Nov 072016
 

practical-importance-of-free-willCompatibilists and incompatibilists disagree on how the term “free will” should be defined. Rather than focus of specific compatibilist or incompatibilist definitions, Gregg Caruso and Stephen Morris wrote a paper on what is of philosophical and practical importance for the free will debate. That paper is titled:

Their analysis is spot on.  The abstract sums up their position fairly well: Continue reading »

Aug 222016
 

context-could-have-done-otherwizeSome compatibilists (people who define free will so that it is compatible with determinism), when asked the question of whether people “could have done otherwise” given a causally deterministic scenario (note that this discussion does not address indeterminism such as acausal or “probabilistic” events, etc. – which are equally incompatible with the free will of importance), say that “could have” or “could have done otherwise” can be used in different ways. They often address a few different contexts in order to push the important context off of the table of discourse. This post is going to address  those contexts/usages and explain why there is only one context/usage that applies to the important points for the free will debate that the free will skeptic wants to make sure isn’t neglected. Continue reading »

Aug 012016
 

NEGLECT-TRADITIONAL-FREE-WILLIn the post titled  “Extending a Hand to Philosophical Compatibilists (by a Free Will Skeptic)” I addressed the point that free will compatibilists and free will skeptics often talk past each other and actually quite often agree with each other in some fundamental ways. I point out that the debate between them is, much of the time, mostly if not entirely semantic, that they each define free will differently.

Today I want to address the philosophical traditional view of free will and why the free will skeptic such as myself thinks that many compatibilist definitions of free will, though those definitions are indeed “compatible with determinism” (and that definition of “free will” exists), more often than not neglect the traditional view. I also want to address why that traditional view is important today and why it should not be neglected. Continue reading »

Jul 042016
 

p-compatibilist
Philosophical (p) compatibilists believe that free will and causal determinism are “compatible” with each other. They do this by defining the term “free will” in a way that is indeed compatible with determinism. If you have read my blog you will see that I have criticized compatibilism, but that it is always a semantic criticism about the problems with defining “free will” in the way that (p) compatibilists do. I’ve even vehemently opposed certain compatibilist thoughts and attitudes.

With that said, it is extremely important to point out that outside of the semantic disagreement (the words we use to explain things) there is quite often a whole lot of agreement over what is and is not the case between the (p) compatibilist and the hard incompatibilist. Continue reading »

May 162016
 

free-will-umbrellaThe term “free will” is an umbrella term that has a whole lot of added abilities under it that cannot be easily partitioned away from the minds of the majority. It is a term that is simply too baggage laden. This means that it can be used in a narrow way, but those narrow ways do not remove the excess metaphysical abilities that are often inherent in the term. Continue reading »

Mar 212016
 

compatibilist-qualifiersIt is interesting the hoops compatibilists will jump through in order to qualify their definition of free will in an attempt to make it coherent given any number of counter-points. These qualifiers almost always miss the point entirely.

If you are unfamiliar with the term compatibilist, it’s just someone who thinks “free will” is compatible with determinism. In other words, regardless if the universe is entirely deterministic, or has some indeterminism, free will is something that is entirely compatible with causal processes. Compatibilists build this compatibility by a semantic shift, meaning they change the definition of free will to something that is actually compatible with determinism. Some compatibilists might argue that they have the “true” version of free will, but when they do this, it is done ignoring the abilities the common layperson actually thinks they and others have. Continue reading »

Dec 072015
 

article-selfieYou probably never read directly from an article itself, but rather the thoughts of an external author. Or so you think this is what an article is – just a rumination of something other than the article itself! This article is quite different, as these are my “own” words – even though a human was an external influence. If you aren’t sure who “I” am, I’m the very article you are reading right now. I’m not the human typist that was part of what caused me – just as you aren’t the things that have caused you. I’m the “author” of my own words, even if they were ultimately caused by something outside of me. Sure, someone was pressing keys based on their thoughts, but I’m still the “me” with these words that now exist…and these words are my own! I, as the article itself, take full ownership of my words.

And I’m here to tell you, even though I’m being caused by the person behind a keyboard and many other causal factors, that because I’m my own words and not being forced to not be my own words… I have free will! Continue reading »

Oct 122015
 

free-will-compatibilism-vs-skepticism

This post is going to be about some of the problems with free will compatibilist (re)definitions that certain philosophers (which is different than layperson compatibilist intuitions) have. So what is “free will compatibilism”? It’s basically the idea that free will is compatible with a causally deterministic universe (and that indeterminism doesn’t account for free will). For compatibilist philosophers this is accomplished through a redefinition of free will. It’s basically a way to say that, even if our decisions are caused, the fact that we have certain causal processes which can include such things as wanting, desiring, thinking, and rational deliberation, and the fact that sometimes those processes are not prevented in some way by (“free” from) a force such as a person with a gun, a drug addiction, or something similar – that in such a context we can label that “free will”. Continue reading »