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  1. Josh

    I don’t think any free will defenders would deny that things influence us. Obviously our lives are structured by outside forces; libertarians (philosophical not political) would say that freedom exists within those bounds. The simplest libertarian claim is that free will means that the person ‘could have done otherwise’ in regards to some action, which doesn’t entail that people are completely free in regards to all things.

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    1. Then why call it free will? I would suggest that in most actions, we have a limited amount of options available to us and even those are but figments.

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      1. Oops, didn’t see you replied. “Free” in this context just means “not determined”. Even if there are only two options available, libertarians would suggest that it can still be a free choice if the agent could choose either one. Limited options are definitely compatible with ‘could have done otherwise’.

        The common concern, one that I think is very compelling, is that it’s difficult to conceive of the possibility of moral responsibility without assuming that the person ‘could have done otherwise’. If our actions are rendered certain by pre-existing conditions then I don’t see how people are responsible for actions.

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        1. Two issues here:

          (1) Is it possible to feel libertarian-free about decisions that were actually determined/constrained? I think “Of course that’s possible,” is the benign reply. But if that’s the reply, then it means libertarian freedom has lost its sole “evidence.” And the more we discover about our constraints — always discoveries toward “more constrained than we thought,” as it so happens — the more the evidence against it mounts.

          (2) “Could have done otherwise” does not actually entail a meaningful power in the real world. Google for “stanrock superheroes” for an article that shows why.

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  2. There’s this anime movie called Macross Plus ( I think it’s this one). Have you seen these veritech or Valkyrie fighters. They turn from spacejets into robots. Like transformers, but with pilots. Robetech was a cartoon series in the ’80’s that featured them. When they fired missles, the munitions arced out in this totally random looking cloud pattern and then eventually found their mark if the target wasn’t too quick. In Macross plus, there was an onboard computer that predicted the trajectory of every random-seeming projectile and chose the path through the missles that kept the jet safe. Which I think is another way of telling the Noah story.

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