Free Will and Natural Law
Q&A Radio: 13 January 2013, Question 1
I answered a question on free will and natural law on 13 January 2013. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
Is free will merely an illusion? While I dislike the idea that we're just puppets of physics and natural law, I wonder whether our seemingly "free" decisions are actually determined by the combination of our biology and our environment. After all, if our brain is merely a physical and chemical system, how could any any decisions be made freely? Wouldn't that violate natural law? In essence, how can our knowledge that the physical universe is deterministic be reconciled with our subjective feeling that we choose our actions?
My Answer, In Brief: The evidence for free will is overwhelming, and the attempts to deny that are not scientific but rather based on a dogmatic adherence to reductionistic materialism.
- Duration: 24:00
- Download: MP3 Segment (8.3 MB)
To save the file to your computer, right-click and save the link above. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed:
- Various articles on free will, causality, and determinism in The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist by Nathaniel Branden
- Volition as Cognitive Self-Regulation by Dr. Harry Binswanger
- Analytics on the Mind and The Inevitability of Alternative Possibilities by Diana Brickell
- Rediscovery of the Mind by John Searle
- Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? by Eddy Nahmias
Support Philosophy in Action
The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life... far and wide. That's why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.
Thank you for contributing to Philosophy in Action! You make our work possible every week, and we're so grateful for that!
If you enjoy Philosophy in Action, please help us spread the word about it! Tell your friends about upcoming broadcasts by forwarding our newsletter. Link to episodes or segments from our topics archive. Share our blog posts, podcasts, and events on Facebook and Twitter. Rate and review the podcast in iTunes (M4A and MP3). We appreciate any and all of that!
About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.