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August 30, 2007


Luis Enrique

I am very suspicious of a debate where I cannot see how the implications of either side of the argument differ - what I mean is, say we were to decide "free will is illusory", what follows from that? Do we just stay in bed all day waiting to see what our mechanistic selves have in store for us? Of course not, we carry on acting as before. Even the possible consequences for the justice system are non-existent - we may currently regard doing something of your own free will as a pre-requisite for culpability, but if it turns out free will does not exist, that criteria is meaningless and gets binned to be replaced by doing something because your non-free mind machine chose to, as opposed to being forced to by another non-free person.

I really can't see how free-will-is-real or free-will-is-false changes how we think about anything. I think people who do are holding on to a way of thinking developed under free-will-is-real and applying it to free-will-is-false - a common philosophical mistake, as far as I can see, similar to: God is the source of morality, there is no God, oh no! there is no morality!


There was a nice article on Mark Vernon's blog about this. Blackmore is right about the behaviour of materialists, though. They say they believe in biological determinism, that there is no free will, but they don't act as though they believe it. If materialists don't, in practice, believe in materialism, why should anybody else?

Oh, and the next materialist who posts, trying to show I'm wrong, or silly, or don't understand what I'm writing should just think about why, if he or she is right

(a) they care enough to try to convince me
(b) it matters to anybody?

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