Friday, July 24, 2009

Scientific Naturalism and the Illusion of Free Will

Recently Point of Inquiry had a fantastic interview with Tom Clark that I highly recommend you give a listen. Clark does a good job of summarizing many of the views I've had since about 2003.
In this interview with D.J. Grothe, Tom Clark discusses the implications of a thorough-going scientific naturalism for the concepts of the self and of free will. He contrasts "contra-causal free will" with kinds of political or social freedom, and argues that the former is a vestige of outmoded religious or dualistic thinking. He talks about compatibilism, and how he can be a skeptic of free will while also prizing personal freedom, how determinism can be compatible with certain kinds of free will. He explores what these implications of scientific naturalism might actually mean for criminal justice, and how rejecting concepts of free-will may empower society to be more humanistic and to solve social ills more effectively.


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