Maybe I didn’t just understand the subject, but to me this episode seemed like a big muddle of semantics. I am very skeptical on this episode. To me his ideas almost seem like an excuse to reinterpret reality in such a manner that enables a socialistic leaning thinker to claim that his politics are packed up by naturalism. But that’s not the main point of my criticism. As I already admitted It’s possible I didn’t understand his main arguments, but to me they can not be verified or falsified so it’s beyond our understanding. Pure speculation and as such no more scientific than any other speculative metaphysical stance.
But I still love the show
Not sure what you mean. Are you saying that naturalism is a speculative metaphysical stance?
Or that if naturalism is true then we don’t have Contra Causal free will is a speculative metaphysical stance?
Here is an example of belief in Contra Causal free will, to be sure we are both talking about the same thing:
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/5925/P15/ post 16
“I am not suggesting that there is absolute free will, simply that all is not predetermined. That is, there is some, if limited, choice between alternatives. Maybe we are not meat puppets, and our actions are not determines completely by our interaction between the environment outside us and our internal machinery.”
Surely what the poster is saying is that there is not a natural explanation for our actions, that they cannot be explained in terms of the interaction between the environment and our internal machinery but that there is something else, a supernatural explanation.
It seems clear to me that if we accept naturalism is true, then it does in fact follow that we don’t have Contra Causal free will.
I think if one accepts that, it doesn’t necessarily lead to any particular political view but it does mean that harming people cannot be justified by it’s being deserved. This is the enormous difference between the responsibility, blameworthyness, praiseworthyness etc that we have if naturalism is true and that which just about everybody feels we have, the responsibility we have does not include deservedness.
I think that’s the point Tom is making and I see nothing “speculative” about it. “Cosmic desert” requires a supernatural explanation for our actions.