Horgan's Big View
I just got to this diavlog on my ipod, probably too late to join into the conversation. Still, I was struck by the free will discussion and where I think John was right and Bob was missing the point.
There are two options: free will exists or it doesn't exist. If (a), move along, condemn the discussion to the dustbin with that a priori business. However, if (b), then things get into a pretty complex thicket of possibilities. It seems pretty obvious that the perception of free will is neither a proof for or against it. So the question floats out there as a hypothetical: if it exists, how can we create a proof?
Horgan, to his credit, wants to keep the discussion alive. He posits that we should err on the side of belief because only then will we continue to run the experiments sufficient to find a proof. Bob seems to want to throw up his hands and say, "well, the complexity and subtlety of the myriad causes and effects--natural and circumstantial--that create each moment make it impossible to ever truly know. He compares Horgan's view to the proofs that led to the a priori rational (essentially a tautology).
But I don't think Horgan's trying to argue that there IS free will. He's warning against the "fatalism" of ever proving it. In fact, his view is the agnostic view, and Bob--though I don't think he was making the argument or believes it--was in danger of taking the deterministic view, that there is no free will. That would dictate the inquiry much more than Horgan's agnosticism.