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Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
Isaiah Berlin
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
Michael Burke
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
Sam Harris
William Hasker
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
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Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
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Keith Lehrer
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Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
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John Locke
Michael Lockwood
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Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
C. Lloyd Morgan
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
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R. Jay Wallace
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
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Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf


Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
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Emile Borel
Max Born
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Hans Briegel
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Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
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GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
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Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
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Patrick Haggard
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Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
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John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
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E. T. Jaynes
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Daniel Wegner
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Paul A. Weiss
Norbert Wiener
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E. O. Wilson
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Wojciech Zurek


Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman won a Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics (QED) but he also developed simple yet insightful explanations of quantum mechanics.

In his famous Lectures on Physics, some of the more accessible material re-published as Six Easy Pieces, Feynman argued that the most important scientific knowledge - from physics to biology - is the simple fact that all things are made of atoms.

If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or the atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it) that all things are made of atoms—little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied...
(Six Easy Pieces, p.4)

Everything is made of atoms. That is the key hypothesis. The most important hypothesis in all of biology, for example, is that everything that animals do, atoms do. In other words, there is nothing that living things do that cannot be understood from the point of view that they are made of atoms acting according to the laws of physics. This was not known from the beginning: it took some experimenting and theorizing to suggest this hypothesis, but now it is accepted, and it is the most useful theory for producing new ideas in the field of biology.
(Six Easy Pieces,p.20)

Feynman is quite right that everything is made up of discrete particles. We might rewrite his advice to the future this way:

The universe consists of discrete, discontinuous, and in some sense "digital," particles. There is no "classical" world, only a quantum world. The "classical" world emerges from the quantum world when a large enough number of particles get together. The continuous space (and time) in which we locate the particles is but a mathematical construct that allows us to describe the world.There are no continuous "fields" in which particles of matter (electrons, atoms, etc.) are thought to be singularities. The continuous, causal "forces" like gravity that we postulate are useful fictions. They are only statistical averages over other types of particles (photons, bosons, gravitons) that look continuous when very many such particles are present. At the microscopic level, quantum events are discontinuous and acausal. The analytic integral and differential equations that we assume deterministically govern the motions of material particles are idealizations only accurate for very large bodies.

Feynman imagined a scenario like that Arthur Holly Compton used as a model for free will based on quantum uncertainty.

...we could cook up — we'd better not, but we could — a scheme by which we set up a photo cell, and one electron to go through, and if we see it behind hole No. 1 we set off the atomic bomb and start World War III, whereas if we see it behind hole No. 2 we make peace feelers and delay the war a little longer.

On the Two-slit Experiment

Probability and Uncertainty - the Quantum Mechanical View of Nature

On Irreversibility

The Distinction of Past and Future
For Teachers
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Chapter 1.5 - The Philosophers Chapter 2.1 - The Problem of Knowledge
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