Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On Free Will and God's Will


What is the problem with positing both that there is human free will and that God directs or guides the course of events to achieve a desired outcome?  Theists argue for both.  But their argument is incoherent, as I hope to show here.

In questioning the omni-benevolence of God, I posited a scenario where there was just slightly less suffering than what we have in our world, and asked if God, in all his goodness, couldn't have made that happen.  A theist responded:
I don't think that even omnipotent beings can do logically impossible things, so it might the case that it's not feasible for God to make a world that contains free creatures and that is devoid of evil and suffering. - Keith Rozumalski
The theist is making the argument that every single instance of suffering that has ever happened is necessary in order for God to bring about his desired outcome.  It says that the world couldn't possibly contain any less suffering because the consequence would be that humans would then somehow be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their free will to choose good over evil. It is an admission that there is causality in the chain of events, because any deviation from that path of history would result in an outcome different from the one that God wants to achieve.  Even one single animal being spared from a painful death somewhere along the way would foil God's plan, and he is powerless to make it otherwise (despite his omnipotence).

OK, so events have consequences, and any deviation from a particular course of events would alter the eventual outcome.  I agree completely with that.  That's what we call causality.  One state of affairs leads to the next.  This is in keeping with the Principle of Sufficient Reason.  Outcomes occur because they are caused by something.  This is a major assumption in the First Way of Aquinas.

So then, how can the theist argue coherently that there can be any free will at all?  Free will contradicts other theistic beliefs in at least two important ways.

First, to claim that a person makes a choice out of free will is to say that there was no underlying cause for making that decision.  The free will advocate must deny that circumstances drive someone to a particular choice, but given a choice of actions A and B, he could choose B just as well as A, and it is free will that allows him make the selection arbitrarily, without any forces or circumstances driving him to that choice.  In other words, action A, being chosen by free will, has no cause (or it has a causal chain that begins with an uncaused free choice).  The theist can't even claim that God is the ultimate cause in the causal chain that leads to action A, because that wouldn't be free will.  So free will denies the Principle of Sufficient Reason, and it undercuts the First Way of Aquinas.

Second, it is self-contradictory to argue on the one hand that God's desired outcome can be achieved even when the course of events is not determined, and on the other hand that God's desired outcome dictates that the course of events could not have been different, as the theist argues in defense of gratuitous suffering.

Let's take Keith's example.  God wants you to get a certain job offer.  He carefully arranges the course of history to bring about all the right elements at the right time.  But then, suppose the guy who already has that job, having free will, decides not to leave it, so there is no opening for you, and God's plan is foiled by free will.  Now, this example is very facile, because it depends on a single free decision that sets the course of events on a path that deviates from God's plans.  But the reality is that it's not just that one decision that leads to a desired outcome.  God would have to make certain that every event in history would play together in just the right way.  For example, he would have to arrange the entire course of your life to put you in the position to be ready and able to take that job.  He would need to arrange the meeting of your parents, and your parents' parents.  He would have to assure that not one single event in history took a wrong turn that would send the course of events down a different path. 

And that extends back to pre-history as well.  God would have had to make sure that humans evolved properly.  So every event in the history of the earth is significant.  The meteor had to strike at the right time and place.  Some furry little critter that was the ancestor of humans had to escape predation.  Perhaps something as insignificant as a dinosaur walking one direction instead of the other made the difference between humans evolving eventually, or never existing at all.

And let's not forget that God isn't just managing your job opportunities.  He has to arrange outcomes for everybody and everything, all at the same time.  That can't possibly be done if anything is left to chance.  The events in the lives of all people are intricately interwoven, and one single free will choice will inevitably alter the course of events for not only for the person who makes that choice, but for many others whose lives intersect with his.  And their lives intersect with still more people.

This thesis nominally agrees with the concept that all the suffering in the world was absolutely necessary in order for God to bring about some objective.  The theist who claims that we live in the best possible world that an omni-benevolent God could have created, who claims that God has no choice but to allow every single instance of suffering ever experienced by all of his creatures, is agreeing that the course of events is determined by causality, and that any deviation from a particular course of events would result in an outcome different from the one desired by God.  How, then, can this theist also claim that there is room for people to make their own free decisions?
There is nothing illogical or incoherent about what I've said. God can bring about events and we freely respond to those events, and God can counter with more events that lead to more free choices until he achieves his end goal. I don't see the problem here. - Keith Rozumalski
The problem is that this theist's position is indeed incoherent.  For if God has the ability to allow free choice and still achieve his desired outcome, then it would stand to reason that he easily could have been a little more benevolent and allowed one single creature to avoid suffering somewhere along the way, and still managed somehow to get the course of events back on track. 

