• Dan Davis responds to my Free Will article in Free Inquiry with his own

    I recently had an article (“Is Society Accepting That Free Will Is an Illusion?”) in the Free Inquiry magazine published in the US, which was, as far as I can tell, well received. In fact, Tom Clark liked it enough to say and post it at Naturalism.org. Tom Clark stated:

    “Damn good article – the site needed new content and it totally filled the bill. Keep up the good work!”

    In fact, one commenter said,

    “Pearce writes very clearly and has an exceptional talent for rendering a complex and difficult topic into an elegant piece.”

    Wow! Thanks.

    However, there has been a response to the article in the present issue of the Free Inquiry magazine. It is behind a paywall here, but I will see if I can get hold of it. Someone has told me it has something to do with Doyle’s two-stage theory which I looked at briefly here.

    Anyway, off to find it now.

    Category: Free Will and DeterminismPhilosophy


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

    • A friend in the NYC secular community gave me the latest issue of Free Inquiry (Dec 15-Jan 16) yesterday.

      In it, Davis incorrectly asserts that if our reality is not fully deterministic, then free will is both coherent and true.

      seems that he is familiar with hard determinism, but not with the more
      general position of hard incompatiblism. In fact, he dedicates a brief
      paragraph to defining hard determinism, before launching into an
      investigation of randomness and quantum phenomena.

      Of course, as
      the free will skeptic knows very well, free will doesn’t make any sense
      in any reality: deterministic or indeterministic.

      Free will is
      inextricably linked to concepts such as conscious control,
      responsibility, blame and praise. As I’ve said many times in the past,

      No matter how things happen, it is not meaningful to say that “we”
      consciously (or otherwise) make those things happen. Hence, no free will.

      intend to write to him shortly. We need the secular community to break
      through this free will nonsense. We’re supposed to be the rational ones.

      • Yes, I am yet to read that article in the full, though it is a response to mine. By all account,s it is merely an appeal to random, and so doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

        Cheers for the comment!

      • Thanks. I have not yet read it in its entirety. However, I don’t think random cuts the mustard for allowing for free will.

        Cheers for the comment!