Skip to main content
Presentation
Freedom as a Natural Phenomenon
Systems Science Faculty Publications and Presentations
  • Martin Zwick, Portland State University
Document Type
Presentation
Publication Date
4-1-2012
Subjects
  • Free will and determinism,
  • Systems theory,
  • Autonomy,
  • Autopoesis,
  • Agent (Philosophy)
Disciplines
Abstract
This phenomenon of "freedom" in the natural world - and indirectly the question of free will - is explored using systems-theoretic concepts that link the idea of freedom to ideas about autonomy and agency. The focus is on living systems in general, and on living systems that have cognitive subsystems more specifically. After touching on the relevance to freedom of determinism vs. randomness, the paper examines four types of freedom: (i) independence from fixed materiality, (ii) activeness that is unblocked and wholistic, (iii) internal rather than external determination, and (iv) regulation by an informational subsystem. These types of freedom are not all-or-nothing but matters of degree.
Description

Paper presented at the 64th Annual Northwest Philosophy Conference, Oregon State University, Oct. 26-27.

A modified version of this paper was subsequently published in Foundations of Science, vol. 20, no. 3, 2015. DOI http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/16556.

Persistent Identifier
http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/16556
Citation Information
Zwick, M. (2012). "Freedom as a Natural Phenomenon." Presented at the 64th Annual Northwest Philosophy Conference, Oregon State University, Oct. 26-27.