mikenz66 wrote:No-one is saying that there is "free will" in the Cartesian or Upanishadic sense, they are saying that choices are made.
If there is no free will, then the choice is fully conditioned and is not due to free-will. Choice and what is chosen occurs, but it arises due to impersonal causes. It is like choice of a leaf being blown by the wind. Except that if one hears the Dhamma and has some wisdom, those conditions will help the process to eventually become liberated. No fatalism here. In fact it is very good that once certain conditions are met, one has no choice but to become Awakened.
mikenz66 wrote:Yes, but the actions that the agent make, even though conditioned, do affect the future.
Of course kamma produces kammavipāka. I've never denied this. Wholesome kamma leads to wholesome vipāka, unwholesome kamma leads to unwholesome vipāka.
As for Makkhali Gosala, if we read his views we see that no knowledgeble Buddhist would hold them. Neither I, nor Robert accept the view of Makkhali Gosala below.
'there is no cause, no requisite condition, for the defilement of beings. Beings are defiled without cause, without requisite condition. There is no cause, no requisite condition, for the purification of beings. Beings are purified without cause, without requisite condition.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The Makkhali's view above is not determinism. It is more of random chaos. According to the Buddha there are causes for defilement and purification of beings. "Beings are defiled without cause, without requisite condition....Beings are purified without cause, without requisite condition" - this is chaotic fatalism and terrible teaching of Makkhali. It is nothing that I was talking about and has nothing to do with cause-effect conditionality of the Buddha.