Can there be freedom and free will in a deterministic world? Renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett emphatically answers “yes!” Using an array of provocative formulations, Dennett sets out to show how we alone among the animals have evolved minds that give us free will and morality. Weaving a richly detailed narrative, Dennett explains in a series of strikingly original
arguments—drawing upon evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, economics, and philosophy—that far from being an enemy of traditional explorations of freedom, morality, and meaning, the evolutionary perspective can be an indispensable ally. In Freedom Evolves, Dennett seeks to place ethics on the foundation it deserves: a realistic, naturalistic, potentially unified vision of our place in nature.
“Dennett has taken on really big issues, made them clear, dealt with them seriously and given us much on which to reflect. . . . Crisp and critically insightful.” —The Washington Post Book World
“One of the most original thinkers of our time.” —Science
“Dennett stands as the sharpest, cleverest, most stylish prober of how issues of human consciousness interconnect today with evolutionary theory.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A serious book with a brilliant message.” —Matt Ridley, The Sunday Telegraph
Chapter 1: Natural Freedom
Learning What We Are
I Am Who I Am
The Air We Breathe
Dumbo’s Magic Feather and the Peril of Paulina
Chapter 2: A Tool For Thinking About Determinism
Some Useful Oversimplifications
From Physics to Design in Conway’s Life World
Can We Get The Deus ex Machina?
From Slow-motion Avoidance to Star Wars
The Birth of Evitability
Chapter 3: Thinking About Determinism
A Computer Chess Marathon
Events without Causes in a Deterministic Universe
Will the Future Be Like the Past?
Chapter 4: A Hearing For Libertarianism
The Appeal of Libertarianism
Where Should We Put the Much-needed Gap?
Kane’s Model of Indeterministic Decision-making
“If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything”
Beware of Prime Mammals
How Can It Be “Up to Me”?
Chapter 5: Where Does All The Design Come From?
The Prisoner’s Dilemma
E Pluribus Unum?
Digression: The Threat of Genetic Determinism
Degrees of Freedom and the Search for Truth
Chapter 6: The Evolution Of Open Minds
How Cultural Symbionts Turn Primates into Persons
The Diversity of Darwinian Explanations
Nice Tools, but You Still Have to Use Them
Chapter 7: The Evolution Of Moral Agency
Being Good in Order to Seem Good
Learning to Deal with Yourself
Our Costly Merit Badges
Chapter 8: Are You Out Of The Loop?
Drawing the Wrong Moral
Whenever the Spirit Moves You
A Mind-writer’s View
A Self of One’s Own
Chapter 9: Bootstrapping Ourselves Free
How We Captured Reasons and Made Them Our Own
Psychic Engineering and the Arms Race of Rationality
With a Little Help from My Friends
Autonomy, Brainwashing, and Education
Chapter 10: The Future Of Human Freedom
Holding the Line against Creeping Exculpation
“Thanks, I Needed That”
Are We Freer Than We Want to Be?
Human Freedom Is Fragile