Eduk wrote:Well like I said look up Dennett, he makes some good points I think. He is not arguing we are absolutely free (whatever that would be) just that we are free enough. All your examples are restrictions but they don't invalidate free will. For example, although difficult, I can decide to starve myself to death.
There's still something in there, ie. the assumption that we gave ourselves our identities. it's sneaky but for as much as I've acclimated to myself through the years I can't think of anything I gave myself that wasn't some compounding, iterative, or coping result of either genetics, environment, or both. That's where I tend to agree with Harris that the criminal justice system is really only a pragmatic thing, perhaps it's possible that he underestimates the degree to which fear of consequence can cause deferral of behavior but clearly I do think that genuine punitive thinking for the sake of giving the wicked their licks seems completely out of place with our understanding of how people come together.
Someone else who I also find fascinating, although he gets a bit too dour on the determinism thing at times, is George Lakoff. I agree with both him and Sam that there's really nothing we can do but what we were going to do, but that said I'm not sure fatalism in the 'I can't change' quite maps to reality - ie. our imaginations of the future are nearly always inaccurate in major ways. The other part, the software someone runs in their head is a big deal and those people who are constantly looking for the cleanest, healthiest, and most orderly software to run in their brains will easily enjoy a wealth of experience in positive directions over a similar version of them that hadn't caught that itch. It might literally be a matter of fate whether someone ever gets that urge but that's part of why I tend to think clearing the information channels and sorting high-quality tools from junk is a really big deal.
One of the more interesting side-effects of temporal determinism for me is that it actually makes thoughts themselves much more solid/concrete things than most people would usually consider them to be, especially when everything that's going on in a culture of sentient agents such as humans is a story of thoughts and feelings along with economics, historical events, etc. etc.. and in some ways big stories or serious historical complex can be even more hard, tangible, and consequential than the big rock in the front yard.
-- Updated October 17th, 2017, 8:39 pm to add the following --
Another side issue, and it scares me a bit. In terms of US and European politics it seems like if the alt-right catches on or starts catching any major attraction it will likely be because of the the philosophies of people like Julius Evola, Rene Guenon, etc. geared toward the romanticism of the adventurer and hero as self-actualizing ideal, tales of a perennial philosophy lost to us after the end of scholasticism, Hindu yugas and cyclical history, and loads of anti-modern concepts that might very well lead to atrocities but in comparison to the gray, drab, and bitter visage of our current left it looks like an outdoor rave. I'd have to hope that the center and classic liberals are able to draw this stuff up and make something of it (ie. take the goods - leave the racism), Jordan Peterson seems to have taken a serious running start at that, but this is also where we have to understand just how badly we served ourselves in telling people they were just cogs in a machine, that there was nothing to life but working and consuming, or even for as much as I revere science for how its clarified the universe it's still not something that's up to the task of keeping the dragons, ghosts, elves, and sirens of one's subconscious (let alone someone else's) truly at bay.