Compatibilism as an alternative to the free will/determinism debate

Not to take away from the clout of the Free Will Discussion that keeps going in one of the other posts, but i was wondering what everyones feelings were on the idea of compatibilism.

For those of you who may not know the definition:

I've read from Daniel Dennetts book called "freedom evolves" and also some selected parts from elbow room. I tend to agree with the compatibilist ideals a little more, in that we live in a deterministic physical world that tends to present us with options to "choose" from, and has also guided natural selection.

There is a video of Dennett speaking of this subject, but its quite brief. You can view it here:

I refrained from going any deeper in my thoughts because i'd like to hear some good feedback from free will advocates, determinists, and compatibilists on this idea before going any further. so, everyone feel free to put their necks on the chopping block.

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wow, you guys got nothing eh?
I like Dennet's treatment of free will. Sensitive dependence on initial conditions means that even a deterministic universe may not be predictable. However, if the initial conditions were ever so slightly different, different choices would be made. If you throw in a bit of quantum indeterminacy, it may not be possible even in theory to make predictions of the outcomes in complicated physical structures like the human brain.

Some situations that are clear: if I jump off a cliff, I do not have 'free will' concerning whether to stop falling. That aspect is not only determined, but it is easily predictable. If am am deeply undecided about some matter, it seems clear that even slight changes in initial conditions could lead me to make a different decision. That *feels* like free will, but is it? I'm not quite sure how to even ask this question in a sensible way: counter-factual universes (as opposed to counter-factual models) are philosophically problematic, imho. In any case, the whole matter seems to be one of definition. What do you *mean* by ther term 'free will'?
i've been reading another author...however its a bit older, and it seems to be more of a critique of all the authors of the past who have written on the ideas of free will and determinism. It is called "do we have free will?" and its by the author Mark Thornton. He has one chapter at the end that is dedicated to his opinion on the issue, which also happens to be a compatibilist ideology. He brought up a very good point about how we could live in a deterministic universe, and our physiological aspects could be completely deterministic, while our psychological aspects could have a sliver of an ability to choose from those determined ideas that seem to fashion ourselves on a daily basis. He also quotes Anthony Kenny:

"Physiological determinism would entail psychological determinism only if physiological events of a particular kind were correlated in a regular and law-like manner with psychological conditions of a particular kind. But there is no reason to believe that physiological determinism must involve such regular correlations. It may be, for all we know, that for each individual case in which a human being can choose whether to do X or not to do X there is a difference between the state of the brain and of the central nervous system which goes with wanting to do X, and the state which goes with not wanting to do X; and this could well be the case without there being any general laws linking physiological states of any particular kind with psychological states of a particular kind. If this is so, there is no reason why physiological determinism should lead to psychological determinism, or why predictability at a physiological level should involve predictability at a psychological level"

So in essence physiological determinism would imply psychological determinism only if there were laws relating the physiological level and the psychological level. Even if from the physiologist's standpoint we are deterministic mechanisms, that does not preclude our also being rational, choosing, self-reflective, "free-willed" (depending on your definition of free will)creatures.


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