There is a great push in favor of determinism by ‘an increasing amount of scientists’.
By far the most unsettling implication of the case against free will, for most who encounter it, is what it seems to say about morality: that nobody, ever, truly deserves reward or punishment for what they do, because what they do is the result of blind deterministic forces (plus maybe a little quantum randomness). “For the free will sceptic,” writes Gregg Caruso in his new book Just Deserts (DebatingFreeWill.com), a collection of dialogues with his fellow philosopher Daniel Dennett, “it is never fair to treat anyone as morally responsible.” Were we to accept the full implications of that idea, the way we treat each other – and especially the way we treat criminals – might change beyond recognition.
For Caruso, who teaches philosophy at the State University of New York, what all this means is that retributive punishment – punishing a criminal because he deserves it, rather than to protect the public, or serve as a warning to others – can’t ever be justified.
Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society: Challenging Retributive Justice
Source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
There is a growing movement that believes that human behavior can be reduced to brain chemistry and that there is no free will or guilt. According to this movement, criminal law should ideally be replaced by psychiatric treatment.
What would happen when people start to believe that there is no guilt, and that people are not responsible for crime, and that criminals instead should be submitted to psychiatric care?
It will effectuate something in human interaction.
Preventive psychiatric measures are by definition about prosecuting people on the basis of vague suspicions and not on the basis of facts. It will cause people to lose the basic dignity as a human being (the presumption of innocence) before they have committed a crime, so that they will commit a crime faster.
When vague suspicion based prosecution becomes effective in society it will put some people at risk while they did not commit a crime. In a conflict situation, it is logical that the opposing party can concretize the requirement for preventive psychiatric measures by which the person affected has lost a reason to not commit a crime. The measure for a crime that he did not commit has been determined beforehand. The dignity as a human was already gone. (psychiatric disorders/treatments are highly stigmatizing)
Criminal behavior is a potential, so when people come to believe that it is caused by a brain disease that they themselves cannot be blamed for, they will logically commit a crime faster.
Denouncing a ‘belief’ in Free Will
The people who make the decisions when it concerns retributive justice (legislators and people working in the criminal justice system) will have to make their decisions based on an evaluation of the validity of a belief in free will.
Why would the interest of a criminal weigh higher than for example a desire by victims for retribution, or to set an example for society with regard to good and bad behavior?
It will ultimately come down to abolishing a belief in free will.
Law makers and people who work in the criminal justice system are giving in because they ultimately have only a ‘belief’ in free will as a foundation for their practice.
If a law maker is provided with the idea that crime can be prevented, and when that idea is substantiated and promoted by a science-field in general, there appears to be little argumentative ability to resist a proposition to replace the retributive justice system with psychiatry.
Despite the financial interests of Big Law, Big Pharma + psychiatry + the idea of the ability to prevent crime may be able to gain the upper hand. There is simply much more money involved for them and they can paint a picture of a better world.
It will come down to the ability to defend free will. And if that defense is impossible (for an individual) they will likely simply put their trust in a science-field. It is a non-risk choice versus taking responsibility for defending free will. It may explain why psychiatry has been winning so easily, while from the outlook, Free Will Skepticism may appear questionable.
At question: Why would one want to defend free will?
Will people who work in the criminal justice system be able to hold on to a belief in free will? They have a much tougher time. They may not have a philosophical background and may merely be confronted with the reality of crime within the scope of their profession.
When a judge is confronted with horrific crimes on a daily basis, at some point in time it may be logical that the judge wishes for a mere chance to be able to prevent the crimes. The abolishing of a belief in free will may then seem worth the chance. A multi-trillion USD science+business is eager to take over responsibility and control. As it appears, a mere plausible philosophical consideration may have a hard time to defend free will at the moment that a hint of a chance of prevention presents itself as a choice.
No one can blame someone who chooses to abolish a belief in free will in favor of a replacement of the retributive justice system with preventative measures. On the contrary, holding on to a belief in free will on the basis of philosophical consideration bears a heavy responsibility.
A case for Free Will
A recent study suggests that all particles in the Universe are entangled by kind, a qualia of which it is assumed that it is non-physical. It would be proof of free will.
(2020) Is nonlocality inherent in all identical particles in the universe?
The photon emitted by the monitor screen and the photon from the distant galaxy at the depths of the universe seem to be entangled only by their identical nature. This is a great mystery that science will soon confront.