The theist's position is self-contradictory.  It seems to be dependent on which of his beliefs he's trying to defend at any given time.  If he's defending the benevolence of his God, he is forced into a position that says God has no choice, due to causation and the inevitable course of events.  If he's trying to defend free will, all that talk about causation goes out the window.  God is omnipotent, and can achieve his goals, regardless of the course of events.

And this, folks, is one reason I'm not a theist.  It's called logic.

19 comments:

  1. im-skeptical wrote: "The theist is making the argument that every single instance of suffering that has ever happened is necessary in order for God to bring about his desired outcome."

    That's not quite right. What I'm saying is that God could have a good reason for not preventing natural or agent evils because he knows that they will eventually lead to a grater amount of good.

    im-skeptical wrote: "First, to claim that a person makes a choice out of free will is to say that there was no underlying cause for making that decision. The free will advocate must deny that circumstances drive someone to a particular choice, but given a choice of actions A and B, he could choose B just as well as A, and it is free will that allows him make the selection arbitrarily, without any forces or circumstances driving him to that choice. In other words, action A, being chosen by free will, has no cause (or it has a causal chain that begins with an uncaused free choice)."

    I think this is plainly false. Let's say that I'm given a choice of eating pizza or salad for lunch. Since I enjoy eating pizza much more than I do salad, I decide to eat pizza. The explanation for my decision is that I prefer pizza. That's not say that it was impossible not to choose to eat pizza. Perhaps health concerns will someday get me to choose salad over pizza.

    im-skeptical wrote: "Second, it is self-contradictory to argue on the one hand that God's desired outcome can be achieved even when the course of events is not determined, and on the other hand that God's desired outcome dictates that the course of events could not have been different, as the theist argues in defense of gratuitous suffering...Let's take Keith's example. God wants you to get a certain job offer..."

    This is false as well. God is like the ultimate chess player, he knows all possible outcomes before the game happens as well as how "the opponent" (for lack of a better phrase) will respond in those scenarios and how to counter those moves to achieve the goal of winning.

    God can still achieve end goals while allowing for the free decisions of agents. In the job scenario, God would know that if the person holding the job that he wants me to take were offered a promotion then they would take it vacating the position, and so actualize that.

    Now if God's end goal is me taking the job at that moment then there is a chance that, that goal would not be achieved, as even if he arranges things so that it would be very hard to turn down the job, I could still decide to turn it down. Of course we could continue this process until I eventually freely decide to take the job.

    All that being said, I think God's end goals are larger then his desire for a particular person to do something. Back to the job scenario, say that the position is a FBI agent and the end goal is preventing a terrorist bombing that would lead to a great amount of suffering. Even though God desires that I be in this role, he can still prevent the bombing through another free agent whom he knows will accept the job and will be capable of preventing the bombing. So, the end goal is achieved with free will intact.

    im-skeptical wrote: "And that extends back to pre-history as well. God would have had to make sure that humans evolved properly."

    This brings us back to the ultimate chess player. God knows how things will play out and what his end goal is, and so arrange things so that the natural processes he set up achieves his goal.

    So, God's ability to achieve end goals while allowing for free will is completely coherent and logical.

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    1. "That's not quite right. What I'm saying is that God could have a good reason for not preventing natural or agent evils because he knows that they will eventually lead to a grater amount of good."
      - Isn't that exactly the same as what I said? Sure, he could have allowed a different path of events, but that would not lead to the desired outcome.

      "I think this is plainly false. Let's say that I'm given a choice of eating pizza or salad for lunch. Since I enjoy eating pizza much more than I do salad, I decide to eat pizza. The explanation for my decision is that I prefer pizza. That's not say that it was impossible not to choose to eat pizza. Perhaps health concerns will someday get me to choose salad over pizza."
      - What you are describing is determinism, not libertarian free will. It is the thesis that the decisions we make are caused. Something in us, such as a preference for pizza, is what pushes the decision one way or the other. And given the exact same circumstances, you would make the same choice. Free will says that under the exact same circumstances you would not make the same choice.

