Nov 302015

free-will-justifies-retributionThe notion that someone deserves what they have coming to them is a key factor in the justification of retribution.

The main difference between retribution and revenge is that retribution is often referred to in the more legal context that looks to punish a person in way that is  “proportional to the crime” they committed. Retribution is also called retributive justice, and it plays a large role in the criminal system of most countries. Continue reading »

Nov 162015

its-not-your-faultIf you’ve ever seen the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting you’ll probably remember the powerful scene where the psychologist Maguire, played by Robin Williams, tells Will, a mathematical genius played by Matt Damon, that “It’s not your fault”. At first Will shrugs it off with an “I know” but Maguire ignores the attempts to shrug it of and re-enforces the idea that Will is not to blame. He knows the weight of such a burden on Will even if Will claims to already know that it isn’t his fault. Continue reading »

Nov 022015


For this ‘just after’ Halloween post I’ll be moving outside of reality and talk about how souls, spirits, and ghosts cannot be free will mechanisms. I bring this up because someone who had read my book liked it very much, but felt that the section on “supernaturalism” was a little thin. They felt that the book made a strong case for the materialistic account of a lack of free will, but that someone’s “soul” could support some sort of “free will” mechanism. Continue reading »

Sep 142015


The floomps are a creature not too unlike us (but much furrier). They live in their little floomp village and work together in a civilized fashion. The floomps believe in free will. They believe that any other floomp has multiple options to choose from, and more importantly that all of those options are real possibilities. In other words, whenever a floomp does something that another floomp doesn’t like, that one thinks that not only should the other floomp not have done that, but that it actually could have, through it’s own volition, not done it. Continue reading »

Aug 102015

5-compatibilist-straw-man-fallaciesStraw-man fallacies are interesting because they are almost always intentional, though sometimes they can be unintentional. I tend to think, when a compatibilist (a person who thinks free will is compatible with determinism) uses a straw-man fallacy, that most of the time they don’t do them intentionally – or at least I give the compatibilist the benefit of the doubt. Rather, I think it often comes from a profound misunderstanding or assumption of the free will skeptics position. Continue reading »