Monday, January 03, 2005

Free Will or Determinism?

I'm reading a book right now entitled, "Freedom Evolves", by Daniel C. Dennett, one of the leading philosophers of today. I'm almost halfway through it, and Dennett makes the argument that we live in a deterministic world, yet we retain much of what we perceive of as "free will" in our daily lives. Events at a basic level occur in a deterministic fashion, but at a higher level, such as the level of our daily lives, we still have degrees of choice available to us as we go about our business. At least this is what I'm gathering so far, if I've interpreted what I've read correctly. Dennett is trying reassure those who fear that a deterministic world leads to the ultimate denial of a "free will" that this is indeed not the case; that in fact what we perceive of as "free will" can stay largely intact despite the material, deterministic grounding of our reality. So far, I generally agree with his basic outline of the issue, but with some qualifications. Firstly, the definition of what exactly "free will" is, is somewhat loose in general, this is a concept that can mean different things to different people. I believe that Wittgenstein would have looked at this term as one of those phrases of which one can not really say anything about, one way or another, i.e., a metaphysicality. The "notion" of "free will", however, has been very important in the evolution of man (I believe that Dennett will argue for this as I read further along, as he has hinted in this direction), as people like Dennett have claimed, in allowing for the human species to survive over time. I'm generally supporting his view, in that a well framed argument can lead to clear conclusions, yet my Wittgenstinian spin on this issue also causes me to wonder if anything can really be said on this, or if indeed we are dwelling on a non-issue regarding the issue of free will. I'm working on sorting this out between the views of Dennett and Wittgenstein, and I have a fuzzy feeling that it may all be a matter of perspective (as Nietzsche would say); it would depend upon where you stand initially in terms of what you will then see or come up with.

Here's a big shoutout to Les A., who visited my blog recently! (and is in fact most likely the first, and so far also probably the only, visitor to the newly created Fiat Lux).

Maddona, Guy Ritchie Renew Wedding Vows

LONDON (AFP) - Pop diva Madonna (news - web sites) has renewed her wedding vows with film-maker husband Guy Ritchie at a secret ceremony four years after they tied the knot, the Sun newspaper reported.
You heard it here first!


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