The New Science and the Old Problem of Free Will

By Andrew T. Seaman.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The idea that the universe is deterministic and that mankind really does not possess “free will” is a problem created by logic, not a problem in reality. The conviction that the universe is deterministic produced Calvinism in the realm of religion; in modern secular philosophy it has created a weird echo of Calvinism. The illusion of determinism is created by the limitations of linear thinking. The new science of chaos and complexity offers us an alternative way of viewing causation, based on non-linear dynamics, and shows us why causation does not extend back in time to a prime mover. Local clusters of causation are complex emergent systems, and work in a manner quite opposite to traditionally conceived primordiality.

Keywords: Free Will, Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory, Determinism, Logic, Linear Thinking, Non-linear Dynamics, Calvinism

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.13-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 217.950KB).

Dr. Andrew T. Seaman

Full Professor of English, Department of English, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dr. Seaman had a varied career at Saint Mary’s University, ranging from professor of English, head of department, president of the Faculty Union, and Acting Vice President Academic, to 15 years spent as the external director of the Engineering Division. Always interested in science and engineering as well as the arts, Dr. Seaman began investigating the emerging science of chaos and complexity theory in the late 20th century and published several articles on its relevance to English studies and the arts, including an article published in the International Journal of the Humanities in 2005. Other publications are in the areas of English romanticism and the literature of Atlantic Canada.