The Illusion of Determinism: Why Free Will is Real and Causal

Dr. Edwin Locke has just released a new book defending volition, called “The Illusion of Determinism: Why Free Will is Real and Causal.”

According to Dr. Locke, “Determinism is the doctrine that everything we think, feel, believe, and do is caused by factors outside our control—that we have no choice regarding our character, our thoughts, our actions, our lives. There have been many forms of determinism but the one that is most popular today is based on neuroscience, with the enthusiastic support of many psychologists, philosophers, and physical scientists (e.g., physicists). This version argues that we are controlled by our physical brains with the brain being which are set in motion by environmental factors. The debate continues because many people disagree with determinism and assert that they have, in some form, free will. Determinists insist that such a belief represents “folk psychology,” an illusion held by people who are ignorant of what science has allegedly proved.”

“Determinists typically believe that:

  • Consciousness is the same thing as brain activity (as opposed to requiring a brain)
  • The conscious mind, though real, plays no significant role in human life
  • The human mind is not significantly different from that of the lower animals such as chimpanzees
  • All causes are material (or mechanical)
  • Goal-directed action applies equally to people and machines
  • The concept of a self or the self as a causal agent has no intelligible meaning
  • Key neuroscience experiments have proven that the intention to act appears after the brain has already decided what to do
  • Determinism is not only compatible with objective knowledge but is also the only guarantee of objective knowledge, because it is based on scientific truth
  • Determinism has to be either proved or disproved based on philosophical and/or scientific arguments
  • Free will, at best, is a necessary illusion

“On the other side of the coin, various free will advocates typically believe that:

  • Elementary particles which make up our brain act at random, thus refuting causal necessity
  • Free will and determinism are compatible
  • Religion validates free will

In The Illusion of Determinism: Why Free Will is Real and Causal, Dr. Locke shows that all of the above beliefs are mistaken, and that free will is, as many have claimed, self-evident, even though most people have not validated it or correctly identified what it consists of—what it is, and what it isn’t.”

 

Order the book on Amazon

Terence Corcoran: How Net Neutrality “Worked” in the 20th Century

Terence Corcoran, gives a little history lesson on how “Net Neutrality” worked in the 20th century over at the Financial Post:

Our freeways and highways are working models of road neutrality. At any time, anywhere, drivers are free to stream onto highways, free of any of the blocking, throttling and paid prioritization that private road tolls might bring. The result of road neutrality is constant congestion, with drivers dependent on politicians to determine whether new roads are built as a public utility, with no regard to price and cost.

Postal neutrality dominated for centuries, until key parts of the business were liberated from neutrality by allowing competitors to travel the same routes to deliver parcels. Today, UPS and FedEx compete with government postal services on quality and price. Recently, UPS announced another break with postal-neutrality principles, saying it would impose a surcharge on U.S. packages shipped the week before Christmas. The objective, says UPS, is to end congestion by prompting shippers and consumers to postpone deliveries that are non-essential holiday items until after the Christmas rush.

Promoters of net neutrality might learn from the history of public utilities and the experience in de-neutralized sectors such as postal services. Under deregulation, telcos in competition with one another would have more incentive to innovate and supply the infrastructure for the promised technological miracles than they would under the centuries-old utility model. [We tried ‘neutrality’ before the net came along. It’s always terrible.]

Video: Our Republican Constitution

In this lecture Randy E. Barnett speaks on the topic of his latest book, “Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People”: The Constitution of the United States begins with the words: “We the People.” But from the earliest days of the American republic, there have been two competing notions of “the People,” which lead to two very different versions of the Constitution. Those who view “We the People” collectively think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group, which leads them to favor a “democratic” constitution that allows the “will of the people” to be expressed by majority rule. In contrast, those who think popular sovereignty resides in the people as individuals contend that a “republican” constitution is needed to secure the pre-existing inalienable rights of “We the People,” each and every one, against abuses by the majority.

 

Why Are People In The 21st Century Still Attracted to Marxism?

The lecture “Why Marxism?”, is an examination of why so many people are still attracted to Marxism despite the history of totalitarianism and genocide. Professor C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He has also been a visiting fellow at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.