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Coyne on Free Will and Incompatibilism

I’ll make some comments on some of Jerry Coyne’s thoughts on free will and incompatibilism. Some of the issues I raise here will be taken up in my next series (which won’t be nearly as long as the previous one on God and blame!). I haven’t read any responses to Coyne, other than some stuff by Eddy Nahmias, so forgive me if these points have been made elsewhere (which they probably have).

Coyne writes, “I construe free will the way I think most people do: At the moment when you have to decide among alternatives, you have free will if you could have chosen otherwise.” Notice the bolded word, ‘if’. Coyne is giving us a sufficient condition for having free will, that is, if one meets this condition, then one has free will. But surely Coyne can’t be right. For example, (more…)