The question of free will is addressed best in a Kantian context, and the direction of physics and/or religion never seems to provide answers, for good Kantian reasons. And yet Kant’s answer is the best, in a way. Basically, the ethical will makes no sense in a causal system, and that’s that. Here in these essays the question is entangled with theism/atheism, but there is no reason an atheist can’t believe in free will. This essay goes into the issue of dimension, which may well show the answer, although there is no reason why adding more dimensions will as such resolve anything. In Kant, and Schopenhauer, we have the question of transcendenal ideaslim, and in Schopenhauer a hybrid answer: the causal phenomenon of mind is matched with the ‘thing in itself’ and in Schopenhauer the connection to the Will in Nature, which is not the same as the ‘will’ in ‘free will’.
In Decoding World History and/or The Last Revolution we take the stance that free agents are the case and this is a strong indication of free will. We cannot eliminate the factor of choice in man, and while that is not proof of free will as such it most obviously indicates that we cannot think in causal terms as we bifurcate reality with our choices and decisions.
We had a post yesterday on free will, citing Alternet, but this essay shows that the research the article pointed to has been challenged and that the issue of free will has not been refuted by neurological evidence…
Apart from simple laws governing neurons, we have no clue what laws the mind follows, though it does show complex nonlinear dynamics.
This is a cogent critique, but perhaps misses the point in terms of the category of materialism: the result is as usual put in the context of a theological debate, but the real issue is, what are the basic categories relevant to discussions of reality, therein the ‘will’: the duality of matter and spirit fails as badly as a materialist focus. Consider the way Schopenhauer, and some who are influenced by him, such as J.G. Bennett, often cited here: for Schopenhauer, the ‘Will in Nature’ is a fundamental category, and with Bennett, we have the triad of ‘being, function, will’. Such methodologies are able to deal with the strangely anomalous will.