Free will debate rages on, or is it all an illusion? | Letters

Readers reflect on the role of chance, randomness and responsibility in their own lives

What high-quality letters (29 April) on free will. My A-level psychology students always found this fascinating and usually thought that free will was obvious until they had examined their own lives and realised that “soft determinism”, well-expounded by Robert Dimmick, was the likely answer. However, there is a big role for chance.

For example, I probably wouldn’t have been born in 1949 if my father hadn’t dropped a large tin of paint and shattered his foot while painting the cruiser that he was on during the second world war. His ship sailed without him and was sunk by Japanese bombers with massive loss of life. My father didn’t choose to drop the paint pot, but thereafter there were broad deterministic tramlines to his and my life.
Philip Wood
Kidlington, Oxfordshire

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