Category Archives: free will

My podcast on free will at Left at the Valley

Left at the Valley is an atheist/science/politics podcast emanating from the Fraser Valley of Western Canada. I’ve been on it once before, talking about evolution, but this time they wanted to discuss free will. Before you get all het up and ready to pound the keys, I defined the kind of free will I’m discussing […]

Shermer on consciousness, free will, and God

The latest Scentific American has a short column by Michael Shermer on why he thinks consciousness, free will, and God are “insoluble mysteries”. Click on the screenshot to read the piece.   When I read it, I jotted down some thoughts that took issue with Shermer’s notion that all three are “insoluble”, and sent a […]

Sabine Hossenfelder attempts to find real free will in the laws of physics

The two main positions about free will by those who already accept physical determinism are these: a. They are incompatible: determinism completely effaces the possibility of free will; b. They are compatible: although determinism may be true, and our actions controlled by the laws of physics, we can construe a definition of free will that […]

The Cowboy Philosopher on free will and theodicy

The Cowboy Philosopher has made two satirical videos: one on the problem of consciousness, and this one on theodicy and its “solutions.” He’s Plantinga on horseback! h/t: Phil

Free will and “privilege”

Oliver Burkeman is a Guardian writer based in New York, and his new column at the site may upset a lot of readers, though I’m not quite sure. Click on the screenshot to go to his short piece.  Burkeman was apparently greatly influenced by a 2011 BBC edition of the “In Our Time” program (the […]

Am I the bad cop?

Apparently so! Matthew sent me this strip from Existential Comics with the note, “You are Bad Cop.”  (Click to enlarge; it’s gonna overlap with website text on the right.) I am sad. . . .

Tom Clark on the upside of determinism

Reader Tom Clark, who runs the site and comments here on that topic, gave a lecture last winter on determinism, and I’ve put the video below. The YouTube notes say this: Talk given for the Campus Atheist and Secular Humanists at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Nov. 2, 2017. For a related article, see “Fully […]

Why do intellectuals avoid discussing free will and determinism?

One thing that’s struck me while interacting with various Scholars of Repute is how uncomfortable many get when they have to discuss free will. I’m not talking about Dan Dennett here, as of course he’s a compatibilist and is glad to cross swords with anybody—while admitting sotto voce that yes, we could not have chosen […]

Raoul Martinez on free will and the implications of determinism

I’ve published related talks by polymath Raoul Martinez before (see here), but not this one: a 17.5-minute talk delivered in 2013 and called “Creating freedom.” It has only a bit more than 36,000 views, and given the importance of its message, it deserves more. I suppose it’s because it’s delivered in a very low key manner, […]

E. O. Wilson: confused about free will

An article in the September 14 Harper’s, “On Free Will (and How the Brain is like a Colony of Ants”), gives an excerpt from Wilson’s book released that year, The Meaning of Human Existence.  In the piece and the passage below, Wilson appears to be a sort of compatibilist, but I find his discussion so […]