On 6/1/2012 11:43 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:
Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string "free will" means and neither
John K Clark
Of course there are various degrees to which it can be free but that doesn't mean "free
will" is a meaningless string. Freedom is defined by the observer. I note the freedom
I have in choosing my beliefs. I am not bound to agree with you nor am I bound to
disagree with you.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines free will as follows
"“Free Will” is a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of
action from among various alternatives. "
So what is the fuss about?
The fuss is because the concept is thought to be fundamental to jurisprudence and social
policy (it's even cited in some Supreme Court decisions). The concept of free will has
been carried over from past theological and philosophical ideas. But now the concept is
attacked by scientists and some philosophers as incoherent or empirically false. If they
are right it would seem to imply revision of the social/legal concepts and laws derived
from it. Can existing practice be justified on a purely utilitarian basis?
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