Showing posts from April, 2021

Reframing the debate around free will - from the morass of moral responsibility to a grounding in biological agency

A recent article in the Guardian very nicely summarised “the free will debate”, or at least the more visible parts of it. The debate is a live one as new findings from neuroscience or even fundamental physics are supposedly constantly and cumulatively limiting any scope for free will to possibly exist. The article presents the two most popular positions among scientists and philosophers: free will skepticism and compatibilism, which are championed by influential figures like Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. The trouble is, they are by no means the only possible options, and, frankly, neither is convincing or satisfactory, in my view, for many reasons.     First, they often start out with definitions of free will or criteria for what would constitute it that are not just different from each other, but independently highly arguable. Second, both take determinism to be true, as a given. Free will skepticism argues that determinism rules out free will. Compatibilism argues that free wil