logical) Universe - David Hume

Philosophy Quotes on Free Will
Chance and Determinism


Albert Einstein on Determinism

I do not believe in freedom of will. Schopenhauer's words, 'Man can indeed do what he wants, but he cannot want what he wants', accompany me in all life situations and console me in my dealings with people, even those that are really painful to me. This recognition of the unfreedom of the will protects me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and judging individuals and losing good humour.
(Albert Einstein in Mein Glaubensbekenntnis, August 1932)

Einstein believed in determinism because Einstein's relativity is a deterministic theory. However, physical reality is different than Einstein imagined, quantum physics based upon wave equations provides a more complete description of reality.
I do agree though, humans are programmed machines. We have some control over our programming, but less choice than we realise for many things.

Determinism is Limited

For example, the motion of planets is not determinable if we consider long periods of time, as Eric Lerner explains;

The Cartesian idea of a set of universal laws which control natural occurrences exercised a powerful appeal in the succeeding centuries. Laplace, even as he developed his theory of a naturally evolving cosmos, endorsed the idea that, given the laws of gravitation, Newtonian mechanics, and the 'initial conditions' of the universe, every subsequent event not only can be accurately predicted, but is predetermined. The whole history of the universe, and of earth, is the inevitable operation of a set of eternal laws. In modern terms, Laplace believed that mathematical physics constitutes a Theory of Everything.

This doesn't mean we can't make useful predictions about the future. We can if the amount of time we try to predict is short enough. For unstable systems this time limit is the amount of time that passes between collisions of the particles that make up the system. For the comet this is a single orbit, but for a gas a tiny fraction of a second. We can, however, make useful statistical predictions; on average the comet will probably last about 150 orbits. And of course many systems are sufficiently close to stable that we can ignore their instability because the rate at which their instabilities grow is far longer than we need to worry about. For example, the orbits of the planets in our actual solar system appear to be unpredictable in excess of twenty million years from now. For all intents and purposes, in plotting a space mission the system is absolutely stable, predictable and reversible. (Lerner, 1991)

David Hume Quotes on Determinism Vs. Free Will

Hume comes to a similar conclusion as Spinoza and Einstein, our freedom is an illusion. However, if you read the David Hume page then you will see how the wave structure of matter (WSM) solves Hume's problem of causation and necessary connection.

The thing that they failed to understand to solve this problem is that reality always has a two way interconnection, not a one way cause and effect. The spherical in and out waves explain this. This reality is causally connected, has limited determinism ( being large wave structures within infinite space) and has limited freedom (you are bound by the laws of Nature, determined by the wave properties of space).

Why has the will an influence over the tongue and fingers, not over the heart or liver? (David Hume, 1737)

We learn the influence of our will from experience alone. And experience only teaches us, how one event constantly follows another; without instructing us in the secret connexion, which binds them together, and renders them inseparable. (David Hume, 1737)

The command of the mind over itself is limited, as well as its command over the body; and these limits are not known by reason, or any acquaintance with the nature of cause and effect, but only by experience and observation, as in all other natural events and in the operation of external objects. Our authority over our sentiments and passions is much weaker than that over our ideas; and even the latter authority is circumscribed within very narrow boundaries. (David Hume, 1737)

This self-command is very different at different times. A man in health possesses more of it than one languishing with sickness. We are more master of our thoughts in the morning than in the evening: Fasting, than after a full meal. (David Hume, 1737)

I shall say that I know with certainty that he is not to put his hand into the fire and hold it there till it be consumed: And this event, I think I can foretell with the same assurance, as that, if he throw himself out at the window, and meet with no obstruction, he will not remain a moment suspended in the air. (David Hume, 1737)

Necessity, according to the sense in which it is here taken, has never yet been rejected, nor can ever, I think, be rejected by any philosopher. It may only, perhaps, be pretended that the mind can perceive, in the operations of matter, some farther connexion between the cause and effect; and connexion that has not place in voluntary actions of intelligent beings. Now whether it be so or not, can only appear upon examination; and it is incumbent on these philosophers to make good their assertion, by defining or describing that necessity, and pointing it out to us in the operations of material causes.
It would seem, indeed, that men begin at the wrong end of this question concerning liberty and necessity, when they enter upon it by examining the faculties of the soul, the influence of the understanding, and the operations of the will. Let them first discuss a more simple question, namely, the operations of body and of brute unintelligent matter; and try whether they can there form any idea of causation and necessity, except that of a constant conjunction of objects, and subsequent inference of the mind from one to another. (David Hume, 1737)

