Re: Pluck and Culture Change

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.USYD.EDU.AU)
Fri, 26 Apr 1996 20:32:40 +1000

Bob Graber writes:
> I must say, the belief
> that an individual can make anything of herself/himself, or that a small
> group can make anything it wants of the wider culture, seems not only
> infantile, but also detrimental to social science: under these
> assumptions, the ultimate answer to every question lies right at hand:
> The lives of people, and the conditions of culture, are as they are
> because that is what people want! Belief in free will and the power of
> pluck, which may pose no threat to the science of, say, chemistry, thus
> becomes pernicious indeed for the science of anthropology. --Bob Graber

As a compatibilist I find this whole free will debate rather puzzling.
I see no contradiction between hard (physical) determinism (or various
kinds of social determinisms) and the existence of individual free
will. Free will lies in certain *kinds* of causal connectivity, not in
any kind of weird non-natural contra-causal supernaturalism.

Things can both a consequence of individual desires and actions *and* a
result of cultural and social "forces" acting on larger scales.

Danny Yee.