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ClayShirky on the problems with using it as a political / economic axiom.

Quora Answer : Marxism: If free will is just an illusion why bother with a bloody revolution?

Jan 6, 2016

That's a much debated question.

I think most Marxists just decided that "historical inevitability" should be interpreted with a pinch of salt, and that a common-sensical version where history still needs human agents, made more sense.

Obviously, it's not just Marxists, though. EVERYONE has this problem. Because physics gives us a more or less deterministic model of the universe (apart from the weird quantumness, but very few people are willing to equate quantum randomness with rational but free agency). So philosophers, during the 20th century, have come up with various compatibilist theories to explain how "free-will" can coexist with a physical world that follows laws.

Marxists can probably pick one of these off the shelf and adapt it to demonstrate compatibilism between human agency and some kind of dialectical historical laws.

Quora Answer : Do you believe in free will or do you believe in determinism, and do we make our own path or is it just fate that determines our lives?

Mar 24, 2018

I believe in not thinking too hard about it.

Basically science is defined one way. And our intuitions about free-will are incompatible with it.

I prefer to think that the definition of science is a little bit inadequate, than to think freedom is an illusion. But I can't explain exactly how science should be reconfigured to fit that in.

So I'll leave it to someone cleverer than me.