Re: Pitfalls of Social Evolutionism, Genuine and Spurious

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Thu, 19 May 1994 12:58:41 +1000


Surely in this day and age no one seriously thinks teleology has a
place in understanding anything? Except a few die-hard theists, maybe.


Whether determinism is true or not is something for the physicists to
decide, and almost completely irrelevant at the level of anthropology.
"Free will" is also unrelated to determinism in any sensible
definition thereof. (If you define free will as the ability to act
in violation of the laws of nature you have problems, of course.)

I would liike to challenge anyone who believes that determinism is
incompatible with free will (whether they think determinism is true
or not) to come up with a sensible definition of "free will".

Bob Graber:
> what useful place can the assumption of free will
> have in scientific work?

Obscure, metaphysical definitions of free will have no place anywhere.
But free will as a psychological concept seems to have its uses.

Danny Yee.

P.S. 'Evolution' does not imply determinism anymore than it implies
teleology, surely?