In a recent OP at Uncommon Descent, Vincent Torley (vjtorley) defends a version of libertarian free will based on the notion of top-down causation. The dominant view among physicists (which I share) is that top-down causation does not exist, so Torley cites an essay by cosmologist George Ellis in defense of the concept.
Vincent is commenting here at TSZ, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to engage him in a discussion of top-down causation, with Ellis’s essay as a starting point. Here’s a key quote from Ellis’s essay to stimulate discussion:
However hardware is only causally effective because of the software which animates it: by itself hardware can do nothing. Both hardware and software are hierarchically structured, with the higher level logic driving the lower level events.
I think that’s wrong, but I’ll save my argument for the comment thread.