Both are naturalists (JD p.171) who see no supernatural interference in the workings of the world. That leaves both men accepting general determinism in the universe (JD p.33), which simply means all events and behaviours have prior causes. Therefore, the libertarian version of free will is out. Any hope that humans can generate an uncaused action is deemed a “non-starter” by Gregg (JD p.41) and “panicky metaphysics” by Dan (JD p.53). Nonetheless, both agree that “determinism does not prevent you from making choices” (JD p.36), and some of those choices are hotly debated because of “the importance of morality” (JD p.104). Laws are written to define which choices are criminal offenses. But both acknowledge that “criminal behaviour is often the result of social determinants” (JD p.110) and “among human beings, many are extremely unlucky in their initial circumstances, to say nothing of the plights that befall them later in life” (JD p.111). Therefore “our current system of punishment is obscenely cruel and unjust” (JD p.113), and both share “concern for social justice and attention to the well-being of criminals” (JD p.131).Their hair-splitting philosophical differences are not that interesting. What interests me is how they could both have such a screwed-up view of life, and still think that they are on opposite sides of a big issue.
Caruso says we have no free will. Dennett says that we think that we do, and it is useful to maintain the illusion, but it is not real.
Without free will, there ia no consciousness. Our systems of law, ethics, morality, and politics depend on free will. Christianity is based on it. So is the scientific method. It is hard to imagine how modern civilization could even exist without free will.
These philosophers discard it all based on a belief that all events have prior causes.
When a uranium nucleus decays, is it determined by prior causes? Our best scientists cannot answer this question. But somehow these philosophers can get the answer by playing silly word games? No, it is all nonsense.