Fil Albuquerque wrote:
Choices by definition imply that in any given X situation you could have done otherwise independently of the conditions you are presented with...
You would have to make a real effort to be more wrong, Fil. Relativity implies that both "potentiality" and "possibility" are not just ancient logical functions, but factors that must be considered by physicists. "Choices" represent, if anything, an agent's reaction to conditions that limits the field(s) of "possibility".
There's an "old school" straw-man version of "free-will" that allows determinists to describe it as a form of wish-fulfillment, but the fact of the matter is that, far from fulfilling wishes, the phenomenon that the concept of "free-will" describes can be represented as a learning curve performed by relatively "autonomous" individuals.
Fil Albuquerque wrote:
...decisions result and are constrained by hereditary, social, cultural, and situational factors on witch awareness operates as the passive outcome of the computing processes set in motion and not the other way around. No amount of conservative pseudo debating against the infallible logical conclusions on the implications of determinism can change its nature.
i agree with you in many ways: decision-making is a complicated process, involving heredity, social position, cultural values, and the situation entities find themselves in together. You devalue "awareness", or self-consciousness, as an "after-thought", but i think that it is not "just" an effect -- it, too, is a component of the process, although not a dominant one. i do think of decision-making, not as constrained, by the limits you describe, but as informed and enabled by them. (Of course, "choosing" does not occur in a vacuum.)
Determinism may be a "logical" position (from a certain POV), but, nonetheless, a determinist view-point is no more likely to yield predictable results than that of a free-will advocate. The fact of the matter is that the future is more complicated than either "free-will" or determinism can describe.
"Cause and effect" is a simple physical equation designed by scientists to facilitate laboratory experiments. And the "causal" systems, that science observes, do not represent, or and/do not describe, a domino effect, but do describe the inter-activity of the bodies involved in them. Within certain limits, self-regulation does occur within "causal systems", and thus "free-will" does have a certain basis in them.
Your objection that the debate about FW v. D represents, even if in FW's favor, a conservative agenda, only implies that the debate itself is not only value-laden, but conservative, by its very nature. However, which is more likely to be co-opted to support the status quo: choice, that represents change, or determinism, which stands for "the inevitable, innocuous future".