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Old 08-16-2019, 01:25 PM
begbert2 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 13,261
Originally Posted by kevlaw View Post
I don't believe that compatibilism does anything but redefine some common words. It's just warmed over determinism. Determinism is not compatible with free will.
Well, one of the words we redefine is "free will". Doing that really does change the picture somewhat - among other things, determinism is totally compatible with free will (as we define it).

Originally Posted by kevlaw View Post
As far as I know, physics gives us only two options to explain how things happen the way they do.

1. Randomness at the quantum level.
2. Cause and effect at the macro level.

In other words, settled science tells us that our actions are either pre-determined or they are random and neither of these options leaves room for free will. But — and here's the science of the gaps bit — at the end of the 19th century, scientists thought they were almost done with physics and just a handful of gaps remained that would be explained once they found evidence of the ether. Twenty years later, there was a whole new paradigm for science and all the old certainties were swept away. I don't expect that we will solve the problem of free will until we find a new paradigm.
Under my view of the universe, the two options we have are actually:

1) Randomness at any level, from any source.
2) Cause and effect at any level, from any source.

I don't care if your cause and effect is happening with subatomic particles, and I don't care if your randomity is coming out of a random number generator the size of a house. It doesn't even matter if the randomity/causes are coming from outside puppetmasters or supernatural entities. It's not about where it's from at all; it's about whether the outcomes are determined by the prior state of something somewhere, or whether they're not (and thus are completely random).

And given that that's an A ∨ ČA situation, I don't see room for any gaps. No matter what is invented, discovered or imagined, I see no space for Free Will Particles to leak through.

Originally Posted by kevlaw View Post
The best evidence for free will is that some people seem to have more of it than others. Some people seem compelled to do things that are harmful to themselves and others manage to avoid them. Some people are able to exercise restraint and self-discipline and make choices that result in better outcomes.

A trip to the zoo shows more of the same. The lower animals seem to respond entirely to triggers. As you get closer to our branch of the evolutionary tree, animals seem to have more intentions and more agency to effect them. They are able to plan for specific outcomes rather than just reacting to their environment. Higher animals have more options and make more choices.
To me that just looks like varying levels of complexity, and varying levels of range in tolerable preferences. There are a lot of restaurants that I and my friend go to where he loves half the things on the menu, but there's only one thing on there I'll eat. (I am such an accommodating guy.) To an outside observer that looks like I have way less free will than he does, but it really comes down to me seeing a different world than he does due to my differing preferences. He sees a menu of tasty; I see a menu full of messiness and spice.

Originally Posted by kevlaw View Post
Admittedly, Libertarians like me are currently stuck with a paradox but the determinists are not entirely paradox-free. As far as I can tell, determinists necessarily reject justice, merit, blame, good, evil and all of the other things that make life worth living. Note that I am not appealing to consequences here. I'm claiming that the determinist's worldview is riddled with paradoxes and inconsistencies where my side has only one small paradox to sort out.
Dunno about the non-compatiblist determinists out there, but this compatiblist at least simply perceives the operation of choice and will differently than you do. Within my compatiblist framework justice, merit, blame, good, and evil all are accepted and reasonable and recognized things, and so are cookies, which are what make life worth living.

Last edited by begbert2; 08-16-2019 at 01:28 PM. Reason: typos