From Steven Novella at The Ness:
For example, as I said above, even though I am highly aware of what neuroscience has to say about the illusion of free will and decision making, I also recognize that we have to live our life as if we have free will. We do make decisions, and those decisions have moral and ethical implications.
To give yet another example, is there meaning in life? From a purely abstract philosophical perspective, I would have to say no. There is no objective source of meaning. But from a practical point of view I say – humans have a need for meaning, and we can make our own meaning in life. Sure, it’s subjective, but so what? Everything depends on your perspective anyway.
From an objective perspective we are a fleeting grain of dust in a vast universe that does not recognize or care about our brief existence. But from a human perspective, in both time scale and space, we have a great deal of impact on the people around us and our little corner of the world. I choose to focus on the perspective that scales with my life, and not dwell on our ultimate insignificance.
In the same way, while I find the question of free will interesting, I focus on living a moral and ethical life as a free agent. More.
But if free will is an illusion so must the notion that he is living a moral and ethical life be. Mustn’t it?
Note: Reader Ken Francis sends a link to a 2009 vid in which John Searle discusses the concept. Francis comments, “If Naturalism is true, then Searle is right. But the problem is, such a situation results in him being nothing more than a machine made of meat, with noise-waves emanating from the vibration of mucous membrane across the larynx; a carbon android at the mercy of chemistry and environment. The real mystery is: why is a highly intelligent philosopher like Searle not aware of this?” Hewrites bvk to add that, in fairness to Searle, he did say n an unedited version of the vid that comptibilism is a “cop-out.”
See also: Michael Shermer: We can never solve mysteries like consciousness, free will, or God. He’s right but his subsequent analysis is shallow. There is a distinction between a mystery as a problem (that is, how exactly does something happen?) and a mystery as a fact beyond our grasp.
Neuroscientist debunks hype about no free will, etc.
GP, Mike Pence and Free Will
At Physics Central: How human beings can have free will as complex, purely physical systems
Do the defects of real numbers open the door to free will in physics?
How can we believe in naturalism if we have no choice?