Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting (MIT Press) [Daniel C. Dennett] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A landmark book . Dan Dennett’s Elbow Room is pretty good. It’s about free will, a perennial subject that’s intriguing for any person who’s ever stopped to wonder if the regularities. Daniel C. Dennett – – Philosophy 61 () Elbow Room: The DENNETT, DANIEL, C. Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting.
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What does it mean to have free will? Is free will incompatible with determinism? What does it mean to control oneself?
What does it mean to make a choice? Why do we want free will at all and what do we want when we want it? Dennett examines these perennial philosophical problems and disposes of many of the “bugbears” which plague the often fear-riddled investigations into these topics.
Dennett also develops answers, or at least the start of some answers, that embrace the possi. Dennett also develops answers, or at least the start of some answers, that embrace the possibility of determinism and evolution. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem?
Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting
Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Elbow Room by Daniel C. Anyone who has wondered if free will is just an illusion or has asked ‘could I have chosen otherwise? Daniel Dennett, whose previous books include “Brainstorms “and with Douglas Hofstadter “The Mind’s I, ” tackles the free will problem in a highly original an Anyone who has wondered if free will is just an illusion or has asked ‘could I have chosen otherwise?
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. 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.
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See 1 dennstt about Elbow Room…. Lists with This Book. Apr 12, Jimmy rated it really liked it Shelves: Determinism does not mean that our fate was determined before we were born.
review of Elbow Room by Dan Dennett | Galen Strawson –
But much of what happens to us in a lifetime is certainly influenced by that. Determinism is not fatalism. For someone to say, “It does not matter what I do, whatever is meant to happen will happen,” is quite absurd. And yet to say we have free will and that I can do whatever I want to do, is also absurd.
For me understanding determinism, I think of this instant of my life on a straight line. The straight line is my past Determinism does not mean that our fate was determined before we were born. The straight line is my past.
It cannot be changed, as much as I would give anything to change some things. I ache to change them. But they are frozen in time. It is the next instant in my life line that is determined by all that went before. Those instants pile up. Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
I am affected by environment, heredity, and chance. I “feel” like I have free will, just like everyone else. In fact, I understand that I am wrong, that in reality I have no free will. But I cannot shake that “feeling” that I am a free person.
Jan 03, Chris is currently dennetr it. Read it in college. He has a terrific beard. Jun 07, Rob, the Monk rated it liked it Shelves: Interesting read, but difficult: Dennett writes for the student of Philosophy.
Eminently accessible to a person willing to commit, but, as all philosophical writing, commitment it requires. He explores Free Will in terms of Determinism, that denndtt, the proposal that Free Will as we think of it, is an illusion and that human beings as rational agents are as subject to causation as dominoes. It’s an extremely uncomfortable idea for many people, and Dennett doesn’t spend a great deal of time acclimati Interesting read, but difficult: It’s an extremely uncomfortable idea for many people, and Dennett doesn’t spend a great deal of time acclimating one.
Best to get comfortable with the idea before Dennett sweeps you up in all the subsequent implications. Jan dwnnett, Keith Swenson rated it liked it. I am a big fan of Dan Dennett. Free will roo, a very difficult topic to explain and this is a very careful, thoughtful treatment of the subject.
I started to write a detailed summary of the book, but decided cut to the basics: This was an early book of his on the topic of consciousness and free will, and his later books are much better. You can see in this book the seeds of ideas that he will later present in “Consciousness Explained. The age old question of free will. Dennett approach the problem as a sculptor would a piece of granite. He wants to work all our the edges, get a very rough idea, before adding detail and ultimately polishing the theory.
He start with an entire chapter on why we don’t want to think about free will. It seems clear that the idea of free will is a very dear to us. We simply can’t be disinterested, there is some nagging feeling that makes us want to avoid the subject like a really bad smell. He outlines a set of bugbears: If we have not free will, then we might be in jail 2 Nefarious Neurosurgeon: There is an interesting part about body english — those movements that you do that can’t possibly have effect, but you do them anyway, as if superstitiously.
Launching the bowling ball and then dancing or wheeling as if to control the ball down the alley. However there is an alternative: The practive of keeping your head down AFTER hitting the ball still can have an effect how you behave before hitting it. He lists a number of intuition pumps: The compatiblist believe that we make all the choices that we want eoom make, and that those choices are determined by our history.
This argument leaves most traditionalists unsatisfied. I can decide what I want to do any moment.
Daniel C. Dennett, Elbow Room – PhilPapers
The most important part of this discussion is really exposing the “libertarian free will” as unrealistic illusive fantasy. You would never want to live a life where you could arbitrarily make any choice at any moment without regard to your needs and desires. You really don’t want to ride in a taxi where the driver had the free will to just drive off a cliff or into a wall at any moment.
We would never want the kind of free will that allow you to suddenly decide to put arsenic into the dinner you are making, or to arbitrarily decide to throw your child from a building. It turns out that free will means simply that your actions are guided by YOUR needs and desires, and they are NOT guided by someone else’s desired.
Free will is denied when you are locked up and prevented from eobow external reason to do what you desire. It really has nothing to do with determinism.
Thus, having your own actions determined by your own needs and desires is actually the kind of free will that you want. That is the point of this book.
I assure you, if you are not already acquainted with these ideas, you will on first reading reject them. As most people will reject the superficial description of the book. But further study is warranted, and Dennett has adequately organized this concept. However, as I said earlier, I would recommend his later, larger book: Consciousness Explained as it covers many of these same topics.