On 6/6/2012 10:56 AM, R AM wrote:
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:57 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 6/6/2012 9:30 AM, R AM wrote:
    On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM, Brian Tenneson <tenn...@gmail.com
    <mailto:tenn...@gmail.com>> wrote:

        I think people make choices from among available options many times 
every day
        and that is why the concept in question exists.

    I agree that people make choices. I dont't think it is free will.

    You said that people would believe that it would unfair to punish anyone if 
    were no "free will". I agree that people believe that

    If there were no "free will" of what kind? contra-causal? compatibilist? 

Contral-causal, I guess. What I'm defending is that the belief in free-will is, in part, a social construct, useful from the social/legal point of view, as you say. We are educated to believe it.

The social/legal concept is certainly a social construct, and one that has evolved over time from simple revenge and "an eye for an eye" to all sorts mitigating and exacerbating factors. I think that belief in contra causal free will is natural and not a social construct. It arises from that "feeling I could have done otherwise" and then, by the theory of mind, the other guy "could have done otherwise". We will have be educated to disbelieve it.

    And even if it's not fair (another social term) it may be a useful thing 
for society
    to do.

I'm pretty convinced it is not fair. "Doing the right thing" is just a skill, like any other (running fast, jumping, intelligence, ...), and different people posess it to different degrees. Yet, from a social point of view, we consider everybody to have "the same amount of free will", excet in extreme cases (madness, drunkenness, etc). It's definitely not fair, but on the other hand, it is difficult to see what else we could do. It's useful for society to consider it that way.

We take into account those causative factors we understand and can change, but even if we realize the brain is strictly deterministic we don't know how to modify it except by crude methods like punishment and drugs and frontal lobotomies. We don't know how adjust people's values (or maybe we do, c.f. "A Clockwork Orange") or will.


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