I’m going to be brief because I just typed up my post and lost it. Grrrr.
(1) I won’t be connecting up rationalizing causes, free will, and functional or goal-oriented systems. False advertising there, sorry.
(2) Rationalizing causes: what I said in response to Irfan’s last comment on part two. Specifically, because it seems like certain basic intentional actions do not involve prior goals and instrumental information, the “home” of free will might not be with rationalizing causes and processes. Perhaps such intentional actions are ready or suited for rationalizing (once goals and relevant instrumental information are present) but this speaks – I think – to something like the preconditions for rationalizing processes, not to rationalizing processes themselves.
(3) On my model, it might be that, in line with at least one fundamental element in our concept of free will, the agent is the difference-making cause of why she PHIs as against refraining from PHI-ing (or PSI-ing or.. etc.).
(4) Derek Bowman points out to me that my general causal model yields a view of free will that is distinct from at least one dominant “libertarian” view, according to which the agent somehow selects or determines which of more than one alternative possibility in action (or refraining-from-action) is realized. Arguably, this lands the libertarian back in the determined-or-random soup – and thus presses her into having endorse a-causalism or miracles. My view avoids this problem (and may or may not accurately be called ‘libertarian’). On my view, you get difference-making causes (in fundamentally non-determined processes) via conditions affecting probability distributions, not via some a-causal or magical selection procedure.
(5) According to our concept of free will (and according to how intentional action seems to us), we are the difference-making causes of our intentional actions. We also think of this in terms of our selves or minds selecting from alternatives – and this fits the standard libertarian model better than my model (according to which conditions, most plausibly physical conditions in our central nervous system, would affect probability distributions for relevant indeterminate processes, thereby yielding the agent as difference-making cause). Though we would need a detailed, objective analysis of the concepts of free will and intentional action to be sure, I think that, in affirming the agent as difference-making cause, my model would produce a revisionist – not an eliminativist – account of the concept (and reality) of free will (and intentional action). But perhaps our most “comfortable” conception of free will, once we think about it and square it with certain intuitive ideas of how causation works, is that of a special acausal or quasi-miraculous agential process (analogous to the common idea of consciousness as a fundamentally distinct soul or self).
(While I’m just asserting stuff about the concept of free will, by way of contrast, the compatibilists are wrong in thinking that their mock-up of free will satisfies enough central conditions of the concept to count as a revisionist explication rather than an elimination.)
(6) Entirely distinct line of reasoning: plausibly, genuine objective indeterminacy that at its most basic is random (there is a brute, initial probability distribution with no difference-making conditions) is necessary (or best) to explain either or both: (a) the physics of getting improbable or high-entropy states from probable or low-entropy states and (b) how nature, in the evolution of life on this planet, through replication, random variation and selection, “tuned” systems to achieving goals (in the range of selection-environments). My model, or something like it, might provide something like a most-abstract explanation of how these sorts of things happen.
Again, the core idea is that, starting with nomically or boundedly non-determined processes and their brute probability distributions, via conditions significantly changing these probability distributions, we get difference-making causes. Applied to free will, we get the possibility of agential difference-making causation (in an indeterminate process), something that is distinct from both brute randomness (there being no difference-making cause) and acausal/incoherent libertarian agential selection (and of course distinct from the deterministic “free will” of the incompatibilists).