SCIENCE is from the Latin for 'knowledge', which philosophically means 'true, justified belief'.

informs wisdom, reason and humanism.

This creates a 4-legged worldview within reality that maximizes well-being for individuals and society.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jerry Coyne Critiques Sean Carroll's Free Will Opinion

"To his credit, Sean doesn’t try to offer up an alternative definition of free will like some compatibilists do, but merely says that using the language of 'choice' is a useful convention, even if it’s not true that we 'could have decided otherwise'."

Sean Carroll on free will


  1. Do you generally agree with Coyne or Carroll on this matter?

    1. In discussions like this, I usually side with Jerry. That said, Jerry may be misinterpreting Sean's words. I really don't think they are significantly apart in their view: they both are determinists, as I am.

    2. Ok. Does that mean that any time you get angry at someone for making a bad choice, you have to remind yourself that it was physically impossible for him/her to choose differently? I'm thinking through all the emotional energy directed at religion I've seen among atheists and secularists—most of whom might side with Coyne on this when push comes to shove—and it seems to me that it just isn't warranted. And yet, when I go down the rabbit hole, I wonder whether you have any control over how your anger is directed. I get confused when 'could have decided otherwise' is not an option. See, the same people tend to prefer a B-theory of time over the A-theory (because Relativity), which means that the future is as real as the past. That means 'could [not] have decided otherwise' also means 'can [not] decide otherwise'.

  2. Ya, reality is a bitch sometimes. Yes, I DO have to remind myself that it WAS physically impossible for him/her to choose differently.

    Why do you get confused when 'could have decided otherwise' is not an option? See, this is a great example of how reality is sometimes counter-intuitive. Everything science tells us about biology supports the notion of Determinism, as there is no anatomy and physiology findings that support counter-causal Free Will.

    The big difference between you and me is that I understand that the brain can lie to us and you trust intuition as a sign of reality.


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