      "This is false as well. God is like the ultimate chess player, he knows all possible outcomes before the game happens as well as how "the opponent" (for lack of a better phrase) will respond in those scenarios and how to counter those moves to achieve the goal of winning."
      - This is difficult to wrap my head around. God carefully arranges the circumstances to make the conditions that will produce known results, and you think this is an example of how free will works? To me, it sounds exactly like a description of determinism.

      "Now if God's end goal is me taking the job at that moment then there is a chance that, that goal would not be achieved, as even if he arranges things so that it would be very hard to turn down the job, I could still decide to turn it down. Of course we could continue this process until I eventually freely decide to take the job."
      - But there is no need to continue the process, because God (the chess player) already knew what your decision would be. So you never really had the opportunity to make a different choice. Sure, it seems that way. But your decision was cast in stone all along, and God was well aware of it, even if you weren't.

      "This brings us back to the ultimate chess player. God knows how things will play out and what his end goal is, and so arrange things so that the natural processes he set up achieves his goal. .. So, God's ability to achieve end goals while allowing for free will is completely coherent and logical."
      - Again you are describing determinism. You have the illusion of free will, but all the conditions and circumstances work to guide your decisions.

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    2. im-skeptical wrote: "First, to claim that a person makes a choice out of free will is to say that there was no underlying cause for making that decision...The theist can't even claim that God is the ultimate cause in the causal chain that leads to action A, because that wouldn't be free will. So free will denies the Principle of Sufficient Reason, and it undercuts the First Way of Aquinas."

      First, I wanted to back up and correct you on this point. Aquinas was a proponent of libertarian free will. Although God is the ultimate source of cause and change, and so is THE unmoved mover, he took agents like you and I to be the unmoved mover or cause of our decisions. Even though our tastes and preferences play heavily into our decisions, the cause of our decision is us. So, the PSR is not violated by free will, as we are the cause of the decision.

      im-skeptical wrote: "What you are describing is determinism, not libertarian free will. It is the thesis that the decisions we make are caused. Something in us, such as a preference for pizza, is what pushes the decision one way or the other. And given the exact same circumstances, you would make the same choice."

      No, what I'm describing is more like compatibism. Even though my predilection for pizza lead to my decision to choose pizza, it doesn't follow that fatalism is true or that I didn't freely decide to eat pizza. To better see this, suppose that I choose to stay in rather than going out for a night on the town. Unbeknownst to me, some fiend has hermetically sealed all my doors and windows, so I'm actually trapped! So, even though I couldn't have left the house, I freely chose to stay in.

      Christians like Dr. Douglas Groothuis have advocated for compatibilism, but lest you write this off as Christian special pleading, you should also know that David Hume, the Godfather of skepticism, and Daniel Dennett, one of the four horsemen of New Atheism, was/are proponents of compatibilism as well.

      I'm sympathetic to both Aquinas' view of libertarian free will and compatibilism, and haven't made a final decision on which one I'm an advocate of.

      im-skeptical wrote: "This is difficult to wrap my head around. God carefully arranges the circumstances to make the conditions that will produce known results, and you think this is an example of how free will works?... But there is no need to continue the process, because God (the chess player) already knew what your decision would be. So you never really had the opportunity to make a different choice...You have the illusion of free will"

      Careful, you're falling into the modal fallacy trap. God's knowledge of how I will respond in any possible is not the same as him causing my decision so that I was destined to make that decision. Even though God can "rig the game", if you will, to bring about situations where I choose to do something that he knows I was going to choose, that doesn't nullify the fact that I'm freely choosing to do those things.

      It's true that my intuition that I have free will might be an illusion, but until a successful defeater is brought against this belief I'm perfectly rational to live as if I do have free will.

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    3. "First, I wanted to back up and correct you on this point. Aquinas was a proponent of libertarian free will. Although God is the ultimate source of cause and change, and so is THE unmoved mover, he took agents like you and I to be the unmoved mover or cause of our decisions. Even though our tastes and preferences play heavily into our decisions, the cause of our decision is us. So, the PSR is not violated by free will, as we are the cause of the decision."
      - Hmm. Aquinas' description of the deliberative process sounds rather like determinism to me, with the goal of action (the good) being built-in (by God?), but also being swayed by various causal factors, including the "passions". In fact, that's what Scotus thought of it. But still, Aquinas maintained that the agent with free will is its own mover, which really is special pleading, because nothing else can do that. I really think this is one of those cases where he struggled to justify his belief.

