Brent Meeker writes (quoting Tom Caylor):
> Dr. Minsky,
> In your book, Society of Mind, you talk about a belief in freedom of
> "The physical world provides no room for freedom of will...That concept
> is essential to our models of the mental realm. Too much of our
> psychology is based on it for us to ever give it up. We're virtually
> forced to maintain that belief, even though we know it's false."
Whether it is false depends on what you mean by free will. Dennett argues persuasively
in "Elbow Room" that we have all the freedom of will that matters. Our actions
arise out of who we are. If you conceive yourself comprehensively, all your memories,
values, knowledge, etc. then you are the author of your action. If you conceive yourself
as small enough, you can escape all responsibility.
We have the freedom of will that matters, but we don't have the freedom of
will that we think we have, namely that we don't have to act according to our
biology and environment, and moreover that if we flout these it is not by just
choosing to act randomly. That is what I *feel* my freedom consists in, but
rationally I know it is impossible.
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