I just wanted to come up with a short one sentence summary of the “No free will” message so that I could keep it in mind and let it guide my thoughts and actions. And this is what I came up with
“Actions are both causally determined and causally effective.”
That is, every action is determined by prior causes (thus there is no free will), but at the same time every action has consequences (thus fatalism is not true). I would like to hear all of your feedback on this.
We have a plethora of threads on this topic. I suggest that you explore a few and maybe wake up one that strikes your causually determined fancy.
Do you see yourself as the end of a causal chain?
Thanks for the reply. I did explore a few threads, but didn’t find one that was focused on a possible one sentence summary of the message in the book. Although there was one on the difference with fatalism, which is related to the summary that I came up with. I will post it there as well.
More than an end, I like to view myself as a link in a chain of cause and effect. I think contemplating the fact that actions have consequences can help avoid the misunderstanding of thinking fatalistically, and thus enable us to make more informed choices.
I think there a lot of interesting brainstorms about free will. I believe the first premise is true. We exist in the world and cannot deliberately alter the substrate that composes all of who we are and what we do.
Beyond that I think it’s a less a matter of logical inference and evidence and more a matter of personal reflection. I don’t think theories about the constitution of person hood or the nature of the good or the essence of liberty can be reduced to a formula. Nor should they be. Part of freedom as an aesthetic quantity is the extension of cognitive liberty to others and an appreciation of diversity, in my view. I think logical argument applies to things that are un negotiably true about the world. If I make a reductive argument I am trying to eliminate your option to intelligibly disagree. This is appropriate for issues where we can measure proportions in nature and get reliable results. I don’t think its appropriate for issues that are currently nebulous and beyond our ability to make precise predictions about.
So, I personally would not endorse the second part of your summary. Not because I think it’s wrong. I actually agree in essence. I disagree about the approach. I don’t find it useful to frame it in a way that would exclude alternatives.
How about; I am not responsible for holding other people responsible for their actions.