I am defending the compatibilist positions and one of the basic ideas of compatibilism is that everything is determined.
Then where does compatibilism come in? Where does free will come in? If everything is determined, which is my position, what are you being compatible with?
Sigh… You really do not read. The answers on your questions (as far as they make any sense) are all there, in this thread. So, once again:
According to combatibilism free will is not the capability to act against ‘determining factors’. Got it? Leave that definition. It is wrong, it is incoherent, false, bullshit, an unreflected position, coming forth from dualist thought. Combatibilism says we are determined. Even stronger: without determinism free will would be impossible.
So what is then free will according to compatibilism? It is the capability to act according your wishes and beliefs. Your wishes and beliefs are determined themselves, of course, but they in turn are causes of our actions. So wishes and beliefs belong to the causal fabric of the universe. There is no interruption of deterministic processes anywhere.
I keep getting two criticisms of you, George and VYAZMA again and again that do not hold water:
1. “We are determined! We are not free! Get used to it!”
Sorry, but then you are not applying the compatibilist definition of free will. Now you can argue that the compatibilist definition is wrong. But nobody of you is doing that. You just take the libertarian definition of free will. That is the straw man Doug was speaking about.
2. “It is all neurons! You do not decide! Your brain does!”
Yes, of course it is neurons. But not every set of coupled neurons makes wishes and beliefs. At the moment that neurons build such complex structures that they are the basis for wishes and beliefs, it is a perfect valid description to say that those wishes and beliefs cause our actions. If an asteriod clashes with the earth, would anybody say it was not the asteriod that caused the damage, that it is wrong to say that the asteriod caused the damage, because it were its atoms? Is the asteriod not an object of science?
And yes, my brain ‘decides’ what I do. But I am what my brain does, so there is no opposition between ‘my brain decides’ and ‘I decide’.
Oh, and there is a third one:
3. “We are just conscious robots!”
Yes, we are. But if any robot is advanced enough to have consciousness, it might also be advanced enough to have wishes and beliefs, and possibly act according to them. So we can assign it free will.
So how could the compatibilist definition be discussed? The real question is if it covers the ways we are using the concept of free will in daily life. I am convinced it does. I am convinced it supports our practice of praising, blaming, punishing, assigning responsibility and also the confusing idea of ‘could have done otherwise’. But we can’t discuss this if you do not understand compatibilism in the first place, if you keep beating thin air.