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pierredv : determinism   1

There's No Such Thing as Free Will - The Atlantic - Stephen Cave - June 2016
Survey of research, experiments, philosophy
"The 20th-century nature-nurture debate prepared us to think of ourselves as shaped by influences beyond our control. But it left some room, at least in the popular imagination, for the possibility that we could overcome our circumstances or our genes to become the author of our own destiny. The challenge posed by neuroscience is more radical: It describes the brain as a physical system like any other, and suggests that we no more will it to operate in a particular way than we will our heart to beat. "
"This research and its implications are not new. What is new, though, is the spread of free-will skepticism beyond the laboratories and into the mainstream."
"his development raises uncomfortable—and increasingly nontheoretical—questions: If moral responsibility depends on faith in our own agency, then as belief in determinism spreads, will we become morally irresponsible? And if we increasingly see belief in free will as a delusion, what will happen to all those institutions that are based on it?"
<experiments by Kathleen Vohs and Jonathan Schooler; Roy Baumeister>
<philosophers Saul Smilansky, Bruce Waller>
"Smilansky is convinced that free will does not exist in the traditional sense—and that it would be very bad if most people realized this. . . . And just as undermining blame would remove an obstacle to acting wickedly, so undermining praise would remove an incentive to do good. . . . Smilansky advocates a view he calls illusionism—the belief that free will is indeed an illusion, but one that society must defend. The idea of determinism, and the facts supporting it, must be kept confined within the ivory tower. . . Illusionism is a minority position among academic philosophers, most of whom still hope that the good and the true can be reconciled. But it represents an ancient strand of thought among intellectual elites."
<neuroscientist and writer Sam Harris, author of Free Will (2012)>
"Harris thinks that, in time, “it might be possible to cure something like psychopathy,” but only if we accept that the brain, and not some airy-fairy free will, is the source of the deviancy. Accepting this would also free us from hatred. Holding people responsible for their actions might sound like a keystone of civilized life, but we pay a high price for it: Blaming people makes us angry and vengeful, and that clouds our judgment. . . Whereas the evidence from Kathleen Vohs and her colleagues suggests that social problems may arise from seeing our own actions as determined by forces beyond our control—weakening our morals, our motivation, and our sense of the meaningfulness of life—Harris thinks that social benefits will result from seeing other people’s behavior in the very same light. "
"For Waller, it simply doesn’t matter that these processes are underpinned by a causal chain of firing neurons. In his view, free will and determinism are not the opposites they are often taken to be; they simply describe our behavior at different levels."
"The kind of will that leads to success—seeing positive options for oneself, making good decisions and sticking to them—can be cultivated, and those at the bottom of society are most in need of that cultivation."
free-will  determinism  psychology  philosophy  theAtlantic  morality  poverty 
june 2016 by pierredv

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