By liberty, then, we can only mean a power of acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the will; that is, if we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may. (David Hume, 1737)

It is universally allowed that nothing exists without a cause of its existence, and that chance, when strictly examined, is a mere negative word, and means not any real power which has anywhere a being in nature. But it is pretended that some causes are necessary, some not necessary. (David Hume, 1737)

.. liberty, when opposed to necessity, not to constraint, is the same thing as chance; which is universally allowed to have no existence. (David Hume, 1737)

Necessity may be defined in two ways, conformably to the two definitions of cause, of which it makes an essential part. It consists either in the constant conjunction of like objects, or in the inference of the understanding from one object to another. (David Hume)

Actions are, by their very nature, temporary and perishing; and where they proceed not from some cause in the character and disposition of the person who performed them, they can neither redound to his honour, if good; nor infamy, if evil. (David Hume, 1737)

No contingency anywhere in the universe; no indifference; no liberty. While we act, we are, at the same time, acted upon. The ultimate Author of all our volitions is the Creator of the world, who first bestowed motion on this immense machine, and placed all beings in that particular position, whence every subsequent event, by an inevitable necessity, must result. Human actions, therefore, either can have no moral turpitude at all, as proceeding from so good a cause; or if they have any turpitude, they must involve our Creator in the same guilt, while he is acknowledged to be their ultimate cause and author. (David Hume, 1737)

Limited Free Will & Determinism in a Necessarily Connected Universe - Philosophy Quotes on Free Will & Determinism - Links / Free Will, Determinism - Top of Page

Free Will and Determinism - Philosophy of Free Living Will - Limited Free Will in a Necessarily Connected (Logical) Universe - Sir Isaac Newton - Newtons Mechanics Links: Free Will, Determinism, Chance, Causation, Necessary Connection

Cosmology -The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built by pure deduction (Albert Einstein, 1954). The Wolff-Haselhurst Cosmology explains a Perpetual Finite Spherical Universe within an Infinite Eternal Space. The Spherical Standing waves determines the size of our finite spherical universe within an infinite Space (Matter is large not small, we only 'see' the Wave-Center / 'particle' effect which has greatly confused physics). Huygens' Principle explains how other matter's out waves combine to form our matter's spherical In-Waves, which then deduces both Mach's Principle and the redshift with distance (without assuming Doppler effect due to an expanding universe / Big Bang). This also explains how matter interacts with all other matter in the universe (why we can see stars) as matter is the size of the universe, but we only 'see' the high wave amplitude wave-centers / 'particles'.

Quantum Physics: Quantum Theory / Wave Mechanics - Historical Analysis and Solutions to Problems of Quantum Theory (Quantum Mechanics).On Planck, Einstein, Bohr, de Broglie, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Born, Feynman, Wolff. 'Experiments on interference made with particle rays have given brilliant proof that the wave character of the phenomena of motion as assumed by Quantum Theory do, really, correspond to the facts.' (Albert Einstein, 1940)

Hume, David - The Spherical Wave Structure of Matter in Space explains Hume's Problem of 'Necessary Connexion', Causation and Skeptic ism. 'Experience only teaches us, how one event constantly follows another; without instructing us in the secret connexion, which binds them together, and renders them inseparable. ... What that medium is, I must confess, passes my comprehension; and it is incumbent on those to produce it, who assert that it really exists ... I cannot imagine any such reasoning. But I keep my mind still open to instruction, if any one will vouchsafe to bestow it upon me.'

Schopenhauer, Arthur - Famous for Introducing Eastern Mysticism into Western Philosophy, being Pessimistic (Realistic) about the Nature of Man, and critiquing Kant's Metaphysics. Quotations from The World as Will and Representation. 'But life is short, and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.'

Metaphysics: Problem of One and the Many - Brief History of Metaphysics and Solutions to the Fundamental Problems of Uniting the; One and the Many, Infinite and the Finite, Eternal and the Temporal, Absolute and Relative, Continuous and Discrete, Simple and Complex, Matter and Universe.

Metaphysics: Philosophy - Uniting Metaphysics and Philosophy by Solving Hume's Problem of Causation, Kant's Critical Idealism, Popper's Problem of Induction, Kuhn's Paradigm.

Newton, Isaac - Newton's Absolute Space is correct. His error was to further assume the existence of Matter 'particles', Time, and Forces, which are caused by the Spherical Wave Motions of Space.

Summary & History of World Religions. On Morality, Free Will & God

'The essence of any world religion lies solely in the answer to the question: why do I exist, and what is my relationship to the infinite universe that surrounds me?' (Leo Tolstoy)
Theology Major
World Religions
'The ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God. ... God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance.' (Gottfried Leibniz, 1670)
God: One Infinite
'What we need for understanding rational human behaviour - and indeed, animal behaviour - is something intermediate in character between perfect chance and perfect determinism - something intermediate between perfect clouds and perfects clocks.' (Karl Popper, 1975)
Free Will
'There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair. ... If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed'. (Albert Einstein, on Morality and Ethics)
Morality Ethics
Religion Virtue
'True religion is that relationship, in accordance with reason and knowledge, which man establishes with the infinite world around him, and which binds his life to that infinity and guides his actions.' (Leo Tolstoy, 1882)
Leo Tolstoy
True Religion
'I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.' (Albert Einstein)
Albert Einstein
God Religion
'Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from its readiness to fit in with our instinctual wishful impulses'. (Sigmund Freud, famous Atheist)
Atheism Agnostic
Beliefs Quotes
'The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead'. (Albert Einstein)
Mystical Mystics
'The word pantheism derives from the Greek words pan (='all') and theos (='God'). Thus pantheism means 'All is God'. In essence, pantheism holds that there is no divinity other than the universe and nature.' (Harrison, 1999)
Pantheism Beliefs
Pantheist Religion
In Hinduism, Shiva the Cosmic Dancer, is perhaps the most perfect personification of the dynamic universe. Through his dance, Shiva sustains the manifold phenomena in the world, unifying all things by immersing them in his rhythm and making them participate in the dance. (Capra, 1975)
Hinduism Beliefs
Hindu Gods
'The gift of truth excels all other gifts. ... The world is continuous flux and is impermanent. ... Transient are conditioned things. Try to accomplish your aim with diligence.' (Buddha)
Buddhism Religion
Beliefs History
'To learn and from time to time to apply what one has learned, isn't that a pleasure? ... When anger rises, think of the consequences. ... Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.' (Confucius, Analects)
Confucius Beliefs
'The Tao that can be expressed is not the Eternal Tao. ... There is a thing, formless yet complete. Before heaven and earth it existed. We do not know its name, but we call it Tao. It is the Mystery of Mysteries.' (Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching)
Tao Taoism
Religion Beliefs
Aphrodite (Roman name: Venus) was the Greek Goddess of love, beauty, and the protector of sailors. The poet Hesiod said that Aphrodite was born from sea-foam which inspired Botticelli's painting of the greek goddess on a scallop shell.
Greek Gods
Who is the bravest hero? He who turns his enemy into a friend. ... Judge not thy neighbor until thou art come into his place. (Jewish Proverbs)
Judaism History
Jewish Jews
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Christianity Jesus
Christ Christian
The word Catholic means 'throughout the whole, universal.' 'The Catholic Church is called Catholic because it is throughout the world, from one end of the earth to the other.' (St Cyril of Jerusalem, 347AD)
Catholic Church
'There is no god but God; Muhammad (Mohammed) is the messenger of God.' 'Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.' (Final Sermon of Muhammad)
Islam Muslim
Religion Quran

Help Humanity

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
(Mohandas Gandhi)

Albert Einstein"When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. ... Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended. In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. ...
The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. ... We must not conceal from ourselves that no improvement in the present depressing situation is possible without a severe struggle; for the handful of those who are really determined to do something is minute in comparison with the mass of the lukewarm and the misguided. ...
Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!" (Albert Einstein)

Biography: Geoffrey Haselhurst, Philosopher of Science, Theoretical Physics, Metaphysics, Evolution. Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, education, health, evolution and ecology, politics and society.

This is the profound new way of thinking that Einstein realised, that we exist as spatially extended structures of the universe - the discrete and separate body an illusion. This simply confirms the intuitions of the ancient philosophers and mystics.

Given the current censorship in physics / philosophy of science journals (based on the standard model of particle physics / big bang cosmology) the internet is the best hope for getting new knowledge known to the world. But that depends on you, the people who care about science and society, realise the importance of truth and reality.

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A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. (Max Planck, 1920)

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