Landsburg finds the fact that there are such phenomena as "extrasensory perception" (ESP) and free will self-evident. As examples of the former he gives the "perception that the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is somewhere between 3.1415 and 3.1416" and like mathematical truths (70). Now he uses this term non-standardly. Merriam-Webster defines ESP as "perception (as in telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition) that involves awareness of information about events external to the self not gained through the senses and not deducible from previous experience." What Landsburg has in mind is not ESP but the human ability to come to know things by reflection as opposed to sensation. We can call it introspection, contemplation of a priori truths, understanding, or self-knowledge. One sees things not with his physical eyes but with the "mind's eye." There is nothing new in Landsburg's appreciation of this capacity.
Yet it has nothing to do with the "6th-sense" perception of real-world "events external to the self." Mathematical propositions are neither "events" nor are "external" to the thinker, being rather aspects of the logical structure of the mind itself.
Similarly, the human appetite is divided into sensual and intellectual. Before understanding "freedom" of the will, it is necessary to define the "will" itself. And that's the intellectual appetite, the thing that feels emotions, generally "spiritual" joy and sorrow as distinct from sensual delight and pain. The difference is two-fold.
First, the latter comes through the five senses of the body: touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. The former comes about through the exercise of the intellect or mind.
Second, there is a phenomenological difference in the kind and quality of experience of these two kinds of pleasures. The experience of eating a candy bar and enjoying its sweetness is different from the experience of being honored or solving a difficult problem. For no one really rejoices from eating a candy; on the other hand, though one's soul is elated at being honored by a community or one's peers, the senses are silent.
Again, let Smith resolve to follow a diet. Yet on one occasion he overeats. Here Smith's delight produced by the sense of taste co-exists with intellectual sorrow of realizing that he has sabotaged his own project. Smith is upset even though he genuinely enjoyed the food.
Calculation of profits and losses can occur despite the fact that there are in man two appetites. For sensual pleasures are fed into the will which then tallies up the pleasures and pains, whatever their source. Mises agrees:
Acting man also rationalizes the satisfaction of his sexual appetites. Their satisfaction is the outcome of a weighing of pros and cons. Man does not blindly submit to a sexual stimulation like a bull; he refrains from copulation if he deems the costs -- the anticipated disadvantages -- too high. (HA, 668)
This distinction sheds light on the virtue of temperance as a kind of liaison, a middleman arbitrating between the delights of the senses and joys of the will. It moderates animalistic sensual pleasures, so as to not cause any harm to conscious purposive plans of the will -- plans that may include abstaining from a given pleasure entirely.
Of the vices opposed to temperance, two are of note, both occurring when it is not the senses that are controlled by the will but the reverse: the will is a slave to the senses. The will can be such a slave involuntarily or voluntarily.
In the first case, a man constantly gives in to passions which ultimately harm him either in happiness or holiness, yet always regrets this giving in. This vice is called "incontinence." The man is always tempted with pleasures or avoidance of pain and "cannot help himself." Though he understands that he is so impulsive and easily dominated by lust or rage and resolves to moderate his passions again and again, he often fails. He knows overeating is bad for health but cannot resist delicious food. Etc.
In the second case, the man has deliberately chosen to pursue only sensual pleasures. He decided to order his life in such a way that he does not care for work or achievement or other people or wisdom but has lowered himself to the rank of animals, purposely seeking nothing but sensual gratifications: food, alcohol, drugs, sex, games, the pleasures of anger and vengeance, and so on. This vice is called "intemperance" and is much worse than incontinence, because the will has consented to being degraded like this.
A third vice has the name of "insensitivity," wherein the senses are so weak that it is not worth for the will to govern them. An insensitive man does not even attend to the necessities of life like food and sleep and so forth; he is like an inanimate object, passionless, not caring for pleasures. He is not interested in sex. He never gets angry, even when anger is perfectly justified, e.g., if he has been cheated. This is also inhuman and bad.
Free-will, in contrast with the will, is the power of choice. If one desires x, then that which desires is the will; but that which chooses (the pursuit of) x, while setting aside y and z, is the free will. But both will and free will are the same faculty.
Free-will adds two differentiae to the will: first, the fact that not all desires can be satisfied, and therefore, desires have to be ranked according to urgency or subjective importance; second, the fact that no single state of the trinity within -- i.e., ends chosen, knowledge of how to attain those ends, and the powers to make one's dreams come true -- is essential to man. Any material entity, if it stopped obeying its own natural laws, would cease to be what it was. It would instantly corrupt, and some new substance would be generated. It is true that the will seeks happiness by necessity, but a man is able to pursue happiness in a wide variety of ways: no particular manner of this pursuit is essential to him. A man can switch from pursuing x to pursuing y and remain a man, what he is.
(As a consequence, God in Himself, sans creation, has a will -- in fact, each person of the Trinity has His own unique will, but not really free will, because God, being perfectly happy, is under no necessity to make choices between various satisfactions.)
All the human emotions experienced by the will, too, are ideal, except as already noted, they are not objective like proposition-expressing thoughts but subjective.
With these considerations out of the way, let's examine Landsburg's attempt to reconcile "ESP" and free will (i.e., reflection and a priori deduction for the intellect and feelings and a priori synthesis for the will) with his materialism. He sets up the problems as follows: "Physics, at least at the level of neurons, is essentially deterministic: If you know the state of a system on Monday, and have sufficient computational power, you can predict with certainty the state of the system on the following Friday. Human beings are physical objects. Ergo, ... Where, then is there room for free will?" (68)
Unfortunately, there is very little substance here. Just as before, Landsburg blithely resorts to the deus ex machina of "complexity." Thus, he writes:
What caused Hurricane Katrina?
Water vapor rising from the ocean's surface condensed to form clouds, releasing heat and causing an area of low pressure, sucking in air and creating winds that caused still further evaporation and fed the cycle. ... [It's] just a shorthand term for an indescribably complex process involving trillions of air and water molecules. ... But that doesn't mean evaporation isn't real.
He issues a similar explanation for freely chosen human actions:
What caused your decision to get drunk and watch Mystery Science Theater the night before your philosophy final?
Free will. ... [This, too, is] just a shorthand term for an indescribably complex process involving trillions of neurons, which in turn can be described in terms of quadrillions of atoms and quintillions of subatomic particles. So what? You still have free will, and you know it. (69)
We both agree there is free will. We even agree that determinism is true. But Landsburg does not, as I do, ultimately distinguish between physical causation proper to merely material objects and teleological causation proper to human beings. The former is roughly illustrated by one billiard ball hitting another; the latter, by the situation in which a person's future expected utility causes him to act for the sake of achieving his goal.
Note one crucial difference between these. In physical causation, the cause is before the effect: the first ball is in motion before it moves the second ball; in teleological causation, it is after the effect, as one's projected pleasure in the future motivates one to spring into action in the here and now. Landsburg reduces teleology to physics implausibly on its face and without doing any work of supplying the alleged missing mechanism that causes the physical "process involving trillions of neurons" to give rise to a human action. Apparently, he expects me to treat his "complexity" as a sort of god and simply agree with him on pure faith. But I already have my own faith; I don't need this one.
Again, as a materialist and unlike a dualist, Landsburg is required, as already shown, to put forward a well-grounded and testable theory of how his reduction works. For Hurricane Katrina, he does. For one's decision to get drunk, he conspicuously does not. Therefore, his analogy from the hurricane to free will is inadequate and fails.