Monday, January 09, 2017

I've been thinking...

...about free will, determinism, etc, as you do when you want a good intellectual headache. 

One thing that occurred to me is that, if your allegiance is with the libertarian strand of politics, and as such left wing identity politics gets up your nose, (I'm looking at you, J Soon), you don't really have much to complain about if you're also happy with "there is no such thing as free will" arguments being run by your scientist atheist pals (who, incidentally, are quite likely very liberal politically) all the time.  Because it sure seems you're endorsing the key thought behind most of it, namely the immutability of "identity".

Secondly, I see that there is a (former?) astronomer (Bob Doyle) who has spent years pondering the question, and created a very extensive website that seems well worth reading - The Information Philosopher.   He's also published a book about it (although I think self published, which is not usually a good sign.)  I suppose he counts as a very enthusiastic amateur philosopher, but doesn't present as a nutty one.  I like some of his historical perspective on the whole question, too.  Jerry Coyne doesn't like Doyle's solution to the issue, but Coyne reads as a bit of a jerk to me, so I'm not sure I should worry.

I see that a professional philosopher last year published a book  How Physics Makes Us Free, which is a good title.   A guy at Forbes reckons it's the science book of the year, and a very detailed (and largely positive) review appears here.

I think the author may be onto something...

No comments: