Facebook Discussion On Free Will

I posted in the Facebook Group “Naturalism” the following:

I’d like feedback on the following notion of free will.
Humans are objectively determined, but subjectively free to choose. The key is understanding that a human mind is likened to an eddy in a flow of air or water. The material causes create an eddy of recursive causation that never escapes from objective determinism, yet when conceptually extracted as a subjective being, that eddy of recursive cognitive processing does indeed make choices.
I find this conception of the free will “problem” to be quite satisfactory and completely coherent. But I’d like your polite feedback.

After requests for elaboration, I posted this follow-up:

Hi Guys.

Let me start by referencing first the term “conservative”. That term in isolation is far too ambiguous. Only when preceded by “political”, “fiscal” or “social” does the term take on a meaning rigorous enough for intelligent dialogue.

Now let me move on to a concept more similar to “free will”: Love. Naturalists will agree that objective love does not exist, but exists only in the subjective realm. Love has an objective material correlate in neuronal/hormonal states, but there is no objective love out there in the world.

But to say love, therefore, does not exist is to stipulate the term in a way quite distant from convention. Humans can quite productively employ concepts that exist in only the subjective realm. These include all emotions and fiscal concepts. Our value of green paper is wholly subjective, possessing a value that does not exist outside the mind. Emotions and fiscal concepts perhaps bracket free will along the continuum of concepts that have real subjective substance, though no objective substance.

So, If we can simply preface “free will” with either “objective” or “subjective”, this will narrow the denotation sufficiently to allow for a more rigorous assessment of the concept within those two distinct domains.

In conclusion, while there is no objective free will, our subjective experiencing of free will in much the same way we experience the “illusion” of love, plus the utility the notion has in common parlance, justifies, in my opinion, the ontological status of “real” subjective existence as much as any emotion we can name.

If we start refusing to recognize the existence of subjective entities such as “dollar”, “anger” or “choice”, we hobble our linguistic productivity.

So, I feel that it is not only justified to accept the existence of subjective free will and its accompanying nomenclature such as “choice” and “decisions”, it is linguistically productive and illuminating.

Hope this has been clear.


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