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11/08/2016

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Thanks for posting this Thomas, a few observations just to lighten the mood:

Al Mele is pretty sure we have free will, but seems agnostic between compatibilism and libertarianism: "...either compatibilism is true, or libertarianism is true. That either/or proposition is more credible than the opposing proposition which is no free will either way, that free will is an illusion.” (~21:30) Well, we know for sure we have compatibilist capacities, so on that *definition* of free will it certainly exists. I'm still not sure why Al holds out hope for libertarianism, or why he supposes randomness could add to control or responsibility, and thus provide us with a "higher grade" of free will.

Peter Van Inwagen (PVI) says he’s baffled - he can't see how we could have FW under either determinism or indeterminism. Yet he's pretty sure we have it. He could perhaps evolve to become a FW skeptic or, alternatively, define FW ala compatibilism, thus avoiding skepticism.

Eddy Nahmias says correctly and importantly that just because something is caused doesn’t mean *it’s* not a cause; thus making human agency compatible with determinism (~28:40). But he also says that “...if consciousness were cut out of the picture, free will would be an illusion, but I don’t think any of the evidence has suggested that yet.” Talk of "consciousness" is of course ambiguous between having phenomenal experiences on the one hand (these totally bore Neil Levy!) and on the other the brain-based, behavior-controlling capacities that go along with being conscious. On the first construal, it isn't clear what role experience per se adds to behavior control, such that a philosophical zombie (could it exist) wouldn't have compatibilist free will.

In this regard, Patrick Haggard takes the naturalist view that “...from a neuroscientific point of view there is no conscious mind independent of the brain” and that “...consciousness has got to be a product of our brain activity.” (~42:20) It's pretty clear he's talking about phenomenal experience, thus suggesting that there's no way it plays an independent or additional behavior-controlling role beyond what the good old brain does. If you hitch your FW wagon to phenomenal consciousness per se, you won't get too far I don't think.

There were other cogent naturalist views and disagreements about FW expressed by the other contributors Thomas mentions in the OP, but this is long enough. The last segment on the theology of free will is an entertaining look at what happens when you try to reconcile omnibenevolence, omniscience, and omnipotence. Something's gotta give!

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