Many philosophers have attempted to solve the "Mystery of Free Will" by using another mystery. Others have found possible answers in mathematical and physical infinities. The most popular mysteries are the many quantum mysteries, now that most philosophers admit the possibility that quantum mechanics introduces some real randomness and absolute chance into the universe. Until recently, no thinker has succeeded in getting past the standard argument that indeterminacy may render our decisions random and thus deny us moral responsibility. Popular quantum mysteries recruited by philosophers include
This is a fairly old idea (with little, formerly, to back it up beyond some half-formulated notion that since quantum mechanics is mysterious and so is consciousness, these two mysteries may perhaps be related).John Searle says consciousness is a mystery, free will is a mystery, and quantum mechanics is a mystery. These three mysteries may be related. In a breakthrough of sorts, Searle admits that he could never see, until recently, the point of introducing quantum mechanics into discussions of consciousness and free will. Now he says we know two things:
First we know that our experiences of free action contain both indeterminism and rationality...Second we know that quantum indeterminacy is the only form of indeterminism that is indisputably established as a fact of nature...it follows that quantum mechanics must enter into the explanation of consciousness." (David Chalmers describes "Two Mysteries,"
The problem of quantum mechanics is almost as hard as the problem of consciousness. Quantum mechanics gives us a remarkably successful calculus for predicting the results of empirical observations, but it is extraordinarily difficult to make sense of the picture of the world that it delivers. How could our world be the way it has to be, in order for the predictions of quantum mechanics to succeed? There is nothing even approaching a consensus on the answer to this question. Just as with consciousness, it often seems that no solution to the problem of quantum mechanics can be satisfactory. Many people have thought that these two most puzzling of problems might be intimately linked (e.g., Bohm 1980; Hodgson 1988; Lockwood 1989; Penrose 1989; Squires 1990; Stapp 1993; Wigner 1961). Where there are two mysteries, it is tempting to suppose that they have a common source. This temptation is magnified by the fact that the problems in quantum mechanics seem to be deeply tied to the notion of observership, crucially involving the relation between a subject's experience and the rest of the world.The connection between consciousness and quantum mechanics was made famous by John von Neumann in his treatment of the measurement problem and the role of the observer in quantum mechanics.