Date: May 17, 2019 07:44PM
It may ~seem~ like free will, but I'm not sure we can rule out that the decision is determined.
COMMENT: I am not sure either. But, as a humanist I have to live my life with that assumption. And since I believe in consistency, I need some theory to support it. And, admittedly I do not have one, or at least a good one. But for me the answer is not to deny freewill in the name of "science," because that pulls the rug out of everything it means to be human.
I'm on the fence with free will. I don't think whether or not it exists changes how we make decisions for good or evil. IMO, we can't know the fixed determined actions, so we ACT as if we have free will at least.
COMMENT: But that's the point. Without freewill we cannot "make decisions." We are only complex automatons who think we make decisions. (See, Wegner, The Illusion of Freewill)
This seems like yet another unnecessary thing to add to the mix.
COMMENT: Why is it unnecessary to insist on genuine freewill? When I disciplined my children (when they were young) for making a bad or "immoral" decision; or scolded myself for the same reason, it was because I believed that they and I could have freely chosen something else. Take that away, and what is left? What is the point of anything?
FWIW, if I were one of a million marbles dumped on a floor, it might seem like I have free will to roll and bump into this marble or that marble at the time. However, in the big picture, the physics and math could predict the collisions at the time of impact. It's too complicated with all the collisions to see them all laid out in advance. Maybe this is the extent of free will for us marbles. We know some things are definitely not our free will, but maybe it is not a 100% requirement. Maybe there are some details that really don't impact anything upstream. I haven't see any arguments one way or the other that I buy yet.
COMMENT: Well, no doubt it is all very complicated, including the philosophical, psychological, and neurological arguments. So, my dogmatism on this issue is definitely NOT out of certainty, by any stretch. It is out of human necessity, coupled with the particular explanatory holes in scientific materialism.
You're asking me for a substantive account and you, OTOH, default to saying it is part of a soul? Your claim is further out there than biology by far.
COMMENT: This is absolutely a legitimate complaint. Except, I am not sure it is "further out there" than biology, for this reason. Biology, in principle, does not get us to freewill. It is a non-starter. It does not even explain consciousness, mind, or subjectivity; all of which we know absolutely exist in the universe. Moreover, there is nothing more intuitive than the idea that our actions are free; that we are autonomous agents making choices and living lives based upon those choices. That is how we live our daily life. So, where should we look for an explanation? Science does not seem to provide one--even in principle! It is materialistic and encompasses the causal closure of the physical. Given that, it seems to me that we need to look to some additional metaphysical reality that we are not familiar with? A reality that explains consciousness, mind and freewill.
That said, biochem in humans include multiple feedback mechanisms for well being, fear, hunger, etc. Feelings are biochemical. We feel good when we are doing what we think is good (aka moral). I just don't see the need to make it more complicated. I don't see the need to create some objective authoritative obfuscation layer.
COMMENT: Granted, there are biological correlates and feedback mechanisms offer some level of explanation for much of the "qualia" humans routinely experience. The "need" for an additional layer of explanation is based upon the limited scope of such explanations in explaining ALL there is to be human; including, once again, consciousness, mind, and (hopefully) freewill. But, there is a lot that is encompassed by this limitation. Human creativity is not explained by neuroscience; Human thought and reasoning processes are not explained by neuroscience (The brain as a neural network is thought to be computational whereas human reasoning is largely non-computational.); The binding of sense date in experience is not explained; Attention is not explained; Memory is not explained. Although, there are theories for all of these things, in my judgment, they are very tenuous, speculative, and at best grossly incomplete. In short, we have no idea how the brain, as complicated as it is, works to explain the vast variety of human experiences. Is it just a matter of time? Maybe, but for me these gaps are such as to point to something more fundamental that is missing.