On 01.06.2012 21:30 meekerdb said the following:
On 6/1/2012 11:43 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:
Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string "free will" means and
neither do you.
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?
What about that if you see something working (like a human society) and
you do not understand how it is working, then it might be a good idea
not to try to change it. The drive for change usually comes from people
who are not satisfied with their position in the current society. Why
the drive for change should come from some metaphysical discussions?
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