Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New York Times does free will

The NYT has an article by John Tierney on free will and X-PHI. It's a shame that though the article mentions that most philosophers today ascribe to various versions of compatibilism, it fails spectacularly by not giving the substantial reasons why philosophers do so. This may have the effect of making the NYT reader think that philosophers are a wishy washy bunch who's capricious beliefs are dependent on extra rational processes and are out of touch with the latest science. There is no mention of the quality of will approach, the reflective self-control approach, the higher self approach and the dispositionalists approach or any contemporary compatibilist approach all of which are compatible with the truth of determinism.

Of course there are some weaknesses to all these approaches but that doesn't mean they do not provide very good reason philosophers have for supporting compatibilism. These positions can be explained so that any reasonably intelligent and educated person can understand them which I suspect many readers of the NYTs are but they may very well be well beyond the scope of the journalist in question.

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