The Reality Report: Episode 121

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Episode 121

The sixth episode in a series discussing free will with Mark Taylor. Mark addresses my suggestion (borrowed from various philosophers) that the question of free will may be a "pseudoproblem". Mark relates this to the "compatibilist" position. This then leads on to a discussion of a kind of freedom-beyond-freedom, that is, the freedom to decide what it is that we desire (as opposed to our freedom to fulfill our desires). Things start to get quite complicated. Mark brings up the classical tale of Odysseus tying himself to the mast of the ship and instructing the crew to ignore his requests to be taken down (which he knew would result from the irresistible song of the Sirens). This is about the freedom to constrain ourselves, to override some of our own freedoms. We compare adults with toddlers and with non-human animals in this regard. Mark ends up making a subtle analogy between the question of free will and (as discussed in an earlier series) the hard problem of consciousness, positing similar "yeah, but..." lines of attack that can be made against the paired positions of thinkers like Daniel Dennett and himself who maintain that (a) consciousness results from deterministic physical processes; and (b) free will can be likewise explained in terms of these processes.


Blogger Unknown said...

big up henry cow

10 July 2018 at 03:56  

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