Plastic: Stay On The Scene,
by phil on Tuesday May 6, 2003 1:55 PM
Dennet, determinism debate, free will debate
Plastic: Stay On The Scene, Like A Choice Machine ...[P]eople have this strange antipathy for evolution and for materialism. They think that if evolution is true, then they're just animals or automatons — that they won't have freedom and they won't have responsibility, and life will have no meaning. The point of the book is to show that, on the contrary, it's only when you understand life from an evolutionary point of view that you understand what our freedom really is. You realize that it's real. It's different and better than the freedom of other animals, but it's evolved. It's not supernatural.
Discussion on Dennett and his view that free will and determinism is compatible. FINALLY! The key difference is in the distinction between determinism and fatalism. Fatalism is like time is a four dimensional substance that has already been etched. Determinism is the notion that every cause has an effect. Dennett proposes that we're just machines, but "deciding machines" in that we pause, delay, think, and then choose. Of course internally it's just clockwork moving back and forth, and if one were to trace everything, they could figure out what our decision would be, (and probabilistically through quantum mechanics), but THAT itself IS our free will... the emergent behavior of deciding. Sure, it's pre-determined, but that doesn't mean we don't run our decision-making modules and algorithms.
Read it, he explains this distinction better than I do.