Source: Phys.org (PDF backup)
The main argument by Free Will Sceptics is the following, which is the idea that mind is necessarily ’caused’ within the scope of physical reality.
To make a choice that wasn’t merely the next link in the unbroken chain of causes, you’d have to be able to stand apart from the whole thing, a ghostly presence separate from the material world yet mysteriously still able to influence it. But of course you can’t actually get to this supposed place that’s external to the universe, separate from all the atoms that comprise it and the laws that govern them. You just are some of the atoms in the universe, governed by the same predictable laws as all the rest.
As can be seen from the reasoning by Free Will Sceptics, only the idea that mind has a primary role in nature could prevent a belief in determinism.
Scientific evidence for the idea of “a primary role for the mind in nature” is mounting from several angles. For example, recent quantum physics studies through experiments have shown that the observer precedes reality (the scientific “observer” = consciousness = mind).
(2020) Do Quantum Phenomena Require Conscious Observers?
“Experiments indicate that the everyday world we perceive does not exist until observed,” writes scientist Bernardo Kastrup and colleagues earlier this year on Scientific American, adding that this suggests “a primary role for mind in nature”
Source: Science and Nonduality (PDF backup)
How observers create reality
(2021) Can our brains help prove the universe is conscious?
If it is proven that consciousness plays a causal role in the universe, it would have huge consequences for the scientific view of the world, said Kleiner. “It could lead to a scientific revolution on a par with the one initiated by Galileo Galilei,” he said.
Source: Space.com (PDF backup)
(2019) Quantum physics: objective reality doesn’t exist
Clearly these are all deeply philosophical questions about the fundamental nature of reality. Whatever the answer, an interesting future awaits.
Source: Phys.org (PDF backup)
Logical evidence 1: perception-as-signifier necessarily precedes physical reality
The simplest departure from pure randomness implies value (patternness). This is evidence that all that can be seen in the world – from the simplest pattern onward – is value.
Perception-as-signifier (which performs as an observer when manifested in diverse ways, e.g. a human or a science experiment) must necessarily precede physical reality by the nature of a pattern that implies that meaning is applicable as precursor to value (with value being ‘the essence of patternness’).
The following logic provides evidence:
- a pattern is necessarily meaningful (without meaning a pattern is not possible)
- a pattern is signified by perception (signification provides a pattern with meaning)
- as representative of meaning perception-as-signifier must precede a pattern on a fundamental level
The indicated meaning is to be considered ‘pure meaning’ because it cannot be a pattern. Alternative names for what is indicated would be ‘good per se’ (good that cannot be valued) or truth.
The logic implies that the origin of value is to be considered ‘pure meaning’ and that perception is not just pre-conscious (i.e. only relevant to consciousness) but also pre-physical and that the origin of physical reality is the same as the origin of consciousness.
The logic would explain subjective experience since what preceded life on a fundamental level logically lays beyond it from the perspective of the individual. Therefor, the origin of life is also the purpose or goal of life. Life logically will seek the origin of itself, develop subjective experience and become self-conscious.
Conclusion: perception-as-signifier must precede a pattern on a fundamental level because as signifier it represents ‘pure meaning’ that cannot be a pattern.
Logical evidence 2: the origin of value cannot be valued
The origin of value (meaningful pattern) cannot be value by the simple logical truth that something cannot be the origin of itself.
By the nature of value, valuing requires a distinguish-ability which it logically appropriates from what can be indicated as ‘good per se’ (good that cannot be valued).
Since it can be stated that ‘good per se’ cannot be valued, one cannot pose that one is not free to choose with regard the appropriation of ‘good’. If one would not be able to choose it would imply that the indicated ‘good per se’ has been valued, which is impossible.
Conclusion: free will is evident.
The following logic provides a simplified version:
“If life were to be good as it was, there would be no reason to exist.”
Simple logic indicates that free will is applicable in Nature and recent evidence in quantum mechanics suggests that mind has a primary role in Nature.
While it is easy to denounce a belief in free will, the determinism vs free will debate is not a settled debate, which is evident from the website debatingfreewill.com (2021) by philosophy professors Daniel C. Dennett and Gregg D. Caruso.
Given the trillion-dollar profit motive involved in replacing the criminal justice system with Big Pharma linked psychiatric care and the even bigger financial profit motive involved with Eugenics on Nature (GMO), it is important to consider that fact when considering arguments from Free Will Skepticists. Are their intentions honest or are there financial motives at play?