Ralph Lillie

Ralph LillieIn science, Ralph Stayner Lillie (1875-1952) was a Canadian-born American physiologist noted for nonmechanistic and nonmaterialist philosophy of animate organisms, specifically in the areas of free will, vitalism, and the origin of life. [1]

In his 1927 article “Physical Indeterminism and Vital Action”, he uses the Heisenberg uncertainty relation to argue for a neurological based free will, namely that deliberate actions of the organism, in particular humans, are non-deterministic at the neurological level and hence subsequently at the psychic-choice level. [2] Lillie’s 1927 paper, although discredited as early as 1928 by Joseph Needham, tends to be the first historical citation in modern uncertainty principle based free argument articles, or at least crediting him as having been the first to make such an argument. [3]

1. Shook, John R. (2005). Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers (§:Ralph Stayner Lillie, pg. 1473). Continuum International Publishing Group.
2. (a) Lillie, Ralph S. (1927). “Physical Indeterminism and Vital Action”, Science, 46: 139-44.
(b) Compton, Arthur H. (1935). The Freedom of Man (pg. 52). Yale University Press.
3. (a) Aaserud, Finn. (2002). Redirecting Science: Niels Bohr, Philanthropy, and the Rise of Nuclear Physics (pg. 77). Cambridge University Press.
(b) Schuster, Peter. (2009). “Free Will, Information, Quantum Mechanics, and Biology”, Complexity, 8-10.

Further reading
● Lillie, Ralph S. (1914). “The Philosophy of Biology: Vitalism versus Mechanism”, Science, (pgs. 840-46), October 12.

External links
Lillie, Ralph S. (b.1875) – WorldCat Identities.

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