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 a friend of mine proposed re-reading Elbow Room for his book group. Daniel Dennett, whose previous books include “Brainstorms “and (with Douglas Hofstadter) “The Mind’s I, ” tackles the free will problem in a highly original an.

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Science Logic and Mathematics. It has the possible disadvantage of presenting a single point of view, rather than contrasting and weighing several as the Watson reader does.

Modern day physics-oriented philosophers have sometimes tried to answer the question of free will using the many-worlds interpretationaccording to which every time there is quantum indeterminacy cennett possibility occurs fennett new universes branch off.

Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. The final chapter looks at what Dennett considers the most important question — Why do we want free will anyway?

Dennett then invites all who are satisfied with this level of analysis to get on with living while he proceeds into the deeper hair-splitting aspects of the free will issue. Jan 03, Keith Swenson rated it liked it. Philosophers are weird, y’all. Essentially, the kind of “free will” where we “could have done otherwise” is only of esoteric metaphysical interest.

Daniel C. Dennett

For Dennett, the answer to this question is, no, not really. Maybe general audiences would like this book, maybe not. This one has the advantage of being engaging and easy to read. However, the same effect is attainted if, despite not believing in the control free will gives, we believe that does not prevent us to live as fully as our bodies allow us to and to try harder to achieve things if we think we have agency.

Although quite easy to follow, it is quite a dense work much ground is covered over its pages and he does not describe the historical debate about Free Will that is 2, years old – so I would recommend that any reader familiarise themselves with the historical appro This is an very good and somewhat unusual analysis of the question of Free Will.


It reaches a conclusion that I am in total agreement with, and it does so without “cheating” by avoiding any of the complex issues along the way.

I think it is no accident that Dennett is one of the most celebrated philosophers of our time, and this book makes clear why. Dennett discusses many elboww of free will What does it mean to control oneself? Written on human consciousness, this is a look at how it may have come about and what it may consist of. Do we have free will? I don’t believe that this is due to an error in his thoughts – just that the argument is incomplete.

Daniel C. Dennett, Elbow Room – PhilPapers

Retrospective desires to change the past, wanting to be able to make several incompatible choices at once, confusion about the difference between the actual and the denmett, the role of chaos in physics — these are just a few of the things considered. Is free will incompatible with determinism? Jan 03, Chris is currently reading it.

The title, Elbow Roomis a reference to the question: Now it is open for some genius of pessimism to discover for us some sort of contra-Darwinian patterns of motiveless malignancy which would permit us to reconceptualize rolm view of nature as a sort of Manichaean struggle between Mother Nature and the Evil One, but so far as I know, no such patterns have been seriously entertained.

This is Dennett’s earlier attempt to clarify philosophical thinking on the topic of free will.

This definition dodges a question that many people feel should not be dodged: This argument leaves most traditionalists unsatisfied. When we say that a person chooses among several possible behaviors is there really a choice or does it just seem like there is a choice?

If this connection between our brains’ efforts to model reality and predict the future and so make possible good outcomes is disconnected from our sense of self and our will, then fatalism and self-destructive behaviors are close at hand.


In Elbow Roomhe tries to explain why all the attempts that people have tried to make to prove that people have libertarian choice have failed and are, in the final analysis, not really important anyhow. This is an excellent little series of essays on free will which only occasionally gets bogged down in “philosophese”. I’m not really convinced.

He outlines a set of bugbears: Jul 23, DJ added it Shelves: Daniel Dennett appear to be making a mountain of arguments against free will, and somehow comes to the conclusion that it is a real thing.

As bad as dniel gets. However, as I said earlier, I would recommend his later, larger book: Does away with the pernicious myth of incompatibalism the view that Freewill and determinism are incompatible. I “feel” like I have free will, just like everyone else.

Jul 04, Charlie So-and-so rated it really liked it Shelves: This goe Dan Dennett’s Elbow Room is pretty good. Dennett – – Philosophy of Science 56 3: So the question arises: A thoroughly humanistic and useful conclusion, and an enjoyable read.

Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting

Practically this has little bearing on us, as we are never the same person twice, so xaniel learn from our mistakes and correct are behaviour.

One answer to this question is the result of selection on individuals to live harmoniously in society. Oct 17, John rated it liked it Recommends it for: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting is a book by the American philosopher Daniel Dennettin which Dennett discusses the philosophical issues of free will and determinism.