Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Thinking about free will and the Clock Maker...

The concept of free will can be confusing.

  Stuart Schneiderman reports:  "Apparently, neuroscience has looked into the workings of the brain and has not seen anything that looks like free will. That is, scientists do not see a mental action preceding the brain function that directs a physical action."  

He quotes Stephen Cave as saying, "The sciences have grown steadily bolder in their claim that all human behavior can be explained through the clockwork laws of cause and effect..."  "

Actually, Cave's essay in The Atlantic seems more nuanced than Schneiderman gives him credit for,  As they say in the neighborhood.  Read the whole thing.

The following passage from Cave's essay raises a much more important question:  is Cave channeling Dilbert, or is Dilbert channeling Cave?:

"Philosophers and theologians are used to talking about free will as if it is either on or off; as if our consciousness floats, like a ghost, entirely above the causal chain, or as if we roll through life like a rock down a hill. But there might be another way of looking at human agency."

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