Posted: Mar 17, 2014 11:51 am
by hackenslash
OK, got bored, so had a look at the relevant section:

I define “free will” as that which is sufficient for one to be ultimately responsible for one’s intentional actions.


This is horribly woolly. It boils down to intent being responsible for intent. Why even bother redefining free will if you're going to do such a shoddy job? Why not simply define it as the potential to choose between alternatives without constraint?

I find the following regress argument against the existence of free will to be compelling:

For any agent S and intentional action A, S does A because of the way S is in certain mental respects. Therefore, to be ultimately responsible for A-ing, S must be responsible for being that way in the relevant respects. But to be responsible for being that way, S must have chosen to become (or intentionally brought it about that he would become) that way in the past. But if S chose to become that way, then his choice was a product of the way he was in certain mental respects. Therefore, to be responsible for that choice, he would need to be responsible for being that way. But this process results in a vicious regress. Therefore, S cannot be ultimately responsible for his A-ing, and thus cannot have free will.


Why not? What's the problem with regress? Ultimately, the problems here arise from the woolly definition. I don't think this is sufficiently coherent to form a basis for what follows.

More concisely, free will requires ultimate self-origination, which is impossible


Why does it require self-origination? Because of the way you've defined free will.

I also think KIR's assessment of the irrationality of all emotions under your schema is entirely valid, and that you've simply hand-waved away the objection because you want to cling to what you see as positive emotions. Moreover, that you've classified as negative a list including 'distress, fear, frustration, anger, sadness, boredom and regret' without remotely attempting to justify that classification indicates that you haven't given a great deal of thought to the role of emotions in motivation. All of those are powerful motivators and can be extremely positive. Fear, for example, can have immense survival value. Boredom can be a catalyst to change.

All in all, some good points raised, but ultimately useless as a complete philosophy of life. It excludes the vast range of human experience.