I’m sure the following idea, exactly or perhaps with a little variation, has occurred to many of the people who’ve thought about free will and about quantum mechanics. It’s so elegant, I must put it down.
About free will, my most concise thought is in two parts:
(A) If you ask the question of whether you have it, the answer is a simple No, because when you’re asking it, you’re looking for it, and how can it be there when you’re doing something apart from freely willing, namely, asking the question?
(B) If you look back and observe your past actions, then you might see that for some actions, you have demonstrated free will.
The current context is the relation of that to quantum mechanics in the form of Schrödinger’s Cat.
Simply change the question from “Is the cat there” to “Can I know if the cat is there or not”.
Then, here’s what it looks like:
(A) When I try to answer the question of whether or not the cat is there, then I cannot know if the cat is there or not. That is, I cannot answer the question when I try to do it.
(B) If I don’t try to answer the question, then yes, there has to be an answer to the question.
As everyone (who has thought along these lines) knows, this idea can become many encyclopedias. So I’ll state my point here: these two funny things, about free will and about QM, are pretty much the same. “Pretty much” as in: The freewill thing is the “internal version,” and the QM thing is the “external version.”
The view from the inside and the view of the outside are the only two things in intellectual life. If my observation is correct, then the fundamental question is the same — or, at least, the respective fundamental questions are mirror images of each other.
The third “thing” — namely, everyday operation and life in general — has no freewill question, neither a QM question; the killer tool is Probability. We know that QM comes down to probability in one sense. There is a way of thinking in which freewill also comes down to probability. The former is unappealing to the scientist in us; the latter is unappealing to the human. However, the former appeals to the human (“There is still a way in which QM can be described”), and the latter appeals to the scientist (“The freewill problem is indeed tractable”). This last bit is perhaps my real contribution to the topic.