But did your read carefully what Stephen agreed with: that free will is that he could have done otherwise, if he had other desires or believes. When however all atoms, molecules and neurons in the world are in the same state, then he has the same desires and believes, and he will do exactly the same.
But you leave out consistently the first party view, i.e. how you are conscious of yourself. You are pondering what to do: I can do A but then… Of course I prefer B, it would be the best for me, but then later… etc. You suggest (maybe you don’t mean to) that the pondering is no use, because everything is already determined. That is of course not true. The action that comes out at the end necessarily goes via the pondering. The hard core determinist in the restaurant cannot avoid to choose just because he is a determinist. He cannot simply wait until he says which meal he wants, with the idea that everything is determined, so it will come out eventually. He must go through the choosing, otherwise he will starve in the restaurant. This means his ordering is essentially dependent on his pondering. And this is the experience we always have: what happens next depends on my choice, and my choice only. Nobody, nothing forces me to take the meal I want, and that is what exactly what free will is. I have options, they are on the menu card, and what I want from these options is my free choice. Are they real options? From my perspective, the first party view, yes, and I have no other perspective on this situation. I have no access to my brain states, which would make a third party view on my brain. So for the determinist himself it makes no difference if we are determined or not.
So this an argument against fatalism (Stephen’s 2)
From the third party view, assuming somebody has all the neurological knowledge needed, it looks differently of course. He sees the whole determination from the beginning to the end. But then we don’t see the person as person anymore. That is my personal reason to go into so much detail, and putting so much energy in this discussion. Seeing the other as person is something different than seeing him as research object, or substance to be worked on. Both views have their values in their respective places: with other persons I talk, make them responsible for their actions; with humans as substance to work on I remove brain tumours, release metabolism faults etc. So it is not that one is wrong and the other correct. Everything in its proper place. And here neurologists cross the border when they say humans are determined, and therefore we cannot make them responsible. Making people responsible is the glue of our society, and makes us to persons. How would you feel if you get a brain surgery because you parked your car at the wrong place? Or as next step: when your political ideology does not fit those in power?
Remember what I said before: free will is a presupposition of doing experiments. I can freely adjust the input parameters of my experiment, and so find out according to which natural laws my study object develops. The same with the application of the natural laws I found in the form of technology: I change some input parameters in the substance I work on, and according to the natural laws I know by now, the substance changes in a way that I want. So again free will is the presupposition. But what I myself want as researcher or as one using the technology, I only know from the first order perspective. So I have to ponder again what is correct to do. There is no way out! Free will is always there! It might exist in the first party view only, but I won’t ever get rid of it: at least the last omnipotent dictator will have free will.
As long as I am able to a first party view, which means I am conscious of myself, my desires, my believes etc, I am choosing, and I am free. Not in some absolute sense, which would lead to the absurd libertarian free will concept, but in the simple meaning of ‘being able to do what I want’, with options that really exist in the first party view. If you deny that these really exist, then you must deny consciousness, which I think is pretty absurd.
And why I am coming back on dualism again and again? Because it lies hidden in the standpoint you are attacking. That I should be independent of all pre conditions in order to be really free. How can one think this without seeing ‘me’ as something different from my brain? So your attack on ‘free will’ is based on a dualistic viewpoint. Only from this dualistic viewpoint free will is an absurdity. But if you act according to your inherent necessity, this problem does not even arise. As long as there is a first party view, in which we are aware of my desires, beliefs and pondering, free will exists. That is enough, and it is makes no sense to deny that we are aware of these. The dualism is resolved in the different views I can take to myself and my fellow humans.
With that I think I have underpinned Stephen’s 1). We will ponder about our actions, and one of the necessary dimensions of this pondering is the moral dimension. I am made responsible by my fellow humans, based on that I could have done otherwise (if I had had other desires and believes). For a third party sociological view one can take Gnostikosis’ standpoint: that I learn in this way which desires and believes are acceptable for society and which are not. Or would you prefer a society where everybody who does something wrong according to society’s morality is treated instead of punished? When I am treated, I have no chance to say, ‘but I was right’. I lost my human dignity.