Monday, March 31, 2014

Philosophy Commons/Flickers of Freedom
Dennett Willing to Abandon the term "Free Will"?
...it sounds like Dennett is willing cede the concept of "fee will" to the libertarian/incompatibilist and instead focus on the question of whether or not "moral competence" is compatible with naturalism/determinism. This, I believe, is telling. Dennett's willingness to consider such a move (regardless of whether he's actually advocating it or just floating it as an idea he is open to), reveals an acknowledgement on his part that the concept of FW may be too loaded with anti-naturalist connotations that it may not be worth preserving for those naturalistically inclined philosophers and scientists. This is especially telling coming from Dennett, since no one has done more to try to naturalize the concept of FW than him!
From the first comment: "Dennett makes the same claim, more explicitly in his recent Harvey Preisler Memorial lecture". The video is below. He begins to speak. He begins to speak at 21 mins in.  The relevant discussion at 27 mins


most of my comment.
Dennett's description in the youtube video of the 'nefarious neurosurgeon' is just silly, at least as he uses it. Pointing out the primacy of self-interest, "everyone's greedy", reinforces greedy behavior, because measuring to the mean puts downward pressure on the mean. So teaching your kids to be something other than greedy raises it. It's simple reinforcement. That's the argument for economic theory only with explicit moral priors, since 'objectivity' dumbs us down. But Dennett goes for anti-behaviorism: "The environment is not an agent". And neither is an asteroid that hits a moon. Cause and effect and agency don't mix. Calculators are machines and conditioned response is a mechanical reflex. 'Anti-philosophical' scientists will always win this fight.
Of course if there's no free will even the choice to argue one way or the other is predetermined. Philosophers in the Anglo-American tradition need someone to have free will, even if it's only them arguing against it. And of course that need is determined, etc.

"What is consciousness?" again

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