You might want to hear the idea from a Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University, Alfred Mele over at bigthink:
Alfred Mele: Yes. Yes they do. But it turns out that not everybody understands the expression “free will” in the same way. And there are lots of different ways of understanding it. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to just say, “Yes, this is true that isn’t.” One thing philosopher’s spend a lot of time doing is trying to sort out the possible meanings of an expression like “free will,” and the history on the literature on free will is a couple of thousand years old.
So regardless of weather we have free will or not, we are happy or unhappy. I prefer to be happy, I don't know about whether the possession or lack of free will changes your position on the desirability of experiencing pleasure of pain, but I maintain that I prefer happiness to pain.
If a criminal is a criminal because of his genetic make up and the things he goes through experientialy, and our current system of justice seeks to punish said criminal for something that the criminal could not avoid (the punishment in no way seeks to in anyway reform the individual, just case him pain in repayment for the pain he has caused to society), it would seem that society realizing that the criminal acts through no fault of his own could have profound implications on the pleasure/pain distribution that the individual and society experiences. Knowledge of the lack of free will would promote a harm reduction rehabilitation frame work for criminal justice, increasing the chance that individuals would become less harmful and perhaps better, happier citizens.
I'm sure if I were more cleaver I would be able to see many ways that this realization if grasped (by no merit or fault of individuals own, but purely on a predetermined basis) by a great number of people would be trasformative to individuals experienced of pleasure and pain. Actually I can see ways that this realization effects my interaction with my world, in many ways it's an extension of how I already view the world, but I'm sure that I am not applying it as widely as it could be, and while not fully embracing it, it's at least an interesting frame work to look at the world.
I deny your assertion that it has no implications, understanding it even as a conceptual framework creates a more compassionate society, even if that understanding is predetermined. Even if we don't have free will, pain is undesirable. A few of people might off themselves if they believe that they can't really effect their destiny, but I suspect many more people will just tumble along feeling pleasure.
- I am certainly grateful that you have rehashed high school philosophy for me.
I'm actually pretty well read on the subject, and I happen to have a much more simplistic view than many people. Its not a complicated idea, and its been written about since the dawn of thought. It may be boring, but its logically unassailable. Will and choice are inseparable. Lack of will implies a necessarily nihilistic world view, and I reject that on principle. Apologies if this doesn't meet your obvious standard of excellence in philosophic thought.
- If there is no free will, then its absence has no implications, by necessity.
I find with very conventionally attractive people, more often than not there seems to be a loss of attractiveness over time.
I really do believe that it is better being somewhat above average in comeliness rather than much above average. If you are a knockout, nobody can get their head around it, and it clouds every interaction you make.
That is, to ask if humans have 'free will', is to assume that 'free will' is something that is meaningful, can be understood, and can be determined.
The question is rarely "do we have something that looks like our definition of free will", but whether or not we possess it in some absolute sense. I reject the notion that any characteristic, human or otherwise, can be determined in an absolute sense (there is no example of it), and therefore, I don't see that the question can be answered, -if it is an absolute answer we are looking for. It's like asking whether or not birds can be happy. The discussion might be worth having, but no answer will be satisfactory and final.