Volume 25, 2018
Buddhist Philosophy, Free Will, and Artificial Intelligence
James V. Luisi
Can Buddhist philosophy and Western philosophical conceptions of free will intelligently inform each other? Repetti has described one possible Buddhist option of solving the free will problem by identifying a middle path between the extremes of rigid determinism, as understood by the hard determinist, and random indeterminism, as understood by the hard indeterminist. In support of this middle path option, I draw upon ideas from the fields of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, evolutionary psychology, and related fields that together render coherent the ideas that determinism may be non-rigid and that indeterminism may be non-random, on the one hand, and upon Buddhist ideas, such as interdependence, the four-cornered negation, and what Repetti describes as the Buddhist conception of causation as “wiggly,” to argue that Buddhist philosophy has much to contribute to the field of artificial intelligence, on the other hand. Together, I suggest, the Buddhist philosopher and the software expert would form an ideal team to take on the task of constructing genuine artificial intelligence capable of the sort of conscious agency that human beings apparently possess.