Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting (MIT Press) [Daniel C. Dennett] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A landmark book . Daniel Dennett is one of the most fascinating philosophers currently living. Although he pursued a traditional (but nonetheless exceptional). Daniel C. Dennett – – Philosophy 61 () Elbow Room: The DENNETT, DANIEL, C. Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting.

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Daniel C. Dennett

This insect follows a series of genetically programmed steps in preparing for egg laying. This was an early book of his on the topic of consciousness and free will, and his later books are much better.

Dennett – – Philosophical Quarterly 36 Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. Despite my bitterness over the older, wiser, more publicized man beating me to the punch, it room a wonderful book full of ideas that will challenge the way you think about thinking and thought.

Dennett is a noted atheist, avid sailor, and advocate of the Brights movement. These concepts are set within an evolutionary context. And c a theory of free will that admits that we very much want free will of a kind that is not worth wanting simply because it is impossible fails as a compatibilist theory that aims to convert us to its own point of view; for it simply tells us that the free will or true desert-entailing responsibility we want is not compatible with determinism; being, indeed, impossible.

Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting

Dennett examines these perennial philosophical problems and disposes of many of the “bugbears” which plague the often fear-riddled investigations into these topics. Elbow Room may also be of interest to a wider audience; even if you are uninterested in or bored by the metaphysical “Problem of Free Will”, you may find Dennett’s ideas on such topics as rationality, selfhood and personal identity thought-provoking.


One of his more purely philosophical works, Dennett breaks down the question of Free Will into several components and addresses these in turn. Mar 13, Jeff rated it it was amazing. It seems to frequently deviate away from that idea into tangents that don’t really seem related but it actually seems like he was making a case for free will.

Jul 04, Joe Rowan rated it really liked it.

Elbow Room (book) – Wikipedia

Apr 24, William rated it really liked it. Dennett is a noted atheist, avid sailor, and advocate of the Brights move Daniel Clement Elhow III is a prominent philosopher whose research centers on philosophy of mind, science, and biology, particularly as they relate rennett evolutionary biology and cognitive science. How, he asks, can random resolutions of quantum-level events provide people with any control over their behavior?

You can see in this book the seeds of ideas that he will later present in “Consciousness Explained. Notice that to say this is apparently to say that although free will in the sense of true responsibility is not itself worth wanting, nevertheless our wanting it—and our believing we have it—is worth wanting.

Although he never states his personal view explicitly, Dennett could be classed a Compatibalist in the Free Will discussion. Many will find this immediately unacceptable though the question is in fact not an easy one.

How do we reconcile our feeling of free will with the idea that we might be mechanical components of a mechanical universe? The practive of keeping your head down AFTER hitting the ball still can have an effect how you behave before hitting it.


The type of free will that Dennett thinks we have is finally stated clearly in the last chapter of the book: The perfectly rational being is impossible, since “theoretically” dennnett is always optimal to deliberate upon deliberations upon deliberations There is eoom very great deal more of interest in Elbow Room.

The chapter “Could Have Done Otherwise” finally takes the lid completely off the metaphysical “can” of worms Dennett is fond of the occasional pun. 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.

It could be argued that this is because I find his ideas congenial, but in fact the causality is the other way around: It cannot be changed, as much as I would give anything to change some things.

Daniel C. Dennett, Elbow Room – PhilPapers

Dennett points out the fact that as long as people see themselves drnnett able to avoid futility, most people have seen enough of the free will issue. Click here to sign up. 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. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link.

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