      "No, what I'm describing is more like compatibism. Even though my predilection for pizza lead to my decision to choose pizza, it doesn't follow that fatalism is true or that I didn't freely decide to eat pizza. To better see this, suppose that I choose to stay in rather than going out for a night on the town. Unbeknownst to me, some fiend has hermetically sealed all my doors and windows, so I'm actually trapped! So, even though I couldn't have left the house, I freely chose to stay in."
      - I hate to break this news to you, but compatibilism is determinism, although it implies neither theism nor atheism. I would consider myself a compatibilist. But don't confuse determinism with fatalism.

      "Careful, you're falling into the modal fallacy trap. God's knowledge of how I will respond in any possible is not the same as him causing my decision so that I was destined to make that decision. Even though God can "rig the game", if you will, to bring about situations where I choose to do something that he knows I was going to choose, that doesn't nullify the fact that I'm freely choosing to do those things."
      - It could be that we're just not in agreement on what constitutes freedom. If it means to you that you are unconstrained by external forces, then I would agree. As long as we are not in chains, we are free to act in accordance with our own nature. But there's the rub. Our nature contains the causal factors that determine the choices we make. However, if you think that freedom means you can overcome those causal factors and choose something different, the determinist would disagree.

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    4. im-skeptical wrote: "Hmm. Aquinas' description of the deliberative process sounds rather like determinism to me, with the goal of action (the good) being built-in (by God?), but also being swayed by various causal factors, including the 'passions'."

      It's not determinism because even though the good is metaphysically grounded in God's nature, humans obviously don't pursue THE good always. Given humans fallen nature the intellect perceives some things with an absence of good as good.

      im-skeptical wrote: "But still, Aquinas maintained that the agent with free will is its own mover, which really is special pleading, because nothing else can do that. I really think this is one of those cases where he struggled to justify his belief."

      Here's a good instance of those underlying metaphysics one needs to know in order to fuller grasp Aquinas' thought. Aquinas thought that a human is a combination of its physical animal nature and immaterial soul or mind. Since the intellect/mind/soul is immaterial, like God, it is an unmoved mover, albeit not THE unmoved mover.

      im-skeptical wrote: "I hate to break this news to you, but compatibilism is determinism, although it implies neither theism nor atheism. I would consider myself a compatibilist."

      Yes, but compatibilism also says that we freely make decisions. If we both agree that we freely make decisions I don't know what we're arguing about.

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    5. "It's not determinism because even though the good is metaphysically grounded in God's nature, humans obviously don't pursue THE good always. Given humans fallen nature the intellect perceives some things with an absence of good as good. "
      - That's what I meant by being swayed by other causal factors.

      "Since the intellect/mind/soul is immaterial, like God, it is an unmoved mover, albeit not THE unmoved mover."
      - Anything that is unmoved is itself unchanging. Is it your contention that the soul never learns or develops?

      "Yes, but compatibilism also says that we freely make decisions. If we both agree that we freely make decisions I don't know what we're arguing about."
      - Compatibilism says that the decisions we make are determined by what is inside us (state of mind, etc.), as long as we are free of external constraints.

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    6. im-skeptical wrote: "Anything that is unmoved is itself unchanging. Is it your contention that the soul never learns or develops?"

      The phrase unmoved mover means that, the thing it describes is pure actuality, as apposed to potential things which don't actually exist and things with a mixture of potentiality and actuality. I believe that Aquinas would say that the soul learns as it processes the information brought in by the brain and senses.

      im-skeptical wrote: "Compatibilism says that the decisions we make are determined by what is inside us (state of mind, etc.), as long as we are free of external constraints."

      It sounds like we're in agreement that there is a cause of our decisions, and that we can freely make decisions.

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  2. There is a better and far simpler concept that explains the theist's arguments for the nonsense peddled under the rubric of god's will and free; It's called: Chance, accident, coincidence, serendipity, fate, destiny, fortuity, providence, happenstance; good fortune, luck, good luck, fluke. Take your pick. Even science is telling us that the outcome of our apparent decision-making has already been determined earlier by the autonomic response of our unconscious brain before we even become aware that we have apparently exercised 'free will'.

    Keith, whatever the theological or philosophical might try to say otherwise the conception of free will is epistemologically and ontologically on very shaky ground running counter to what the sciences are informing.

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    1. ...god's will and free will.

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    2. ...god's will and free will.

