Jerry Coyne has posted a criticism of Eddy's recent attempts to undermine the arguments put forward by scientific skeptics about free will like Coyne, Harris, and others. I encourage everyone to take a look and chime in. Both Tom Clark and I have added our two cents to the mix (although my comments have not yet been approved). It would be helpful if others took a few minutes to add theirs!
Our own Eddy Nahmias has an illuminating interview with 3:AM's Richard Marshall--who has been doing a number of really nice interviews as of late with a wide variety of philosophers. So, when you're done reading the interview with Eddy, you should check out some of Marshall's other interviews for 3:AM as well!
The Chronicle Review has published an interesting collection of essays on the relationship between recent developments in social psychology and neuroscience and free will. Authors include Jerry Coyne, Al Mele, Michael Gazzaniga, Hilary Bok, Owen Jones, and Paul Bloom.
Here is the introduction:
Free will has long been a fraught concept among philosophers and theologians. Now neuroscience is entering the fray.
For centuries, the idea that we are the authors of our own actions, beliefs, and desires has remained central to our sense of self. We choose whom to love, what thoughts to think, which impulses to resist. Or do we?
Neuroscience suggests something else. We are biochemical puppets, swayed by forces beyond our conscious control. So says Sam Harris, author of the new book, Free Will (Simon & Schuster), a broadside against the notion that we are in control of our own thoughts and actions. Harris's polemic arrives on the heels of Michael S. Gazzaniga's Who's In Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain (HarperCollins), and David Eagleman's Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (Pantheon), both provocative forays into a debate that has in recent months spilled out onto op-ed and magazine pages, and countless blogs.
What's at stake? Just about everything: morality, law, religion, our understanding of accountability and personal accomplishment, even what it means to be human. Harris predicts that a declaration by the scientific community that free will is an illusion would set off "a culture war far more belligerent than the one that has been waged on the subject of evolution."
The Chronicle Review brought together some key thinkers to discuss what science can and cannot tell us about free will, and where our conclusions might take us.
Yet another interesting and illuminating interview by 3:AM's Richard Marshall. This time, Al Meletalks about free will, self-deception, neuroscience, experimental philosophy and a number of other themes. Check it out!
NEWPORT BEACH, CA—After meeting with his agent Monday to discuss his free agency prospects, Prince Fielder told reporters he was left wondering if he or any man can ever say his agency is truly free. "Free agency suggests I am able to make a choice void of any constraint, but right from the get-go, that premise is problematic," said Fielder, adding that it isn't as if he can just get a job as an acoustical engineer, or even as a professional athlete in another sport. "In the end, I am not an autonomous entity who can choose a path based on multiple options. Instead, I am one link in a causal chain, so my actions are merely the inevitable product of lawful causes stemming from prior events. What I'm saying is, I'm essentially limited to the 30 baseball organizations in North America; realistic, long-term socioeconomic factors have already decided which cities can support a team that pays the kind of salary I demand; and roster decisions dating all the way back to the invention of the game have determined which teams are in need of a first baseman today—so there are only a few clubs that could logically take me. And human nature will compel me to pick the one that offers the best, highest salary." Fielder concluded the press conference by saying that he is essentially a determinist, and that he enjoys hitting baseballs.