So, you have a problem to solve, and several proposed solutions.
Well, you have a problem you think you have.
Free will and determinism
The nature of free will has enthralled philosophers for millennia. Over that time they’ve proposed many different explanatory models for it. Some such models are compatible with the possibility that the world is deterministic, while others are not.
The question of whether or not the world is deterministic is properly one of science, not philosophy. It’s also a question science hasn’t quite been able to answer yet.
So, given that we don’t know, it behooves philosophers to try to flesh out those theories of free will that could work within either deterministic or indeterministc universes. After all, a theory which requires indeterminism from the universe doesn’t get us very far if it turns out the universe is deterministic.
So we can intelligently talk about the varieties of free will worth wanting
This is the direction Daniel Dennett goes down in his books Elbow Room and Freedom Evolves. As summarized on Wikipedia:
Dennett’s stance on free will is compatibilism with an evolutionary twist — the view that, although in the strict physical sense our actions [may be] pre-determined, we can still be free in all the ways that matter, because of the abilities we evolved. Free will, seen this way, is about freedom to make decisions without duress, as opposed to an impossible and unnecessary freedom from causality itself.
Dennett’s approach illustrates the proper relationship between philosophy and science. On the one hand, philosophy as a discipline is charged with doing as little as possible necessary to lay the groundwork for (and then get out of the way of) the empirical sciences. On the other hand, philosophy must embrace the methods and discoveries of science as input. As Stephen Stich so beautifully put it (via Will Wilkinson, emphasis mine):
The idea that philosophy could be kept apart from the sciences would have been dismissed out of hand by most of the great philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. But many contemporary philosophers believe they can practice their craft without knowing what is going on in the natural and social sciences. If facts are needed, they rely on their “intuition”, or they simply invent them. The results of philosophy done in this way are typically sterile and often silly. There are no proprietary philosophical questions that are worth answering, nor is there any productive philosophical method that does not engage the sciences. But there are lots of deeply important (and fascinating and frustrating) questions about minds, morals, language, culture and more. To make progress on them we need to use anything that science can tell us, and any method that works.
Engineering and technology
Technology, especially Web technology, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The Web is a robust ecosystem of tools, content, protocols, and the like. A mesh of agreements, as Tim Bray would call it.