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    3. Papalinton wrote: "There is a better and far simpler concept that explains the theist's arguments for the nonsense peddled under the rubric of god's will and free; It's called: Chance, accident, coincidence, serendipity, fate, destiny, fortuity, providence, happenstance; good fortune, luck, good luck, fluke. Take your pick."

      Possibly, but much of this chance you refer to could be nothing more than an illusion caused by your limited perspective.

      Papalinton wrote: "Even science is telling us that the outcome of our apparent decision-making has already been determined earlier by the autonomic response of our unconscious brain before we even become aware that we have apparently exercised 'free will'."

      Number one, the experiment you're alluding to has nothing to say about major life decisions like where to live or what career to pursue.

      Number two, there's the whole question of conscious awareness of decision making. What may be going on is that I make the decision to press the button which triggers an action potential to move. Then I become consciously aware of my decision to move. If you think about how quickly we need to move, to say avoid an auto accident, this makes sense. We don't have the time to deliberate with the conscious mind. Besides, you say you are your brain, so if your brain makes a decision aren't you making a decision?

      In any case, the current evidence is not a sufficient to defeat my belief that I make decisions daily.

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    4. Keith, you seem either to have little knowledge and understanding across the range of current research in the neurosciences or demonstrating your determinism in eschewing its findings that, while still very much in its infancy, the field is firming that free will may not be all that free. You might wish to start HERE as an introductory piece providing an overview. It's very early days yet and like most important discoveries of the past time changes the formative into the summative. As Robert Graves, British novelist, poet and classical scholar so eruditely notes: "What the scientist thinks today, everyone else will be thinking on the day after tomorrow."

      I reiterate the summation of the Scientific American article:

      "This nascent field will probably not produce a silver bullet to fully restore or discredit our beliefs in free will and other potential illusions. But by understanding why we find certain philosophical views intuitively compelling, we might find ourselves in a position to recognize that, in some cases, we have little reason to hold onto our hunches."

      While the conclusion is rightly self-critical and properly skeptical, given we are in the early years in this emergent scholarship, it clearly suggests we ought prepare ourselves to loosen our unseemly reliance on the problematic vagaries of intuition if we are to improve our knowledge and understanding of the human condition.

      The religious conception of free will, the primary source and impetus that has singularly predominated philosophical discussion on the matter for centuries is now largely in terminal intellectual hiatus. The new field of investigation into consciousness and the prospect or otherwise of 'free will' seems already to have moved on from that impasse to our knowledge and understanding.

      Read HERE, and to be fair, for something which might support your notion of free will, READ HERE. But then THIS CITATION indicates differently.

      You would do well to apprise yourself of the research rather than be bound by our old hunches.

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    5. On a side note, I thought this was an interesting scientific confirmation of David Chalmer's philosophical zombie thought experiment: "What is more, engineers have programmed robots to display simple goal-directed behaviors, and these robots can produce the uncanny impression that they have feelings, even though the machines are not remotely plausible candidates for having awareness." This seems to support the idea that electrical impulses that lead to behaviors, that appear like conscious actions, are not enough to create the qualia of consciousness.

      Firstly, I think it's odd to think that unless we have some sort of random choice generator in our mind/brain then we don't freely make decisions. If my "choice" is just picked randomly then how can it be my choice? If I hate eating broccoli, but my theoretical random choice generator decides that I'll eat it for dinner, how is it that I've freely decided to do something I hate?

      The notion that my tastes, preferences and past experiences plays a significant role, or even causes my decisions is completely compatible with my ability to freely make choices. See my comments on compatibilism above.

      Secondly, there's the whole notion of the subconscious mind. Notice that the SA article says, "[U]nconscious processes exert a powerful influence over our choices...Those exposed to rudeness words were much more likely to interrupt the experimenter in a subsequent part of the task." The subjects were more likely to be rude, not that 100% of the subjects were caused to be rude by the words. I don't deny that subconscious processes can influence our behaviors, but that's a far cry from saying that we are powerless to override these influences.

      Papalinton wrote: "I reiterate the summation of the Scientific American article:

      'This nascent field will probably not produce a silver bullet to fully restore or discredit our beliefs in free will and other potential illusions.'"

      As I said before, you have not presented a successful defeater to my intuition that I freely make choices daily.

