On 16 Nov 2010, at 04:51, Rex Allen wrote:
On Sun, Nov 14, 2010 at 6:04 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>
? Are you saying that it is obvious that compatibilism is false?
Compatibilism is false. Unless you do something sneaky like change
the meaning of the term "free will" to make it true.
Which is like changing the definition of "unicorn" to mean "a horse
with a horn glued to it's forehead".
I agree with the critics of compatilism in this passage:
"Critics of compatibilism often focus on the definition of free will:
Incompatibilists may agree that the compatibilists are showing
something to be compatible with determinism, but they think that
something ought not to be called 'free will'.
Compatibilists are sometimes accused (by Incompatibilists) of actually
being Hard Determinists who are motivated by a lack of a coherent,
consonant moral belief system.
Compatibilists are sometimes called 'soft determinists' pejoratively
(William James's term). James accused them of creating a 'quagmire of
evasion' by stealing the name of freedom to mask their underlying
determinism. Immanuel Kant called it a 'wretched subterfuge' and
What is your position? And what is your definition of free-will?
Personally I am OK with the following paragraph (from
“Free Will” is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of
capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among
various alternatives. Which sort is the free will sort is what all the
fuss is about. (And what a fuss it has been: philosophers have debated
this question for over two millenia, and just about every major
philosopher has had something to say about it.) Most philosophers
suppose that the concept of free will is very closely connected to the
concept of moral responsibility. Acting with free will, on such views,
is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible
for one's action. (Clearly, there will also be epistemic conditions on
responsibility as well, such as being aware—or failing that, being
culpably unaware—of relevant alternatives to one's action and of the
alternatives' moral significance.) But the significance of free will
is not exhausted by its connection to moral responsibility. Free will
also appears to be a condition on desert for one's accomplishments
(why sustained effort and creative work are praiseworthy); on the
autonomy and dignity of persons; and on the value we accord to love
and friendship. (See Kane 1996, 81ff. and Clarke 2003, Ch.1; but see
also Pereboom 2001, Ch.7.)
I am kind of OK too with your quotes. I don't believe in any version
of free-will which would ask for third person indeterminacy.
And if I do believe in notions of first person and first person plural
indeterminacies, I think that they have no *direct* role in the very
'existence' or 'meaningfulness' of free-will or things like personal
choice and moral responsibility.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-l...@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at