Re: Dennett & free will

From: Dace (
Date: Mon 17 Mar 2003 - 02:28:11 GMT

  • Next message: Dace: "Re: emperors old clothes"

    > From: "Scott Chase" <>
    > As for Dennett's new book _Freedom Evolves_, I've just started it and I'll
    > need to finish it befor I decide how I feel about his arguments. To begin
    > with, I've got no aversions to the notion that volition might emerged as
    > evolved trait in a large brained species capable of language, thought, and
    > reasoning. Perhaps volition is an autapomorphy unique to our species. If
    > Dennett's talking free will, I'm all ears and interested in what he's got
    > say.

    By all means. I hope you're not too unsettled by his layer upon layer of disgression ("richly detailed narrative," as described on the dust jacket).

    Dennett is saying we can still consider ourselves "free" if we just define the term so that it still somehow means something even if every event in the universe is pre-determined. We're free in the sense that a computer is free if it can proceed through a given task along various, alternative routes. It's the freedom of a machine that's unusually powerful and adaptive. A slave, for instance, could be regarded as an unusually adaptive and flexible machine. In other words, the kind of freedom he's promoting is what used to be called slavery. Though enslaved to the chemicals in our brains, we're
    "free" in the sense that the brains we're bonded to are wonders of (blind and mechanical) evolution.


    > Hopefully he's not dropping as much of the universal acid and there's a
    > minimum of flashbacks in this new book ;-)

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon 17 Mar 2003 - 02:33:21 GMT