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    6. Again, Keith singularly cherry picks from the article to support his argument rather than assess the whole of the research, and on the basis of that cherry pick dismissing the totality of the scholarship. Of course this response is not an unexpected one. Cherry picking is historically stock-in-trade praxis in religious scholarship as Christians are want and inculcated to do through biblical exegesis. Sometimes I question whether doing the right thing in bringing this information to your attention is of any warrantable value. Who am I to challenge the benefit and comfort you clearly enjoy in basing your life around the exigency of intuition and to live in the illusion of free will? Your dependency on intuitive ignorance must truly be a blessing.

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    7. Papalinton wrote: "Again, Keith singularly cherry picks from the article to support his argument rather than assess the whole of the research, and on the basis of that cherry pick dismissing the totality of the scholarship."

      If you think that any of the links you posted are the smoking gun that proves that free will is an illusion, then I would say pull the the other leg, Papa, pull the other leg. Basically, what you have done is like if I showed you some study that showed that some people tend to feel like they are in another world when they play virtual reality games, and I say, "See this goes to show you that your intuition that there's an external world is an illusion. You can't present some shaky evidence and expect me to drop my intuition that I make numerous free decisions every day, especially when that defeater is easily undercut by a defeater, defeaters.

      Papalinton wrote: "Cherry picking is historically stock-in-trade praxis in religious scholarship..."

      First of all, there have been non-theist philosophers like David Hume who were/are compatabilists, so it's not just theists who think that we make free decisions. Secondly, this goes way beyond religion to the whole question of responsibility and the fact that it just seems obvious that we make free decisions.

      Papalinton wrote: "Who am I to challenge the benefit and comfort you clearly enjoy in basing your life around the exigency of intuition and to live in the illusion of free will? Your dependency on intuitive ignorance must truly be a blessing."

      What about taking your worldview seriously and concluding that random events have caused me to be incapable of believing that free will is an illusion. Since I don't actually make choices it's futile to make arguments, as the position of an electron in one of atoms in my brain caused me to believe in free will. What can I say? My brain made me do it. Or was it that electron?

      Seriously, my belief in free will is not all sunshine, puppies and ice cream cones. It means that I'm responsible for my decisions and actions. I don't have the ultimate "my dog ate my homework" excuse when I make mistakes.

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    8. Oh well. All I can say is that I tried.

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    9. Keith,

      As we discussed, your understanding of free will seems to be a little confused. Philosophers like Hume and Dennett are indeed compatibilists, which means that they believe that people are responsible for their actions and decisions, but does not mean that we have libertarian free will. Aquinas seems to be on both sides of this question, which undoubtedly contributes to your confusion. One thing that you might want to keep in mind is that Aquinas was just a human, and not by any means infallible.

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    10. im-skeptical wrote: "As we discussed, your understanding of free will seems to be a little confused. Philosophers like Hume and Dennett are indeed compatibilists, which means that they believe that people are responsible for their actions and decisions, but does not mean that we have libertarian free will."

      I'm not confused. If someone is a compatibilist then they are at the mid-point between libertarian free will and hard determinism. Having libertarian free will is not a necessary condition for people to be able to make free decisions and be responsible for their own actions, which is the only thing that really matters in my opinion.

      im-skeptical wrote: "Aquinas seems to be on both sides of this question, which undoubtedly contributes to your confusion. One thing that you might want to keep in mind is that Aquinas was just a human, and not by any means infallible."

      My knowledge about Aquinas' ideas is also not infallible or completely comprehensive, so bear in mind that I may be not always conveying his ideas completely accurately. But yes, you are quite right that, even though Aquinas was very brilliant, he is ultimately just a human.

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    11. Papa, there's been an interesting development in studies that purport to show that free will is an illusion. Benedict Carey of The New York Times writes, "Now, a painstaking yearslong effort to reproduce 100 [psychology] studies published in three leading psychology journals has found that more than half of the findings did not hold up when retested. The analysis was done by research psychologists, many of whom volunteered their time to double-check what they considered important work. Their conclusions, reported Thursday in the journal Science, have confirmed the worst fears of scientists who have long worried that the field needed a strong correction...More than 60 of the studies did not hold up. Among them was one on free will. It found that participants who read a passage arguing that their behavior is predetermined were more likely than those who had not read the passage to cheat on a subsequent test." So, this great proof that free will is an illusion, which was very similar to the one you mentioned, isn't even reproducible. This just bolsters my point that there is no defeater for my intuition that I freely make decisions.

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