Free Will in the Theory of Everything

  • Fabio ScardigliEmail author
  • Gerard ’t Hooft
  • Emanuele Severino
  • Piero Coda


From what is known today about the elementary particles of matter and the forces that control their behaviour, it may be observed that a host of obstacles to our further understanding remain to be overcome. Most researchers conclude that drastically new concepts must be investigated, new starting points are needed, older structures and theories, in spite of their successes, will have to be overthrown, and new, superintelligent questions will have to be asked and investigated. In short, they say that we shall need new physics. Here, we argue in a different manner. Today, no prototype, or toy model, of any so-called theory of everything exists, because the demands required of such a theory appear to be conflicting. The demands that we propose include locality, special and general relativity, together with a fundamental finiteness not only of the forces and amplitudes, but also of nature’s set of dynamical variables. We claim that the two ingredients we have today, quantum field theory and general relativity, do indeed go a long way towards satisfying such elementary requirements. Putting everything together in a grand synthesis is like solving a gigantic puzzle. We argue that we need the correct analytical tools to solve this puzzle. Finally, it seems obvious that this solution will leave room neither for `divine intervention’, nor for `free will’, an observation that, all by itself, can be used as a clue. We claim that this reflects on our understanding of the deeper logic underlying quantum mechanics.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Scardigli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gerard ’t Hooft
    • 2
  • Emanuele Severino
    • 3
  • Piero Coda
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsPolitecnico of MilanoMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Institute for Theoretical PhysicsUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.BresciaItaly
  4. 4.Istituto Universitario SophiaFirenzeItaly

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