I've written two previous blogposts on saying "mu" to the old, tired ideas of "free will versus determinism."
Now, per a new piece at Massimo Pigliucci's Scientia Salon, and comments there, including from Massimo, to whom I may not be as close on these issues as I thought a year ago, it's time for No. 4.
And, evolutionary psychology (done right, and not close to Pop Ev Pysch) is going to be even more part of the issue than in previous posts.
It’s the the common opinion of philosophers that Libet is very little obstacle to free will.
(After all, did we reject Dalton or Mendeleev because their theories about periodicity in chemistry had structural limitations?)
Martin Seligmann would try to rescue free will with the idea of prospection, back-formed off retrospection. Big problems, though, as I see it.
It's heavily invested in teleology, which is no wonder he's getting Templeton money for it. Beyond the religious overtones of Templeton, not to mention the fundraising overtones (and other ethical issues in his past) of Marty Seligmann, I have non-religious issues with teleology.
That said, if neuroscience can't necessarily tell us a lot about what IS involved with issues of volition in general, and what variety of free will, or something like free will, we may have actually evolved, before that, it can tell us more and more what varieties of free will we don't have.
And, to riff on Dan Dennett, it can tell us about what varieties of free will, or something like free will, that we may actually have, whether we consider them "worth having" or not. It will certainly contribute, per a blog post on this issue a month ago, about the varieties of free will worth discussing.
This cannot be stressed enough. The limitations in various ways of current theories on free will have nothing to offer to boost the viability of determinism.
Another way of putting this is that determinists are like Jesus denialists. They think that every brick removed from the wall of classical versions of free will not only proves classical free will in its various incarnations wrong, but proves the possibility of anything like free will wrong, and proves determinism right.
Well, nothing could be further from the truth.