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old free will essay

That I probably wrote in 2004, despite my uncharacteristic lack of date[1].

Very short summary: when people talk philosophically about free will they think they mean something mysterious that isn't determinism or randomness, but when they talk practically about free will and moral responsibility, they really mean being able to be determined by the right factors (personal consequences and social approval and maybe moral ideology), and thus full material determinism requires little change in our normal behavior, though maybe more compassion for outliers.

Repost inspired by something I saw on a subscriber's page this morning.


[1] I got into the web in NCSA Mosaic days, with my oldest website dating to 1995 if not earlier. A lot of my pages have "Created" and "Modified" fields.

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Damien Sullivan
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