Discussion of free will seems increasingly prevalent in mainstream media, particularly Youtube and in reputable periodicals such as the Atlantic, the Conversation and the Guardian (to name a few).
Regardless of the 'truth' of Free Will, encountering ideas surrounding determinism and inagency can be difficult to absorb, and in some cases can lead to short-term and potentially long-term serious psychological and interpersonal harm.
As one example, Philosopher Galen Strawson (who denies Free Will) reported to the Guardian that he had been one recipient of a group email which read:
“Last year you all played a part in destroying my life. I lost everything because of you – my son, my partner, my job, my home, my mental health. All because of you, you told me I had no control, how I was not responsible for anything I do, how my beautiful six-year-old son was not responsible for what he did … Goodbye, and good luck with the rest of your cancerous, evil, pathetic existence”.
The author of the email may have had underlying mental health issues, and whilst such a reaction might be rare, it is clear that the existentialist themes intrinsic to discussion of free will may be psychologically disruptive and/or harmful.
Which philosophical ideas/questions might successfully be employed to help those who find themselves ill-equipped to navigate the psychological pitfalls such as nihilism and moral ambiguity which can accompany investigation of free will?