Category Archives: free will

Bret Weinstein on free will and moral responsibility

Bret Weinstein posted this short video on free will, and then, as often seems to be the case, he added on Twitter that it doesn’t really encapsulate his ideas. At any rate, in the video Bret says that he accepts free will (without defining it—a necessary first step in any such discussion), and adds that […]

In which I diverge from Steve Pinker on free will

Well, I’m not always in accordance with the views of Steve Pinker, and I found this short Big Think video he did on free will (full transcript below) in which we part company in several ways. Granted, not completely. Steve is still a determinist here (to some extent; but see below). For instance, he says […]

More squabbling about free will in Quillette: William Edwards now finds libertarian free will in the “singularities” of physics

In July, writer and philosopher William Tomos Edwards wrote a piece in Quillette called “The Academic Quarrel over Determinism“. This irked me because Edwards wound up arguing that whether or not libertarian “you-could-have-done-otherwise” free will be true, we should believe in it anyway because the payoff (a better society and more individual well being) outweighs the […]

A new movie on free will

The new movie Free Will Documentary—presumably an interim title—won’t be released until next year, but I’m looking forward to it eagerly. And that’s not just because I was interviewed for it, but because it touches on a topic dear to my heart, because the four filmmakers (Mike Walsh, Jeremy Levy, Mitch Joseph, and Edward Tasick) […]

More mishigas about free will, this time in the TLS

The Times Literary Supplement, which I used to write for, doesn’t often make its articles free online, but this one was (click on screenshot below to see it). And it’s about free will: a review of three books on the topic (The Limits of Free Will: Selected essays by Paul Russell, Aspects of Agency: Decisions, […]

Another philosopher in Quillette goes after my determinism, and proposes a compatibilist definition of “free will”

Not long ago I read a piece in Quillette, “The Academic Quarrel over Determinism,” written by William Edwards, described as an “independent scholar” and “founder of Bright Tapestry Data, a company pushing back on misinformation and fake news.” Edwards’ piece, about determinism and free will, seemed pretty muddled, and wound up arguing that even if […]

My critique of a defense of free will in Quillette

On July 6, philosopher William Edwards wrote a defense of free will in Quillette called “The Academic quarrel over determinism.” Besides a vigorous defense of free will, included two paragraphs that I saw as deeply misguided and misleading (see my preliminary note here): Needless to say, there is substantial evidence that people who believe in free will, […]

Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ “free will”

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “will2”, is recyled from 2006. But there’s also an update about last week’s strip: Last week’s strip may have seriously underestimated the Church of England’s wealth. An alternative analysis puts it at nearer 23 billion. The estimate last week was 8.3 billion. At any rate, this strip is on […]

Quillette author advocates a new Pascal’s Wager: We should bet on libertarian free will because it makes us behave better

I won’t comment much on this new article in Quillette, as I’ll be writing something more substantive about it later. I’ll just summarize its thesis very briefly below (click on screenshot to read): In brief, the author, William Edwards—described as founder of Bright Tapestry Data, a company pushing back on misinformation and fake news. . […]

Free will at last?

Well, not the kind you’re thinking about. Here’s a picture taken by reader Rory with the attached note, The advertisement in the attached photo was spotted hanging on the wall of a lawyer’s office in Dublin, Ireland. I immediately thought of you – I’m sure you’ll appreciate an opportunity to obtain free will for a […]