Joseph Delboeuf on time as the mechanism of free will

A new open access article in Theory & Psychology may interest AHP readers: “Joseph Delboeuf on time as the mechanism of free will,” by André R. LeBlanc. Abstract:

In the early 1880s, Joseph Delboeuf proposed a little-known but ingenious solution to the problem the law of the conservation of energy poses for free will. When energy is transferred between two bodies, the law of energy conservation requires that the energy before and after the transfer be the same, but it says nothing of the time it must take. If we could delay this transfer, Delboeuf proposed, we could alter the course of matter without compromising the conservation of energy. This article begins by tracing the early history of the conflict between free will and the first law of thermodynamics and by recounting some initial attempts to resolve it. It next describes Delboeuf’s theory and the arguments that were made against it, before situating it with respect to some recent developments in the philosophy and psychology of free will.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.