Chris Peterson wrote:Doesn't work for me, because I don't know how we can identify "constraints", what "fate" is, or what it means to "act at one's own discretion". These all become circular when closely examined. In fact, we have very little idea of how we make decisions at all- the vast majority of actions we take are arrived at unconsciously, and the majority of decisions, both conscious and unconscious, that a person is observed to make are predictable by an outside party in advance.
"Constraints" means limitations or restrictions that would force one to make a certain choice. "Fate" we can toss out since I think nether of us believe in it. "Acting without the constraint of necessity" means one is not locked in or required to act in only one way when given a choice. A simple example is picking heads or tails when a coin is tossed. The one picking is unconstrained as to choice, totally free to pick ether way.
More circularity and vagueness. What does it mean to be forced to make a choice? How could you tell?
The fact that we don't completely understand how our brains work doesn't rule out freedom to choose.
I don't know, because I don't know what "freedom to choose" means.
Nor does predictability prove that we don't have free choice. Those who knew us well as kids could have accurately predicted that we would at some point study astronomy, but that didn't force us into this study.
How do you know you weren't "forced"?
In reality, I expect the question of "free will" as most people seem to understand it is meaningless.
If that were true then everything would be meaningless, a hopeless, dismal outlook indeed. I'll use your words right back, "Doesn't work for me."
Well, philosophy can be like that. I don't think it makes things meaningless at all if "free will" is meaningless, or if our actions are completely deterministic (which I don't think they are... just determined). Why do we care? What difference does it make, given that we feel
we have agency? The feeling is the only thing that matters. If we can't tell the difference between having or not having "free will", then the question is pointless.