Thursday, May 14, 2020

The World Runs Free

"The mere existence of free will already has consequences for the philosophy of general relativity. That theory has been thought by some to show that “the flow of time” is an illusion. We quote only one of many distinguished authors to that effect: 'The objective world simply is, it does not happen' (Hermann Weyl). It is remarkable that this common opinion, often referred to as the “block universe” view, has come about merely as a consequence of the usual way of modeling the mathematics of general relativity as a theory about the curvature of an eternally existing arena of space-time. In the light of the Free Will theorem this view is mistaken, since the future of the universe is not determined. Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to build the Panama Canal shows that free will moves mountains, which implies, by general relativity, that even the curvature of space is not determined. The stage is still being built while the show goes on. Einstein could not bring himself to believe that 'God plays dice with the world,' but perhaps we could reconcile him to the idea that 'God lets the world run free.'"

- John Conway (1937 - 2020) and Simon Kochen (1934 - )

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