Saturday, January 07, 2012


The Village's Philosophical Idiot

Chris Schoen at U n d e r v e r s e has a nice piece on Jerry Coyne's "determinism."

My latest favorite Coyneism:

I deny free will—at least the contracausal form ["that we can, at any moment, behave in any way different from what we did"]—on the basis of science, not atheism.

Well, even "Brother Blackford" is getting a little tired of it:

It becomes, I think, a question of trying to understand the situation as clearly as we can, while also working out how best to convey it to others without misleading them. That does, inevitably, get us involved in efforts in clarifying concepts, making distinctions, grappling with the existing philosophical literature, and so on. Given some of the issues that are stake in the contemporary debates among academic philosophers, it can involve grappling with other difficult concepts, such as responsibility, desert, and fairness - and the relationships among them.

I only get upset when the efforts of people like Daniel Dennett, Tom Clark, and by extension me are dismissed as "changing the subject" or as being some kind of sophistry analogous to the efforts of theologians ...
But Coyne can't help himself.

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