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PASTORAL COUNSEL FOR THE ANXIOUS NATURALIST: DANIEL DENNETT'S FREEDOM EVOLVES

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Abstract:

Daniel Dennett's Freedom Evolves is a rhetorically powerful but philosophically unconvincing attempt to show that a deterministic and ontologically reductionist, but epistemologically pluralist, outlook may peacefully coexist with a robust acceptance of human freedom and moral responsibility. The key to understanding the harmony rests in recognizing that freedom is not a metaphysical or physical condition but is instead a product of deeply embedded social practices. I argue that Dennett's project rests on an unargued and implausible deflationary stance toward basic metaphysics.
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Keywords: Humeanism; avoidability; causation; compatibilism; determinism; emergence; explanation; free will; naturalism; reductionism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Sycamore 115, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA , Email: toconnor@indiana.edu

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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