| 08-03-2009 14:51Freedom Evolves
Dennett explores how varieties of 'free will' that are worth wanting might be produced by evolutionary processes, both genetic and memetic. Thereby, making clear that determinism is the friend, not the enemy, of people that would like to have free will. It is at the heart of his work since many parts have been adapted from his other books and papers. What I found very interesting is that Dennett separates an absolutist view of free will - that makes it unattainable and something that can not be inquired - from a more realistic view of free will. The absolutist (or essentialist) needs myths - and will never actually have the kind of free will he claims is the only possible kind - whereas a realist (or gradualist) can actually study the kind of free will there is and at the same time have it. Different from Dennett I believe free will can only exist in a (mostly) deterministic world, since if there are no (or few) laws of nature, then all foreknowledge is useless and there will not be any reason to have free will, since there will not be anything to avoid or desire. Without determinism there is no reason to make choices. Another view of Dennett is that one only truly has free will if the choices one makes matter, or, as Spiderman's uncle Ben said: "With great power comes great responsibility."