Gregg CarusoGregg Caruso is a philosopher at SUNY Corning. He is a free will skeptic and a "hard-enough" determinist, who thinks human beings are not in control of their actions. He writes:
We all naturally take ourselves to be free agents capable of acting in alternative ways by consciously choosing and deciding to follow different courses of action. Indeed, belief in freedom of the will lies at the core of our self-conception and underlies many of our moral, legal, and theological attitudes. When we think of free will we usually think of a kind of personal power to originate choices and decisions and thus action. We believe we have free will when "(a) it is 'up to us' what we choose from an array of alternative possibilities and (b) the origin or source of our choices and actions is in us and not in anyone or anything else over which we have no control." (Kane 2002a, 5).He says that the threat to free will comes from the theory in classical physics that every event is the result of deterministic physical laws of nature.
Although there are different ways to state this threat, determinism, as it is commonly understood, is roughly the position that every event or action, including human action, is the inevitable result of preceding events and actions and the laws of nature.1 If determinism is true then every human action is causally necessitated by events and states of affairs that occurred or obtained prior to the agent's existence. But if every action is causally necessitated in this way it would seem no one could have ever acted otherwise.Caruso particularly objects to the idea of free will because it is used, especially in the courts, to support a "retributive" punishment as opposed to a "consequentialist" form, which uses "punishment" only it improves the future behaviors of the agent. Normal | Teacher | Scholar