Tag freedom evolves

Dennett, Harris and Free Will

Daniel Dennett has finally responded (it has been long-awaited) to Sam Harris’s short treatise Free Will. The review can be found at the Center for Naturalism, here. I am going to look at what Dennett says, and what Harris’s idea of free will is compared to Dennett. Essentially, whilst there is lots to like about what Dennett says, there is also much I disagree with.

Free Will: “We are influenced, but not determined” – the 80-20% approach as nonsense

One of the most common defences of Libertarian Free Will (or contra-causal free will) is what I sometimes term the 80-20% approach. Most people, to some degree or another, accept that our lives are at least somewhat, and in most cases, a good deal influenced. This may be by genetic, biological or environmental factors. But it is hard to deny that, at the point of making a decision, we aren’t having our decision influenced by external or internal motivators. This is expressed often as a claim like ”Well, we are influenced quite a bit, but we still have some degree of free will” or “I think we are 80% determined, but 20% of our decision-making is freely willed”.