If science shows that people behave better when they believe they have free will AND that people do not have free will...That's from Ann Althouse. She uses this teaser to get us interested in this discussion at Blogging Heads.
... should that information be suppressed so that people will behave better?
It strikes me that this quote says a whole lot about just how confused our ideas of "free will" are.
For starters consider this, how could it be that our beliefs have an affect on our behaviour if we don't have free will?What all of this suggests to me is that free will has come to mean something rather mystical and even magical to people of a rationalist bent. The only kind of free will they are willing to consider is a sort of god-like power that would be without restraint. This is more of a child's fantasy of freedom than the real thing. (A child's fantasy that has very deep roots that can be traced back from Sartre through Kant and back to the Stoics.)
In the video at the link, the two participants start off by discussing self control and they say we do have some self control. How could we have any self control and not have free will?
Most obviously, let's suppose we didn't have free will, why then would we think it was worth discussing whether or not we can suppress the information that we don't?
Here's the comparison that struck me. Here in Ottawa we have a very ugly monument to human rights. One of the "rights" identified on it is "dignity". Every time I see it, I hear my mother's voice inside my head saying, "Dignity is not a human right but an achievement; a task that you can either succeed or fail at."
Free will is not something that we have but an achievement; a task that you can either succeed or fail at. (That is a grown up notion that can be traced back through my mother to Aquinas to Aristotle.)