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The issue of THE JOURNAL OF AYN RAND STUDIES recently issued (December 2022 – https://scholarlypublishingcollective.org/…/ayn…/issue/22/2… ) includes a paper by Dr. Kathleen Touchstone titled “Error, Free Will, and Freedom.” It engages importantly with earlier writings of mine, and because the next issue of JARS will be its final issue, and it is already at the printer, I’m making a reply to Touchstone’s paper simply in online posts.

Kathleen Touchstone’s main-stage representation of what I wrote in OBJECTIVITY in the 1990’s about internal indeterminism is incorrect. I rejected the idea that quantum indeterminism could play a role in these organic processes. The classical Boltzmann-regime and chaos processes in the classical regime are the only plausible candidates for micro indeterminism in neuronal process as far as I knew or know even now.

I do NOT accede “the source of volition is errors.” I argued that error occurs, contra Descartes, in animal capabilities not requiring free will. But the circumstance that error arises without conceptual intelligence and free will does not entail that error Is the source of free will. Although, it suggests that cognitive error, conceptual or more primitive, is a necessary attendant of intelligence and free will.

I do NOT accede “this error [thence free will] is due to indeterminism that is associated with quantum probability” or “credit error—specifically as it relates to quantum probability—with being the root of free will.” I did NOT conclude: “Of the three sorts of chance, quantum probability offers the only possible physical source for volition because of the presence of indeterminism.” Rather, classical processes can be the physical bases of neuronal indeterminism once one rejects the illicit projection of regular classical isolated, independent, determined process-streams onto wider physical reality. A softening of the picture of determinism in ordinary physical reality is required (V2N4, pp. 183–86; also "Reply to Eilon" in V2N5 Remarks): a keeping true to actual physical process before us everyday, which leaves a possibility for neuronal processing systems, so far as I know, that yields free will.

Everything else in Touchstone’s representations of my old papers is accurate. I thank Dr. Touchstone for her deep dive into and recognition of the significance of those papers:

Boydstun, S., Chaos, OBJECTIVITY V2N1:31–46. Online at: http://objectivity-archive.com/volume2_number1.html#31

——. Volitional Synapses: Part 1. OBJECTIVITY V2N1:109–38. Online at: http://objectivity-archive.com/volume2_number1.html#109

——. Volitional Synapses: Part 2. OBJECTIVITY V2N2:105–29. Online at: http://objectivity-archive.com/volume2_number2.html#105

——. Volitional Synapses: Part 3. OBJECTIVITY V2N4:183–204. Online at: http://objectivity-archive.com/volume2_number4.html#183

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Learn from Dr. Touchstone's paper, I should say, in the following way: Take her springboard from my old papers as opposite the conclusion I drew in those papers. Take it as Touchstone's conclusion drawn from material presented in those papers. Then learn from her of new research and thought that further elaborates the conclusion she had incorrectly drawn (i.e., take the conclusion for true while reading her paper, even though it can't really be inferred from my works), such newer works from these two, for notable example: http://www.aracneeditrice.it/ara.../index.php/autori.html...
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A Man to Man


Man as class can be also endowed with traits taken as ideals for any particular human, traits embroidered by Rand around the essential account of man as animal of volitional rationality and the role of that condition in the life of humans. Rand drafted man as class as with virtues for any particular human. “Do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title” (1957, 1069). This too is relation of a man to man.


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