I’ve never been deeply interested in discovering some knock-down argument for the question of determinism, hard or soft or what have you. It seems a given that we are thrown into existence equipped with certain capacities, which are, to a degree, non-negotiable; and our choices, going forward, will always be curtailed both by the limits of those capacities as well as the inevitability of outside interference, whether it be from environments or other actors—who are, of course, similarly limited by their own subjectivities.
While this seems to me to be almost boringly obvious, it’s at the same time difficult for me to square away the reality of human freedom. Yes, we’re pre-equipped with a particular physiology, rising out of protein codes and the processes of gestation, and on top of that are blown hither and yon by the previously mentioned exteriors; but it’s also boringly obvious that an essential element of our existence involves the ability to “mind” oneself, to abstract real decisions distinct from biology’s sundry impulsions and the effect of circumstance. While it may (or may not?) be technically possible to draw out a fully elaborated causal chain starting with the origins of the universe all the way down to my choice of sausage or pepperoni for last night’s pizza order, this still tells me nothing whatsoever about the role intentionality plays in this otherwise brute sequence of events. […]