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Freedom Evolves Paperback – January 27, 2004
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Freedom Evolves is a 2003 popular science and philosophy book by Daniel C. Dennett. Dennett describes the book as an installment of a life-long philosophical project, earlier parts of which were The Intentional Stance, Consciousness Explained and Elbow Room. It attempts to give an account of free will and moral responsibility which is complementary to Dennett's other views on consciousness and personhood.
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Dennett shows that determinism does not imply inevitability. As if that isn't enough to struggle with, he then goes on to show that indeterminism doesn't give us free will as most people argue it does. And then, to add insult to injury, Dennett shows clearly how there are real options in a deterministic world. Free will becomes "real, but it is not a preexisting feature of our existence, like the law of gravity. It is also not what tradition declares it to be: a God-like power to exempt oneself from the causal fabric of the physical world. It is an evolved creation of human activity and beliefs, and it is just as real as such other human creations as music and money. And even more valuable."
Since I speak and lecture on Ethics as a Process, I was most interested in Dennett's view on ethics. He gave me much to think about as he states that: "I have not sought to replace the voluminous work in ethics with some Darwinian alternative, but rather to place that work on the foundation it deserves: a realistic, naturalistic, potentially unified vision of our place in nature."
No doubt I will have to return to this book again soon. And there is also no doubt that I will enjoy it even more the next time around and learn perhaps as much as my first time through. This is definitely a five out of five on my review scale!
Thus when she looks back in time and does NOT (or don't want) notice the difference between actual and imaginable situations she thinks/believes that there had been multiple choices and that it had been her FREE WILL to choose the one that did realize actually; and she rejoices or blames herself.
As circumstances in her (and all mankind) life are full with subtle nuances she (and others) take for granted (or pretend to think) that the nuances do not matter and that she really IS a Free Will "boss" of her life and must take a full responsibility of her actions (which incidentally is important as it WILL have a deterministic effect on future events).
Read an excellent review by Royce E. Buehler below and buy this book at a good discount.
Very highly recommended.
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His conclusion: Even in a deterministic universe, free will exists, if consciousness is understood correctly.Read more