Anyone who has wondered if free will is just an illusion or has asked 'could I have chosen otherwise?' after performing some rash deed will find this book an absorbing discussion of an endlessly fascinating subject. Daniel Dennett, whose previous boo Anyone who has wondered if free will is just an illusion or has asked 'could I have chosen otherwise?' after performing some rash deed will find this book an absorbing discussion of an endlessly fascinating subject. Daniel Dennett, whose previous books include Brainstorms and (with Douglas Hofstadter) The Mind's I, tackles the free will problem in a highly original and witty manner, drawing on the theories and concepts of several fields usually ignored by philosophers; not just physics and evolutionary biology, but engineering, automata theory, and artificial intelligence. In Elbow Room, Dennett shows how the classical formulations of the problem in philosophy depend on misuses of imagination, and he disentangles the philosophical problems of real interest from the "family of anxieties' they get enmeshed in - imaginary agents, bogeymen, and dire prospects that seem to threaten our freedom. Putting sociobiology in its rightful place, he concludes that we can have free will and science too. Elbow Room begins by showing how we can be "moved by reasons" without being exempt from physical causation. It goes on to analyze concepts of control and self-control-concepts often skimped by philosophers but which are central to the questions of free will and determinism. A chapter on "self-made selves" discusses the idea of self or agent to see how it can be kept from disappearing under the onslaught of science. Dennett then sees what can be made of the notion of acting under the idea of freedomdoes the elbow room we think we have really exist? What is an opportunity, and how can anything in our futures be "up to us"? He investigates the meaning of "can" and "could have done otherwise," and asks why we want free will in the first place. We are wise, Dennett notes, to want free will, but that in itself raises a host of questions about responsibility. In a final chapter, he takes up the problem of how anyone can ever be guilty, and what the rationale is for holding people responsible and even, on occasion, punishing them. Daniel C. Dennett is Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. Elbow Room is an expanded version of the John Locke Lectures which he gave at Oxford University in 1983. A Bradford Book. ...Continua Nascondi
We flip a coin to settle things that could often presumably be settled in a more rational, if laborious, process of consideration.
It is surely rational for us to do so. That is, it is (higher-order) rational of us to cede a bit of our (lower-oWe flip a coin to settle things that could often presumably be settled in a more rational, if laborious, process of consideration.
It is surely rational for us to do so. That is, it is (higher-order) rational of us to cede a bit of our (lower-order) rationality in the interests of efficient, speedy decision making. The "cost" is a slight risk of overlooking truly compelling and important reasons for one course of action over another. The "benefit" is avoiding the otherwise large risk of deliberation too long and missing the deadlines for meaningful action....Continua Nascondi
When explanations tell us the causes of our holding certain beliefs or doing certain actions, this greater self-knowledge sometimes leads us to (want to) change the way we are. Knowledge of the causes of our doing an act may lead us to not do it (any more), or no longer to want to do it, or to want not to want to do it. The knowledge may change our action or our desire—or at least our desire about desire. Psychoanalytic therapy is said to depend on the assumption that knowledge and understanding of the causes of certain desires or modes of behavior will lead to the alteration of these desires; the causes will lose their power. Let us say an act is in disequilibrium for a person if (a) he does (or wants to do) it, yet (b) if he knew the causes of his doing or wanting to do it, this knowledge would lead him not to do it, or not to want to (ot to want not to want to do it, or at least to a lessening of his want to do it—I shall not keep repeating these letter clauses). When condition a is satisfied nut b is not, the act is in equilibrium. An act in equilibrium withstands knowledge of its own causes. Strictly, we should say the act is in equilibrium not when b fails to hold but when the opposing subjunctive holds: if he knew the causes of his doing or wanting to do the act then he still would (want to) do it as much.