CHAPTER VIII
The Relation between Free-will and Determinism

WE ARE at last ready to apply the analysis and the results obtained in the preceding chapters to the eternally vexing question of 'free will'. What does the term mean, and, once defined, does it 'exist'? Now although we have been able to develop a definition of 'determinism' satisfactory to a modern operationalist, one for 'free will' is much more elusive. As the words stand they seem to suggest that there should be some identifiable 'will' about which freedom might or might not be attributed. A search for any such hypothetical entity would prove to be fruitless. This is in much the same way as: though we may speak of a 'school spirit', we do not actually expect to find one roaming the corridors of the school; when we say 'I don't know what possessed him', we (that is, at least most of us) no longer believe there is a real physical possession; nor when the psychoanalyst speaks of a mental censor, is he suggesting that there is a little man hidden inside the brain inspecting all ingoing and outgoing messages. Thus, just as in the last chapter we decided against consideration of a mind which was non-material and distinct from the physically observable brain (plus nervous system, etc.), similarly we will not concern ourself with a will which is assumed to be an entity in itself. Despite the apparent obviousness of this it has not always been realized, and it has been the source of much confusion in past and even in some contemporary discussions. (As an example of this, Eccles speaks of a 'will' acting upon the brain at the synaptic junctions.)

The coupling of the expression 'free-will' with that of 'determinism' in the title to this book indicates that we consider the two to be concepts of the same functional type. Now the work of the earlier chapters has shown that 'determinism' or 'cause' is not something which is to be directly sought for and identified in immediate perceptual experience itself. If present at all, it is to be found inside the pragmatic postulational structure of a world-picture, specifying the kinds of relations that we are permitting to hold among elements of our representation of experience. When a person affirms his belief in 'determinism' what he actually means is that his semiotic world picture is structured in such a way that it is theoretically possible to make such a set of physical observations

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