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Monday, August 15, 2022

Review: Great Philosophical Debates - Free Will and Determinism

 Niniane told me that Hoopla has a ton of Great Courses downloads available for free, and one of the free courses was Great Philosophical Debates - Free Will and Determinism. I ended up being disappointed, but not because of the lecturer or his coverage of the topic, but by how shallow the debate between free will and determinism is. It's quite clear that the world itself (because of quantum mechanics) isn't really deterministic. Of course, that doesn't mean that people have free will, since it hasn't (yet) been proved that quantum mechanical constructs are in human brains, or that you even have control over your decisions. So that debate is a dead end.

Now there are some interesting implications of whether or not you have free will, such as whether that means you have responsibility. But on the other hand, if you don't have free will, we'd still have to organize society in such a way that people who are dangerous to others should have any damage they do minimized, which effectively means our systems remain pretty much as they are.

Along the way, the lecturer explores many philosophical dilemmas some of which are much more interesting than the famous trolley problem. But it could all have been done in 6 lectures.


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