"Trading in a supernatural soul for a natural soul-is this a fair bargain?" Dennett, seeking to fend off "caricatures of Darwinian thinking" that plague his philosophical camp, argues in this incendiary, brilliant, even dangerous book that it is. Picking up where he left off in Darwin's Dangerous Idea (a Pulitzer and National Book Award finalist), he zeroes in on free will, a sticking point to the opposing camp. Dennett calls his perspective "naturalism," a synthesis of philosophy and the natural sciences; his critics have called it determinism, reductionism, bioprophecy, Lamarckianism. Drawing on evolutionary biology, neuroscience, economic game theory, philosophy and Richard Dawkins's meme, the author argues that there is indeed such a thing as free will, but it "is not a preexisting feature of our existence, like the law of gravity." Dennett seeks to counter scientific caricature with precision, empiricism and philosophical outcomes derived from rigorous logic. This book comprises a kind of toolbox of intellectual exercises favoring cultural evolution, the idea that culture, morality and freedom are as much a result of evolution by natural selection as our physical and genetic attributes. Yet genetic determinism, he argues, does not imply inevitability, as his critics may claim, nor does it cancel out the soul. Rather, he says, it bolsters the ideals of morality and choice, and illustrates why those ideals must be nurtured and guarded. Dennett clearly relishes pushing other scientists' buttons. Though natural selection itself is still a subject of controversy, the author, director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts, most certainly is in the vanguard of the philosophy of science.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The man who advanced our understanding of consciousness and evolution in books like Darwin's Dangerous Idea now addresses the issue of freedom.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The existence in many species of the ability to solve a wide range of problems, and to take action on the basis of the solution, is evidence that this ability is conducive to... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Never shy, Dennett takes on the question of of free will.
His conclusion: Even in a deterministic universe, free will exists, if consciousness is understood correctly. Read more
Sorry I can't review this book but I never read it. Bought as a Christmas gift and haven't heard how the recipient liked it.Published 19 months ago by muffin lover
I was looking forward to reading this book after the excellent Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Was I ever disappointed! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Phil
This is a more accessible book for non-specialists than most of Dennett's writings. Without a belief in god and knowing that there is no soul, Dennett helps us to understand that... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Gregory George Gibbs
To those who are short on time (and money) here are the 309 pages: In each CONCRETE situation/moment determinism DEFINES an ONLY ONE POSSIBLE outcome (human action, thought,... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Weight Watcher
"Free Will" evolves. If he wasn't using the phrase "free will" I would mostly agree with what he's arguing for. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Kevin