History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Guess who is not believable on free will

April 13th, 2012 · No Comments


People can and have taken strong issue with the view, favored by Sam Harris and me, that free will as traditionally conceived is a complete illusion. Many people have responded with diverse versions of “compatibilism”—the view that determinism is still compatible with some notion of free will. (I happily note, though, that almost nobody questions determinism itself, though some have urged us to keep it quiet lest it rile up the hoi polloi).

This is a strange statement, and one wonders, as with Darwinism, if these people really believe their own beliefs.

We have pointed to the classic work of Kant, who embraces determinism, but defends free will. Noone has done a better job here.

As I think about it, however, it seems to me that the form of science as known now gets the whole thing completely wrong.
The deterministic analysis of physical reality gives us no reason to conclude its universal applicability. It is merely a rote consistency at work here.
In fact, despite my respect for physics I increasingly suspect it is completely off the mark, and certainly so for life, mind, and free will. The fact is that we cannot even describe the human psychological framework. It is under no obligation to follow the rules set down by science obsessives.

In any case, the work of Kant shows how the question of causality and the categories are related. Causality is something that we apply to reality. Beyond that, reality is a mystery. There is every possibility we have missed the key to the question of free will.
This is mostly club conformity at work here, Coyne, Harris, the new atheists, the scientist cult, Big Science, blah blah.

Denying the existence of soul, and/or of a dimension to mind beyond space-time (categories of the mind, pace Kant), makes everything you say after incorrect. And the defenders of free will who also try to stay in the realm of an entity without soul are forced into illogical positions.

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