Well, the little tiny bit i think i understand of Kant here – and I probably don’t – is the equivalence of free will and moral law; that is, autonomy is acting in accordance with what is lawful for itself; so in this case, it is lawful for an organism to do what is normal for the organism to do; following its own traits. Initiating behavior based on their own internal states; lawful.
Dawkins might not. But it’s not an uncommon view among evolutionary biologists. Her’es another example:
“Morality has been passed on through the course of evolution because it helps us to live in large social groups by enhancing our ability to get along and interact with others.”
So morality is viewed as having come from evolutionary processes as a fitness function.
Thank you for the essay; it’s very possible that Heisenberg is committing the same error that you talk about in your essay:
Here’s where I got the fitness thing from in the paper I’m reading from Martin Heisenberg:
“The evolutionary perspective on behavior is so interesting, because it reminds us, that the outcome of behavior and thus also the behavior itself can be good and bad. Each creature is a separate experiment. In the evolutionary perspective the main quality of an organism is its fitness, its ability to transmit its genes to the next generations. For life to be good, the animal’s behavior has to be good. Behavior should contribute to the fitness of an animal. The organization of behavior is so demanding because its task is to optimize the outcome of behavior. To do the right thing, all life long.”
My summary of this: Free Will, the indirectness of the choosing brain.
(from “Mind from Matter?”, Martin Heisenberg, 2018)
“This gets me to the central topic of this essay: If the mind has come as a result of Darwinian evolution, it must have served the animal’s fitness. I would like to propose that the mind represents an indirect mode of behavioral organization, a level somewhat removed from the direct process of activating a behavior. With its mental abilities the animal prepares for potential future tasks of behavioral organization. Minds came into play, because the manifold of potential interactions between a mobile organism and the outside world is gigantic and because the comparative evaluation of behavioral options according to their future outcome is so involved.
To say it again, I consider mentality an indirect mode of behavioral organization. What do I mean by ‘indirect mode’? Imagine a publishing company. One might say the core business of the company is to print and sell books. Period. In reality, however, most of the activities of the company serve this task only indirectly. The lectors have to read the manuscripts and decide whether to publish them. The publisher invites the authors to discuss potential future book projects, he analyzes the various branches of the market, advertises forthcoming books, organizes reading tours for the authors, keeps contact with bookstores, libraries and consumers, designs a new logo for the company, acquires new production methods, etc, etc.. The core task, printing books and selling them is but a minor part of what is going on in the company.
In the same vein, the organization of behavior is served indirectly in many ways. Organisms have to interact with the outside world to survive and to generate offspring. A behavior is generated because of its effects. The effects will show in the future. The future is difficult to predict. The animal has to learn what the effects of its behaviors are under different circumstances. It has goals,
it tries out, it tries to understand perceptual phenomena, it learns about the space around it, other organisms, conspecifics, dangers, opportunities, in short: the world. Much of what brains do for behavior is mental. Thinking, feeling, learning, understanding improve behavior in one way or another, may-be not always, not right in the next round of action selection but more often than not.”
–Martin Heisenberg, 2018
so, world’s complicated and don’t always do what’s best for our own fitness or for society’s fitness either because we can’t predict the future so we don’t always know the right choices to make but we try
It’s free will because the brain is an initiator and it initiates whether or not it has external stimulus as input
Ok, I’ll come from another angle:
Martin Heisenberg studied fruit flies and his writings are about fruit flies, then speculating upwards to humans, which is not unreasonable for him.
In 2007, a paper was published talking about fruit flies and free will.
His first paper on Free Will was written in 2009; he wrote several more since then, even though he didn’t do the initial free will/fruit fly study.