The necessary attributes of a responsible agent

Dominoes falling in a sequence

George Ellis has an article at Aeon on free will that is garnering some attention.  Ellis' case is a fairly classic one.  Brain are complex systems whose operations, due to chaotic and stochastic dynamics, cannot be predicted.  Furthermore, minds constrain the detailed physical reactions, a case of downward causation.  And if that weren't enough, there's … Continue reading The necessary attributes of a responsible agent

Einstein, Schrodinger, and the reluctance to give up hard determinism

Ethan Siegel on his Starts With a Bang blog has an interesting review of Paul Halpern's new book on Einstein and Schrodinger, and their refusal to allow the implications of quantum physics to dissuade them from idea that the universe is strictly deterministic.  It's an interesting post and one that I recommend reading in full. … Continue reading Einstein, Schrodinger, and the reluctance to give up hard determinism

Free will and determinism are separate issues

Jerry Coyne as a new post up on free will. One of the recurrent arguments made by free-will “compatibilists” (i.e., those who see free will as being compatible with physical determinism), is that those of us who are incompatibilists—in my case, I think people conceive of free will as reflecting a dualistic “ghost in the … Continue reading Free will and determinism are separate issues

Free will and the value of compatibilism

With the essays traded between Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, free will is back in the web conversation.  I wasn't planning on making another free will post myself, having been mostly satisfied with my previous statement on it.  But I've had a few conversations lately, both here on the site and in some other mediums, that … Continue reading Free will and the value of compatibilism

Determinism isn’t as certain as many assume

Conversation on yesterday's post on free will has me thinking about determinism. First, what is determinism?  According to Merriam-Webster, my favorite dictionary because they seem to be extremely good at cutting to the chase, determinism is defined as: a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena … Continue reading Determinism isn’t as certain as many assume