Dan Dennett: misguided about free will, accurate about Templeton

Why Evolution Is True

I was originally going to write in the title that philosopher Dan Dennett was “wrong” about free will, but whether or not humans have “free will” seems to be a matter not of right or wrong, but of semantics—how we define the term. “Compatibilists” like Dennett, who see free will as perfectly consonant with a world in which all human actions and choices are predetermined by the laws of physics, conceive of the term differently from “incompatibilists” like myself, who see free will as incompatible with determinism.

While both camps largely agree on determinism, they differ in how they conceive of moral responsibility. Many incompatibilists, including me, find the notion of “moral responsibility” meaningless in a world where one can’t choose to behave one way versus another. I do consider people responsible for their actions, for, after all, they do commit them, and something should be done about that. And I also think…

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