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Free will update

I would like to thank Thomas Clark of the Center for Naturalism and author of Encountering Naturalism: A Worldview and Its Uses for the email below regarding my (naive and physics-centeric) recent post on free will. The email provides resources and discussion points that clarify some of the philisophical formalism I was struggling with. In summary, the language was specialized, and the sort of free will being dismissed by Richard Spencer was of a different philosophical category than the free will I felt was self-evident. With all due respect, I still feel that guest Matthew Alper (who is an interesting speaker and author of The God Part of the Brain) seriously muddied the discussion with his questionable argument against free will.

Coincidentally, Tom Clark was the person being interviewed by Richard Spencer in the earlier Faith and Freethought show which received the call regarding free will. This is what prompted Spencer and guest Matthew Alper to bring up the matter in the later show which, in turn, prompted my blog post below.

I would also like to thank my colleague David Dixon (former Webmaster of Puppets for Beatallica ) for helping me articulate the unsettling congnative train-wreck when intelligent, like-minded, kindered spirits suddenly say things that seem orthogonal to your own views: “how I feel when I listen to Christopher Hitchens.”

Dear Dr. Gutierrez,

Saw your blog on free will, quite a thoughtful analysis. You might find this interview on free will with philosopher Galen Strawson of interest, as well as other pieces linked at The sort of free will Spencer and his guest were denying is the contra-causal, libertarian free will of the immaterial soul, as opposed to compatibilist freedom of voluntary action most of us enjoy (compatible with determinism). The difference is discussed here (“Type 1” freedom is contra-causal, “Type 2” is compatibilist).

Some of the implications of not having contra-causal free will are nicely expressed by Juno Walker here.

best regards,

Tom Clark

Thomas W. Clark, Director
Center for Naturalism
Encountering Naturalism: A Worldview and Its Uses is now at Amazon

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