This is a fascinating study but I always remain skeptical when scientists claim to have refuted ‘free will’. Scientists lock man in a box and then claim he can’t move. The problem is that science isn’t playing with a full deck, and the result is a contradictory confusion taken in a larger context. The mind is not the same as the brain, and consciousness has never been explained in scientific terms. Worse yet, the solution to the problem lies in a dimensional context larger than the one science assumes. It is important to go back to the era of Kant and Schopenhauer, figures categorically banished from ‘science’ to see the larger context of ethics, and in Schopenhauer the thesis of the will in nature, the phenomenal and ‘thing-in-itself’ discourses. The format of so-called transcendental idealism cannot ever be allowed to science and the result is the endless confusion over free will. Note that ‘will’ and free will are not the same, and further that free will is not the same as choice. In the eonic model we see that free agency which may or may not be free will is essential to model the analysis of history. The argument goes round and round with no chance of resolution. And we haven’t even mentioned the stance of quantum mechanics whose findings have confounded everyone. Scientists are obsessive here and the larger culture can’t really operate on behaviouristic assumptions.
The issue of ‘free will’ beggars Harari’s history. It is almost impossible to write a world history that negates human ‘free will’.
However, the issue of will remains obscure in many ways, and isn’t quite the same as in all cases.
In Decoding World History we adopt the terminology of ‘free agency’ instead of ‘free will’ in order to evade arguments. But a reader would conclude from the reading that ‘free agency’ is about choice, and ‘willed’ actions and/or passive choices perhaps, and passive ‘wills’. Nonetheless, if ‘free agency’ quacks like a duck as it were, it must be the same as ‘free will’. The book allows that interpretation, prefers it, but allows a more extended study of the range of possibilities. The basic issue is that a causal ‘science’ of history doesn’t exist. Continue reading “Is Free Will a Dangerous Myth? | Mind Matters”
We have critiqued ‘historical materialism’ repeatedly here, from the left and suggested a new approach that could serve the left better than the dated legacy of Marxism. This article starts with an attack on postmodernism and its rejection of historical laws, etc…But the issue of history is not so simple and the lack of a science does not entail the lack of analysis. The issue is falsely posed: we can reject a ‘science’ of history without rejecting a larger analysis of its essential nature.
The eonic model is a new breakthrough that distinguishes ‘system action’ and free agency and shows how the two interact as we place the issue of civilization in the context of post-Darwinian evolution.
This model uncovers the unsuspected dynamic behind world history and its connections: the category is an evolutionary model and a two-level micro/macro distinction.. No other model can match the blend of historical determination and the action of free agents inside it.
This model can easily adapt to new versions of liberalism, socialism, and what we call neo-communism. The interaction of a system and a free agent is the key to this approach and occurs in ordinary life in dozens of examples: the most obvious being the ‘system action’ of an automobile and the ‘free agency’ of the driver.
The left including Marxists would do well to recast their whole subject and start over ASAP as time runs out for the left: an old-style revolution in marxist terms isn’t going to happen: what is needed is a platform with a more generalized model of history and crucially a reminder that now ‘laws of history’ are going produce postcapitalism: men/women as free agents must construct and realize a new model of society.
The International Marxist Tendency proudly presents the Winter 2021 issue of the In Defence of Marxism theoretical journal! This latest edition is themed around the topic of historical materialism. We publish below the editorial by Alan Woods.
We have criticized Marx’s theory of history as a progression of epochs in a causal system, and concluded that we can’t predict the future using its theory. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t historical forces of some kind. Marx, to anyone who studies the eonic effect, was trying to discover it, but his perspective as economic wasn’t the right way to do it.
If we look at the eonic effect we see not a capitalist epoch but the outcome of the ‘modern transition’ in the eonic sequence. And there among the massive innovations of this transition (the early modern) we see that socialism and democracy emerge in parallel, or almost. So as students with this different model we suspect without claiming proof that there is a dynamic behind their emergence? Here go again, but his time our perspective is more realistic. People are always looking for things they can prove about the future, teleology. But the latter concept puts most theories to the sword and the better approach suggested by the eonic is to look at a teleology of starting points. That’s the only way to do it in a system that must allow free agents ‘freedom of action’ (free will or not): historical directionality applied to a kind of starter yeast and initiated formats that free agents must complete. That what we see in the modern case (and the other cases in the eonic sequence): democracy and socialism emerge with a push that will finalize and then stop leaving the outcome to free agents, and the period of failure.
That’s just what we see: the attempts to realize formats projected in the early modern. Let us note that this precedes the Marxist appropriation of concepts. We can try again with a new approach, confident some macro process has initialized a starting point. Marx senses this and it confused him. But we suspect we can with confidence that a slowly waning force process backs our democratic and/or socialist futures. These have jackknifed against each other but the early socialists knew well that the real process was ‘True Democracy’ in a blend with socialism. The same is true of capitalism save that capitalism under socialism isn’t going to be what we thought: the DMNC model shows how the three things can blend, as socialist democracy in an industrial context./
Free agents and postcapitalist transition February 24th, 2018
Free agents and postcapitalist transition February 24th, 2018