Is Free Will an Illusion?

I guess it’s at least a way of generating traffic for The Chronicle Review and those who have written books and articles on the subject, but I don’t know if there’s anything really new being said – either in those articles or in the responses from Russell Blackford and others.

But I do generally seem to agree with Blackford on most things and no less so this time when he says “I’m coming to think increasingly that all this talk of ‘free will’ isn’t very helpful for understanding our actual situation, partly because we don’t seem to have much clarity or agreement about what it even means”.

I also like Blackford’s apparent suggestion in his second response to Jerry Coyne that determinism is to some extent a *requirement* for free will. If what I actually choose to do or think at any point is not a function of the immediately preceding mental state which I have by previous cogitation brought into being, then that indeterminacy denies rather than grants me the capacity to control my own mental destiny.

This is along the same lines as my own claim that determinism is a requirement for responsibility in that the idea of responsibility is based on the capacity for being influenced by a response to our actions (or by observation of responses applied to others) in such a way as to perhaps modify our future behaviour.

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