On Free Will and Slavish Devotion To Science
by Arthur Foxakefrom a Spiked interview with Julian Braggini on Free Will Julian Baggini, philosopher, writer and one-time editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine, has come to rescue free will… by burying it, or at least its widespread misconception. Too often, he argues in Freedom Regained, we simply haven’t grasped what it is to be free. Thinkers have tended to separate free will off from the rest of the self, as a controller, a faculty of the will, a part of the soul. More generally free will tends to figure as the conviction that one can always do otherwise, that at every moment, one’s action is absolutely free. And, too often, those sceptical of the idea of free will find such ideas all too easy to dismiss as non-existent, neurological illusions, myths of agency amidst the iron laws of the universe. ‘The commonsense notion of free will is not fit for purpose’, concludes Baggini. ‘It rests on a naive and simplistic assumption that we can rise above our biology and our history to make choices in a condition of unconstrained freedom. The challenges to free will need to be met not by rejecting them wholesale, but by thinking more carefully about what it truly means to be free, rather than what we simply assume it to mean.’ So how does Baggini reconcile free will with biology and history, nature and nurture? Is determinism compatible with free will? And what does Baggini think it means to be free? You can read that interview in full HERE but the fun starts in the comment section when a few science fanboys start trying to claim there is no free will and we are all controlled by The Gods Of Science.
You will notice in the thread one commenter who repeatedly rants about 'neuroscience' even though it is not the topic of the main post and though the interviewer raises it in one of the questions, Braggini does not actually address it as a significant part of the interview, instead merely reminding his audience that science does not fare well when it tries to answer philosophical questions.