Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Free Will Debate

Are you a hard determinist or a compatibilist? Maybe you’re a libertarianist and didn’t even know it. Although you may have never given it a moment’s thought (and let’s be honest, you’ve been busy, haven’t you?) you’ve probably got an opinion on free will.

It’s not all dry theory and pointless pseudo-intellectual masturbation over the exact meaning of this word or that word (although there may be some of that). When you make a decision or a judgement are you doing it as a result of all the causal influences that have impacted upon you (“I’ve decided that this guy is talking crap because my background has led me to believe that this much bullshit on one page cannot be an accident.”) or because your personality just damn well says so (“if this guy writes like a dick and quacks like a dick ... he’s a dick.”)

You fall either into or between (and perhaps without even realising it) one of several categories. Look, I can prove it with a graph...

free will
See? If you can’t work out which one of these you are then print it out and throw a dart at it (I would suggest taking it off your printer first but whatever works for you). Then bring along your point of view and listen to a debate between a Hard Determinist locked -in-place clockwork humanoid who has no choice but to obey the commands in his head (John) and a free-wheeling goofy hippy type who desperately wants his free will to be true (Me, Trev). Moderated by the charming and righteous Steve, someone will win and it'll be Steve who CHOOSES (see what I did there?).

It should be happening on Thursday 21st April at 8pm ... but then maybe we'll decide not to (okay, I'll cut it out now).



  1. Just for the record, I may actually fit in to the category of hard indertermist if it were to be demonstrated that reality is indetermined because I believe the definition of absolute free will is compatible with neither. Deal with that curve-ball!

  2. To all those interested in listening, but worried about a lack of knowledge about the subject matter: the wikipedia articles gives a great foundation and plenty of links