I’m not sure what to make of this argument, or why it strikes me as powerful. I’m hoping people will take me to task on Conscious Entities, where I pulled it out of my ass. But I thought I would post it here as well. I suppose I’ve been making (pulling?) it for years, but it seems have more (heft?) bite than usual…
At the root of the problem of free will is what might be called an ‘incompatibility intuition.’ The biomechanical nature of the brain seems to contradict our metacognitive sense of ’free will.’
Here’s an observation you don’t see that often: The incompatibility intuition is so direct that teenagers regularly grasp it without a single philosophy class, and yet it takes years of specialized training to follow, let alone make, a case for discounting that intuition.
Here’s another observation: The human capacity to rationalize what they cherish is well-nigh bottomless in fuzzy conceptual contexts.
Here’s my theory: The human brain cannot solve the inverse problem of itself, and so must rely on heuristics, ways to solve issues of behavioural provenance in a manner that neglects the natural facts of that provenance. ‘Free will’ is one of those heuristics. Since it constitutes a way to understand behavioural provenance absent information regarding its biomechanistic provenance, it is not surprisingly incompatible with reflection on that information–thus the incompatibility intuition. It was nothing but a rule of thumb to begin with. Why should we expect it to apply to empirical contexts?
But here’s the rub: It takes years of specialized training to understand this as well! But it does have the virtue of explaining… teenage incompatibility angst.